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~:: Redeemed Part I - Worlds Apart - Chapter II::~

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She'd only ever been this afraid once before. It was a fateful night, walking home from school after having missed the last city bus of the evening. She had to pass through Kings Row. It was already dark, and she tried to walk quickly, keeping her gaze straight in front of her, and clutching her books tightly to her chest. Rounding a corner, he found herself right in the middle of a group of leering Hellions, the infamous gang members that terrorized much of Paragon City. Surrounded, she had no route of escape, and was quickly over powered and dragged into the nearest alley. Her books scattered as they shoved her to the floor of a large shipping container, and blocked the doorway, her only route of escape. Her heart sank, as she knew what was about to happen, and she prayed silently that they'd stop short of killing her. Closing her eyes, she braced herself for the inevitable assault, when she heard the sound. A loud crackle, and a popping sound, like an enormous bolt of electricity surged through the air around her. With surgical precision, it zapped her tormentors, but barely raised the hair on her arms. The few that still stood scattered like leaves in a windstorm. Looking up, she saw, standing in the doorway to the cargo container, a short, stocky redhead, with the strangest, thick, curved horns growing from her wispy mane.

This time, there was no one to save her. No one knew she'd come here, and she was alone, and in a very hidden, secluded area. She felt the overwhelming urge to cry, but summoned the last of her strength to stem the flow.

I am not going to give him the satisfaction, she told herself.

He cleared his throat. "I am waiting. Remove your costume, now. I won't ask you again."

"You aren't asking me now," she said, defiantly. "You are telling me."

He chuckled. "You have a lot of spirit. I like that. But you are still going to do as I say."

She was still weak and sore from the first attack. With a soft sigh, she reached up and began to very slowly peel her outfit down off her ample chest.

"Mmm, yes. Slowly. Strip for me. I want you to seduce me."

A look of shock and horror crossed her face. "Seduce you? You are forcing me to undress and you tell ME to seduce you?'

His tone softened slightly. "Do you find me so distasteful that you cannot possibly imagine seducing me?"

She was taken aback at the sudden change in tone and tactics. "Well…umm…no…I… don't know… I mean… it isn't that. It is just…" She hesitated before blurting, "I am afraid."

"As well you should be." He lowered his voice to a husky whisper.

He could see her visibly trembling. He knew he was in complete control. As he watched, her shaking fingers tugged her costume down, to where it dropped to the sand. She stumbled as she stepped out of it. He used his sword to deftly pick it up and toss it several yards away.

"Turn around," he ordered. She drew a deep breath, and covered herself with her hands, as she slowly turned to face him. She winced as he raised a hand towards her face, expecting him to strike her. Instead, he gently traced the outline of her full lips with a fingertip. "You have beautiful lips," he murmured. "Lets see if you know how to use them." Placing his hand roughly behind her neck, he pulled her face close to his, and kissed her.

She swallowed hard, fighting the urge to cry, and as he released her, she looked down at the ground. Her mind raced as she considered all her options. Making a break for it might work, she thought, as she looked around. As if he read her mind, he vanished again, then reached out to firmly grip her arm. "You can try to run away, but you can never escape. I can see you, but you cannot see me. No matter where you go, I can find you. I own you now. Make this easy on yourself. On your knees," he ordered, as he appeared once again in front of her, pressing down on her shoulders.

"If I do, will you let me go?" she asked, her voice quavering.

"I will consider it." He said, with a wicked smile, as she allowed him to push her down onto her knees before him.

Shivering, she looked up at him. She knew what he wanted. She dropped her gaze, and began to cry. Wiping her cheeks with the back of her hand, she cursed herself for showing weakness.

He looked down at her with a lascivious smile. She could feel his eyes burning into her, as she stared at the cold, damp sand beneath her knees.

As his eyes took in every detail, he noticed her tears, dripping down onto the sand. Suddenly, his demeanor changed. Pulling his weapon out with one flawless motion, he lunged, and caught her costume with the tip, tossing it into the air and catching it in one hand. She cringed as the blade sliced air near her, visions of him killing her flashing before her closed and crying eyes.

She felt a soft grip on her shoulder, pulling her to her feet. Too terrified to look, she kept her eyes closed, and her head bowed. He pressed something soft into her hand, and she realized it was her costume. Turning to face away from her, he told her, "Go ahead, put it back on."

She was shaking so bad she could barely balance herself, and stumbled backwards, nearly falling onto a pile of jagged metal debris behind her. His senses alerted him to her movement, and he spun around just in time to catch her and pull her to him, preventing her fall.

There she was, with her miniscule bit of spandex around her ankles, effectively hobbling her, as he held her to him in a firm grip. His breath seemed to quicken slightly as he gently ran one hand down to rest in the small of her back, drumming his fingers gently on her spine.

