Dark Legacy Part 4: If Only...
Authors note: Not much to say here. Except for the Imbrium thing. Raziel and Imbrium's relationship was entirely platonic. Yes, there were certain parts in the previous piece to hint otherwise, but that was a bit of a mistake. Also, you could kinda guess who the Behemoth actually was, and I can assure you she hated Imbrium... with a passion. One more thing, for those of you who are wondering about Actrise's position as Raziel's sister, and who have played the game... I'll explain later. Anyhoo, this part introduces a new character, and even more tension between our little lovebirds. Not to mention... well, you'll see. Dateline: five years later.
Chanaur was struggling with the last page of his medical exam. One question still stumped him:
Name the piece of anatomy that hangs down in the back of your throat.
He couldn't remember. He knew the rest of it, from graphing the internal organs by name, function, and size, to labeling all the bones in the human body. But he couldn't remember this last one. It starts with a U, I think. Or was it a T? He rapped on his desk with his pencil and chewed on his pinky. The timer was counting down. He had been stuck with this one for the last three minutes.
To hell with it. He scrawled the word uvula across the empty line, folded the page back to the front of the packet, and handed it to the professor. Excusing him, the professor began to grade Chanaur's test. Shaking his head, he muttered, "Your handwriting still leaves something to be desired, Chanaur."
Nodding solemnly, Chanaur left the room. As soon as the door closed behind him, Chanaur let a huge breath out. Boy, am I glad that's over. If he aced this one, he was now an official doctor, surgeon, etc. Looking in the classroom window, he saw that several other students were practically pulling there hair out with frustration. Others were just breezing through it, thinking they knew it all.
Shrugging, he walked to the door leading to the garden that the hospital used as a waiting room, and a meditation room. There, sitting on a bench, was Carrie, reading one of the larger books on biology. Without looking up, she sighed, "I still don't know how you can remember all of this." Snapping the book shut, she set it down and looked up at Chanaur. "So, how do you think you did?"
"Well, with a few exceptions, I didn't have much trouble." Sitting down heavily, he rubbed his eyes. "I should have gotten more sleep last night."
"Oh, I'm sure you got the highest score in the class."
"Please, Carrie." He looked up at her, "enough flattery."
"Well, what do want me to say?" Carrie smiled. "'You got such a bad score they'll send you back to trainee school?'"
"Not exactly, but I don't want to get my hopes too high."
Carrie shook her head. "You know, you worry too much."
"I know, I know..." Chanaur sighed. "I just wish I could kick that habit."
"Along with the paranoia?" Carrie cocked her head to one side.
"That too." He yawned, and leaned back. "I wonder when he'll be done with it. I want to know how I did."
"Huh. Here he comes now."
The professor stepped into the sun. Squinting, he walked over to Chanaur. "Good job, my boy." He shook his hand, then turned around and went right back inside.
"Wow. That was fast." Carrie said. "That test has to be at least fifteen pages long and he graded it like that." She snapped her fingers.
Checking the last page, Chanaur laughed. "What do you know, I was just guessing."
"What did you get?" Carrie asked, peering over his shoulder. Chanaur showed her the front page. "A ninety three." She snatched it from his hand. "You see, if you wouldn't have been up all night, you would have gotten higher."
"Yeah. You're acting like I got a sixty or something." The relief was obvious on his face.
"Hey, I hadn't doubted you for a second. Your five years older, and five years smarter."
You forgot buffer! She thought to herself. Before he was as skinny as anything, but now....
Shaking her head, she stopped those thoughts. Man, am I glad he doesn't read my mind.
"Uh huh." Chanaur fidgeted slightly. Should I give it to her now? "By the by, I've got a present for you." Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a small black box, normally used for jewelry.
"You're not proposing, are you?" Carrie took the box gently from his hand, and opened it. She found inside a bracelet, composed of large black threads, a simple clasp, and a silver plate engraved with two words. Fear not.
