|I Will Pass This Way Again
Author: Cache PM
Crossover: Mercedes LackeyEFC. Slash. Sequel to 'I Choose You.' Gating continues to prove hazardous to one's plane of existence.Rated: Fiction M - English - Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Chapters: 9 - Words: 22,944 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 2 - Published: 07-30-02 - Status: Complete - id: 882433
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The soft rustle of fabric woke Vanyel from his light sleep. It had come from the direction of the doorway; Sandoval must be home. He rolled over to check, but his eyes refused to see that far into the darkness. Quietly, he forced himself up off the floor, grabbing one of the blankets from his makeshift bed.
"Sunlark just let you go?" he asked, crouching down next to Sandoval.
Sandoval nearly fell out of the chair he was curled up in. "What are you doing up?"
"I heard you come in." Vanyel offered him the blanket. "Tough session?"
Taking the blanket, Sandoval pulled it tight around himself. "Sunlark and Moondance—they teamed up on me today. I am so tired…."
Vanyel smiled slightly. He knew all too well what Sandoval meant. Tired physically, tired mentally, and tired emotionally. He'd been worked to that point by Starwind far too many times himself, he couldn't imagine a session like that with Moondance and Sunlark. Vanyel stepped over to a small side table, lighting a candle. He was slightly surprised to find two glasses of tea sitting next to the candle, steam still coming off them. They were sitting on a heating rock, but still the hertasi couldn't have left much earlier. Silently, he thanked whichever hertasi had the foresight to wait around until Sandoval was released from his training and bring tea, even in the middle of the night. "Here." Vanyel handed him one of the cups.
"Thank you." The room fell silent. Vanyel sat down in one of the chairs and contented himself with watching Sandoval drink. Soft candlelight played off his dark skin, shadows darting back and forth over his features. A soft metallic glow gilded his hair, the first hints of the inevitable silvering. He was dressed in a silver robe that flowed like molten metal over the edges of the chair, escaping from the dirt brown blanket. Finishing his tea, Sandoval set the cup down on the floor. He reached up and pulled at the braid in his hair. The crystals were stubborn and stayed pleated into his hair—crystals, no feather. Too tired to fight them, he let his hands fall back to his lap.
Vanyel left his chair and knelt down beside Sandoval. "It's alright," he assured him, taking the braid in his fingers. Sandoval didn't protest. The plait had worked itself into a knot and it took sometime to undo each of the crystals. Pulling the last from his hair, Vanyel gathered them and the cup and took everything to the table. As he turned around, he saw a tear glisten in the candlelight as it ran down Sandoval's cheek. "Are you okay?" Vanyel asked, kneeling at his side again.
Sandoval shook his head. "It was just a tough session. They pushed me to my limits…and beyond."
"Shhh…" Vanyel tried to calm him. It was all too obvious that he had been pushed. He could feel the tempest that was Sandoval's mind and heart—just barely, but enough. Sandoval was not shielding himself as he should be. What exactly had they done to him? He trusted Sunlark to know exactly how far to push Sandoval, even how far to push him over his limits, but the kestra'chern had gotten a little too close for comfort this time. If they had hurt him…. Vanyel checked his thoughts before they got away from him. Sandoval was a healer and an empath—any serious training session was bound to get emotional. Between the two of them, Sunlark and Moondance had everything under control. "They just wanted one last chance to work you to death. You should sleep. We leave for Haven in the morning and it is a long ride."
"Not yet. I can't sleep yet."
"I'll sit up with you." He stood up, going back to the chair he'd been in earlier. Sandoval didn't even acknowledge that he had moved, too focused on some internal struggle to notice. Vanyel longed to reach out and help him, but forced himself to merely sit and watch as tears ran silently down Sandoval's cheeks.
"Van?" Sandoval asked finally. His demeanor didn't change—he continued to stare into the darkness, his attention internal. "If you had it all to do over again, what would you do different?"
Vanyel hesitated, unsure of how to answer. "I don't know. Even the worst has had some good come from it."
Sandoval shook his head. "There are so many things I would change. I would have paid more attention when Sunlark told me to start anew. I would have learned from my mistakes the first time. I would have not forsaken my second chance. And I would not have abandoned my lover."
"Shayna, don't say that. We agreed to let things be…."
"I know and this has nothing, and everything, to do with that agreement. I wish I had spent all day in training as a Healer or any of my other Gifts, but I did not. I spent it in training as a kestra'chern. Sunlark would not let me leave otherwise. He is right, my Gifts are too strong and in too much conflict with each other for conventional training. And that is avoiding the fact that I am not the most stable person that he has dealt with recently." Sandoval's breath caught in his throat. "I now realize that part of what makes a kestra'chern is an extensive knowledge of oneself. I have examined too many parts of myself today that I did not know existed."
Sandoval stopped and Vanyel waited for him to start again. This was not a conversation, it was a confession, and it was not his place to interrupt. "I cannot live like this. I cannot escape my past. I cannot even learn from it and move on. It has far too tight a hold on me. Even when I thought I had embraced my new life, I reverted back to my old habits the moment my new lifestyle was challenged. Sunlark saw it coming. He knew, but he gave me the chance to deal with it. I couldn't and I nearly destroyed myself yet again—in a trap of my own making. This time, I almost took you with me.
"Today I saw and knew myself for the first time, and it scared me. We spoke for so long that we could not speak anymore—I have screamed and cried and hurt and looked into the void once again…. I met a Moondance who was a Tallo and a Sunlark who was not the man he is today. And I am finally ready to heal. They have helped me to bury who I was. The memories are there, but they are distant and the pain does not reach me. There is nothing to take their place, Vanyel. Nothing. A future that is completely blank and without direction. I must define it."
Sandoval flinched and looked up. Vanyel forced himself to meet his eyes. The Healer visibly collected himself. "I am not strong enough to face this alone. I don't want to face it alone. Help me, Vanyel. I can't imagine a life without you at my side."
Vanyel wiped the tears from his eyes. Oh, Goddess, my raven…. He would live and die at his side…. Without a word, he knelt before Sandoval, taking both of the Healer's trembling hands in his own. "Do not doubt it, my friend…my lover. I would stand by you against the world. I only hope that I never fail you." He smiled as a thought creeped into his mind. "I love you, Nightstorm. For so long in the darkness of night, you found your way from the storm.
Tears ran from Sandoval's eyes. He tightened his grip on Vanyel's hands, nodding slightly. "Nightstorm."
Let a light shine in your window,
Let me see where I have been—
And if that light still shines,
And if fortune smiles,
I will pass this way again.
I will pass this way again.