Title: Better Than a Gift Given

Author: Frostmourne

Disclaimer: I don't own Vision of Escaflowne so please don't sue me. I'm merely borrowing the characters for entertainment.

Chapter Dedication: Caitie, esca chick, Izzy, Magicman/Smokegirl, ShiAne, Kechia, MysticalDreamer

Summary: He was a creature of the dark, living forever through the lives he ended. His gift and curse was what would doom him for an eternity of solitary existence. But when he passed through time accepting his fate, it was always her, the girl with the most brilliant emerald eyes that haunted him.

Chapter 3: In the Coldness of the Dark

I walked back to the other side of the city and by the time I got there, it was already in the middle of the afternoon. I went directly to the small apartment and sprawled on the narrow bed. I was so tired that I promptly fell asleep.

The next thing I remember was that Yukari was trying to wake me up for work. I wasn't up to working after what had happened the previous night but if I don't work the small amount of money Yukari and I have would even be smaller. So I went to work and tried my best to ignore the throbbing of my head. I never told anyone about what happened. It doesn't matter anyway. They have their own lives, I have mine. It's none of their business anyway. They wouldn't give a damn.

But I couldn't stop thinking about the guy who had helped me. He was so beautiful. And there was something about him that's familiar. But I swear that was the first time I ever saw him so it's really impossible for the familiar stuff to be even mentioned. Maybe he has a feature in him that I saw in someone or maybe I saw him in some print-out materials. Yeah, most likely.

I also couldn't stop thinking about the kiss or if it was what that slight touch of lips could be called. Thinking about it makes me wonder why he had such cold lips. When he had pressed his lips on me though, I couldn't help but feel my tears try to get away from my eyes.

For the first time in my life, a guy showed me gentleness. Whenever a guy would come to me, in the end I either get slapped or being verbally degraded for not letting them touch me. Whenever they would come, they just grab me and force themselves on me. And it brings back so many painful memories of the past… when I had almost been raped, when I had been played at while I was high from the drugs my brothers' friends forced on me, and when my own mother had tried to sell me to someone else…

I wondered if I could have someone like him who'll be nice to me and help me without demanding something in exchange. I wondered if I could have someone like him who'd show me gentleness. And I had wondered about many other things at the moment when he kissed me. Things that I knew since long ago I could never even hope to have. And it tore me inside. Fate had been cruel to me, showing me things I cannot have… trying to provoke me to hope for something that is beyond my reach all the time.

And so I left even if I knew that I might never see him again. I supposed then that it was better that way. He was nothing but a reminder of what I can never have.

For the following weeks, I never saw him again. But sometimes, I feel how I felt when I first saw him in the library of his place. The hair at the back of my neck would stand up and I my heart beat would increase in its beating. And then, there's also this tingle on my back that I couldn't really understand…

"Hitomi, are you sure? I mean it's so scary. These past weeks, there had been awfully lot of murders in this side of the city. And the serial killer hasn't been discovered yet."

I put on my coat and looked at Yukari. "Serial killer? Come on. How could all those murders be related to one another? Do you think someone could kill at least ten people in a night at different areas in this side of town?"

"Then it's even more scary coz this would mean that there isn't just one killer. Do you think there's some demonic cult doing this as some offering to the demons?"

I rolled my eyes. "Yukari, stop thinking weird stuff. You're too old for that stuff being told to children to make them scared enough not to stay awake past their bedtime. What's next, some demon would come swooping down and kidnap us if we walk alone in the middle of the night? Come on."

"But Hitomi, we're not sure about our safety."

"We never were, Yukari. Never were. And never will be. Don't worry. I can take care of myself. It would be just the usual thugs who'd cross me if I'm so damn unlucky."

"How can you be sure? Hitomi, the murders have been near bars!"

"If it's my time, it's my time. But don't worry. I won't go down without a fight," I grinned and was just about to walk away when Yukari grabbed my arm.

"I'm just worried, Hitomi," she said and then leaned in to whisper. "You're all that I have."

It was both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. Heart-warming because at least someone cares what happens to my miserable life and heart-wrenching because it only reminds me how much alone we both are in reality.

I gave her the best reassuring smile I could muster. After all, I'm still scared out of my guts to walk home alone especially in the dark. But I just had to because I still have some assignments for my morning class. Besides, I need to sleep and if I'm lucky enough to finish my assignments in two hours, I'd still get at least three hours of sleep.

"Don't worry. I'll take care. See you tomorrow later then."

I walked out of Sable's Lair and hugged the coat closer to me. It was so cold that I decided to take the shortcut through some alley. I'll just have to climb some fences because if I stay out in this cold with my short and thin coat and the thin layers of clothing underneath, I'll most likely die of the cold soon enough.

I had wished that there would be no thugs there and I was thankful that my wishing had paid off. But I never knew there were more than trouble coming from thugs and cranky customers. For when I reached the end of the alley, I saw a man and a woman with golden eyes as they each let go of a limp body.

Dimly I could see that around them, there were at least two more dead bodies.

