Disclaimer: I don't get paid for writing this, so I guess that takes me off the hook for lawsuits and such. I don't own much anyways. ;-) This chapter explains my take on why Double Vision really was possible and why it only happened to Emma. ò;ó Rating: PG

Summary: A flashback reveals a dark reality about Emma's past. Meanwhile, Gabriel still has Shalimar and Brennan, but a member of the Strand emerges as a powerful, yet mysterious, enemy to all.

Revelations Chapter 8: Metamorphosis

Vibrant sunbeams trickled through Sanctuary's skylights, announcing that it was almost mid-morning. Yet, everything was quiet and desolate-not a soul was to be seen moving around. The dojo and hallways lay empty and silent, the light from above was reflecting off of the unsettled dust from the night before, creating an almost eerie haze.

Upstairs in the mess area, Emma lay quietly, resting on the sofa. Her blankets, long been thrown off, lay scattered in a heap on the floor below her, exposing Emma's battered body to the cold. The bra and slip that she had been wearing the night before were obviously not enough to keep her warm. Her skin had a bluish, almost translucent appearance, which could easily be seen through the bruises and crimson dried blood. The lively sunlight danced around her uncomely body, creating the impression of fairy- like spirit watching over her. The light scattered over her dirty eyes several times, pulling Emma from her deep, restful dreams and back to this world of reality.

Taking a deep breath, Emma opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling above her for several moments, quickly recalling the events of the past night, the guilt soon creeping back. It felt wrong to hurt her teammates, especially her best friend, Jesse, but she had to protect herself at all costs. Emma frowned, already overtaken by the feelings of depression that she often had. Stretching her arms and sitting up, the pain came back to her quickly. Her legs would not budge even the slightest from where they were lying. Emma winced and closed her eyes momentarily, determined to get up and be strong. Her legs must have been broken, but as long as her mind was strong she would be able to overcome the pain and suppress it. Emma turned herself, gliding her legs over to the edge of the sofa. Concentrating for a moment, Emma stood up slowly, balancing her levitation with slight difficulty. It had been years since she had last used levitation for something as threatening to her as this. Gliding towards the stairs, she passed the half broken glass of the med lab's sunlights, stopping momentarily and glancing at herself.

~* Oh my, do I ever look bad. *~ Emma reflected silently, analyzing where all the bruises were and how bloody she was. Turning abruptly, she headed back towards the mess area and opened up a cabinet. Out came a fresh- smelling white towel, unstained and perfectly clean like Adam always wanted everything to be. Grabbing it, Emma floated over to the sink and turned on the water, twisting the knobs until it was lukewarm. Emma soaked the cloth and wrung it out, wiping away the dried blood and plaster dust from half of her face.

Staring at herself through the mirror in front of her, she paused, holding the cloth still near the other side of her face. A tear rolled down her face as she recalled a painful memory, one in which the real her felt wrapped and smothered in the skin of another, trapped in a body and lifestyle that was not quite her own.

^^^ Emma's Flashback ^^^ The pale mid-winter sunlight floated through the small windows and into the desolate office at the courthouse, ever so softly, giving some realism to the grim situation at hand. A secretary sat at the wide, black desk, sorting quickly through papers and documents. A police officer stood behind her, hunching over the woman's shoulders, as both of them hastily scanned over records. On a large, dark sofa behind the two laid a little girl, her dark reddish-black, curly hair a ratted and muddy wet mess. She was sleeping peacefully, pale face still having a bluish tinge to it even though the police officer had covered her with as many blankets as he could find. Beneath the heavy, warm blankets, the girl's frail frozen hand tightly grasped a small, cerulean locket around her neck. Pausing for a moment, the secretary looked up at the girl.

"Are you sure that you found her at Bentley Park and not Central? Those few streets difference would really help to identify her," the secretary asked, beady eyes staring through large glasses at the small figure lying on the sofa. The officer stood up straight and stared at the woman sarcastically before turning around and pacing a few feet away from her.

"Yes, I'm sure of it. I may be new here, but I swear, I found her at the park between 5th and King Street, which by your map is Bentley's," the officer replied facing the woman again, irritated that this secretary kept questioning his memory.

