Confrontations of the Worst Kind

Chapter 5

Last revised: 4/28/07

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Power Ranger characters. Once again, the only character that I do own is Tristan Dulhaine. I also own the quote that is below.

This chapter is very much devoted to Pink-Green-White-4ever and Enigmaforum. Both of you are awesome, and thanks for sticking it out with me! Love you both! –hugs-

To all of those reviewers who wanted an update, here it is!

D.J. Scales- No, he isn't the son of Octomus. Again, this story has absolutely nothing to do with OO.

Enigmaforum-Told you before chica, no throttling Tristan, and no, he isn't going to get fed to Fireheart anytime soon. Sorry!

"I fall asleep every night, and I dream about many things and of many people, but the one person that is always at the forefront of my mind is you. Being with you, holding you, kissing you. You are the other half of me, and you know me better than I do. If we are meant to be, we will be. I know deep down that one day, we'll overcome the trials that fate has laid before us, and we will be together again."


Madison's body decided to wake her up at a rather early hour the next morning. She looked at her alarm clock and saw that she still had over an hour and a half before she even had to get up and get ready to go class and then to work at the record shop. She sighed to nobody in particular when her gaze fell upon the red blanket that Nick had trusted her with. She felt as though she was betraying him somehow. She knew that he had left it with her as a promise, and although they weren't anything more than just friends, she still felt like she was betraying him by going out with Tristan. "Stop it, Madison. You're not betraying Nick at all. 'But you're not waiting for him like you silently promised by taking the blanket either,' her conscience decided to tell her. She groaned aloud. Life was something that was seriously screwed up.

Several hours later, a half tired Madison walked through the door to the Rock Porium. The only thing that she wanted to do was to curl up in bed with Nick's blanket covering her and remember all the good times that they had shared. She walked to Toby's office to clock in and was surprised to see Tristan perusing the CD shelves nonchalantly, as though he were waiting for someone.

"Tristan? What are you doing here?" asked Madison surprisedly.

Tristan had been turned around when she walked up and spun around to see her. "Hey, Maddy! I just thought that I'd come by, say hi, pick up a CD or two," he replied as he continued to browse.

Madison nodded her head, seemingly accepting his explanation. "I'm gonna leave you to it then. Let me know if you need any help?"

He nodded as she walked away. 'There is something that you can help me with, but not at the current moment,' he thought, as his lips curled into a wicked grin. He surveyed the shop. The Pink Ranger was at the back of the store, playing music, the Green Ranger was sitting in a chair, "supervising" as was usual, and the Yellow Ranger was stocking shelves. This was almost too easy. Madison would be his before any of them knew it and he would have what he wanted. He positioned himself so he was facing the cash register and continued to peruse the shelves. A moment later, he heard Madison come out of the office and overheard bits of her conversation to her sister: "Has he called or anything?" asked Vida.

"No, that's what has me worried. I just hope he's all right," Madison replied with hope in her voice.

Tristan chuckled quietly to himself. 'Nick is very far from all right, dear Madison. But don't worry; if everything works out according to plan, you won't have to worry about him ever again,' Tristan thought with a smug grin.

Before he knew it, Vida hopped off of the stage and walked over to him. He quickly pretended to be perusing the selections when she tapped him on the shoulder.

"Hey, you're Tristan right?" Vida asked.

"Yes, and who might you be, miss?" he replied politely.

"My name's Vida, I'm Maddy's sister. So you're the guy that she went out with last night right?"

"Yes, why? Is everything all right?" he asked with concern laced in his voice.

"Oh, everything's fine. I actually wanted to thank you for taking her out last night. She had a good time, and it's all thanks to you."

"We only went out as friends, Vida, nothing else," he explained. He turned around with his CD's and headed to the register. Vida moved to stand beside him and nudged him.

"Here's your chance if you want to ask her out again," she murmured. She scampered off to her DJ tables, hoping that her sister would accept if asked out again.

Tristan walked nervously up to the register. He had wanted to ask Madison to go out with him again since the night before, but he hadn't figured out a way to do it yet. Now that he was here where she worked, he had no excuse to not ask her and take his plans even further. He placed his purchases on the counter and watched as Madison turned around, a smile lighting her face when she saw him.

