Title: Eclipse
Author: Misty Flores
mistiec_flores@yahoo.com

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Underworld, Michael/Selene
Teaser: He would not spend the rest of his life trying to desperately remember exactly what color Selene's eyes were - he would stare into them instead.
Note: another coda in my series of shorts. Previous outings include 'Linger' and 'Human Frailty'.

--

He remembered a lot of things.

There had been a time that he had been consumed by memories. Remembering was his life, as he walked the dank, dreary streets of Budapest, shivering in the cold, he lived in her arms, her breath, her laughter.

She only existed in his memory, and every day, he clung to her.

He willed her not to fade.

There was never a harder jolt than the moment he realized he could no longer recall the exact shade of her eyes.

It startled him awake, forced him to throw off covers and paw through his dresser, until he found that photo of her, bathed in the sunlight, with her beautiful smile and the carefree brightness in her glance..

For hours, he lay crumpled on his bed like a lost child, staring into the crinkled photo, desperate the relive the memory, until her eyes were imprinted on his brain, as he forced himself to remember every detail, vivid and scalding.

She had been beautiful and sweet. Innocent and joyous. Never overly popular, never caring to be put out of a crowd. She had taken a shy boy and made him into a loved man.

She loved the sun, loved picnics and horseback riding and teasing him with impromptu tickle fights that would culminate in fervent kisses and laughter.

Everything about her was the light.

It was the darkness that claimed her. A sleek, dark road, a honk of a horn, and a skid and a scream-

She had bled in his arms, life spurting out onto his fingertips as she never smiled, never laughed for him, too caught up in her shock to understand that this was how he would remember her.

It was the darkness that claimed him that night.

No longer could he stand the sunlight - no longer could he stand in a meadow and see and hear and love. He couldn't close his eyes and breathe in the grass or the flowers because her laughter would ring in his ears, searing through his heart, breaking him.

It was now eternal darkness that he slumbered in. As he lived in memories, he walked in darkness, through rainy streets in an unfamiliar country that was never friendly, never warm, never bright.

He worked his shifts, and every night, he tried to save her again, her face appearing on a crumpled old man with a spike torn through his stomach, a little boy who crashed into a window and had an eyeball dangling - a woman wounded in the middle of a gunfight in a subway.

It occurred to him, looking back on his memories, and his own penchant for darkness settling deep in his heart, that there was no reason why Selene should have appealed to him, that dark night in that dark subway.

She had been beautiful and bright, and was everything that was ever right with the world. She was daylight, golden brown and smelling of summer and love.

The vampiress Selene had none of those qualities. She was darkness personified, with dark, bottomless eyes, wet hair tangled into wild disarray, pale alabaster skin that looked as if she had never seen the sunlight, never loved its warmth, had never experienced anything but cold.

And yet, seeing her had been the first time he had been snatched from his memories, the darkness taking over the brightness for just a minute, when her eyes locked with his, and his broken heart shattered just a little more.

She was nothing like Selene. Selene took lives, with the gleam of blue that exploded with moonlight in her orbs, with glistening fangs, and the cold pleasure of the hunt. There was no warmth in Selene, nothing at all that could make him believe she was anything like his dead fiance, who lived in his memories and resented her presence.

There was no room for memories in the night now, because with the coming of darkness came Selene, and with Selene came an entirely new world, that sucked him in, changed him, turned him into an animal, one of the immortal damned.

Through it all he had felt fear, insecurity, anger - there had been no time to think of her, not when Selene's dark eyes called to him, not when he was forever being dragged and bitten and kidnapped and being dropped from windows.

It was Selene who asked of her, forced the truth from him, opened the scabbing wound that resulted in her point black question, if he had indeed moved on. .

He never answered. There wasn't time.

What there was, was Selene.

The cold vampire with her frigid nature slept soundly beside him. Even in her slumber, she was still rigid, still afraid. There was almost a permanent scowl on her porcelain features, face half buried in the white pillow, no breathing, like the dead.

It was times like these when she frightened him.

Micheal had often questioned his fate, wondered why it was his lot to be bred in darkness, why he was given the beauty of the daylight, only to have the darkness take it from him, in a night of screeching and pain, as her lifeblood fell through his fingertips, and she stopped breathing.

Like the dead.

Selene warned him against leaving during the daylight hours. It may have crippled the vampires, but there were lycans out, his own kind, and, a worse fear, Dog Catchers, bounty hunters who came to Budapest to hunt the lycans for their fur.

Michael did not care.

Lucian had told him once, that lycans were the daylight guardians of the vampires.

And so, Michael stood guard over his.

The darkness had taken away his first love.

The light was just as fatal to Selene.

In his mind, in his heart, he felt and saw the fear, the panic that came from Lucian as Sonja burned to death before his very eyes. He felt the wound of his own crippled heart as Michael loved and lost all over again with his dead wife.

With a medallion dangling from his neck, Micheal waited outside their doorway, watching the humans as they passed, eyes open, basking in the sunlight that Selene had told him she could taste on his skin, and it was here that she would return, beautiful as the sun, bright and cheerful, full of games and picnics.

It was here that she urged him, with wide arms, and threats of tickle fights, to leave it all behind, purge the darkness and once again join the light.

He smiled and watched, squinting until she faded.

She never lasted. She never touched him.

He never joined her.

He had to wait for the darkness.

