Dark Legacy Part 8: Heart's Poison
by Chanaur Majere

Author's note: This one is a heavy dose of Romance, so if you don't like the type, then I suggest you find yourself a different story to read.

Tell me how it feels to be the one who turns the knife inside of me.... Love is a thorn without a rose.
Steven Tyler; From the Aerosmith song Hole in my Soul

Chanaur lay on the bed, the iced towel on his forehead. He was conscious, but just barely. The poison pulsed through his body, searing his veins and draining the life from his prone body. Already, he lacked the strength to sit up. All he could do is lay there, whimpering like a child with a stomach ache, still struggling to retain consciousness.

Carrie still hadn't left the bedside, though it was three hours later. She knew this poison well: it attacked the heart, causing the blood to slow, and opened the blood vessels. Eventually, he would bleed to death, from the inside. Reinhardt and Vincent were off in search for another ampoule, but still hadn't returned.

Milenia sat in a chair next to Carrie. She kept looking back and forth from Carrie's worried expression, to Chanaur. A single question burned accross her mind, but didn't want to say it when both of them were listening.

Besides, she was pretty sure she knew the answer already.

The door opened suddenly, and Reinhardt came in, followed by Vincent. Carrie jumped to her feet, rushing over to him. "Did you find one?" She asked anxiously. Reinhardt produced a vial of the curing potion. Carrie let out a sigh of relief. "Reinhardt, you're a saint." She took it from him, and returned to Chanaur's side.

Reinhardt seemed a little taken aback by her reaction. Vincent came to stand next to her. "How long has it been?" He asked quietly.

"About three hours...." Carrie whispered, her hands shaking so bad she fumbled with the stopper.

Vincent opened it, and handed it back to her. "Good. Because if the antidote isn't taken within four hours of contracting the venom, his chances of living would have been practically nil."

A quiet voice came from the bed. "That's comforting...." Chanaur's eyes opened a little, looking up at Carrie.

She kneeled down, and pushed his hair out of his eyes. "Even in this condition you can't stop making jokes, can you?" She smiled a little tensely, knowing that this wasn't the time.

"No chance...." He tried to match her smile, but he started coughing, and hard. Blood flecked his lips, and when he finished, his breathing was shallow.

"Shhh, Chanaur...." Carrie gently dabbed it up with the already blood-stained cloth she had for that reason. "Don't waste your strength. Relax... Just relax...." She put a hand to his cheek. "Good lord, your burning up...." Her eyes welled with concern.

"That's an understatement...." He said weakly. "Don't worry, though...." He whispered smoothly, noticing Carrie's eyes. "I'll be fi-" He began coughing again. His coughing fits were getting steadily more violent as his body became more intent on expelling the poison. Blood spattered the blanket covering him. When it had passed, he sank deeper into the bed.

"Chanaur...." Carrie whispered, cleaning up the blood again. "Don't speak. Just relax...." A strange trembling arose in her chest as he looked up at her with those beautiful pain-filled eyes. She put a hand on the back of his head, bringing his lips to the antidote. With a slight grimace, he drained the vial. Carrie set his head down, tracing her fingers around to his lips before removing her hand. With what sounded like "thanks," he slipped into a spasmodic slumber.

Milenia stood beside her, putting her small arms around Carrie's soulders.. Carrie stared at the man she loved, saying a silent prayer, for him to be alright. "Any... Side affects?" She asked, her voice cracking.

Vincent sighed. "A fever. Nothing more."

She bit her lip, squeezing Milenia slightly. Icicles formed in her stomach. "He's never handled fevers well.... One in his youth nearly killed him....."

Reinhardt moved beside her. "Carrie, he'll be fine." He patted her hand consolingly. "He's in God's hands now." Carrie looked up at him, seeing her worries reflected in his eyes. Although, they didn't match exactly.... "We've done all we can...."

Carrie smiled fleetingly up at him, then sank into her chair. "God, I hope he lives...." Vincent whispered.

"So do I....." Carrie sighed. She checked his cheek again. He was still burning hot to the touch. She thought about just how much he had done for her. Stood by him, in the worst of situations. Now she had done this to him, and he was dying.

