“What do you want?” Dawn demanded as the Terakan reached the three of them.
“Good afternoon, miss Summers.”
“Don’t bother. I don’t like you, and never will.”
The Terakan smiled a nearly perfect smile before answering. “You don’t even know me. People really shouldn’t be judged by their first impression. Imagine what would happen if people did that with you.”
“They’d see what I want them to see,” Dawn bit out. Despite her strong appearance though, she was anxiously trying to calm herself. She hadn’t counted on them approaching her now. She wasn’t ready yet! The other personalities would undoubtedly have been able to slow her racing heart, but she was hardly capable of speaking calmly.
“No doubt,” the man smiled again. Again! Who did he think he was? Some kind of Hollywood star or something?
“What do you want?”
For a moment the man looked confused. Success! She was starting to get back in the game! “Surely you must have received our letter. Isn’t that why you are together with your friends here?”
“Friends you threatened,” Dawn glowered. Anger threatened to overcome her, but digging deeply in her pocket she took hold of the metal watch she kept there and allowed the cool metal to calm her down. Maybe it would be a good idea to have someone else take over. Kirika, or the True Noir.
Talking about friends, she didn’t dare take attention away from the man before her, but judging by the occasional soft whimper or heavy breath she realized her friends were far from comfortable with the situation. And the four of them were starting to draw attention as well, it would be better if she and the Terakan went somewhere alone. Have a short chat away from prying eyes. No, the other personalities might not be able to control her actions, but she could sense their disapproval of that notion.
“Maybe we should go somewhere private? Where we can discuss things without fear of being interrupted?” the Terakan proposed.
Dawn had made up all of her minds by then and shook her head before pointing at the group of playing children and proposing another plan. “No, let’s go sit on one of those benches.”
The Terakan looked confused for a moment, as if something had happened he hadn’t counted on. His face quickly cleared up though, and after indicating his agreement he executed a sweeping bow that indicated she should precede him. Not that she had any intention of doing so. Walking in front of an assassin who could undoubtedly kill her the first chance he got? Not a chance.
“Very well,” the man said when she hadn’t moved for a couple of seconds. “Why don’t we walk side-by-side then?”
Nodding her head, Dawn wondered how she could best ensure her friends’ safety. Let them walk behind her? No, the Terakan might not be alone. Let them walk in front, where she could keep her eye on them. “Jane, Sara. Why don’t the two of you pick out a nice bench for us to use?”
“Ah, sure Dawn,” Jane answered before both she and Sara walked off, making sure not to come too close to the assassin.
An assassin who watched that scene with barely contained mirth. “They fear me, I wonder why they fear me but don’t have the nearly the same feelings where it comes to you.”
“What are you talking about?” Dawn asked, immediately suspicious of anyone making such a statement, and doubly so when it came from a Terakan.
“Their body language,” the man explained. A perfectly fine explanation, she realized, although the other personalities once again seemed to disagree.
That disagreement made her frown, but she soon realized that it didn’t really matter anyway and body language was as good an explanation as any.
“Fine. Shall we go then?”
“I don’t think they know about your excesses in Los Angeles, do they?”
The question caught her off guard, and Dawn almost went as far as to admit the truth to him. The man was pretty easy to speak to, no wonder the Order sent him as an emissary. “That’s not important is it? You came here for a reason and I think we should take care of that. That way you can leave as soon as possible.”
“Don’t you like me here?”
Of course she did. No she didn’t. Shaking her head, Dawn got rid of that strange first thought and glowered at the man. “No. I want you gone. The fact that your kind has repeatedly tried to kill both me and my sister doesn’t exactly endear you to me.”
“Ah yes, both regrettable incidents that.” Well, at least he hadn’t come up with some kind of shallow excuse like that it was their job. While that pathetic reason might be true for the attempts on Buffy’s life; it definitely wasn’t for the events in Los Angeles.
“Of course,” Dawn started without bothering to hide her disbelief. “I’m sure that you all regret your involvement in that matter.”
“The outcome of that incident was indeed not what we had been hoping for. Of course, the fact that we might get a potential recruit of your potential might make up for that.”
Ignoring the part of her working for them, Dawn spoke up again. “Not what you’d been hoping for? Is that why you lashed out like an angry child? Is that why you tried to kill me? Is that...” she trailed off. There was no point in saying more, in fact she had already shown too much emotion. She really should let one of the other personalities take over. Except... she feared what might happen if she did.
Of course, while allowing a personality to take over was out of the question, she might try something that wasn’t as complete. She had done it before, although the results hadn’t been what she’d call pretty, so she should be able to do it again.
Seeing that the Terakan was watching her friends, she closed her eyes for a moment. Faced with nothing but darkness Dawn was reminded of the dangers of this action, but she pushed through. Maybe one day she could do this without needing to focus, but for now it was still difficult. Like she’d done the day before, Dawn allowed all emotion to drain from her. Until nothing remained that could distract her from her current situation.
“Let’s talk business then, shall we?”
The man turned around again and, upon seeing her emotionless eyes, blinked in surprise. This obviously wasn’t something he’d expected. Just the way she liked it. “Interesting,” he murmured before turning back to look at Dawn’s friends.
“Of course,” the man said in his oily voice. At least now he didn’t have any real effect on her anymore. He set out, while she followed him closely. The fact that he was so trusting made her pay more attention to everyone around her, but if there was another Terakan around he was very good.
“No, the other bench,” Dawn directed him away from her friends. She wanted them safe and out of the way. Her earlier request of them had laid the foundation for that, and by keeping the Terakan away she had done as much as she could for now.
“As you wish. You do realize I wouldn’t hurt them unless you made a mistake, don’t you?”
“Are you alone?” she asked in an attempt to steer the conversation in another direction, while they were walking over the playground.
He sighed at that. “I’m afraid so. You see, it was believed that the warning concerning your friends might make you do something stupid: like believing that only one messenger would need to return alive.”
Well, at least the Terakans weren’t stupid. That was exactly what she’d have ensured would happen. Not that she believed him about being alone. And even if he was, lowering her guard would be a bad thing. “What is your name?”
“Adrian, my lady. I’m flattered you asked me for it.”
“Common decency would have made you give it to me when we met.”
“And here I believed you didn’t believe we could be decent.”
They had finally passed through the group of children and she could act more like herself again. Or more how they would expect her to be. More how she was... Okay, that was something she shouldn’t be thinking about. It was simply too complicated. “I don’t.”
The man, Adrian, sat down on the bench and without any hesitation she joined him on it. Not that she sat close to him, but she didn’t want to look too out of place either. “Well then, let’s get to business as you so kindly said” he started after a short silence had fallen.
