This story dedicated to BuckleWinner and Rainack. Thanks for sticking with me and being loyal reviewers! (hugs you both)

chapter one

Michael had never expected to be summoned to this place. It was in a dark section of the city, the kind that made you want to carry a gun even if you didn't know how to use it. The place in question was a bar – or at least, if it wasn't, he didn't want to know what it was. There was barely any light, and what light there was came in the form of strobe lights and black lights scattered in the more populated areas of the club. Michael worked his way through the crowd, getting more and more nervous by the moment. She had said to meet him by the juke box, and that was on the opposite side of the dance floor by the bar, according to Kitt.

Why here?

He forced his way through the last group of dancers, and suddenly he could hear the music blaring over the speakers. He grimaced. And Kitt thought his music was bad.

What has come over me? What madness taken hold of my heart?

She was standing beside the juke box like she said she'd be. He reached out and touched her shoulder, drawing her attention to him. Her amber eyes looked white in the black light glow. His fingers came away wet. He chose not to think about what that meant.

For a moment, they simply stared at each other. He could see the fear and exhaustion in her eyes, and with a sickening feeling he realized he recognized it. It was the same feelings that raced through him whenever Kitt was damaged and there was nothing he could do about it. She reached up and grabbed his hand, guiding him to the bar. He ordered a coke. She ordered scotch on rocks. He had to admire her taste.

"So what's wrong?" he asked as soon as the bartender was gone.

To run away, the only answer. Pulling me away, to fall upon (the night) the source of my recovery.

She took a sip of her drink before responding. "About two months ago, the Institute caught up with us." she said slowly. "I was still too injured to fight, and they captured us. Kept us locked away for two weeks. I got away, but only because of Karr. About three weeks later, I got the chance to fight my way back in. I got him out, and we went underground here."

Sweet shadow taking hold of the night. Another day has been devoured calling me away, begging the question why?

Michael nodded. "Do you need medical help?"

"No." She took a long drink and turned her complete attention to Michael. "I need Barstow."

It took a brief second for that to catch on. "Karr's been damaged?"

"I can't fix all of it on my own."

Michael hesitated. "Come on. I can't hear myself think in here." She nodded and allowed him to lead her out of the club and into the back alley where Kitt was parked. Two young men were sitting on the hood of the Trans-Am. Michael almost said something, but Connor shook her head. "Friends of yours, I take?"

"Something like that." One of the men walked up to her and handed her an envelope. She in turn handed him a packet of something. He smiled at her, and she flashed him a tired grin. "Don't get caught." she advised. He saluted her, and both men took off. "I told them I'd meet them out here. I figured it couldn't hurt to have an extra guy around in case they got any brilliant ideas. Though I think they were too strung out to notice."

Michael looked her over. Her clothing was torn and stained, and he was right – that was blood on her shoulders and smeared across her face. He reached out to her again, and this time she jerked away. He sighed. "You really shouldn't deal drugs in front of me." he said gently.

Connor grinned. "What makes you think that was drugs?" she teased. "For all you know, it could have been a cup of sugar."

He rolled his eyes.

For saving me from all they've taken. Letting my armor fall again, giving me the strength to face them.

"Why do you need Bonnie?" he asked again.

"The Director did something to Karr's programming." Connor said. "I can't fix it on my own. I can show her what's wrong, but she has to fix it. My skills begin and end with circuitry and random maintenance."

Michael sighed. "It's more than I can do."

Feeling it take over now, on a path to take it all away.

Connor leaned against the wall, and suddenly Michael realized just how tired she was. All that blood could not have been from being beaten a week ago. Most of it was still fresh. "What happened to you?"

"I told you."

"No. That would have healed over by now. You're bleeding."

She flinched, unwilling to look Michael in the eyes. She didn't answer, and Michael couldn't push it. But he thought he knew, and he had to wonder what had happened to make Karr hurt Connor. Assuming he was right, of course.

It was possible. After all, Kitt had hurt him, and he was programmed not to hurt anyone.

There can be no better way of knowing in a world beyond controlling.

"Please, Michael." Connor whispered. "I just want Karr back. Is that such a bad thing?"

Once again, Michael sighed. "No." He hesitated, but in truth, he already knew what he would do. He told her to call on him if she needed help, and she did. Now it was up to him to fulfill his end of the bargain. "Where are you holed up?"

She flashed him a grim smile. "Underground. Literally."

Michael grimaced. Figured. "All right. I'll hail Bonnie and get her out here. You need to go clean up and get some sleep. You're going to need it."

Are you going to deny the savior in front of your eyes?

Connor nodded. "If I can." she murmured. "I don't sleep well under normal circumstances." She turned to walk away, but hesitated. "Michael? Thanks."

"No problem." Lie. He was never going to convince Bonnie to help keep Karr, of all people, alive. After all, Karr had kidnapped Bonnie, threatened Kitt and Michael, and almost killed Devon. She wasn't going to be happy about this.

But a promise was a promise. Michael had to try. "Can you get me Bonnie?"

Stare into the night! Power beyond containing.

"Certianly." Kitt hesitated. "Are you going to tell her?"

"Not yet." he said. "Connor needs Karr. I have a feeling Connor is the only thing that's keeping Karr from going on a killing spree again."

"Agreed." Kitt hesitated again, but the pause was different this time. "I have Bonnie."

Michael sighed. This wasn't going to be fun.

Are you going to remain a slave for the rest of your life?

Give in to the night!

/---/

An: Woo! I'm back again! I know I said I was going to take a break, but I finally figured out how to do this chapter, so I decided to go ahead and type it up. The song is Night © Disturbed, one of my favorites (why do I always like the demented songs?) and it's there to set the mood for the rest of the story.

Warning: this will be dark, angsty, and not a whole lot of action. A different kind of story, but I think it will be fun. Review, and let me know what you think!