Chapter Eleven: Busted

A.N: Heya ladies and gents! Wow I feel like it's been a year (Because it has) since my last update and since school is getting more hectic and I'm trying to start a comic.. what a better time to finish up my fanfics! Right? Right! So since you've been waiting so long for this, here it is!

Donna Troy felt her blood freeze in her veins as the commanding, yet cold voice of the Deacon bellowed into her small cottage outside of the city. How could she have been caught so quickly? She had made sure no one was following her and had made certain no one other than herself knew that Richard and Victor were even in the house, more or less the city. Hell, she hadn't even known and it was her very own house.

Her blue eyes wandered over her three friends as they stood there watching the door, fear in their eyes as if the devil himself was on the other side. Oh who was she kidding, he was. Still, they needed to figure a way out of this and they needed to come up with a solution fast.

"Ms. Troy. Ms. Beecher, I will not ask for this door to be open again." Slade's voice spoke from the other side of the door, yet seemed to echo from every corner of the room.

"Just a moment, we're not decent." Karen responded, shrugging her shoulders when everyone gave her a puzzled look. "Well we had to say sumptin!" She hissed to the three figures, her accent slightly thicker under the pressure of panic hovering around the room.

"Quick, move the rug! There should be a hatch leading to a hidden cellar!" Donna whispered, pointing to the rug sitting in the middle of the room. They didn't need to be told twice. All except Donna flew upon the quality plush rug and pushed it aside, revealing a hidden latch embedded into the wooden panels of the floor. They could see the dust built into the cracks, the hinges rusted over from lack of use. Karen let out a small curse underneath her breath.

"We're coming in. Ready or not ladies." Slade's voice boomed through the door.

"I said just a moment!" Karen yelled back, as all three began to yank on the hidden door. They felt it twitch underneath the pressure and after a few tough pulls, the hatch finally gave way. It opened with a grunt, the wood popping open with a gush of dust taking its chance to escape out into the air. Richard and Victor quickly scrambled to jump through the opening.

Seeing that Karen was handling the men, Donna took it upon herself to try and confront Slade. She rushed from the room, hoping to intercept the Deacon in the hallway to buy them a little bit of time.

"Moment is up." The silver haired man said. A moment later the door of the cottage swung open just as Karen closed the latch and realized that the carpet was well across the room. She let out a small curse and fumbled to try and get to it.

Donna whirled around the corner and into the hallway just as Slade stepped through the door. Leave it to an arrogant ass to just burst into a house like he owned it. All the same, Donna flashed her sweetest smile in his direction and purposefully blocked the entrance way into the living room.

In the living room, Karen had just grabbed the rug and flung it carelessly at the latch. It just fell short and she grumbling underneath her breath. This was just not her day. Thinking quickly, she scrambled over to the carpet and undid a few buttons to the top of her blouse.

"Deacon! What a surprise!" Donna started to say, only to have the Deacon shove her aside and turn the corner into the living room. His eye landed on a flustered Karen, a few of her top buttons undone. The girl let out a small bashful sound and whirled around to turn her back to the deacon. Slade never noticed that as she turned, she finished covering the last corner of the hidden door with the rug.

"Deacon! How rude! Don't cha know you can't be walkin' in on ladies without an announcement?" Karen said, finishing up buttoning up her blouse and letting a cocky smile cross her lips. The smile was long gone by the time she turned back around to face the old man again.

Slade only responded with a nonchalant grunt and started to look around the room. Something was off. He wasn't sure what, but like always he would find out.

"I apologize ladies, but a few fugitives have been spotted in this area. As I recalled, they were once great friends of yours." He let a finger trail against one of the bookshelves hanging on the wall.

"And call me a little suspicious, but I thought maybe they might be here." Pulling back his finger, he made a face of disgust at seeing dust on the tip of it. Didn't women know how to clean anymore?

He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped at his hand. The gesture didn't go unnoticed by the two females. Karen nearly bit off her tongue to keep from commenting. The look on the other girl's face caused Donna to surpass a chuckle, clearing her throat to stay focused.

"Who might I ask are you talking about?" Donna asked softly, putting on her best poker-face. If Slade had thought she would have walked into that trap so easily then he was becoming senile in his old age.

After making sure his finger was clean enough, he finally turned his attention to the two females who watched him from across the room. He studied the puzzled look across Donna's face and then the nonchalant look across Karen's. He didn't buy it. However, if they wanted to play such games by all means let them try.

"I see. Living so far from the city I suppose I can see how you might have missed the latest news." He started towards Donna, moving with strides of a man that had lived his life out in the military. His hands rested behind his back as he stopped in front of the lovely woman, towering over her. If Donna was a normal woman she might have buckled under the pressure of a man of such statue interrogating her. Lucky, she was not and she never buckled as the Deacon studied her.

"The Captain of the Guards, Richard Grayson and his Lieutenant, Victor Stone have joined the side of thieves and devil-worshipers." Slade said, watching for any sign that might betray the woman.

A loud gasp of shock left both ladies lips, Donna even going as far as bringing a hand up to her mouth.

"Oh my, that doesn't sound like Victor at all!" The blue eyed vixen spoke, turning to her female counterpart. The dark skinned woman nodded in agreement. It was harder for Karen not to burst out laughing at the pure innocent look Donna had truly mastered in three-point-five seconds.

"Are ye sure you got the right guys?" Karen asked.

Slade simply ignored them and seemed to be fixated on something over Donna's left shoulder. Slowly, Donna and Karen's eyes roamed over to see the set of glasses sitting on the nightstand. Their blood froze.

"I see you had company." Slade said, eying the two women before making his way over to the dishes. Picking one of the glasses up, he began to turn it this way and that in his hands.

Karen quickly turned her attention to Donna. The other woman seemed frozen in her spot as she watched in horror at how Slade moved on to examine the next glass. Great, that meant she would have to think of something. Forcing her feet to move, Karen placed a smile across her lips and said the first lie that popped into her mind.

"Yep. Mr. and Mrs. Troy stopped by earlier." The black and yellow cladded woman said, gathering up the dishes from the nightstand. Reaching over she plucked the glass in Slade's hands and very politely but forcefully, removed the cup from his possession.

"Oh? Were you out, Ms. Troy? I only ask because there are only three glasses here and any good daughter would have a drink with their parents." Slade said, turning towards the blue eyed woman.

Donna only chuckled and rubbed her arm, hiding her beating heart with a soft smile.

"I'm afraid I was. I went out with a few friends from my old school days. I did not stay long however." Donna watched as he studied the rest of the area next to the nightstand, seeming to be on the hunt for something now. She pursed her lips a bit and decided to try and add more detail to the lie. "I had forgotten my favorite cloak you see and had decided to come back for it."

"Would that be...this cloak here?" He reached over and picked up the fabric that had been shoved behind a pillow. Donna quickly moved to try and grab the garment from the old man, but Slade was quicker than he looked. Spinning on his heels, he walked a few feet away from her and put the cloak at arm's length to give it a once over. "Strange. I would not think someone of your caliber would ever wear such a flimsy... sad piece of material."

Donna was sure that the Deacon could hear her heart pounding against her chest. How could she have been stupid enough not to try and hide the cloak better? By the looks on Karen's face she was thinking the same thing. Donna only shrugged and started to play with a strand of jet black hair, trying to come off as nonchalant and adorable as she could.

"It was a gift and one is never so fortunate that they must turn away a free and thoughtful gift." She said, glancing back between the Deacon and Karen. Karen let out a silent sigh of relief, she couldn't have said found better words to say even if she had tried.

"Wise words...funny... I could have sworn that I saw the gypsy girl in this same garment this very morning." His fingers twitched against the fabric as he thought back to that morning. The smell of Raven fresh in his memory, even fresher as it danced off of the cloak and teased him once more. He didn't notice as he pulled the cloak closer to his nose.

So close, the cloak seemed to be saying, taunting him with memories of his failure. So very close and yet he was never able to obtain her. The memory of her smell was all he could receive and it ridiculed him unmercifully.

Pushing the mocking thoughts of her raven hair and those deep eyes from his mind, he forced himself to focus on the subject at hand.

He cleared his throat and pivoted on his heels to see a slightly confused and weirded out expression on both of the female's faces. He ignored the looks and moved back over to Donna. The woman's expression never changed as she gave the older man a once over. Did she really just witness him close to sniffing a cloak? Could it be that the whole reason for this insane witch hunt was because the Deacon might be enamored with Raven? The very thought of it made her stomach turn. Now she would truly do anything she could to keep the man away from the gypsy. Talk about a fate worse than death.

