The next day

Eclipse survived the blast mostly unharmed. I got her and the kid out afterwards. Why would she save the kid and jump behind the couch? She should have followed me out the window. It makes no sense. When I got to them there wasn't much left of the couch...or the room for that matter. Grenade really did a number on everything. The guy we were questioning died instantly. I expected the place to turn into an inferno, but instead everything was hit with an impact. I'm guessing concussion grenade, but I wouldn't know. Not an expert.

Eclipse wouldn't let go of the kid. Had to pry her from her hands. She woke up two hours later. I was stunned to find tears in her eyes. Since she's been awake I find myself increasingly uncomfortable, but haven't been able to bring myself to delve into it. This is our last night with the kid. Ruen will be here for her tomorrow. I'll be glad to see her gone. Right now Eclipse is in there tucking her in. Tucking her in! Christ. This is insane. There's an eerie calmness to my master that pushes me away as if it's a physical force. I wait impatiently for her to come back out.

Eventually she returns. Her body is covered in scratches and small wounds from the debris that struck her in the blast. Her abs are deeply bruised and she had to sew up a cut on her cheek. Between this incident, and her two days of fighting Jesse Williams, she's been through the ringer. She doesn't show it, but she must ache all over. At the moment that isn't my concern. She looks at me sadly. It's not an emotion I'm used to seeing her in eyes. I hate it. Finally I can't take her looking at me anymore. This has been eating away at me. I can't hold it back anymore. Master or not, I know what I'm sensing.

You've been different since the blast. I can smell humanity on you.

I flinch slightly expecting her to lay me out, but instead she just stops in her tracks and smiles calmly at me. That same sad look in her eyes that brings me discomfort. Her tone is soft when her scarred lips part and speak to me.

You're not wrong Ember...

I'm not wrong? That's all she has to say about it. My fingers slide through my hair and pull at it as if of their own volition. Instead of reacting to my disgust and frustration she just points to the door and walks outside. I follow her out. What does she care about waking that kid? I close the door behind me and we stand face to face. I move to say something in anger, but she quietly cuts me off.

I know you don't understand...and for that I'm sorry. It's my fault. You are what I made you. I now realize what I did to you was wrong. There is no way to say sorry for what I've done to you...

Her words stun me momentarily. Apologizing to me was the last thing I expected. Who is this bitch? This is not Eclipse. I can't contain myself. I explode into angry words. A twitch forms at the corner of my mouth.

You're sorry? You made me into something great! What the fuck is wrong with you?! You may be my master, but you sicken me...

There's no attack. No flinch. Just a sad smile that I want to rip from her face. We both stand in silence for a moment. My anger spiraling inside me. Then she speaks in a quiet, steely tone. One with strength, but not anger or cruelty.

Be that as it may. I am still your master. I will not mock you by calling you Robin. Even if you regain the humanity you fight so hard to avoid she will never return.

I want to hurt her with every fiber of my being. The master I respected is not the thing standing in front of me. I contemplate destroying her as she continues. I happily killed off the weakness of humanity in myself. There is no returning from that thankfully.

I can see the rage building inside of you. I know your desire to lash out at me. So be it Ember. If you can beat me now you may go your own way and consider yourself my equal.

Her equal. I'm now her better. I don't hesitate. My fist impacts her face and sends her staggering two steps to the side. The smile finally leaves her face. I don't let up as my assault continues with a kick to her gut that does little damage. She barely hunches over. I move in with a knee as hard as I can. It causes her to bend over. That's when I uppercut her face. It stands her back up and sends her staggering unsteadily backwards. I continue my attack with multiple strikes to her face. She doesn't manage to block any of them. I kick out and she slams back first into a tree. Breathing heavily I look at her with a smile as blood runs from her lip. She wipes it away.

Pathetic. Your humanity has made you weak Eclipse. I'm not your equal. I'm above you now.

She snaps her neck from side to side causing a series of cracks to echo around us. This is when I would have been scared. Now it's just a sound. I start moving towards her again. I'm going to finish this. All my great memories of my apprenticeship will be buried here right now. As she begins to speak in gravelly tone I swing as hard as I can.

I will show you what is truly weak Ember!

She swings too causing our fists to connect at full strength. The pain in my hand is intense before my whole fist goes numb. I ignore it and lunge forward with my other hand. It never impacts as her head slams against mine causing the world around me to instantly distort. I swing wildly and hit nothing but air as I feel my ankle be struck. Then my knee. My leg collapses beneath me. My eyes come back into focus just in time to see her foot lash out and strike my throat. I can't get air and begin choking in an attempt to refind it. Her fist slams into my head. The force of the blow feels like I was hit with a steel pipe. I collapse to the ground on my stomach. I wait for another blow that doesn't come. I try to push myself off the ground, but find myself unable to get up. I don't understand how this is possible. I don't feel the sickness that used to surround her. I don't feel darkness. I don't feel the rage that once consumed her. How can she still be so strong? Not to mention why hasn't she put me down for the count? A week ago she would have knocked me out without hesitation. Then I hear her voice again. There is an unfounded strength in her tone.

Looks like I still have much to teach you. This is the last I will hear of my humanity as being something negative.

Even with the change I'm not her equal. How stupid of me to think myself her superior. Then I feel her pull me up and help me to my feet. I don't...I don't understand.