"Dessert is served," the woman said, smiling in a scary way.

I tried to move, but I couldn't. It was like my feet were glued to the ground. I was so scared.

"What's the matter, little girl? Are you scared to run?" The man taunted.

Then, I couldn't understand but I was jolted back by that taunt. I spun around and ran. I ran and ran, not caring which direction I was going. And when I was sure that they were not following me, I slowed down to a walk. I was so exhausted that I slumped on the nearest wall.

But then, I saw two pairs of boots in front of me. I looked up and saw the man and the woman standing so near me, golden eyes gleaming. I didn't even notice when they got there. I just know that I was resting for only a couple of seconds. What are they anyway? Some superhuman beings?

The woman stepped closer and lifted me off the ground by gripping me by my neck. I could feel the air being locked out of me and my eyesight began to dim until I couldn't even remember what happened next…

I stared at her sleeping figure as she lay in the middle of the bed.

Why couldn't she be more careful? Why couldn't she just stay out of trouble? This is the second time she ended up with two beings out to feed on her.

There had been times when I would watch her ever since we've actually had exchanged words. It was a good thing that I've decided to watch her just a few hours ago. She had been persuading her friend no doubt about going home alone from the way they had looked. When she had left, she had so foolishly gone into an alley.

Hasn't she learned her lesson? I for one know that once is enough to be taught a lesson concerning life-threatening situations. And yet she ignores her experience with alleys. It's not just about alleys. Haven't she heard of the death rate in this side of town? If she keeps up with that attitude of hers, she'd be in need of a death-wish soon enough.

I know I should not be around her, that I would be nothing but a constant attraction for death to befall her. But if I hadn't interfered, she would've been sucked dry of her life. And if I had just left her there after I dusted her two assailants, she would've frozen to death before anyone finds her.

What would I do with her? I cannot stay with her and I do not want her dead. But either she is with me or not, she will die eventually if she does not take more caution. Unfortunately, it seems she is headstrong about being so recklessly foolish.

She is tiring me. And to give a second more thought, this is only the second time she had a brush-off with death and I am already exhausted. She is much more of a trouble than I thought. I wish I could just leave her. But I am drawn to her like a moth to the fire. Perhaps it is because of her frightening resemblance to my wife…

It is unfair to both her and I. Fate is playing one of her shattering games once again. And once more she had her fancy on me. She would cause me torment once more, I am sure. Yes, another death that I cannot stop would be Fate's finale in this period of time.

Fate mocks me. This has been the fifth time in my existence that she had shown me the same girl. I know it would end the same once more. I would be responsible for her death. And it would be another load of heavy guilt on me. What of the girl's life? Fate does not care who her pawn would be. Existence is nothing but a board game and unfortunately for me, there would be no way out. For once I had crossed path with her, no matter what I do, I will always be the reason for the girl's death.

Is this my punishment for being a creature of the night? Why does Fate mock me again and again? Why does she have to make her point again and again that I am incapable of saving the woman I loved?

I am tired. I wish I could sleep. But I cannot. The only part of me that is tired is my mind. My body is still full of energy, energy that I should be using for my hunt. It would still be a few more hours before sunrise, and a few more hours of mind torture.

I looked at the fire blazing in the fireplace. I had not always loved the fire. It had scared me before when my wife's body had been cremated for me to keep her ashes. Because when the fire consumes anything, you cannot bring it back. But when I had my chance on vengeance, the fire had been there as a symbol of the way I felt.

Yes. I had wanted everything to burn then. I had wanted them to feel the burning I had felt when I had found my wife dead, when my revenge had been out of my reach.

Fire. It destroyed them and it became an ally. And soon, I had found much more use for it other than to destroy what I loathed. Fire is warm. Even when it cannot warm me inside, at least it gives my cool skin heat and reminds me just how much physical warmth can be comforting…


My throat hurt so much. It's like my neck had been squeezed so hard. Damn! Am I dead or what? I sat up and held on my throat. Sh**! That b**** surely did squeeze me with all her damn strength! My throat was hurting so much like its burning from the inside!

Then I noticed that I was on a bed. I looked around and nearly jumped. A few feet away from me was a chair near a fireplace where a familiar man sat, looking at me with piercing red eyes. His silver hair gleamed faintly from the fire's light.


Author's Note: I've got some problems. I'm having some difficulties in trying to pull this one out. Probably because I got used to Hitomi and Dilandau the way they are at Intruder Alert series. So I might have trouble updating this soon. Not that anyone would care. Another problem is that my head is swamping with craving for magical or weird stuff and I'd go nuts if I don't get them out. But as I said, I can't seem to pull this out but I'm having some craving. And another problem, my sister is adding to that by asking me to do the story of magic stuff. It's so hard. I think I'd go crazy.

      But before I do, I'd like to thank those who reviewed the previous chapter. Thank you so much. It helped me in this one. ^^, Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      To Izzy, hehehe. I guess I've my sister to thank for the 'uber-spiffy' new name.