"And that's all she was wearing when you found her on a park bench- only jeans, a long-sleeved black shirt and a frayed tank top?" the woman said shocked, shaking her head in pity for the poor little girl as she picked up another pile of documents. "She's lucky that you found her under all of that snow then; she would've died if not for you." Grabbing his elbows and frowning his brow at the woman's obvious statement, the officer just stood silently, nodding his head in agreement.

Meanwhile, the girl came back to this reality, consciousness unfrozen from the horror of the night before, aware that she had apparently not died, and had instead been saved by some good soul. She laid quietly on the sofa for several minutes, eyes still closed, listening in on the conversation of the two people who were in the room with her. When she was certain that the two weren't looking at her, she opened her eyes slowly, ripping off the remaining ice that had held her lashes closed shut the night before. She closed her eyes quickly after opening them, stunned by the bright fluorescent lights above her. Tears quivered at the tip of her eyes.

~* Why? Why me, my mom, *~ the girl thought incoherently to herself, emotionally breaking while silently letting the tears slide down her cold cheeks. No one was left to care for her or hold her tightly near their chests. The world's ignorance would not heed her loss and subsequent anguish. The pain and memories would be hers, and hers alone. She had lost everything important to her in a brief, horrid second. She hated the world for not caring, for being ignorant and closed-minded. But she couldn't destroy them, not now at least, for one Samaritan had saved her fragile life from ending. They had shown the mercy that life rarely showed. To someone, her simple, unimportant life meant enough for it to be saved. She may have only been nine years old, but the world's misery, despair, and greed were apparent to her through her gifts, both genetic and innate.

But she couldn't stay here in this office. The care that she would get from an adoptive family would never be able to replace the love and care of her mother. She would never be able to open herself up and let her shield down around strangers. They would never understand and accept her for what she was. Her own father had betrayed this sacred familial trust, and invaded her rights to not be tested and treated like a lab rat, at least that's what her mother had told her. But her father was long gone away from her, having disappeared and all but vanished from her life, taken away by the very government that was supposed to protect. Life had given her very few precious gifts, but almost all had been ripped away from her last night, what had been her ninth birthday. Poetically put, she had dreams of doing great things, but these were viciously murdered in a matter of minutes.

Letting go of the pendant she grasped, the girl slowly sat up and quietly took off the covers. Shivering slightly as the cold air of the room hit her still-frozen body, the girl stood up, careful to not draw the two people's attention. Her clothes were still muddy and soaked, the jeans shredded at the knees from the many times that she had tripped and fallen on the ice-covered ground last night.

Glancing over at the two figures, she slowly slithered towards the door out of the room, her back sliding quietly against the dreary white wall. Hastily turning to open the door and leave, the girl accidentally brushed against a stack of magazines lying on a table, knocking the entire pile onto the floor with a crash. The girl gasped as the police officer and the secretary turned around quickly and stared at her.

"Honey, could you please just sit down? We're trying to help you- it's a miracle that you're even alive," the secretary consoled, forcing herself to smile at the little girl. The girl froze, one hand still holding onto the door.

"Please, sweetie, you need help," the police officer pleaded. "Just sit back down."

Stepping backwards slowly, the girl just shook her head no, before quickly turning and running out of the office. The secretary yanked up the phone, and called security while the police officer ran towards the still open door. Standing in the doorway, he turned his head both ways before locating the girl already halfway down the hall and mixed into the bustling crowd of people. As the secretary approached the police officer from behind, the officer motioned for several nearby policemen to help him catch the girl. Setting down their coffee cups and donuts, they nodded their heads 'yes' and split up to cover more area faster.

Meanwhile, the girl had already reached the end of the hallway where it cornered. Pausing momentarily as she decided which way would be better to go, she looked back through the crowd of people to see if anyone was closing in on her. Seeing no one, she turned left and sprinted as fast as she could, pushing and shoving herself through the crowd, as the people she passed glared at her with awed annoyance.

The girl raced through a crammed corridor connecting the police station to the civic center, turning around slightly to check on her pursuers positions. Pain struck the side of her face and torso as she slammed into something and went crashing to the floor. Letting out a moan, the girl shook the pain from the collision out of her head, before placing her hands on the ground to stand back up.

"I apologize for that mishap, ma'am. Are you okay?" a male voice with a slight British accent asked her calmly as he crouched down and held out his hand to help her up.

~* I recognize that voice, somehow *~ the girl thought to herself, unable to recall from where she recognized it.

