"Don't worry, Jeremy," I said. "Everything will be okay."

The boy looked at me with a mixture of anger and, behind it, pain. He wanted to trust me, but he was afraid to. He'd been hurt too often by people who didn't understand him.

But I was different. I could understand him. I had to get him to realize that I could be family to him, a sister. He could have a home. He could finally feel safe.

So, I took a chance. I stretched out my hand and offered it to him.

"Claire!" Elle hissed in warning. She raised her gun defensively.

"It's fine," I said, both to her and to the boy, who looked at my hand as if it contained a bomb.

The boy looked at Elle and then turned back to me. He looked at my hand. He lifted his own hand and reached it forward to take mine… and then his brains were blown out. His lifeless body fell to the ground.

"Jeremy!" I screamed. He was going to give up and come with us. He had a life. He could have gotten better!

"He's dead, Claire," Elle said, calmly holstering her gun.

I looked at the murderous girl. She had a grin plastered on her face like she won a round of Halo. I ran up to her and grabbed her. She tried to kiss me, but I turned my face away.

"Stop it," I snapped. "This isn't about sex! How could you do that? He was going to come quietly."

"No, he was going to kill you," she said, looking annoyed. "He was a stupid, emo killer. Incurable, highly dangerous. Claire, I just saved your life. How many times am I going to be able to say that? I'd like to hear at least a 'thank you', preferably accompanied by you doing some of the things in bed you said you wouldn't. I did save your life and all."

"He wouldn't have even tried to kill me," I said, shaking my head. "I got through to him. He wasn't… He wouldn't…"

Elle kissed me. It wasn't a comforting gesture. It was very lustful, which was so inappropriate I wrenched my mouth away in disgust.

"What? God, don't be a bitch, Claire," she said. "Show some gratitude."

My mouth dropped open. "You just took a life, Elle! Say it! You have to at least say it."

She looked amused. "I took a life. I killed Jeremy Greer. I sent him to meet his maker. I extinguished his spark. Bereft of life; he's ceased to be. He rests in peace. Happy, Claire?"

"No, no, no! I'm not happy," I said, trying to get through to her. "You're not saying it right."

She wrapped an arm around my shoulders and pulled me up against her. "And what aren't I saying right?" she purred, licking her lips. She seemed determined to make this about getting laid.

"You have to mean it," I whispered, trying not to get turned on like she wanted me to. "You have to feel something. You have to care about something… someone."

"I care about you, Claire," she said, stroking my cheek with the back of her fingers. "I could have let Jeremy kill you before I killed him. I could have any partner I want. I want you."

"You don't care about me! You just want to have sex!"

"I do want to have sex," she agreed. "And I care. You're a good friend, Claire. I treasure our relationship." She smiled.

I wasn't fooled. Everything seemed so clear now. She didn't care about me, or if she did it was only as a fun toy. She was a sociopath. She lived only to feed her own pleasure. She was a monster, an incurable no different from the scum we hunted. She just managed to get herself in a cozy position.

Suddenly, the friendship chain around my neck felt a lot like a collar. I was just a… pet to her. That's all our relationship was. She was the one in control, which meant she controlled fucking Pinehearst. I opened my mouth to tell her to get the hell away from me…

"I'm sorry. You're right, Elle," I said instead. "I made a mistake with Jeremy. I should have trusted your judgment."

I couldn't let her know I knew. I couldn't let her make a plan, get away. I had to grab her quickly before she knew she had a problem. I needed to play along for the time being.

She grinned and pulled me into an even tighter embrace. "Don't worry, I forgive you." She licked her lips. "You'll just have to think of some way to repay me!"

Elle rests comfortably stretched on my bed, having removed everything she could. Her body is a lovely present of warm pink flesh trapped in cool grey metal. The sultry minx shoots me a come hither look and twists her body invitingly. Who am I to refuse?

I begin undressing. I pull off my clothes and just toss them to the floor. Elle will clean the place tomorrow anyway. Finally, I am naked save for the heavy chain necklace I hardly ever take off since making Elle my pet. It looks similar to her collar, making us somewhat a matching set with obvious hierarchal differences.