He shifted a bit on the bench, cementing her belief that he was nervous. Which was always a good starting position from her point of view. “Now, as you undoubtedly know it would be easy for us to take out anyone you care about.”
Dawn nodded at that. Despite their unprofessional behavior where it had concerned Buffy, she had no doubt that there would be at least one Terakan capable of handling a sniper rifle. And even if a Slayer would be capable of dodging a bullet, she would at the very least have to know it was coming. Not to mention the fact that there were more ways to deal with someone without putting yourself in direct danger.
Yes, she had no doubt that if the Terakans really wanted someone she cared about dead, they would succeed. Even something as basic as a bomb in the school, or poisoning the food Jane would be eating was enough to do that. Repressing a mournful sigh, she tried to tear her attention away from those scary scenarios her mind so easily thought up and back to the assassin sitting near.
“Now, that was only a reminder, not something that any of us would like to see.”
Dawn felt like telling him to get a move on, but opening her mouth she realized that would show impatience. A weakness she couldn’t afford in these negotiations. Which made her change what she’d been about to say. “Of course not. If you failed to kill me as well, which would be highly likely, there wouldn’t be anywhere you could hide.”
Adrian seemed about to make a disparaging comment about that, but looking at her he suddenly blanched. Strange, that once again happened at the same time the other personalities reared their head. Could he feel them? Was he messing with her mind? Unobtrusively she slipped her hand in her pocket so that she could feel the calming presence of the watch. Picturing the scene the watch depicted in her mind, Dawn managed to calm down.
Exactly why the sight of the original Noir receiving a blessing from the High Priestess had that effect on her she didn’t know. But it had, and it stopped her from decorating Adrian’s forehead with a hole shaped like a bullet. While she had calmed down because of her actions, he had turned even whiter until he looked to the side. “We can do things you only dream about.”
The trembling voice came very close to actually making her smile, and she enjoyed his weakness. Why had they sent this man? He obviously wasn’t very good at using arguments to achieve what he wanted. Of course, if he was messing with her mind he wouldn’t need to. This knowledge made her reconsider the actions she’d undertaken since he’d arrived, but Dawn doubted that he’d been able to really influence her.
“Sure. Do you expect me to claim I’m the stuff of nightmares now? That’s a bit too Hollywood, don’t you agree? Let’s skip the boosting for now and move on to your demands. Once we’ve done that we can talk about mine.”
Adrian wasn’t listening to her though, and when Dawn turned her head to see what he was staring at her heart almost froze. Not even the fact that she was supposedly emotionless could stop her from showing the fear she felt where it concerned her future husband. “He’s a friend of your sister, is he not?” the assassin asked, before turning to her with a smirk on his face.
He knew. She had given it away, with her heart in her throat she attempted to salvage the situation, but knew that it was already too late. “Yes.” If she allowed this man to live, Xander would be in danger. And if she killed him, her friends would die. Was Xander worth the death of her friends?
No! She didn’t wanted to even consider that thought. There had to be a middle road. If she allowed the man to live, it would take time before any action would be taken against Xander. Besides, Dawn realized, if she accepted whatever contract the Terakans had in mind she would keep him safe. Not that that was something she was looking forward to. She’d never even considered joining up with them, but if that was required to save the love of her life...
“And he is your lover?”
“What? I’m twelve you perv,” Dawn lashed out, as for a moment fear and anger overcame reason. Not that she hadn’t dreamed about it or anything, but she was far too young.
“People in our line of business don’t have the luxury of waiting. You really should consider it, and if he doesn’t want you. Well... I wouldn’t turn you down.” The leer he gave her was enough to make the hairs on the back of her neck stand to attention and she glowered back.
“Don’t. Even. Think. About. It.”
“Why not? The two of us, in a nice little hotel room. I’m not that ugly, am I?”
Of course he wasn’t ugly. For a moment the other personalities showed themselves again, and she realized that she’d actually scooted closer to Adrian. Well, that would work. Pissed of beyond reason, she didn’t hesitate as her right hand flew out, suddenly bearing a knife and made to stab him.
He never had a chance as the knife sliced cleanly through the side of first his coat and then the underlying suit until she encountered the expected resistance and stopped. Despite all the other scents surrounding them, the single drop of blood that was freed by her action was something she had no problem recognizing by its smell. It wasn’t important though, and she hissed her next words at the man. “The only reason you’re not dead yet, is because that would endanger my friends. Try something like this again, and I might not remember to stop.”
While he had at first been surprised by her action, it was obvious that Adrian was reasserting himself again. Moving his hands to the top of his coat he straightened it, before calmly speaking. “Please remove the knife. We both know that you won’t kill me, and I’m willing to forgive your action.”
Everything that she was, everybody who she was, and everything that she might become told her to shove the knife in, twist it around and then slice his throat. She wanted to see the blood stream from his arteries until she was bathing in his blood, she wanted to taste it, drink it, and enjoy the gurgling sound he would make during his final moments.
She wanted to rip him apart for everything he’d done to her, she wanted to feed his flesh to a rabid pack of dogs, and throw his bones behind an elephant taking a dump. Only after she’d licked the sweat of fear from his face though, that was something that she wanted to do as well. And after that she might as well follow his advice and find Xander. Tie him up in his bedroom and enjoy his body to its fullest extent.
It was that final thought that finally brought her out of the twisted fantasies and made her realize exactly what had happened. This was just like Los Angeles. Somehow that part of her mind had almost managed to gain control, and realizing that she immediately withdrew the knife. Nobody should have been able to see it, but she knew better than to make that kind of assumption.
“That’s better,” Adrian said, while taking a quick peek where she’d ruined his coat. He probably wasn’t too happy about it, but Dawn couldn’t possibly care any less. Besides, she’d already promised herself that one day she’d kill this failed baboon. He had been trying to find out where she would break. In hindsight it was so obvious; she was a possible danger and he wanted to see what it would take to make her act. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
All it had taken for her to lose control had been some mentions of her friends, her future husband, and statutory rape. Had it been of any use, she would have hit her head against the nearest wall in an attempt to beat some sense into it. How could she have been so stupid? First her reaction to Xander... Where was Xander? Scanning the pasture she attempted to locate him, and let out a nearly inaudible sigh of relief as she noticed him with Jane and Sara.
Obviously her friends had intercepted him, and she didn’t know how she could ever repay them for that. Had he come to her, he might have ruined the situation completely. Especially if he’d walked up while she’d been using her knife. From such a short distance he undoubtedly would have noticed it.
