Summary: Dilandau has always been a predator. Dilandau is like a disease, and Celena is weak. Come morning, she can try and make her excuses, but there is no justification for what either of them have done.
Disclaimer: Most unfortunately I do not own Escaflowne. If I did, I would have bashed them in the head for killing off Folken and making that horror of a movie. This is post-anime, with a CxD pairing (meaning Dilandau survives, living on in Celena), and FxD references, making it a het story with slash references. Don't like? Don't read! Très simple, no?


The blonde huddles in the corner of a dark room, rocking back and forth, whimpering softly to herself. On the other side of town, a fire burns. Celena is weak.

Celena remembers what it was like to be alone; once she revelled in it, delighted in her own ability to see things uniquely and to experience each sensation for herself. Now in the darkness, she fears to be alone. When one's soul is joined to another, one can never go back. She is, was and will be both Dilandau and Celena. She doesn't think she could ever go back to being just Celena. She fears to try.

They don't know about him yet; she hopes dully that they never will. Should Allen Schezar ever realise that Dilandau Albatou lives on in plain, simple, docile Celena Schezar… Celena does not know what would happen. Allen loves Celena, but he won't ever trust her again. Even now, she has doctors examining her once a month, Allen as her ever-present shadow, and Millerna when he leaves, and Celena is learning to be a 'Lady'. It's not much fun.

Dilandau sometimes remarked that he'd rather jump off of the Vione than sew another stitch, Celena actually laughed out loud when Millerna uttered much the same thing.

"Damn, damn, double damn! I'd rather be facing Zaibach again than stitching this!" Millerna mutters, and Eries glares at her in consternation. "Do not even utter that lie Millerna! I thought you would have known better!". Celena had given Millerna a true smile at that, and the two often found themselves sharing woeful glances during Eries' droning lessons on why a 'Lady' must always sit with a straight back, and more importantly, the left leg crossed over the right.. Celena fails to understand the significance of that.

Celena has half dried tear tracks on her face. She is seventeen, and can see the orange glow from her room; she knows it is her fault. Allen bursts through the door.

"Cele…na…" Allen had not been expecting to see her there, she knows. Allen had thought that she had lit the fire, but here she is, proving him wrong; proving her own innocence, and by default, Dilandau's. After all, they never had their own bodies before.

"Allen!" Celena pretends to be surprised to see him, and leaps into him.

"Why were you crying?" Allen asks softly, rubbing away the slivery, almost dry stains.

"It reminds me of… I don't like fire." Celena does not like lying, but she will when she has to. Allen's arms betray him, tightening around her. Sometimes she almost hates Allen's suffocating embrace, but tonight, she loves him more than anyone else. He has never left her alone.

Celena can hear them through the door, Allen's voice low, anxious, in need of reassurance. The doctor does not seem worried.

"Every time there is a fire, Celena has become easily exhausted, even by menial chores." Allen confides, as if Celena and the doctor hadn't already been over that.

"Yes, I believe it is the emotional strain. In my opinion, it could be a good sign. When I talk to her, we try and acknowledge her past. She may well be coming to grips with it, and the emotional strain of the fires may be tiring her out. I do not believe it is something to worry about at this stage."

Not something to worry about at all. Dilandau chuckles, and she feels her heart sink. Celena knows well that it is her fault. Dilandau is like a disease, and she is weak.

Don't be pathetic! All you do is whine and mope. Dilandau spits at her, and Celena shivers and withdraws more into herself. She doesn't remember quite when she realised it… after the battle, there was her, and she was alone. She'd clung to Allen's arms, confused and frightened, not quite understanding what had happened during the time she'd been… him.

And then slowly she hadn't felt so alone. She'd felt like it was ok. And then she'd heard his voice. During the first months, it had faded, in and out as if he were weak. Then he'd been a constant presence. A few months ago, things had changed. Celena still controlled Dilandau's movements, but for a time, if Celena allowed it, Dilandau could take on another body; one that felt as real to her as anything else. Dilandau knew her weaknesses, and when he escaped… the first time she'd realised something was wrong, was when things started to burn, and they started to look to her again. Because things were going wrong again, all wrong.

She'd confronted him about it, of course, too weak to even properly grasp that stupid shirt he wore in his physical form. He'd just grinned cruelly, smelling of smoke, and she knew it was her fault Asturia was on fire. He knew she didn't want to be alone, but he also knew she didn't like to control him, because she knew he resented that. Dilandau Albatou was never one not to make use of the opportunities presented to him. Things had only changed when Celena's head grew light, and she'd smiled a sad little smile and fainted through Dilandau. When she woke up an hour later, Allen was frantic, Van concerned, and Dilandau near-hysterical.

