Disclaimer: The characters of Roar are the copyright property of Ron Koslow and Shaun Cassidy. No copyright infringement is intended.

THE CALL OF LOVE
© Triskell, August/October 2000


(Conor)

Looking at your still face I wonder how I'd ever manage without you. You look so peaceful, like every night that I steal out of my bed to watch you. I don't really know why I do it, it seems as if I sometimes had to make sure you're still there…

I stand in awe of you, and I'm already so deeply in love with you I will never be the same again. You changed me, brought out the best in me and touched me in ways and places that have sparked the image of perfection in me.

Whatever this perfection is, it is in you. You once said you thought the mystery lay in my heart and that I knew yours. I believed I did, but I was wrong. You surprise me day after day. Even though we've known each other for a few years now, been as close as friends and companions can ever be…I still don't have any idea what's inside of you.

You hardly talk about yourself and I never asked. Maybe I should have. It could have made a difference in our treatment of each other, our relationship. I lost my family and I found a new one - yet it was you who made me complete.

You filled the void left by Claire and the love I miss so much - that kind of pure love that only those people closest to you can give you - a trust and affection so absolute and unshakeable that it will last through every strife, over any distance and can overcome every obstacle in the path of life.

I have never told you all this. I wouldn't know how. I can't express what's inside of me, how my heart skips a beat when you smile at me and my breathing is easier when you are by my side. Or how your softest, most casual touch races through me, coursing with the blood in my veins as if I were absorbing your gentleness, making it a part of myself.

I'm long past wanting to simply hold you in my arms. I want all of you - your body, heart and soul. It's a lot to ask of anyone and therefore I remain silent. I can only offer you all of me in return, in fact, I've already given it to you. You simply don't know.

And you can't even guess - I treat you like I treat every other young woman around me. Well, not Molly. The two of you are closer to me than most others, so you hold a special place in my heart, like Tully and Fergus. But…I treat you both the same, with the same attention.

I don't think it can be noticed, but I feel warmer and more secure when I'm with you. At the end of the day, you're the one whose picture's in my mind when I fall asleep, and you're the one I most like to confide in.

You've offered me your friendship and comfort more than once and I don't really know if I've ever properly thanked you or shown you how much every little gesture of yours is appreciated and cherished.

But then, I have to admit that I know you pretty well. Not your heart, but your ways. You can't fool me. I can feel your fear, see that pain in your eyes and read almost every expression on your face. It comes with time, I suppose, yet Fergus wouldn't notice you're weak or hurting if you didn't mention it.

Molly would, that's true, probably because she's intuitive and picks up on people's moods easily. But I pride myself on being able to interpret your voice better than anyone else. I ache when you do, I grieve with you after a battle. I know how hard it was for you - you might not have told me directly…

But I see how your eyes change to a darker hue of blue when there's talk about slavery or abuse of any kind. You relive a part of your life then, only moments, yet I know that you don't listen for a couple of seconds then, that you're far away and that the sparkle in your eyes is of a wound that hasn't yet healed and probably never will.

I wish there was something I could do to get these Roman dogs for what they've done to you. Even if there's no way I can take the pain away, or the memories. I want to try at least. You still have nightmares. I hear your gasps and murmured 'no' at times, standing in the shadows, wanting nothing more than to wake you and keep you safe, hold you tight till your trembling subsides.

You never wake - you go through these horrible visions, brave as you go through every toil in the daytime, fierce as in battle and you never show a sign of weakness or suffering in the morning. You seem so perfectly at ease, so happy always…and I know it's just a mask to protect your friends from seeing how close the terrible past still is to you.

~*~

Here I stand, again, gazing at your face in the pale shadows. You smile. This time your dream must be a good one. I can't help grinning. Seeing you laugh… your eyes sparkle, they are as clear as the spring sky above the rolling green of the hills - it's like a whole new world that you can open up in your happiness.

Always at my side - I can rely on you in every little thing. You are true and capable of more than just keeping the peace and negotiating…so much more. We often lose the fight, yet it never feels quite as bad when you put your hand on my arm. A tiny gesture, wordless and plain, but to me it shines brighter than the sun, and warms me far more than any fire ever could.

I know what I must do - tomorrow I will tell you what I long should have said.

~*~

"Catlin?"

"Yes?"

You smile at me and my heart's lighter all at once.

"I just wanted…if there's anything you want to talk about…anything…you know you can come to me…"

Your smile is brilliant now, you radiate happiness, if ever I imagined what a goddess would look like - it would be you…

"Thank you, Conor."

How much emotion can be put into three little words? You've laden every one with warmth that washes over me…my name sounds different when you say it, as if your tone were softer than that of all others.

You step towards me, put your hand on my shoulder and brush a kiss on my cheek before you join Fergus. It's your turn to go hunting today.

Do you know how content I am, how I'm basking in the wake of your voice, your expression? Probably not - if you did, you'd know how much I love you…and this is still something I've left unsaid. I dare not voice it, for fear you'll shy away, that I will lose all I have in you now.