Looking up, the girl stared right into the man's gentle, sapphire blue eyes, a questioning glance on her face. The man's black suit had been ruffled from the collision and his dark blue tie hung awkwardly out of place.

~* Poor kid. Oddly enough, she looks similar to Adam's. *~ The man thought, perplexed at the resemblance. ~* But, it just couldn't be. Adam's daughter is, is dead. *~

Cautiously, the girl grabbed the man's firm hand and he helped her up. She smiled slightly, very faint happiness being portrayed on her face. Yet, the man felt as if she had just told him thank you, without even moving her lips. Blinking his eyes in shock, the man and the girl just stared at each other for several seconds.

"Hey! Hey, you over there!" a voice yelled from behind them, breaking their momentary silence. Startled, the girl came back to reality again and gasped in fear, while the man looked up to see who was yelling.

~* Please help me. *~ The girl pleaded telepathically, pain and desperation in her eyes. The sound of heavy footsteps behind her announced that the police officers were closing in on her. ~* Please, *~ she begged. Taken aback, the man just stood there staring at the girl in amazement.

Cold hands grabbed her roughly by the shoulders and dragged her back, away from the man.

"Let go of me," the girl screamed, kicking and swinging her arms to get away. A group of several officers surrounded her in a matter of moments, two police men restraining her forcibly and gagging her screams and cries for help. A small crowd of onlookers gathered quickly to stare, shocked at the violent scene that they were viewing. The man still stood across from her, silently staring.

"There's nothing to see people. Get a move on it. It's only a slight mishap here. Keep going with your business," a male voice yelled at the crowd. As the crowd of people dispersed, a police officer sauntered past the struggling girl. Giving up hope, the girl stopped struggling and just stood calmly.

"Sir, I wasn't expecting you to come by today," the officer inquired, holding out his gloved hand to shake and greet the other man.

"I am well aware of that, Howard. I am only here on "special" business today," the man replied, brushing aside the police officer's handshake gesture. "My partner is in need of information on one of our placements." The police officer smiled slyly, nodding his head slowly in understanding.

" Well, then go right ahead, Mason. We won't keep you waiting, doctor." Smiling briefly, Mason tidied up his jacket and tie and turned to go on his way. Passing the girl, he glanced at her quickly, before continuing on his way.

~* Sorry. Perhaps another day, *~ the man told her psionically. Staring at the man called Mason with large, confused eyes, her mouth agape not at what he had told her, but how. Maybe she wouldn't be completely alone in this world after all. Yet, no matter how hard she had tried to search her memories for that man, she could find nothing more than chaotic bits and pieces, but no certain identification.

Meanwhile, the police officer stood there calmly, smiling slightly as he watched Mason proceed down the long corridor. As the doctor rounded the corner and left his view, the officer paced slowly, while shaking his head slightly.

"And you, honey," growled Howard as he walked and roughly grabbed the girl by the chin, ripping her from her thoughts about the man quickly. "You should have just done what Will and Ms. Fernadette told you to. But now," he said pulling out hand cuffs and placing them on her small, frail wrists, "now, it's goin' be much harder for you." Locking the cuffs to a chain on his belt, Howard motioned for the two officers to back off. "I'll take of this from here."

The crowd of officers that had surrounded her quietly left, some in groups, some alone, and went back to what they were doing before, leaving only Howard and the girl.

"Walk. Now." Howard demanded, yanking her forwards. They quietly walked through the busy corridors, people staring at the girl with disgust and antipathy. Dragging her along, the girl drooped her head and stared at the ground ashamed, feeling dozens of eyes rip her feelings apart as if she had none at all. Howard soon stopped in front of a bleak government office. The girl looked up quietly to see where she had been taken.

~* "Juvenile Adoption and Social Services" *~ the girl read. She had a bad feeling of what was about to happen, but that didn't matter anymore. She was at the government's charity, their mercy, and she didn't like that. But for now, this is all she had. Her plan to escape and runaway from her sorrows had been blocked. She still couldn't stand the thought of being raised by someone other than her own mother; she paused solemnly.

