-:- Subject 13's Butler -:-
.:A Kuroshitsuji Fan Fiction:.

Author: AoUsagi

Summary: Ciel takes the leap into Oblivion, only to wake into a strange white-washed world of beeping machines and white-coats doctors. The only thing that seems real is Sebastian, who steals him away from the hellhole laboratory to save him from the sick sake of science.


*takes deep breath*

wait no hear me out yo.

URGH. Life is so time consuming and so energy sapping that by the end of the day or at any point where I have the time to write I simply have no motivation. So I normally just sit on tumblr or even –god forbid – go outside and practice parkour.

You heard me right, my little dumplings – Mercy Antebellum is learning parkour and free running; taking tutorials from Ronnie Shalvis (pro parkour and free runner athlete, stuntsman and all round awesome dude), and soon I'll be joining the local parkour association. Woo! Normally I hiss and spit and scratch at anyone who even suggests physical activity, but I'm actually really into this. Hope it works out well and I don't die before this story gets finished.

On a slightly similar note, as I've mentioned before I've been getting into Assassin's Creed way too much lately and have even started writing a fic – if ANY of you are into Assassin's Creed, and want to give my fanfic a go, PLEASE OH PLEASE go and give it a read; I really need some feedback on it because at the moment it's only on chapter one, and if no one shows any interest in it then I'll be taking it down and scrapping it from .

So please, if anyone's interested, Honour Amongst Assassin's is up on my page – please give it a read and review if you've got the time and/or it sounds of interest to you.


- Mercy

for some reason, I really like the notion of Lizzie and Ciel getting to meet each other for real in the real world again. They've both got such mixed up memories of each other, but Ciel would probably feel he has some sort of responsibility for her. I don't know. Lizzie to me is one of the strongest female character's I've ever read, even if she is one of the most annoying.

Chapter Forty-Four: Fragments of Change


The birds were singing – that was the first thing that brought her to consciousness. Then, she could hear voices. Hushed, but speaking right outside her room. Who was out there at this hour? The sun was barely up but the first streaks of sunlight were beginning to peek through the large oak trees that lined the manor house driveway.

Elizabeth Ethel Cordelia Midford stretched and yawned, shuffling herself upright in bed. The air was a little chilly; the late summer mornings were starting to feel the edges of early autumn, but the days usually warmed up in stubborn resistance to the season change.


No, it wasn't her mother's voice. Francis Midford was currently away visiting her parents out in Leeds – it was Elizbeth's father that had remained home with her; her brother had accompanied her mother. Yes. That was right.

Then who...?

Stifling another yawn, Elizabeth strained her ears to hear more clearly. It sounded like...


There was silence, and then a knock. She called for the caller to enter. In stepped her faithful maid.

"Miss? Did we wake you?" the brunette maid asked, peering in around the doorframe.

"Mmm-" Elizabeth stretched again, her arms up over her head and flexing her fingers towards the top of the bed canopy. "No – who're you talking to?"

Paula paused, her shoulders tense – still drowsy from sleep, Lizzie barely noticed; but what she did notice was how Paula seemed to inch backwards, her eyes flickering off the one side as if trying to glance back out the door.

"No one, m'lady. I was...talking to myself, heheh," Paula stammered, and Lizzie blinked.

"You've been doing that an awful lot lately, Paula," she yawned, before slipping out of bed, her night gown long and gathering around her knees. Paula stepped into the room and closed the door behind her, going to the drawers and pulling out a pair of lacy white stockings, placing them on the edge of the bed.

"I know, my lady – I'm very sorry." She replied, taking up a hairbrush from the dressing table and beckoning Lizzie over. Elizabeth ran a hand through her tangle of long, loose curls, sliding onto the leather seat in front of her maid as the brunette took up a handful of the golden hair and began to gently brush through it.

Lizzie gazed out the window, feeling the last dregs of sleep starting to leave her foggy mind as she gained more clarity of consciousness. "It's okay…" she murmured, her mind already wandering. Paula seemed to be doing it more and more lately; ever since Ciel had died. Elizabeth still thought of him, every day. Every day, she found herself staring off into the distance, wondering how the future might have been different if he had lived. Why had he died? How had it happened? All the Midford household had received was a small gift from the Phantomhive household, announcing Ciel's death and inviting the entire family to the funeral.

