Disclaimer: The characters of Clover are property of CLAMP and their associates. All other characters in this 'fic are invented by me. This fanfic story is posted for non-commercial entertainment purposes only.

Notes: This 'fic happens about two and a half years after the end of Clover 2, and therefore contains lots of spoilers. It's a sequel to 'Icosahedron', although it's not necessary to have read that 'fic to figure out what's going in this one. The story is currently incomplete, but will eventually have six parts. For more information about the content presented in Part One and later parts, please consult the posted story warnings. Sincere appreciation goes out to Kristin O. for beta-reading comments.

Summary: As Lan's five years of freedom draw to a close, the Parliament meets to decide on his future. But others who know of the Clover Project may have designs on his future as well... .


Chapter 5 (Teaser)

By Jonna


Kou was tired.

She leaned against the doorframe of her dark and empty audience chamber, feeling every year, every day, every hour of her age. Her robes of office weighed her down. Heavier were the titles it carried with it. General. Wizard. Chancellor of the Supreme Parliament. They bent her shoulders and stooped her back until she felt that she could barely stand.

Old, she had grown too old for all of this. All of the intrigues and the arguments and the plots and counterplots of the Parliament. They debated on the fate of lives like crows squabbling over carrion

She hardly had the energy to reach out with her mind and touch the command circuits in front of her, to bathe the chamber in brilliant white light. With a sigh, Kou stepped away from the doorframe and started over to the iron and glass edifice that stood at the far end of the room--a place that served as both nerve center and throne.

There was a bird perched on one of the metal rails, waiting for her.

It wasn't a real bird, Kou could see that immediately. It was a replica, one with beautiful red and gold wings. Kou's expression immediately shuttered, her back unbending slightly as she walked towards it. The bird's head swiveled, and it watched her approach with one unblinking dark eye.

"I've been expecting you," she told it.

The bird did not make a sound, but instead unfolded its wings, and hopped off its perch to hover in the air in front of her. She stood motionless as its small metal body became angular, broke up into shards of light, and re-formed itself into a small, rectangular screen--a screen which remained supported by those brilliant red and gold wings. The monitor was black. A wise choice. The one who had sent the bird did not wish to be seen.

--| You chose not to help them |--

Bright green letters scrolled across the flat glass surface. It was impossible to tell if those words carried curiosity, accusation, or indifference. No matter what the intent, guilt was the inevitable result. Kou bowed her head wearily. "I have protected A from the wrath of the Parliament. That's all I can do."

--| Iris will be forced to act tonight. |--

"I know." Kou hoped that the delay the female Three-leaf had unwittingly provided would be enough. There was such a small margin of error there, and such an overwhelming chance for catastrophe.

But there were no other alternatives.

Kou gazed directly at the small, hovering screen. In a steady voice, she asked, "what do you plan to do?"

The cursor on the black screen blinked a minute in deliberation before scrolling out a single line of text. --| You already know the answer. |-- As soon as Kou read the letters, they began to blur together, and the surface of the screen began to fragment. Within seconds, the entire device deconstructed itself, the bright shards vanishing away into nothingness.

Kou let out a deep sigh, the weight of weariness falling over her shoulders once more. "Yes," she said. Then, almost in a whisper, she added, "I'm sorry, Suu."

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