Heya. Over a month since my last addition to this little series. Well this is the last Akkarin PoV that I'm doing, and I'm sure you'll see why after you read it. I've also made the appropriate corrections.
Akkarin PoV 3.
Akkarin felt the flow of magic stop and Sonea pulled her hands away from his, leaving them with a pleasant tinkling sensation. Not for the first time he had to suppress the urge to grab hold of her hands, and pull her towards him.
He knew that he should go to bed, but instead he just looked at her. She had done so much for him, by giving up everything and staying by his side, refusing Lord Osen's every offer to return to the Guild. She had given him the strength he had needed to continue, and he didn't mean magic. Her presence had given him the mental and emotional strength to get through each day in the wastelands. Looking after her had kept the memories at bay till he slept, and how had he thanked her? With a cold distance. He really should thank her, he reflected; let her know he was grateful for her joining him.
"Sonea," he said suddenly, before his mind could catch up with him and give him a dozen reasons as to why this was an incredibly stupid thing to do.
"Thank you for coming with me." He felt his heart skip a beat as her sparkled happily.
There had been one major disadvantage of having her follow him. It had caused his feelings towards her grow, feelings that he was desperately trying to end. It hadn't been so bad on the first night. Looking at her had given him a reason to smile, and just watching her sleep had filled him with a kind of peace that he had not felt in a long time. However as the days had gone by and his feelings grew, they had become harder and harder to ignore and to push aside. His desires to hold her and kiss her had begun to pledge his mind all too often. It had been at its worst when she had washed, just a few metres away from him, just before spying on the ichani.
It was getting more difficult to pull his mind away from these desires and maintain his cold front; his shield against her, to keep her at a distance. But since entering Sachaka it seemed to do very little to deter her, not that it had had much effect while they were travelling into exile. Part of him knew he should find this frustrating and annoying, but instead it deepened his affection towards her. Watching her now, seemingly so happy by his simple thanks made him wonder how he could ever find her frustrating or annoying. Part of him nudged himself to say something, anything, just as long as those dark eyes kept sparkling. He really had put her through so much, he should apologise.
Yet one thought stopped him; what if she saw through his words to his true meaning, or even worse, rejected his apology. His stomach churned at this thought. It would feel too much as if she was rejecting him. But then, surely he deserved to be-no! He wasn't going to go into this again, it was far too tiring. Every night he had spent debating with himself while he stood watch and it exhausted him. She didn't love him, and he couldn't have any thing with her even if she did. That was all that mattered.
Although….surely one apology couldn't hurt, especially if it was for something that had been eating away at him for months, even before he realised he loved her. He took in a short breath before speaking, calming his nerves.
"I regret separating you from Rothen. I know he was more like a father then a teacher." As Sonea stared at him he was very thankful that the shadows hide his face from her view. "It was necessary," he added softly.
"I know," she whispered, "I understand."
"But you didn't understand then," he said dryly, "You hated me."
Her chuckled caught him by surprise, he must be more nervous then he thought.
"That's true. I don't anymore."
He found it impossible to prevent the corner of his mouth twitching into a smile. He felt something lift inside him and, with it, his spirits. He had known that she hadn't hated him any longer, but it was quite a different thing to hear her say it.
Schooling his expression back to neutral he rose and made his way over to the grass bed Sonea had made. It didn't take long for him to fall into the beginnings of an uneasy sleep.
Through the mists of his nightmare he felt something touch him and he flung his eyes open. Convinced it was some shadow of the past trying to harm him, he pushed against it, throwing it away from him. As his mind cleared he realised that something was wrong. Sitting up he was puzzled to find himself in a green valley, not the brown wastelands.
Hearing Sonea's small compliant brought the realisation of what he had done crashing down on him. It cleared the fog more effectively then if a bowl of freezing water had been tipped over him, and it felt a lot less pleasant. Scrambling to his feet, his heart was heavy when he saw Sonea lying face down on the ground.
"Sonea!" Before he could think properly the cry had left his lip and he was kneeling by her side. He failed miserably to control his trembling hands as he turned her onto her back. Well this was wonderful! Of all the idiotic things he could have done, he'd thrown the girl he loved, and only companion, across the valley and into a tree. What new ingenious thing would he think to do to her next?