There was no viewing of the body before or after the ceremony.

In way, Lizzie was glad that she didn't see her beloved cousin's body in death; the last memories she had of him were on that day she'd visited the manor after he'd returned from some surprise trip away – she had been itching to see him all week, but every time she'd sent a footman to the Phantomhive manor, they'd come back with words from the other servants that he had not yet come home. When finally word had arrived of Ciel's return, she'd immediately headed over. She didn't know why, but for some reason or another, she had been desperate to see him. Something wasn't right, and something stayed not right that entire day. Ciel had been wearing black – he never wore black, unless he was attending a funeral. His clothes were usually drab and dark in colour, but they were still classy and fashionable; he was a noble, so of course he would only wear the highest of fashion and finery.

And after that day, she had not seen him again. He had waved her off as she had boarded her carriage home, smiling and bidding her farewell, but Elizabeth had not expected that to be their last farewell.

But somehow, she was so glad that she hadn't seen Ciel again. When she thought about it deeply, she began to realize that she could not have beared to see his face, peaceful in death. She wanted to remember him as alive, always alive-

"Ma'am? Oh, my lady! Whatever's the matter?!"

She was yanked from her train of thought as Paula's distraught voice brought her back down to earth.

"Huh?" she quickly scrubbed a hand across her face on impulse – as she assumed, her nightgown's sleeve came away damp with tear spots. She hadn't even felt the tears streaking down her face; they had just sort of…happened.

"Nothing, nothing." She mumbled, and the maid backed off. She was so glad that Paula understood her well enough to know when to not question her further. She knew that Paula would comfort her, but she wouldn't press for more details. The loyal maid had learnt her lesson on how and when to push for answers.

"Let's…let's pick out something really lovely for today, shall we?" Paula asked, desperate to lighten the mood. Lizzie sniffled back any last stray tears as Paula finished pinned and tying up her hair into two long curling pigtails before heading over to the closet. The maid busied herself with rifling through all manner of outfits full of lace and frills and colour, before Lizzie sighed.

"Maybe just the white one, Paula."

Paula turned. "T-the white one…?"

"Yes." She pointed to one particular dress that had been tucked away into the back of the closet, mostly covered by the others – only the edge of the collar was visible over the top of the other frocks and skirts. "That one."

The maid paused, before nodding and shuffling the other garments aside to retrieve the dress. It was crumpled, obviously having been hurriedly put back onto the hanger and shoved into the far recesses of the closet to be promptly forgotten. Paula tried to smooth out as many of the bigger creases as she could as she laid it flat on the bed.

"Oh my…I'll have to iron these out, I think…" she glanced dubiously as Lizzie, who shrugged.

"All right."

"It'll take time, my lady."

"I know." Lizzie frowned. "I'll go down to breakfast whilst you iron it."

Paula glanced down at her bare feet and shins. "B-but, we'll have to find you something else to wear in the meanti-"

"This'll do," Lizzie brushed herself down, before looking Paula right in the eye. "I'll see you after breakfast, Paula."

And with that, she left. She strode past Paula, keeping her shoulders squared and her chin high, just like her mother had taught her. She'd been taught how to be a strong woman, capable of protecting her beloved family and, likewise, her husband.

Ciel had died before their vows were said, but she remembered a time where she had been strong enough to protect him. Once, when he hadn't been able to be the hero, she had to be the heroine. It wasn't cute, it wasn't pretty, and she had felt so, so ashamed of herself, having to show that side of herself in front of him. But he hadn't hated her for it. He had held her tightly afterwards, once they'd returned home, when they'd shared tea and scones, and she had tried so hard apologise. But he had gotten up from his armchair, stepped over to her, and knelt in front of her, taking her hands in his, and told her that he didn't think she was a monster because she was strong and had been stronger than him. He thought she was brave and beautiful.

That's what he'd said, and she had never forgotten it.

