The Hong Kong Sanctum

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The reflection. It's not mine.

The eyes are sunken and cold. The cheeks are hollow. The lips pale and chapped. The skin scattered with black and blue bruises, ones I know too well. And the scar; the scar is definitely mine.

Scars are meant to hold the deepest stories. Stories so deep they remain embedded in your skin forever. 

With my index finger, I strained along my fresh scar. My finger travelled the raised skin from my cheekbone down to my collarbone on the right side of my face. 
The scars are what force me to remember what I have done. I'm not mourning the deaths of the monsters. I'm mourning what the monsters took from me in the process.

Since getting to here I haven't been able to cry. I long for it. I want to feel anything than just rage. It scares me. I scare myself. I fear what will happen once I get to the sanctum. A part of me doubts I'll even be able to control my po-

"Kat, soup is ready." Nat said, making her way into the bathroom and standing behind me. "You get all the blood off?" She asked, leaning against the doorframe with her arms crossed.

"Yeah I did."

Turning away from the mirror, I stood face to face with Nat. I was still shorter by a few inches but her look of disbelief makes me feel like I'm a completely different person. "It's good to see you Katia." She looked at me, her eyebrows furrowed. Bringing a hand up, she traced the dagger scar on my face. 'I'm so sorry all of this happened."

I chuckled under my breath and she looked at me in confusion. "Well, it does make for a badass scar. Although, I do think they were aiming for my eye. Nat? How long has it been since, then?" I asked, my smile falling.

Her face portrayed nothing up sorrow. "Five days."

Unintentionally, I let out a humourless laugh. "Guess I'm seventeen. Happy birthday to me."

"Hey guys, are we going to eat this soup before it goes cold?" Yelena yelled from the other room.

A small smile made it's way onto my face just as Nat kissed my forehead before the two of us headed out to the main room.

"Hey you got coffee?" I asked with a yawn. "Or three now I think of it."

Without another word, Yelena handed me a cup of steaming coffee. I gulped it down, ignoring the burning in my throat and mouth.

Placing the coffee on the table, Nat handed me a mug of what looks like tomato soup, which I did the same.

"So how long do you think you will stay before you need to continue whatever got you into this mess?" Nat asked from the small couch.

I kept my gaze on my mug, slightly guilty. "I can't stay."

"What?" Hurt filled her tone.

"I'm sorry Nat, but to get this shit over and done with I can't afford to wait any longer. Ross and Hydra are so close to getting me. I'm not going back there and I certainly wont see you or anyone else be put in there too. No matter what happens I will not stop until they leave you alone, even if it means collateral damage." The sides of Nat's mouth tugged into a smile.

"You've grown up, kid. But not enough for me to let you go back out there alone."

Chugging the rest of the soup, I placed the mug in the sink, trying to avoid meeting the eyes of both of them. "I'm never alone."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Yelena asked wearily, her voice just above a whisper.

Several seconds passed in silence, the only noise being my fingers tapping the edge of the sink. "I'm never alone." I repeated, my eyebrows furrowing.

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