chapter ten

Michael started to take a step back. Connor smiled, and he froze. He didn't often find people who enjoyed killing. Usually he could pick them out of a crowd. They were the ones that everyone seemed to instinctively avoid – the ones who walked down the street in their own personal bubble because no one would get close enough to them. He hadn't pegged Connor for one of them, but her smile spoke volumes. She was going to kill him, and she was going to enjoy watching him die. His mouth went dry. She walked forward until she was close enough to press the switchblade to his throat. Clever girl she was, she had him backed up against a wall. Briefly, he wondered why she was dressed like a prostitute, but all thoughts fled from his mind as she started to speak.

"I want you to understand something." Connor said quietly. "This was never Karr's idea. If he had his way, we wouldn't be down here right now. But I happen to care for Karr, and you and the Foundation hurt him." Her voice was starting to shake, but the switchblade remained steady against his skin. "I don't want him to be hurt again. So I really want to kill you."

Michael's mind was reeling. "You care for Karr?" he demanded.

Connor shrugged. "You care for Kitt."

"That's different!"

She sighed in exasperation. "Of course it is. Kitt can't kill, so he is good and therefore worthy of loyalty. Karr has killed, and will continue to kill, so he is evil and worthy of punishment." Her sarcasm cut Michael to his soul. "You need to understand – I never learned right and wrong. There was only what got me hurt and what didn't. And Karr never hurt me."

He thought about pointing out that she was monologueing, and all the villains got caught like that. But he wasn't sure who the villain was anymore, and he had no doubt Connor could still kill him without a second thought. All he could do was play her game and hope Kitt came to his rescue. "So why haven't you killed me yet?"

Her head tilted to the side as she considered him. "I have a question for you. And I want the truth. Don't worry – I'm not going to ask you anything about the Foundation. I'm not that stupid." Although it probably wouldn't hurt to kill Devon Miles as well. Michael seemed to read the thought going through her mind even as she thought it. His eyes widened. She was insane.

"Why?"

"I'm going to kill you anyway." Connor pointed out dryly. "What's the point in lying?"

She had a point. "What do you want to know?"

"Who owns you?"

/---/

Kitt wanted to scream. There was no way he could bust down the door and get to Michael. The entire warehouse would cave in on them. The game was in Connor's hands, and he hated it. So he rocked back and forth on his wheels, trying to figure out some way of helping his driver.

"You don't have to worry." Before Kitt could react, Karr pulled in behind him, effectively boxing him in. "Connor will make it painless."

"He'll still be dead!" Kitt shot back, a note of panic in his voice.

Karr didn't seem to be affected. "You're helpless right now. Foundation would understand that." he said smoothly. "You could let Knight die, if you wanted."

"I don't want him to die!" Kitt shouted, unable to do anything else. "He's my friend!"

Karr hesitated. "Then it's up to Knight now." he murmured. He stayed where he was, but Kitt was now frozen in shock. What was going on?

/---/

Michael gave her an odd look. "You're going to have to ask it differently." he said finally. "I wasn't raised like you were. I had a home – I know right from wrong. Speak my language."

Connor snorted. "What? Think love and warm fuzzies?" There was a note of disgust in her voice, but he could tell she was taking his words to heart. "You have rules that you live by – lines that you don't cross." she said slowly. "Who would you break all the rules for? Who means so much to you that even your moral code can't stand up to them?"

This time Michael didn't hesitate. "Kitt."

The answer was so simple, but Michael couldn't tell if that's what she was hoping for or if she was disappointed in his response. After all, she had wanted to kill him. She drew the switchblade away and took a step back. "Then, for the sake of Kitt, you get to live. For now."

"Why?"

"Because I know what it's like to live when no one cares." With that she turned to walk away. A voice from Michael's omm.. link stopped her.

"Thank you, Connor."

She smiled slightly. "You should be thanking him, Kitt." Before she could leave again, Michael spoke up. His head was tilted to the side, something akin to understanding in his eyes.

"Who owns you?"

A full grin crossed her face. "Karr."

/---/

Karr remembered the first time he met Connor, when a nameless twelve-year-old girl had snuck into the garage, searching for a way to end her life. Karr couldn't blame her. There was no point in living if you were living alone. He had opened his door to her, opened himself to her. He had given her a reason to live, and she gave him a reason to exist.

Connor climbed into the driver's seat and they took off, leaving just before Michael exited the warehouse. Karr was the one to break the silence. "What next?"

"Next we deal for Street Cats." Connor said with a smile. "Then it's back to the Institute, where we hope the Director didn't find out about this."

Karr seemed to growl. "The Director won't hurt you again."

Connor shrugged. "He will. But not for much longer. This has to end, one way or another."

Karr sighed. He was afraid this was going to end with Connor's death.

The End

An: Another story down and out for the count! I know I said this was part one, but chances are, there will not be a sequel. I haven't been getting as many reviews as I would have liked (in fact, I've hardly gotten any) and there are other stories I can work on. So, if you really want a sequel, I need four reviews saying you want one. Just let me know you're still reading this.

Until next time, I remain yours truly,

Shadowblade-tara