I sit down on the side of the bed, smile at her, and then crawl on top of her. I hold her down much in the way she used to hold me down. I kiss her, not roughly, but gently. This is sex with Elle my way.

Removing my lips from hers, I move down to plant a kiss on her chin, and then her collar, and then her collarbone, and then between her breasts. Lower still, I plant kisses down her belly. I keep going until my lips are between her legs and pressing against the cool metal of Elle's chastity belt.

I tilt my head so I'm looking Elle in the eye as she looks across her body at me. "You want me to take this off." I mean it to come out as a question, an invitation, but it comes out as a statement of simple fact.

"Yes," she whispers.

"How much?" I tease, enjoying the look of need. Back when we were partners, we'd have sex from time to time—mostly whenever Elle made a kill and got really horny—but it was all on her terms. She'd just throw me into various positions and bark orders at me. Now it's incredibly satisfying to see her as the submissive one.

"More than anything," she admits. Her legs stretch wider. "Please, Ms. Bennet. Take it off."

I reach up to my necklace, from which hangs two items. One is a remote, which activates Elle's shock collar when I need to discipline her. The other is a small silver key, which fits in the lock of her chastity belt. I take the key and slip it in the lock but don't turn it. "And once I take it off, is there anything you want me to do?"

"Make love to me," she whispers. "Please."

There was a time when she would have used a vulgar term like 'fuck' or 'screw' or 'bang', but I've trained that out of her. My new Elle is polite and sweet.

With a click, the lock opens. I slip the belt off her, taking a moment to admire the device. Dr. Taylor really did a good job with it. In addition to its primary purpose of ending all unauthorized sexual intercourse, it was designed to daily secrete a collection of power-neutralizing chemicals Elle would absorb vaginally, as well as containing a GPS locator to track her leaving the premises in the event she ever tries to escape again. It's an all-in-one sociopathic special taming device.

I didn't always have it. When I first started out, she was as sexually free as anyone. That turned out to be a problem.

At the time, Elle was working at Pinehearst with me as my secretary. I thought that the collar would be enough to keep her in her place, but I was naïve. I gave her too much power, and she used it to try and take me down.

I had a girlfriend. This film student named Gretchen became my fan on Facebook and things picked up from there. She was into specials, especially special queer women. She liked the way I was strong but femme and we hit it off.

Then I introduced her to Elle. Gretchen never got past the whole slavery thing even when I explained how Elle's a sociopath and would do the same to us if she had a chance.

"Obviously, I wouldn't or I would've done it already," Elle retorted when I first explained my rationale for enslaving her. "Shit, I'm kinky, but I'd never…" She tugged on her collar, the first collar I gave her. This one was simplistic, just a metal ring, and I could still see her throat.

"But you wouldn't have any qualms," I said, pressing the issue. "If I was your slave, would you release me because you'd never be that kinky?"

She shrugged. "Well, if you arrived at my doorstep all chained up, I might not refuse you. I mean, if you're a present, someone powerful must be interested in me, and I shouldn't offend them. But, that never happened. We weren't in that situation. You and me, we had a good thing going. Pinehearst's top agents. You need my power and ability to make life or death decisions without that clumsy thing called empathy holding me back."

"No, I don't." I shook my head. "What I need is a friend, Elle. That's what I thought we were: friends. I was wrong." I took a step forward and cupped her chin. "But I don't have to be. Just do what I tell you and we can be best friends, Elle."

Best friends. Yeah, right. She played the part while she laid low and scoured me for weaknesses, anything to gain a foothold. When I introduced her to Gretchen, she found it.

By talking to Gretchen after the fact, we pieced the story together. Gretchen talked to Elle alone after I left the room. Gretchen tried to figure out if Elle was as bad as I made her out to be, and Elle pretended she wasn't. Elle made it out like I was crazy and she was an innocent victim, and Gretchen didn't know Elle well enough to tell her lies from fact.

Gretchen started bringing presents for Elle when she'd show up for our dates. I tolerated it at the time because I thought it was just like bringing dog treats. In truth, Gretchen felt sorry for Elle and wanted to rescue her. I never made the connection that Elle's also a strong but femme queer woman with powers, and Gretchen ended up falling for her.