Taking it out of the box, Carrie stared at it, at a loss for words. She wasn't really used to getting gifts, much less from Chanaur. Fear not. A simple statement, a simple bracelet. But it meant so much more. Turning it over in her hand, she saw a second engraving, this one done in Chanaur's own hand.
For I am with you.
Carrie's mouth opened and closed several times as she tried to mobilize the necessary muscles for speech. Nothing came out, so she put the bracelet on, pulling both sides at once, and moving the rings to prevent the bands from loosening. Carrie finally squeaked out "Thank you." Looking at her wrist, she admired the new gift. "It's... It's wonderful..."
Chanaur smiled. He knew she would have liked it, but had no idea she'd be rendered speechless. Apparently nostalgia affected her more than most people. Perhaps it was because she didn't have much to be nostalgic about. Chanaur snapped his finger's in front of her face, trying to bring her around.
Carrie blinked rapidly, and smiled. "Sorry... Thank you for the bracelet..." I'll treasure it forever. "I... Well..."
Chanaur laughed and hugged her. "I knew you'd like it." He released her, staring into her dumbfounded eyes. "Come on, lets get outta here. We should go find Reinhardt and Rosa."
"Yes, Rosa." Carrie followed Chanaur out of the garden. "I need to have a word with her." Specifically, about this bracelet. Exactly what does this mean? Does this mean that he really cares...? When will I be able to admit it to him?
Finally, they came to the front door. Opening it, Chanaur stepped into the grassy field that surrounded the hospital. After a brief search, they found Reinhardt, sitting with his girlfriend, Rosa. (Perhaps girlfriend isn't the correct term. The only thing that kept these two from getting married was the matter of parental consent.) Rosa had moved to Wallachia from Greece four years back. Then, she was really shy, because she didn't feel like she fit in. But Reinhardt showed her around, thus showing her kindness. Eventually, they grew to be inseparable.
Carrie sat down next to Rosa and said breathlessly, "How was your day?" Rosa and Carrie had become best friends over time too.
"Not bad. Did you know that the Harvest Ball is on for the weekend?" Rosa had a soft voice, a gentle, pale face, and lovely brown eyes. She was slim, as tall as Reinhardt, and a shapely form.
"Yeah. I need to talk to you about something..." Grabbing her hand, Carrie dragged Rosa away.
"What's up?" Rosa asked, sitting down next to her.
Carrie raised her right hand. "Look what Chanaur gave me."
Rosa looked at it. "Hm. Jewelry. May I?" Carrie took it off, giving it to Rosa. "Fear not, for I am with you." Rosa looked up at her. "Carrie, I think it's time to face facts."
"Oh. You've noticed it too." Carrie felt her heart sag.
"Noticed what?" Rosa asked, raising an eyebrow.
"You've noticed how Chanaur is always a little shy around you. I think he likes you..."
Rosa shook her head. "For his sake, I hope not. Even though he's gotten a lot buffer, Reinhardt would stomp him into the ground." Rosa smiled broadly. "The reason he's so shy around me is because he knows I know something he doesn't want you to know."
"And what is that?"
Rosa beckoned Carrie closer, and whispered in her ear, "I think he likes you."
Carrie sat there, not moving. Dare I believe it? Nah. To cover it up, she muttered, "Well, yeah, we've been best of friends since we were nine."
"No no no no, I mean more than that. I mean, for I am with you? Did you say that at one time?"
Carrie recalled the night she had said fear not, and thought the rest. "Uh oh." Rosa cocked her eyebrows, and Carrie explained why she reacted like that. "If he read my mind that much, how much else did he see?"
"Well, was it a thought that you felt really strongly about?"
"With every fiber of my being, but I didn't want him to hear it."
"And why not?"
Carrie sighed, "Because... I wasn't sure if he felt the same..."
Rosa shook that last bit off. "I don't have any psychic powers, but I'm sure that it's hard to ignore one like that, so don't worry." Rosa smiled again. "C'mon, Carrie. What have you got to lose?"
Carrie looked at Rosa sadly. "My friend."
"And how is that?"
"If he doesn't feel the way I do, it might scare him off." Carrie looked at the ground.