~* Her mother, *~ the thought made her eyes twinkle with hidden tears, but she refused to cry, at least not in front of anyone. Calmly, she walked in to the office as Howard yanked her along and was sat her down on a large blue sofa, not to far from another girl. Howard hastily un- cuffed the girl before shuffling towards the main desk to inform the secretary of the situation. Turning to leave, Howard glared at the girl for several seconds, before shaking his head at her in disrespect. As Howard left the office, the secretary stood up, grabbing several file folders from off her desk, before walking over to the two girls.

"Stay here," the secretary sternly said, pouting a wrinkled, old woman frown. "And don't you even think of leaving, or else you'll surely get it bad this time. That goes for the both of ya, especially you Emma," the woman hissed at the two girls, while haughtily pointing a wrinkled finger at the older, brown-haired girl sitting at the far end of the sofa with a backpack beside her. The shrieked words tore into the younger girl's ear, frightening her some, while the other girl simply shrugged her shoulders.

"Whatever," Emma retorted, chewing her gum in the most annoying way possibly simply to offend the old secretary all that she could. The secretary snorted, and waddled her way out of the office. "Hag," Emma whispered slyly, as the office door closed and the secretary left. Laughing, Emma reached into her black pants pocket and took out a piece of paper, tearing it quickly into small pieces.

"What are you doing?" the younger girl asked, staring at the other girl in amazement as she spit out her gum and stuck it beneath the sofa cushion.

"None of your damn, freakin' business," Emma paused, "Unless, of course, you'd like to help me?" she finished, standing up and sticking several of the pieces of paper in her mouth to chew. Emma stood waiting patiently for the other girl to answer, her hands resting on her hips as she viciously chewed on the paper pieces. The other girl sat and stared at Emma with wide, frightened eyes, scanning her gothic appearance and then mind for something that she couldn't quite grasp, but knew it was there.

"Hey, get the hell outta my mind. No one gave you the right to be there, you, you freak!" Emma yelled at the other girl, before frowning after she realized what she had said. Stunned, she stopped chewing the spitball in her mouth and walked over and sat down next to the other girl.

"You can do that, too; go into other people's minds?" Emma asked calmly, her already pale face almost turned white with fear, as she suddenly realized after all her years, that she was not the only screwed up freak of nature. The other girl nodded her head slightly in reply. A flood of questions that she wanted to ask rushed through Emma's mind.

"What, I don't," Emma stuttered, shaking her head in disbelief as she stood back up, distressed. "What is even your name?" she incoherently blurted out, throwing her hands up in annoyance. The other girl stayed quiet, swallowing slowly before opening her mouth to answer.

"Emmalee," she whispered.

"What?!" Emma gasped, having not completely heard what was said.

"Emmalee," the girl said calmly. "Emmalee Gereshkov, if you really have to know!" she blurted out even louder.

"Okay, okay, I heard you. But why the hell are you HERE!?" Emmalee sat quietly for several seconds, holding tightly onto the pain she felt. The look on Emma's face suddenly contorted into a sorrowful glance, as she easily picked up what had happened.

"Your mom died last night- like that?" Emma shuddered at the other girl's memories. A small tear trickled down Emmalee's cheek, as she looked up at Emma with bulgy, watery eyes. Sitting down, Emma put a comforting arm around Emmalee's shoulders, trying her best to comfort to comfort the younger girl.

"Hey, don't feel bad. I've lived in orphanages and foster homes as far as I can remember. I don't even know what my real parents look like, or even who they are. Although, one of my first foster parents said something about them being two hippie college students," Emma murmured, her voice winding down to almost a whisper as she talked on. "But that doesn't matter, does it? Whatever, you're too little to understand anyways," Emma came back stronger, standing up and walking back over to her backpack lying on the floor.

"I am not little or inexperienced! I may only be 9, but do not underestimate me. It will prove to be your fatal error," Emmalee yelled, angered at the other girl's rude and unnecessary comment. Emma smirked and let out a wicked laugh.

"Whatever, honey. I'm 11- that's a whole 2 years older than you. Two years more of experience with life, and a hell of a lot more on dealing with orphanages and foster homes and reality in general, and let me tell you, if you ever get the chance to get outta the whole system, take it! As for me, my chance to leave all of the abusive and violent nightmares behind me is now, and I'm taking it, whether you care or not!" Emma hissed turning around to face the wall, while ripping off her preppy pink shirt and black pants, and putting on some black baggy jeans, black army boots, a black t- shirt, a hex necklace, and some bracelets. Emmalee stared at the older girl in shock, unsure of what to do.