“What are your terms?” Dawn asked. She wasn’t happy about asking this, in fact she loathed having to bargain from a position of weakness, but the lives of her friends were at stake. One day though. One day this little bastard and his merry friends would find out what it meant to anger Noir.
“The terms are quite simple really. We stay out of Sunnydale while you simply stay out of our way. No interfering with any of our missions: if you happen to be hired for the same job you’ll let us handle it.”
“And if I don’t do any of that you’ll kill me?”
“Your friends, after all we’d like to ensure you’d be suffering. Now, during the next few months you’ll receive an invitation for a summer camp. You’ll accept that.”
She had a feeling what that camp would be, but she asked nonetheless. “A training program?”
“Yes. It will provide you with six weeks of intensive training that will bring you to a higher level of competence.”
“And if I refuse?”
“Don’t start acting silly, miss Summers. We both know that you won’t refuse.”
Right. Because if she did, she’d lose all of her friends. Well, despite Adrian’s words she knew that they’d kill her first. There was simply no way that they’d allow her the possibility of revenge. “Anything else?”
“No, we decided to keep it simple for now. Other options, like the possibility of asking each other for help will be handled during your training.”
“Alright,” Dawn said, as she made one last attempt to regain some control on the situation. “I agree with these terms for now. However, if any of your kind is still in Sunnydale three hours from now I’ll hunt that person down, and give him the experience of a lifetime. The last experience of his lifetime actually. And it won’t be quick.”
Having said those words she stood up and stalked to her friends. What she really wanted to do was to go somewhere she could be alone, and cry for the innocence she’d lost. She had just surrendered to the one group she couldn’t afford to do that with. They would try to destroy her mind, that wasn’t something she doubted. In fact, it was the one thing she was pretty sure about, but at least her friends would be safe.
Making sure she acted like a little girl without any real concerns in the world, Dawn smiled at the group as she reached them. “Hey guys, Xander.”
Ducking a particularly nasty swing, Methos was impressed by his opponent’s skill. Not something he was particularly happy about, as you should never be impressed by that, but the man was good. His first attack had been quickly deflected to the side, after which the two of them had started circling around each other. Each trying to gage the other’s skill.
Methos knew he was probably unknown to the group, or that they at least had the wrong impression of him. Had they known exactly who he was they might actually have broken the rules and faced him three-to-one. But they didn’t and so far they’d kept themselves to those rules. Well, to quote a certain movie character, from a certain point of view they had.
The sniper—snipers?—was only there to ensure they stayed here, and wouldn’t interfere during the fight. At least, they hadn’t so far and that was something Methos really hoped wouldn’t change. After all, it was always possible that once he finally brought his opponent to his knees that instead of being rewarded with a Quickening for his hard work, he’d receive a bullet to the brain.
Or maybe the sniper would indeed wait until after all the fights had been finished before killing the four of them. Four, not five because the strange little assassin girl wasn’t around anymore. And that after she’d made such a show of protecting her friend. Well, that showed you what that friendship really meant.
No. Don’t pay attention to the girl. There was a fight going on that he should be focusing on. Taking a step closer to his opponent, the man took a similar step back. This was a dance they’d gone through several times already. His opponent clearly didn’t want a direct confrontation, instead waiting for that one mistake that would let him end the existence of Methos.
At the start of the fight he’d attempted to corner the man, but it had proved unsuccessful as his opponent constantly circled around. That circling had given him the opportunity to check on the others though. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to be doing very well either.
Amanda was clearly having difficulty with the strong Russian who, while not quite playing with her, was taking his time wearing her down. In Methos’ opinion, the Immortal thief probably wouldn’t last more than a couple of minutes now. Richie was doing a bit better, but, where Amanda’s main problem was the strength of her opponent Richie had trouble where it concerned the experience of his opponent.
All three of these Immortals were good, and Methos realized that it would take quite a bit to get out of this alive. Quite a bit of luck, and quite a bit of skill. As his enemy finally attacked, he was ready and stepped just out of reach of the man’s sword.
Not for long though. Once the sword had passed in front of him, Methos stepped forward and with a quick slash he opened the man’s left arm. It didn’t cause as big a reaction as he’d hoped, as his opponent only let out a slight hiss, but at least he’d scored his first hit.
Once again the two started circling, when suddenly he heard a cry from Amanda indicating she was in trouble. After having fought with a group for a thousand years he had learned to ignore that kind of sound though, so he didn’t let it distract him.
His opponent on the other hand wasn’t that experienced and spared a moment to look to the side with shining eyes. Methos had no idea what the man saw to make him smile like that and he didn’t really care either. His opponent was distracted and that was enough to allow him to beat the man. Stepping in, he batted aside the sword while planting one of his knives in the man’s heart.
Acting more on instinct than anything else, he then brought his hand back to his sword and using a two-handed grip he swung it before his opponent had even dropped to his knees. Once again experience had beaten youth. But he cursed himself for his reflexes. If he’d been satisfied with killing the Immortal he could have helped Amanda instead.
But that hadn’t been possible, and now he prepared himself for the expected onslaught of lightning. Standing with his two feet planted firmly on the ground he took one last look at the situation, noticing the shocked faces of the attackers and the way the piece of fluff jumped between a wounded Amanda and her opponent. The woman wasn’t actually considering taking over from Amanda was she?
He wanted to ask that question, but at that moment the first bolt of lightning struck and all Methos could think about was the pain.
She was crazy. No doubt about it, somehow hanging around Buffy and those other idiots had infected her. These thoughts and similar ones were racing through the head of Callidora, currently known as Cordelia Chase, as she faced the man who’d been enjoying taking his time to kill Amanda.
Yes, Amanda was hurt, but this would only serve as a pointless stay of execution. So why hadn’t she been able to stop herself from trying to help her teacher? And trying to face the man herself was even worse as it would hasten her own demise! She should run away! There was no point in doing this. Run while the Quickenings were happening, run somewhere safe. Somewhere not here. Maybe her estate in Virginia. She could post guards there and if she remained inside she could easily remain there for decades without anyone reaching her.
Cordelia knew all of this, but nonetheless she stood her ground and looked at the surprised Russian bastard. The man who had not only tried to kill her teacher, but, more importantly, was behind the attacks on her as well. “What do you think you’re doing? You’re breaking the rules here.”
Rules? Rules were for losers. Drawing her sword she answered his question nonetheless. “Let’s dance asshole.”
He only laughed, just as she had expected, but Cordelia didn’t care. Moving into position she raised the tip of her beautiful sword and tried to find that peace inside of herself that she never quite managed. Enough was enough. Too many people had tried to kill her these past days and now she was going to repay the favor.