He felt panic rising inside of him. As she looked up at him she looked slightly dazed. He felt his mouth go dry as he began to worry that he had seriously harmed her.
Trying to keep the panic out of his voice he spoke, "Are you hurt?" What a stupid question! He had slammed her against a tree, of course she was hurt!
He watched as her gaze slipped out of focus as she examined herself. The seconds dragged by as he waited, his heart beating against his chest. With each passing second his fears grew, threatening to let the panic take over.
Finally her gaze shifted back. "No, just bruised I think."
Relief swept over him, allowing curiosity to stand in the place of the fear. "Why did you wake me?"
He saw her gaze shift from his face to his hands. He suddenly became very aware of the fact that his hands were shaking violently. He resisted the strong urge to pull them shamefully from her sight. Her gaze flickered back up to his face again as she replied to his question.
"You were dreaming. A nightmare…."
A wave of happiness swept over him. She had been worried about him. He had hated waking from his nightmares to find her watching him in his weakness, scared of some memories in the dream world. However, finding out that she had cared enough to try and wake him went a great ways towards softening the blow to his pride. With this knowledge he was able to steady his hands and voice.
"I am used to them, Sonea," he said, relieved that his voice came out calm and controlled, not wavering with excitement, "They are no reason to wake me." Not unless she wanted to be flung into a tree again.
"You were making a lot of noise"
At these words he came crashing down to reality. Idiot! Of course she hadn't been worried about him, she was just worried that he would draw the attention of their pursuers
He straightened and spoke in a low voice, "Go to sleep Sonea. I will watch."
He knew he sounded annoyed at her, perhaps part of him was. He knew this wasn't Sonea's fault that he couldn't his unwanted desires in check. It was unfair to speak to her in this way, but he needed to be alone with his thought. Besides, he wouldn't be able to sleep now.
"No," she exclaimed, "You've barely slept-and I know you won't wake me up when it's your turn to sleep."
This time he refused to let the hope rise up at the words. "I will. I give you my word," and he offered her his hand, finally helping her up from where she lay on the ground.
He felt the warmth of the rising sun as its rays began to fall on the small valley, and Sonea. Akkarin felt rooted to the spot, held captive by the memorising image of Sonea in the day's first light. Never had she seemed more beautiful. The light brought out her flawless pale skin and even the sun couldn't outshine that mysterious light in those dark eyes. Her lips seemed to beg him to attack them with his own….
He felt her brush against his mind and he snatched his hand away from hers. He took a step away from her. How much had she seen? How would she react if she had seen his thoughts?
He frowned as she took a step towards him. What was she doing? Surely if she had seen his thoughts then she would have turned away by now, or said something, but she was walking towards him. His head spun as he tired to work out exactly what was going on.
His eyes widened with surprise as stepped very close, uncomfortably close. She was almost touching him. She was close enough for him to smell her, to breath on her. She hadn't been this close since he had saved her from being discovered by the Ichani on the first night. It was intoxicating. He couldn't think straight. Only one thought came out clearly; he had to push her away, otherwise he didn't know what he might do.
His hands encircled his arms, ready to do just this when she rolled onto the balls of her feet and kissed him. His hands tightened as all his thoughts fled his mind. He froze and there was a desperate mental search for his missing thoughts. What was he supposed to do? It was hard to think when he was so light headed. He could feel his blood surging through his body. She leaned against him; she wanted to deepen the kiss.
He closed his eyes to collect his thoughts. Part of him couldn't - wouldn't - believe that this was really happening. He wanted this; he wanted it so badly it hurt. Dozens of reasons raced through his head as to why he couldn't have this though. All he could think in return was why not? She was making it very clear that she felt the same way, why couldn't he have this? A corner of his mind laughed at this and asked if he wanted the whole list or just last night's arguments.
There was something else. His heart was racing and not just from the excitement, there
was an undercurrent of fear as well. He couldn't do it again. He couldn't lose the one person he loved above everything else, even his own life. An image of her flashed through his mind pushing him into action.
He pulled away from her, but he couldn't let go of her. He tired but his hands refused to obey. They seemed perfectly content where they were; wrapped tightly around Sonea's arms.
