Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it belongs to Misty Lackey.
AN: I absolutely love Vanyel and I absolutely love Vanyel/Tylendel. Therefore it's only natural to try and give them another chance at life. Screw Stefan.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Chapter I: The Hardest Thing
By: B. Angel
- - - - - - - - - - - -
"Gala!" Tylendel cried in anguish, his voice breaking. "Gala! Don't--"
She turned her head just enough to look him fully in the eyes--and Vanyel heard her mental reply as it rang through Tylendel's mind and heart and splintered soul.
:I do not know you: she said coldly, remotely. :You are not my Chosen.:
Emptiness--shattered rage--utter desolation.
Vanyel moaned in anguish, sharing Tylendel's agony, and the torment and bereavement as he called after Gala with his mind and received not even the echo of a reply.
He watched her fling herself at the five fiends. They swarmed over and about her, their darkness extinguishing her light. He heard her shriek, but this time in pain, and saw the red splash of blood bloom vividly on her white coat.
And then there was no Companion, no fight. Only a mutilated corpse, sprawling torn and ravaged, throat slashed to ribbons, the light gone from the sapphire eyes. Tylendel was on his knees beside her, stroking the ruined head, weeping hoarsely.
"She repudiated him--" Jaysen stood beside the trainee.
"Suicided--" Savil reached for Tylendel's shoulder.
Everything darkened and then white lightning flashed.
The first thing he saw was Tylendel. He was vacant-eyed, white as bleached linen, and staring at his own blood smeared hands. He looked at Vanyel--looked through Vanyel. "Gala-"
Vanyel started for him, but--pain. Pain raced through him like lightning. Vanyel screamed in agony, convulsing, falling. He heard Tylendel cry out in despair--looked up--the Death Bell--Tylendel, his face a mask of nothing but pain--poised against the lightning filled darkness, arms spread as if to fly--Tylendel, leaping--falling--.
Vanyel screamed, reaching for him--too late--
Vanyel jerked awake, breathing hard, eyes wide in the dark. He turned to see his lover sprawled beside him, the grief that plagued him during his waking hours still visible on his sleeping face.
It was just a dream. Oh, gods--just a dream.
He turned away and cried silently, out of relief, out of fear, he didn't know. But Tylendel was alive and it was just an awful dream.
A soft sleepy voice in his ear, an arm curled around his waist.
"What's wrong ashke? You Felt--"
"Nothing, 'Lendel, just a nightmare."
The herald-trainee murmured and hugged Vanyel in comfort. It was apparent that he was still exhausted and on recovery. The old Tylendel would have seen completely through the lie.
Van stared blindly into the dark. It was only when the sun came up that exhaustion finally overcame him and he slept.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Vanyel hovered outside the workroom, hating himself for what he was about to do. He'd been arguing with himself the entire week. And now, he had a few minutes in which to change his mind before Savil finished her session with Mardic and Donni.
I can't back out now. 'Lendel's life depends on it. Gala's life depends on it. Even if the dream wasn't a premonition.
He had denied for the better part of the week that the dream meant anything. But the images kept haunting him every night. And even now he could recall the agony that had coursed through his veins. There was no reason why Vanyel should be dreaming things like that. He trusted 'Lendel to know what he was doing. But he stood here now because of the second spell that Tylendel planned to use.
Vanyel hadn't known what it was before, only that it was something he didn't want to know about. But after seeing the monsters in the dream, he'd taken a look at the second page. His heart had nearly stopped. The illustration of the demon was exactly as in his dream. How could he have known about it to dream about it? His link with 'Lendel was not strong enough for that. It convinced Vanyel almost enough that he was going to risk going to Savil. He knew she loved 'Lendel, even more than she loved Vanyel. She wasn't going to do anything harmful to him, Vanyel was sure of it.
And even if it was just coincidence, Vanyel felt that revenge could still be taken at a later date. Still, it hurt. He feared what 'Lendel was going to say, what he was going to do, when he found out what Vanyel had done. 'Lendel was already changing as a result of Staven's death. A cold withdrawn shadow of his former self. Vanyel didn't know what this would do to him.
And all in all, Vanyel was taking the cowardly way out, relying on Savil to stop 'Lendel instead of actually going to talk to Tylendel himself. Had there been time, he would have tried to talk to the trainee at least, but Vanyel had dithered too long and tomorrow night the plan was to be carried out. And he wasn't sure he could stop Tylendel if he decided to go through Vanyel.
