Judgement
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Sintes' eyes fluttered open. First thought, everything hurt. She winced as she rolled onto her side. She wasn't home, and didn't see Indie anywhere. She did however see a bathroom . Taking a deep breath, she pushed herself into a sitting position. She saw that her hand and wrist had been bandaged up. She worked her fingers, feeling the stiffness that had set in. She slowly pulled herself to her feet. Feeling a little dizzy, she braced herself against the frame of the bed.
Someone had tried cleaning her up but there was still blood and dirt everywhere. A long, hot shower is what she needed. Watching her steps, she inched towards the bathroom. Turning on the shower, the water as hot as she could stand it, she leaned up against the tile, letting the jets wash over her sore body. She stood there until the water began to cool, then she soaped up and rinsed as well as she could.

She stepped out of the shower, shivering as the night air coming through the window hit her. Looking up, she found Indie leaning against the door holding a towel. He walked over to her wordlessly and started drying her off, gently patting, trying to put no more pressure on her than was necessary. He kissed her on the shoulder as he finished, then helped her dress.

"I figured you might be hungry so i stopped by the deli on the way home, got your favorite", he said smiling as he rebandaged her hand.

She leaned against his chest and the tears came then. Indie wrapped his arms around her, letting her cry. He kissed her forehead and murmured softly against her ear. She cried for the longest time, so much so her eyes began to swell. Finally she pulled back looking at him.

"Please don't want rid of me", she managed between sniffles.

He stood with her still in his arms just looking at her. "Where did that come from?", he asked, wiping a thumb across her cheek.

Sinte shrugged, laying her head back down on his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I was just trying to help", she said, as tears once again fell down her face.

"I know baby, I know...shhhhhh". Indie picked her up, cradling her in his arms, kissing her gently as he walked towards the bed.

He laid her down, then laid beside her. She snuggled close to him, resting her head in the crook of his shoulder.

"I don't want rid of you Sinte, most days I can't get enough of you", he said sighing, running his hand down her side, letting it rest in the small of her back.

Sinte breathed in deep, taking in his scent. She kissed him on the cheek, letting her heavy lids close, drifting off into sleep.
.......................................................................................................................
Sinte sat outside the office waiting. Cadence was already there, the both of them had broken pretty much every Deviant rule there was, and Sinte had done worse, she had taken a life. She didn't remember anything of that night past feeling very ill.

From what she had gathered, the night of her confrontation with Lotus and Cadence, Lock had caught them in Michaels' office, he had approached them and all hell had broke loose. Of course it hadn't really been a fair fight, but Lock had held his own until the both of them over the course of an hour had worn him down, they had left him for dead. Indie had said they had no idea how or where he had found the strength to make it outside that night to help her. The simple truth was, she owed Lock her life, if he had not made it to her that night, she probably would have been dead by the time Michael and Indie had made it back to the club. The 'incident' had brought what Michael felt like was unnecessary and unwanted attention to the club and to the general area so for the time being they were staying at a borrowed residence until all could be rebuilt.


"Come on in Sin",Michael said, sticking his head out the door motioning to her .

Sinte entered cautiously. Her eyes met Cadences' and she froze. She had known Cadence had survived, even knew that she had been in Michaels' office when she was waiting outside, what she wasn't expecting was her reaction to Cadence. She closed her eyes and felt her face flush hot with an even rage. Sinte felt Indie behind her, talking softly against her ear. She let him guide her to a seat, but her eyes never left Cadence. Cadences' eyes were almost swollen shut from crying, her face was tear streaked and had blotchy red patches on her skin. Lotus had almost killed her, she was told, and she had spent the better part of the 2 weeks since the incident in an underground hospital for Deviants that was run by a good friend of Michaels'. There was a long silence, Michael spoke first.

"I said this earlier, and I will repeat it again for the benefit of those who have just joined us", he started, shifting slightly on the corner of his desk, "In my years here at the club, and in other places I have been, I have never come across anything as dispicable or as evil as what happened here Friday before last. The sheer perversion of it is almost unfathomable."

He stopped talking for just a minute, as to let the words he had just spoken sink in. "This, nor anything like it will ever again happen. To ensure this, I have buckled down on who I can and can not accept into this circle. We are meant to be support for one another, a chance for those who deserve, a haven for those who have no where else to turn, a last resort
for some. I believed until recently all deserved a chance. I personally have a hard time telling any Deviant no, it's not our fault we are the way we are, who we are. But I have learned over these past few months that there are some who do not merit what we have to offer, it has been a hard lesson for me to learn, at the cost of one life and almost the cost of three others."

He walked to stand in front of Cadence. "You have two choices Cadence, you can go back with Dr. Ellis to the underground or you can go out on your own. If you choose the later, before you leave this office you will take both of these", he held out his hand showing her the two, small, pink pills, "They will make you forget everything and everyone you have ever
known. You won't remember your child hood, here, nothing. I don't trust you and can't have you running around on the outside knowing about us, the decision is yours to make".