"So did you find everything okay?" Madison asked as she rang up his items.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I wouldn't have come up here to see your beautiful face if I hadn't," he flirted.

Madison's face flushed a deep red as she tried to ignore his blatant flirting with her and continued working. Tristan was a very attractive guy, and he was here, right in front of her. It was very obvious that he wanted to date her, but he hadn't said anything about going out on a date as more than just friends because she had asked him not to. Her thoughts floated to Nick. He wasn't back yet, and even though she wasn't sure if that letter had truly come from him, she knew that he would have wanted her to be happy.

"So…, I was wondering if you would want to go out again, maybe tonight? Just as friends though," Tristan asked.

Madison's smile faltered for a second as she weighed out her options. She could either stay at home, watch sad movies while eating a pint of ice cream, mope and curl up on her bed, or she could go out with Tristan and have a good time. While the first option sounded great, she knew that Vida would kick her butt if she found out that Madison had stayed home and passed up an opportunity to go out with Tristan. She bit her lip as she tried to make up her mind, finally coming to a decision after what seemed like eons to Tristan.

"Sure, but just as friends?"

Tristan grinned triumphantly. This was going to be easier than he had thought. "Just as friends. I'll pick you up out front at around seven, okay?" He took his purchases from her hands and turned to walk out the door. Madison looked at her watch and calculated if she would have enough time to get ready and meet him.

"All right, I'll see you at seven then?" he repeated, facing her.

She nodded her head. Tristan leaned over the counter and placed a kiss on her cheek. "Until tonight then, Madison." He turned around and walked out the door, leaving a shocked Madison in his wake.

Madison watched him leave, shocked at his actions. He had just kissed her on the cheek again, only it was in a public place this time! She stood behind the counter in a daze, not seeing Vida come running up to her.

Vida had seen the whole thing and was shocked to see that Tristan had kissed Madison. She overheard their entire conversation, so it surprised her to see the young man kissing her sister's cheek. She shook Madison a little, jogging her from her thoughts.

"Sis? You in there?" Vida asked.

"Yeah, I'm here. I'm fine," Madison replied.

"What was that all about? I thought that you two were only going to be going out as friends," Vida pointed out.

"I know, I know. Vida, I have no idea what to do. I mean, I want to wait for Nick, but he supposedly sent me that letter. Then there's Tristan. He's a really sweet guy, and I have no idea what to do. I want to go out with him, but I want to wait," Madison explained as she poured her heart out to Vida.

Vida gave Madison a comforting, supportive hug. "Look, here's my advice. Go out with Tristan and have a good time. You and Nick aren't technically together, so don't worry about it, okay? When and if Nick does come back, and if you and Tristan aren't dating then, just go out with Nick. How's that?"

Madison nodded her head, silently telling her sister thank you. She continued working, waiting till she could get off of work and meet Tristan.

Over the next two weeks, Madison went out with Tristan as many times as she could, whether it was for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If they weren't able to go out, Tristan would usually bring her food that he had cooked. Madison had come to trust him more and more, opening up to him and being wholeheartedly honest. Madison decided to finally tell him that she wanted them to be a serious couple the third night that they went out. On the eve of their two week anniversary, Madison decided to tell Tristan about Nick.

"Hey, Tristan?" Madison said as she laid on his chest. Tonight they had decided to have picnic on the beach and look at the stars.

"Yes, Maddy?"

"I need to tell you something and be completely honest with you," she explained as she sat up.

He looked at her with confusion in his eyes as he joined her. "All right, I'm listening."

Madison took a deep breath and told him about everything that had happened with Nick. She explained that they had worked together, although she didn't go into full detail, and that over time, she had fallen in love with him. She explained how he had left with his parents and had given her his blanket to hold onto as a promise that she would wait for him. "That's why I was upset the day we met; I had just gotten a letter from him that was basically telling me to move on," she told him tearfully.

Tristan wiped the tears away that were falling. "Hey, it's not worth it, okay? Let's just go back to having a great time, hmm?"

She nodded in agreement, joining him on the picnic blanket. That night, he took her home as he always did and walked her to the front door of her apartment that she shared with Vida.

