Author's Note: It's a short (& slightly confusing) chapter. Well, the second part is, anyway. With a little deliberation, you should be able to figure out who 'the boy' is. If not, it's okay.


It was a dismal building, emanating the persona of a grumpy, aged fiend who had once boasted a position of some Great, Evil Overlord, or some such thing. Abysmal hues of midnight blue and muddy brown seemed to rule the surrounding area, with an exception of some black that decorated the gates. To the inattentive eye, the area would seem as though it was bustling with activity, but as soon as this eye would focus, all that could be seen were shadows. Shadows that moved, despite the complete stillness of the air and absence of obvious life.

A boy watched all this from the barred window of his room, a room that sat high in the air, well above the movement of no one in particular below.

He was a curious sort of boy. No trace of sadness could be found on his face, nor happiness, nor anger. Children like him could only be described as troubled when compared to most boys his age.

However, this boy was not troubled. And he was not watching anything. Quite in fact, most boys his age had long since graduated from universities and were now well on their ways to becoming successful lawyers, doctors, and policemen. This boy was certainly not as young as he looked—which, when estimated, could be somewhere around eight—but was actually twenty-seven years old.

But he was still considered a child, too immature to understand the goings-on of his world, too innocent to comprehend evil, and thusly, too young be able to grasp the realization of his situation. He knew he was in trouble, but he did not know what he did wrong, so he could not fear his prison properly.

But he wasn't thinking about all these things. Instead, he was wondering about a girl he'd met before they had captured him. He didn't know who she was at first. She had invaded his peaceful place a while ago, a place he went after his training, when his mind needed rest, after a tiresome day of being pushed to limits he sometimes felt he couldn't reach.

He'd observed her. She was pretty with straight, frizzy auburn hair, smart brown eyes, and a nice smile. He liked her.

But sometimes, he was too scared to meet her. He came close a few times, enough to smell the sweet clementine scent she gave off, but always backed away before she turned around. She wasn't as in tune with her senses as he was, or she could have detected his presence.

But when they'd taken him away two days ago, he knew he would have to talk to her. Because he'd realized who she was. He wondered why he hadn't noticed sooner, the resemblance and the similarities of the warm smiles, the sharp eyes, the reddish colored hair. She didn't know who he was, but that was okay for now. She seemed to trust him from their two encounters and that was that mattered. For now.

xxx

"Are you absolutely sure that you made the correct decision in light of current events, Way?"

The council sat in their semi-circle of stiffness and pressed collars, awaiting the daemon's reply.

"I am absolutely sure," replied Lieutenant Way swiftly, leaving no more room for doubt. The lieutenant stared emotionlessly ahead, at no one in particular, standing rigid with the respect and obedience that had been pummeled into him since his beginning moments at the Academy.

Connors was the only member of the stiff semi-circle that did not stare back coldly. This frigid, dictatorial setup was not to his liking; it was a sort of rubbish idea in his opinion, not that anyone would take the time to ask him. Yet stiffness was protocol, and he sat there uncomfortably for the eighteenth hour that day, waiting for the roster of attendees to finish itself off. Their eighteen hour work day was slowly coming to an end, and this was something to look forward to, as it was Friday. A nice, relaxing weekend lay ahead. Some nice, scalding tea awaited him at home. Nothing could spoil such a beautiful picture in Connors's mind. Except…

"An emergency session will be held at five in the a.m., Saturday, tomorrow," announced the somber voice of Second-in-Command, Hopkins.

It took all those centuries of training for Connors not to break down and weep right then and there. Instead, he stared in stony, sad shock at Way's retreating back, as the lieutenant shut the Council Room door behind him.

"I apologize on behalf of the First-in-Command for this inconvenience," said Hopkins stoutly, not sounded the least bit apologetic, pausing to survey the council that sat around him. He sat in the middle, next to an empty chair which the First-in-Command occupied whenever he was present. Suffice to say, the chair was significantly dusty.

"However," Hopkins said, with an air of consequence, "the First-in-Command will be present for this emergency meeting, so do not be late." Hopkins let his eyes linger on Connors for a second longer than he did on the rest.

"He has important news to share. But that will be for tomorrow. We have one last report to file." Hopkins sat down and pushed a button on the arm of his chair.

Connors closed his eyes in frustration, but dared not allow his posture to loosen even for a moment. Only one more report to go. He prayed it would not be a long one. His eyelids were beginning to give in to gravity.

"Captain Nathanial Greene," sounded Hopkins's voice. Connors let his eyelids pop back open. He watched the captain walk over to the center of the platform. The captain looked at Connors, allowing their eyes to meet for only a few seconds, before he cast them respectfully elsewhere.

"Assignment number, please," called Second-in-Command's irritating voice.

"Eight hundred and sixty-four point nine." The captain paused. "Erm. Cubed."

There was a substantial bit of rustling through a large sheath of papers before the correct one was found.

"Report."

"The human being in the assignment was detained. Age, gender, and appearance all match those of the traits listed in the charts and with that of the supplied photographs," the captain said.

"Where is it being held?" asked Hopkins.

"It is being held under the close watch of my secretary, behind a locked door. It shows no signs of knowledge of its capabilities at the moment, therefore is not a threat."

"We trust your judgment. What is its gender?"

"The human being is female," the captain said, feeling wary.

"It says in this assignment that you must also keep it for a period, without completely divulging all information, but allowing it—," Hopkins paused. "Her," he continued, decidedly. "But allowing her to grow used to her surroundings."

"Yes sir." The captain inclined his head a fraction in a respectful half-bow.

"Report back in a week with the subject." The captain nodded. "You are dismissed."

Connors was still staring at the door through which the captain had departed long after the rest of the council had begun getting up.

"Eighth-in-Command." Connors jerked his head in the direction of the voice. It was Walker. "Sorry," Connors mumbled to the Seventh-in-Command, blinking quickly and wrenching himself out of the chair he'd been fastened to for three-quarters of the past day.

Walker glanced around. The rest of the council was already out of earshot, leaving through another door on the far side of the great circular room. "It's okay," he whispered. "Let's head out together."

"Sure thing."

"Where are you going now?" asked Walker, as they walked slowly after the departing council.

"Home," said Connors emotionlessly—he had no strength left for expressions of any kind. "To bed," he said dreamily. "After some tea…"

"They're working us straight through the bone," Walker, in a sort of agreement.

"It's war," Connors shrugged helplessly.

"Yes, but to sit through these pointless assignments? C'mon…"

Connors only managed another shrug. He attempted to stifle a yawn as they stepped out into the cool night.

"I saw your attention perk up when that Captain Nathanial Greene was called."

Connors choked back his yawn. "So?" he said, if a bit defensively.

"What's he to you?" asked Walker curiously. "Old friend, or adversary, or something?"

So Walker didn't know. "Funny haircut is all," Connors said airily.

Walker was disappointed. "That's it?" he asked, hoping for some fun gossip to deliberate over.

"Mm…"

"Well, goodnight," Walker said, as they stopped in front of a squat looking building with shingles covering the door. He paused a second, his hand on the knob of the door as he stared at it. "With our positions, you'd think we deserve a raise," he spat distastefully, letting himself in.

Connors managed a wan smile before nodding and saying, "I'll see you in a few hours." He shuffled heavily down the street, pondering to himself about Rooibos Tea and whether there was a way to remedy regret.