AN: Okay this is something I never do or complain about but this is must be said. We authors thrive on reviews. The good, the bad, the constructive criticism, as for the flames some of us laugh at them, some of us shot them down, and some of us let it get to us to the point we quit, but none the less we need them.
A fellow author and I were both very disappointed to see that after we had posted our stories none of us received any reviews but we had lots of hits days and even weeks after posting. Yes I am aware that I should not use the hit counter in such a way, I know anyone could have come upon my story by accident and even that chapter, but that doesn't mean that all of the hits received were in fact accidental.
Now I'm not one of those authors who will hold a chapter hostage until a certain number of reviews are met; that's just wrong, immature and shows just how self-conscious a person is in my opinion, but still please review, all kinds are welcome.
My thanks go out to oneredneckgoddess currently my only reviewer for the previous chapter.
For those of you who just skip the Author's note and skimmed down here you are…
Black eyes watched the bloody procedure uncomfortably as the one eyed man's steady fingers pushed the thin needle and wire in and out of the skin surrounding the three inch long hole that wasn't meant to be there. Though if one was to peek into the small guest room, bare of any signs of comfort and welcoming to any sort of guest they would have seen a boy stroking the back of the orange and black cat cradled into his arms as he watched the man clean and stitch the unconscious woman's wounds, yet none would be able to see the well hidden the unease in the little witch boy's face.
Klarion knew what Theodore was thinking as he obediently did as he was bade, he thought he was taking a sick sort of satisfaction in watching him patch up the sorceress. He thought that he was a sadistic evil little child as everyone else did. But he was wrong. Klarion wanted nothing more than to leave the small room heavy with the scent of blood and antiseptic, leave the sight of her lying so helplessly on that bed, but he couldn't, the second Theodore cut her top apart he waas even more so convinced to stay.
"Is it necessary to have her topless?" He asked watching as Theodore dabbed the already red soaked sponged against her skin soaking up yet more blood before continuing with his job.
"Yes. It's in the way not to mention the dirt on it might cause an infection." Theodore replied dryly taking meticulous care in his work.
Klarion wasn't really sure why but he didn't like it at all, he didn't like the fact that Theodore was seeing her exposed in such a manner, or the idea that anyone ever would though he had seen her as such and more in short passing glances.
'No,' her lips had quivered as the word came shakily from her. 'No. No! No!' Her feet scrapped against the floors, carelessly scratching the polished surface as she had struggled to move back, back away from how she last saw things, away from Klarion. Her cries had grown, torn among the hysteria of fear, the blunt brutality of willfulness, and determination to fight back anything that dared to come near her in her weakened state.
Her punishments were rare but they were harsh regardless. And this time his punishment onto her was a temporary loss of her precious sight.
She had panted slightly with the lingering stings of her puncture wounds, each breathe hitching with a pained gasp. The sound mixed with the waves of hysteria swelling and dieing within her heart upon being cast in such darkness. For nearly a half hour she stayed on the floor, growling and clawing at anything she thought was approaching before blood loss and exhaustion pulled her into a state of deep sleep.
Frowning he approached her slowly, observing the bleeding hole gaping in her shoulder.
'Theodore, take care of that.' He had commanded disturbed at the fact that seeing her blood made him ill.
The job was done, the lesions were closed and her skin carefully dabbed and rubbed with alcohol before Theodore gathered his supplies and left the room without a word leaving Klarion to continue his staring. The man didn't care; the boy could do whatever he wanted as long as it didn't have anything to do with him. The girl was a quick healer she'd be up and about before the morning; that much Theodore was sure of…that was if Klarion and the cat didn't kill her first.
He was upset, that was understandable enough; or rather people should be more understanding of the fact that he was upset with her failure and the Justice League's blatant interference. He was hoping that the final gem, the emerald, would be placed among the others tonight. But no, his hopes were met with disappointing let down.
Klarion nearly jumped in surprise when he felt the tips of his fingers trace along the rough filament that had been sewed into Medea's. His eyes followed the trail his small alabaster fingers made as they slowly, almost curiously, ran over her dark and dirtied skin, almost amazed at the strong contrast.