"Hey, I have an idea. Why don't you come over to my house tomorrow night and I'll cook? We can eat in and I've got a lot of movies that we can watch."

Madison mulled it over in her head. She didn't have any plans for the following night with her friends or family, and she got off of work early. "Sure, let's do that. I had a great time tonight, thank you."

"No, thank you. I must be the luckiest man alive to have a girlfriend like you," he told her. He moved in and captured her lips in a soft kiss that spoke of how he felt about her. Before it could escalate, Madison broke the contact for air, but for another reason that she couldn't quite describe.

"See you tomorrow then?" Tristan remarked as he started walking towards "his" motorcycle.

"Yeah, tomorrow. Good night," Madison replied. She entered her apartment and shut the door with a small smile on her face.

Tristan walked back to the motorcycle with a grin on his face. He was so close to his goal now, he could practically feel it. Within a few more weeks, Madison would be his forever. "I think I'll have a visit with that dear 'ex-boyfriend' of yours, Madison," he remarked before getting on the motorcycle and riding towards his house.

Nick woke up in the morning with a groan. That was how he had come to greet every morning. Normally, he loved all parts of the day. The morning was usually when Tristan would come by for a short visit. Every morning, Nick tried to pry for more information about the man's father, but Tristan would never say a word on the topic. When he did come down, it was to bring Nick enough food and water that was to last him the entire day, and it was usually ice cold. Nick had learned one thing though: Tristan could do magic. The second day that Nick was there (or at least he thought it was the second), Tristan had waved his hand at one of the corners of the cell and a toilet, not unlike the kind that could be found in jail cells, appeared before his eyes.

When Nick woke up, he had had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. Tristan came down as he always did, bringing food with him. This time, the food was not freezing, but rather hot and delicious. Tristan set the food down on the hard floor and stepped back, standing in relaxed pose as though this was something that he did all the time, which he technically did.

"What's going on? For days now, you've been bringing me cold food and now it's hot? What's the deal?" Nick asked suspiciously.

Tristan frowned as he glared at Nick. He obviously had no clue of what was to happen. "Just eat it. You're going to need your strength."

"Why? What are you planning? What is your deal?" Nick replied, sounding upset and slightly confused.

"Ah, ah, ah. Now, now Nick. Play nicely or you may never get out of here."

"What? What are you talking about? A few days ago, you were all for killing me or for me just rotting in here, and now you're thinking about letting me go?" If Nick was confused before, that was nothing compared to his state of mind now. He thought that he had Tristan figured out, but the guy was harder to figure out than a labyrinth.

"I am talking about…giving you a chance to get yourself out of here. Eat the food, it hasn't been poisoned, and quit asking questions." With that reply, Tristan turned on his heel and slammed the door to Nick's cell shut.

Now that Nick was alone, the silence was deafening. The comforting smells of hot breakfast food wafted to Nick's nose and his stomach rumbled loudly. He snatched up the food and began devouring it as the wheels in his head turned. What on earth did Tristan mean when he said that Nick would get a chance to get out of here? Nick knew that it was futile to hope that Tristan would just set him free, which left Nick wondering how he would be getting out of there. All sorts of questions buzzed around Nick's head like bees. Before long, he was done with the food that he'd been given. Nearly a second later, Tristan was back and snapped his fingers, the door swinging back at his command. He picked up the food containers and turned to walk out. When he reached the door, Tristan faced Nick.

"Get some rest. You have little to no strength right now, and I hate people who are weak." With that comment, he waved his hand and instantaneously, Nick's bed looked much more appealing. The paper thin mattress became thicker, and the pillow was practically calling his name. Tristan left Nick alone once again, but not before locking the door behind him firmly. Nick walked over to the bed and touched it tentatively, thinking it to be a mirage. When he discovered that it was just as real as he was, he sank into its comforting embrace, pulled the thick covers over himself and quickly fell asleep, his thoughts filled with Madison and how he was going to get out of his prison.

