Well, I'm sure everyone's been wondering this, but yes harassing me does produce results. I felt guilty that I kept getting all these reviews from all you nice people asking me for another chapter. Thus I sat down and finished chapter eight, which had been abandoned on my hard drive for months. Enjoy.
Trapped- Chapter 8
Everything darkened for a minute in Usagi's world. One minute she was sitting up on the darn horse arguing with Endymion and in the next she was laying on her back staring straight up at the blue canopy of sky filtering through the sun darkened leaves and branches. Her legs hurt from the unaccustomed horseback riding, she probably had a bruise the size of a soccer ball developing on her left side, and worst of all she had realized that the man cautiously peering down at her prone figure could read her mind.
She didn't think she was ready for that much intimacy in a relationship. It was bad enough that her face was usually an open book. But now this man had just openly admitted that he was able to catch every fleeting thought crawling through her head. It scared her so much that her eyes flew open, letting him know that she was awake.
Unless...he already knew she was awake. After all being a mind reader, he was probably privy to this entire inner monologue racing through her head. Destiny was a strange and twisted creature. How could she be bonded with this man in so many ways when he was mated with another woman? Indeed the situation was becoming far too coincidental.
She sat up slowly rubbing her head, wondering what the appropriate thing was to say to man you'd just learned could share your thoughts. There should be some sort of guidebook for this right next to the "witty comments and sayings to make when you are falling in love with a man you don't trust and quite possibly may have killed your fictional brother" book.
A pair of boots abruptly impaired her vision. A calloused hand lowered, and her name spoken softly. "Serenity."
Wait, so it wasn't her name, but Usagi was starting to respond to it anyway. Slowly she was claiming Serenity's life, including her husband and her name. If she didn't leave soon, one day she'd wake up and loose herself. She'd forget all about Usagi, the city of Tokyo, her family, and her friends. There would only be Serenity. The Serenity with the tragically dead brother, the Serenity who was wife to a loving and devoted husband, and the Serenity of Diamond's psychotic obsession.
Maybe being Serenity wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.
A hand brushed her cheek. Then was lowered, running over her body. Scandalized at this unprovoked intimacy, Usagi pushed his hands away.
"What are you doing?" She chocked out even though she knew perfectly well what he was doing...feeling her up.
"Checking you for injuries." She dedicated a particularly wicked gleam in the rich blueness of his eyes.
Her mouth opened and closed, silently.
"Well it doesn't seem like anything's broken." He offered her a hand to help her get up. Usagi felt like slapping him, but instead she calmly took the proffered hand and was hauled to her feet. She stumbled clumsily, as her protesting limbs treacherously began to give out beneath her. Endymion wrapped a heavy arm around her waist, keeping her steady. He ruffled her tangled mass of blond hair affectionately.
"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked almost gently.
Usagi jumped, unused to such direct confrontation. "Talk about what?" She demanded, hoping that he wasn't bringing up the obvious.
"I mean you seemed distressed." He was the epitome of gentlemanly concern now.
He was kindly labeling Usagi's fainting as "distressed." Usagi was starting to feel acutely embarrassed by the entire incident, since she was not usually a hapless, fainting female.
"You know that's the first time I've ever fainted in my entire life." She gave him a pointed look wanting him to know that she was not some weak and spineless milksop. "I mean it's not everyday you learn something like that." She gave a small, pathetic sounding laugh.
"I suppose it might have come as a shock to you, since the memory loss." Usagi had long since recovered the full strength of her legs, but Endymion didn't seem inclined to remove his arm. Instead it tightened around her waist drawing her even closer. With his other hand he was stroking her shoulder. The touch was doing funny things to her stomach.
Usagi grimaced though at his words. He was still in denial. She decided to let it go. Until they reached their destination, it was useless to argue with him. The answer would come soon enough. While it might wound his male ego that he had been wrong, she was sure once the real Serenity was found he would recover his spirits.
She wanted to know the details on how this connection between their minds worked, but she was almost too afraid to ask the questions. What if her worst fears were true? She decided to forge ahead anyway. She had to know.
"You can't read my mind... can you?" She hesitated her head jerking up so she could meet his eyes.
He was patience itself. "It doesn't exactly work like that," he amended. "It's more like, when you have very strong emotions, sometimes I can pick up on them. I get a glance into what you're feeling. And when we're near, sometimes if you let your guard down I can catch stray thoughts."
She felt a bit more relieved. She could feel some of the tension draining away from her body. She could deal with that, she thought. Truthfully it wasn't as if she really had a choice anyway. She couldn't demand that he sever a connection that was an act of nature. She had always been one to believe that things happened for a purpose, a divine plan of which mere mortals were oblivious.
"Well," she said. "I guess that's okay then." Endymion's hand moved up to stroke her hair.
She was suddenly struck with the thought that in this condition she must be positively dreadful looking. The hair he was touching was usually a pale, golden blond, but unwashed it hung in lackluster tangled clumps. Taking at look at the ends of it, she realized it was so dirty that the color had darkened to a brown blond. Subtly, she tried to move her head away. Taking a look at her expression he laughed.
"You need to wash your hair." Endymion's hand dropped down as he made the statement.
"Thank you captain obvious. Maybe you wouldn't be noticing so much if you weren't touching it. Stop that you're probably making it dirtier," Usagi mumbled as Endymion stuck his hand in her hair again just to spite her. She ducked out of the way, breaking free of his grasp.
Released, she gave him a glare devoid of any real fury. Seconds later she broke out into a grin.
"You're not winning any prizes for hygiene either." She announced with relish.
Endymion looked unconcerned, though he ran a quick hand through his dark hair as if checking inventory. His raven black hair and dark clothing actually looked little worse for the wear. Which was downright annoying. Usagi comforted herself by speculating that the dark colors were probably hiding filth.
Something Usagi couldn't identify glimmer in his eyes. Mirth, chased with happiness, drowned in something else. Suddenly she had a strong sense of peace with the world, she innately recognized the feeling as not her own. It was Endymion's then. What was he thinking in that fascinating mind of his?
She lowered her barrier unconsciously and Endymion's soul rushed into hers. For a moment she couldn't tell where his body began and hers ended. Which thoughts were hers? The whirlwind of emotions that slammed through her small body befuddled and confused her. As she delicately reconstructed her barrier, she with left with one certainty.
Endymion loved Serenity.
He would die for her. He would follow her to ends of the universe. He would sacrifice his own happiness for hers.
Submerged in the limitless depths and purity of his love, Usagi was stricken with grief. She mentally shook herself but she still felt as if she had been stabbed.
He would never love another like that. Never.