Worth It


Tracey Claybon

**Major spoiler alert for Maelstrom (Witchblade, TV series, episode 5).**

Sara, Ian, the Witchblade and Irons aren't mine - they're Top Cow's, TNT's, Image's and most especially, the property of Marc Silvestri ... though I confess to wishing wholeheartedly that they were mine...

Rated R, due to descriptions of violence.

Pain from HIS blows colors my sight red and sparkly as I accept ... responsibility for "losing" the Witchblade. Again.

I even managed a moment of freedom from the geas and didn't tell Irons the whole truth. It was ... liberating.

For once, the blows don't hurt much, heart or soul. Those already ache, more than I have the words for, because I couldn't aid you - my Sara, my lady knight, in your battle for the one you loves. My soul aches in sympathy with and for you.

The sight of you, flattened with grief, dry-eyed after crying over Conchobar's body fills me with more agony than any blow Kenneth Irons could give me, more than any cut, gunshot wound or physical wound I have ever received. It is worst of all because I cannot comfort you the way I would wish. You do not ever seem to welcome my presence and would be repulsed even more were you aware of the desire I have to touch you now - or of how I feel seeing you in pain.

I accepted, too, as my due the cut the Witchblade gave me as a rebuff for even thinking for a moment that I could give it to Irons. I already know it hates him, more than any other currently living. I can't help but agree with the blade - I hate him nearly as much. But I did not give it to Irons, in the end, and that is why the Witchblade merely chastised me, instead of trying to kill me outright.

More than anything, my Sara, I wanted to gather you close and let you sob your pain and grief out on my shoulder, like you have done many, many lifetimes before. This time is different - I cannot do that, not while Irons "controls" me. I'm taking steps now to break that control - but I must be sure that you will not be harmed in the war that will certainly result when I rebel in full. I am now becoming sure of what path you are choosing to take, and I will cover your back when you need me, but I must be free to do so; to ensure that, I must choose my moment to break free of HIM wisely.

I know better even than Irons what the blade is, what it feels, and how it regards you, the current bearer. He may have a connection with the blade, due to trying to wear it - but he is after mere power, and not interested in the blade's agenda. I, at least, am working to aid the Witchblade wielder, even from the shadows, so it will not harm me - much - while I aid you.

I believe that I would have chosen to aid you even if you were not the wielder. You are a warrior in the truest sense of the word, and you are so alone, like me. I would spare you that, if I could.

But, for right now, I will take his abuse to give you this break from Irons' machinations, and time to heal. Any pain I feel now is worth it, because you are worthy of my aid. In this small way, I can ease your way for a time and perhaps, relieve your pain just a little.

And if I do that, then it will _all_ have been worth it.