The other maids and staff of the manor sent her strange looks as she strode barefoot down the hallways and took the stairs in her nightgown; she heard them whispering but refused to linger to hear what they had to say. She was brave, and she was beautiful, no matter what. Ciel had assured her of that. He had smiled, so earnestly and there had been such a light in his eyes.

And now he was gone. But she wouldn't stop being brave, strong and beautiful. She would wear the same gown she had worn to the funeral, and today, she would cancel all lessons and appointments.

She was going to visit the Phantomhive manor, where her beloved Ciel was buried. And she was going to take him some roses. He had always liked roses, as far as she could tell. He would never be the same boy she knew after his parents had died, but he would always be the boy who had her heart.

And she would always be his.



It was almost midday by the time they'd reached Newquay, after running into Bardroy and Pluto on a secluded section of the motorway that ran up around the North side of the Dartmoor National Park and convening with them for an hour's rest. They'd then continued travelling with Bardroy and Pluto towards Newquay, and a call from Mey-Rin and Finnian confirmed that they'd already reached Cornwall and would wait for them at a gas station on the main highway ten minutes off the coast.

It had been a few hours since then, and the afternoon sun was beginning to sink towards the horizon. The troupe had made their way to the safe house, which was actually a large beach house set in a reclusive area surrounded by rugged, rocky hills from three sides and the ocean barely a five minute walk away. From the top balcony of the beach house, Ciel could see the waves lapping at the horizon as a breeze brought in the salty scent of the sea. Finnian, leaning on the railing next to him, was inhaling deeply, eyes closed, grinning like an idiot.

"This just keeps getting cooler and cooler!" the blonde cried as he whirled around, and Ciel glanced over his shoulder to see Sebastian and Mey-Rin unpacking a couple of bags. "Sebastian! Where did you ever find out about this place?!"

The doctor smiled. "I have a friend who owed me a favour." He replied, handing Mey-Rin a bag full of toiletries to put in the en suite bathroom. "A couple of favours, actually."

Ciel ventured away from the balcony and back inside – the interior design of the beach house was incredible; high white-plaster ceilings braced by broad mahogany beams that ran up the sides of the walls to a triangular point-shaped peak of the ceiling; a large spacious lounge with huge plush leather sofa's and embroidered decorative cushions. Two large double bedrooms along with a bunk bedroom, both with huge windows that had soft, light curtains that drifted with the breeze; a kitchen downstairs that seemed sinfully big and well-equipped, marble-top counters and stools to line it; and joined to the kitchen and dining area was another lounge room, with a 46 inch plasma TV that Bardroy and Finnian both seemed a little too excited about. Ciel had spent a good half an hour just exploring the house itself, and once everyone had gotten everything they'd brought with them inside and had a while to marvel at the beach house, Pluto had suggested going outside for a look around. He and Sebastian had been scanning the area for plausible hiding places, escape routes, spots where intruders might slip in – and while Mey-Rin and Bardroy were also on the lookout, they gave into Finni's excited banter and desire to explore and wonder at the garden and surrounding areas more easily. Ciel pottered along at Sebastian's side, sometimes being called over by Finni, but since arriving at such a tranquil location, he'd been feeling like something could happen at any moment.

"Relax, kid," Pluto had patted him on the head when he'd voiced his thoughts. "We're so used to being alert all the time that the moment we get a moment of peace it seems suspicious. That's perfectly normal – and while we are supposed to be hiding, it doesn't mean that we can't enjoy this tranquillity while it lasts, right?"

Sebastian had agreed with him, reassuring Ciel that at least one of the group would be on guard at all times, and it was then that Finni had rushed up, waving his arms and squawking about something that they really really had to come and see. They'd followed him back through a trail made in the undergrowth a little way away from the beach house to discover a hidden sandy path between two huge boulders that formed part of the wall-like surroundings. The path lead down to a quiet, almost completely untouched section of beach that was cut off from the rest of the coast line. Further exploration had revealed washed-out caves and rock pools full of underwater creatures; crabs and urchins, tiny fish swimming in schools – a whole ecosystem of lichen and underwater mosses and seas grasses. As the group had explored along the beach, Finnian and Pluto began kicking water at each other as they waded through the waves of the tide, which ended up in a full-scale water-throwing war between the two of them and Bardroy, whom they'd dragged in and full-bodily thrown into the water. The blonde doctor had emerged coughing and cursing, soaking wet and with a piece of seaweed hanging off his shoulder. The laughter had extended to Ciel, Sebastian and Mey-Rin – all of whom had decided to stay well away from the water's edge in case they too got dragged into the water fight, but found entertainment in looking on nonetheless.

