||Ch.44 (Phoenix): Awakening
I had to find my brother, and give him a piece of my mind! Hearing he had made romantic advances on Ana behind my back was bad enough, but hearing that someone else had had the "wool pulled over their eyes" about it made me even more angry. Add the fact that he was still deeply enamoured of the only person who had managed to defeat him, and you can be assured that I was disruputably furious by the time I found him. (It was the first time I had been that angry in a long time.)
He was in a garden somewhere in Port de Gambino, inhaling the cherry-blossom scented air around him. His glittering aura gave away his position there, and I tipped into a dive, aiming to startle him when I landed right in front of him. (That'd teach him to think he could hide from me.) Surprisingly, he just looked up calmly at me as I pulled out of my dive and fluttered softly into the grass, my raven wings retracting when my feet touched the Earth.
"Hello, friend," said Jareth. "I didn't expect to see you again so soon."
"Neither did I, Jareth," I said, with as much sarcasm as possible. "I've come to talk with you about something."
"Since you weren't too keen on flying during your stay with me, it must be very important. So please, do tell." He indicated for me to sit beside him. I complied, taking in the amazing phenomenon of cherry blossoms blooming in the dead of on-coming Winter. "Beautiful, aren't they?"
"Don't change the subject! You should be ashamed of yourself, romancing Anastasia like that when you're still deeply in love with Sarah. If she could see you now-"
"She wouldn't want to see me. She loathes me for what I've done to her, not to mention I wouldn't be able to find her if I tried."
I was slightly confused. I wouldn't want to see Jareth either if he'd kidnapped my baby brother just to get to me; I would have refused him too. But why would he not be able to find her? Jareth was never one to give up easily, especially when it came to women. "How did you know about Sarah?"
Best to give as little information as I could. "I read about it in the history of your progenitors. The only person ever to best you at your own game."
"Do you have to rub it in? Having my servants gossip about is bad enough. I don't need a complete stranger berating me for it as well, especially when you look like him."
That last bit was rather random, but I assumed he was referring to Lelouch. I decided to move on. "Are you saying you have tried to find her?"
"Yes, but all in vain. I've scoured the farthest reaches of my kingdom, and at least 5 others, for her. Nothing! I'll never be able to tell her how sorry I am for making her feel that way.
"Seeing that child reminded me of her so much it was unbearable. The glimmer in her eyes, her captivating smile, and her delicate features..." He trailed off.
"Sarah Williams. Ana's daughter is just like her, isn't she?" I finished.
"Adoptive daughter (Oh, that's how it happened.), but just the same. Is this Lelouch's way of saying "Thank you" for all the things I've done for him? It's not an honorable way of showing it."
Doing things for my descendant? This was new. "Like what?" I asked skeptically. "You're not exactly what I would call a giving person."
"I'm not, but the glitter of fae magic in that young boy's eyes... I couldn't leave my own kin to suffer in the mortal world. Not after being abandoned by his mother." So, Lelouch and I had more in common than I thought. "I taught him everything he knows about the art of love, so I feel partially responsible for Melissa's disappearance." Jareth gazed up at the cherry blossoms. "Not too soon in the near future, he's decided to take her for a walk among these flowers and to kiss her underneath this very tree."
"So, you're saying Lelouch is here?" I glanced towards a promising looking building in the distance.
"He's here still for aught that I can tell. He never talks to me anymore, even with all the collaborative work we did on this garden together. Did you know I planted these trees myself as a present for him?"
I was amazed. Someone who seemed so shallow and superficial on the outside secretly suffered and hid his true feelings from the world. 'He truly is my brother,' I thought. Then I said, "It sounds like he's very ungrateful to those who try to help him, even people like you." I stood up and took my leave of him, but as I was walking away, I thought I heard my brother say, "Be careful. He doesn't take kindly to unexpected visitors."
Keeping my brother's advice in mind, I disappeared into the shadows of what I now discerened a replica of my operahouse. 'First my descendant, now my credibility,' I thought. 'What will my brother take from me next?'
I flowed along a shadowy corridor, following my instincts towars what would've been my lair. Instead, I only ended up going half-way and ended up in the small chapel beneath the stage. Everything was exactly the way it had been in the time before my eternal punishment was bestowed on me... except for one thing. The portrait of Gustave Daae wasn't there.
I knelt down, expecting to see a picture of the mermaid princess Lelouch was in love with. There, smiling like an infamous Spainish gypsy, was not Melissa but my mother! 'I shall never be free of him,' I thought. Wait! That wasn't what I was thinking.
I ported into the shadows again, following another train of thought that sounded just like mine. This time, I successfully reached my hideout. I guess it was Lelouch's now, considering the mannequin was of his young love and I was supposed to be dead. I overheard noise coming from the bedroom and slinked off to investigate.
Hiding in the shadows among the curtains, I saw a young man, who reminded me of myself in my younger years, pinning a young girl beneath him on my... I mean his bed. They were obviously playfully toying with each other, quoting the ballroom scene from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. As he leaned down to kiss her, I glimpsed the color of the girl's hair, which was pink. I realized with a start that this must be Lelouch and the girl beneath him Melissa!
After more or less "lovey-dovey" action between them (It almost made me sick to watch this teenaged version of my high-romance.), they withdrew from the room to dine together. "Melissa," I overheard Lelouch say. "I have a mission for you."
"What... kind of mission?" Melissa asked nervously. I had looked into her dreams last night and seen her watch Mat, the blue-haired swordsman I met on my travels, die by her own hand. It was only natural that she should be scared, and I had the sinking feeling that that would be just what Lelouch would ask her to do.
My suspicions were confirmed when Lelouch said, "I want you take this dagger, find your friend Mat, and... strike his hear with it!"