"Ah, but what if he does?" Rosa nudged her with her elbow. "Cheer up, Carrie. It's not like it's the end of the world."
"But still, that's only a fifty-fifty chance." Carrie smiled. "But you're right. I'm not going to tell him now, but this weekend, at the ball..."
"That's my girl." Rosa hugged her close. "It's nice that you finally admitted it to yourself, isn't it?"
"Well, now that you mention it..." Carrie's heart lifted slightly. "Yes."
"I see you took my advice." Reinhardt smiled.
"On what?" Chanaur asked. He was still watching Carrie.
Reinhardt sighed and whacked him in the back of the head. "Chanaur, I know it's hard, but please try not to stare at Carrie as she walks away, ok?"
"I wasn't staring." Actually he was. Man, she's become a vixen, hasn't she? "I was just wondering what she needed to talk to Rosa about." Reinhardt looked like he was about to whack him again. "Yes, I took your advice, and you were right on the money."
"I told you." Reinhardt smiled again.
"Yeah, but you didn't say anything about her being rendered speechless."
"Speechless you say?" Reinhardt put a hand on his chin. "I thought it just said fear not."
"Yes, but I added for I am with you."
"Did she say that at some time?" Reinhardt cocked an eyebrow.
"Yes, in a way."
"I told you, man," Reinhardt repeated. "Girls who lost everything are highly affected by something from long ago, because they don't have many things to get that way about."
"That's pretty astute. Where'd you see that?"
"Female psychology book. Ever since I met Rosa, I've been trying not to screw up and scare her off." Reinhardt heaved a sigh. "But there's more."
"There is?" Chanaur looked at him confused.
"Yes. You said she was speechless? Do you mean trying to say something, or just-- ftt?"
"No, she was stuttering. She finally choked out, 'it's... it's wonderful...'"
Reinhardt stared at him wide eyed. "Well, well, well..." Chanaur looked at him, even more confused. Reinhardt shook his head. "Chanaur, all you have to do is breath a few words into her ear, and she'll yours."
"Believe me. You've opened the door to her heart. Uh-oh. Here they come!" Chanaur thanked Reinhardt, and split for home.
Carrie looked slightly hurt. "Why did he run off like that?"
Reinhardt shrugged, "Said he had to get something ready. Something about this weekend."
"Oh. Probably to get a suit. Which reminds me, I have to do the same thing. See ya!" And with that, Carrie charged off.
Rosa and Reinhardt watched her leave, and an old man peered over his newspaper. "So, how did it go?"
"Rather well, Raziel." Reinhardt chuckled.
"Well, with any luck, this'll finally work out." Raziel folded up his newspaper and stood up. "Now, for my part..."
Carrie was tearing through her closet, searching for a good dress. Too drab... Not formal enough...... Where did that one come from? Flopping down on the bed, she stared up at the ceiling. "This is getting nowhere." Picking up a baby blue one with a lace ruff, and said, "I'd say it's time to start trying these on."
As she started to slip her knee high boots off, she shouted, "Chanaur!"
After a brief pause, Chanaur skidded to a halt in front of the door. "Yes?" He asked.
Smiling wryly, she said, "Stop watching me undress."
Funny, Chanaur smiled back at her. Usually I make those kinda jokes. "Right. I was halfway across the house and you accuse me of watching you. If I'm not mistaken, I caught you watching me undress."
"You know that's a lie." she sighed.
"Do I now? I also remember a whistle..."
"Alright!" Carrie flung the boots at him, which he ducked, reflexively. She was now beet read. "Just stand outside the door and wait for me. I'm going to need your opinion on some things."
"Fine, just let me get my book first." He gently closed the door.
Shaking her head, Carrie undid the first button on her blouse. When she got to the second, the door opened just a crack, and a hand carefully placed her boots next to it. The hand waved goodbye, then the door closed.