Michael stood there, pills in hand, staring hard at her. Sinte watched as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks, she almost felt sorry for her, it was a no win situation. The other part of the underground, the 'living area', was almost like a prison she was told. It was for those who could not controll themselves, too dangerous to be on their own. A lot of those
were very mentally unstable. Although she knew Dr. Ellis and his staff did the best they could to make them comfortable, giving the best quality of life possible, quite of few were constantly sedated, walking around in a zombie like state. Sinte herself had never been, but she had over heard stories and could just imagine. She crossed her arms over her chest
as chills ran up her spine. Cadence was struggling, her chest was visably heaving, like she was hyperventaliting. Being on her own would be no better. She wouldn't know anyone or any place, there would be a chance she wouldn't even survive, especially if the Vanguard found her.

"I..I need a few days to think Michael....."

"You'll decide now, it won't be any easier in two days or two weeks", Michael said interrupting her, his voice cold, emotionless.

Cadence looked to Indie, "Indie, I'm so sorry, I just wanted.... please....", her words were broken and came out almost too soft to hear. Indie looked at her straight on, shaking his head.

"I'll go with Dr. Ellis", she said finally, breaking down into tears.

Michael nodded towards the Doctor. Dr. Ellis pulled out a syringe, showing it to her. "I'll need to give you this Cadence, it will curb any notions you may have on the ride back", he explained as he swatted her arm with a cotton ball. She never even flinched as he injected the medication. Two fairly large men, one taking each arm, escorted her out of the room as the Doctor pulled Michael aside, speaking in a low tone. He patted Michael firmly on the back then left the room himself. Michael didn't move immediately, he stared at the floor as if he was gathering himself before turning back to address those still in his office. When he turned back around, he had such a sad expression that Sinte hurt for him. He walked to behind his desk and sat down, folding his hands in front of him.

"I never want to have to do that again", he said softly, looking at every single person. "Dr. Ellis has begun a new program he's going to try Cadence in. It's a recovery program designed to try and correct behaviors. He has only had twelve enter so far but the out come has been promising. Out of the twelve that was entered, nine of those are showing
remarkable progress, one of which is responding so well that he now helps Dr. Ellis around the lab, and if he continues to improve we may see him coming around here soon." He smiled slightly and his gaze came to rest on Sinte. He rocked back in forth in his chair studying her. She began to feel nervous and looked at the floor, not knowing what else to do, dreading what was coming.

"Also in that same incident, a life was lost. Some of you here knew her, some of you didn't. Lotus was a very gifted Psy, she could have done so much good for the community. Unfortunately, an error on my part, I seen what I wanted to see, I seen what she could be, not what she really was. Because of my error in judgement I almost lost two friends, one of those being the taker of Lotus' life. I have struggled over these past few weeks, to determine what would be a suitable punishment for such an action, it's not something I've taken lightly nor have I let my personal feelings interfere."

"No disrespect Mike, but i thought that 'The Panel of Seven' we're the only ones who could pass judgement", one of the young men Sinte didn't recognize said.

The Panel of Seven had been set up years ago, they we're the Deviant version of a judge and jurer, so to speak. Sinte had no idea about any of the processes, she just knew they existed and hoped she'd never be brought before them. Michael looked at the man who had spoken to him.

"No offence taken Ezra, and I have spoken to the other six members on this matter. They have agreed with my decision".

Sinte watched as Ezras' expression changed then felt a lump in her throat as it dawned on her exactly who Michael was. She looked at Indie, grabbing his hand for support. He winked at her and squeezed her hand a little. She became a bit nauseas and felt the color drain from her face.

"I'm sorry Mike, I didn't know", Ezra said apologetically.

Michael raised his hand, smiling warmly at him. "It's ok Ezra, few know and i prefer it that way, capiche?"

Ezra nodded. Michael returned his attention back to Sinte. It seemed like an eternity before he spoke, she thought, her hands were clammy and her stomach in knots.

"Sinte", he called softly. She swallowed hard and looked up at him. He didn't look angry, but then again, Michael wasn't easy to read.

"What we decided was that given the circumstances, there would be no judgement. Yes, you used what you have and took a life. One of our rules is that you never use what you have against another to cause harm. You also saved two lives and in the long run probably more. The fact is though, you should have never even been in that situation. I know your reasons for being there, and on a personal note, I'm glad you were, if not for you, we may have lost Lock, however, the fact still
remains, even though you had good intentions, you should have never been there. I need to be able to trust you Sinte, I need you to promise me, that no matter what it is, no matter the reason, you will never go on your own like that again. If someone asks you for help, you will come find me, Indie, Lock, someone else. The rules I have are in place for a reason, do you understand?"

Sinte nodded. "Yes Michael, I understand, and I'm sorry, it won't happen again". Her heart was beating so fast she thought it would come out of her chest. He nodded and she thought she seen a small smile before he turned his attentions to the papers in front of his desk.

"Ok", he said, walking around to the front of his desk, sitting on the corner. "Everyone here has accepted my proposal, and i would like to start out by saying I'm grateful, thank you for joining this cause. There will be a few more joining us, some are stationed at junctions, we will only see them when we go to them. This is not something to be taken lightly. It will be dangerous, there will be risks, any having second thoughts please leave now, nothing less will be thought of
you for doing so". Michael looked around the room cautiously, looking for signs that every word he had said was understood. He nodded solemnly. "Then let's get this ball rolling".

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