No.... He can't die now..... I can't let him! She allowed her hand to linger on his face for a moment. Although she wasn't concious of it, she was sitting there for several minutes, caressing his cheek.

Milenia tugged on her arm. "Vincent said he and Reinhardt were going to look for some herbs that would help bring the fever down. Also, Vincent said that when he wakes up during the worst of the fever, don't let him fall asleep again."

Carrie nodded, but didn't stop. Her head sank into her other hand. I wish I could have prevented this....

Milenia tugged on her arm again. Carrie looked down at her. Milenia smiled a little. "You love him, don't you?"

Now Carrie stopped. She made no other reaction, though she did ask, "If it's that obvious, why can't he see it?"

Milenia shrugged. "Maybe he's afraid of change? Maybe he's so focused on deciding wether to tell you how he feels to really notice."

Carrie smiled down at her, brightening. "Do you really think he feels the same?"

Milenia nodded. "He just doesn't know if you feel the same... I think."

Carrie sighed. "That's the reason I don't tell him... I'm afraid that it could scare him away...."

"Believe me Carrie..." She yawned widely. "You won't scare him at all...." Milenia curled up on the floor, and started to sleep.

Carrie looked at Chanaur, wondering if Milenia was right. She seemed to be speaking a little frankly for a child her age....

She sighed again, placing a hand on his bare chest. How did this happen? How did we become so close, yet so far apart....?

It's strange... I love him, but I can't bring myself to tell him. Looking at the pale face before her, she began to understand how it had happened. They were the best of friends since they were children. After they got older, the teasing and bad flirting began. They had helped each other through the loss of the other's parents. When she had to leave her home, Chanaur had followed her to Wallachia. He said it was because he thought she needed him. "In a way, he was right…." Carrie muttered to herself.

A voice in her heart reared it's ugly head, as it seemed to be doing more often. What do you mean? You couldn't live your life the same way without this man, could you?

Carrie sighed heavily. She hated feeling like she was talking to herself. "No, I guess not..."

If that isn't love, then what is?

Milenia started to snore quietly. Carrie picked her up, and brought her to the other room. She sat her gently in the bed. Although she couldn't be entirely sure, she could have sworn that she was laughing.

Carrie returned to her seat. She looked at Chanaur, a puzzled expression crossing her face. He must have been having a dream, because he was mumbling in his sleep. Chanaur had always said that dreams meant little or nothing....

She somehow knew, though, that this one was different. But she didn't know quite what it was about....

Chanaur spun around, hearing a noise behind him. Then from the opposite direction, the rush of cloak wipping around. He readied an arrow and hurriedly faced the sound. He heard another sound from his right, and he released the arrow.

It was caught by a mammoth hand, and snapped in half. The Dark Lord stepped forward. He issued no chalange, but just stood there, staring down at him.

He seemed slightly confused.

Chanaur advanced on him, drawing his sword and cutting upward. He had no idea where he was, or what had happened, but he knew this much...

This was more than just a dream.... So much more....

Dracula caught the sword in his hand. He crushed the sword between his fingers, and flung the shattered blade against the wall, the hilt remaining in Chanaur's hands.

Throwing the broken handle aside, Chanaur attacked him barefisted. He nailed him in the nose, but Dracula caught him in the stomach. He reeled back, then kicked him hard in the abdoman. Dracula brought both of his fists down, hammering Chanaur squarely in the chest.

Now he stopped his assault. He hit the floor, groaning.

The Dark one stared down at him. Chanaur struggled to his feet.

Before he could stand up totally, he felt a heavy boot connect with his stomach, in the exact same place where he had been hit already. He groaned again, clutching his gut.

Dracula pulled back for another vicious kick, but stopped suddenly.

Chanaur got to his feet again, his breathing labored. "Why do you stand there?" He demanded. "Why don't you finish the job?!" He attacked again, a roundhouse kicked aimed at the giant's head.

He merely stepped back, evading. He then dodged a heel-drop, and several punches. Chanaur continued, his rage mounting. He finally pulled the dagger from his boot, and plunged it into the Dark One's heart.