The door opened, and a very down-cast Mardic and Donni stepped out.
"I want you to think about what happened today. Next time you won't be so lucky."
Vanyel waited until the life-bonded couple was halfway down the hall before he hurried to the open door. Inside, Savil was up righting the few pieces of furniture that remained intact in the room. He walked over to her.
"Vanyel?" Savil stared at the solemn pale boy, surprised at his sudden appearance. Though different from the boy that had first come into her custody, it was the distant day when Vanyel purposely sought her out. Still the way he avoided directly looking at her was making her uneasy.
"Aunt Savil." Vanyel spoke hesitantly. "Will you promise me, swear to me, that you, if not the Heralds, will bring Staven's killers to justice?"
"What's this about Vanyel? What's wrong?" Savil was no fool. She saw immediately where this was going and she wasn't liking it one bit.
"No. Swear to me."
"I swear, Vanyel, the Heralds will bring Staven's killers to justice."
He relaxed, just alittle bit, but Savil could still see that his eyes were troubled. He finally looked at her and in her depths she saw a swirl of emotions she couldn't identify. But before she could figure them out Vanyel produced two sheets of paper from behind him and presented it to her.
"That's--" Her eyes narrowed. "Talk to me."
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Vanyel did not tell her about the dream. But then again, it wasn't necessary. Now he followed her and Heralds Lancir and Jaysen to see Tylendel.
"You wait here." Savil left no room for argument, and Vanyel could only see a glimpse of Tylendel before they shut the door behind him. Vanyel collapsed onto the couch he'd spent so many nights studying with 'Lendel. It still hurt, his betrayal. Despite all the logical reasoning he'd given himself, it still didn't belay the fact that he was betraying 'Lendel.
If 'Lendel--Vanyel wouldn't know what to do if Tylendel refused to speak to him again. But he didn't dare think that 'Lendel would forgive him; it was too much to hope for. Vanyel didn't have much more time to ponder his future. The door opened again and he looked up. That had been quick. He hadn't even heard any shouting. Or had he been so absorbed in his thoughts that he hadn't noticed? In any case Vanyel stood as Savil appeared at the door.
For the first time since he'd met her she actually seemed old. The lines at the corners of her eyes were more pronounced and her mouth was pressed so tight her lips were nearly invisible. She shut the door behind her.
"Savil—" Vanyel began worriedly.
"Vanyel." She walked over to him and led him outside. He allowed her to lead him, knowing it was probably bad. "Herald Jaysen thinks—and I agree—that you should stay away from 'Lendel for awhile. He's not exactly himself at the moment and we don't want him to do anything he'd regret later."
Vanyel stared at her in shock. Tylendel did not want to see him. Probably hated him. But he had expected it hadn't he? No, he had expected anger and a chance to explain himself. But his refusal to see him meant that Tylendel hated him didn't he? He turned away from Savil's weary and concerned stare and stumbled away and out the door, ignoring his aunt's voice. Outside the rain fell mercilessly, cold and stinging. Vanyel ran on, heedless.
When he finally stopped to examine his surroundings he realized he'd ended up where their hideout used to be. Now only the sad stumps of trees remained. Vanyel sobbed and fell to his knees, falling over until his forehead touched the wet ground. There was pain in his chest, gripping and unyielding. Was this what a broken heart felt like? Was he going to be alone now? Vanyel didn't know and he banished those thoughts from his head.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
He woke up half cold, half warm and all the way sore. The rain had turned into morning mist and there was a body beside him. Vanyel twisted to see what was against his back and was startled to see a white Companion beside him. Glancing closer he recognized who she was.
"He-hello Gala." He greeted hoarsely through chattering teeth. He rose wearily to his feet, stumbling a bit as a dizzy spell hit him. When the world settled he watched Gala rise and shake herself off. She stared him straight in the eyes, her apparent grief mirroring some of his own.
:Thank you, Vanyel, for what you've done.: Her voice was that of a young woman and as Vanyel's vision swam, he thought he could see a young woman standing in the Companion's place. Vanyel shook his head to clear the image, so obviously a product of his imagination. He blinked at her, shocked that she was talking to him, but replied bitterly.
