Mon, 23 Nov 1998
The Lady
[Elektra/Strange] - Danse Macabre (Interlude)

Disclaimer: These characters are copyrights of Marvel. I have no claim on them at all and I'm making no profit off of these characters. I use them out of my own sick writing obsession.

Continuity: This story takes place post Elektra series. This is also takes place after: The Evil Within.

Rated: PG- 13

An Interlude:

Danse Macabre

The Lady


Walking on the edge of rage and understanding
Between the black and the white
This child is so angry, and lonely here tonight
A longing desperation, leads me to believe
With all my shields and protections, its only me I deceive'.

- ---"Dance Without Sleeping," Melissa Etheridge


Her movements held the deadly grace of a tiger at play.

Stephen Strange watched the intricate motions of Elektra with an admiration that even he could not hold at bay. She was engaged in a kata, an exercise that was composed of a series of martial arts movements. It was half practice, half meditation, and all fluid grace as each move flowed into the next. It was neverending. A continuing cycle that would only cease when she willed it so. Though when applied to actual combat, it would cease with the death of one's opponent'or your own.

It was late. Very late. But Elektra had long since stopped caring about the layers of time, it held no meaning for her when she was so deeply entranced. Her body moved on without her, but her mind was at peace. It was one of the few times she ever found peace. Sleep had held no comfort for her. Images of friends lost played through her mind's eye. Taunting her. Torturing her. Nina's young face turned to evil and hatred after being resurrected by the Hand. The spectre of her father. He had been so close not very long ago ' and now he was entirely out of her reach.

Then there was Kuroyama. The new strong man and a jonin of the Hand. He had pinned her to the ground and forced her to watch as he ripped out Nina's heart right before her eyes. The young girl's screams still echoed in her head. He was like nothing she had ever faced. And he would see her destroyed one way'or another.

But that was not even the worst of it. The face of MacKinley Stewart had been the final straw that tore her from her fitful rest. His face as she had seen him in the hospital before he died'because of her. Because he had been too weak from his fight with the Hand to fully defend himself. But even now, as she struggled with the last semblances of her dream, the face of another man came to her. Matt Murdock. The Daredevil himself. He had loved her once, just as she had loved him in return. It was the type of burning passion that most can only dream of in their lifetimes. But even that was lost to her. He had called her an angel in those times long past, but even then she had been hounded by a screaming horde of demons he could never understand. And by that same token'maybe he would never understand her.

She stopped.

Elektra's vision refocused onto the here and now. Across the room from her, a rice paper 'wall' had been slid away so that the darkness from outside and the moist night air were almost an extension of the room. The fire she had lit however many hours ago had died down to glowing embers that barely cast any light at all.

"That was'impressive." Stephen, also known as Dr. Strange, had come up behind her. "The exercise that is'very impressive." He cleared his throat a bit, his momentary discomfort passing. He was caught in- between feeling like an intruder upon Elektra's solitude and wanting to help her. She was a very private person. They both perhaps had that much in common, but she was also in turmoil. And if he could abate that inner explosion that threatened to destroy her, then he would do everything within his power to do so.

The ninja remained quiet for several long moments before she finally turned toward him. The glimpse he caught in her eyes momentarily would have made an ordinary man flinch. But Stephen Strange was the master of the occult, and he was not a man who could be so easily deterred. "Shouldn't you be in bed?" She walked past him and over toward the dying fire where she knelt in the Seiza position, her legs tucked underneath her.

"I think I could say the same to you." Stephen moved to sit across from her, dark blue eyes not wavering from her for a moment.

Elektra was quiet again. She reached into a small container and tossed an almost powdery substance onto the embers. It didn't light or spark into fire, but it emitted an incense that quickly filled the entire space. "What are you doing here?" Her deep brown eyes turned to face him through the tendrils of smoke between them.

"I wanted to talk to you."

"Why?" She asked.

"Because, " he paused. "I'm worried."

"About the Hand?"

"No, about you."

A strange smile graced her lips briefly, and again, that glimpse of something in her eyes appeared. "You should be worried about the Hand."

Dr. Strange sighed inwardly and shook his head. His expression was stern, but the compassion still showed through in his voice despite its hard edge. "Elektra, we've been in Japan for two days and in that time you haven't slept a collective two hours. You're running yourself into the ground."

"I'll be fine." The Greek assassin's words were nearly barked out from between clenched teeth. Elektra paused, as if realizing how harsh she must've sounded. She shook her head, re-centering herself. "I'm fine. I just'needed some time to think."

"You can't keep doing this, you can't keep letting the world get to you like this. Its exactly what the Hand wants. The more distracted you are, the more of a chance they have at destroying you." Dr. Strange sat back and looked at her for a long moment. "But given time, I daresay you'll do the job for them."

Elektra's head turned, giving him a sharp look. "Who the hell do you think '"

"My apologies." He interjected quickly, but with a casual air. "But your anger doesn't change anything. Right now, Kuroyama has an edge on you. The question is: Are you going to let him keep it?"

The clash of wills in that moment was perhaps enough to rock anyone of psionic talent to their knees. Though it lasted for only a few moments. An unspoken truce came between them, with neither the definitive victory -but Stephen Strange knew he had gotten his point across.

"I'm going to bed." Elektra stood and walked back toward the main portion of the small home. "Wake me at first light."

Dr. Strange rose to his feet as well, watching her retreating back. His words had been harsh, and he had meant them to be so. It was better to have her upset with him than lost in her own personal pain. He hated to see her like this; it concerned him in more ways than he cared to admit. He had done all he could for the time being.

So why didn't that make him feel any better?

End Interlude.

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