Carrie laughed quietley. "Such a gentleman. Hard to believe you're still single." New thoughts popped into her head. First she made sure that Chanaur wasn't listening, then began talking to herself. As she resumed changing, she muttered, "Three days from now...." Picking up the blue dress, she began to carefully cut the lace ruff off. "I'll be lucky if he's still single." Getting the last of the threads off, she put it on. "Hmmmm... Maybe." Turning around, she stared in the full length mirror she kept in her closet door.
Carrie sighed. She was never one for getting dolled up. She had never worn a dress, aside from one or two events. The bracelet was the only form of jewelery she had ever owned. She felt strange. Perhaps it's the dress. It's too tight around the chest, but we could fix that.
Carrie opened the door and found Chanaur sitting accross the hall, propped up against the wall. As Carrie walked into the hall, he asked, "Looks good, but can you breathe in that?" Chanaur looked her up and down. "You have nice legs and all, but that skirts a little too short for you." Carrie blushed again. "Maybe a darker shade...
remember, don't wear it unless it feels good."
"Well then, this one's out." Carrie muttered.
Chanaur returned to his book. I could get to like this. Raziel came down the hall. Asking for silence, he handed Chanaur a dress with a midnight blue color and matching gloves that went up past the elbow. This is for her?
Yeah, it was Lacuna's. As Raziel left, Chanaur felt the fabric. Well, if it could be called a fabric: it had the feeling of velvet, but it flowed over his fingers like a liquid.
Carrie stepped out of her room again, this time in a robe. "Do you have any..." then she saw the dress in his hands. "...suggestions?" she finished belatedly.
Offering the dress to her, he said, "Raziel just dropped it off. Try it on." Carrie took it from him, obviously noticing the texture too. "Amazing it actually has a definite shape."
Carrie slowly walked into the room, rubbing the dress between her fingers. The door was still open when she let the robe fall to the floor.
Chanaur looked away. She'd never forgive me! When she let out a startled gasp, he couldn't help but look.
The dress went down to her ankels, but he saw it still retained it's strange composition. She had gasped because it had started to conform to her body. She did the same with the gloves. "Wow." Carrie said.
Chanaur looked at her, and said, "Now all we need is Rosa to add some finishing touches, and you'll be set." The dress accentuated every contour on her, in all the right places. The dress itself was sleeveless. "I like the color. You look really good, for a tomboy."
Her flush deepened. "Thanks. I'll take that as a compliment." Gently, she took the gloves off, experiencing a strange sensation, like moving her hand through water. Her hands had a strange sort of magical residue left behind on them. She looked at herself in the mirror again. "I like it. Nothing too fancy, it feels good, and I love the color." Moving toward the bed, she spun around really quick, to see the rest of her. "What do you think, Chanaur? Keep it?"
"Definitely." He smiled at her.
The weekend finally came, and Carrie couldn't be happier. She felt and looked great, thanks to Rosa's help. She had given her a silver cross necklace, to match the dark blue dress that she wore. She got the magic in the gloves to change the color to a slightly lighter shade. It pulled her whole look together.
Rosa had fixed Carrie's hair. When let fly, her hair reached down to her lower torso. But now it was tied into a ponytail, with a black band holding it in place. Her bangs had been crimped, so they bounced around when she moved.
And, of course, put on over the glove on her right hand was the bracelet.
Chanaur was dressed in a deep navy blue tux, so dark as to be almost black. Underneath he wore a pure white shirt, without a tie. Like Carrie, he didn't like getting dressed up too much. The jacket and shirt of his outfit had the top two buttons undone, to give a glimpse of his chest, where the necklace he wore could be seen.
He also wore a cologne; Fire and Ice it was called. It smelled strong of spice, but with a slight musty smell that all cologne's had. Enough to turn any woman to butter.
Rosa had thought of scents, and had given Carrie some of her own creation. She called it Poison.
And it was. (Not really, but you know what I mean.) It was a highly intoxicating combination of flower scents and a sweet smelling compound that Rosa wasn't ready to devulge it's name. Enough to turn any man to jelly.
However, on both of them, their was one other subtle scent.
Carrie had vowed to tell Chanaur tonight. To tell him that she loved him.
