It bothers him, that they don't see it.

He's culled them from a cast of thousands and brought them to this lofty height; they are the best. But only for a given value of "best". The best he can find, beg, borrow or steal. The best of what's offered...and sometimes the best of what hasn't been...but still so distressingly human.

Not that he expects otherwise. He's not quite that much a tyrant, though he suspects they think otherwise.

But human is a flawed condition. There are blind spots, and soft spots, prejudices and mores, and each of them is a liability. Especially in their chosen profession. They are the guardians; a last line of defense. Not against the enemy without, easily identified, but against that more elusive enemy within, and thus they need to be more than human. Better. They need to see, and see clearly.

And yet it's only become more obvious that they don't.

His decision to include Rebecca was a choice with many layers. She is the anti-Paul, the source of his fascination with her.

The value of Paul is exactly his humanity. He is...uber-human, the soft and bleeding center. Logic alone is insufficient when dealing with humans, even human monsters, and so they need someone who feels. Someone who provides the compassion he can't muster and that Mel and Danny have hidden beneath bravado and bluster respectively.

Rebecca wears her humanity imperfectly, a slick coat of paint to cover the maze of cracks beneath. She is fragmented to her shattered core. He hopes that it's broken the scales from her eyes as well, but the jury's still out on that one. She's too familiar with dealing from behind that protective camouflage. He has only the startled flash of her eyes to guide him, as he, in turn, tries to guide her.

It's not, he thinks, unlike stalking a feral cat.

Come's all won't be hurt...just come out.

But as he thinks it, 'cat' is the wrong image--totem, if you will--too...fuzzy. Too soft. Surface frailty aside, Rebecca is neither. And dealing with Rebecca is actually a lot more like wrangling a snake; a firm grip just behind the head, and the awareness that a moment's inattention will give her the opportunity to sink in her fangs and leave nothing behind but poison.

And oh-so-very cold.

Sometimes he wonders what he's brought among them. It's not Eden, but he's definitely turned the serpent loose to do its work. And because they are human, people always seem to forget--Lucifer was an angel too.


But in spite of what they know, what they have seen, they persist in blindness, which is just infuriating. Look at them now:

Mel has her feet up on the desk, twirling a pencil in burgundy tinted fingernails as she relates the amusing details of her latest date. Danny sits on the edge of his desk, tie askew and shirtsleeves rolled to the elbow; Paul leans against Mel's desk, arms crossed. They're both smiling. And all three of them are oblivious to Rebecca's ramrod posture or the slightly puzzled tilt of her blonde head. They don't notice her eyes, by turns watchful, interested and cold. They find her a little strange--and who wouldn't?--but they accept her as one of them. They make a place for her and try to make the coldness melt with their warmth.

Symbols, rituals have power; he knows it as well as they do, as well as the monsters they chase do. For the monsters, they're created in blood, and bone, and hair. For them, it's coffee, and bad penis jokes, and the badge. Oh yes, the badge.

Rebecca Locke has a badge.

And he's afraid the light reflected from it has blinded his team to the truth.