Anger was the main emotion she felt, but as she didn’t believe in the Force she let it wash over her. Did she really think that? She had spent way too much time with Xander. No, focus on the anger not on cheating little- Cordelia allowed the anger to wash over her so that she could use it to fuel her determination. Determination that she would be the one to survive this fight. That she would be the one who took the Quickening of this, this, this piece of horse dung.
“Come on little girl, you may have been lucky up until now, but you’re no good in a fight. Why don’t you step aside while I take your teacher’s head? You’ll get your turn after that, but I don’t want to run the risk that she gets away. You know how it is.”
He didn’t even pretend he was defending himself. Hah! She’d make sure he’d regret that. Not paying any attention to the Quickening that showed Death had proved his name, Cordelia attacked.
Her lunge was perfectly executed, but a quick move had been all the Russian bastard needed to deflect it. She had no intention of giving up though, and tried again, and again, and again. Lunge after lunge, strike followed by strike, but nothing came through. He was simply toying with her and the constant swinging with her sword was slowly starting to wear her down.
The man was right in one regard after all: she wasn’t any good in a fight. She simply didn’t have the constitution to keep something like this up for long. Was she going to give up then? No. Never. Holding her sword far tighter in her sweaty hand than was good she tried again, this time using a more suicidal attack.
A short distance had been opened up between the two of them, and she used it to gather speed until she was running at the man while trying to stick the sword in him. The scraping sound as her sword was directed to the side by her opponent’s sword could probably be heard throughout Sunnydale, or so Cordelia believed, and when she herself was directed that way as well her scream of pain soon drowned it.
“Enough playing. Let’s finish this,” the Russian said while Cordelia was sitting on her knees in the grass of her own backyard. A coppery taste in her mouth told her that the single strike her opponent had executed had been far more effective than all her futile attempts. Spitting out some of the blood she refused to look at him, keeping her back to him.
She wasn’t out of the game yet though, and, lessening the deathgrip on her sword until it was useful again, Cordelia prepared herself for that one chance that she’d have to take. That one chance that would come very soon now.
Listening very carefully she remained still until she believed the man to have approached close enough. The moment he had, she gathered all her strength. Jumping to her feet, she spun around with everything she had and swung her sword in a last desperate attempt to save herself.
It wasn’t blocked. In fact, she discovered surprised, the sword actually hit the throat she’d been aiming for and while the swing didn’t manage to decapitate him, there was no way he’d be able to beat her now. She had done it. She’d beaten him! “Take that you bastard.”
There was no reply though, not that she’d expected it, but neither did his hands move to his throat in an attempt to close the gap there. His hands were placed over his heart instead, and his sword had been dropped to the ground as well. That was strange.
Looking into his eyes she noticed his surprise, but somehow she didn’t think it was because of what she’d done. No, there was more to this. As the man than crashed to his knees and his hands fell away from his chest Cordelia noticed the wound there. The type of wound didn’t immediately register with her, but when Richie’s opponent suddenly staggered back as well she knew it was a gunshot wound.
Dawn. She couldn’t imagine anyone else doing this. Not that she’d imagined Dawn could do something like this even twenty-four hours ago, but she doubted there were two people like her in Sunnydale. Still, who was she to deny such a gift? Not waiting any longer, and ignoring the pain from her own wound, she said the words that she believed in with all her heart. “There can be more than one. But you won’t find out.”
And she swung the sword to receive her second Quickening in as many days.
The world grew silent as the blue glow prepared itself for transfer to her body, but the calm before the storm didn’t last long and when hell broke loose Cordelia wasn’t prepared for it. The lightning as it struck her was painful, and every single strike was as painful as the previous one. The man, Boris she now realized, had been old. Maybe not quite as old as Amanda, let alone Methos, but he’d taken more heads than Cordelia’s teacher had.
The Quickening lasted for minutes, hours, days. It wasn’t long before she’d lost all concept of time and all she could think about was the feeling of the impacting strikes all over her body. Within moments the strikes of lightning blurred together, and Cordelia was lost in the pain as her entire body felt like it was on fire.
Finally, after it was all over, she found herself on all fours, breathing heavily and with no idea how much time had actually passed. Raising her weary head she looked to the side, there was a headless body. Oh yeah, Methos had taken that man’s head before she had even started her desperate fight with Boris. Methos himself wasn’t there anymore though, but looking to her left she spotted them all. Her hearing returned at that time as well and she tried to figure out what they were saying.
“-do that. He’s defenseless. It’s against the rules!”
“So’s using a sniper Richie. And that’s what they did. It may not be technically against the rules, but there isn’t anything in the rules about not taking the head of a downed Immortal either.”
Ah, she finally figured out what it was they were talking about. The other Immortal, the one who had been shot by Dawn. Like Boris had been. Once again she silently cursed herself for the stupidity of attacking him, until her thoughts were interrupted by the strong and soft hands of her teacher who was helping her to her feet. “You okay?”
It was difficult to even nod, but with a great exertion of her will she managed to even croak out an answer. “Yes.”
“Thank you for what you did,” Amanda told her.
“Why did you do it? Heroics aren’t exactly your style.”
Letting out a weak laugh, Cordelia answered that question. “No idea. Stupidity probably. Too many damn heroes around.”
“Yeah, Adam uses that excuse as well.”
“Great,” she said, while directing taking a first careful step in the direction of the kitchen. She really couldn’t care less what the other two would do to the Immortal. All she wanted now was a drink. Before she’d have to leave that is. Looking around she had a last look at the ruined garden. It had been so beautiful, but now it had gone the way of her living room.
As the step was a great success, she tried another and slowly but surely she made her way to the kitchen. Every step further into the house was a reminder of what had happened during the last couple of days though. At least she didn’t have to face the bodies of Anthony and Patricia, because that would have made it even worse.
“At least we know why they hated you so much now,” Cordelia said while walking through her house.
“No we don’t,” was the unexpected answer.
“He said I seduced him into helping me acquire something in New Delhi. I haven’t even been near India for over two decades!”
That didn’t make any sense. “Pardon?”
Amanda shrugged. “I’ve done many things people could be angry about, but I never did what he claimed. Somebody must have lied to him about it.”
But why would anyone do that? They had reached the kitchen by then though and as Cordelia poured herself a big glass of orange juice she offered her teacher some as well.
Shrugging, she put the pack back in the fridge and took her first draught. Oh that was good. Nothing in the world could possibly compare to this. The fresh feeling of the liquid smoothed her throat again and doing so cleared her head as well. Deciding she didn’t want to think about whatever had happened anymore, she focused her attention elsewhere. Noticing how Amanda’s clothes looked, it didn’t take her long to fall back into old patterns.