One day, Gretchen smuggled in some bolt cutters cleverly disguised as a submarine sandwich and snapped off Elle's collar. They ran off together, but not before Elle killed two guards. They were smart and stayed hidden for a few weeks, but Gretchen slipped up when she called her mother from a motel phone. Didn't she ever see The Terminator?

Pinehearst seized the motel, and the Haitian and I went to confront them. Just as we were about to go in the room, the Haitian steered me off to the side and challenged my whole slavery bit. It didn't go particularly well, and he later resigned.

"Claire, what is it about psychopaths you find so objectionable?"

I gave him a look. "Are you serious? Well, it could have something to do with the lack of conscience, guilt, that sort of thing."

He nodded as if trying to understand. "So, it is what they feel that matters? It is not the actions they may pursue? Murder, theft, rape; these do not matter?"

I gasped indignantly. "Of course they matter! That's the whole point! When you don't have a conscience—like Elle—you don't see anything wrong with them. Elle is a murderer!"

He nodded again, and it struck me how condescending the action was. "And you believe the crime of murder should be punishable by forfeit of freedom?"

"Well, yeah," I said. "That's kind of the point of prison. My prison's just more effective when dealing with a sociopath."

He smiled gently. "Claire, on October 4th, 2006, you got into a car with a boy named Brody Mitchum. Previously, you admitted to your friend Zachary that this Brody attempted to rape you. You specifically asked to drive him home from school… and you drove the car into a wall at top speed. You knew that you would survive. Claire, why are you still free?"

My blood turned to ice at the first mention of Brody's name. "You can't compare what I did to what Elle… He was a rapist! He hurt other girls and he would have done it again if I didn't… I'm not being inconsistent."

"No, you still feel you can take the law into your own hands and make judgments on others' lives," he said. "You are very consistent, Claire Bennet."

"Well, you're very arrogant, Mr. Whatever-the-hell-your-name-is! Has anyone ever tried to rape you? Have ever had to deal with… a… a… a rapist walking around and you can't tell anyone because you don't have proof and it's your word against his and everyone will just believe him, and you can't stand to have everyone talking about it and judging you? Have you ever been there? Well, let me ask you this: have you ever loved someone and found out they were evil? That they would never love you back? That they would kill and feel nothing? You have no right to judge me!"

"I have not been in those situations, Ms. Bennet," he said stiffly, sliding back into his role as subordinate. "However, my ancestors were slaves of men who believed us less than human. They would bring a whole people into slavery because they believed themselves superior."

"I'm sorry about your ancestors," I said, trying to keep the anger from my voice. This was a serious topic he was discussing, after all. "I really am. But what's going on here is nothing like that. Those French racists weren't any superior just for being white, and they had no right to do any of that, but you and I are superior to Elle because we have consciences. She has no rights, as far as I'm concerned."

"Because she is dangerous?"

"Because she's evil," I said. "And dangerous. That's a combo there. Are we done?"

"One thing more, Ms. Bennet," he said. "Suppose a psychopath like Elle were to… abduct someone to rape… You would consider this psychopath… How would you say it? You would not find it immoral to enslave this psychopath as you have Elle?"

"Evil is evil," I said. "She doesn't deserve freedom."

He chuckled. "Evil is evil? Well, suppose I was wrong about the rapist's psychopathy. Suppose I misread her, and she did have a conscience. She simply believed her victim fundamentally beneath her because of physical properties the victim never had any control over."

"I know what you're getting at," I hissed with disgust. "My God, I can't believe you're comparing me to a… slaver and… a psychopath!"

"You can't?" He shrugged. "You obviously are attracted to the psychopathic. Perhaps you are more similar than you believe."

"You're out of line," I barked. "You just don't like it. It grosses you out, owning another human being. In most cases, yes, slavery is bad 100 percent. Not in this case. Not with sociopaths. You're just trying to justify a gut feeling. It's this wisdom of repugnance bullshit that's responsible for so many stupid anti-special laws. Give me a break."