"Don't you even look at me, ya little pervert!" Emma complained, while roughing up her stringy, brown hair. "I'm outta her. Gotta make it on my own someday, somehow, and now seems just a good a time as any other, so hellions be, I'm leaving!" Throwing her old clothes into her backpack and zipping it, Emma grabbed it and threw it over her shoulder, pausing for a moment in front of Emmalee.

"Do you want to come with me, or not? I don't care either way, just you seem like such a nice girl to have to go through what I have. So, you in?" Emma questioned, Emmalee still sitting quietly and staring. She didn't want to be in an orphanage or foster home, but nor did she want to be on the street again, like she had been last night. And how much trouble would she be in if she got caught by the police again. That secretary seemed serious about the severe punishment that she talked of. Dilemma set in.

"Whatever, I can't wait for you to decide whether Rome should fall or not. I'm Audi," Emma replied, walking towards the door and waving bye jauntily.

"No, you can't leave!" Emmalee yelled, jumping out of her chair and grabbing Emma's arm, trying desperately to pull her back.

"Get off of me, fagot!" Emma hissed, slapping Emmalee across the face with her other arm.

"Oww!" Emmalee cried as blood began dripping from her nose. More determined, Emmalee grabbed again even harder, psionically telling Emma to stop all movement. Emma freezes and stiffens up, a look of pain on her face, before she falls to the floor with a thump. In shock, Emmalee covers her mouth and gasps, terrified at what she sees.

Bending over, Emmalee stares at the other girl, realizing that she is not breathing. Desperately, she checks for a pulse; there is none.

~*Oh my goddess, I, I've k, killed her?! *~ Squatting beside the dead girl, Emmalee looked around the room for several seconds, petrified as to how she was going to get herself out of this mess. And then, a thought hit her.

Emmalee knew that she could touch someone and take their thoughts, and sometimes, if she tried hard enough, their memories as well. She also knew how to alter her form, one of the Wiccan skills that her loving mother had taught her not so long ago. She didn't have much time now to think of anything else, or she would run the risk of being caught.

Touching the dead girl's cheek, Emmalee closed her eyes, soaking up Emma's thoughts and memories, letting them find a place within hers. Having organized the received memories, she stood up, raising her hands to slightly below her shoulders, parallel to the deceased girl's body on the floor. Casting the well-memorized spell, a light wind encircled the two girls, blowing several papers onto the floor. Closing her eyes, a blinding light illuminated the room, completing the transformation. Emmalee fell to the floor beside the deceased girl, breathing irregularly and coughing as she grasped the feeling of her new body.

Emmalee sat up slowly, staring at her new hands, arms, and legs with awe.

~* This is very cool, *~ she thought happily, standing up, and take a few clumsy steps as she adjusted to her longer legs, stopping and crouching down in front of the dead Emma. Emmalee slowly pulled off the other girl's backpack and set it on the ground beside her.

"Sorry Emma, but, I had to," Emmalee whispered, staring into oblivion as she twisted the other girl's stringy hair in her fingers before standing up again.

"Don't you see, you'll be happier with things this way? As for me, my destiny is still to be decided. The prophecy must be fulfilled as stated," she bluntly stated, her eyes glowing white before being overtaken by darkness.

~* Footsteps, two people, coming quickly, *~ she sensed, tilting her head slightly. ~* The cemetery will do.*~ Bending down again, her eyes still black, Emmalee placed her hand over the girl's chest, teleporting her body away from there within seconds. Grabbing the backpack, she ported over to the chair where Emma had been sitting, her eyes changing to her new normal state- deep blue. Emmalee sat the bag down beside her, before kicking her long legs out and slouching down on the soft, warm couch, waiting for destiny to bring her newest fate. The office door near her opened slowly.

"She's right in here. You must make sure to watch her more carefully next time, or else the courts will most definitely get in," the secretary's voice trailed off as she held open the door for the other person, noticing that one of the girl's was gone.

"Where is she!? Emma, where's the other girl?" the secretary demanded, pounding over to intimidate Emmalee.

"How should I know? She could be anywheres by now," Emmalee answered, smirking slightly. The secretary scrunched up her face in anger before waddling back to her desk and picking up her phone to call security. Giggling quietly, Emmalee finally took notice of the man standing quietly in the doorway watching the scene unfold inside the office.