As he held her close, he breathed in the warm, sweet scent of her hair, burying his face in it. He moaned almost inaudibly, as her body pressed against his own. With a soft sigh, he lightened his grip, however, she made no effort to move away from him. With one hand, he continued to massage the smooth flesh of her lower back. As if hypnotized, she simply leaned into him, allowing him to support her with his other arm.

She was breathing in ragged gasps, while she still trembled slightly. Holding her steady with one strong arm, he ran his free hand up her side, across her shoulder, lightly grazing the soft skin on her neck. He let his fingers entwine in her silky hair. Gently, he nuzzled her neck, letting his lips lightly dance over her soft skin, as he pulled her in close.

A small voice cried out in her brain. Silky, are you crazy? He just tried to kill you. And here you are letting him grope you?

Well, she reasoned within herself, if he had wanted to kill me, or do anything else to me, for that matter, he would have done so by now. It isn't like I could have stopped him. But he didn't. I don't know why, but he didn't.

But he is a VILLAIN, the voice persisted. You cannot trust him! She shook her head, trying to clear her mind. Her emotions were a churning melee of conflict, encompassing everything from fear to confusion, and now a flickering spark of desire, which he was fanning with his gentle touches.

He suddenly released his grip, backing away from her. "I suggest you finished dressing, while I can still control myself," he said, quietly, as he once again turned away.

As if she were in shock, she stood there for a moment, blushing hotly. Slowly absorbing his words, she bent to tug at the soft red spandex. As she tugged at the outfit to cover herself, she felt confused. Instead of feeling relief at his apparent change of heart, it was almost as if she felt a vague disappointment. Silky, she asked herself, what on earth is the matter with you? He's letting you go. You should be happy! But she just couldn't shake the strange feelings deep inside her.

As she made a few final adjustments, tucking her ample bosom into the skin-tight costume, he turned back to look into her eyes. As their gazes locked, he murmured, softly, "You have the most incredible eyes."

Looking into his glowing eyes made her uneasy, and she dropped her gaze, blushing hotly. "Th-th-thank you," she stammered. "Will you…will you let me…umm…can I go now?"

"No," he replied, instantly.

Her jaw dropped open, as she looked up at him, startled. "But you said…"

"I said nothing of the kind. I said I would consider it. I have considered letting you go, and the answer is no." He met her questioning gaze with a determined stare.

She was dangerously close to tears again. Come on, girl, she told herself. Pull yourself together. The voice in the back of her mind chided her with a silent 'I told you so,' as her gaze darted around, looking for her belt.

Shooting him an almost pleading look, she began to cry softly, as she asked, "What do you want from me?"

"I want you," he said, in a low, firm tone. "All of you."

"Why?" she cried, as tears ran down her cheeks.

"Because something about you appeals to me. Your lips, and those eyes… many things about you appeal to me. I have lived a very, very long time. And I am used to getting what I want."

"Who are you?" she asked, as she tried to catch her breath between sobs.

"Your new master," he said, quietly, as he reached out and pulled her into his arms.

Her first instinct was to rebel, to answer him with some caustic retort. But she realized he spoke the truth. She knew she was powerless before him. She had no chance of fighting him. She shuddered as she remembered the feeling of falling to the ground, waiting for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only seconds, for the blow that would have ended her life. The blow he could have landed, easily, but chose not to.

He held her firmly but gently against his body, as one hand reached behind her head to turn her face upwards to his. Slowly, he covered her lips with his own. Gently at first, he kissed her as she melted into his arms.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING? The voice in her head screamed out to her, but she chose to ignore it. ARE YOU INSANE? YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY BE GOING TO LET HIM… She willed the voice into silence as he brought his other hand up and began running it over her firm bottom. He kneaded with his fingers, pulling her tight against him as he ground himself against her.

She became slightly lightheaded, as he continued to kiss her, his tongue flicking across her lips, begging for entrance. She parted her lips, and met his tongue with her own. Her breath quickened, as he began to run his hands over her skin, lightly at first, then with more urgency. He moaned softly into her mouth, as he pressed himself hard against her.

Sighing softly, she wrapped her arms around him as the voice in her head once again tried to reassert itself. ARE YOU CRAZY? He just tried to kill you, forced you to undress for him, and now you are going to willingly put out to him? She paused for a moment, closing her eyes. I know, she told herself. Perhaps it does seem crazy, and I may regret this later, but right now it feels very right. He didn't try to kill me. If he had wanted to - I wouldn't be having this argument with myself. I'd be takin' a dirt nap. He could also have forced himself on me. But he didn't. Now, stuff a sock in it, and stop interrupting us, she told the voice, firmly.