A great hand grasped his throat, and lifted him off the ground. Dracula stared up at him, then his eyes narrowed. "What was your father's name?" The voice was dark, barely audible. He heard everything though, even over the blood roaring through his ears.

Chanaur choked, attempting to speak. "A-a-alucard."

The Dark Lord's eyes widened, as though he had been struck harder than ever before. He dropped Chanaur, who hit the floor, and stayed down this time.

Dracula drew a shuddering breath. "Alucard..." He watched Chanaur stand shakily up. "....Had a son?"

Chanaur whipped around again, another arrow ready to fly.

However, the Prince of Evil held up a hand. "You know that you are part vampire?"

"Yes." Chanaur muttered. "Why do you marvel that Alucard was my father?"

The cold eyes lowered there gaze. "Because he was my son."

Chanaur dropped the bow, his jaw dropping with it. The arrow sped off, missing it's target by far. "That would make you..." He took a deep breath. "...my grandfather?!"

The eyes focused on him again, and Chanaur flinched. "Is it really that hard to believe?"

Chanaur shook his head. "No, it's just a bit of a shock." He took another deep breath. "Why would you kill your son, but not me?"

Dracula sighed, crossing his arms. "I need someone to continue the Tepes blood line. You are the only-"

"Never!" Chanaur shouted, stepping away from him as if he held a sword at his heart. "I'd rather die!"

The eyes narrowed malevolently. "And leave Carrie? With no idea of how things could have been?"

Damn it, he's got a point. "I will consider it. But what do you offer in return?"

He sneered. "In return, I spare you, and Carrie. You both live on, and continue the bloodline with her, or anyone else that you find an interest in."

Chanaur sighed, thinking hard. Was there a real downside to this? Just because the child would have the Tepes' blood, didn't mean it would be evil. He wasn't. But he didn't like the way he had said, 'anyone else you find an interest in.'

"You swear, upon your soul, that Carrie will live through this?"

Dracula nodded. "I will right a contract in my own blood to preserve my line."

Chanaur still wrestled with himself. There has to be downside.... Deals with the Devil should never be this easy to close.

"And Reinhardt? What about Milenia? Rosa?" Chanaur asked.

"I will spare one, and one alone. The others will fight there way out."

"But Rosa is already Damned! What chance does she have?" He yelled.

"She has a chance to live. The Belmont bastard is not wasting his time."

Again, Chanaur was unsure. This was just too easy!

He lifted his hand, offering it to the Evil Incarnate. He shook it, then bellowed out a dark laugh.

Chanaur's doubts doubled, and Dracula dissapeared.....

....And Chanaur awakened, screaming out Carrie's name.

Carrie literally fell out of her chair, onto her knees beside the bed, speaking softly. "I'm here, Chanaur, I'm here...." She gently forced him to lay back down, replacing the towel to his forehead. "I'm right here Chanaur.... Just calm down."

Chanaur was still gasping for breath, but he did seem to be relaxing slightly. He groaned slightly, his eyes darting around the room. He started to cough and twitch violently.

"My God..." She said, panic rising in her voice. "He's going into shock." The coughing fit continued, as the blood poured from his mouth steadily. Finally, the coughing stopped, but his breath was still coming in shallow, ragged gasps.

What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?

The coughing resurfaced, and he retched. He moaned and sank into the bed, his breathing becoming, if at all possible, even more labored.

"Damn it, Chanaur…" Carrie said, truly panicking now, "Please don’t die!!"

Chanaur’s breath evened slightly. "I’m not going to die, Carrie." He muttered hoarsely. "I promise…" His mouth curved into a tortured smile, as a bubble of blood burst on his lips. Carrie hurriedly wiped up the blood that practically covered the lower half of his face. His eyes still closed, Chanaur’s hand searched for Carrie’s. Offering it to him, Carrie noticed his hands were cold, while his face was still burning. Clasping her hand tightly in his, Chanaur relaxed a little, his breathing evening a little more.

