(A.N.)---this fic is not even funny.  just weird.  O_o  but the image wouldn't leave me alone until i wrote it down.  Once written, i figured, hey, why not post?  not really comedy, just some random silliness. 

Disclaimers: all standard ones apply.  blah blah blah.

Spoilers: er, not really.  i kind of think of it taking place between second season eps. "Nailed" and "Lagrimas", but tentatively.  

All feedback/comments are much appreciated!  Thanks! ^_^

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Like Taking Candy from a Baby

Sara had started the day in uncharacteristic cheerfulness, but two hours later had cured her of it.  She had gone through her pathetically small list of phone numbers in search of a companion to share her good spirits, but it was of no use.  It seemed everybody was busy with a life she didn't have.

"It's your fault, you know," she muttered to the bracelet that was deceptively quiet on her wrist.  She shoved her hands dejectedly into her coat pockets and wondered what she had hoped to gain by walking those three blocks to the coffee shoppe when she a functioning bike.  Oh well, this is more the speed of my mood anyway.

She was nursing a wounded sense of self-worth from how easily each and every one of her friends (all four of them) had brushed her off.  Even Gabe, who had previously never failed to make time for her, was suddenly too busy.  She was beginning to really feel the distance between her and the people she felt closest to.  Especially Danny.  Danny who looked at her now as if he were trying to unravel some tangled thread.  She'd tell him what he wanted to know, tell him all---if only she could be certain the knowledge wouldn't bring him harm.

Tilting her head, Sara stopped abruptly in her brooding and her walk.  A sigh escaped her lips before she could suppress it.  Not that she would bother. 

"Hey Nottingham."

There was silence, then, "You felt me?"

"No."

"The Witchblade warned you?"

"No."

"Then...how?"

Sara couldn't help the little smile that came as a result of the carefully veiled puzzlement in his voice.  She thought about leaving him to wonder, as he seemed so inclined to do with her, or making some disparaging comment about his skills as a stalker.  Then just dropped it all for the truth. 

Nodding at the tinted windows of the car beside her, she said, "I saw your reflection."  Or most of it, since all the black he wore tended to blend and give him the appearance of a disembodied head floating behind her.  As if he wasn't creepy enough all on his own.  

Clearing all traces of amusement from her face and pulling her aloofness tighter around her, she turned fully to him.  "What is it now, or were just going to be stalking me today?"  To her amazement he didn't even flinch at the bite in her words.  He must be growing accustomed.  Note to self: kick the resentment up a notch.

"You seemed lonely," he whispered against her bitterness.

"Yeah, well, wielding a sentient weapon that everyone seems to want can be..." she paused a moment to search for a word and latched onto the first one that came to mind.  "Isolating."

"Power breeds isolation, Sara."

Oh goody, she thought, fortune cookies on the menu for today!  Of course, what he said made perfect sense to her, but she wasn't about to let him know that.  Mustn't encourage.

"You think I asked for this, Nottingham?"

"There is no need to ask for what one already possesses.  Sara, the Witchblade is your destiny; you must accept it.  Only then will you know any measure of peace."

"Peace?  I'd be happy with just a little sleep at night.  Or a case that is straightforward homicide."

"To wield the Witchblade one must learn to control it.  To control the Witchblade one must learn to control themselves."

"Oh, now I'm out of control," she said, putting her hand to her head, rubbing back in forth in an almost conciliatory motion.  Deep breath, deep breath.  1, 2...not gonna work.

"You know what," she began, lifting her head to him.  Or empty space that was him.  These were the moments that she often wondered if he wasn't just a figment of her sleep-deprived mind.  Even though she knew better.  Mainly because she couldn't deal with not knowing better.  She sighed and resigned herself to coffee, or perhaps something stronger...

Movement, albeit slight, caught her already divided attention.  A flicker on the very edge of her sight.  Looking the car over, she did not see it again, or anything out of place.  Oh, wait a minute.  Not her imagination.  She very quietly took those last couple of steps and leaned against the hood.

"Tag, you're it."

Nothing, but she was in a patient mood.  A few moments passed before she saw a curl of ebony-brown, then two dark eyes peer cautiously over the hood from the opposite side.  Seeing her, they swiftly ducked back down out of sight.  There was a soft sound that might have been a curse, then Ian straightened in one graceful motion.  He gave her a big dose of innocent brown eyes.

"I was---"

"Hiding," she provided.  So he doesn't just go *poof* into thin air.  How comforting.

"No.  I...uh.." He threw his eyes around him a second, she supposed for inspiration.  "I found a quarter.  And---thought I should pick it up."

"A quarter, hmm?" she commented, looking the ground over without really seeing it.  All of her awareness was focused on observing him outside his comfort-zone.  Such a peculiar sight.  "So, where's it at, Mr. Smooth?"

"Um..."

Sara smiled to herself as he reached into his pockets, producing first a couple hundred dollar bills, and then a Batman Pez dispenser.  But no quarter.

Her eyes wide, Sara gingerly plucked up the Pez dispenser, and held it up so she and Ian, both, could get a good look at it.

"And what is this?"

Ian hastily shoved the money back in his pocket, leaving his hand there.  "I saw it on The Pretender."

"The Pretender," she repeated blandly.  Stared at him, stared at the candy, stared at him.  "I find the fact that you eat Pez very disturbing, Nottingham."  Sara shook her head on the temptation to elaborate and simply walked away.  The dispenser still firmly in her grasp.

"Hey," Ian called when Sara was a good three cars away, popping tiny rectangles of sugar into her mouth.  "You took my Pez."

She didn't turn, kept up her brisk pace and called back, "You want it, Nottingham?  Come and get it."