WAKE UP! WAKE UP YOU STUPID BITCH! DON'T LEAVE ME! Celena had given a small gasp of fear, and found herself surrounded by inky blackness.

"Where… where am I?" Celena blinked, confused.

"You don't recognise this place?" Dilandau looked concerned, reached out a hand towards her.

"I've never been here before." Celena admitted honestly, though she shied away from Dilandau's touch, refusing to meet his eyes. He'd used her again.

"Are you dying?" Dilandau was hiding his emotions.

"Maybe." Celena looked around sadly.

"Maybe? That's all you've got to say?!" Dilandau yelled at her.

"I'm sorry Dilandau. Maybe you'll get the body…" Celena muttered dully.

"The body?! It's your body! Fight for it!" Dilandau screamed, frustrated by her apathy.

"Why Dilandau… why?" Celena smiled at him, and he wanted to scream.

Biting his tongue, he waited.

"Allen wants me to be the perfect lady, you just want the body to burn people and get revenge, Van will never trust me again, Hitomi and Merle… I never see them enough. Allen's crew won't ever see me as anything other than Allen's sister. I am defined by being Allen Schezar's retarded and victimised baby sister, and what else can I do in this world? Run away like a spoilt brat?" Celena asked, the question made all the more frightening by the lack of bitterness infused in it.

"I DON'T WANT YOU TO DIE!" Dilandau cried, before stopping, annoyed with himself.

Celena just stared… and then she awoke.

"Celena! You're alright!" Allen cried as she opened her eyes.

"You had a fainting spell; no more strain for the rest of the week!" Her doctor tsk-tsked her. And life returned to normal.

Celena likes the stars; loves to watch the sky. She finds solace in the soft murmuring of the breeze between the trees, the red glow as the sun sets at dusk, the sound of running water and the taste of rain. Lately, she notices Dilandau has begun to feel calmed by the same sensations, when he's unguarded, she hears the echo of his laugh when she spins in the rain, feels his silent appreciation of the beauty Gaia has to offer… and his continued hatred of trying to get cross-stitching just right. That's ok though, she hates it too.

Through Dilandau, she's learnt to appreciate the fearsome beauty of fire, both a positive and a negative new trend. Positive, in that she has found something new to occupy her wandering mind, negative in that it worries Allen tremendously and she has to watch herself around him. Her doctor thinks it is another positive step.

Dilandau is still here, still making her laugh with his ever present hatred of sewing, and his utter lack of comprehension of why exactly that particular skill is important. Celena wishes Allen would try the poncy skill; with a Dilandau-esque smirk she thinks he'd probably enjoy it.

Dilandau grins and whispers to her that he's rubbing off on her. She worries that it's true.

Let me out. Dilandau demands. Celena continues to read her book, ignoring him. This is one of Millerna's favourite books, and a surprisingly decent one. Celena thinks Hitomi might have brought it over from the Mystic Moon, because Gaia certainly doesn't have ass-kicking heroines. They are both careful not to let Eries see it, because they are quite sure it's not suitable for a 'Lady' to read.
Let me out! Dilandau continues to distract Celena, right as the Heroine is about to kiss her love-interest. Shutting the book and acknowledging that Dilandau won't leave her alone to read it, she is distracted by wondering what it would be like to be the heroine. Celena knows that the heroine of her story is Hitomi, Celena the victim. Now Celena is probably supposed to become an old spinster, sitting in a cottage and warning the next generations of what might have happened and cautioning against wrong-doing. She does not 'pass go' and she does not receive $200, a quote passed down from Hitomi. Celena never was quite sure what that meant, but thinks that she got the general gist.

Dilandau is studying her, but Celena doesn't notice because a horrifying thought has occurred to her, and all she can think is that she was so stupid for not having realised it before.

Allen wants to marry her off. All the knitting and sewing, the lessons on how to sit with her back perfectly straight with her left leg crossed over her right, the discreet advice on choosing a suitable dress (which Eries ordered she be allowed to do as opposed to Allen, after the terrible incident with the pink dress and the puffy, puffy sleeves)… it was all so she could go to someone else.

The idea does not appeal to Celena in any way.

She does not want to be married off to some old man, some stranger. Her husband would soon discover that she was not the advertised package, complete with the ability to weave flower garlands, something Millerna had always done for her when Eries' attention had strayed, not to mention the additional… assets... she carried within her. She also assumed Allen and Eries would not tell prospective grooms that she'd been a boy for more years than she'd been a girl, as a child. Celena couldn't see that knowledge going down well. She can't blame Allen though, the news that Celena was Dilandau and vice versa, can't have been easy on him, nor the stress of a fragile woman who was apparently utterly dependant on him.