It felt weird, almost like a hard scab, but it wasn't. He could feel the difference; he knew how her skin should feel in that spot, he had touched her enough to know, watched her pamper herself enough to know every scar. Absentmindedly his fingers moved outwards and away as he began to finger the smooth skin encircling the horrible black stitches marring and tarnishing her skin. Often times when he had the slightest of scratches he would always make it known onto her so that she would 'kiss his pain away'. Even when there was no pain he found himself going to her, watching intently as she paused whatever it was that she was doing to scrutinize his injury before lowering herself down to his level to place a soft and tender kiss, sending a pleasant jolting sensation through him that made any and all pains fade away if only for a moment.
For some reason he wanted to do the same for her.
There came a soft cooing like moan from her throat as she stirred at his touch. Jerking his hand back as if he had been burned he watched as her eyes now the milky color of film fluttered open, looking blindly about the room in hopeless futility.
Had she been anyone else he would have turned his back on her and allowed Teekl her fun. Had she been anyone else he would have taken pleasure in teasing and tormenting her in her vulnerable state. Had she been anyone else he wouldn't feel so penitent. But she wasn't anyone else he knew it, and so did she, or else she wouldn't have gotten away with the way she handled him sometimes.
He watched as her face, usually cast in a world weary impassive gaze about others though full of life warmth, loving, and care when in his presences, change slightly in a variety of emotions, first confusion, followed by a small flash of panic as it took only a few moments for her to remember the events that lead up to her blind state, her face melting into that of a sort of calmness that was most unnatural among the humans that he had crossed paths with.
Medea sat up slowly from the blood stained sheets and brought her narrow fingers up to her chest feeling the new stitches before repeating the same for the stitched exit wound on her back wincing slightly with each light touch.
Klarion shifted his weight slightly making the old floorboards screech softly signaling that he was there.
"Theodore does a good job for a simple butler." She said in a low mocking tone towards the title of the man while acknowledging the boy's presents.
He didn't know what to say, he didn't know if he wanted to be angry with her or happy that she was okay. He didn't like these conflicting feelings at all, looking at her naked chest stained with her own dry blood save for the patches cleaned with alcohol he settled for something else, "Clean yourself up, you're getting blood all over things." He commanded turning his back to her.
Standing up she moved her hands before her feeling the empty air before her as she carefully made her way towards where she last heard his voice. "Yes, Master Klarion." She said in that soft sweet tone he adored.
Klarion paused as he heard her slowly take a tentative step towards his voice her hands held out before her moving through the air in a sort of lost manner. Had she been anyone else…he wouldn't have taken her by her hand and lead her towards the stairs that lead to her attic room.
"Thank you, Klarion, the murder will help me from here." She smiled taking hold of the old wooden railing that lead up the steps towards the attic where the low caws of the crows nested in the rafters could be heard.
He really didn't care much for the music that the people played lately but there was one song that rather quirked his interest, it was from a funny sounding group called the Toadies and an even more so particular song entitled "Possum Kingdom". He really didn't like it, but whenever he looked at her a few of the lyrics drifted into his mind and it seemed to have been written just for her, just like that damnably stubborn book of hers was meant just for her.
…I promise you
I will treat you well
My sweet angel
Yes that's what he had made of her. An angel fallen from the heavens and into the hands of a demon.
But she never saw him as a demon, a devil, or any other evil form like countless others had done and dubbed him. She had perceived him simply as a boy, a boy that needed her.
Though she was blind she had very little problems finding her way about her room, after all she had been living in the humble abode of Klarion ever since he found her near dead by her own hands those two years ago.
She wanted to die that day because she felt she had no reason to live, that her life served no purpose in the world since she could not find someone to love, her empathic gift practically drove her insane, and that she could not bear any children, therefore destroying her long lived dreams of having a family of her own.
But then Klarion came and gave her the job of serving and caring for him, and to her she knew she would do all that she possibly could to appease him; even if that meant pushing herself to and beyond the limit to carry out his whims for he was now her purpose.
Sighing lightly Medea pulled away what remained of her costume she had painstakingly designed and sewn together, discarding it to be thrown away once she was able to do so, she carefully began her trek to the small bathroom to cleanse herself both of grime and the defeat she felt crawling on her soiled skin. As the hot water rained down upon her flesh and feathers her mind drifted back to the days she first began her service to the young witch boy.
Theodore's fist connected hard into her cheek knocking her back with blinding pain. 'You're still not paying attention!' He reprimanded her as she weakly regained her poise.
