Forest For the Trees TITLE: Forest For the Trees
AUTHOR: AiKemi, Lady Nottingham
SPOILERS: Transcendence
SUMMARY: Hindsight is always 20/20.
DISCLAIMER: Do I resemble Marc Silvestri or Ted Turner in any way, shape, or form? Didn't think so.

It came to her then.

In a flash, a devastating epiphany. The kind of sudden insight that comes when you most need it, but when it can do you the least good. The kind of understanding that takes an eternity in an instant to comprehend.

She'd noticed how he was around Irons, around herself. She'd chalked it up to programming. The good servant bending to his master's (or in her case, mistress') whims. Eyes always averted, head always bowed in reverence…Respect?…Fear? She'd never quite figured that out. A mix of all three, she supposed. And something else.

She'd always assumed he was falling back on that innate servile instinct when he wouldn't look at her. Or perhaps that he was hiding something that neither he nor his master would want her to know. She now knew that she had been right on both counts. But not in the way she'd believed.

It came to her then.

He had been hiding something. And looking back, she realized she'd seen what he'd been trying to hide. In those rare, brief instances when he did look at her, when their eyes did meet for a second before his gaze fell away, she'd seen his soul. The eyes are the windows to the soul, and he, like a child, had no shutters to keep others from seeing into him. So he would look away.

She'd been right. He had fallen back on instinct. The survival instinct. He'd been protecting himself from those who might exploit his one weakness. The one flaw in an otherwise perfect assassin-slave. She hated to think that she might have unwittingly abused that chink in his otherwise impenetrable armor.

She'd understood so little, yet had seen so much.

Reverence. Respect. Fear. And something else.

He'd told her once, and she'd brushed it off.

But it came to her then.

She saw it in his eyes, as she'd seen it every other time their gazes had met.


Complete. Unconditional. Eternal.

She saw it as he looked at her one last time before turning to face Bruno Dante and his men.