"Emma, we've been looking all over for you!" the man hastily said, rushing over to hug the girl sitting on the sofa. "Thank goodness the security guards saw you at the mall," he finished, hidden sarcasm in his voice, as he grabbed Emmalee and lifted her up and spun her around in a circle. Emmalee stared at the tall, brawny, dark-haired man with a look of embarrassment as he sat her back down.

"Thanks, I guess," Emmalee managed to say quietly, rolling her eyes without much certainty of the situation that she'd gotten herself into. Grabbing the book bag sitting beside Emmalee, the man walked up to the secretary, who was already busy working at her desk again.

"Thank you so much. I really appreciate your hard work in helping find my foster daughter."

"Oh, Mr. DeLauro, you needn't flatter me. I'm just a secretary here. Just watch her more carefully next time. I'd hate to see her be put into an institution," the secretary replied, chuckling to herself.

"No, no, really, thank you Lara," he replied patting her lightly on the back. "And what do you have to say for yourself, Emma?" the man asked, turning towards the quiet girl on the sofa. Startled, Emmalee stood up and walked over submissively.

"I'm sorry," Emmalee said, staring at the floor as she pretended to be ashamed.

"Good job, Emma," Mr. DeLauro replied, pinching Emmalee's butt, before walking towards the door out. Emmalee's eyes shot wide as she immediately felt uncomfortable. Standing there momentarily, Emmalee thought over her situation.

She was glad to have somewhere to go home to tonight, but she had taken Emma's life, literally, to get it. No one seemed to notice that she was not the real Emma. And although she now knew all about Emma's past, she did not agree with everything that Emma had done, nor did she want to take responsibility for what the other girl had done.

"Lara, I'm tired of running," Emmalee whispered, staring straight into the secretary's eyes. Lara just laughed.

"Why don't you hurry up and catch up with your father in the hallway, Emma. He's probably impatient to finally get you home safely, again." Lara laughed again, as Emmalee's anger grew. Outraged, Emmalee grabbed Lara by the shoulder, her eyes turning a mix of light and dark as internal forces battled for control over her soul.

"I HAVE changed. You will never see me in here again," Emma grunted out angrily, throwing Lara back into her chair. The old secretary gasped for breath and looked around the room shocked, as Emmalee hurried out of the room, smirking. ^^^ End Emma's Flashback ^^^

As the tear reached her chin, Emma blinked her eyes and shook her head slightly, changing her train of thoughts back to the present situation. Quickly, she cleaned off the other half of her face, rinsing the cloth, and then finished cleaning off her hair, arms and legs, sending the blood and plaster dust along with the painful memory down the sink, hiding the pain deep within her mind. Wringing out the towel, now stained and dirty, she threw it into the hamper. Heading back over to the cabinet, she got another towel out and quickly dried herself off. Once finished, Emma held the towel and concentrated, telekinetically tossing the dirty and wet towel into the hamper. Smiling when the towel made it into the hamper without much effort, Emma turned back towards the stairs, this time passing by the mirror-like glass and heading down the stairs to get changed into more appropriate clothes.

_______________________________________________

I'm all mixed up, feeling so rushed. They say it's my fault, but I want her so much. Covers on my face, will she feel the shame? But she's feeling for me, what I'm feeling for her. Yeah, I can try to pretend, I can try to forget. But it's driving me mad, going out of my head. -t.A.T.u.

The tingling smell of fire twisted through the room, waking Shalimar from her unconscious slumber. Opening her eyes and lifting her head from her chest, she looked around the dark and eerie room where she was being held captive. In front of her was a square oak table, covered with various plates of steaming food. The centerpiece was a tall, gold candle, the pungent smoke from its' small flame curling through the air.

Intently, Shalimar stared at the quivering yellow-orange flame for several minutes, captivated by the fire's unpredictability. Turning her attention to all of the food that had been placed before her- barbecued chicken and luscious ribs, medium rare grilled T-bone steaks and marinated shrimps- she licked her lips slowly, savoring the smells.