Klarion watched the pair spar in the courtyard frowning deeply his young face set into ever persistent boredom, his expression changing slightly when Theodore so easily manhandled his new pet with his advanced fighting skills that far surpassed her merger unsophisticated and unpolished city brawling methods.
'Sorry, but all of that fancy footwork doesn't do much for a simple street fight.' She grumbled touching her stinging jaw before bringing her hands up, fingers curled into tight fist as she stood in the offensive.
'I see, hit first, hit hard, and keep swinging hoping you hit someone, right?' Theodore asked before advancing towards her briskly aiming for her open unprotected areas.
Grunting Medea jumped backwards avoiding another punishing blow from the aggressive man, 'That's my tactics more or less.'
'Then you need some better tactics if you wish to serve me.' Klarion stated from his seat.
And for the first time Medea smiled that loving smile that he craved to see more of directed towards him she said those words for the first time that made him aware of the fact that he wanted to keep her for all of his perpetual pubescent life. 'As you wish; Master Klarion.'
Two years and a countless number of ice packs later she had learned to polish her skills, moving away from the crude so-called style she had to something more, something like a small mix of the little Taekwondo and something Theodore called Schmetterling Fighting Art (which he knew very little of and taught her even less) that would be of good use whenever she got the wings Klarion promised her and the natural grace in which she moved. And further more she had learned how to use her gift/curse of empathy to her advantage during combat.
Theodore ducked her advancing kick tripping her before slamming his fist into her chest knocking her down into the dirt. 'Two years of intense training and you're still making such stupid mistakes. You're a waste of time Medea.'
'I am amazed at the pleasure you get in putting me down. You want to feel like you are the one in charge of something, don't you?' Medea chuckled in her throat as she stood up, 'But that's the problem, you aren't, you are not in charge of anything but Klarion's to-do list.'
Spitting out her mouthful of bloody saliva she grinned wickedly, 'Klarion runs everything, not you like you pretend to do. And I know why, it's because you are scared of him. You are scared of what he can and will one day do to you.' Laughing in his face she slowly approached him. 'And he knows that you are afraid, he knows that every time you look into his eyes you practically piss on yourself because you know that kid is going to be the death of you.'
He shook in anger at the blatant truth in her words. He wanted to attack her, to shut her up and remove that damnable smug look from her face. He drew his hand back to punch her only to flinch when she made her move before he could.
Her knee slammed hard into his groin bringing him down half bent and sinking down onto the ground. She laughed lightly running her fingers down his cheek, 'What's the point of you teaching me all of that fancy footwork when you let your guard down so easily?' She cooed as her nail dug into his cheek.
He cursed deeply beneath his breath uncaring that with her queer powers she could feel his anger, his hate, and hidden deep beneath it all the fear that lingered in his heart for both of the magick wielding beings.
'Theodore, I think it's time you stopped wasting the young master's and my time with your stupid machismo and teach me how to handle.' Her lips lifted into a small smirk, 'Besides you do not want to upset Klarion now do you?' The hand that was once digging into his skin withdrew only to return as a hard palm slamming into his jaw, lifting him off his feet and into the dirt.
He cast his eyes towards the rather amused looking boy standing in the shade of the large porch watching their fight from the distance. Even from where he was on the ground he could still see those dark voids looking back towards him as if he had heard every single word the two exchanged. Those dark eyes watching, looking into his soul, confirming the cold cruel words the woman had said.
Klarion sat in his dark room staring blankly into the void of space before him, his foot tapping rhythmically against the floorboards, one hand stroking Teekl's back while the other propped his head up in a show of boredom. His eyes, black marbles contracting against his pale skin, looked about the boxes upon boxes of 'toy' stacked neatly against the walls of his room. There was sure to be something for him to do, something in one of those boxes would surely help to cure his boredom but for reasons the child refused to admit to they brought him none of the joy he sought.
His small chest rose and fell as he deeply sighed causing Teekl to mew loudly in protest, displeased with the depressing disturbance. Looking towards him for only a moment Teekl purred arching her back upwards into Klarion's touch before gracefully jumping down onto the ground and quickly went about her own business elsewhere in the large silent house, hopefully to find some more of the field mice that had managed to escape the murder of crows and had actually made it within the house.
