"Dragon's little performance certainly put you in the mood," Lara whispered into Blackout's ear. She pressed up against him. "Can you pull the sheets up?"
"You want the sheets on?" Blackout shook his head a little and smiled, but pulled the covers up over their bodies. "My temperature is way up."
"It certainly is," Laura said with a purr. She paused a moment, looking into his eyes. "Thank you," she said finally.
"For what?" Blackout asked, turning onto his side.
"For loving me," she said.
"That's easy," Blackout said, smiling.
"I'm not sure that's true," Lara said, "but thank you for saying so."
"No, it's always been easy," Blackout said. "Ever since I met you."
"Love at first sight?"
"Sure. You put me under a spell, or something like that."
Lara stopped, her brow slightly furrowed. "I used to want love to be like a spell. Like a potion. I wanted to be swept away. I wanted to have Cupid's arrow hit me and I'd be lost. But I've been lost...not in love, but in..." She stopped, and tears formed around the edges of her eyes.
"I didn't mean anything by it," Blackout began. "I was just trying to be fun."
"I know," Lara said, her voice slightly broken, wiping away the first tear as it trailed down her cheek, forcing the next back along the side of her eye where they flowed onto her the back of her hand. "Shit. I'm sorry."
"No, I'm the one who should be saying sorry," Blackout said, running his hand along the side of her face, catching a teardrop which seemed to have waited to fall, seeking to connect them in a way their conversation could not.
"How could you have known?" Lara said. She hadn't even known until he'd said it. Something about the confluence of potion along with lost, and the hazy memories of drinking to drown remembrance flowed in, washing over her and through her to become tears. "I don't ever want to feel lost like that again," she said. "I want to choose what I do. I want to be aware, to make every decision deliberately."
They sat in silence for a moment.
"I choose to love you," she said to him. "And I never want you to feel like you are under a spell, under some influence compelling you to love me. I need to know you make those decisions too. That you love me in spite of, or perhaps because, of how fucked up I am."
Blackout nodded. "Is that why you've never read our cards?"
Lara shook her head. "I don't believe in Fate," Lara said. "Not in the sense most people understand it. The Fates themselves don't believe in that sort of manifest destiny. If the existence of the Tree has taught me anything, it's that there are too many possibilities, too many worlds, for there to be one perfect person, chosen for me by the gods or Fate or the cards...whatever. We ultimately choose to love someone, hunker down into a relationship, and fight to make it work, every fucking day, to make it work. To make it work." She said those last words in a fierce whisper, her eyes blazing.