"Chanaur, you’re going to be alright. Just stay awake…" Already, Chanaur was starting to slip into another slumber. "C’mon, loudmouth, stay awake!" Carrie whispered, gently slapping him in the face. I can't let him die now.... He can't fall asleep, or he'll never awaken...

He smiled again. "As long as you're with me, I'll be alright..." His voice constricted, and he squeezed her hand.

She looked down at him, hoping that that meant what she thought it did. His eyes brimmed with tears, and his breathing was shallow, yet he still smiled. She squeezed his hand comfortingly, and Chanaur pulled her in a little closer. Carrie put her other hand gently on his chest.

"Carrie... I need to tell you something..."

She moved in a little closer, so close that their lips were almost touching. She could barely hear him, and his breathing was almost normal.

"If..." He took a deep breath, his eyes closing. "If I should die here...."

"You won't!" Carrie inturrupted fiercely. She clutched to him like he was the last thing she had in the world. Her eyes and voice softened. "You.... you promised...." She choked. Her eyes filled with tears.

Chanaur opened his eyes and looked into Carrie's, a weary smile on his lips. The look of weariness and pain in his deep gray-green eyes brought that strange trembling back to her chest. Good god those eyes... "I’ll try my best, sweetness." Chanaur reached up and put a hand on her cheek, gently rubbing her cheek with the back of his hand, as she had been his. She squeezed his hand, reassuring both of them. "But if I should, I want…you to know...." He took another shallow breath. The hand on her cheek stopped its loving caress, "That I… will always…" The hand went slack, falling to his side. He had passed out cold.

She put a hand on her cheek, where Chanaur's loving touch had comforted her. Her heart swelled, and she felt a new hope manifest. If only he was still awake....

He had to stay awake!

"No!" Carrie whispered. She pulled her hand out of his, and gently shook him. "No...." Tears came to her eyes. "Chanaur, stay awake!" She shouted. She slapped him accross the face, this time putting some force into it. His head rocked to the side, but did nothing else. His breathing seemed to stop.

She sobbed. A tear fell from her eyes, falling on Chanaur's cheek. "No.... You can't die now...." Her head fell to his chest. She allowed wave after wave of tears wash over her. Another sob tore from her throat. "Please.... You promised...." Her hand rested on his face, rubbing her thumb accross his cheek.

She didn't know just how long she was laying there, crying her eyes out, nor did she care. Among all of the things, she hoped that Vincent was wrong. She hoped that he was going to survive, even though he fell asleep again.

She hoped he could know the truth.

Carrie froze. A hand was stroking her hair, gently soothing her sorrows. She looked up, to see Chanaur's eyes looking down at her. "Don't cry Carrie..." He took a rasping breath. "I'll be fine.... Just as I promised...."

Carrie sobbed again. She burried her head in his chest, the rising and falling of his breast comforting her even more. She wrapped her arms around his waist, squeezing his body to hers. "My only wish is that I never have to be alone.... Especially without you....."

Chanaur wrapped his other arm around her, his caress becoming softer, gentler. He kissed her tenderly on the forehead. "I'll always be with you, no matter what...."

Carrie nuzzled into his neck, squeezing him again. "I'm just so glad your alright....."

Chanaur gently pushed her away, so he could see into her eyes. "You've just got to realize...." He took a deep breath. "....that there is nothing I can't handle." His mouth curved into a smile, the corner of his eyes crinkling.

Carrie half laughed, half sobbed. She took him back into her arms, and squeezed him. She rocked him back and forth. "If anything would happen to you....." She felt his tears soak into her robes. "....I don't know what I'd do...."

Chanaur's hand's stroked her back, sending pleasent shivers up her spine. She gently kissed his neck, feeling like she had during the dance she shared with him. The desire to spend forever where she was now. So close, feeling like she was right where she belonged.

She pulled back suddenly, pressing her lips against his.

At first Chanaur was surprised, but then reacted. His hands found their way to her shoulders, giving them a soft squeeze. He returned her kiss, as his hands slowly slipped down her back.

Carrie moaned slightly, as she tasted him for the first time. She felt guilty about coming onto him like this, but she was just so relieved that she couldn't stop herself. She kissed him deeper, bringing him closer to her at the same time.