Klarion wasn't sure when he had stood onto his feet, nor was he sure when exactly he had traveled the distance between his room to hers, he had only just began to notice when his feet paused on the very top stair to the attic turned loft styled room.
He paused at the door as the sound of the shower's water hitting the porcelain tub and skin filled the air. She always did as he bid.
She wasn't so simple to live with in the beginning. No, the suicidal tendencies remained; Theodore had tried to explain to him that she was in a deep depression and would stay that way for sometime. She was depressed to begin with, he explained to him, but something else had happened that had put her over the edge to the point she didn't wish to live any longer in the life that she lead.
But regardless he enjoyed her presents, he enjoyed teaching her what he knew of magick, and even more so how she treated him as if he was just a normal little boy.
'Medea, where are the cookies?' Klarion questioned forcing the door of the pantry close with a loud and frustrated bang.
'Those bagged things Theodore bought from the store?' Medea questioned with her arm covered in dishwater and suds all the way up to her elbows, 'I threw them out.' She replied in a matter of fact tone he found somewhat annoying.
'What?' Klarion demanded his dark eyes flying to the trashcan where he could indeed see a crushed bag of cookies stuffed as best they could be into the bin. He had been craving those delicious sweets all evening only to find what he desired were now useless crumbs covered with the discarded leftovers and whatever the name was for the crud that came from the kitchen sink's drain.
'Do not worry; I'm making you some fresh homemade cookies. I just put them in the oven.' She smiled kindly placing the now clean bowls and utensils into disk rack to dry. It only took a few moments before the sweet mouth watering aroma of the baking cookies wafted throughout the rustic styled kitchen, backing her words and making him forget about the store bought treats. His eyes darted to the simple black and white timer sitting in the center of the small kitchen table, the soft ticks were nearly inaudible but for the impatient young boy the noise was like the constant bangs of a hammer echoing in his ears.
It seemed like an eternity had passed before the timer finally rang and Medea calmly pulled the two trays neatly lined with cookies from the oven before sitting the many soft and warm cookies onto the cooling racks sitting ready on the countertop.
He was sure that she was deliberately taking her time shifting the moist and warm morsels from the pan onto the racks with the long spatula before finally sitting four onto a small plate and sitting them before him.
'Careful they're still hot.' She warned lightly to him, her hand brushing over his bangs as she moved past him to reach the refrigerator. He knew well that she was getting him a glass of milk, her mind responding instinctively to his wants and needs without him having to voice them aloud.
In a matter of moments she had poured him a nice tall glass of ice cold milk to counter the sweet warm cookies and reached across the kitchen's table to sit the drink before him (and a saucer for Teekl) her warm smile reflecting in his face.
But that was when his eyes lowered and he paused looking at the flash of skin that peeked from beneath the cotton sleeve of her shirt spying the nasty and rather fresh looking laceration streaking over her wrist. He knew that several more new and old were running down her forearm.
Medea's grin faded as she looked onto the now stone set face of her young master, having long since learned how to read him with and without the use of her untamed powers of empathy she could see that something was deeply troubling him. Her eyes followed his towards her wrist, more importantly the non-too deep cut on her wrist.
Withdrawing her hand she slowly drew the sleeve back up to cover her shameful actions. 'Klarion,' Her voice was soft, spoken in the tone she used when she was the minion and he the master.
'Why do you still do it?' He demanded roughly sounding nothing like the child he was.
She could not answer him no it was too difficult to explain why she chose her arms of all places to cut when she felt the need to. Looking down at the floor boards she sighed warily before moving in soft swift steps to approach the small boy.
For someone so languid Klarion would forever be impressed with how stealthy and briskly the dark woman could move. One moment she looked to be cowering in his anger and the next he felt himself stiffen as she wrapped her arms about him trapping him in an embrace.
He noticed that she did that a lot, she always managed to find a way to touch him in some sort of caring fashion he never remembered his mother or father ever doing. At first he despised it, being so unused to any other form of contact unless he was stroking Teekl's fur. But now, now he sort of craved her closeness, her warmth and love that came with her intimate caresses and words.
'Klarion,' Hearing her say his name in that ever soft spoken voice made his breathing hitch. 'Love of my love, heart of my heart. I am not trying to escape you. It hurts every single time I do it but I can't stop it. I can't stop feeling the feelings of others and the despair and confusion that I feel nearly drives me insane sometimes. It's like a diseased chaos devouring me and I can do nothing more than mute it slightly. I cut myself sometimes just to tell the difference between their pain and my own.' Her arms tightened about his small frame, 'But never because of you.'