She looked up, to see Dilandau's see-through shape frowning at her. He could touch only her in this form, and even that ability she had the power to restrict, not that she did.

"What?" Celena asks, distractedly.

He wants to marry you off? Dilandau asked, and she can feel his revulsion to it.

"Makes sense, doesn't it?" Celena asks softly, wary of being caught talking to herself. She'd heard Allen's gasp of breath just in time twice already, and she'd had to quickly pull out a faked diary and continue aloud "Dear diary, I just think that…" and hear in return a gasp of relief, before Allen would wait a moment, then knock and enter.

Unfortunately. Are you just going to take it? Dilandau asks.

"I don't see why you're that upset. It's not like boys bother you." Celena mentions, recalling some of the memory flashes she'd gotten from Dilandau. One of them had showed her the relationship between Folken Strategos and Dilandau, and it hadn't been just a commander and his superior. Celena had learned a lot about the Vione that day, not to mention sexual relations between men. Dilandau had laughed at her spluttering, shocked reaction. Now she was used to the memories, and she had another flash from Dilandau's consciousness, Folken kissing his way up Dilandau's neck, Folken kissing Dilandau's thighs, Folken kissing Dilandau's….

You like the memories now… Dilandau smirks, and it is true. Celena does find Folken and Dilandau very attractive. She wishes she had been the proverbial fly on the wall in that scenario…

I am rubbing off on you. Dilandau grins at her maturely-rated thoughts.

"But back to the question, why does it bother you?" Celena asks in confusion.

Dilandau looks as though he's debating whether or not to tell Celena, but she's disappointingly interrupted by Eries' arrival.

Celena thinks Dilandau has disappeared back into her mind, despite his increasing strength and ability to stay as her "ghost", but Celena is very, very wrong.

You wanted to know why it bothers me?

Celena almost jumps, but Eries has sharp eyes, and a sharper mind. Celena cannot even look behind her, instead focussing on her blasted knitting.

Millerna rushes in, a mud splotch on her dress and already five minutes late.

"Millerna, haven't you learned anything?" Eries sighs, as if Millerna's late, untidy entrance is as bad as the world ending.

Yes. Celena thinks.

The sewing is resumed.

You're mine. Dilandau answers, and Celena misses a stitch. Eries begins blathering, Millerna rolls her eyes and Dilandau's fingers ghost down Celena's sides, causing a quite intake of breath.

Dilandau! What are you doing!? Celena mentally shrieks like a girl as Dilandau's hands continue to wander. She can feel his breath on her ear. Entertaining you. Dilandau answers with a laugh.

Wryly, Celena admits to herself that she does normally complain of being bored stupid. Dilandau kissing her neck makes her yelp and drop her sewing. Millerna snickers, and Eries frowns.

When Celena is finally excused from the room, her face is red, Millerna is red from laughing, Eries is as disapproving as ever, and she's missed more stitches than she's actually sewed. Dilandau is a bad influence.

"I can't believe you did that!" Celena hisses, ignoring the fact that she liked what he was doing entirely too much. Dilandau catches the thought, and his face lights up.

You liked it. Dilandau sits behind her, beginning to kiss her neck again, and it is all Celena can do not to moan in delight.

Let me out. Let me out and I'll make it worth it for you. Dilandau promises, but Celena is not stupid.

"I don't think so Dilandau." She resists, trying to disentangle herself from him. He catches her half formed thought that he is only doing this to seduce her so he can leave her.

You're wrong. Who else could I find better than you, to suit me? Dilandau maintains, and on some level at least, when they are this connected, Dilandau cannot lie to her. So he likes her. That doesn't mean he can't twist the truth to suit him.

Let me show you how much I like you…

Dilandau has always been a predator. Dilandau is like a disease, and Celena is weak. She wills him into a physical form, and he's there, and the kisses are everything she dreamed of, the touches dominating but not too harsh, refreshingly forceful after being treated like a fragile invalid. She feels like she's burning up, and his smirk as she bites her own hand to stop herself crying out is one of the hottest things she's ever seen. Then when they both tense and his mouth finds hers to cover their joint sounds as their world explodes, she wonders vaguely what good things she's done to deserve this.

For that night, Dilandau is everything she could ever want, but as she turns to sleep, one of his arms slung around her waist, she wonders whether he will smell like smoke the next morning. If he does… she has no justification… except that Dilandau is a disease… and Celena is weak.