“You look horrible. You should take a shower upstairs, even in Sunnydale I don’t know how much time we have before someone comes to check it out. At least we’re early enough that Buffy probably isn’t awake yet, but you never know if one of her loser friends has called her.”
“Buffy?” Amanda asked, obviously not bothered by Cordelia’s valid concerns about her appearance.
“The Slayer. Dawn’s sister, remember? I mentioned her before. If she finds out something happened here she won’t waste any time on looking good. Not that she ever dresses well; it’s hard to believe she actually lived in Los Angeles.”
“Of course,” Amanda answered, and why did she have a feeling like the woman was only trying to placate her? Noticing the way her hand was trembling she put the glass of juice back on the counter.
“Anyway, there is a lot that still needs to be done. Some things I want to keep, and there’s no way I’ll manage to get out of this miserable town without anyone noticing. Bloody Wilkins, it would’ve been so much easier if I could’ve bought some people to make them forget about all of this.”
“You’re leaving?” came from behind her, and Cordelia spun around to see Dawn standing there carrying a briefcase. Probably containing the rifle or something. Wasn’t that how they transported those things on television?
“Yes. I wouldn’t have stayed here for more than a couple of months at most anyway. This only moved the date forward a bit.”
“But why? You’re my friend.”
The confused tone made it clear to Cordelia that despite everything her friend had done, Dawn was still only a little girl. “I know honey and I’ll miss you too. But I don’t have a choice.”
For a moment it looked like Dawn was about start crying, but she visibly stopped herself from doing that. “Why?”
While the girl might have managed to to stop the tears, her voice was still so full of anguish that Cordelia almost had to cry herself. Opening her eyes she gathered the girl in a hug while whispering the reasons in her ear. “It’s the curse of my race. We can never stay long in the same place, and you must realize that too much has happened the last couple of days.”
“We can clean it up. Just like we did yesterday. If we get rid of the evidence, nobody will be able to prove anything.” It was obvious that the girl was trying to grasp at every possible straw, just like it was obvious that she didn’t believe her own words.
“No Dawn. Not this time.”
“Why do all my friends leave?” Dawn leaned back in order to look Cordelia in the eyes while she asked this with a plaintive voice. “Am I so bad? Doesn’t anyone like me anymore?”
That was when it actually hit Cordelia. Dawn never had many friends, and now that she was leaving Sunnydale only one of them remained here. And for Dawn there could never be a difference between how she acted and who she was. “I’m so sorry, so sorry.”
Once again she gathered her friend in her arms and while doing so she turned her own eyes to Amanda, who looked just as sad as she probably did herself. The curse of their race, she reminded herself. It was something she’d get over in time. It might not happen overnight, but several centuries from now she would undoubtedly be able to think about this day without crying.
The familiar sound of a Quickening then drew her attention outside again. Obviously Methos and Richie had come to an understanding about the fate of the man. The other curse of her race.
Walking into this building always made him feel insignificant. Something that had no doubt been the intention of the designer. Despite his loathing of that feeling, Adrian kept up the front of pleasantness he always wore.
The upcoming meeting was an important one, and it would probably influence his future. Finally he would get to hear why he’d had to go to the Hellmouth to talk to what he’d at first assumed was a typical young girl. At least that was one assumption he’d gotten over.
Shuddering at the memories of his conversation with Dawn Summers, he continued on through the magnificent hallway. In his opinion the girl was far too dangerous to stay alive and his recommendation would reflect that. Not that he believed his opinion would be asked, but if it was he’d do his best to convince them he was correct.
Yes, she’d make an excellent addition to the Order, but there was something about her that really set him on edge. Something that he hadn’t felt in the almost fifty years he’d been alive. Fifty years, he really was starting to get old. Fifty. Shaking his head, he went through a door that would once again bring him closer to his goal.
He would turn fifty in only a couple of months. Which meant it was about twenty-five years since he’d stopped his aging process. That left him with about the same amount of time to find something that would offer him true immortality. Looking twenty-five your entire life was not a bad thing, especially with his looks, but the spells that kept him that way would one day be the ones that killed him.
Life was difficult, and staying alive even more so. Even if it meant he might die sooner, he would never regret his choice in that matter. It always surprised him that people thought of the really powerful wizards and mages as old men.
Well, not so much the fact that they had lived a long time, as that was required to gain enough power, but that they invariably looked old. It never made any sense to him. What use was being powerful if you couldn’t get any chicks with it? A thin smile crossed his lips at that thought, chicks. Hanging around the younger crowd obviously ensured he used their terms as well.
Not that he minded, oh no. Far from it. In fact, he enjoyed his time immensely. Every time he went out to spend the night with a young nubile woman he’d learn some new terms. Whether it was at the club he picked her up, while he was pounding into her, or while he was sacrificing her to the beings that kept him young. Of course, he only had to sacrifice someone on a monthly basis but that didn’t mean he couldn’t do the other things more often.
The shouted word made him turn around, until he noticed her. Ah, his pet project. The beautiful woman came running towards him, and he felt a stirring in his loins as he reminded himself what she looked like underneath that robe. As she threw herself on him he used the wall to steady himself. It wasn’t long before she wrapped her long, smooth, legs around him and they were engaged in a passionate kiss.
Entering her mind he checked to see if there was anything he should be concerned about. One of the younger recruits of the Order had made a pass at her. He frowned as he realized that. How dare that lowlife make use of his absence? A curling of the lips that were plastered against his made him realize that she knew what he was doing, and that there probably was more to it.
Delving deeper into the mind he’d shaped into its present beautiful state, Adrian looked around carefully for more information on that subject. This woman truly was magnificent in that regard. When he’d discovered her almost twenty years ago, he had immediately recognized not only her power, but the pliant mind as well.
Entering her mind and bending the little girl to his will had been a magnificent experience, and one he’d hoped to repeat on the Summers girl. Over the years he’d molded her so that he hardly noticed a difference between her mind and his own, something that enabled him to do what he was doing now.
Ah, there it was. The scene unfolded before his mind’s eye and when it did he gripped his mental slave with all his strength. The strangled cry that was a mix of pain and pleasure could probably be heard throughout the entire building, but he didn’t care. She had actually accepted the fool’s proposition! Despite the way she was rubbing against him now, he lost his earlier arousal. She was tainted.
Not that he was certain yet that she’d actually had sex with the boy, but it sure looked that way. She had invited him to a quiet place, where she’d promised him that he’d get to enjoy all of his fantasies. He had to know what she’d done!