Tristan locked the heavy door once again even though it was pointless. He wasn't stupid; he knew that the Phoenix would fall asleep instantly. The bedding that Tristan had supplied him with before was worse than that of normal prison bedding. He wasn't doing any of this out of the kindness of his own heart, though. Tristan had learned to become a meticulous person. His father had taught him that well, over many lessons, as his father had taken to calling them. Tristan needed Nick asleep for a few reasons. The boy looked like the walking dead, and even Tristan wasn't that unfair. Only Tristan knew what was going to happen later, and if it was to be fair, then Nick needed to get some sleep. The second reason that he needed Nick asleep was Tristan needed something from Nick that he knew that he couldn't get willingly, so he would take it while he slept. Although Tristan hoped that he wouldn't have to use what he would later take, he had been taught to have a contingency plan in case the first one didn't work. The last reason that he needed Nick asleep was that Madison was coming to his house tonight. He planned to cook for the two of them, and he wasn't going to take the risk of any interruptions. Tristan grinned to himself. So far, the plan was going just as he wanted, and she would be all his, he was sure of it. He went upstairs to get things ready; Madison would be arriving soon, and he wanted everything to be perfect.


Three hours later, Tristan was dressed in a polo shirt, blue jeans and white Nike tennis shoes while he worked over the hot stove. He was making a meal that was reminiscent of their first date: fettuccine alfredo with shrimp and breadsticks. As he worked, he could hear Madison's car pulling into the driveway. He grabbed a towel from a nearby rack, wiping his hands on it as he walked to the front door. Before Madison could knock, he pulled the door open to see her fist in midair.

"Oh! Hey, I was just getting ready to knock," Madison told him shyly.

"I see that. Do you want to put your hand down and come in, or stand outside all night?" he teased her.

Madison smiled at him as she stepped into the beautiful house. Vaulted ceilings made the front room look even bigger than it was. The walls were painted a pale blue, and the furniture was modestly done, making the house flow together. Before she could compliment Tristan on his house, she found that his lips had settled over her own. She was startled and tensed up at the sudden action, but she quickly found herself relaxing into it. 'I wonder what it would be like to kiss Nick.' Madison shook her head inwardly. They had had their chance, and although Madison wanted to believe that they were meant for each other, they weren't together, and Nick wasn't there. Deciding to stop things before they escalated too much, she broke them apart for air. She and Tristan had only just started doing more than just kisses on the cheek, and she wasn't ready for it to go very far.

"What smells so good?" Madison asked before he could ask her why they had stopped.

"That would be dinner. I just need to finish getting it all together, so just make yourself at home. You can pick out the movie if you want, and the bathroom is down the hall, first door on the right if you need to use it," he listed.

"Thanks, I'll be right back," she told him as she walked away.



"Don't go near the door that is at the very end of the hall, okay? It's really messy in there, and I would hate for you to get hurt somehow," he said sweetly.

Madison nodded her head and continued down the hallway, even though it seemed somewhat strange that he had asked her to stay away from that door specifically. She wasn't the kind of person to nose around in other people's business; that was something that she did on rare occasion. She found the bathroom and before entering it, she looked toward the end of the hallway where there was indeed a large oak door with an old-fashioned handle and lock on it. 'Hmmm, I wonder what it is that's in there that would make Tristan tell me to not go in there.' Deciding that she would investigate later, Madison entered the bathroom.

Tristan finished preparing the food and put it on the table, serving each of them portions. He lit some candles around the dining room, casting an orange glow on the walls. He stood back and looked at his work. A white tablecloth covered the table that had been set for two with fine china. A glass pitcher of water sat in the middle of the table, along with the rest of the food. At the sound of footsteps, he looked up to see Madison coming back from the bathroom. Without saying a word, he moved to her chair and pulled it out for her and moved it back in as she sat down. He moved to his own chair that was by hers and sat down. They ate in silence for a few minutes, the sounds of silverware on plates being the only noises reverberating throughout the large room. Madison broke the silence by commenting on the house, and they continued to eat and talk until they were both full.

"Ohh, I can't even move right now, I'm so full," groaned Madison.

Tristan chuckled with a smile. The food had been delicious, just as he had planned. He stood up from his seat, and began to carefully take the china to the kitchen to clean it. Madison relaxed in her chair for several moments while Tristan went back and forth. The door that he had told her to stay away from had been niggling at her for the entire night. She sat there, thinking about what she would say. She eventually rose up from her chair, knowing that Tristan was busy with the dishes and was confident that she wouldn't be caught.