Chanaur was trying to sort through the rampaging emotions. He wasn't sure what was happening, but all he knew was Carrie was finally opening up to him. Why she had come on so strong, was a mystery to him, but hoped that they wouldn't go too far.... They weren't ready for that.

She just felt too good to let go. He didn't want to stop, although he knew that they should.

Finally, Chanaur's hands made contact with her firm bottom, giving it a good squeeze.

Carrie gave a scared gasp, finally realizing how far they were going. Chanaur detached himself, his eyes widening. "Good God...." He stammered, fumbling for something to say. "....I'm sorry, Carrie." He turned away from her, his breath catching in his throat.

He felt a hand soflty rest on his shoulder. His first instinct was to detach her hold, bet didn't want to hurt her. "No, Chanaur, I should appologize to you...." She took a deep breath, whispering, "I'm the one that started the fire....."

Chanaur snorted, his breathing becoming shallow again. He felt the sickness taking over again. "But I didn't have to go that far. I-I didn't mean too...."

"Chanaur, it's okay. You wouldn't have gone that far if I hadn't gone as far." Her hand gently brought him around to face her, as she resumed her kneeling position beside the bed. Her eyes were soft, too soft considering what had just happened. His mind was hazing over, and he had to get this out before...

"Carrie.... I never got to finish...."

She felt his forehead, noticing his face flush. It was the fever, not embarrassment. He was going under soon, so she listened.

"What I was trying to say was, that I will always love you. I have, ever since that night...." He took another shallow breath. "....That we lost Imbrium."

Carrie's world fell away. All that was left was her and Chanaur. All that mattered was that he loved her. "What....?"

Chanaur smiled. "I love you. I've been afraid to tell you, for so long..." He took one more shallow breath. "Because I didn't know if you felt the same..."

"Chanaur, I love you too." She kissed him gently on the cheek, knowing there emotions were too high to get too close to him. "Ironically enough, I didn't tell you for the same reason."

Chanaur smiled wearily. "Ironically enough." He agreed. His eyes rolled back in his head, and he dropped back to the bed. His breathing was steadying, at last.

Carrie smiled. Her heart felt lighter than air. When he woke up, they would talk about this. She'd be here, waiting for him.

She moved his hair back out of his eyes. She had been completely surprised when she felt him grab her rear....

She sighed. She would be waiting for him when he woke up. "I could use some fresh air and moonlight right now...."

A small voice came from behind her. "I'll watch him for you."

Carrie turned around, hugged Milenia, and left. She felt as though nothing could go wrong. She took the stairs two at a time, and ran through the rose garden. Not bothering with the stairs in the entry hall, she just leapt off the balcony.

She opened the double doors, and was hit from behind by a heavy force, beeing driven out into the night.

Milenia sighed. She had watched the entire proceedings, when she was awakened by Chanaur's innitial scream. She smiled. Although she had only known these people for less than a day, she felt very attached to them. After all, they were going to find her mother's soul.

And after all, without her soul, Milenia couldn't stop the effects of her.... affliction.

Maybe that was why she felt especially close to Chanaur: the fact that they both had irregular misfortunes. However, Chanaur wasn't aware of her problem.

She laughed slightly. He'd figure it out as soon as he woke up and saw her.

Chanaur stirred, but slept on. She had hoped that she could see them confess their love to each other, and she had. Now all that was left for them to do was find the soul crystal. Then she could leave.

But..... After she left, would she ever see them again?

Chanaur stirred again, and his eyes opened. "I'm glad to see you're feeling better." Milenia said.

Chanaur looked at her, then blinked several times. He pawed at his eyes, trying to rub the sleep out of them. He looked at her again, and his eyes bugged out. "What... What...?"

Milenia smiled. "I'll explain."

"You'd better!" Chanaur shouted. "Either I'm still dilusional, or you've aged over seven years in just one day!"

Milenia kneeled beside the bed. "Yes. You have vampirism, I have this. The combined power of my staff and my mother's soul crystal nuetralizes the effects, but without it, this happens. Now you see why I need that back so badly."