So, that's what he wanted to be rid of! I needed to find Anastasia and fast and make sure she could keep Mat safe! I ported through the darkness and flew out into the newly fallen night.
It didn't take long for me to find Anastasia. As the Fortune Teller had said, she wasn't too far from Sunset Town, finally steered in the right direction. I landed in an obscured growth of bushes in the forest close to where her campsite was.
I walked quietly towards the circle of firelight, aiming to catch by surprise and then pull her in for a kiss before I dispatched my grave news. But she wouldn't be surprised so easily; she grabbed her rapier, the very one I had seen her wield in her dream, and advanced cautiously towards me as I stopped just on the brink of shadows cast by the fire.
I guess my kiss would have to wait. "I told you we would meet again, Anastasia" I said, implying in my voice that I meant no harm, "and here we are now, just outside the edge of Sunset Town."
I stepped into the firelight as she retreated back to her place by the fire. She sat down, indicating for me to sit beside her but keeping her sword on hand just in case. "Put that thing down and let's talk," I said, lightly taking the sword out of her grip. She tried to snatch it back, but her pause before I deposited the sword between us told me that she wasn't going to pick it up any time soon.
"Why are you here?" she asked. "It can't be just to tell me your name."
"Indeed not. I have something else for you too." I poked around in my pockets, trying to find something I had gotten just for her. I had wanted to give it to her when I first met her again, but my urgent errand to the Fortune Teller had prevented me from doing so. Ah, here it was!
I withdrew a crystal flower, a snowdrop, from my pocket and presented to her. It was the flower of protection, and considering what I had overheard Lelouch telling Melissa to do, she would need it now more than ever. The birds had told me dark and dire things were in her future as I had flown out to meet her, and I made a point of telling her so.
"They say that you are straying down a path that can only lead deeper into the darkness. The barn owl (i.e. Jareth) in particular is concerned for you. He didn't tell you everything, as you suspect." (I figured I'd put in a good word for Flotsam on that last sentence.)
"Oh, is he? You can tell that bird-brain thanks for nothing. His useless information isn't getting me anywhere."
"Sleep on it," I told her as I rose and turned to leave. I knew now how I could help her. I had heard that the best sea witches had shape-shifting powers, a power that Ana still had yet to access from what I could tell from her aura. "You're sure to find the answer if you look inside yourself. You aren't using your powers to their full potential."
"So the cards said." She stood up to make eye contact with me. "Thank you for the gift, and now I should like to know your name."
I turned my head to her. "Phoenix Rose." I strode silently out of the circle of flame, leaving her alone under the stars again.
Later that night, I transported into Ana's dreams. I had discovered what had gone on when I had seen through Lelouch's eyes: I had transported myself, on accident that time, into the Land of Dreams. Since I had entered that realm that way, I was free to move about in dreams as I wished; the only downside was that I could get hurt in dreams as well.
I saw darkness all around me, but I heard a voice singing in the midst of all the blackness.
Where has the starlight gone?
Dark is the day.
How can I find my way home?
It was Ana's voice. And now, she began to appear clearer to me in the darkness. I quickly altered my appearence to look just like Lelouch while she continued,
Home is an empty dream,
Lost to the night.
Master, I feel so alone.
I ignored the feeling of regret in my heart for abandoning her as I picked up the next part of her song, in the singing voice both Lelouch and I shared. (I had heard my great-great grandson sing my lullaby to Melissa during the time I had spent in his cavern. He sounded exactly like me!)
You promised you'd be there whenever I needed you.
Whenever I call your name, you're not anywhere.
I illuminated my newly transformed figure, creating a brightly shining light to lure her to me.
I'm trying to hold on, just waiting to hear your voice.
One word just a word will do to end this nightmare.
She practically flew to me her feet were so fast, and practically crushed me her hug was so tight. I struggled not to embrace her back as tears streamed down her face; Lelouch did not like Ana from what I had observed of his mind in her dream, so I had to be as pitiless as possible.
As soon as she saw who I was supposed to be, she shrank back, horrified. I laughed sadistically, keeping my mind on watching Persian criminals suffer in order to not break character. "Did you really think I was my own great-great grandfather?" I asked rhetorically, towering over her as I spoke. "How color-blind can you get?"
I slapped her face for emphasis, and I almost slapped my own face for causing the pain it produced as she was forced to her knees. I entangled my fingers in her hair and jostled her head around as I continued on my false beration. "I still find it hard to believe that just by changing my eye color, you were willing to do anything I asked. Just as you will soon forget your best friend because I will it so."
"What do you mean? What have you done to her?" she asked fiercely, trying vigorously to hold back the hysteria I was inducing.
"Nothing. It was all your doing. Your renewed pledge of faith to be mine forever coupled with the kiss you gave me sealed your own fate. You were to forget your friend little by little until you could recall nothing of the mermaid princess."
I didn't know that she had kissed Lelouch. I must have faded out before... Wait! Could it be that the link worked both ways?! Uh-oh! 'This is bad,' Lelouch and I thought as one as Ana, in a fit of righteous anger that I had induced, transformed into me. (Yes!)
"I'm not afraid of forgetting her," she said defiantly, in my own voice no less. It could've been my imagination, but I felt an invisible presence in my mind cringe in fear. "If I can't remember her in my mind, I'll remember her in my heart. Just as I'll remember you, Erik Pheonix Legrange."
That did it. Lelouch assumed control of my body, casting me out of control of my dream form. "You have just released the demons of your own undoing." Before I knew it, I was in the bushes again, staring up at the stars. What did I care what Lelouch meant by that? I had helped my student gain access to a whole new realm of possibility.
srs diva 2011 xxl
· Sun Apr 18, 2010 @ 02:21am · 1 Comments