"Are you saying that my empathy clouds my judgment?" he asked. "That it is better to be cold and apathetic? You value psychopathic traits, in other words."

"You're twisting my meaning," I said, gritting my teeth. "It's not just one or the other. Conscience is important, but you have to keep rational. You have to… Look, let's just do this, okay?"

The Haitian and I confronted the two in their room. Gretchen launched herself at me, calling me a monster for imprisoning poor Elle. The Haitian started to intervene, but I waved him off and let Gretchen pummel me until she worked off her anger. Pain's never bothered me that much. I then had the Haitian take her outside to interrogate while I disciplined Elle, lightning-less from the Haitian's influence.

"I bet you're proud of yourself right now," I said, setting my toolbox down on the bed. The bed was disheveled and clearly Gretchen and Elle had sex on it recently. Great. "Poisoning Gretchen against me. That's low even for you, Elle."

"You poisoned her against you yourself," Elle replied. "You're the slaver here, 'Ms. Bennet'. It's natural for the empathic to take issue with that. Maybe you should just fuck sociopaths. You wanna?"

"You're shameless," I muttered, opening the toolbox.

"What's in the box? Another collar? Maybe it's a whip 'cause I've been a bad girl." She crawled up on the bed so she faced me, giving me a good view of her breasts as she tried to peer in the box.

"Actually, it's a box cutter." I raised the implement and extended the blade. "'Cause you've been a bad girl."

I watched as uncertainty flashed through her eyes. I'd been very nice to her so far, but I'd had it with nice. A point needed to be made.

No pun intended.

She tried to jerk back, but I grabbed onto her arm and pulled her down on the bed. I climbed on the bed with her and wrestled her down on her back. I sat on her stomach, pinning her down and leveled the blade at her face. "Don't. You. Move."

Eyes wide, she looked cross-eyed at the blade. "...What are you going to do?"

"Open your mouth," I ordered without answering.

She shook her head no, clamping her jaw shut.

"Open your mouth," I hissed. "Or this ends up in your eye."

Softly gasping, she opened up just the slightest amount.

I moved my hand so the blade now pointed at her throat from the side. Moving my face close to hers, I studied the terror in her eyes, and then I kissed her.

I felt Elle's body relax. She no longer looked afraid. She kissed me back.

Kicking it up a notch, I slipped my tongue into her mouth. Elle responded in kind. She tasted of Gretchen… Withdrawing my tongue from her mouth, I clamped my teeth down on her tongue, making her grunt. I pulled my head back, staring into her slightly confused lustful eyes. I slid the blade between our pairs of lips, severing Elle's tongue cleanly.

Elle screamed at the top of her lungs. Blood spurted from her mouth and ended up all across my face.

I sat up and spat the bit of tongue I held at her. "That's for fucking my girlfriend."

She just wailed pitifully.

Wiping my face on my sleeve, I slid off of her and the bed. I walked over to the toolbox and put the now-bloodied box cutter back. I took out a syringe. After depressing it to remove the air, I stuck it in my arm and took a blood sample. "Hey, Elle, want your tongue back?"

She stopped screaming and just stared at me. I couldn't read her expression. She looked blank. Not like she was confused, but more like she just decided not to bother to change her face to match her thoughts right then.

"This is my blood, Elle," I explained in case she wasn't following. "Just a bit of it'll give you your tongue back."

She rolled over and propped herself up on her arms. Blood covered her face and torso and it now flowed freely from her mouth and dripped on my shoes. She extended her arm.

I grabbed her forearm and injected my blood into her veins. "Won't be long now."

She sputtered and gasped as her tongue grew back. "Who are you? That chick from Misery?" she spoke as soon as she could. The joke was flat, muted. Her spirit had been tamed.

"I'm your number-one fan," I quipped as I put the syringe away. "I really am, you know. If I didn't care about you, you'd be worse than tongue-less right now."

Elle's blank eyes stared into mine. They didn't look like the typical sociopaths' eyes. Most sociopaths look angry beyond angry. She was the type that looked like everyone else. Her eyes didn't look normal or aggressive then, though, just… dead. "If I had you as my slave, I'd keep you in good condition too," she said slowly. "I'd want to make you suffer for as long as I could. Maybe that's why you healed me."