He broke off the kiss, and while she arched her back in pain at his powerful intrusion in her mind, he shattered whatever natural barriers she had left. Nothing would be hidden from him. Nothing. And if he found out that she’d betrayed him, he would leave her mind an empty husk.
Every time he encountered a piece of fiction that mentioned abilities similar to his, it always seemed to indicate that people had structured minds. That it was possible to gather the required knowledge within moments. It almost made him want to talk to whatever idiot had thought that up. Thoughts had structure, that was true. But they were fragmented and each memory had another trigger that needed to be called.
Going through Summers’ mind had been even more difficult than usual, something that probably had to do with whatever training she’d received. But even here, in a mind that was shaped by him since the girl was four years old, it was difficult to find the right memory. The sounds she made as he mentally raped her were easily ignored, but a mind always protected itself by throwing around distractions.
At other times the distractions she threw up would have worked, it was always interesting to see her reaction to their bedroom games. Not this time though, and as he crashed on Adrian was already starting to remove certain things from her mind. Memories and thoughts he had tolerated for a while, but were now becoming too dangerous. If she had betrayed him like this...
She hadn’t betrayed him. The sudden revelation as he encountered the memory shook him out of his anger, and he let go. Both physically and mentally. She fell to the floor in a heap of bones and flesh, but he knew she’d live through it. He had done worse to her in the past, all he had to do later on was remove her memories of this event. After she’d healed herself that was, he didn’t want to be bothered by her questions. “Why?”
The simple question ought to be enough, and as she looked at him with hurt, yet obedient, eyes she didn’t hesitate to answer. “I wanted to surprise you.”
“But why?” It wasn’t the fact that she’d allowed the fool to fall in his own trap that bothered him. Nor did the way she’d stripped the flesh of his bones, using nothing but her mind. It wasn’t the first time she’d done something like that, and he hoped it wouldn’t be the last time either as sacrificing someone like that pleased his benefactors very much.
Lowering himself to his knees, he bent over her body to check if she was alright while listening to her explanation. “I wanted to show you how strong I’ve become. I wanted to thank you for all you’ve done for me and thought you might enjoy this.”
Oh, he had enjoyed the sight. The memories of how she’d followed the fool to his bedroom where she undressed him weren’t ones he really cared for, but the way she had changed her behavior once the fool’s back had been turned... It was from her perspective that he watched how she jumped on the man’s back and forced him on the bed.
The man, Adrian didn’t even know the man’s name, had at first thought she was merely into some rough sex, but before he’d been able to touch any of her private parts she’d gouged out his eyes. Used her nails to damage them, before actually popping them out of their sockets. That was when the real fun started.
“But if you hadn’t tried to hide it from me, you wouldn’t have suffered this much. I’m so sorry,” he said while kissing her again. For a moment he lost himself in the coppery taste of the blood, but not for long. Once again he entered her mind while they were kissing and he started making some alterations to her memories of these events.
It took a while before he was finished, and in that time he’d expanded his explorations of her body with his hands. Having her in a good mood and not focused on the pain made it so much easier to do what he wanted. When he was done however, he removed his hands from the soft globes they were caressing and breaking the kiss he looked into eyes filled with desire. Yes, she wanted more.
“Please?” she begged, wanting to feel him inside her so badly. Seeing her half-naked body spread out so willingly before him in the hallway made him wonder why he’d waited until she was fourteen before he took her for the first time. It also made him wonder how she’d look lying next to Summers. That girl was out of the question though. He wouldn’t have cared about her age this time around, but she was obviously far too dangerous.
“Later,” Adrian promised before dipping his hand between her legs and collecting some of the sweet nectar there. Licking his fingers clean, he felt the arousal rise even more in his beautiful slave, and he bent down one last time to share the delicious taste in a kiss.
“Why later?” she murmured.
“I need to report first. When I’m done with that we can play.”
“You didn’t bring her, did you?” she asked a bit disappointedly.
Oh god, how well he’d molded her. She would have enjoyed helping him break Summers in. Once again the sight of the two of them engaged in a passionate encounter entered his mind, and it was only with difficulty that he managed to dispel it. No, that simply wouldn’t work. Of course, those two friends of Summers hadn’t been ugly either, and once their protection was removed he might just make a trip to Sunnydale and collect them.
Yes, that was a good plan. To do that he really had to explain why she had to die though, and he couldn’t do that from here. “No, but I’ll find someone else you can play with.”
She pouted at that. “But she’s pretty, and strong. I want her.”
“You can’t have her,” Adrian shrugged after rising to his feet again. “Now I really have to go though. Go to my room, and wait there for me.”
Lowering her eyes, his slave acknowledged the command. “Yes master.”
Nodding in a way that was meant to convey his happiness with her behavior, he raked his eyes over her disheveled form for a moment. “And heal yourself, I don’t like seeing you like this.”
Knowing his commands would be executed, Adrian turned away from the young woman and continued his journey. Part of his thoughts were still with the young witch, but most of his attention was on the upcoming meeting. After joining the Order he’d met with the Highest, as he liked to think of the group who ruled them, only once. That had been after he’d been ordered to investigate one of his colleagues, and seeing what happened to that colleague after his betrayal had been confirmed was enough incentive for him not to do anything stupid.
After all, he might be ambitious but the Highest were so much older and more powerful than him that it simply wasn’t funny. No, he shuddered, betrayal wasn’t something he’d try. Still, he hoped that this assignment had been a step in the right direction. That maybe he would gain more influence with his peers, or even move to a higher position. Maybe a regional coordinator. The current one for the United States was starting to lose his touch. As was obviously demonstrated by the way he’d handled the situation with Summers and her sister.
Yes, gaining a position like that would be a good thing. By then Adrian had reached the massive wooden doors though, and not seeing anyone he stood in front of them. This was the waiting room, but whether it was due to the many different shapes the members came in or to make a point about the visitor’s position, there were no chairs he could sit in.
Immersing himself in his thoughts, he tried not to notice the passing time. Instead focusing on what he’d tell the Highest once he was allowed to enter the room. After going over that again, his thoughts once again returned to his slave.
He could still clearly remember finding her, then a tiny four-year-old girl. Her parents had been his targets and, after completing the mission as competently as he always did, he’d been leaving the bedroom where he’d handled his task. Opening the door, he’d encountered the confused little girl who had been about to enter the room.
Even at such a young age she’d felt that something was wrong, which was the reason she was out of her bed. A very impressive feat for someone that young, and when she’d seen him and her dead parents she hadn’t hesitated for a second. If her feelings had impressed him, the way he was sent flying through the room by the angry kid was even more so.
