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~:: Endgame ::~
Chapter V

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She awoke with a start and attempted to sit upright. This did nothing but jerk forcefully at her bonds, reminding her of her current predicament. A wave of fear and sorrow flooded her soul. Why hadn't she listened to her mother?

As her mind cleared she realized that there was a warm body draped comfortably over her. She fought her initial urge to cry out, instead forcing herself to lie still in hopes he'd remain asleep.

A tremor coursed through her, shattering her attempt at self control. She closed her eyes tight trying to stem the sudden flow of tears.

He came slowly out of his dream state to find her shaking like a leaf in his arms. In his blissful state of unconsciousness, he'd wrapped himself around her. Gently, he pulled back and tried to meet her gaze.

"I am sorry. I realize I am not being a very good host but the sofa proved impossible as a venue for sleep. I didn't mean to frighten you." His voice was deep, soft and reassuring.

"W-w-why are you being nice to me?" she stammered.

He was taken aback at the insinuation that he might have reason to be anything but nice to her. "Why would you think I would want to do you harm?" he asked in a rather accusatory tone.

She blinked hard, and swallowed the lump of fear that rose like hot magma into her throat. "Because...you are...umm..."

"Not a hero?" he finished, bitingly. "If you would care to recall, it was your so-called hero compatriots that designed a rather unpleasant fate for you. You might have woken up lacking a awful lot of your virtue this morning had you not fallen in to my villainous hands. So tell me, who is it you should fear?"

He sat up and pulled the sheet over his shoulders to cover his bare chest. "Honestly, I think you do me a disservice by being so mistrustful. Have I done anything that might give you the impression that I bear you any ill will?"

She dropped her gaze and began to cry in earnest. "I'm... sorry."

"I only tied you up to insure my own safety. I've had considerable experience with the self-righteous sort who label themselves as heroes." Once again he spat the word in a tone of utter contempt. "I am not the kind of monster that you might be expecting."

Her lower lip trembled as she gave him a pleading gaze. "I didn't mean to offend you. You are right," she answered softly. "You have shown me nothing but kindness. It is just that I...well...I woke up in this strange place, and I realized you were..." her voice faltered as she sought some term that would not prove offensive.

"A villain?" he offered.

She blushed hotly. "I have always heard that the Destined Ones were brutal and merciless."

He let loose with a derisive snort. "While it is true that I was freed from a temporary incarceration by the minions of Arachnos, I do not wholly agree with their plans for me as a 'Destined One'. I prefer to think of myself as a freelance contractor. Although I can be rather brutal when it is necessary in order to accomplish my goals, I am not as a rule a vile or merciless individual. I think I am really quite reasonable." He slid to the edge of the bed, and let go of the sheet as he retrieved his shirt from the bedpost. Donning his clothing, he stood and began to unfasten her restraints. "Please don't try to escape. If you were to be found wandering outside these walls you would realize that anything you could possibly imagine that I might do to you would pale in comparison to your fate at the hands of the forces of Arachnos."

She sat up in the bed and tried to tug her skirt down to a more modest degree. The marks left by the bonds were lightly chafed and she rubbed them vigorously to ease the irritation. As she stretched her stiff muscles, he turned and disappeared into another room.

The sounds coming from elsewhere in the house led her to believe he was preparing food. She sat quietly on the edge of the bed and looked around. The room was small and sparsely furnished. A small nondescript desk was tucked into a quiet corner. She stood on shaky legs and began to explore her present surroundings.

She wandered over to the desk. She hadn't meant to pry but her eyes were drawn to examine the scattered debris that covered its surface. Her heart leapt into her chest as she began to read the various newspaper clippings from the local paper that lay strewn across the smooth wood. Many were detailing high profile assassinations that had been cleanly pulled off both locally and in Paragon City. She was sure these must have been accomplished by her host, though according to the stories, the authorities were completely without a clue as to who the culprit might be.

He entered the room silently. He cringed when he saw her poring over the clippings. "It isn't what you think..." he began softly, as she whirled to face him.

Instinct and fear caused her to summon the powers of darkness as clouds of dark energy gathered around her feet. Her mind began to ache with pressure as the formidable psionic energy she possessed began to build up in anticipation of an impending attack as her hands flew to her forehead to steady her aim.

His keen sense of danger alerted him to her defensive posturing instantly. He knew after what she'd read she was overcome with a fear that he might be planning a similar attack towards her. At this point, he seriously doubted that she'd believe any calming words he might try to use to placate her fears, no matter how truthful or sincere they were. He realized that he was going to have to go on the offensive to subdue her before things got too far out of hand.

She backed away from him, her eyes wide. Hitting the wall, she braced herself as he reached out towards her. She had no idea what his intentions were but now that she knew of his true nature, she wasn't going to take any chances.

He felt a wave of sudden coldness envelope him as she spun threads of dark energy around him to siphon off his strength. With a soft whisper of rasping metal he pulled his katana from its scabbard as he moved into the shadows. She spun around and realized he had effectively vanished. She could feel his presence so close to her she knew he could touch her, yet could not see him. With a surge of panic she aimed a blast of mental energy towards where he'd disappeared, missing wildly. He rewarded her for her efforts with swift, blunt application of the handle of his weapon to the base of her skull.