"Stop. Stop this," he breathed, unable to speak properly for a moment. He opened his eyes and stared at her in a way he hoped would emphasise his point. He watched as Sonea searched his face. For a second she looked unsure and he felt a strange mix of relief and disappointment. However her doubt was quickly replaced with confusion.
He frowned, where to start? "This is wrong," he settled on.
"Wrong? How? We both feel…feel…"
"Yes," he interrupted softly. He turned his head, unable to look at her any longer, "But there is more to consider."
Akkarin finally got his hands to let obey him and he released her arms, allowing him to step back to safer distance. Swallowing he prepared to repeat what he'd been telling himself for the last week.
"It would not be fair-to you."
Sonea looked at him carefully before replying. "Me? But-"
Akkarin interrupted her, unable to let her finish. He needed to finish this as quickly as possible. "You're young. I am twelve-no, thirteen years older then you."
Something flashed across her face and when she spoke she seemed to choose her words carefully.
"That is true, but women in the houses are matched with older men all the time. Much older men. Some when they're as young as sixteen. I'm nearly twenty."
Akkarin groped around for another excuse as Sonea discarded his main argument with ease. He'd struggled with that point for weeks, trying to justify it and she had thrown it aside with barely a second thought. His resolve grew weaker.
"I am your guardian."
She smiled at him. "Not anymore."
But if we return to the Guild-"
"Will we cause a scandal?" she chuckled. "I think they're getting used to that." He frowned. How could she laugh at it; at her life being ruined? Did she really not care? She seemed to see his lack of amusement and sobered. "You speak as if we'll go back and everything will be the same again. Even if we return, nothing will ever be as it was for us." She was quickly tearing down his walls and brushing aside all his reasoning that he had clung to for the last few days. "I am a black magician. So are you."
He winced. Just as he was beginning to accept that perhaps this could work she says that, washing back all his guilt.
"I am sorry. I should never have-."
"Don't apologise for that," she said rather irritably, "I choose to learn black magic. And I didn't do it for you."
All Akkarin could do was watch her in silence. He didn't trust himself to speak, even if he did know what to say. But still, something held him back. She had worked against him until he was desperately clinging to what he had been telling himself for the past few days, but was it really necessary? Would the pain be any less if she died with out them deepening this? It hadn't before, so why would be any different now? He felt a wave of guilt at this thought; he never thought he would fall in love again. He shouldn't have these feeling for Sonea. Not after last time, after having seen his lover die. But this time he wouldn't let it happen, he swore he would die before he let it happen. On the other hand was this fair to Sonea? They were fighting a loosing battle; either of them could die any day. She had to understand that.
Sonea's sigh brought him back to the present and he watched her turn away. "Well this is going to be awkward."
Akkarin could see his last opportunity turning away with Sonea and his resolve melted away.
She tuned and stilled when he stepped forward. He was unable to resist the urge to brush a stray lock of hair out of her face. He felt his heart beat quicken at the contact. He had to make her understand their position.
"Either of us could die in the next few weeks," he told her quietly.
She nodded, "I know."
"I'd be happier knowing you were safe."
He couldn't stop the smile spreading as Sonea's eyes narrowed at him. "No, I will not start that argument again, but….you test my loyalties Sonea."
She frowned at him, "How?"
He traced a finger along her frown. She didn't need to know about it, he decided, it wasn't important now. He knew he couldn't back away from this. He couldn't go through the torment of being so close to someone and yet never being able to be with them. Not now, not when he didn't have to. No, there was no turning back now; he was well and truly in love with her.
"It doesn't matter." The corner of his mouth curled up. He didn't want to back away from this. "It's too late anyway. I started to fail that test the night you killed the Ichani."
His smile widened as she blinked in surprise, and he felt a wave of affection sweep over him. He slipped his hands around her waist and he pulled her closer to him. A pleasant chill went down his spine as Sonea's finger traced the curl of his lip. Unable to deny his desire any longer he leaned forward and finally claimed her lips.
For the first time in many years he felt content and at peace. He was finally able to love again.
Well there you go. The last instalment, again I'm not as happy with it as my first two, but maybe that's just me. It is 'a little' longer then the other two……about 4 times as long. This is actually how long my chapter do tend to be, but this is nearly running into Pelican Stop Market length…nearly. Well, your views are perfectly welcome.