Of course, while a single burst of raw power was impressive in a way, it was nothing compared to the skill and powers he commanded. Still, while he knew his life was in no amount of danger he’d been about to strike back. Nobody hurt him like that and lived. Focusing his mind on the girl’s, Adrian had been about to erase her mind like he’d done with her parents when he realized something and stopped.
Why kill her, when he could make use of her? She was powerful and he could use someone like that. Someone who could protect him while he was paying attention to other things. He wasn’t entirely sure why he’d taken the decision to keep her alive, but he was glad he had. Having her present had saved his life during several missions and for the past several years it had made his nights more enjoyable as well.
So instead of destroying her mind, he’d changed it. Had taken the first step to molding it the way he wanted it. Her hatred of him for killing her parents had been turned into unconditional love, and within moments he’d found a little girl buried in his arms, clinging to him as if he was the only person in the world. That had been a very pleasant moment, and thinking back on it once again brought up another issue. Should he give her a name?
The original name her parents had given her had been removed from her mind during the first week they’d been together, and he’d never actually replaced it with anything else. But, he figured, what did she need a name for? He could communicate with her quite easily without it, and there was no need for her to talk to anyone else. Her entire life was built around him, and would remain that way.
“You are summoned.”
The words made him look up from where he’d been staring at the carpet, and he met the eyes of the being before him. As always when he met someone’s eyes, he tried to enter this beings mind, only to be kicked out of it harshly. Staggering back in almost physical pain, Adrian looked at the creature, not even bothering to hide the amazement he felt.
Impossible! There hadn’t been any barriers or anything, and yet... he’d been kicked out.
“It is unwise to let them wait.”
Taking one last good look at what had to be a member of a demonic species he wasn’t familiar with, he resolved to not try that again at any of his kind. Well, no. That wasn’t true and he knew it. He wouldn’t try it again until he’d found more about them. A species that was slightly shorter than humans, had a slightly orange-looking skin, and big red eyes shouldn’t be that hard to find information on.
“I’m going,” Adrian answered what he figured was a raised eyebrow. Creatures without eyebrows should not make movements like that.
This time when he stepped forward the doors opened by themselves and he was faced with a black hallway. Having gone through this before he didn’t hesitate and stepped into the darkness that became complete when the doors closed behind him.
Despite knowing that it would happen, he froze. This was always the problem with old people, they were traditionalists and thought theater was important when it came to things like this. Putting out his hands in front of him he started walking until he finally encountered the doors on the other side.
Banging on these doors he then loudly proclaimed the words that would hopefully grant him entrance. Although he couldn’t help but remember another time when he’d watched a colleague do the same thing. He hadn’t been granted entrance. In fact, he had died on the spot. Painfully. Once again Adrian tried to remember if the man had been a friend of him. According to his memories he hadn’t even really known him, but this was something on which he didn’t trust his memory.
Somebody had altered his memory about those events and the only thing he didn’t know was whether he’d done it himself, or if someone else had. That wasn’t important now though, he needed to concentrate on his report. “I have come as summoned.”
He knew what would come next, although not even closing his eyes helped against the harsh light that suddenly flooded the room. Blinking in a futile attempt to clean his vision, he heard the doors open and looking through the opening Adrian saw a small group of beings sitting at a large table.
“Come in, Adrian,” the words came. “We have been anxiously awaiting your report. Sit down.”
Recognizing a command when he saw one, he did as told and sat down opposite the Highest. “Thank you sir.”
“Tell us, what were your conclusions?”
Now that he could see a bit better again, Adrian looked around and was a bit surprised to see someone else present. Well, judging by the way it seemed to be bowing to the Highest he clearly wasn’t one of them. A command had been given though, and he focused on that. “We should kill her, she’s far too dangerous.”
“A clear opinion. What facts have you based your information on?”
“I have spoken extensively to the girl, and while at first sight she seems to be a normal teenager, that impression was quickly shattered when she instantly recognized me for what I was.”
“Her skills are as great as we believe?”
“Undoubtedly. I haven’t seen her in action, but she seemed more than competent.”
“Interesting,” came the strange, white cloud that masked the Highest before it shifted a bit. They were probably discussing it between themselves, and he waited patiently until they asked him for a full report on the events.
“Having verified her location in the house of one of her friends, I awaited her arrival in one of the town’s parks,” Adrian started his story. With all the questions that were asked of him, it took him over an hour to explain everything in terms they could understand, but he was eventually successful.
“And your reading of her. Did you feel anything about her?”
“A mixture of emotions, although she quickly curbed them, was almost the only thing I got. I only attempted one intrusion as she detected it, and the only thing I received there was an unclear memory.”
This seemed to interest them, and one of the Highest spoke up. “Describe this memory.”
“It was a bit strange, it wasn’t something she did, although she was very familiar with it.” Licking his suddenly dry lips, he tried to ignore the stares from the Highest. “There were paintings, statues, and even an image on a watch. They were all the same and it seemed like part of a ritual. A woman was blessing two girls, each of them only half-dressed and carrying a sword.”
“Two girls?” another member of the Highest spoke up. “Are you certain?”
“Yes, they were on their knees and facing each other while the woman blessed them.”
“It is as we feared,” the same voice said. “They have managed to hide themselves from us, and now one of their saplings has been let loose on the world.”
“Agreed. She must be taken care of immediately.”
“No, we can not risk the prophecies.”
“Are we certain that concerns her? It could be another sapling.”
“Another sapling? We will have enough problems dealing with this one.”
While his head moved from speaker to speaker, Adrian wondered what they were talking about. It didn’t make a lot of sense to him, but he figured that the girl might be part of something else. Interrupting the discussion to ask what they were talking about was something he really didn’t dare though.
“There are always two.”
“No, two who graduate. There are more saplings.”
“She could be the only one.”
“We must know more. Grietslaw, what did you discover?”
The strange little creature spoke up for the first time, and Adrian shivered as its shrill voice immediately got on his nerves. “She does indeed travel to other worlds, I have not been able to ascertain how she does this though. The method she uses is complex, only sending a copy of herself to this other world. Wounds that are experienced there do have an effect though, although it seems limited.”
“Can she be killed on those worlds?”
“As I stated in my earlier report, I believe she can. She only retains scars from the wounds she receives on those worlds, but if the wound is severe enough it should kill her.”
“Good. How much control does she have over her travels?”
“At the moment she believes them to be merely dreams that have been magically altered. She believes that someone else is influencing her dreams, which means she has no control at all.”