So, needless to say, she was a bit nervous.
What if he doesn't feel the same? What if he doesn't even like me? What if he just feels sorry for me? What if he walks off laughing?
Stop it! The voice in her heart was always the one to clear up the turmoil in her mind. You worry far too much. It's not healthy!
I know, I know, but I can't help it. What if-
No more 'what ifs'! Everything will be fine. You know Chanaur isn't like that, so why ask so many questions?
Because... Because I just don't know.
Lifes a journey, not a destination, (the author takes time to say this is his motto for life ;) ) and you just can't tell just what tomorrow brings.
Yes... Maybe your right. I'll have to go find him now. She took a deep breath, and moved into the open ceiling ballroom in the town hall.
A lazy breeze blew through the room, and the stars looked down upon the young couples. The pale moonlight fell over everyone, causing them to glow. What a perfect night.
Suddenly, Carrie felt something. A strange sensation of being watched. Continuing on, she brushed it off, until she saw a new man leaning against the wall, a glass of wine in his hand.
He was looking right at her, from behind a mask.
He was wearing a black suit, making her wonder if he was actually there. His head stood out, his body seeming to be lost in the darkness of the night. His mask was a white face plate, covering everything but his mouth and chin, with holes for the eyes.
There was something...different...about this man. His brown eyes were full of love, the mouth curved into a charming smile. Something about him made Carrie want to throw her arms around him and not let go for the world.
In her heart, there stirred a hint of love. Such a strange situation! I don't know who this is, and yet I love him!
Maybe it was because she hoped it was Chanaur. But he wasn't. The eyes gave it away.
No one could match Chanaur's gentle gray green eyes.
But this man had come damn close.
As her glance strayed from him, he started moving toward her. Slow, sure strides that gave her the impression that he was gliding on the floor. He never took her eyes off of her, stealthily moving around people in his way.
He finally came to stand before her, his cape whipping around him in the midnight breeze. Carrie felt her heart burst, flooding her body with a strong longing. A longing to feel his arms around her, to feel his breath in her hair, to feel his lips touch hers.
The man in the mask moved closer, wrapping his right arm around her shoulders. Carrie gasped as the strong hold satisfied a part of her, but left the others begging for more. "Who are you?" She asked breathlessly.
The face behind the mask smiled. "You'll know soon enough." The voice was soft and deep. It sounded so familiar, but she couldn't quite place it. She couldn't think. All that was left in her mind was a fiery passion.
Out of nowhere, a violin started to play a familiar melody. It was the slow, sad song of memories. Chanaur's parents had composed it, and she was certain that he was probably playing it too.
Oh god. If he sees me with this man, he won't believe me when I tell him...
Now, now, I'm sure he realizes that this wasn't your intention. Besides, Chanaur always understands.
That being said, She relaxed. She felt the other arm encircle her. The man behind the mask laughed quietly. That voice... So familiar, and yet...
Carrie placed her arms around him, her hands on his shoulders. The bracelet caught his eye, and he asked, "A gift from Chanaur, I presume?"
Carrie's heart filled with hope. "How did you know?" Her voice was quiet.
"I know Chanaur... Rather well." The smile broadened. His hand began caressing her back, making her tighten her grip on him.
There's no chance this is Chanaur... She felt her heart sink slightly. He's way too calm.
"Who are you?" She asked again, pleading with him.
Again, the breeze caught his cape. She saw down to his boots, where he still had a dagger tucked away. "A little paranoid, are we?"
Now he pulled away farther, taking her gloved hands gently in his. They began to dance, slowly, smoothly.
Rosa and Reinhardt flitted into view. Rosa flashed her another all-knowing smile, then disappeared into the night.
She knows something…Carrie felt her heart flutter again. I have to find out who this is!
Carrie became concsious that she had been staring into her masked man's eyes. She saw the same sense of longing that burned in her own mind.
Chanaur has a right to know.
"Have you seen Chanaur around?" Carrie asked carefully. "I need to tell him something."