Chanaur nodded grim agreement. He blinked again, putting a hand on his head. "My head hurts...." He sat up. "Where's Carrie?"

"She left a little while ago, saying she needed some fresh air." Milenia smiled.

"What, she get tired of watching me?" Chanaur laughed slightly.

Milenia raised an eyebrow. "How much do you remember about last night?"

Chanaur put a hand on his chin. "Come to think of it, very little." He sighed slightly, closing his eyes. "I remember a dream, then waking up... Carrie was there, helping me through...." His eyes opened a little. "Then I remember her slapping me in the face and telling me to stay awake.... then a sensation that seemed strangely like dying...."

Realization stole over him. His memory was full of holes because he had died, and Dracula, in order to keep his word, had to bring him back to life. Apparently, it had some effects on his memory. He shortly explained this to Milenia, who was more than just a little surprised.

"Why? What happened last night.....?" Chanaur asked gently. He swung his legs around, his feet touching the floor.

The scene where they had bared their souls to each other flashed through her mind. The moment when they had both been so happy....


She jumped. "Yes?"

Chanaur smiled fleetingly. "What happened?"

Milenia shook her head. "Nothing...." She looked at the floor, her heart sagging. "Nothing happened....."

She felt a gentle hand on her chin. "Milenia, don't lie to me..... Please, what happened?"

Milenia smiled slightly. "Perhaps you should talk to Carrie about it..." She leaned up to kiss him on the lips. "....She could explain it better...."

He was a little taken aback by the kiss.. Just how long had she been slowing her aging? For all he knew, she could be either old enough to be his kid sister or his grandmother! "Exactly..... How old are you?"

Milenia shook her head. "You should never ask a woman that." She smiled. "Exactly? I'm seventeen."

Chanaur let out a lightly bitter laugh. "Could've fooled me." He stood up, stretching. "Well, let's go find Carrie. So I can find out just what happened."

"Yes...." Milenia wasn't sure how Carrie would react. All she knew was, she needed to talk to her before Chanaur did....

Carrie rolled away, escaping the vampire's grasp. She got to her feet, brandishing her collapsable fighting staff. The Vampire smiled at her, exposing it's oversized canine teeth. It started to stalk her, slowly.

Carrie fell into paces, matching it's movements. She was constantly moving in, getting closer. She held the bo against her back, ready for any attack.

The horid grin remained as it feinted left, then came in low on the right. She caught it on the chin, and then accross the face in one motion. The Vampire reeled, taking a few steps back. Now that it realized the capabilities of it's opponent, it moved slower, more calculatingly.

Carrie smiled slightly, assuming the same stance. She watched it, waiting for it to make another move.

"Nosforatu, you fear a child?" She taunted it.

"Oh, you are no child." It growled. "Looks can be deceiving, and you have just proved it."

Carrie's smile broadened. She knew what it was doing. "You underestimated me?" She lowered the bo, luring it in.

"Overestimated." It snarled, seeing it's chance. It dove in, slashing upward with one arm, grabbing for the bo with the other.

Carrie shoved the bo roughly into it's sturnum, and used her momentum to throw it over her shoulder. It sailed through the air, and landed with a hard thump on the steps of the Villa.

A gaping hole was in the middle of the creatures chest. It was laying there, breathing hard, clutching at the wound.

Carrie stopped suddenly. This was too much like what had happened to Chanaur. The words of the spell left her head. Strangly enough, she felt pity for this creature.

The next thing she knew, the thing had sprung to it's feet and was inches away from her.

...And then a sword erupted through the first hole, coming within inches of her chest.

The creature gurgled, then fell to the ground as the blade was ripped free. Chanaur stood behind it, cleaning his weopon magically, and then sheething it.

"Chanaur!" Carrie threw her arms around him as the body dissentigrated. "I'm so glad to see you up and...." Then she saw Milenia. "How the....?"

Chanaur released her, nodding slightly. "I think she could explain it better than I could. Besides, Milenia said she needed to talk to you alone." He wrapped his arms around her, kissed her on the lips, and gave her a good squeeze.