"Oh?" She said wincing at how stupid that had come off. Apparently, Karen agreed once more because she quietly slapped her forehead in the background. Not like it was her fault. The Deacon had just sent chills of revulsion up her spine from his little interaction with Raven's cloak. That just was not normal.

"Yes...oh." Slade stopped in front of Donna and looked at the cloak in his hands, a thumb stroking over the thin material. The movement caused Donna's stomach to cringe. "Now why... Miss Troy. Do you suppose you have her cloak?" His cold eye moved to land on her warm ones and all she could muster up was a tiny shrug.

"Perhaps... like any female, she has more than one cloak and that one was given to me by her a very long time ago. You know, it is a known fact that we all were very close friends once upon a time." Donna finally said, repeating the words that Slade himself had said from the moment he walked into their house.

Silence filled the room once more and two sets of eyes rested on the Deacon, while his own stared through Donna. No one said anything, the man seeming to try and judge how sincere the woman in front of him was.

Donna felt like her knees were about to give out. Her body was still tilting backwards from the Deacon hovering over her. It was like being stared down by a tiger that could smell your fear and could see the discomfort inside of you, no matter how well the mask you wore seemed to fit. However, she could not waver. Her friends' lives were at stake and so she stood there, forcing the look of both concern and confusion to stay plastered to her face.

"Yes. I suppose you are right." Slade spoke, after what felt like a lifetime. "Still, I'll be confiscating this cloak to give the dogs something to smell."

"Actually I…" Donna began to speak, holding up a finger to object. However, one look from the Deacon told her that she was not going to be getting the fabric back. So she slowly lowered her hand and cleared her throat. "I mean… of course, Deacon." Crazy weird old man, she thought to herself.

"I thank you for your cooperation, ladies. I do hope we won't have to be doing this again." Slade said and folded the cloak until it was a small square that he could place on the hook of his belt. He started towards the door.

"Oh it's no trouble, sir! You're always welcome in our home!" Karen chimed in, moving to stand next to Donna, fake smiles plastered on both of their faces.

"Yes. It was lovely to see you again, sir!" Donna shouted after him, the door to the cottage closing. "About as lovely as two-headed dragon terrorizing a village!" She hissed out through her teeth, the mask of joy long gone and replaced by a very unladylike snarl.

"Seriously. I thought for sure he was going to stab you or set fire to the house." Karen said, fumbling to roll up the carpet. She pulled on the latch of the hidden door and groaned as the hinges squeaked with rust.

"Sorry you had to go through that, ladies..." Richard said the first to climb out from the hidden room.

"Yeah. As soon as they leave, we'll get out of here." Victor responded, following out of the eerie dark room that he had been hidden in. He was glad to be back out in the lighted room.

"Nonsense. I think we-" Donna started to say, but was cut off by the Deacon's voice booming from outside.

"BRING OUT THE HORSE!"

The sound of a familiar neigh filled the air and Richard's heart dropped to the floor. It couldn't have been.

"Larry..."


Fingers drummed against the surface of the table as both Terra and Malchior sat in silence. It had been like this since their meeting this morning and every time she would go to speak, the slight arch of his brow was all it took to keep her quiet. It was starting to annoy her. She shouldn't be sitting here and taking this type of abuse all because she had simply, in Malchior's eyes, messed up.

After her run in with Raven, Terra had excused herself from her two friends and went to seek out Malchior. She wanted to tell him about the wonderful job she had done and then be rewarded with an expensive gift and lunch. After all that was the arrangement they had seem to come upon so long ago.

From the moment they had met, they had seen something in each other that they had never seen in anyone else. Some type of bond that kept them in this awkward type of relationship of boss and lackey, cat and mouse, to partners in a scheming plan. She would play the role to lead trusting people into his clutches of power and he would dine with her, buy her nice things, or sometimes simply sit with her and give her the approval and compliments she secretly longed for. In return she would sit there across from him and not fear him for his mind. She would not drool over him and give him everything he thought he wanted just to please him. In short, she gave him the challenge he enjoyed so much in a woman.

Sure it wasn't a warm and fuzzy relationship like most people and they used one another as they pleased, but that was how it was. That was how they liked it and it worked out very well for each of them. So of course, she knew she was in for a pretty penny after the job she had worked on Raven.

She thought the silver haired man would be ecstatic. Maybe, just maybe he would even go as far as to sit there and admire her for her cleverness like he had use to in the very beginning. Needless to say, she was surprised that the only reward she had gotten was a sling of insults and firm talking to as if she was a bumbling moron.

He had whispered how she had messed up and ruined everything and gotten so close to her face that she thought for sure he might have raised a hand to her, but no, he wasn't that stupid. In fact, his calculating mind was what had drawn her to him in the first place.

Still, she hated to be spoken to as if she wasn't his partner. As if she was a simple pawn for him to do and treat as he pleased. She met his insults for insult and had defended her point until she felt as if all the air in her lungs had left her and her face had turned blue. He had stood there, silently fuming down at her until he could take it no longer and told her to be silent, saying he needed a cup of tea to calm his nerves. So they had found a nearby tavern and inn and took a seat in the back. They had sat there in silence ever since. The sound of her nails drumming on the surface of the table the only noise between them.

Malchior could feel his eye twitching in annoyance as he sat there and stirred his tea, trying to ignore the annoying sound of nails on wood. It was like she was trying to irk him to the point he would cast her from the table and his very side. When one said they needed silence to calm down, most would know better than to drum their nails. Apparently, Terra had missed the lesson of what silence was in grade school.

Finally, he could take it no longer and his hand shot out to cover hers. The action startled her and she glanced up into the calculating cerulean eyes that looked at her in annoyance.

"Do you live to annoy me today, dear, or are you simply trying to get further on my bad side?" Malchior asked, something deadly flashing in his eyes. The word of affection coming off as an insult to anyone who caught the venom spat into the word.

Terra never flinched and simply responded with her sweetest smile.

"I'm sorry, honey. I simply wanted something to do since you seem so fixated on your tea more than the issue at hand. Darling." As she spat out the last word, her smile dropped and the look of annoyance was across her face once more.

They held each others gaze and said nothing as the silence seem to stretch on for hours, neither one willing to back down. Gradually, he pulled his hand away and brought it up to his eyebrows. He rubbed at the spot between his brows and spoke as slowly as he could.

"Well, Terra. My dear, dear Terra. We would not be in this position if you had simply listened to my orders." The demeaning tone of his voice did not escape the blonde. Her eyes narrowed into thin slits as she glared daggers of rage in his direction.

"Don't speak to me like that! I did as I was told and she bought it!" She snapped back, crossing her arms over her chest like a child being scolded. This conversation was going to turn ugly very quickly. Malchior only sighed and leaned back in his chair, eying her from where he sat.

"Raven is smarter than you give her credit for. She will not believe in something just because you say it. In fact, if you say it than she will surely NOT believe it. The fact you came off so desperate would trigger something and even if the inkling was there, she would investigate for herself." He went to take a sip from the cup only to find that it was empty. His eyebrows furrowed in mild irritation as he started to look around for a hostess, still speaking to the woman across from him as if she were a simpleton. "She would go and find the truth and that is what she will likely do." Spotting a waitress, he raised a hand to flag her down and pointed to the empty cup.

The waitress immediately came over and refilled his glass as swiftly as she could. She could feel the tension coming off of the blonde from all the way across the room and didn't want to overstay her welcome. Once the cup was filled she excused herself and promptly walked away. Terra waited for the other woman to be out of earshot before she leaned forward and hissed her response to the white haired scholar.

"I didn't come off desperate! I was trying to come off as a friend which I use to be!" Terra stated, trying to defend her point of view.

"Exactly. What you use to be. You know, before you screwed them all over with me. Remember?" He sipped his tea and made a small face at the bitter taste. Blue eyes roamed around the table and landed on some sugar. He scooped a little into the cup and began to stir once more. "You left that life, you left that gang, and you severed all ties without a second thought or glance."

"But I was still her friend!" She spat, hitting her hand against the table and rattling the saucer of his cup. Malchior only sat there and gave her a puzzled look before that same mocking frown crossed his face.

"Oh Terra… have you come to believe that lie? We both know… you were never her friend. A friend doesn't do what you did." He said matter-of-factly as he raised his cup to his lips and took a small sip. Once more his eyebrows wrinkled and he took the cup away from his mouth. Something seemed to be missing from the tea this evening and he couldn't pinpoint what.

She sat there in shock at both his words and tone. He might have well had come straight out and called her the worse person in the world. Gradually the shock value began to melt away and was replaced by a need to defend herself, anger bubbling behind those blue eyes of hers.