She felt the blow a fraction of a second before she felt her legs buckle beneath her. She tried to draw a last deep breath as an thick curtain of darkness fell around her while she tumbled to meet the floor.

He paced the floor as he waited for her to regain consciousness. Tugging at the knots to make sure he'd tied them securely, he placed a hand on her soft chest and felt for the shallow, rhythmic rise that indicated she was still breathing. His hand lingered a moment longer than necessary before he shook off his baser urges and paced the room in frustration.

Why was he so hesitant to deal with her in the same manner as he'd dealt with other females who had challenged him? He pondered this apparent inconsistency for a good long while before he decided it must have something to do with his having found her in such a helpless state.

It wasn't that she was unattractive. He was completely at a loss to explain his reluctance to take total advantage of her. Standing over her as he watched her chest rise and fall with each deep unconscious breath, he knew that reluctance was fading fast.

She moaned softly in pain. He knew she must have a splitting headache from the impact of the blunt end of his weapon. He regretted that she'd left him no choice in the matter but to use such brutal force. Now that he realized she commanded the power of her mind to launch psionic attacks, he knew he had to keep the upper hand or he might find himself on the losing end of the equation.

Her eyes fluttered open to give her a blurry view of two dark figures looming over her. As she struggled to gather her wits, the two identical shapes melded into one as her vision regained its focus. His features were hooded but she could feel the heat of his body as he leaned down over her. His eyes glittered in the darkness as his cold gaze met her own.

"Do not attack me again." He snarled the command with a tone of dark authority.

She trembled and looked away. He was toying with her. She wondered if he had ever intended on taking her back to Paragon City, or if the initial promise had been an empty one made to buy her temporary cooperation. She suddenly realized just how serious of a situation she was in. She was alone, in the company of a known killer. She might well be out of the range of a mediport transponder. She wasn't even certain exactly where she was but she knew that no one else would know where to even begin to look for her. Her mother wouldn't be home until after the weekend, which left only Zakai to realize that she'd snuck out. She also knew that her brother was loyal to her, which meant it was highly unlikely that he'd contact their mother to inform her of the fact that she had taken off. Her heart sank as she realized that it would be at least another day before someone would even begin to try to find her. A sob caught in her throat.

"I cannot return you to Paragon City if you are going to attack me," he told her flatly. "The risk of taking you out in the open and then having you draw attention to both of us is more of a risk than I am willing to take."

She shuddered. Her eyes were wide with fear as a cold sweat broke out all over her body. "W-what are you going to do with me?"

An angry laugh that sounded almost more like a growl rumbled from his throat.

She cringed as he settled himself on the bed beside her and leaned in close. "Are you going to kill me?" she asked, her voice trembing.

"I'd say you have a more pressing concern at the moment," he snarled. "You are once again dangerously close to having your virtue assaulted."

It took the briefest of moments for the meaning of his statement to register. Her eyes flooded with hot tears that burned salty trails down her soft cheeks.

"You really should be punished for attacking me," he whispered in a husky voice, almost more to himself than to her.

She began to tremble as he stood up and began to undress. A sob escaped her as the drops of hot saline flowed copiously down her porcelain cheeks.

The shadowed shades of dusk had already begun to creep into the room. She closed her eyes and waited for the inevitable assault to begin. As he lowered himself silently to her side, he could feel the tremors of fear that coursed through her body. As his fingers entangled themselves in her hair, he slowly traced his thumb lightly along her jaw line. "Now, now," he purred. "If you'd just relax a little, you will make this much easier on yourself."

This brought on a fresh bout of sobbing. He brushed his face against the soft skin on her neck while he undid the buttons and pulled her vest back to expose her shoulders. "Don't struggle," he commanded menacingly.

A quick examination of her skirt revealed it was a wraparound. He undid the tiny bow at her waist with one hand and quickly pulled the garment off her trim hips.

He sat back and admired his prize as she lay before him with her vest hanging open, and her dignity covered in nothing more than a wisp of soft cotton panty and the shimmering lace of her bra. Her hair was damp with the tears that ran down her temples.

"This is what happens to naughty girls who decide attack me," he purred softly as his hands found her tender breasts. He let his thumbs lightly graze her nipples through the soft lace. Against the bidding of her mind they quickly hardened into tiny peaks.

She felt a hot flush of shame course over her body as she struggled to maintain control of her emotions. The fear of what was about to happen overwhelmed her. She felt as though she might swallow her own tongue.

He ran his hands gently over her soft skin while purposefully avoiding the thinly veiled warmth between her forcibly spread legs. Her sobbing intensified into powerful spasms that shook her entire being.

As she gasped for breath in between the wracking sobs she opened her tear soaked eyes and looked at him. "Please...no..." she croaked in a voice that was barely more that a hoarse whisper.

He met her eyes. A sudden uneasy feeling began to suffocate him from within. Without a word, he jumped up and stormed from the room.

To Chapter VI