Now, back at the beach house, after Bardroy and Finnian and Pluto had all taken turns in the shower and had nearly gotten into a tussle about who won the water fight before being broken up by Sebastian, the group was beginning to relax more into their new environment. The late afternoon was starting to look more like evening, with the clouds beginning to reflect the yellow-gold of the sun, fading to orange on the horizon.

"Hey!" Mey-Rin called from downstairs. "I'm heading out to grab some stuff from the store for dinner; who wants to come with?"

Ciel, who had been sitting cross-lessed on one of the deck chairs out on the balcony, shifted to nestle himself deeper into the low, cushioned seat. He heard a couple of the others say something in response to Mey-Rin, but their replies were muffled. The breeze was nice and cool on his face, and he was warm and dry after the shower half an hour earlier, almost feeling like he could fall asleep right where he was.


He glanced up to see Pluto in the door frame looking out.


"Did you want to come in and explore the town a bit? Most of us want to have a look around, I think."

Ciel yawned and stretched, feeling his ears pop quietly, and contemplated it for a moment. "Yeah," he murmured. "I guess I'll come too."


It took about fifteen minutes to reach the inner town of Newquay from the beach house, which, was a lot smaller than London, but it had many narrow, winding streets and lanes that snaked through the buildings. Creeper plants and vines wound their way over the old cobblestone and brick buildings, some of the foliage covering over half of the structures surfaces. Cornish hedgerows, half stone and half brambles, lined roads that bordered a couple of fields and pastures up around the eastern side – the entire town, despite being full of cars parked up and down the lanes and the bright lights from the houses and signs that hung from shop front, seemed to have an olden feel to it; as if it had been set aside from the continuation of time and had been left somewhere in the past.

As the group of them meandered along the main streets around the shopping district, Ciel felt oddly at home. The air was cool and the breeze carried the scent of the sea with it, and the sky was starting to darken slowly as evening came sweeping in. Finni and Mey-Rin were probably the most relaxed of everyone – wowing and cooing over this and that, peering in shop fronts and chattering away happily, often dragging Pluto and Bardroy into the conversation. Ciel hung back, trailing along behind them with Sebastian close by; there was a comfortable silence between them, and even as they headed into one of the main grocery plaza's, it seemed that Finni and Mey-Rin were almost in capable to calm down, until Bardroy snapped at them to quiet down – people were starting to give them odd looks.

Once they'd combed the aisles for various items – food, toiletries they'd forgotten to pack, and headed through the check outs, Bardroy and Pluto offered to take the groceries back to the cars after Finnian had begged to go for more of a wander. Sebastian had agreed to let the group split, and so it was just the four of them as they meandered along through the shopping district, stores slowly closing up for the night and the crowds beginning to thin.

"Cor, look at this, Ciel!" Finni suddenly had Ciel by the hand and was tugging him over to a shop front of candies and sweets – confectioneries of all shape and sizes, flavours, colours – and Ciel found his gaze wandering. From the platters on display to his own reflection in the glass.

Other Ciel smiled back at him.


"Hey, what's wrong?" Finni had a hand on his shoulder, shaking him gently – Ciel blinked furiously and scrubbed at his eyes, having taken a step back in surprise. When he looked again, Other Ciel was gone, and it was only his own reflection staring, wide eyed, back at him. "What happened?"

"Uh...thought I saw something," Ciel murmured. "It was nothing."

However, that was not to be the case. The confectioneries had reminded him of the alternate reality Sebastian had submerged him in, and seeing Other Ciel in his reflection had shaken him. Throughout the rest of the evening, no matter where they went, Ciel was seeing things – shadows, fleeting glimpses of strange things out of the corner of his eye. Reflections that were only there for a split second – the moment he blinked and looked again, they were gone. Back to what they should be. By the end of the groups' wander, which had brought them full-circle back to the car park where they'd initially parked, Ciel was jumpier than a cricket.