The smile remained. "No, but I could tell him for you." That voice... She still didn't know...
"Thank you, but no." Carrie squeezed his hand. "I would like to tell him myself. Although..."
"Yes?" He drew in little closer.
Carrie sighed heavily, her heart melting away like sugar in the rain. "It won't carry the same meaning as before..."
"Is it urgent? I could go find him." It was strange. No matter what she said, his mood didn't change. He seemed perfectly contempt, like nothing could hurt him.
"Please tell me who you are." Carrie whimpered, her desire taking over.
"Now, now, Carrie." His voice now held a twang of admiration. "Patience is a virtue."
"I love you. Please let me see the face of the man I love..." Carrie placed a hand on his chest, and stared longingly into his eyes again.
"You love me, yet you know not who I am."
"Do you love me?" Carrie whispered, looking pleadingly up at him.
"With all my heart." The eyes closed. "But now is not the time. My love, I bid you farewell." Then the body faded away, until all that Carrie held where the mask and cape.
"No... please don't go...." Carrie sighed, the desire flaring, spreading through her body. He was gone, and her desire had to be checked, for now. She clutched her new belonging to her chest. A single tear rolled down her cheek. "Farewell.... my love."
Leaving the others to there dancing, Carrie somberly walked onto the balcony. Setting the cape and mask gingerly on the ground, she leaned heavily onto the railing.
She stared up at the starry sky. The full moon cast it's eerie glow across the forest.
The void in her heart filled with sorrow and new questions. Who was he? Why wouldn't he tell me? Where has he gone? Could he have been....?
Chanaur stepped forward, garbed as before.
I guess not....
Chanaur stepped closer. "Carrie?" he repeated. Taking another step, Chanaur saw her tears. "What's wrong?" He put a hand on her hand.
Turning to him, Carrie looked into his eyes. She saw his concern, his pain of seeing her hurt.
He does care....
Carrie gently embraced him, as Chanaur did the same. "Chanaur, I'm so glad you're here." She hugged Chanaur to her, resting her head on his chest. The cologne on his chest flowed into her nostrils, her mind flowing away with it.
"Carrie, tell me what's wrong." Chanaur whispered, his breath tickling her ear.
"Later." Carrie sighed. "For now, just hold me."
Chanaur cradled her in his arms, gently caressing her back, tantalizing every spot that her mystery man did. "I heard that you needed to tell me something."
The message burned across her mind. I love you Chanaur. But, as she had said, it wouldn't carry the same meaning as before. So, though it hurt, she whispered, "It was nothing important." She felt an icicle pierce her heart. Not important? Not important?!? What are you saying! How long will you keep lying to yourself? Once again, her heart had presented it's opinion.
"Soon I hope."
"Hmm?" Chanaur said.
"Nothing." Carrie wished it had been Chanaur behind the mask. So much for dreams.
Well, what if it was?
"Chanaur, would you put this on?" Carrie offered him the cape and mask.
Smiling, Chanaur whispered "Not now." He hugged her again, and said, "Right now I think it's time to take you home."
Suddenly, Carrie felt tired....so very tired. Carrie melted into Chanaur's strong arms as his cologne again took her away. Gently lifting her from the floor, Chanaur carried her down the stairs to the ground.
Snuggling up to him, Carrie started to shiver. What a night. She drifted off, visions of the masked man fading into darkness.
"Once again, I manage to screw everything up...." Chanaur sighed heavily. I didn't mean to make her cry.... I just wanted the truth....
I should have revealed myself when I had the chance.
Lost in his thoughts, Chanaur wasn't fully aware of where he was until he found himself in Carrie's room. He gingerly set her down in her bed, and tucked her in. He smelled her perfume, recognizing it as poison. He had to leave, before his mind was poisoned too much to leave her.
With one last kiss goodnight, Chanaur left. Carrie stirred in bed and muttered, "If only..."
My sentiments exactly, Carrie.
Chanaur stumbled down the hall and into his room. Taking off his jacket and shirt, he threw them across the room. It felt good to take it out on something. He grabbed his violin and stepped out of his window, and onto the roof.