"You made me do it!" Terra hissed through clenched teeth, the feeling of regret actually dancing through her stomach. "I would never have done it if…if…" She frowned as the words escaped her. Malchior only lifted an eyebrow and seemed to wait for her to finish her lie. She hesitated and played through her choices of words inside of her head before settling on the blame game. "It was your fault."

"Oh silly, gem." He said with a soft chuckle, shaking his head at her words. He had truly expected at least a better lie. It was becoming more and more clear that his little partner in crime might be losing her touch. "You know no one makes you do anything. You gladly walked into hell with me, hand and hand. You knew where this would lead and you wanted it. You wanted the power just as much as I did and now you might have botched it all away."

"I didn't botch it! And don't speak to me as if I'm a child! I'm your partner!" She could feel the blood beginning to boil underneath her skin. Who was he to treat her like this? Who did he think he was to make her question herself and everything she had done? Everything she had done for him nonetheless!

At the mention of partner, Malchior had stopped stirring his tea. His eyes were watching her as if she had grown another head.

"Partner? Oh Terra… silly silly Terra." He moved a hand over his heart as if she had truly wounded him. The mocking cruelty in his face however, betrayed the motion. "Maybe once upon a time I might have considered that, but let us not pretend such silly things now." He tilted his head to the side and moved a hand out to rest it over her hand that sat on the table.

"What use do I have for you now that you've ruined things with Raven? To torment Garfield? I can do that myself. You have no use to me as a partner. In fact, you have no use to me as anything." He said, making sure to keep his eyes locked on hers to make sure his point was very clear. Once he was certain that they were, he moved his hand away and went back to giving his tea his full attention. He would get the taste right if it was the last thing he did.

The look of shock across her face looked as if he had reached over and slapped her right from her seat. She couldn't talk, couldn't scream, and couldn't even react. After everything she had done for him, every lie she had perfected for him. Every torment she acted out on others for him and here he was telling her he had no need for her? All the crimes they had committed together and the nights when their affection for each other showed in ways they didn't know existed and now here he was tossing her to the side. True, it wasn't love but she had thought the bond they had created in their mischief was so much stronger. Apparently, she was dead wrong and that fact hit her the hardest.

When the shock had faded it was replaced by a very familiar expression. Her hands slammed against the table and she jolted up onto her feet as she leaned over to scream in his face.

"BASTARD! I HAVE DONE EVERYTHING FOR YOU!" She knew people were staring and she paid them no mind, never taking her eyes off of the calm blue of Malchior's eyes. Oh those haunting, demeaning, and cruel eyes. It was enough to cause tears to well up behind her eyes. "YOU'RE NOTHING WITHOUT ME! I CARRY YOU!" She screamed again, her eyes narrowing into thin slits of hatred as she could feel the tears threatening to spill over. How she wanted to slap that smug look off his face and would have tried if she knew that slapping him would do the trick. However, even in her anger and frustration she knew it would only prove to him that she couldn't control her own emotions and actions. That she was a safety hazard and that he would never work with her again. So, she simply stood there fuming from every pore and forced the tears to subside. Instead, she forced herself to try and focus on her next course of action, planning her next words and move.

"Sit down and stop making a scene." Malchior responded, bringing his cup to his mouth and taking a small sip. "Or leave. Makes no difference to me." He could feel the heat building in his stomach, watching the sheer anger in her eyes. He would be lying if he said that when she got like this, that he didn't find her that much more attractive. She had such passion to be in control. Had so much fiery passion to prove herself not only to the people around her but to herself. She made the perfect puppet and if he believed in love, the perfect partner for someone like him. However, he didn't believe in love, only in opportunities. This was the way he liked her, this was the way he could so easily control her.

Terra disobeyed and stayed standing, towering over the young man. If looks could kill, he would have been dead before the first word ever left her lips.

"I did everything for you! Horrible terrible things for you!" She hissed underneath her breath for only them to hear. "And you would toss me out like that? As if I meant nothing to you!" Her voice was getting louder now and caused a waitress to finally summon up the courage to come over.

"Excuse me…er…ma'am. You're going to have to calm down and sit down. Or leave. You're disrupting the customers." The young woman stated, glancing around as whispers erupted from around the room. When her eyes landed back on the standing woman she realized that neither the man nor woman ever looked her way. "Er..ma'am?"

"She was just about to sit. Weren't you, Ter?" Malchior said, never taking his eyes off of the raging blonde. Moments seemed to tick by as they stared at one another and the waitress looked back between the two, the look of discomfort clear across her face. She didn't know what was going on, simply that it had been like this since the two had walked in together. She had begged for someone else to take her table but no one budged and she was forced to keep it. She hated when lovers fought, always meant she was going to get lousy tips.

Finally, Terra sunk back down in her seat. Malchior smirked in triumph. "There, see. Much better. Now if you don't mind ma'am this tea is cold I wish for another cup. In fact bring the pot and leave it. That's all."

The waitress only stood there watching the two and eying the female to see how stable she truly was. The last thing she needed was another outburst on her shift and losing customers. Her boss would have her head. Seeing that she had not left yet, Malchior literally began to shoo her away with a movement of his hand. Catching the hint, she frowned and said nothing as she turned and moved back over to the bar.

"So hard to find good help anywhere these days." He said, pushing the cup away from him, making sure Terra had caught the tiny insult. If she had, she hadn't acknowledged it.

"I will not be used and cast aside, Malchior. I am not one of your pawns and you will do well to remember just who I am. Just what I've seen you do." Terra hissed through clenched teeth. The tiny threat had seemed to capture the scholar's attention. Cerulean eyes landed on blue and they watched one another once more.

"Threats? Is that what we've come down to already?" He teased, placing his elbow on the table and leaning his cheek against his palm. The look of amusement across his face caused her to growl slightly.

"A promise. I could turn you in. Destroy your career before you ever build it. I am not to be underestimated." She whispered, keeping the stern look across her face to prove just how serious she was. Even if she had to take herself down with him, she would do it in the end to gain the upper hand. Plus, he had so much more to lose than she did and he could see that she knew that in her eyes. He would have to begin treading a bit more lightly. However, if she thought he was going to let her get the upper hand so easily, she was very mistaken.

"Never, my dear gem. I am probably the only one in this city who could never underestimate you. I know you better than you know yourself, Terra. I know the things you've done. I've watched you for years, long before you even knew who I was." Malchior smiled politely as the waitress brought another cup and poured him his tea. Winking at her, she blushed and seemed to forget all about the earlier outburst of the blonde.

"You don't know anything about me." She said softly, feeling something beginning to crawl up along her spine. He was bluffing. He couldn't know her as well as he was implying.

"Oh but I do." He smiled and watched the waitress leave before his eyes landed back on hers. "I know you'll do anything to prove you're in control. I know you yearn for something and you can never figure it out. I know the only reason you were in that church that one day was because the Deacon paid you."

For the second time since that meeting, Terra was knocked off balance. She said nothing and only sat up straighter, not saying a word.

"I know he paid you to talk to Garfield, to help him along in his… what was the word he used? Transformation. I know you were there to try and get the beast to come out of that little green freak all so the Deacon could possess him. So that the Deacon could have a demon on his side and use it to strengthen his power in this city." He smirked and looked away to fix another cup of tea. Maybe this one would be half decent.

"I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about." She could hear her voice waver at the words and cleared her throat, trying to ignore how dry it suddenly became. "I would never want that. Never help with something like that."

"Oh come now. I know very well you've done worse." Malchior met her gaze. "To the gypsies. To your 'friends'." He watched her winced at the memory, her eyes darting away to the ground.

"They deserved it… they were never my friends, they never liked me." She whispered, the fear of a truth being held up for all to see. Including the one person she never wanted to see it, herself.

"Whatever you have to say to make it easier for you to sleep at night. There is no judgment here. After all, you helped me in more ways than you could ever know. Still, those that you seem close to always seem to end up almost dead. Don't they?" He said, that same cruel look in his eyes.

"He was going to hurt me…" She whispered so softly, he had almost missed it.

"I was there, Terra. You can't lie to me." They sat in silence as he watched her trembling in her seat. He couldn't help but let a small smirk cross his lips. He hadn't known he could have an effect on her like this. She sat across from him and shook in anger, humiliation, and maybe even a bit of guilt. Here he thought that only Slade could weasel those emotions out of people.

"It was stupid. Slade was supposed to be there. He promised nothing would happen but he wasn't there and seeing him like that… I couldn't stay. I just couldn't…It changed everything in that moment. I liked him, I did I just… he was a monster and I owe him nothing!" She shook her head violently, as if the thoughts and memories would consume her. Her hands flew to her head and fingers curled into blonde strands as she shook her head faster now. "I owed him nothing!"

