Ch. 9 revised My last attempt sucked…no one said it, but I know it did. Here's a new attempt. I accept all ideas. I believe I will continue this a little longer. I like it's direction. Well, please enjoy. Maybe I'll redeem myself :)
Excellent formulas flittered through Clare's head. She could do this! She could…but it would prove difficult. Could she really pull this off? Ah…nerves twisted and churned in her belly. Self consciously Clare rubbed her fingers over her leather hem. She sat Indian-style in the grass near a bustling village. To any passer-by, she appeared to be meditating. She inhaled and exhaled with deliberate motions. Her time with Teresa had calmed her down her inner turmoil. She felt more human than she ever had. From being a yoma slave to a soldier of the Organization, she couldn't really recall being this human. Always a cold monster…she chuckled when she felt a familiar aura approaching.
Oh, yes, if she did her part well, the world would morph into a Utopia…at least for her. An obviously over-confident woman strutted closer. Her eyes didn't even roam over Clare's still body. Clare chuckled a little louder. She knew this warrior could hear her. Softly and with ten-fold more confidence than she really felt, she spoke the woman's name, "Teresa." The woman, this stranger, stopped. Her armored feet ceased their clanking. Stupidly her hands didn't reach for her sword's hilt. But then, who did she have to fear? This ruthless, immensely strong shell of the woman Clare loved could execute Pricilla swiftly. With her speed, why would she need to act yet? Ha, only cowards or weaklings grasp at their sword all day.
Just as obnoxiously, Clare didn't reach for the safety of her sword either. She smiled up sweetly though. Very few souls have ever seen her smile with such bliss. She would befriend this woman…on the same level…both adults this time. She wouldn't appear weak, not with the training future Teresa pushed her through. She could very well take warrior Pricilla now. Although with bitter realization, Clare knew she could never match Pricilla's awakened power. Well, that just calls for eradication before allowing the girl to rise to such an amazing level.
"Hello," Teresa coldly addressed this grinning stranger. She didn't react with suspicion this time. She didn't possess anyone to protect now. Clare chose to meet Teresa a few moments before she freed young Clare. Before she hadn't really considered all the consequences, but this time she had a definite plan. Change everything. She would stay to reassure that everything panned out correctly. She wouldn't leave anything to fate. Because fate apparently had no tenderness to her and Teresa, she would live forever in the wrong time as long as Teresa thrived as well.
"Will you allow me to travel with you? I can offer protection and support. Hell, I can be your sidekick," Clare casually proposed her offer to this powerful woman. She knew Teresa would scoff at her. If she didn't, then, Clare didn't know this wonderful woman…this woman who had kicked her before finally accepting her.
Teresa sounded utterly disgusted at the idea, "No, of course, not. I don't need you. I can do my duty just as well without you. Protection? You offer me protection. Ha! You must believe me as stupid." Clare laughed along. Yes, that sounded like the hard woman. In fact, Clare had been somewhat like that a few months ago…only down-keyed. Less verbal certainly.
So Clare decided to channel her friend Jean, "No, but I have devoted my life to you. Soon you will save me. I know I will owe you forever. Please allow me to pay my debt with my life. I'm yours." Clare bowed her head with complete reverence. This new approach stunned Teresa, because she didn't speak as rapidly. She actually thought through her next retort.
"I don't need you," she drawled out slowly.
"No, you don't. I am nothing. Perhaps I'm a pet. It does not matter," Clare kept her grin suppressed. She would allow Teresa to view her as a subordinate for now, but as soon as young Clare entered into Teresa's life, this woman would turn to a marshmallow. Clare smiled weakly with her head still ducked.
"If you follow, there's nothing I can do to stop you," finally Teresa relented. This proved much easier than Clare anticipated. Clare leapt from her feet, grabbed her sword with a stretchy smile on her pale face.
They didn't speak a word to one another as Clare followed five paces behind her "new" companion. Surprisingly Teresa didn't ask more question. Motherly Teresa was smarter than this cocky one. Cocky to a flaw…well, that's normal though. Once they spotted the gates to the yoma-infested town, Teresa ordered her lackey to stay back. Clare did too…not out of obedience, but she didn't want to interfere with this part. She stayed outside the village. She would until Teresa exited with another follower. Clare called out, "Hey, I'll find you tomorrow!" Teresa threw an arm up in acknowledgement before assaulting the yomas. Clare sat back down, listening to the slicing and screams. She still felt separated from this younger existence. That wasn't her…not anymore.
The next day, Teresa kicked Clare's leather sole. Clare jerked awake before smiling at her mentor. "If you were serious, yesterday, then, we should be going now. I attracted the attention of a mute child earlier. Seemed touched in the head too. Pathetic being wouldn't listen. Come along." Clare sobered quickly and trailed beside Teresa.
Clare could feel the child numbly trailing behind as well. It's eerie to feel your own presence following, but it was like that in Pieta and the other reality as well. This time Teresa began asking question, "You're a warrior, correct? Why aren't you wearing our armor?"
Oh, that's simple…kinda. Clare answered, having thought this out already, "Well, I'm independent now. I don't answer to them. So why represent them with their armor?" Teresa nodded, not even considering that she needed to kill all defectors. Apparently she did like adult Clare. Teresa asked a couple more questions. This time when asked about her name, Clare responded with Adaria (A dah ria). She didn't leave any room for suspicion. When she would sense, the child growing closer, Clare found an excuse to run ahead. Either she wanted to find water to bathe or she need to get moving or go insane. She couldn't allow herself to interfere with young Clare and Teresa's development.
(AN: I'll call Clare Adaria and little Clare will just be Clare)
It took two days of evaded and disappearing before Teresa finally introduced Adaria to the newest inductee, Clare. Teresa's little troupe was growing. Little did Teresa know that the trio was technically still a duo. Adaria smiled at the child and even hugged her. She refrained from interfering still. But so far, events were carrying on perfectly. Though on her one of her disappearing acts, she did incapacitate the dimwitted rogues. She didn't kill them, but she forced fear into them before letting them go.
Then, came the moment that the time traveler truly needed to intervene. "I just can't allow her to live like us. Do you really think her life would be better? By keeping her, I'm pulling her into our world. I'm exposing her to yoma, unneeded risks." Teresa pleading with her companion as the child slept.
Adaria stood and gazed at the fire ominously. Her voice sounded deadly. "She'll be hurt worse by your abandoning her. You're her mother now…the only one she remembers. I told you I would owe you. Well, that now carries on to the child. I'll protect her. I'll protect you. Do not leave her!" She didn't look into Teresa's eyes. She knew her words had struck the soft portion of the warrior's heart. Good…very good.
"The Organization will eventually decide I am incompetent with the girl by my side. They'll attempt to eliminate us both. You for treason, me for ineptitude…we're screwed by toeing the line." Clare could already spot the changes that little Clare imposed on Teresa: softer, more compassionate…a fresh sapling peeking from the permafrost.
Clare took this opportunity to insinuate another crucial portion of her overall plan, "Well, I know of a place that will shield us from them. I hid there for years." When Clare's body would begin freezing, Adaria planned on pushing Teresa to provide the child with her blood. On her mental checklist, this would tweak the future just right. She could keep her powers…might even train the child and Teresa. They could continue Miria's plans…the Organization wouldn't survive. Adaria and Teresa smiled at each other at the idea of hiding for two different reasons. Either way, Clare and Teresa would remain together…possibly forever. This way, Adaria could keep her promises. She might even push Clare to go South to find Raki. Hmm, Adaria smiled every time she imagined her life and this new Clare's future. Peace was possible as long as Teresa survived.