Once there, he stared out at the moonlit forest. Searching for his sign, he finally found it among the stars.
Libra; the scales.
Right now, the balance was thrown off.
Drawing the bow across the strings of the violin, he began to play the song his parents used to play for him: The song of memories.
If only.... What had she meant?
He thought back to the dance they shared, this very song. She said that she loved him, though she didn't know who he was. She probably thought I was someone else... Maybe if I wasn't such a coward, I wouldn't have to hide behind a mask to get that close. Once again, I blew it.
Carrie thought I was someone else. God, it hurt so bad to see her cry... "I'm sorry, Carrie..."
Though he knew she couldn't hear him, Chanaur wished she could. He would give anything to be able to start this night over.
He continued to play.
I hurt her....
The only girl that ever meant anything to me....
A dagger to the heart.....
The violin screeched as his body jerked with a sob. Her pain caused him pain. The pain he had caused her.
"Forgive me, Carrie..."
Chanaur slipped into his room. Not bothering to undress, he climbed into bed.
He was about to take off his pants, when he felt that there was someone else on the other side of the bed.
Pulling the blankets off, he saw Carrie curled up, sleeping.
Poor thing.... She must have been so tired...
The song must have brought her.
Chanaur covered her up again, wrapping the blankets around her. It was strange. It was like he was looking at her for the first time.
She looked beautiful... at peace.
She looks like an angel.... A unbelievably beautiful angel.
His breath caught in his throat. The tears remained in her eyes, but none of the pain remained. Kissing her gingerly on the lips, he went to his closet. Pulling out a pillow and a spare blanket, Chanaur smiled at Carrie. The bed was big enough for both of them, but he didn't want to scare her.
"Good night... my angel."
Eventually, he would tell her.
But not now...
He curled up on the floor. I should have revealed myself....
This wouldn't have happened.....
I caused her pain....
A tear rolled down his chin.
Shaking his head, he drew the dagger from his boot, and hurled it at the wall.
He was satisfied to see it buried up to it's hilt in the door.
Chanaur drifted off, troubled thoughts flooding his mind.
I'm sorry Carrie......
Please forgive me.....
As he finally fell asleep, one last thought drifted lazily accross his mind.
Carrie woke up, idly trying to get back to sleep. Staring around the room, she tried to clear his troubled mind. She noticed that it was still deep in the night.
Waitaminute. This isn't my room.... Carrie was suddenly wide awake. What am I doing in Chanaur's bed? Or in his room for that matter....
Then she remembered. She was awakened by the song of memories.. It had found her, drawing her to it's source. Bringing her here.
But... where is Chanaur?
She found him on the floor, laying on the floor, under a spare blanket.
Again, memories came back to her.
The man in the mask....
Was it Chanaur?
Was it possible....
....that he loved her?
Chanaur stirred on the floor. He quietly pleaded, "I'm sorry Carrie... Please forgive me...."
Carrie was puzzled. What had he done?
It doesn't matter. I'll find out later.
Carrie got off the bed kneeling beside him. She gingerly touched her lips to his cheek. He calmed down almost immediately, the kiss carrying the same message as the words about to be spoken.
"I forgive you, Chanaur...." Carrie brushed his hair back. "but what have you done?"
Carrie saw tears in his eyes. Whatever he had done, we can work it out together.
What a wonderful word. Him and me. Me and him.
She had resolved to confess her love to him-
Confess.... I don't like that word. It's like saying that loving him is a bad thing.
Express. That's better.
Soon, she would. She would unload her burden, after so long. Unless he did before her...
Carrie rubbed his cheek. He looked so calm, at peace. You forgot cute. He looks so cuddly! Carrie sighed. The only thing keeping her from laying down with him was....
Well, it couldn't hurt, now could it?
Carrie bent down, carefully lifting him off the floor. She had always been stronger than 'normal' women, but what was normal? Chanaur felt so light! He gently put him in the bed. He stirred slightly, but slept on.