"Of course not. You don't owe anyone anything in this life." Malchior said, sipping his tea. For the first time that evening it finally seemed drinkable, almost enjoyable. At his words, she stopped shaking her head and flung her eyes to land on him.

"Don't you turn this around! I don't owe him but you owe me! Despite what you know and what I know, you owe me, Malchior. We had a deal!" She stated matter-of-factly. He would not weasel out of this just because he knew something she tried so hard to bury. He would not hold that mirror up to make her run from what she was owed.

He smirked at the words and leaned back in his chair, the front two legs hovering off of the floor.

"I only owed you until you screwed up."

"I didn't screw up. Even if I did, she'll see for herself. There is a monster inside of him and we both know it. Everyone has seen it and when the time comes my words will ring in her head, just like yours will with Garfield." She sat straight up in her chair, the look of defiance clear across her face. The look of fear from memories long buried still lingered but the look of determination never wavered.

"You seem adamant about that statement." Malchior said, tilting his head to the side. "So I guess only time will tell. Until then, what use do I have for you my little gem?" He asked, using the little pet name he had made just for her after their first meeting.

She smiled and leaned against the table to keep her eyes leveled with his.

"Oh come now, Malchior. Say what you want but you know there isn't another woman out there who could ever be as good as I am." The sweetness in her voice was enough to cause a smirk to cross his face. There she was. The woman who was always trying to be in control, the woman he had come to admire in his own way.

"True." He set the chair back on the ground and took another sip of his tea. She smirked in triumph.

"Glad we agree. Now let's get out of here. I suddenly feel up to having some sort of fun." She slide from the table and turned to leave when she realized he was still sitting there. Turning halfway around, she arched a brow in his direction. Catching the hint, he chuckled and shook his head before downing the rest of his tea.

In the end it was always better to keep her on his side than be up against her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a few coins to toss them onto the table before sliding from the booth. He signaled for her to lead the way. She didn't need to be told twice as she leapt at the chance to be in control and they headed out of the tavern, ignoring the whispers coming from around them. After all, this was how it was, this was what they were use to, and this was their relationship. It might not be love, but it was enough to give them both what they needed. An opportunity and the chance to take it.


From the moment Slade had stepped foot into the cottage he had known something wasn't right and the second he had left, he knew they were hiding something. His gut had told him that it wasn't just gyspies that they hide, but the same backstabbing captain he was searching for and since his time in the service he had learned to trust his gut.

His boots walked across the yard to the troops as he thought of his next move. It would have to be something to get the young captain's attention. It had to be something cunning, wicked, and so irresistible that the young captain could not ignore it no matter how much he may want to. However, how do you draw a mouse out into a trap willingly?

A small smirk began to cross the old man's features and he couldn't suppress the small chuckle that fell from his lips. It was too perfect, like a sign from God himself.

He pointed at one of the soldiers and the man instantly stood up straighter. The fear that flashed through the guard's eyes caused the Deacon's smirk to widen. The smirk did not go over with the solider as he tried to keep his voice from squeaking as he spoke.

"S-S-Sir?" The man stuttered, standing at attention.

"BRING OUT THE HORSE!" Slade's voice screamed, making sure that everyone outside and especially inside the cottage could hear it.

The command seemed to echo around the clearing, lingering like a bad smell before slowly dissolving into the air leaving nothing but shocked faces and gentle whispers in its place. One solider in particular could only look around the area as the voices of his fellow guards played like background noise in his ears. Surely, the Deacon wasn't going to do anything too drastic. He wasn't that cruel…right? The frown that crossed his face answered the unasked question as he glanced between the cottage and the opening of the woods.

Soon the whispers were drowned out and replaced with the sound of loud neighing filling the air, causing all eyes to turn toward the opening area of the forest. A familiar white horse surfaced through the opening, three men yanking and pulling on the ropes to force the beast forward. The creature neighed with each tug on the binding ropes. Its head tossed side to side and hooves dug into the ground in protest, more than once forcing the men to stumble over their own two feet. The cursing of the men causing more soldiers to come aid their peers, grabbing some stray ropes and tugging the animal forward once more.

To say Larry was frightened was an under statement. He had been standing in the stables for what felt like hours, waiting for his human to come back like he always did to give him a fresh apple and hay. When the man was late, he thought nothing of it at first and then it became later and later until soon the golden sphere in the sky had set and the shades around him had become darker. Than the shades had begun to become light once more and he knew something was not right. Seeming to feel his anxiety, he soon had his answer as men began to appear around him. He didn't know why but he did not trust these men, even though he had seen some of them before. He listened intently to their words and tried to make out what some of them were saying and that was when he had seen the ropes. He fought them as he had been trained to do so and taken more than a few out before the ropes had taken him. After that he had been jerked, yanked, pulled, tugged, and dragged along for what felt like days. Now all of a sudden he was once again being hauled over another hill and over to the one eyed-man he never wanted to see again in his animal lifetime.

Slade smirked and moved over to stand before the white horse. Their eyes met and he saw the same defiance in the beast as he did in its owner. The same look that told him that soon he would fall and the people would be free of his rule, that he would be free and that this was far from over. That this was the moment that Slade would look back and realize that this very minute was the second they became enemies. It made him want to stab the wretched creature right then and there. However, he was never a man to let his own emotions get the better of him. Instead he eyed the animal and watched as it snorted and started to breathe with hatred at his presence.

"A white horse… how very fitting of the Ex-Captain." Slade said, smirking somewhat. That was when Larry took the opportunity and snapped his teeth towards the older man. The guards let out a loud 'ack' of surprised, yanking the ropes and stopping the horse from biting off Slade's face. The Deacon never moved and instead took a step closer until his face was a few inches away from the snorting muzzle. "You'd die for your master, wouldn't you, foul beast? Yes, indeed you would." Larry let out a huff of air and stomped his hooves into the earth. Slade's smirk only widened. "Well, let's see just how much you mean to him, shall we?"

Whirling around on his heels, he stomped away from the infuriated horse and moved back a few yards away from the house.

"We have your horse, young Captain. You have three minutes to surrender before I personally, run my blade into its heart." He yelled, his voice calm and never wavering as he stood there eying the house. This would work and soon he would have both traitors right where he wanted them. Soon, Victor would tell him where to find the court of miracles and he would rid the city of the gypsies. Soon, the gypsy witch known as La Raven would be his to do with as he pleased. Everything was going to work out this time or there would be hell to pay. He narrowed his eye and watched as some movement went on inside of the house.


Victor grunted as his head whipped to the side at the impact of Richard's fist into his face. The bulky man only tightened his grip and hissed out for the Captain to settle down. The black haired man only grunted and tried to wiggle free from the hold his new friend had on him, his eyes already beginning to sting with tears of frustration.

The moment Richard had heard Slade call for the horse, he had jumped up and ran towards the door. If it hadn't been for Victor grabbing him and holding him in a headlock, he would have already been outside. Instead, now he lay with his face to the floor and his friend holding his arm behind his back. Victor kept a knee dug into his lower spine to keep him from leaping up and bolting out the door to his demise. It wasn't fair, it wasn't right, and he could feel his heart beating a mile a minute as his conscious told him he had to get out there. He had to protect Larry.

"Let go! I have to save him! Get off of me!" He hissed through clenched teeth, the cool wooden floor doing nothing to ease his burning skin. "I have to save him! I have to! He's all I got!" The ex-captain said with a small quiver in his voice.

"Not until you calm down, man! You can't just go out there! He'll kill you and then he'll kill the horse as well!" Victor whispered, feeling like the biggest ass in the world. Here he was, keeping a friend from running out to save the last bit of his old life he had. Richard had given up his adopted family, his title, and now his only friend since childhood, all for a fight he was no part of. They had come into his life and dragged him into the war between the gypsies and Slade, all simply because he had fallen for Victor's adopted sister Kori. It was beyond unfair and they all knew it.

"They're going to kill him! I have to do something! I can't just sit here and do nothing!" Richard said through clenched teeth. His jaw was beginning to hurt from both the pressure being applied to the floor and the fact he was grinding his jaw to keep from crying out in frustration, anger, and a deep need to save the last shred of his old life. It was one thing to put his life in the middle of this, but another to threaten the life of someone he had grown up with.

Seconds later, the sound of Slade's demands filled the room and it was so quiet that one could hear a pin drop. All eyes moved back down to the trembling Richard as he laid there, the words 'three minutes' echoing into his head. Three minutes. Three minutes until they would kill Larry without a single thought. Three minutes until they destroyed the first real friend he had growing up. He thought back on the first day they had met.