~* Meeeaatt *~ she relished the thought, plotting on what to eat first. Shalimar was starving; she hadn't eaten anything since she and Brennan had left Sanctuary the afternoon before. Deciding on the T-bone steaks, Shalimar leaned forward and shot out her hand to grab the nearest steak. But right as she was about to yank up and devour the steak, her hand froze. Yanking and twisting, Shalimar tried to move her arm towards the food, but every time it was stopped. Pain radiated through her wrist, causing her to look down and realize that several cords bonded her wrists and ankles to the chair that she was sitting in.

Shalimar struggled to loosen the chains and frayed metal cable from her wrists and ankles. The cable easily sliced through her skin, dark red, almost black blood seeping from the incisions. She twisted her shoulders and shook the chair desperately, giving up with a scream and cringing in pain. Her head had started hurting violently, the pain throbbing against her skull. Closing her eyes, Shalimar stopped moving and just laid her head on the edge of the table.

~* Something is wrong with me- very wrong. My feral side should have kicked in by now and gotten me out of this, this trap. *~ Shalimar thought to herself, grimacing every time the pain emanated from her head. Hearing a creak, Shalimar looked up, trying to focus on who came into the room. Struggling, she managed to flash her eyes orange, her feral side finally activating. Tilting her head slightly sideways and listening very carefully, she took several shallow breaths, analyzing the smells and infrared image she saw.

"Gabriel," she whispered under her breath.

"Yes Shalimar, it's me," Gabriel answered, walking slowly into the candlelight. He paused and stared at Shalimar for several seconds, hands resting on the chair that was placed directly across from Shalimar. Frowning, Shalimar glared at him, wincing as her head started to hurt again.

"Is your head okay?" Gabriel asked, trying very hard to sound sympathetic.

"What do you think?" Shalimar hissed back at him, unwilling to let Gabe show her any kindness.

"I'm really sorry about what I did to you, but you understand the rage that ferals can feel."

"You're not a feral, you're a,.. a monster!" Shalimar interrupted, her own rage growing. Flashing his eyes bright orange, Gabriel was outraged at the comment and was ready to use the energy blast bouncing at his fingertips. But staring at those fiery orange eyes that were glaring at him with fear, he could not hurt, again, the one he loved so much. Closing his hand into a fist and dissipating the energy, Gabriel instead pulled out the chair and sat down.

"It's not good to eat on an angry stomach," he replied to her. Shalimar stopped flashing her eyes and stared at him confused, her brown eyes twinkling in the dim candlelight. "What would you like to eat?" he asked, smiling kindly at her. Shalimar sat silently, stunned at Gabriel's change in character. Opening her mouth to reply, a T-bone steak floated over to the plate in front of her. The knife and fork on the napkin beside her rose up, cutting the steak for her, as Gabriel sat across from her, cutting himself a piece of steak with his own hands and eating it. As the knife and fork lay back down in their previous places, Shalimar still sat stunned and confused. Picking up one piece of meat cautiously, she sniffed it.

"It's okay. I had this whole table prepared especially for us," Gabriel told her, hesitating when he noticed that Shalimar had already devoured half of the steak, having barely chewed at all. For several seconds Gabriel sat staring at her, holding his fork by his mouth in astonishment. Pausing, Shalimar looked up, deep brown eyes quivering with slight embarrassment. She slowly swallowed the piece that she had just shoved into her mouth.

"There's some more if," Gabriel started to say, laughing slightly as Shalimar quickly licked her lips clean. Biting the meat that was still on his fork, Gabriel smiled contently.

~* If she would only know how much I really love her, *~ Gabe thought quietly to himself, staring at Shalimar as she blushed, hiding her eyes from him.

"Shalimar, baby, do you like the décor?" Gabe asked her, motioning to cheetah and leopard prints that were scattered throughout the room. Shalimar looked up sheepishly, staring off into the darkness at the varied decorations. Having drawn her attention, Gabriel continued without giving her much of a chance to reply.

"I had it arranged with just you in mind." Shalimar glanced at him, smirking with surprise, while Gabe quickly scanned her reaction.

"I knew that you would love it just as much as you love me," Gabe finished, grinning at his success. Shalimar's head jumped up at the remark, her eyes wide, first with shock, then anger.

"I don't like you!" she practically yelled.

"Shalimar, you know that you can't fight it anymore. You can't hide your feelings from me- I read you like a book. I can feel the attraction between the two of us." Gabe paused speaking for a moment, glimpsing at Shalimar as she bent forward on the table grasping her head and shaking it violently.

