He knows it's her before she can call out a greeting. No one else would dare fling open the front door and slam it shut. With anyone else, he would find it aggravating, but with her it's comforting. A little slice of the past in this new, still uncharted territory.

The metallic scent of blood in the air, oddly enough, brings another wave of nostalgia. How many of her wounds has he stitched up and fussed over? Too many to count. He could close his eyes and trace every pale scar that map his love. He's reaching for the medical kit when she appears in the doorway.

As always, her presence hits him like a fist to the gut. Clothes ripped and dusty, long golden curls tangled, flushed cheeks bruised, and blood dripping from her fingertips. Pink lips curve up into an impish smile as enters the kitchen. Destruction, duty, and desire wrapped up in a petite package of flesh and bone.

"Hello, cariad." She presses a warm kiss to his lips. A few drops of dark blood drip onto his shirt.

After returning the kiss, he wraps her hand in a ratty rag and leads her to the sink. Warm water washes dirt out of the cuts on her hand and face. When he asks if there are any more that he should know of, she tugs her hands free and yanks her grimy tank top over her head. Bruises and shallow cuts rather than soft breasts capture his attention.

Application of antiseptic has her hissing. He bandages the wounds and brushes light kisses over each one to soothe the pain. He slips off his t-shirt and slides it over her shoulders. Such gallantry earns him another kiss, this one not so chaste.

Before he realizes what's happening, he's seated at a kitchen chair with a warm, wiggling woman in his lap. Her kisses are an addictive drug he never wants to quit. He remembers this, too. Hunting always sends her hormones into overdrive. Not that he's complaining.

When they pause for great gulps of air, she buries her head in the crook of his neck. He wraps his arms around her back and holds her tighter than usual. They've been spending more and more time apart lately. Guilt and anger keep her tracking Hoppers until she's ready to drop and he's got responsibilities at home more important than her personal vendetta.

She's promised to stay home and help him raise their niece but he's not counting on it. Oh, she may stay for several years, but eventually boredom and restlessness will have her disappearing. A small selfish part of him wishes he could go with her. They made one hell of a team.

"I love you, Amy."

She nips at his neck in response. He can feel the flutter of her eyelashes against his skin. He reluctantly unwinds his arms from around her slim frame and entwines their fingers. Holding her left hand up to the light, he can't help the surge of pride when the diamond on her ring finger twinkles. No matter how far they've drifted, she's still his. Still wears his mark for all to see.

She pulls back, her eyes damp with tears. These moments are bittersweet because they never last. She can feel the low thrum of energy, her connection to this world. Back home, she'd just ignore it but now she has to stay alert. The next attack could come from anywhere and she refuses to be caught unaware again.

She misses the way it used to be, the tracking, the arguing, the loving, and the laughing. He heart longs for the bright sunny days before darkness and death dogged their every step. Their relationship won't last. She knows he knows it but neither is willing to acknowledge it. They'd rather live in the land of denial until it's too late.

So they'll savor these small tastes of the past. The glimpses of what could have been.