"I'll bet 'Lendel isn't so thankful."
:You saved his life in many ways.: She projected firmly into his mind. :And for that I will be ever grateful to you. You did the right thing. Don't ever forget that.:
Vanyel didn't answer her and glanced away when he couldn't stand the intensity of her stare. He heard her whicker softly as he turned and began trudging back home. And although he didn't look he could feel her eyes on him the entire way.
He found Savil dozing lightly on the couches in the main room. When he entered she stood and came towards him, reaching for him.
"Vanyel, what you did—"
"I know, Aunt Savil." He interrupted her. "I know. Gala already told me okay?"
She froze, her hand hanging in mid air.
"Gala spoke to you? She actually spoke to you?" She fell silent and seemed to ponder it for a little bit. Then she looked sharply at Vanyel. "Then you should know that Companions never speak to anyone but their Chosen. But she spoke to you because of what you did. And that alone says volumes."
Vanyel stared at the ground, not wanting to argue. Because it didn't matter what anyone else thought. It only mattered what Tylendel thought. He glanced towards the shut bedroom door that the blonde lay behind. Did he dare go in? Was it too soon?
"He's just fallen back asleep."
He looked at Savil and found her studying him intently. What did she want from him? What did she want him to say? That he accepted that betraying 'Lendel was the right thing to do? The sad irony was that it was.
Without another word he turned from her and went to his room. He shut the door gently and turned around. The room was dark except for glow of the fire in the hearth, but he could see enough to see that Tylendel was sleeping.
He leaned against the door and watched his lover. He was at a total loss on what to do. His heart broke at even the thought of losing him. But he didn't know what to do now. He thought he could handle this. But he couldn't. He couldn't.
Vanyel walked slowly over to the overstuffed chair, stumbling a bit as his vision wavered. He collapsed into the softness and curled into a ball to stare at the fire. But his thoughts refused to leave him alone.
His worst fear continually surfaced in his mind. No—his worst fear had been the deaths of Tylendel and Gala. He had prevented that; at least he wanted to believe he had. He didn't dwell on the what ifs of his actions and the motives behind them. His only fear now lay with being abandoned. He didn't think he could take it if Tylendel decided never to forgive him. He'd gone too far and there was no turning back. He couldn't return to who he used to be. He couldn't.
As the warmth lulled him back to sleep and stopped the shivers that plagued his body since he woke up, he suddenly found himself crying again. For whatever was to come, he was sure that things would never be the way they used to be. And he was already missing it.
Gradually, his eyes fell shut, and the tears stopped, as if they hadn't existed at all.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
When Vanyel next woke again he knew there was something wrong with him. He felt extraordinarily hot and yet he was shivering again. He couldn't keep his eyes open for long without his vision deserting him. It made sense to him; after all, he'd spent the night in the rain.
But why did he have to get sick now? How could he face his lover feeling like this? But he had to explain what he did. The more this dragged on the angrier Tylendel would mostly likely get. He had to do it now. He dragged himself into an upright sitting position, but ended up hunched over with his elbows braced on his knees and his hands covering his flushed cheeks.
Opening his eyes again and glancing at the bed he saw that Tylendel still sleeping. But it was wrong. Tylendel never slept like that, so frigid and stiff. He'd always slept carelessly, limbs spread haphazardly all over the bed.
Oh Gods, 'Lendel, is it because of me?
His vision spun and he closed his eyes again, holding his head in his hands. Damn this fever. When he opened his eyes again he froze. Tylendel was sitting up and watching him, the firelight reflecting eerily in his eyes, his expression as cold as Vanyel had ever seen it. Vanyel straightened slowly, but he could remember nothing of what he wanted to say.
"I'm sorry." Was the only thing that came out. And at the sound of his voice Tylendel's cold expression morphed into something even more terrifying. The fury and anger and pain that had been directed at the Leshara before now reflected back at Vanyel through Tylendel's eyes.
"I'm sorry." He whispered again, his voice breaking.
"Get out." Tylendel's words fell like ice.
But Tylendel lost it. "Get out! Haven't you done enough?!" Tears ran down Tylendel's face and he choked. And Vanyel saw, despite the anger, how deeply he'd hurt Tylendel. "Get out!"