He had come home to see a white baby stallion eying him defiantly from behind a wooden fence. It seemed to dare him to try and tame him, to try and break him, and see just how quickly he would knock the prodigy on his ass. It had been a training session from Bryce to teach him to be calm, patient, and understand that not everything happened instantly.

Dick had hated it. It was the toughest three months of his life. He had worked for weeks to try and tame the creature's heart and to teach him to trust him. Each time he would bring Larry hay, the horse would only wait for him to get it all set up before kicking the youth into the hay bundle. When Richard would pour water for the beast, Larry would sip from the wooden trough and then squirt the water into Richard's face, forcing him to once more end up in the hay. Worse was trying to ride the wretched creature! Whenever he would walk into the stable with a riding saddle, Larry would charge him head-on, forcing the youth right back out of the gate he had walked into. When he tried to trick the horse by petting him, Larry would wait for the boy wonder to try and jump up from behind before the stallion would kick off on his hind legs. Needless to say the impact between Richard's legs was enough to cause him to scream out in pain and ice himself for a few days. He never tried jumping on the horse from that angle again. If he waited in hiding and actually managed to jump onto the white horse's back, Larry would buck, kick, and more than once run under a low dangling bundle of hay to send the child back down to the ground. Between the pranks and the sore muscles, it was fair to say that Richard was getting more and more annoyed and determined.

He remembered how one day he had become so irritated with the animal he had pulled his own prank. Larry had taken a sip from the trough, eying Richard as he came closer with a bucket of water. Richard knew where this was going and the second Larry tried to spit water on him, he had dodged it and tossed his own bucket of water on the stallion. It hit Larry right in the face and soaked him from the top of his pointy ears to the front of his hooves.

Larry had been so shocked that for a few minutes they had only stood there eying each other. Then in a swift movement, the horse had charged the young ward. Richard was prepared this time and stood his ground until the beast grew closer. Rolling to his side, he avoided the head-on collision and grabbed Larry by the front of the neck to use the momentum of the charge to swing up onto the horse's back. He knew what was coming and held on for dear life as Larry bucked, kicked, and tossed his head side to side.

Richard held on tighter and closed his eyes as the white mane hit like tiny whips against his face. This was the moment and they both knew it, this would break or make all the hard training, all the endless evenings. Once more Larry bucked and then started to run forward, eying a low hanging beam. Richard saw it this time though and as Larry ducked, so did the young prodigy.

The action caused Larry to become even more determined as he started to run in circles, stopping so suddenly that Richard almost fell off. His arms tightened the grip around the horses' neck, refusing to let go or be thrown.

"Buck all you want…I'm not moving!" Richard hissed through clenched teeth into the twitching ear of the horse. Larry responded with a snort of determination that seemed to say 'Oh we'll see about that' and proceeded to buck, leap, and jump for his life to get the youngster off. Their little dance went on all evening and straight into the night before finally, too exhausted to care anymore, Larry folded.

It was the biggest moment of Richard's life as Larry sink down to all four legs and let out an annoyed breathe of air. Slowly, Richard slid off of the horse and stumbled backwards a bit. Both sat there trying to catch their breath as they stared at each other. The silent exchange between them was easy to see as a look of understanding and mutual respect was given. Richard limped his way over to the discarded satchel and plucked out by an apple and a pocket knife. Cutting the apple in half, he slipped the knife back into the satchel and limped back over to the heavy breathing horse. Larry eyed the offered half of the apple before slowly taking the peace offering. Richard said nothing and instead slumped down onto the ground next to the tired horse.

They sat there in silence as both ate the apple of truce. From that moment on they had become friends and nearly inseparable. Playing pranks on one another and sometimes even Bryce. They stood as brothers in battle as they fought side by side on each war field. Both leaning on each other in times when it seemed like they were the only family they had in the world. They shared a bond that could never be broken.

Yet here Slade was, toying with that bond mere yards away from the young Captain. The man had dared to toss that bond into the young man's face and put a timer on it. Three minutes. Three minutes was all he had between now and then to save the life of not only his deepest friend, but the closest thing to a brother he had.

"Crap…" Muttered Victor as he could see the sheer agony painted on his new friend's face. They didn't have time to sit around and fight, they needed to come up with a plan and quick. He began to look back between the window and Richard. "I'll let you up but you have to be leveled head. We need to think of a plan and we need to think of one quick." He hissed out between teeth.

Richard knew he was right and he knew that his anger and frustration could be their downfall. He thought back on the lesson Larry had taught him. Patience. Slowly, he let out a shaky breath and tried to calm the rage and fear bubbling away inside of him. After a few seconds he finally responded with a small nod of his head, letting Victor know that he agreed and understood. Hesitantly, the dark skinned man got up and let the other man rise as well, eying him skeptically.

"We have to save him…" Richard said, trying to ignore the pounding in his chest. He wouldn't lose Larry. Not this way, not to him.

"Well if you two are done, Donna and I got a plan." Karen said, eyeing the three surrounding her. Somewhere between the cry to bring out the horse and Richard going insane, the two girls had began to whisper ideas to one another. They didn't know anything about the animal but by the way Richard had reacted, they knew they had to save it. So while the men rolled around on the ground, Donna and she had come up with a pretty quick plan.

Donna let a small smirk cross her lips as she signaled the men over.

"Move in close boys." The black haired vixen said. "There's no time to waste."


Slade watched as the tiny red hand of his pocket watch moved around the large hand for the third time. Flicking the top, he let the watch close with a small clicking sound before sliding the watch back into his pocket.

"Time's up. Bring me the horse." He said nonchalantly. Turning around on his heels, he began to draw the sword from its holster. He moved back over to the still neighing beast and didn't even hide the smile as he met its dark eyes. They watched each other and Larry never let fear flash through his eyes. Instead the look of sheer determination danced behind the dark orbs, just like its riders. Slade simply ignored it. "Guess your loyalty is one-sided."

No sooner had he lifted his arm did a loud bang emit from the house, causing everyone but the Deacon to hit the ground. The old man whirled around and listened as another earsplitting bang filled the air. He squinted his one good eye and moved in closer to the cottage, trying to see what the hell was making such a noise. Seconds later he got his answer. He barely had time to twist his upper body to the side as a firework went shooting past his figure. Moments later another one came rushing from an open window of the house.

Soldiers began to scream obscenities as they hit the ground, trying to avoid being hit by the exploding rockets and muttering curses and silent prayers not to be hit. They were all so busy running around or hitting the ground, they never heard the high whistle over the whirling sounds of fireworks. However, Larry and Slade did.

Larry would have recognized that whistle anywhere. His dark eyes glanced around at all the humans running around and he saw his moment to take his leave. So, he took it. Snorting under his breath, he tossed his head side to side to shake off the last few men that still held the ropes. Instantly, he took off towards the woods where the whistle had come from.

Slade on the other hand, wouldn't have it. Cursing the useless abundance of stupid he called soldiers, under his breath, the one eyed man made a move to grab at the rope. He held firm and wrapped the rope around his arm to tug on it as hard as he could.

It didn't take long for Larry's sprint to be cut short as the tug stopped him in his tracks. Wincing from the sudden stop, forced a neigh from his snout. Breathing in frustration, he turned his head to see what had stopped him. Black eyes landed on the blue of the Deacon and they stood there eyeing one another. It took Slade only a second to realize why grabbing the rope was a bad idea. He stood there watching the horse who watched him over its shoulder.

"Don't you dare." He said with that same authority figure voice he used for his men. He swore he could see a smile cross the horse's face. Seconds later the Deacon was flying backwards through the air. He landed with a loud oomph upon the ground, a shot of pain running up his side. Larry let out a bray of victory and then took off towards the woods, everyone too busy to stop him.


Inside the house Victor and Karen, lined up the last bit of the fireworks and watched them take off towards the soldiers. In the kitchen, Donna waited for the nod from the two to signal they were out of fireworks. She returned the nod with her own and quickly moved to start shoving gunpowder into the oven. Instantly it started to explode and she was thankful for the earplugs. Hopefully, the soldiers would hear the explosions and think that they were still setting off the fireworks, giving Richard a little extra time to escape.

"Where'd you girls get this stuff anyway?" Victor asked, moving to slide a sword into the holster that Donna had given him.

"Donna likes to dabble in exotic wares." Karen said with a small smile. Victor only chuckled and slipped the helmet onto his head.

"Remind me to never tease her about buying crap she'll never need again."

"Deal, Sparky."


Outside the house, Slade was getting up from the ground and the look in his eyes could cause a blizzard storm in the middle of a desert. This was not happening again. Not in the same damn day! To say he was getting pissed off was an understatement.

