by Kadorienne (moggy-at-belladonna-dot-org)


Two weeks after Adrian Veidt had saved the world, he returned to his Antarctic retreat for a necessary rest. It wasn't the same without Bubastis, but her sacrifice was only one of the burdens he had had to take onto himself. He made himself feel her loss every day, as he made himself feel every other, as he had been doing for years now. He would not permit himself to take the enormous sacrifice he had made lightly. He would not let himself off the hook for one iota of it.

Even before reaching his meditation chamber, Adrian felt the tension of the last fortnight of grueling activity lifting out of him. Leading the world to utopia was hard work. The world was fortunate that he was equal to the task.

As he settled into lotus position, he hoped that after all, Dr. Manhattan would return and tell him that what he had done turned out all right, in the end. In spite of his implication that he was leaving this galaxy, the security logs showed clearly that he had visited Karnak three times since Adrian had sacrificed three million people to save the human race. Very briefly each time, just a few seconds, but the sensors had picked up his distinctive energy signal on three different occasions. If Adrian only waited, Manhattan would return again.

It was difficult to tell how much time passed while one was in trance, but some indeterminate period of time later, something broke into his awareness. He opened his eyes and saw nothing. But a second later he was certain he heard something, outside the meditation chamber.

Adrian drew a breath, tightly clasping the pain in his heart. Whatever the sound really was, it had sounded strikingly like Bubastis's idiosyncratic call. He had a duty to hurt for what he had done, and hurt he would.

Trying to maintain the suffering in his heart, not to let it fade and slip away, he rose and strolled into the large central room. He had not acquired new servants yet - he punctiliously experienced a pang for them at the thought - so nothing human could have made the sound. Could it be Manhattan? (He remembered that enormous blue arm reaching down for him and smiled ruefully at the twinge of fear the memory evoked.) Or simply a high wind unsettling the snow?


A heart could not literally stop before death, but Adrian felt the shock that had inspired the expression. His head whipped around the huge Egyptian-themed room and found nothing. But wait, there was a faint blue glow reflected on the metallic surfaces in the room.

Adrian had believed himself prepared for anything, but he felt as cold as the banks of snow outside his retreat as he slowly raised his eyes to the skylight. And realized that it hadn't been Dr. Manhattan the sensors had detected.


Peering down at him from above was a gigantic, exquisitely beautiful feline face.


It was blue.

"My dear," he whispered, just before a tremendous blue paw came through the skylight. Straight at him.