Blinking away his tears, Vanyel stood and silently stumbled his way out of the room. Shutting the door behind him he turned and leaned his forehead against it. He crumpled slowly to his knees.
"I'm so sorry." He whispered, tears silently falling.
After a long while, he finally pulled himself up. He was exhausted now. Still, he didn't want to stay here. It was too painful. He stumbled outside and walked aimlessly through the field.
So dazed he was that he didn't notice where he was going until someone collided with him. Something spilled on his shirt and the sweet smell of wine filled the air. As whomever it was stumbled off, Vanyel blinked and looked around. He'd somehow stumbled into a celebration of some sort. And then his eyes widened as realization slapped him in the face.
It was Sovvan. Tonight was the night they'd planned to carry out Staven's revenge. So quickly. He'd forgotten so quickly. Vanyel's eyes watered again. And suddenly he didn't want to be out anymore. He spun around, and headed quickly back towards his room, an irrational fear blooming in him that maybe somehow Tylendel would still find a way to carry out his plans still.
His steps slowed and he looked over to see Mardic and Donni approach him. He stared at their entwined hands for a moment before raising his eyes to look at their concerned faces.
"How are you feeling Vanyel?" Donni asked carefully.
"Fine." He answered wearily.
Vanyel's mouth quirked up in a bitter grin. "Angry."
"It'll be okay Vanyel." Mardic assured him. "Savil's already spoken to the Circle and Herald Lancir's already extracted Tylendel's memories as evidence for a hearing. We'll be able to get the Leshara."
"That's good." Vanyel answered vaguely, his vision blurring again, exhaustion setting in again. He had to go check on 'Lendel.
"Are you sure you're alright Vanyel?" Donni asked him again, the concern evident in her voice this time.
"Just worried about 'Lendel, that's all." He lied, attempting a small smile. Why wouldn't they just let him leave?
"Well, if it makes you feel better, he's been ordered to keep his link to Gala open at all times, just in case. That way she can monitor him."
Vanyel relaxed a little at that bit of news, some of his anxiety subsiding.
"Well, we're here if you need us okay?" Donni added, becoming slightly nervous when Vanyel didn't answer.
Aware that they watched him closely, Vanyel managed a real smile for them. It wasn't much, but it was the best he could do at the moment. He was out of practice.
"I'm fine. You guys go on." Without waiting for an answer he brushed by them and away from the festivities, the smile fading from his face as fast as it had come.
It began to rain again, and so by the time he reached the suites his head was pounding furiously and he was soaked and chilled to the bone. But at least he wasn't so hot anymore and the dizziness and vision blurring had gone away. All the same, after he'd checked to see if 'Lendel was still in bed—he was—Vanyel collapsed on the couch and gave in to the darkness.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
It wasn't even the hand that had dragged him up from the depths of sleep and shook him. It was his voice. Withen's angry voice.
"Get up you little catamite! I don't know what in Gods name Savil's been doing, but it's stopping right now! Get up!!"
And the arm dropped him to the floor. Vanyel groaned. Had he been in his right frame of mind he would have understood immediately what and why his father was so angry and escaped immediately to find Savil or something. But Vanyel was feverish, and so he couldn't fully comprehend the situation. He rolled over and squeezed his eyes shut against the pounding in his head, ignoring the booming voice above him.
But then arms dragged him back up and when a hand struck his face, Vanyel was suddenly wide awake, if a bit disoriented. But as his eyes opened and he clearly saw his father's face, he knew.
"F-father!" Vanyel managed to stammer out, ordering his thoughts to form coherently. But as Withen dropped him again, the world blurred into multiple colors and it was all he could do to stay awake.
"What did you do boy?!" Withen snarled. "Rumors! Bloody rumors all the way to the Keep! You've destroyed our family name!"
Vanyel didn't answer anymore. He couldn't think of anything to refute his father. It never even occurred to him to deny the charges. Not that Withen would have believed him. But Vanyel's body made the decision on what to do for him, and as he passed out his last thought was that of the blonde lying in the room next door.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
AN: What you think? In character? OOC? What what? Constructive comments appreciated on how to make it better.
Please note that I'm basing all of Vanyel's attitudes on the first book only. Because of that he is still immature and blah blah all the great stuff he's going to become hasn't come about yet because it wasn't until he met Moondance and Starwind that he grew up.