"Hey," Pluto greeted them as Bardroy dropped and stubbed out a cigarette butt – the two of them had been leaning on the hoods of the vehicles talking quietly, and the group waved to them and piled into the cars. Ciel knew that Sebastian had noticed his reaction, but he was glad to a degree that the doctor had said nothing. There was a headache building up behind Ciel's eyes, and the last thing he wanted to do was confront the confusing issue.

On the way back, Ciel had been gazing out the window, mindlessly trying to distract himself from the thoughts of his phantom other self. As he peered at the road ahead, his eyes caught sight of a tall, dark figure – a slender-framed man standing by the roadside, his hand outstretched. At first, Ciel thought the man was asking for a lift – it was only when they drew closer when he saw the man was, in fact, holding a tray on one hand; and his clothes became clearer as the headlights illuminated his form.

Ciel's heart stopped – it was Sebastian. Butler Sebastian. Demon Sebastian.

The butler grinned wickedly as the car roared past – he didn't move from where he stood, but Ciel saw the figures gaze follow them. His grin was horrible; teeth jagged and sharp, his lips slashed at the sides to widen and elongate the expression. The figures eyes were gone, replaced with darkened pits of black ooze.

Ciel's head snapped around at the sound of his name – Finnian was peering at him worriedly around the back of Ciel's seat at him from the back seat. Sebastian was glancing his way from the driver's seat.


"Are you okay? We were saying your name like five times there." Finnian said, his eyes scanning Ciel's face. "Geez, you're real pale – are you feeling sick?"

Ciel batted away the young blonde's hands as he tried to check Ciel's temperature. "I'm fine, I'm fine – Finni, please-"

"What have you been seeing, Ciel?"

Sebastian's voice was very quiet, his tone unreadable. They turned to look at him, but the doctor didn't glance their way – he was keeping his eyes focussed on the road ahead.

"…Something. It was probably nothing," Ciel replied, trying to shake the chilling image of the monster on the side of the road from his mind. It hadn't been real. It couldn't have been. "Must have been the light playing tricks on my eyes."

Finnian sat back, but Ciel sensed that the intern wanted to know more, though he didn't bring the topic up again. Sebastian went silent again, and it was clear he was thinking, calculating. Ciel knew this wouldn't be the last he heard of this, even if he did stop seeing things.

They reached the beach house without incident, pulling up behind the second car that Pluto, Bard and Mey-Rin had headed back with, but instead of sliding out of his seat and following Finnian inside, Ciel found himself pausing as he reached for the door handle. He had a sudden image in his mind of seeing the demon monster again, waiting for him, right outside the car. Standing by the door as if to open it for him. Waiting.

"Talk to me, Ciel."

Sebastian hadn't budged from his seat either; he hadn't even undone his seatbelt. Instead, he merely sat and waited patiently for Ciel to speak.

"I…I don't know why it's happening." Ciel breathed, his voice a little shaky as he rubbed at his eyes again. "It started with weird dreams, I was accidentally seeing memories without even needing guided hypnotism or whatever it is Drocell and you can do."

"And now?"

He forced himself to take a deep breath before continuing. "I started seeing things. Reflections, shadows that moved – seeing the sweetshop front made me think of my other life. The Funtom company was a maker not only of toys, but sweets and confectioneries too. And then, I thought I saw something on the roadside. Something that belongs in a nightmare."

Sebastian nodded. "I see."

"What's happening to me, Sebastian?" Ciel asked quietly, watching the doctors face for any sign of reaction. If anything, Sebastian's eyes were concerned, with perhaps a tinge of sadness.

"I'm not entirely sure," he said slowly. "It might be that you're starting to seriously feel the after effects of being removed from the isolation tanks – perhaps it's a delayed reaction because you're mind has been so constantly otherwise occupied. In honesty, I was more or less waiting for something strange like this to start happening."

"So…I'm not going mad?"