"I'm so glad you didn't die...." Carrie sighed. "I shouldn't have left you last night, but...."

"Oh, I did die last night. Twice." He smiled. Carrie raised an eyebrow, and opened her mouth. "I'll explain later." He kissed her again, and steered her toward Milenia.

Carrie was slightly confused, but let her heart soar again. Now she knew he was going to be alright. All the rest of her fears blew away in the wind.

Milenia stepped forward. "Oh, Carrie, I'm so sorry...." She began.

"Sorry? For what? I've never felt better in my life!" Carrie wrapped her arms around her.

"Carrie...." Milenia began.

"Oh, I'm just so glad he's going to be alright..."

"Carrie." She said simply, annoyance showing in her voice.

"...And he loves me! He really loves me!"

Milenia gave an angry snarl and caught her by the shoulders. "He doesn't remember anything about last night."

Carrie gave a startled choke, as her dream world shattered. ".....W-w-what...?"

Milenia sighed. "He did die last night. The Count brought him back to life, for what reason, I don't know. But what I do know, that it affected his memory."

Carrie felt a dagger pierce her heart.

"Oh well. It could have just been the fever talking."

The blade twisted inside of her.

"Carrie, it'll be okay. At least he's alive, right?" Milenia patted her shoulder nervously, aware that she had said too much.

"At least he's alive...." Carrie said. Her chest constricted, as the emmotional dagger was torn from her body. For every up, there is a down. The bigger the up, the steeper the down....

Tears flooded through her eyes. She dissolved into Milenia's arms, weeping for what was found, but then ripped away. Milenia patted her on the shoulder. There were no words for this moment.

Chanaur came up to her, worry showing in his eyes. "Carrie?" She turned to look at him. "What's wrong?"

His soft voice.... His bueatiful eyes.... His wonderful touch.... His love. All had been hers for one brief, shining moment....

But then reality took control, as it always seemed to do when your fantasies are fulfilled.

Carrie's throught tightened, cutting off her breath. The tears flowed faster, and she turned away from him.

Chanaur looked down at her and Milenia. What had happened? She seemed perfectly happy a second ago, practically walking on air.... but now....

His voice no more than a whisper, he said, "Carrie, was it something I did?"

Her throat was torn by another sob. "Yes.... and no."

Chanaur put a hand on her shoulder. "I don't understand."

She hesitated ever so slightly, then jerked away from his touch. Something happened last night.... Something important....

Could this have anything to do with it...?

Realization stole over him. The dream he had had, the night of the ball.... Carrie had been crying hard, for no apparent reason. All that Chanaur knew was that he had done something, but he didn't know what. She had started running, and he had said one thing....

"Carrie..." His voice mirrored his thoughts. "...I'm sorry... Please forgive me...."

Carrie stiffened suddenly. Everything was becoming clear again. The night of the ball.... In his room... Her consoling words....

I forgive you Chanau.... But what have you done?

It must have been a dream of his.... and it came true. Reality took hold of her again, bringing forth his most recent dream... The dream of the oubliette....

A cry of anguish escaped her lips, and she took of running, throwing open the doors and heading up the stairs, back to the room. She nearly knocked over Vincent, who was coming down from the dais. He doesn't love me.... His dream was real.... I'll die alone.....

The next thing Carrie knew, she was back in the room. She threw herself into the bed, allowing another flood of tears to overtake her. She knew she wasn't be rational, but that didn't matter right now.

Nothing matters anymore.....

Chanaur put a hand delicately on Milenia's shoulder. "What.... was that all about?" Chanaur asked quietly.

Milenia looked away, feeling tears running down her cheek. "Nothing..." She said.

The hand on her shoulder tightened. "Damn it Milenia, I need to know what happened. I need to know how to make this right again." She looked up at him, seeing the tears in his eyes as well. "I need to know how I can repair what I have done to her."

A smile flashed accross Milenia's face. "She realized that she has to make a decision." She blinked back fresh tears, and looked through the doors that were still wide open. "...One that could very well change her life...."

End Part Eight.

Part 9