This seemed to surprise the Highest, and him as well. How could anyone not know they were using a magic as powerful as that? Crossing dimensional boundaries was supposed to be one of the hardest things that could be done with magic. And, if he understood the conversation correctly, Summers regularly did this.
“She does not know? How can this be?”
“I believe she subconsciously accesses a power that is inherent to her. How this is possible I can’t explain, although theoretically it might be done if she has a split personality.”
His turn again. “It is possible that she suffers from what some people call split personalities. It would explain the way she discovered my presence in her mind and how she was able to counter my suggestions. There might be completely different reasons for those events though.”
“It might be possible that she doesn’t yet know who she truly is,” one of the Highest mused.
“That they repressed her training? Yes, that is possible. Although it doesn’t explain the dimensional crossings.”
“Talking about the dimensional crossings,” a member of the Highest spoke up while focusing on the small being again. “In your report last week you stated that you would try to follow her to one of those worlds.”
“I did and I have. The past week I’ve used the connection that she created to follow her several times. Each was in the same world, and I attempted to influence the events around her. I was incapable of influencing her or those closest to her directly. I was however able to alter the world in such a way that she was put in mortal peril. Alas, of the three attempts on her life that I’d set up none succeeded.”
“Details,” came the curt order from the Highest.
The creature nodded, and started a longer explanation in that same annoying shrilly voice. What it came down to was that one of Summers’ friends had natural enemies, whatever he meant with that, and that one of them had only needed the friend’s location before attacking. When that attempt had failed he’d recruited a group of mercenaries to take out that friend, and Summers who remained with her after the earlier attempt.
That group had come close, but once again didn’t succeed. A final attempt had then involved the friend’s teacher and a complicated plot to make that teacher suffer. For that he’d been more pro-active in that he’d altered the memories of several people. In doing so they started hating the teacher, although that teacher would have no idea of what was going on.
“Hold on, the timing doesn’t work. You keep talking about doing something and then making something happen at an earlier time. Are you telling it wrong, or what?”
The look he received from the creature was so insolent that the only reason it remained alive was the fact that Adrian didn’t want to kill in front of the Highest. “It was another dimension, or world if you prefer.”
“I was able to alter the world to suit my needs. Her arrival was enough to upset the natural balance of the world anyway, and I made use of that.”
Oh, so the time-travel was only a side-effect sort of thing? Well, that made no sense at all to him, but he could live with it. It was at that moment that one of the Highest spoke up again. “The evidence concerning Dawn Summers of Sunnydale, California seems to indicate something we had hoped to prevent from happening. Are we agreed on this?”
The way the other Highest spoke up made it clear to Adrian that this question at least wasn’t meant for him. And when another of the Highest continued he was lost completely. “We must have a plan. According to the prophecy all those who oppose her directly will perish.”
“The prophecy doesn’t state that she will survive those attempts.”
“Agreed. Sacrifices can be made, but we must not draw undue attention to ourselves.”
“No members of the Order must attack her directly.”
“We must adhere to the treaty we set up.”
“Our assault can continue in the worlds she travels to.”
“There is more,” yet another member of the Highest spoke up. “We must prevent her from traveling to the country named France.”
“Agreed. The Worldtraveler may not gain access to the prophecies.”
“Shall we undertake action against the villagers?”
“No. If they trained the Worldtraveler they might have trained another. We cannot take that risk.”
“We must have access to more of the prophecies. The fragments we have may be misleading. We need to read the prophecies of Light and Darkness.”
“They are not relevant to this timeline.”
“Only a short time has passed since the attempt on the Slayer failed. It might still come to pass.”
“No. We need to focus on the other prophecies, those of the Worldtraveler.”
“Agreed. That is the more likely timeline.”
“The events that decide between them are difficult to foresee. We must know about both.”
Adrian listened in amazement to the discussion between the members of the Highest, and not for the first time he wished that he could see their expressions. The discussion here was very intensive and he was pretty sure that for some reason these people feared Summers. A reason that probably had to do with those villagers they’d mentioned.
“We can not risk any direct interference. Grietslaw’s proposed way of achieving the desired goal seems possible though. While he has not achieved the ultimate goal, using agents on other worlds appears a useful way of dealing with her.”
“Can we expect this to be successful on every world? Should she recognize our hand in those matters, the results might be disastrous.”
“Do we have a choice in the matter?”
“No. She needs to be dealt with. It will also be to our advantage to discover how she is capable of breaching the dimensional barriers.”
The discussion continued but, before a plan on how to deal with Summers was actually made, the Highest send Adrian out of the room. While he was a bit disappointed about that, he was more than honored he’d been allowed to be present during the discussion itself.
His leaving once again involved the trek through the darkness, and if it hadn’t been for his self-control he’d have let out a sigh of relief when he stepped through the heavy wooden doors. Halting for a moment, he blinked rapidly in an attempt to adjust his eyes to the returned light and froze when he noticed the demon who’d ordered him inside. “What are y-”
* * *
Blinking heavily, Adrian tried to adjust his eyes to the sudden return of light. Well, he’d come through the meeting in one piece and now he really should go and find his little slave for some enjoyment. Too bad that the Highest had decided not to immediately kill Summers. In fact, for some reason they’d decided that no members should be allowed to go to Sunnydale. Of course, in his opinion that meant they would allow non-members like his beautiful slave to go there.
Thinking back on the meeting he couldn’t help but shiver at the sheer power that came from the Highest. Sitting there all alone in that room, with nobody but the Highest, had been a very impressive experience. The way they made their decisions in unison was simply amazing. A unity like that almost made it appear as if a single person was making the decisions.
There were some irregularities though, he suddenly discovered. Oh, there had probably been some information that he was better of not remembering. Just like the other time. While he didn’t like the fact that he couldn’t remember what he’d erased from his mind, or even why he did, Adrian was more than willing to acknowledge the fact that he probably made the correct choice in that regard.
For a fleeting moment he considered the possibility that somebody else had altered his memories, but laughing out loud he discarded that idea. No, there was nobody here who could shut him out, let alone go through his mental shields.
Now that this assignment was over though, it was time for some fun. Whistling in happiness he walked down the hallway in the direction of his chambers. First he would enjoy his slave alone, and then in the evening they could go out and grab themselves a nice looking woman for some additional fun.
Oh yes, he really shouldn’t forget to propose the idea to her that she should go have some fun with Summers and her friends. If he set up a mental block that stopped her from remembering her connection to the Order that shouldn’t be a problem.
The end. Sequel will come, someday, somewhere, in the future, to a website near you.