Fragile Desperation

By Treanz-Alyce

Rating: PG13

Summary: He never did pay enough attention to his younger daughter. It cost him his life. The final moments of Jonathan of Conté, and the forbidden affection that caused it, compliments of a shadow's legacy.

Warning: This will contain death. It also contains distant-incest: technically, Lianne and Roger are cousins-once-removed, so it depends on your take (I personally don't consider it to be, but hey?!)

Author's Note: Thanks to Anya, who betaed this for me glomps! Big hug to Milla Talyyn too, for inspiration for an offshoot!

...Fragile Desperation…

Prologue

He controlled her.

She didn't realize the extent of his power until it was too late. No matter what she was asked, or what she was told, she denied it. After all, he was nothing more than a shadow – clearly not enough to hold any influence over her. A shadow of darkness, misunderstood, doomed to a lonely eternity. Chains bound him to an unhappy past, where he had been misguided and used. She felt for his plight, and understood what it was like to be raised up on show, yet truly ignored. It petrified her that she could potentially end up in the same situation, locked in a timeless gate, doomed to lurk the edges of the chaotic realms between the mortal and divine.

He had come to her in a dream, handsome, charming, and most importantly, untouchable.

He had an alluring smile, one of the first things she noticed. It was weeks before she could see him clearly enough to make out his identity, but the smile had been there from the beginning.

He had spoken to her during the night.

'Lianne, I know what you've heard about me, but you mustn't believe it. I was merely the scapegoat.'

He had gained her trust while she slept.

'You can trust me, you know. I would never betray you, my dear. Not like the others. For I know best what it's like to be betrayed by those you depend on – the pain, the emptiness, the helplessness.'

He had manipulated her innocence.

'They don't understand you, nor do they care to. I'm really the only one who can be cares. Which is why we mustn't let anyone else know about this.'

He had filled her head with pretty ideals, warped to serve his own purpose.

'We would live a happy existence. You could have a choice, a chance to choose freedom.'

He pretended.

'For the sake of our love, my darling – you know that I love you.'

And because of this, he controlled her.

'Lianne, I want you to kill him. You wouldn't dare disappoint me, now, would you? I thought not. For he is the one who stands in our way.'

She now stood at the small table, measuring out the clear liquid with hands that trembled ever so slightly. Two drops would do it.

'He imprisoned me here. I will never be free until he is gone. Don't you want more than dreams of me?'

The drops dissolved into the wine. There was no hint that red liquid within the crystal goblet now contained a deadly poison that would kill a grown man in less a bell.

'Isn't it time you thought about what was best for you, dearest? Be selfish for once. It gets you further in the long run.'

She smiled. There was no happiness in it. Instead, it represented her grim determination. There was no going back.

'For you, love,' she had promised, 'For you.'

"Papa?" Gently, she prised open the door to his study. Jonathan looked up, startled by the interruption.

"Lianne – come in." Wearily, he beckoned her. She obeyed, calmly pressing the door shut. Her fingers flicked the lock, silently sealing the room.

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