Duplicity

By Divamercury

Okay, I still have loyal fans, I see, and I can't thank you enough for waking me from my stupor. I'm in college now and all kinds of stuff has been going on that has pulled me away from this fandom. I had this bit written and I want to give you all a fix because I realize my cliffhanger was cruel. This also has some humor in it, I hope. ;) Eternal thanks to Angel452 for shaking me awake, as well as to any other reviewer who took the time to tell me they wanted more of this story. This might be the last post for a little while (hopefully less time than previously) but I want to watch all my Witchblade tapes and reread all my work before continuing. So, enjoy this! Thanks so much!

DM

Chapter 21

"Holy shit! Who could that be?" Acacia said.

"Relax, it's probably just some delivery person," I said. "They should just leave the package and go."

Naturally, the person knocked again and no one listened to me. Acacia's sword materialized in her hand—I had no idea where it was—and Leo's bow was at the ready. Both stepped in front of Sara, who rolled her eyes. I was jut hoping they weren't overreacting. I went to see who was at the door.

Unfortunately, there was reason to worry. Of course it wasn't a delivery person. It was Raven.

I stood there in the doorway, frozen in shock. 'Why didn't I get a damned peephole?'

"What's the matter, Mac, unhappy to see me?" she quipped.

"Um, I just didn't expect you, that's all. Why didn't you call?" I asked, reluctant to let her in. I still wasn't sure of her mental state.

Raven just swept past me and kept going…straight into the kitchen. When I caught up with her she said, "Because I knew Sara was here. If I called, you could have moved her or hidden her away somewhere. Hey, Sara," she said with a casual wave, not phased in the least by the menacing siblings before her. "Who's the blonde?" she asked, sitting on one of the bar stools, looking at all of us. She all of a sudden burst out laughing.

"What?" I wanted to know.

Between bursts of laughter, she managed to get out, "You guys—look—so funny." She calmed down and continued, "Sorry, but you're looking at me like I'm some kind of baddie. Snake Lady is the enemy, right?"

Acacia and Leo exchanged looks and mouthed, "Snake Lady?"

"Adair," Raven clarified.

"Oh," I said.

"Hey, do you have any waffles?" Raven wanted to know. I haven't had breakfast.

"Sorry. I've got Pop-Tarts in the pantry, though," I said, and she immediately scurried off to grab one.

"Oooooh! The Brown Sugar Cinnamon kind!"

The four of us exchanged confused looks.

After Raven returned in a few minutes with her prize, I asked, "Um, Raven, what are you doing here?"

"I just wanted to check on Sara." She examined the looks on our faces, and then something must have clicked. "Don't worry, I'm not insane anymore…well, not as much," she said with a wicked grin. "I was just going through a difficult time and my brain didn't want to handle it all. But I'm fine, I swear." I'm sure we didn't look at all convinced, so she continued, "If I came here hellbent on doing something destructive, your townhouse would be rubble by now."

That reassured us…basically.

"How did you know I was here?" Sara asked, finally speaking.

Raven chuckled. "Mac, did you really think that your little barrier was going to stop me? Well, it did slow me down a little, but after narrowing it down a little, it was clear that she would come here. Listen, Sara, Ian's worried about you."

"I don't see why," Sara said.

Raven buried her face in her hands. "Oh, dear God, I forgot that he didn't tell you. He probably thought that you'd freak out. Well, you probably will. Mac, do you have a chair with restraints on it? I really don't want Sara to kill the messenger."

"Sorry, I'm fresh out," I said. "Maybe if we make her promise to be good, then she'll honor it."

"Well, how 'bout it, Sara?" Raven asked.

"How bad is it?" Sara wanted to know.

"Pretty bad."

"I'll try my best to behave. Spill."

"Okay…Sara, there's more than one Ian."

"WHAT?" I exclaimed.

"Calm down and let me finish. Irons cloned him once, but it backfired and he was kept asleep until the day that, heaven forbid, he would be needed. I bet that Irons's pet doctor, Dr. Immo, figured out how to twist his personality around to make him more stable."

"Stable! He shot a guy right in front of me! Hell, he tried to shoot me!"

"That's more stable than he was before. Before…when he had just completed his training, he went on a rampage just because he could. Ian had to stop him…and the sleeper nearly killed him. But he was captured and kept asleep until now. Adair probably ordered him awake to confuse and probably kill you, Sara. So I've come to offer my services."

"How?" Mac asked. "What can you do?"

"At this point, I'm the only one who can tell the two of them apart."