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view of the city was still so clear, but now the One was hissing within his mind. He could feel it, like tentacles, wrapping itself around his consciousness, telling him that the One was threatened, that this indulgence with his former wife-while a celebration of all that the One stood for-would not benefit the great fight.

Just a little while longer, he begged.

And he could almost feel a dark smile of tolerance. An appreciation for the depths of bitterness and anger that lurked within him, and were the epitome of the One. The promise that he, Leo, would be granted a high place in the hierarchy of the One, when the final moments were at hand.

Feeling reenergized and confident, this time he fairly shouted,

"Beg!" and he hauled back a foot and kicked her in the side. She emitted a cry which he found most satisfying.

"Pl-please don't, Leo," she managed to stammer out, giving up the pretense of unconsciousness. She opened her eyes and looked at him, tears brimming. "Please... please think of what you're doing. You're ... you're not yourself...."

"Yes, I am," he said. "For the first time, I'm myself. And the One Who Dwells in Darkness ... he understands me. Appreciates me. Loves me for myself, something that you never did."

"I did, Leo, I swear I did," she told him. "You have no idea what it took for you to kill that love. No idea at all."

"I know exactly," said Leo fiercely. He pointed at Alex's un-moving body. "All it took was him."

He reached into the folds of his shirt and came out with a knife. It was vicious-looking, even in the dimness of the room. He turned it over and over, smiling at it.

"I could have used this on Alex," he said. "But I wanted to save it for you. I wanted it to be special."

She shook her head desperately, out of words,
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