Wil was awake – watching John sleep.


Yes, Teacher?

Time to tell me what happened to Iserliss.

Are you certain, Teacher?

Yes. What did you do to him?

I actually did very little to him, Teacher. I simply gave him to the crowd.

The crowd?

The crowd of people outside of his clinic. He was attempting to enter the building stealthily through a different, hidden door but I… well, I let the crowd find him.


They were not very happy with him. Especially the large portion of the crowd – the vast majority, really – who'd lost their loved ones to him.

I see.

Yes, Teacher. Group dynamics are extremely interesting, and more than just a little impressive to observe in action.

Is that so?

Indeed, Teacher. I witnessed that ordinary, even helpless individuals can gain direct power by acting collectively. A large group of people such as that can bring about dramatic and sudden change.

Ah-ha! A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals.

You are very wise, Teacher.

Not me – Tommy Lee Jones in a film called 'Men in Black.'

A very wise movie, then, Teacher.

True enough. So… group dynamics?

Yes, Teacher. No one will have to worry about that despicable man ever again.

Thank you, Grasshopper. I hope you didn't mind?

Never, Teacher. I will always strive to protect you and those whom you love. Even John Hart.

Was that a joke, Grasshopper?

Yes, I am afraid so.

It was reasonably funny.

Thank you, I'm trying.

I know you are, and that's what counts. Grasshopper?

Yes, Teacher?

Do you remember our conversation?

We've had many conversations…

The one about being tested?

Yes, Teacher, I do remember it.

I think I might have a possible answer to your question.

About worthiness?

Yes, Grasshopper.

What is the answer, Teacher?

Well I'm not certain, but I think we are tested to prove our worthiness to be loved.


Ah, indeed.

And do you believe you are worthy, Teacher?

She looked at John, his face so precious to her, so beloved.

I don't know. I hope so. What do you think?

Knowing the considerable number of people who love you and how true, clear and deep that love runs, I have to say I believe you are very worthy indeed, Teacher.

And you are very kind, Grasshopper.

Even though I realize I am not a real person, Teacher, I would like to include myself in that considerable number, if you do not object?

Wil smiled.

You are as much of a real person to me as anyone I know. I do not object and I love you too, my wonderful student.

John opened his eyes. "What are you staring at?"

"I'm watching you sleep," she smiled serenely. "I love watching you sleep; you're beautiful when you sleep."

He reached out, pulled her into him, and kissed her.



"I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you."
Roy Croft


I hope you enjoyed this story. Thanks for all the reviews, I do love them! The sequel to 'Love' and the thirteenth story in this series is called 'Scars.'


Tell me who admires and loves you,
And I will tell you who you are.
– Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve