For the first time in his life, Teatime understands the appeal of a beautiful woman. Susan Sto Helit is beautiful, trapped on the wrong end of this marvelous sword. He sees the fear in her eyes, sees her breath run short and her pulse race in her throat as she realises she's trapped, and it is electrifying, intoxicating. He drinks it in, and almost regrets for a moment that he will have to kill her. It will be an interesting challenge, at least, if she's picked up a few tricks from her grandfather.
She has not inherited his figure, Teatime can't help noticing. It is a little—just a little, just a fraction—more difficult to concentrate than usual, with her fear-dark eyes fixed on him. He doesn't want to look away, leans just a little forward… ah. She doesn't like that, he can see. The pulse in her throat picks up again, fluttering frantically underneath the pale skin. He does it again, relishing her discomfort. Contained and controlled, she is lovely; afraid, she is beautiful. He wonders just how far he could drive that fear, if he had the time.
Still, it is only beauty and he is nothing if not practical. She is a distraction, an impediment, a witness, and the tide is trying to turn against him. If he removes her from the equation, he will be in control again. So he stops looking at her. He'll take care of her soon enough. It's just a pity that he'll have to do it quickly.
She can see right through him, though, right into him, and suddenly it's not fun at all. He does not want to be known or understood, and somehow she knows everything. All at once, she is dangerous. The fight isn't one-sided anymore.
Physically, though, she's no match for him. He has the upper hand almost before she can blink, and now it's fun again. Now she's more afraid even than when he had her at swordpoint, and he's so close to her that he can almost feel her heart pounding in her chest. She's easy to control this way, frozen by nothing more than his grasp on her hair.
He pulls her head back a little, admiring the way it lengthens the line of her slender neck, half entranced by how easy it would be to snap it. There is something about her shallow, panting breaths that makes him draw this out, something enticing in the watching her pulse jump in rhythm with her racing heart. Just for a moment, the man in him surfaces and he leans in, intent on tasting the spot below her jaw where that pulse throbs just beneath the surface. Just for a moment, he feels her begin to relax into his hand, and he realizes that fear isn't the only reason her heart is racing—
—and then everything goes to hell.
But for the first time, just for a moment, Teatime has something to think about besides death.