"GET UP YOU FOOLS! WHAT THE HELL AM I PAYING YOU FOR? YOU'RE A DISGRACE!" He screamed, losing his temper for a split second before reminding himself that he was still in charge. Taking deep breathes; he rubbed at his face and turned back to the house, watching it as the sound of explosions could still be heard. "You want to play dirty. Very well." His eye narrowed at the small cottage in front of him, seeming to mock him like everything else. Gradually, his fingers curled into the palms of his hands. "We'll play. Captain!"

Instantly a young man with cropped red hair stepped forward, saluting the older man.

"Sir?"

"Burn it down." Slade said, never taking his eyes off of the cottage.

"Sir?" The redhead asked, not sure if he had heard the old man correctly.

"You heard me."

Roy Harper stood there and watched the Deacon as if he had grown another head. He couldn't very well want to burn down a home hosted to two innocent women. Especially since both were so high up in society and outstanding citizens to Notre Dame. That would not only be stupid, it could end the Deacon's very own career, not to mention his own.

His eyes roamed around to see if the other soldiers had heard the order. They had and they responded with slight shrugs of their shoulders or simply staring back at the new Captain.

"Sir… with all due respect I can't do that."

Suddenly all movement from the soldiers ceased and their eyes were upon the Deacon and the new Captain. Bit by bit, Slade turned back around and let his eye land on the redhead. He could see the clear discomfort at talking back written on the young man's face. However, hidden in that discomfort was a firm will in doing what he thought was right. It was a look that Slade was growing to hate and by the end of the day, he would bury everyone with that look.

"Excuse me?" The old man asked, stepping closer to Roy. "I don't know if I heard you right. Captain."

Roy winced at the mention of his title, knowing that it was not a term of endearment. It was a veiled threat that said, 'I gave you the title and I can take it away just as quickly.' It was a statement daring him to say anything else about questioning the orders given to him. He knew he was going to have to choose his next words very carefully.

"That is to say… We don't know if the f-fugitives are in there and umm… it would be…" Roy stammered, watching how Slade's eye began to narrow with each passing word. "Un-unwise to attack-"

"Unwise? Unwise!" Slade hissed between teeth and stepped so close to the other man that Roy could feel the temper radiating off of him. "I think what is unwise, young Captain would be to question your superior officer. I think what would be unwise, would be to forget your place and who handed you that title on a silver platter." Roy stiffened at the words and could hear a few of his peers chuckling slightly at his predicament, namely Adonis and his goons.

"Sir I only meant that-" The redhead began to stammer over his words again. However, they went unheard as Slade spun around on his heels and walked a few paces to grab a torch from one of the soldiers. He yanked the stake away from the man and whirled back around to slam the twitching flame against the chest of Roy Harper, nearly catching him on fire.

"Burn. It. Down." Slade hissed between clenched teeth. He was fed up with the disloyalty and incompetence of these men. It was men like Roy Harper who were the weeds in his garden of soldiers. It was men like him that made the others weak, made them question their loyalty, made them hesitate in what needed to be down. He was a weakness and he would either learn to control that weakness or be smothered out.

Roy winced and immediately took the stake, yanking it away from his face before he caught himself on fire. He knew there was no room for argument. It was an order and he knew he had to either follow it or receive the harshest punishment. After all, you didn't go up against the Deacon and get off scott-free. He made sure he always left an impression so that you never got such crazy ideas in your head again. Still, he had not signed up for this.

They watched one another in silence and Slade waited to see where the loyalty of the red-head lie. After all, it was the only reason he gave the man the title in the first place. He had seen the way that Roy Harper had begun to follow Richard and Victor. Saw how the redhead had started to voice his opinion out in situations where he should have just been following orders. If he did not obey this time, it would be up to the Deacon to put him down like a bad dog that turned against its owner.

Gradually, Roy Harper turned away from the eyes of the Deacon and made the longest walk of his life. It seemed like fifty years passed before his eyes as he moved at a snail's place to the little cottage. He watched himself growing old and looking back at this moment when he burned his friends alive. Looking back as he chatted with his grandchildren about the horrible deed he did all for a title. How he sold his soul all because he was simply following orders. He watched himself fifty years from then and saw how haunted he was with that knowledge. Saw how he had once joined to try and make a difference and had ended up not doing anything but becoming another trained dog for the Deacon to use as he pleased. He saw all this and saw a man that he hated.

Roy Harper stood in front of the house and watched for signs of movement. His eyes searched for an indication and as if none would come, he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the glass of the door. He saw a young man with two choices and the freedom to choose which way his path led. Sluggishly, a smile slid across his lips and he knew his answer. Turning around, he glanced at the eyes of the soldiers who looked back at him. He saw how some looked frighten for what he would do. Others watched on behind Adonis with smiles at seeming to know what would happen once he did. Then, his eyes landed on Slade and they held each other's gaze. Roy straightened his back in defiance and then dunked the fire into the water barrel beside him. The sound of the fire hissing out of oblivion to the water was the only sound that filled the silence.

"Roy Harper does not take orders he does not agree with. I am nobody's dog and I did not sign up to kill innocent people, Sir." He spoke the last word with such disgrace that he might have well had called the Deacon the worse insult in the world.

"Wrong move." Slade said, never batting an eye at the little demonstration. He had known that would be the decision the man would have made. Now he could trail him without anyone saying he had no reason. "Adonis, arrest him."

"Aye, Sir!" The bulky man responded and without missing a beat headed over to Roy. Slade turned around and grabbed a stake from one of the soldiers and hurled it through the sky. It hit against the roof and instantly the fire blazed into life. The harsh oranges and yellows began to spread over the cottage.

Roy turned on his heels and made a dash inside to try and warn his friends, wanting to help any way he could. He never made it past the first step as two large hands yanked him back by the collar. A choking sound left his lips as the fabric cut against the front of his neck before he felt himself being tossed backwards. Hitting the ground, he rolled a few feet before coming to a stop. Coughing at the still fresh impact on his throat, his eyes moved up to look into the smirking face of Adonis.

"Idiot. Did you think someone else wouldn't gladly leap at an opportunity to please the Deacon?" The large man asked and began to chuckle. Roy only shifted to sit up, folding his legs underneath each other as he pointed towards the amused new Captain.

"Actually, I was thinking that my friends have beat your friends numerous of times and this time will be no different." The redhead said with a smirk, winking to turn his pointed finger to the figures behind the other man. Adonis barely had time to blink before a fist made contact with his face and sent him reeling back onto the dirt.

"Hey, Donnie! Long time no seen!" Donna said, waving innocently from her spot on the stairs as Victor cracked his sore knuckles. The reunion was short lived however as Slade's voice bellowed through the clearing.

"Fire!" Yelled Slade. Half of the soldiers didn't even bat an eye as they raised their bows and let the arrows soar through the air, trying not to hit Adonis. The other half was a little more reluctant as they glanced around before slowly letting the arrows soar, aiming a little too far to the left.

Adonis scrambled across the ground, barely being missed by the arrows as he took his place beside his men. Roy followed suit and tumbled forward along the ground as arrow after arrow hit where he had once been mere seconds before. Victor and Karen quickly took a knee each as they brought up the life-sized shields before them. Victor yanked Donna behind him and Karen did the same just as Roy rolled right beside her.

"That was very smart of ya, now we got one more person to take care of! For someone nicknamed Speedy, ya sure don't think very fast!" Karen shouted over the sound of arrows smacking against the shield. A few times the impact caused her to wince, sending shudders along her arms and forcing her to tighten her grip on the strap.

"Oh so I was just supposed to burn you up and not bat an eye!" Roy shouted back to the woman, feeling her already starting to get underneath his skin. All these years later and she still had to be right about everything.

"Then you could have stayed and reported back to us! SO YES!" Karen screamed, listening as the last arrows hit the shield and Slade shouted out for the troops to attack. They dropped the shield and yanked the swords from the sheaths, waiting for the first wave of soldiers.

"That is so like you, never a thank you for my kindness! I swear woman! That's why you can't get a man!" Roy ducked from the first slash of the sword, the only one without a weapon. He watched as the solider charged and lounged at him. Wrong move. Quickly, he turned on his heels and sent a foot flying into the side of the other man, the sword dropping to the ground. As a sword came to his stomach, he contorted his body to leap over it, tumbling down onto the ground and picking up the discarded sword. Swinging the sword upwards, he blocked the next attack just in time and kicked the solider away from him.

"I can get a man, you low-life, egocentric, womanizing, prettyboy!" Karen shouted over the clash of steel. Her dark eyes watched as another solider thrust his sword towards her stomach. Twisting her body to the left, she avoided the sword and spun on her heels to bring a foot up to kick the man's wrist. The impact forced the man to drop his weapon and giving him a second to let out a hissing sound before her boot made contact with the side of his face.