The darkness was no safer than the light, he knew that. With the dark midnight came the vampires, the wolves, the hybrids and the war.

But Selene delivered death as efficiently as she received it, and in the darkness, it was he that had lain in her arms, silver poison seeping through his veins, staring into a pair of bright blue eyes that could have been HERS, but were Selene's.

The sun slowly began to set, and he realized, he could no longer remember the color of her eyes. Everyday, it was harder to hear her laughter, harder to believe that there had been a time where he had enjoyed picnics and tickle fights.

He had been innocent once.

He could have hated Selene for the world she gave him.

Rising slowly, he turned, moved back into the house, always careful, always watching, a low, animal growl in his throat as he warned any unseen trespassers that this one would not be lost. Not after Sonja, and especially not after her.

In the darkness of the room, he stripped.

She accepted his arms around her, though he suspected at times, she merely tolerated his embraces. Selene did not remember love, she had only known death, betrayal, murder.

But she stirred to life now, shuddering against his warm body, murmuring something with a gleam of fang, fingers skimming the brown skin of his arms.

"You were out again," she whispered thickly, eyes closed, never moving. "Out there. In the daylight."

He said nothing at first. Lips brushed her shoulder, just once, before he fell back against the pillows. "Yeah. I was."

Selene usually accepted this. Sometimes, she would reach for him and demand he make love to her, sometimes hard and fast like an animal, other times, slow and soft, like a human.

Now, she turned in his arms, dark eyes focused on him, no longer sleepy, but alert. Cold, intense stare, as if by boring into his soul she could understand who he was.

"Would you care to explain to me why it is so important to disobey me?"

He managed to suppress the smile, just barely. Selene treated him like a lost child, and thanks to her two hundred plus years, he supposed she had every right.

Yet, he was the hybrid. He was the stronger of the two. He was the one that could not burn in the sunlight.

Long fingers gently rubbed into her scalp, pulling dark bangs away from her face. "Not really, no."

That bothered her. She stiffened in her arms, nearly pouting in her glare. And it amused him. There was a dark hole in his heart that only lately seemed to fill when she stared at him just so, triggering a hint of a jolt in his heart, a burst of light that nearly burned him.

"If you do not come home one nigh-"

"I'll come back."

Selene had introduced him to this world. For that, he could have hated her. Her love had branded him, forced him to become an animal, who ate meat raw, and relished the taste of blood.

Where a man who saved lives once stood, was a beast who snarled and tore with claws.

Everything he had known was no longer his.

Everything but her.

A true warrior to the end, she revealed nothing of her inner thoughts.

For months, he had often wondered what to make of a callous woman with no heart.

But her eyes were dark, nearly moist, and now, Michael didn't need words to understand what she could not say.

The darkness had taken Selene, so long ago. It came in the form of a vampire elder, who snuck room by room, murdered her family, everything she had known, and then spent two hundred years deceiving her about it.

She had no purpose but him. She had lost everything, for Michael.

She could have hated him for that.

She moved, ready to push from his arms and rise from the bed when his arms tightened.

"Michael-"

"She burned in the sunlight."

Selene fell silent, staring straight ahead. If he could have seen her features, he was sure, he would have seen puzzlement.

"I don't-"

"She burned in the sunlight. She died in my arms. She died twice and both times I couldn't save her. And this skin, Selene..." Soft, beautiful, pale skin that had neither blemish nor spot. "I can see it happen to you."

Perhaps then, in his fervent ramblings, she understood. Her body twisted, and once again, she stared at him, eyes wide now, mouth a firm line as she glanced up.

"You're trying to protect me."

The darkness had claimed his wife. The light could do the same to his mate.

He would not let it happen. He would not spend the rest of his life trying to desperately remember exactly what color Selene's eyes were - he would stare into them instead.

"I don't need your protection," she said flatly.

"But I need you."

She had brought him to life, from a stale walkway of memories, and the doctor that still resided in Micheal's human heart had to believe that in some way, he was doing the same for her.

Because she stared at him for what seemed like hours, never moving, never squirming, never breathing.

But he never believed her dead. Her soul glittered in her eyes.

A cool, smooth palm curled about his cheek, before she brought his face down and her mouth opened under his. She kissed him with a softness he had never experienced with her, soft lips gentle as they plundered his, tongue dipping into his mouth to slide through his teeth, touch against his before retreating and coming back again.

And then she did something she had never done before.

Breaking away from his lips, she buried her face into his neck, and slid palms around his body in a loose embrace.

She held him, a human embrace of love and passion, and need.

She would never tell him she loved him. He knew that.

"You listen to me," she whispered fiercely. "You will not die on me. Do you understand? I've watched you die once, already. Kiss your daylight, but always return to me. You belong to me."

He could not argue that.

The darkness had claimed him long before Selene had, it had broken his heart and driven deep ravines through it.

But she belonged to that darkness, and now, so did he.

In the chasms of his heart, Selene's blood ran freely, filling him with an animal possession.

He could have hated Selene for the world she gave him.

Instead, he had chosen to love her.

He held her close, whispered his constant words of love that he knew she would never say back. It didn't matter.

The darkness had claimed his wife. The light could do the same to his mate.

He would not let it happen. He would not spend the rest of his life trying to desperately remember exactly what color Selene's eyes were - he would stare into them instead.

FIN