'Are you sure?' He asked her doubting her words.
'I'll never leave you, my young master, my love of my love.'
It was like she had unwittingly signed herself over to him, whatever anger he felt vanished within her arms, whatever doubt he had was lost as her soft calls of 'my love's and 'my heart's filled his head.
From then on whatever possessive nature he held towards her doubled. She wasn't allowed relationships; or rather she wasn't allowed any intimate male relationships. Klarion had been quiet specific about her ostensible love life after a brief affair with a simple young man she had taken a mild liking to.
Her punishment was somewhat cruel; he converted her into a small bird and locked her in a cage commanding that she 'sing' him to sleep for the night. As for the man, he wasn't so fortunate. After he was done with the poor soul Teekl didn't have anything to toy with as she usually did.
The water in the shower had long since stopped and she had dried herself and brushed the water and loose feathers from her wings seemingly an hour ago when Klarion poked his head through the heavy wooden door that lead into the attic turned loft, the rough edge had splintered in time from the constant rubbing caused by opening and closing against the offset doorframe.
He spied her sitting within the fine silver netting of her canopy, looking like Briar Rose, the sleeping beauty caged within thick webs of spider's silk.
She sat with her head bowed, her unseeing eyes staring vacantly at the void present before her legs, in her lap the large black bird, (Cagney if he recalled hearing her called correctly) sat with its legs tucked beneath it, head bowed somewhat her lids closed hiding her silver beady eyes away from sight.
Her head twitched slightly, as if catching a faint sound, her delicate neck craned slowly and gracefully turning her head towards the door. "You're no good at playing grownup." She spoke in that soft revered tone that seemed to caress and lull him into a since of security even while she chided him. "You can't go on feeling remorseful for punishing someone…if you want to be so adult."
"Are you okay?" He asked in a small childish voice not at all the tone he used when he played the part of master and she his minion, or as Theodore whispered when he thought he was out of earshot his 'master and pet'.
Wondering closer to the bed he watched as Medea's fingers stilled and the bird released a small disappointed trill before quickly moving through a part in the net and taking flight to return to her nest someplace above with the rest of the murder hidden in the bare rafters.
"You know as well as I do that as long as Morrum exists so will I." She said tilting her head slightly to the left, smiling.
Smiling, she was smiling. Always tender, always kind, and always…smiling for him.
"Do not worry." She whispered patting the space beside her.
Taking up her offer he moved under the soft and silky canopy to sit in the place she had motioned for. Before he could settle she wrapped her arms about him.
"Klarion, I promised you that I'm going to stay with you forever." Her voice whispered into his ear as she pulled him closer into her embrace.
He hated it when some people say 'forever' they didn't mean it, they never meant forever. Grown people only said it to sooth children, 'forever' existed in a fantasy world meant for the ignorant, for little tikes who hadn't been fully exposed to the truths of the world. 'Forever' was meant of those who didn't know that 'forever' was nothing but a nonexistent factor of time…that 'forever' ended at some point, and it was never really that long to begin with.
"Because you have to." He said trying not to feel bitter at the spoken words.
He felt her chest jolt softly as she chuckled in that light way of hers, "No, love of my love and heart of my heart," Her whispered words made the hair on his skin rise on end as the title she gave him made his heart beat faster. He couldn't keep himself from tightening his hold about the soft silk like material of her nightgown as he buried his face deep into her chest. "I'm going to stay because you need me to stay with you. Just like me you get tired of being lonely. I'm here because I want to be."
Laying next to her tried body he relaxed into the warm knowing feeling of her wings cocooned about them as she unconsciously hugged him dearly to her chest. No matter what he did to her she would always care for him, love him.
The Justice League would pay, not only for hindering his fun but for hurting his playmate and loyal caretaker.
The mattress gave slightly when Teekl pounced onto the bed making a place for herself among the pillows. As his own consciousness began to slip his hands found their way into one of their favorite spots wrapped about her waist settling into the curve of her side, he realized just how much he valued such pleasing moments with her, near her, and touching her. No one else would ever take that away from him, he would see to it that those who would dared try would suffer.
…I promise you
I will treat you well
My sweet angel…