"Oh for Christ sake! Can you two save it for another time! We're in the middle of a fight here!" Victor intervened, his sword pressing so hard against Adonis's that he swear any moment that sparks would fly.

"I concur. You've been like this ever since we were teenagers!" Donna chimed in with her two cents as she sent solider after solider to the earth. Victor and Karen had taken the only two swords she owened, which left her with the old wooden staff her grandmother had given her. The stick whirled around her back and came up to smack one man squarely in the jaw. She dropped down to her hands and feet, avoiding the sword aimed at her head. She parried by knocking the feet from under her attacker, sending him to the ground and knocking him out with a swift kick to his head.

"Not my fault she's mad I never dated her." Speedy responded, sidestepping the attack to his right shoulder. Both Victor and Donna would have rolled their eyes if they weren't too busy watching out for oncoming swords. So instead they groaned.

"HA! I would rather make out with a cactus!" Karen retorted, taking her frustrations out on the oncoming sentinels. Some men saw the hostility of the woman's fighting style and decided to focus on the other three for fear this might be their last fight if they went up against the yellow and black-cladded woman.

"Ah-HA! You wish a cactus was as charming as me." Roy bantered back, tumbling onto the ground and over to the frustrating woman. He jumped up onto his feet and sent her a wink. Karen grimaced at the action and then realized that Donna and Victor were being forced back over to where she and Roy stood. Soon the four were standing side by side with the burning cottage behind them. They felt the heat against their backs and saw flickers of ash dancing through the sky. They were outnumbered and had nowhere to run too.

Slowly, the men started to part like the red sea, revealing a smirking Slade. The older man walked with a confident stride down the middle of the men and stopped a few feet in front of the four outlaws. He glanced over to Victor and saw the man daring him to make a move. He only chortled and then moved on to watch the two women with the same look before his eyes landed on Roy. There was nothing but a look of satisfaction at his decision. Fool. The deacon cocked an eyebrow and looked back at Victor.

"Where is Grayson? Has the brave Ex-captain left his friends in their moment of need?" Slade eyed each member of the group and watched as they said nothing. Instead, they stepped closer to one another and readied their weapons for whatever hell he decided to come crashing down upon them. They would fight till they couldn't lift their weapons anymore and then they would continue to fight. They were friends, a unit, and they would die as a unit. So be it.

"Kill them. Their crime is treason against France." He stated, folding his hands behind his back.

"Well that's rather harsh." Roy muttered, arching an eyebrow at the mention of being a traitor to his country.

"Not to mention not even a little bit accurate." Karen added, placing her hands on her hips. "Unless the mighty Deacon suddenly thinks his commands are those of France."

"Why, I think he does." Victor stated as he eyed a few guards getting their arrows ready. "One would think that someone who orders people killed before a fair trail would even think himself higher than God."

"No he's no God… he's the devil himself." Donna answered this time, straightening her back as if to say I dare you to even try. "Worse than the devil though… are those who follow him blindly."

"Lovely last words. I would expect no less from either of you." Slade watched them before letting a small smile play across his lips. "Ready. Ai-"

Slade easily ducked the tiny fist of Karen as she charged at him in what seemed like a last attempt to save her life. Leave it to a woman to not die easily; they always let their emotions get the better of them. A hand blocked the next punch and his free hand caught her fist in his palm. Quickly, he turned her around so her back was to his front, twisting her arm to cause a small whimper of pain to leave her lips.

"Don't move." Slade spoke as Roy, Donna, and Victor started to move to help their friend. Slowly, all three took a step back as their eyes never left the two figures in front of them.

"Don't do anything crazy, Deacon…" Victor spoke, his eyes narrowing slightly at the older man.

"You hurt her and I hurt you." Roy said softly but loud enough for the small group to hear him. Slade only chuckled and arched a brow at the veiled threat.

"And what will you do to me, Mr. Harper?"

"Oh. I have powers beyond your imagination, Deacon." To this, everyone glanced at the redhead as if he had lost his mind. Slade only responded with a look of amusement and tilting his head slightly to the side.

"And what are those?"

"I can see the future."

"Oh for the love of… Just snap my neck already." Karen muttered. She rather be dead than have to listen to two men try to out wit each other, especially if one of those men was Roy Harper.

"And what is my future, Mr. Harper?" Slade asked, ignoring the comment from the woman.

"You're going to lose, Deacon." Roy said quickly, nearly cutting off the Deacon. Slade's smirk long gone from his face. "You're going to lose this fight. You're going to lose the war on the gypsies, you're going to lose your title, your men and you're going to die an old man with no one to love you and no one that honors you. In short, you're rather screwed." Roy finished, a playful smirk across his lips and a serious look in his eyes.

Slade knew he was simply stalling; still, the words had made a small impact. He knew there was already talk among his men, knew that they had started to divide their loyalty ever since Grayson and Stone had been labeled an outlaw. Now to add more tension between them, Roy Harper was also branded as a traitor. The way the men fought was proof enough that Harper's words were coming true. Still, like hell if he showed any of them his thoughts. Slowly, a smirk crosses his face.

"Well too bad you won't be around to see any of that." Slade said, yanking a sword from his belt and bringing it to the front of Karen's neck. That was when a loud whistle erupted throughout the area and all eyes turned to see two horses running into the area. The stallions rushed past the surprised soldiers and kicked up dust to cause a few men to start to cough. Seconds later another horse galloped into view but this one was different. On top of the white horse rode a man with a cocky grin ear to ear. The Deacon's eyes lit up and he let his own smile cross his lips. "Grayson."

Karen took the moment to elbow the older man in the gut. Slade grunted and doubled over, Karen slipping out from his clutches and stumbled back over to the small group. Roy caught her in his arms and steadied her, noticing how she shook slightly against him. Seconds later, the stubborn woman pulled away form him and forced herself to get a grip.

"I swear there's nothing worse than one of your 'I see the future' speeches." She barked out, trying her hardest not to smile and hide the fear at how close she had been to her death.

"Hey, gave us enough time didn't it?" Roy answered and couldn't help but smile as he watched the small smirk cross her lips.

"Come on!" Victor yelled, running for the closet horse near him. He swung his body up onto the neighing beast's back and taking Donna's hand to swing her up behind him. Karen followed suit as she jumped onto the other horse and held a hand out to Roy.

"Oh no. I get to control the horse. You suck at guiding those things." Roy started to protest, crossing his arms over his chest. Karen only rolled her eyes.

"Get on the damn horse!"

"Move and I will!" He shouted back at her. The sound of men screaming caught his attention and he looked over to see several soldiers rushing towards him. "On second thought." He mumbled and pulled himself up onto the horse behind her. His arms wrapped around her waist and the familiarity of something that once was a long time ago flashed through his mind. He quickly forced it the emotion down and watched as the two horses started to gallop away. "Don't get any ideas about this." He muttered.

Karen rolled her eyes, "Don't gross me out."

Richard ran circles around the soldiers as they tried to grab at him and yank him from the horse. However, Larry had been caught once and he was not going to be captured again. As far as the horse was concerned, this was his time to wreak vengeance on the men that dared to try and cage him.

He bucked his head against skulls, kicked his hooves against stomachs, and more than once took the time to slam his body against a solider and a tree. Richard had to yank at the ropes to remind the horse when it was time to flee. However, there was one more person that Larry had on his list. His eyes landed on the deacon and they watched one another before the horse took charge.

"Larry no!" Richard hissed as the horse started towards the Deacon. Slade did not move as he fingered the knife behind his back. Just as Larry came feet in front of Slade, Richard yanked on his reigns so hard it forced the horse to take a sharp left, barely missing the knife. Slade cursed underneath his breath but kept his calm as he turned on his heels and moved to summon archers to follow him. He would kill Grayson before this day was through.

Quickly men got to their feet and stumbled after the old man to listen to orders. The fear of disappointing the Deacon once more was showing in their eyes. They held up their arrows and waited for the command. Slade's arm dropped and the men let their arrows fly into the sky.

One arrow aimed truer than others and a loud gasp filled the air as Richard clutched his arm. The pain was quick as the steel pierced through the middle of his back. All he heard was the scream of someone yelling his name before the dizziness took over. He could feel himself slipping from the safety of Larry's saddle, everything seeming to go by in slow motion. The look in Donna's eyes, the outstretched hand of Victor, it all looked so silly as if they had molasses in their blood. He never felt anything as his body hit the stone wall and went tumbling over the side of the bridge. He slipped into the darkness of unconsciousness long before his body hit the rushing waters down below.

