Title: Tricking Fate
Author: Sare Liz, teknovamp@yahoo.com
Series: ...as soon as I come up with a title, I'll let you know...
Disclaimer: Top Cow, TNT, all sorts of other people. Which is to say, not me.
Archive: teknovamp.com and heeroluva's archive. Else, ask.
Rating: PG-13; IN/SP romance, angst, drama?
Author's Notes: I have some ideas about the series. Call me crazy, but here they are. Also of note, unbetaed. I don't have a beta in the fandom, what can I say?

*

It was one of those odd things that you don't think of at the time because at the time you have so much else to think of, but afterwards - much , much later - when you're thinking of random things, it comes up and sticks as something rather important, despite the lack of attention you'd previously given it. It keeps coming up in your mind time and time again until you finally resolve to ask about it the next time you can, but you never seem to remember and when you finally do it's once again almost too late, but you've remembered, so you ask.

He was walking away and it was almost the moment for him to disappear because she'd almost taken her eyes off of him, but she would ask him, just to get blown off and know it was none of her business because even that would be an answer, of sorts.

"Ian," she called out and he paused, turning his head to acknowledge her and she walked towards him, not wanting to have to yell out her question. "Can I ask a personal question?"

She had his attention now, and he turned around, looking up at her from his still tilted, bowed head.

"You may ask, I may not answer."

"Right. That's fair." It sort of caught her off guard, his response, though it shouldn't have. She would have figured him to just flat out tell her no, but this was good too.

"So, ah... Couple of weeks ago you were watching me on the druid sacrifice case - the Catain ...thing. The third sacrifice, the last one, you were crying. Why were you crying?"

His gaze didn't seem to change at all, but it lingered, then he turned and walked away.

Her heart sank because she really wanted to know. It made him human, the crying, and she really wanted to understand at least that the man who's brutality she occasionally covered for was at least capable of human feeling, but she understood. It was none of her business. Message received.

"If you really want to know," he said softly, his voice echoing over his shoulder, "Ask the Witchblade."

Her immediate response was a visceral one, and with hindsight she reasoned, visceral is what tends to work with the gauntlet.

Flashes of imagery seared her vision and after a brief moment of confusion she watched them intently, watching and learning.

She saw Ian standing at the book, heard him reading to her as other visions passed her vision, matching his voice. She saw Conchobar spurn the Catain and she could hardly breathe because it was just a vision but it was so real. She saw the Celtic woman take another lover, the one she would have for the rest of her days and it was Ian - or, not Ian, but as close to Ian as a past figure could be - and that was the reason she refused to fight for Conchobar's throne, the reason that the sacrifices had to be made to call her.

The vision focused back on Ian standing before the book and Dominique Boucher's cackling voice drew out the phrase "Brood Mare," and she'd never seen the man look as pained as he did when he whispered her name and tore out the page.

She saw Ian at the club watching her as she watched Conchobar sing, saw the similar pain in his eyes and heard echoes of a conversation they had months ago - years ago, it seemed - as she'd viciously asked him what he wanted, and he responded with averted eyes, "We always want what we cannot have."

She saw Irons smiling like a crocodile and heard Dominique's voice echo again, "Brood Mare."

She saw Ian running towards her, knowing this time that it wasn't to harm her, but to reaim her gun, and heard Iron's voice over it. "I'm sure you've noticed by now, Ian Nottingham has an independent streak. I try not to micromanage him."

She saw him ripping out the page and saying her name, Dominique's "Brood Mare" in the background.

She saw visions of him, familiar ones from her dreams, in his arms, making love - the ages clicked by but she was always in his arms, then she saw Irons, smiling.

"Don't think I'm the only one after it, Sara."

"Brood Mare."

He rips out the page and it looks like he's ripping out his heart.

"Just you, and me. And the Witchblade."

"Brood Mare."

He rips out the page and she sees the time again, after the king abandons the Catain, and it's beautiful, and she's happy, and it's *Ian*.

"Brood Mare."

"I'm sure you've noticed Ian Nottingham has an independent streak."

He rips out the page -

"Independent streak."

- And breathes her name.

"Independent streak."

"Sara." He hurts and she hurts with him, for him.

And the vision ends and she gasps because she's held her breath for too long. Never had she used the Witchblade so succinctly, but she was completely unaware of her breakthrough due to another one, somewhat closer to home.

Ian Nottingham loved her - he was *supposed* to love her, and he did - but he couldn't, not this time around, not with Irons so close, holding the reins. And she...

She liked Conchobar. He was sweet and charming and made her heart beat fast when he stared at her so deeply that she could almost swear that he *knew*. He made her smile. He put things into perspective. He hadn't dropped her like a hot rock this time around, and maybe this time around he wouldn't. He was safe, secure, solid and normal.

Ian had torn out the page to give her Conchobar, and it clashed inside of her now, knowing what she knew. She liked Conchobar, but she could love Ian - she knew that and it was scary, knowing that she *could* love this man, but she knew now, her heart had decided and all she had to do was go from there.

No sweat.

*