She smiled. She was about to leave, when the weariness reclaimed her. Looking back, Carrie saw his handsome face, illuminated by the moonlight. She saw his tears. He seems so peaceful...
I forgive you.... but what have you done?
Slipping carefully into the bed, Carrie wrapped her arms gently around Chanaur. She pulled him in close, feeling his soft breath in her hair. She kissed him softly on the lips, lingering there for a long moment.
I forgive you, Chanaur.
I love you, Chanaur.
Breaking the connection, Carrie started to fall asleep again. She rested her head contentedly on his chest.
Although she couldn't be sure, Carrie thought she felt his heart start to beat faster.
Suddenly she felt strong arms hug her tight. "Thank you Carrie..." He still wasn't fully awake, or so she thought. I'm just glad he didn't kick me out. He could of, but he didn't. He must really care for me.
I wish it could have been you, Chanaur.
She would find the truth....someday.
She felt so safe in his embrace. For once in her life, she felt like nothing could harm her.
If only she could stay in his arms forever.
If only he was the one in the mask.
If only he loved her the way she loved him.
If only she could say it out loud.
Three simple words...
I love you.
Three simple words that carry so much meaning.
She would give anything to hear those words from his lips.
Carrie tightened the bracelet on her wrist. I wish this night could last forever. She would give anything except the bracelet. That was her treasure, forever.
Fear not, for I am with you.
He would know.
Will he feel the same?
I hope so.
Hope. At times, that was all that kept her going.
People saw her as brave, yet she lacked the courage to say three simple words to the man that meant more to her than the whole world.
But what had he done?
I forgive you, Chanaur.
Again, she saw the tears in his eyes. What could he have possibly done?
Unless..... He was the one behind the mask....
It wasn't likely, but it was possible.
If only it had been him.
If only that expression of love had been his.
If only I wasn't such a coward.
Now is not the time.
"Chanaur, you will always be safe in my heart." Carrie squeezed him. He was cuddly! "Forever."
"And you in mine, Carrie." He whispered, squeezing her back.
It felt good to say that, and to hear him say that. Chanaur gently brushed his lips on her cheek. At least she knew he was telling the truth. When you’re half conscious, it's impossible not to.
Carrie sighed, and relaxed. She nuzzled into his chest, his cologne arresting her mind again. Fire and ice... It was almost intoxicating. Carrie sank contentedly into Chanaur’s arms. Someday, he would know. Someday, she would tell him how just how much she cared.
And hopefully, he would too.
"Good night, Chanaur." Carrie cooed. It's amazing how times of need bring people together. "I'm glad you care..."
"Good night, Carrie." Chanaur smiled, caressed her back. "I will always be here if you need me."
"Remember, 'life’s a journey, not a destination-" Carrie yawned widely. "And you just can't tell just what tomorrow brings.'" She tightened her grip on him.
"But we will face it..." Chanaur kissed her long on the lips. "...together." He finished sleepily.
At last Carrie fell asleep. She was safe in Chanaur's heart, and would be forever more.
But still, she couldn't help wishing that he could belong to her, and her alone.
Someday... The mist closed over her mind. Someday...
The mist dissipated as a blood curdling scream filled the air.
Chanaur snapped awake. He set Carrie on the floor, and dove through the window, as she followed.
The scream came from about three houses down. However, the voice was familiar.
It was Rosa.
Sprinting to where they last heard her, they found Reinhardt, staring disbelievingly into the sky. He held in his hands the black rose that Rosa had worn on the neck of her dress.
It had been stained red with her blood.
"Reinhardt...." Carrie stepped closer. Reinhardt didn't seem to notice. With a roar of anger, he slammed his fist into the stone ground. The crack spider-webbed out.
"He took her." Reinhardt choked. Blood started to seep from his knuckles. "Dracula took her. I couldn't do anything. He was using her as a shield. If only I could have helped her." He drew a shuddering breath. "God damn him, he took her. And we'll get her back." Reinhardt stood up, putting the rose in his chest pocket. "We leave at dawn."
End part four.