Victor had to guide his horse close enough so Donna could grab Larry's reigns. She held on tightly to the reigns, forcing Larry away from the wall to keep him from following Richard into the waters below. Larry neighed at being restrained and tried again only to be forced back once more to keep riding the length of the bridge.

"Victor! We have to-" Donna started to say.

"I know!" He responded to the dark haired woman and started to think of something as quickly as he could. It was Karen who took the lead.

"We'll distract the guards! You two go looking for him." Karen yelled over the wind rushing past the small group. Victor and Donna nodded as they begin to slow the horses into a small trot.

"You're going to need a horse!" Yelled Victor as Roy nodded and waited for Karen to pull her horse into a small trot as well. Victor quickly dismounted to climb back on top of Larry as Donna decided to go off by foot.

The dark haired woman began to discard clothes as she run for all she was worth to the edge of the bridge. She ignored the yell from Victor to tell her not to be crazy as she stood in only her under garments. She would not lose a new friend so quickly. She would not let down her old friends and she refused to let a death rest on her shoulders. Her feet jumped up onto the cool stone wall, lingering only for a split second before she dove forward into the rushing waters below.

Victor only managed to let out a loud curse as he yanked on Larry's reigns and dashed off to follow the length of the bridge. Great, now he was going to have to fish two bodies out of the water. If Donna lived through this, he was going to kill her.

During the whole strip show, Karen had kicked Speedy off of the horse and charged back into the fray. Soldiers were starting to pile onto the bridge, bows at the ready as a few of their fellow companions ran over to the wall, sending arrows into the water below.

Slade followed the men over to the wall grabbed a few by the back of the neck and yanked them away from the wall.

"Don't waste your arrows. We still have other game to catch." He shouted, pushing men to focus on the woman racing to them.

"I won't go down so easily!" Karen screamed, the sound of hooves pounding the stone walkway. A few guards could do nothing but admire the loyalty she had for their ex-Captain and made sure not to aim to close to the woman. Others knew if she got too close, she would not hesitate to kick their asses and so they aimed the best they could.

Both woman and horse dodged the onslaught of arrows, the sound of whirling wind passing their ears as they drew closer and closer to their attackers. The very sight of the men seemed to be enough to cause Karen's blood to boil. Finally, the end of the bridge appeared and with a leap from the horse she found herself buried in the middle of twenty or so soldiers.

Instantly, her fist and sword started to swing through the air and her feet moved to stay close to one solider at a time. She winced as a few swords got the better of her a few times, leaving wounds along her arms and legs. Getting an idea, she stayed closer to the men and used a few as a living shield to fight off the other soldiers. The concept worked for a little while, many men coming up swearing and reaching for the woman only to be kicked out of the circle again and again.

However, the number was too much for even the mighty stubborn female and she was soon taken hostage. One soldier even went as far as to slip a blade into the side of the squirming woman, forcing a loud gasp to leave her lips. Even as the blood trickled down her side, she refused to go down so easily. She yanked, tugged, and squirmed to try and get free of the hands that held her, but they simply tightened around her. Lips parted and a loud scream of frustration filled the air as they forced her down to her knees, the wound pounding away at her side.

She didn't have to wait long though as she felt a hand pluck her up by the back of her collar, wrenching her away from the many hands. She would have recognized the expensive cologne anywhere, one of the many things she hated yet adored about him. Even in the middle of fight, the burning smell of her home on fire, and the blood that soaked her sleeves, he stilled smelled as if he just stepped out of a bath. What a jerk.

Roy grunted as he pulled the squirming woman onto the horse and onto his lap. The spot did not go unnoticed by Karen and the amount of death glares she sent his way were ignored the best they could be, considering her face wasn't too far from his own. However, that was the last thing on his mind as he saw the way she held her side, blood beginning to seep through the fabric. Frowning slightly, he tugged at the reigns and forced the horse to jump over a few soldiers, making a dash to the bridge once more.

"Scream at me about it later. You know, if we survive thi-" He never got to finish his sentence as six pairs of hands yanked him down from the horse. Quickly, Karen grabbed the reigns to keep from being thrown like a sack of potatoes to the ground. Shifting to better balance herself, she started to turn the horse back around.

"ROY!"

"DON'T!" The redhead screamed back to her, watching as she started to head back into the fray. She needed to get away from here, she needed to run, and he knew if she charged back in now, she wouldn't. Her wound was already becoming a large issue and he knew she wouldn't hold out that long. The look on her face said the same thing as she tugged the reigns and tried to make a decision. "Get out of here, Beecher! GO! You stupid woman! GO!"

The word slapped her out of any reluctance and she growled, sending him a quick nod.

"I'll be back for you, Harper!" She tugged on the reigns and took off back over the bridge, only sending one last glance in his direction before focusing on the road ahead. Somehow, it seemed dark and bleak. She winced as the wound throbbed at her side, running on pure adrenaline to escape the arrows flying towards her back.

Roy thrashed about in the hands of the enemy, jerking his shoulders and only getting a response of more brutality. One of the shoulders twisted his arm so hard behind his back, the bones in his shoulders let out a loud cracking sound. Hissing between clenched teeth, he sunk down to his knees and tried his bets to ignore the pain soaring throughout his shoulder.

He listened as the men fell silent and started to part away from him, the sound of boots drawing closer. He never noticed how the Deacon's walk was always so confident and loud.

"Well look what we caught. A traitor." Slade smirked down onto into the painful face of Roy Harper. Roy only let a small smile cross his lips and made sure to meet the Deacon's eyes straight on, trying to fight off the dizziness that was beginning to swim around his head.

"Funny. I guess from my side... that would be you."

The Deacon only stood there and watched as the smirk never wavered from the man's face. Slowly, a small smirk crossed over the Deacon and he kneeled down to bring his face inches away from Roy. The two men stared at one another, neither bothering to try and back down.

"To every side, the other side is the villain. Tell me, Harper… do I make a good villain? When I draw closer to you, are you afraid? Do you fear what my power brings?" Roy said nothing. Slade smirked and grabbed the man by his chin, the grip forcing a grunt from the other man's mouth. He leaned in close and talked so softly that only the two of them could hear. "I will spill the blood of every innocent until I find your little friends and destroy them one by one, starting with your little mouthy whore. There will be no where they can run, no place can they hide. I will tear this city upside down and if I have to, I will burn this city to the ground. All those lives will be on your hands all because you could not burn down a cottage. So tell me, Roy Harper… do I make a good villain?"

Slade moved to stand up, towering over the terrified face of the redhead. Roy could say nothing as he silently fumed at the very real threat the old man had just promised. He had never felt more helpless in all his life and nothing he said could fix it.

"Adonis… gather the troops and meet me back in town in three hours but first… show Harper what happens when you betray me." He smirked down at the growling redhead and then began to walk away, waving a hand to dismiss the men.

"With pleasure, Sir." Adonis's turned around to send the redhead a large toothy grin. Roy simply ignored it and let out a loud sigh, his eyes slipping close. He thought of the threat looming over Notre Dame, of the new Captain somewhere in his watery grave. Of Victor and Donna searching for someone they probably would never find. Then he thought of her, the wound that would slow her down and lately, he thought of how dire the situation truly seemed to be. He thought of all of this and watched as the heel of the boot came crashing down onto his head, darkness washing over him.

A.N: ROY NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! How could someone be so mean! Because it's getting near the end and it's time for stuff to get real! Okay yeah, reeling it in. I know, it's been like a year but like I said before, I will finish everything I start if I can. So… after a long wait and honestly, not sure when I'll write the next chapter… hopefully this will tide you guys over for awhile. And yes… yes I do ship Bumbleebee/Roy… they're cute to me though honestly it won't go too far so don't expect to see much more than harmless flirts and insults. Onto the thank yous!

BG-13: lol I know, I like to drag things out. I have a horrible habit of that. I blame too much anime.

meg-leighleigh15: Hehe hope you liked this one, there was so much action it took me a year to get it right!

KungFuTruffle: lol I know, I have an issue with that but I think the more you suffer, the more it brings you together… or something wise like that. I hope I did Slade just as much justice in this chapter, though I think his crazy really shines there at the end.

AnNyanimous: I think I actually got mostly everyone, I'll have to do some research to see who I left out.. if I have. I'm so glad you love the story and that the interaction between the characters comes off as real makes me happy when people can identify with them (even if they aren't my characters ^^;;) And yes… yes Slade is a pedo. XD

Emmey: Aww thankyou! I hope you still like it. I'll try not to take so long with the next update. ^^;

Alright! That's everyone who responded and if you've stuck through this long, I thank you for reading even if you don't leave a review (though I love it when you do!) it's nice to know people still enjoy it. Thank you everyone.