Title: The Road Not Taken
Rating: T
Chapter warnings: Allusions to nasty things, such as rape, murder, child abuse and torture; violence and a bit of blood; mention of some well deserved maiming.
Summary: When Clare wakes early in the village of Rokut, she is able to prevent Teresa form killing the bandits – however, with Teresa getting more out of control, and Priscilla there to take the number one spot, the Organization decides to purge her - by sending her to kill the White Silver King Isley, Abyssal One of the North. Needless to say, things don't go exactly as they had planned…


Clare whimpered slightly as a flash of pain went through her body. Her hair felt like it was going to come out by the roots, and she could feel the rough, uneven stones on the ground that she was being dragged over…Someone was talking, someone important…she knew that voice, that voice that she could faintly make out through the ringing in her ears, but she couldn't think of it right now.

Everything hurt…

For a moment, she was back in the past, and the youma had gotten angry at something and taken it out on her, or she'd done something, defied it or tried to run away…had she tried to run away?

But no, that was wrong. The youma was…the youma was…

Gone.

Dead.

She'd killed it, the woman. The Claymore, the warrior with the same eyes as her…the same pain as her…

Teresa…

"Teresa…" she murmured, wincing as her split lip let her know that it didn't appreciate her talking – but she was used to pain. Pain wasn't important. Teresa was.

Blinking slowly, she opened her eyes, one puffy and bruised and barely opening – and saw her angel, looking at her through a barrier of bandits, concern and anger on her face.

Barely, she could make out the one handed bandit talking, taunting Teresa – and while he was focused on Teresa, he wasn't paying attention to Clare.

Concentrating as hard as she could through the pain, Clare slowly reached up to the bandit's belt, where his short sword was resting, and was able to grab it just as the bandit noticed her.

"Eh?" Hefting her up till only her feet dragged against the ground, he looked her in the eyes.

There was madness in those eyes – the same madness she'd seen that night in the forest, when he'd tried to violate Teresa.

"What are you doing with my sword pet? Do you think you can cut me with it?"

"No." She whispered softly – before reaching up, and cutting away the hair that he was holding to keep her captive. Body crumpling forward, Clare fell – into the warm arms of Teresa.

"Teresa…"

She smiled, relaxing. Teresa was here, with her. Everything would be alright now.

"It's alright Clare, I'm here."

She sighed happily, snuggling closer. "He said you weren't coming…"

Teresa narrowed her eyes at the one armed bandit. "He lied Clare. I came as soon as I could."

"I knew you would…"

Smiling down at the precious bundle in her arms, eyes lingering for a moment on the child's newly shorn hair, Teresa shifted Clare closer, before turning to stare at the bandits, silver eyes coldly furious. "Clare I need you to hold onto me, as tight as you can, alright?"

Clare nodded, tightening her grip. Were they going to run away?

That thought was immediately proven false by Teresa's next words.

"You filth…You're worse then Youma…I'm going to kill every last one of you…"

Clare's eyes widened. No…No!

"Teresa!"

"Shh, Clare, it's alright. Just hold on tight…"

Struggling, Clare turned her face towards her saviour. "No…Teresa! If you kill them…You'll die. They'll kill you!"

Her eyes filled with tears. "Please Teresa…"

The number one warrior's silver eyes softened at the sight of Clare's pleading green gaze. She wasn't worried about dying – she was number one for a reason, and the organization didn't know as much about her abilities as they thought, but Clare didn't deserve to spend the rest of her life constantly on the run.

And yet, she couldn't allow these…wretches…to continue on as they had, looting, murdering and raping…

As her eyes fell on the bandit who had taken Clare, an idea hit her.

"Alright Clare…don't worry, I won't kill them."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

She turned back to the bandits, and smiled. It was not the serene, small smile she was so known for however, but a vicious one, oddly similar to the one Youma wore when they were about to strike.

"You should thank this child, gentlemen. This girl, that you brutalised just saved you lives…thanks to her, I won't kill you…"

Her smile got, if possible, even nastier.

"I'll just…maim you a little."

She tilted her head towards the one armed bandit. "And as your friend over there has proven you can still be troublesome even deprived of one arm, I'll just have to take two. You can thank him later."

Without moving her gaze from the bandits, Teresa adjusted Clare's position so that she was held with only one arm, not two. "Close your eyes Clare. I don't want you to have to see this."

Clare nodded and obeyed…and Teresa of the Faint Smile moved.


End Chapter One