Finally, Sebastian turned to him, and his eyes were kind, his smile comforting. "No. This might pass on it's own, but I'm always here to help you through these things. If they persist beyond six months to a year of you being separated from the drug treatment, then we'll seek psychological help."

"And what if they get worse?"

"If you want, we'll seek help sooner, if they get worse sooner." Sebastian reassured him. "Okay?"

Ciel sighed, and nodded. "Okay."

Strangely, it almost felt like he was making a pact with a demon again. Such a creature promising to keep him safe and protect him from the horrors of nightmares, when the demon was one of the nightmares itself. Sebastian was not a monster, no matter what he'd done in the past – but he'd created the reality in which Ciel had perceived him as one. Was it out of personal guilt? Ciel didn't know, but when Sebastian offered him a hand to shake, he shook it. Then, Sebastian slid out of the car, circled around it, and pulled open Ciel's door for him.

"Thanks," he murmured, clambering out, and he wasn't expecting the warmth of Sebastian's hand on his shoulder.

"I'll always protect you," Sebastian said as Ciel turned and hugged him, wrapping his skinny arms around the doctors waist. He didn't know why he did it, it just felt right. The doctor's arms encircling his shoulders were like a shielding cage of flesh and bones. "It'll be okay."

Burying his face into Sebastian's shirt, Ciel felt stupidly childish – but in that moment, he really didn't mind.

"Okay," he whispered, before letting Sebastian guide him inside.


By the time midnight rolled around just outside of Preston, beyond the ruined remains of an old church yard, through a dense mass of forestation that cleverly masked a long, winding road, the Karnstein underground facility was completely silent. The high, chain-linked fences that ran around it's perimeter no longer had any holes or rips in the wire. The huge spotlights that swept over the grounds moved silently like the watchful eyes of a predator scanning for meal; every two hours, there was a change of guard; security officers and three accompanying soldiers would move from post to post around the facility, and there was a constant patrol around the buildings.

With the buildings, it was almost just as quiet in some areas. There were places and sections that were alive with life – a constant buzz of activity, technicians and doctors swarming around like ants in a nest, but in other sectors, the laboratories were as dead as abandoned morgue.

Paula Lansdale had had a hell of a time getting into the complex, and once she was safely within the quieter section of the underground facility. She wasn't sure who it was, but she had been contacted by someone from within the Hospital – they knew she'd gone, and they had promised a safe way back in; no camera's would see her, no one would be around if she followed strict instructions recorded into an encoded mp3 sent to her phone from an anonymous, untraceable number. At first, Paula had refused the offer, saying she would make it back on her own, but whoever it was had threatened to alert Director Landers to the situation – so, doubtfully, she'd accepted.

As it turned out, there was no one on the lookout for her who might turn her in, and whoever was behind it had also linked her phone into the video feed of the various security cameras around the compound. All of the footage had been copied and looped; she wasn't going to show up on any of them. And now she was inside, she really should have been expecting some sort of welcome, but it was the exact identity of the welcomer that truly surprised her.

"Good evening, Doctor Landsdale." His voice was smooth, cold, and she jumped and whirled around.

"Oh my god – It's –it's not what it-"

"Do calm down. I'm the one who let you in here in the first place."

Paula blinked, feeling like a deer caught in a set of headlights. "Y-you are…?"

"Indeed. Were you expecting someone else?" his lip curled in a snarl, and Paula swallowed hard.

"Uh. Well. Maybe…not….you, exactly…"

He let out a quiet tch under his breath, before turning on his heel and striding away from her. They were in the main tech chamber that held the main thirteen isolation tanks. Subject's One through to Twelve lay dormant in their respectively marked chambers, IV drip stands posted beside each one with tubes and cords attached and trailing away into the darkness. All the lights had been turned off, and Paula could only see by the footlights set into the floor between the aisles and alongside the bases of the isolation tanks; the floor was fairly well lit, leaving the higher ceiling –and just about everything from shoulder height up – in shadow.

"Oh, Lizzie…" Paula hurried over to Subject Eleven's tank, quickly bringing up the display screen to show a view inside the tank – the blonde young girl was peacefully comatose, her vitals steady and her stats good. She looked the picture of serenity, even though her features were illuminated by the soft green glow of the inner-tank lights, casting eerie reflections off the submersion liquid. "Thank God she's all right."