And yet, at times I fancy myself to be more than just a friend to you…

~*~

You came back wounded from hunting today. Oh, you made light of it, calling it a scratch, but I knew you were lying, I saw the pain in your eyes and the frown on Molly's face as she examined the wound was enough to convince me.

"I'm alright, Conor, really! Stop fussing about me…"

You smile as you say it, your voice gentle and chiding while you let me wrap you tightly in far too many blankets. You protested all the time I held your hand while Molly cleaned the wound. You flinched in pain, but you played it all down. Too strong for your own good…

Now we are alone and I'm loath to leave you. You need sleep, rest, and I can't bear to go and give you privacy. So I sit beside you, telling you stories of the day at camp, some gossip, all little trivialities, and you smile.

I sit at your bedside, holding your hand and hear myself talk, even though I soon lose track of what I'm saying. I'm mesmerized by your eyes. A blue that the sky holds on some of the brightest days in spring…

"Conor?"
br I need a moment to hear you, to acknowledge you have said something, your voice is so quiet. Will you tell me to leave, as you should?

"I'm cold."

I jump up at once, looking around me for more blankets, but your hand in mine pulls me towards you as you shake your head.

"Not like this…"

It's the closest you have ever come to confess you're lonely and frightened in the past years. I'm unsure what you want of me, so I sit down again, letting go of your hand and opening my arms.

I'm honestly surprised when you lean against me, your arms around me waist, burying your head at my shoulder. But nothing could have ever prepared me for your quiet sobs… I'm not very good at soothing you, I've never had much practice, all I can offer is my arms, unintelligible words whispered against your hair.

It seems enough for the time being, for after a while that seems like a life-time to me, you fall asleep. I feel the warmth of your body against mine…I don't want to let go, but I know you'd be uncomfortable like this all night (so would I be, not that I would care as long as you're with me…)

So I settle on your bed, my back against the wall, pulling you in my lap, tugging at the blankets, wrapping you in and you mumble softly as you settle down against my body again. We've lain like this once before, when your sister's spirit had relinquished possession of you. I was so afraid of losing you, I would have done anything…

Do you remember that I said I loved you? We didn't speak about it again. But I've been thinking about it more often lately. Maybe I could tell you again? And you would either leave it be or…I'm dreaming, lost in a blissful hope.

You stir and I pull you closer instinctively, wanting to protect you for as long as you let me. As I tug at the blankets yet again I hear your whisper, feel your breath against my skin and I shudder.

"You don't have to do this, Conor."

I can't help smiling when I look down at your sleepy face, your eyes unveiled and open to me…

"I like doing it," and, against my better judgement I add, "and I'd do it more often if you let me."

"Why?"

It's a question I haven't been prepared for, nor could I have foreseen the look in your eyes, the sudden wakefulness in them – you know very well that I can't lie to you, and you're not going to let me out of this, unless I tell you the truth.

"I love you."

Though I might wish it unsaid again, I'm happy in a way. No more hiding. It doesn't matter now – if I lose you I will have to be content with my memories.

But you look somehow confused, and your next question leaves me totally breathless.

"Like a sister?"

So that is why you never talked about the last time I told you – you thought I loved you as family, not…I shake my head and you…you smile.

I've never seen that expression on your face and I can't understand why you should chuckle while you disentangle from my arms. You wouldn't laugh at my feelings, and you don't seem to be angry yet I most certainly can't interpret your reaction.

"Aye, there's indeed a mystery in your heart," you whisper as you lean towards me, your hand on my cheek and…kiss me.

I'm beyond comprehension, but I swear I won't let this moment pass, so I wrap my arms around you and hold you, tightly. This time I'd be damned if I let you go…


The End.


Inspired by this perfect love song ;D:

If That's What It Takes (Céline Dion)

You're the bravest of hearts, you're the strongest of souls
You're my light in the dark, you're the place I call home
You can say it's alright, but I know that you're breaking up inside
I see it in your eyes
Even you face the night afraid and alone
That's why I'll be there

When the storm rises up, when the shadows descend
Every beat of my heart, every day without end
Every second I live, that's the promise I make
Baby, that's what I'll give, if that's what it takes
If that's what it takes

You can sleep in my arms, you don't have to explain
When your heart's crying out, baby, whisper my name
'Cause I've reached out for you when the thunder is crashing up above
You've given me your love
When you smile like the sun that shines through the pain
That's why I'll be there

When the storm rises up, when the shadows descend
Every beat of my heart, every day without end
I will stand like a rock, I will bend till I break
Till there's no more to give, if that's what it takes

I will risk everything, I will fight, I will bleed
I will lay down my life, it that's what you need
Every second I live, that's the promise I make
Baby that's what I'll give, if that's what it takes

Through the wind and the rain, through the smoke and the fire
When the fear rises up, when the wave's ever higher
I will lay down my heart, my body, my soul
I will hold on all night and never let go
Every second I live, that's the promise I make
Baby that's what I'll give, if that's what it takes
If that's what it takes, every day…

From Céline Dion's album, "Falling Into You", Sony Music Entertainment Canada, 1996, written by Jean-Jacques Goldman and Phil Galdston. No copyright infringement is intended.