Opening her eyes, she looked into his. The glow frightened her, a little, but the feelings he was provoking within her overshadowed all her fears. She reached up, loosing the band that held his long golden hair into a tight ponytail. She tangled her fingers in his hair, pulling him closer and kissing him passionately.

I hope you know what you are doing… the little voice nagged her one last time, as her passion welled over to the point where all she could think of was the sensations he was stirring in her.

He pulled away from her, removing his cape and spreading it across the sand, as he gently urged her to lie down beside him. He pulled her into his arms, and kissed her deeply. She reached up to the top of her costume, but this time she took his hand, and placed it between her breasts, gently tucking his fingers into the front of her décolletage. Instinctively, he tugged the smooth fabric downward, and for the second time this night, her costume found itself tossed aside onto the damp sand.

Several hours later, she awoke, in his arms. He was already awake, watching her sleep. He'd covered her with his own shirt and pulled her tightly to his warm body, sheltering her against the cool damp of the gentle breezes blowing in from the bay. He'd only dozed lightly, knowing it would be dangerous for both of them if they were found there.

The rosy glow of dawn was just washing across the eastern sky as she sat and stretched her sore muscles. He reached out to languidly rub slow circles across the bare expanse of her back.

As the cobwebs of sleep began to melt away, she rolled towards him and looked up into his glowing eyes. The memories of the night before came flooding back. A melee of emotions churned within her. Doubt clouded her thoughts as the events replayed themselves in her mind. What have you done, the voice in her head asked accusingly. She tried to find an answer that would settle the uneasiness within in, but nothing seemed very convincing.

He watched the dark shadow cross her features, and suspected she'd regretted what had transpired between them. He reached out to her, gently. "You must go from this place. It isn't safe for you here. As much as I do not wish you to leave my side, I do not wish for others to find you here."

She looked into his glowing eyes. Even through the pall of uncertainty, she felt a strong urge to be near him. What kind of magic did this being possess, that she should be so enchanted? Even without an answer, she knew from that moment on that her life would never be the same. She wanted nothing more than to be at his side.

"Well, my darling Silky Kitty," he smiled, "I know where to find you. Do not think that I will be far from you."

Blinking, she wondered for a moment how he knew her name, and then remembered his request to see her ID. "It would appear I am at a loss, here. I don't know your name." She met his gaze with a quizzical look.

"Most know me as Hidden Demise. I am an Assassin, by trade. You may call me by my given name, Gilgamesh." He offered his hand to her and helped her to her unsteady feet.

"M-m-my name is Shandra," she said, quietly. Hardly anyone knew her given name. She'd virtually stopped using it since she abandoned her education to don spandex and take up the good fight in Paragon City. She had no clue as to why she'd just blurted this out to him.

He nodded softly, and stroked her hair. "It pains me to see you leave," he told her firmly, "but soon others will come." He paused as they heard the heavy thud of an armored Freakshow boss plodding across the boardwalk, above their head. She met his gaze and nodded. He steadied her as she slipped into her costume, and gently fastened her belt around her waist. She lightly touched the talisman, realizing she'd spent the entire night without it's magic.

He pulled her into his arms, and kissed her softly. "Do not worry. You will see me again. Soon. Return to your place in Paragon City. I will come to you - very, very soon."

"You can't… I mean… how…. They would never let you into the city! It would be very dangerous for you."

"Do not fret, my lovely one," he said as he nodded his head to her, and suddenly vanished from her sight. It was rather unnerving to hear his voice surround her, yet have absolutely no other sign of his presence. "I will find you. Do not doubt that for one moment. But for now, you need to return to the safety of Paragon City."

She realized he was right. If a band of villains were to find her here, she could easily be overwhelmed. She put her hand over the talisman, and uttered a few ancient words, and a surge of energy coursed through her.

A deep voice came from beside her. "I will return to your side, very soon."

She stood in shock, at those words. He materialized directly in front of her, and pulled her close, his lips finding hers, as his hand cradled her head. "I love you," he murmured softly.

His words were a shock to both of them, really, but none so much as her purring, "As I love you," in response.

"We are meant to be together, and I will insure that I find a way for that to become possible. For now, I must go attend to some unpleasant business. I will see you, very soon." With a last kiss, he disappeared, and she was suddenly alone.

An elated giddiness overcame her, and she felt almost as light as air as she invoked the spell to give her super-human speed. With rapid powerful strokes, she swam the channel. Her feet barely touched the earth as she sped up the steep hill to the fortress, and made her way back to the chopper, to head back to Paragon City. Agent Eckman shot her a puzzled look, but she only smiled and waved as she headed home, to await the promise he'd left her with.