~* No, no, no, NO! *~ Shalimar screamed in her head, trying to control the emotional and hormonal struggle taking place in her mind. The two parts of her were in evolutionary flux. She felt part of her human side slipping away into obscurity, lost to the depths of her ever-changing spliced structure. Gabe walked over and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"I know you feel the same way," he bent over and whispered in her ear, kissing her cheek softly.

"Leave me alone!" Shalimar exploded, breaking her psychosomatic and chaotic silence. Gabe walked slowly to the other side of the table, shaking his head in dismay.

"I understand," he whispered sullenly. "But you do know that we are all fated the same, us mutants." Shalimar froze in the midst of her anger, uncertain of what Gabe was talking about.

"Adam, hasn't told you anything, has he? That son of a.. All of us, feral, molecular, psionic, we're all destined the same short, miserable lives. He's mentioned nothing of this to you?" Gabe was growing both angry and astounded at the lies that his love was being told.

"But Adam would have told us before if it were something this important," Shalimar retorted, angered that Gabe would question one of the few people Shalimar had trusted over the years.

"There's a lot about Adam and his past that you don't know, and I'm certain that he hasn't told you. There more to him than meets the eye, and extrasensory vision either."

"You're lying. Adam would never keep secrets from us. He wants to help us mutants." Gabe burst out laughing at the last comment.

"Help! Help! How do you call podding me help! How do you call the invention of sub dermal governors help?! Don't you ever wonder why you never hear again from those mutants that you put into the Underground? Didn't you find it odd that your team all mutated right around the same time? Haven't you ever questioned why Adam almost never comes out to help fight his own battles? Don't you see that all Adam has told you are a bunch of well-constructed lies, everything but the real truth?" Gabe's face had turned violently red throughout his little speech, as he finally realized how ignorant and trusting of fake lies the one he loved really was.

~* Oh my gosh, he's, he's right. All of this time, I've fallen for one big lie after another. *~ Shalimar trembled at the thought, shaking her head in defiance of the truth. Her emotions raged uncontrollably, the two parts of her profusely battling to keep control over her conscious state.

"Shalimar!" Gabe yelled, as tears randomly trickled down Shalimar's cheeks. "Don't you ever think about the inconsistencies between what Adam has told you and reality? He's betrayed so many people during his lifetime with his deceit and hidden agendas, even his own family at one time. But god, do I ever believe that he has betrayed you and your teammates the worst." Gabe stopped speaking as Shalimar burst out crying, throwing her head and fists against the table in an outright rage as it became apparent to her that the paradigm she had constructed in her head had been shifted, the truth awakening her from her surreal reality. Gabe stood there and calmly watched as Shalimar threw a wild tantrum, her wrists and ankles being cut over and over again by the chains that held her in his presence. Bruises soon appeared on her face and arms from the constant pounding on the table, a piece of shattered glass slashing her forehead as her outburst raged on. But still Gabe stood calmly watching as Shalimar fought herself.

"Gabe," a familiar voice whispered from the darkness behind him. He felt a slight gust as a presence arrive next to him.

"Gabe, what have you done here?" the woman questioned faintly.

"Veritas. It must be known."

"But not quite yet. The prophecy must be carried out as stated." And at that, the woman apparently glided forward into the light, casting out her hands and silently whispering several incoherent words. Shalimar froze and slumped forward, her eyes glazed open, as the room became quiet. The darkly dressed woman walked over to where Shalimar was laying.

"Patience is by far the most noteworthy virtue, my dear friend. Truth takes time," the woman bluntly stated, her dark red curls slipping over her face as she bent forward to take Shalimar out of the chains.

"What are you suggesting?" Gabe finally spoke up.

"Wait and see. But for now, assistance in moving your love back to her cell would be gratefully appreciated." Grudgingly, Gabe stepped forward, floating the unconscious Shalimar over to his arms. Staring down at his love, Gabe softly kissed her cheek, bloody from self-inflicted wounds. His love for Shalimar could not be hidden. "A good spirit can do many things, and faith alone is strong enough to make wishes come true," the woman psionically told him. Gabe smiled slightly as he walked through the darkness and to the doorway.

"Thank you, Eva."

A/N: That's it for now. I hope you liked it. Reviews are welcome at your own free will.

* Veritas means "truth".