"You're lucky you returned when you did."

Paula twisted around. "Why?"

"Twelve was about to be reassigned to Doctor Hernandez, Subject One's Keeper." The shadowed figure said quietly.

"What?! What about Subject One?"


"Oh my God…" Paula whispered, sinking down to her knees. She felt weak, and could feel her hands trembling. How could she have possibly thought leaving poor, poor Elizabeth all alone was a good idea? "I nearly ruined everything."

"Nearly, but fortunately you did not."

"What'll happen to me?"

Her companion seemed to consider for a moment, and then, he stepped closer to her, leant down, and whispered in her ear.


She turned to look at him – how could he be serious? Was he…was he threatening her?


His cold gaze was unnerving, but it did not waver. "Go. Tonight. Take Subject Eleven and run away."

"But- but the process! No one but Doctor Michaelis has been able fully remove a Subject from the treatment! It takes such a long time, I'd need at least a day to prepare…"

Her companion sighed and straightened up, pinching the bridge of his nose as if he were attempting to will away a headache. "What exactly do you think I've been doing all day while you've been gallivanting around with that idiot?"

Paula's eyes widened. "What?"

He nodded. "Why else would I have made it so simple for you to just about walk back in here? Take what you can and go, Landsdale. You don't want me changing my mind and pegging you with a tracer, do you?"

Paula shivered – she knew for a fact that he wasn't joking around. He would do it; she'd seen him threaten other Keeper's with worse, but she knew he wasn't beyond going through with a threat.

"But…so…you know, too – how to safely remove the Subject's?"

"Yes. I've performed many tests, and I've finally reached a satisfactory state." When her eyes widened again, he waved a hand. "Don't worry – my own Subject is a lot hardier than Eleven – all tests were run on my Subject first, to ensure that it would work. I've merely prepped Eleven for the full removal. She's ready for it to happen."

With a shaky breath, Paula looked down at Lizzie's isolation tank again. "Why are you helping me?" she asked quietly.

He didn't answer her right away; he merely stood, hands in his white lab coat pockets, staring down at the tiled linoleum floor. Then, he looked up, and readjusted his glasses with another sigh.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how this will play out." He replied softly, and though Paula wasn't sure exactly what to make of that, she felt this was not the time to be looking the metaphorical gift horse in the mouth, lest it decide to lash out and bite her if she poked at it's gums too much for answers.

She stood and turned to him, setting her shoulders squarely. She was going to be brave through this; she could handle this. Lizzie was always so brave – the little girl was simply amazing. Paula was going to have to be brave for the both of them for a while, until Lizzie was safe and out of harms way.

"Okay then. Let's do this."



WOW. OKAY. This is far too overdue and I KNOW IT. But the thing is, guys, I've been hella busy. I moved to the city, went to a convention, spent too much time on tumblr, started university, got too stressed out as a full time student within the first two weeks, and now I've cut back a little bit so I'm only a part time student with half the workload. For me, that's good. I can deal with that; it gives me a bit more time to get things done, even if it means I'll be at uni for longer. That's cool by me.

Coz you know what it means? Yes. It means I'll have less stress and less reason to put off study, and time to put into both my art AAAAANND my writing. Meaning more updates more often! WOO.

SO. Please review? Tell me I'm late and I should update more often and that I'm a terrible disappointment to the fandom?

Seriously, please review. Give my some feedback; I need to know how you guys feel the story is going, where I can improve, how I can improve. Or just to say hi – you all have no idea how happy it makes me to simply hear from you.

Also! Keep your eyes peeled for the last of the one-shots for the three readers! Cielshadow17's stand alone ficlet will be put up TOMORROW. So go give them some love and read it and stuff because yeah man that stuff's cool. ANYWAY. I'm going to bed – I'm so wiped out from this past week, and staying up late never helps!

Good night everyone and stay safe!

- Mercy

PS - DUN DUN DUUUUUUN. who's helping Paula? who IS this mysterious man? GO ON YOU KNOW YOU WANNA GUESS. (hint hint; review XD)