"It isn't," I assured her. I reached over and wiped the blood from her lips. "I honestly care about you, Elle."

"Does it matter?" she asked. "You could be Samuel Sullivan for all the good it does me."

"Sullivan would be a horrible master," I said. "I'm good, Elle. I'll take care of you. Just do everything I tell you and don't act out again, and I promise things will be better for you. Okay?"

She blinked. "Okay," she said softly, like a little girl might sound after crying when told everything's alright. "I'll be your slave, Ms. Bennet."

I hugged her, pulling her head onto my shoulder. "Good girl," I whispered encouragingly. "That's a good girl."

Elle squeals with ecstasy as I bring her to orgasm.

I sit up and grin at her. "There's your little reward for being a good girl."

"Thanks, Ms. Bennet," she says in a contented sing-song, a smile stretched across her face. Her smile fades as I put the chastity belt back on and click the lock into place.

"Now, don't pout," I admonish.

I know Elle hates the belt. She used to whine and complain all the time about it, asking why she couldn't take 'Haitian pills' and wear an ankle monitor, but the real beauty of the belt is the part she hates so vehemently. She can't properly orgasm with the thing on. As she's a very horny creature, that makes her motivated to do whatever it takes to get off, which would be to be a good girl and serve her Ms. Bennet. Though the initial introduction of the belt marked a rise in aggression, it ultimately paid off by making her more docile.

"Yes, Ms. Bennet."

I crawl back up to face her and kiss her deeply. "Now your turn."

Licking her lips, Elle eagerly gets to work. She takes her time; doing everything she can to give me the most pleasure. With her belt locked on, her primary source of pleasure is from making me happy, just as should be with a good slave. I shudder as her moist tongue runs over my sensitive skin.

"Good slave," I whisper. "Good girl."

She is. She was troublesome for a long time, but I've really made her better. I just need to keep the mind treatments regular and everything should be fine.

I don't feel guilty as I use her for sex. I know that sounds like a suspiciously specific denial, but I really don't. I'm just aware of the taboo of it all.

The truth is this is me being merciful. What should be done is… Well, the electric chair would be ironic, but… Really. She's incurable. I'm sparing her life. I'm a humanitarian.

If I stop Elle and ask her if she's thankful, she'll agree. I've made her want to… I've made her want this. She didn't always, but… She does now. That's who she is now. She's…

"You think you're so noble and virtuous," Elle said with a sneer. This was shortly after her obedience training began. She wasn't so thankful then. "Claire the Merciful. I know you better than that. You're no hero. Look at me long and hard, Claire. You are me."

"I'm nothing like you," I spat. "You're a sociopath."

"And so are you, Claire." She winked. "Claire the Sociopath. I like it. Claire the Psycho. Ooh, I like that more. How's it feel to be a psycho, Claire? It feels great, doesn't it? The world at your fingertips? I bet you're-"

I hit my remote, activating her shock collar and giving her a taste of her own medicine. I could have released the button after only a second, but I kept pressing to show her why it was important to make me happy.

She shrieked. Grabbing at her neck, she tried to claw off the collar to no avail. "Fuck you," she sobbed as foreign electricity assaulted her body. "Fuck! You!"

"I love you," I whisper in her ear. I mean it, though not in a romantic way. I love Elle the same way my mom loved Mr. Muggles. Sexual activities notwithstanding.

It's shortly after we finished lovemaking. I turned off the lights, and we started cuddling in bed. I could have locked Elle in her cage, but I want her on the bed tonight. It feels more real this way, like she's just my girlfriend.

"I love you too," she whispers back. I don't doubt she does, for the best a person like her is able to love. After all, she is dependent on me and conditioned to put my needs first, like a dog. What could that be to a sociopath if not love?

I frown as I spot a tear trickle down from her eye. She is supposed to be well past the self-pitying stage. In the morning I'll have to get Maury to give her mind another treatment. In the morning. For now, I pull Elle close and relax in her warmth.