"I'm gonna go use the bathroom really quick before we start the movie, okay?" Madison told him, fully aware that she had no plans to do such a thing.

Tristan nodded his head vaguely, not paying much attention. 'That's good. He's engrossed in what he's doing, and he'll be too busy to notice where I am.' She walked down the hallway, pausing at the bathroom door. She opened it, flipped the light on, and shut the door without entering it. She continued on toward the end of the hallway. Madison's brow crinkled as she walked closer and closer to the door that she had been told to stay away from. She gulped as she turned around to make sure that Tristan wasn't behind her. She inched closer to the door and reaching out with her left hand, she grasped the knob. Just as she had begun to turn it, she felt a vice grip on her upper arm.

"WHAT do you think you're doing? I told you to stay away from this door!" Tristan yelled at her.

Madison's eyes started to water from the pain, but she was determined not to let them fall. She knew that there would definitely be a bruise on her upper arm by the next morning, if not that night, from the way that he was holding her arm.

"Tristan, please! Let go of me, now!" Madison nearly begged.

Tristan didn't move as he looked between her and the door. Making up his mind, he turned on his foot and thrust Madison into a corner, causing her to hit the floor and curl up. He watched her for a moment before turning back to the door and closing it soundly, locking it with a wave of his hand, not caring if Madison found out what he had just done.

Madison pulled her knees up to her chest and swallowed back the tears as she looked at the bruise that was already forming on her upper arm. She looked at Tristan and watched as he locked the door shut with a wave of his hand. 'I will find out what is behind that door,' Madison vowed silently. She also saw that he had waved his hand and she had heard the door lock up.

Tristan turned around to look at Madison fully. He saw bruises that were quickly appearing on her upper arm where he had grabbed her. He hadn't wanted to do that, but she had been far too close to discovering that he was holding her precious Nick captive. He kneeled down to get close to her, knowing that she wouldn't be happy with him. He cautiously reached a hand out to touch her and wasn't at all surprised when she cringed. He'd been expecting that, but he hadn't anticipated the tongue lashing from her that came next.

"Get away from me! DON'T touch me! I thought I knew you, and it turns out that I don't. Some guy you turned out to be. Do you treat all of your girlfriends like this?" Madison nearly yelled. She was pissed off and hurt. No one had ever handled her like that. 'Nick wouldn't have done that,' she found herself thinking. Once again, she shook her head, trying to clear it of its thoughts. Her mind was constantly comparing Nick to Tristan, and this was no exception.

Tristan blanched. Her words hit him like a slap across the face. His shoulders fell, and he appeared to be upset. "You're right, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that, and I do apologize. I reacted the wrong way, and that wasn't right. Can you forgive me?" he asked her. He knew that she was angry with him right now, and he had to get back in her good graces if he still wanted his plan to work.

Madison looked at him coldly. Anger was radiating off of her in waves, and she needed to think. "I can't talk to you right now, I need to be alone and think." Madison stood up on her own and strode into the living room, snatching up her purse and jacket. She put her jacket on and walked toward the front door, but stopped when Tristan called her voice.

"What, Tristan?" she replied agitatedly.

"I really am sorry, I didn't mean to," he apologized once more.

"If you didn't mean to do it, you wouldn't have done it in the first place," she told him firmly. "I can't be here right now, I'm going home. Don't try to stop me and don't call me."

Tristan nodded, knowing that he would have to work harder to regain her trust. A thought occurred to him. What if she told her friends? They would be infuriated that he would dare to touch her like that, and he surely wouldn't be getting what he wanted then. He thought quickly, trying to come up with something when it came to him.

"Can you please not mention this to everyone else? It was a mistake, something that I won't be doing anytime soon. I just don't want to get them involved," he asked her.

Madison nodded and slipped out the front door, closing it behind her. She ran to her car and got in, tears slipping down her cheeks. She sat in the driver's seat of her car and sobbed, clutching the steering wheel until her knuckles turned stark white. Her arm wasn't hurting nearly that bad now, but the words and actions still hit her with a pounding force. Everything had happened so fast and it had quickly spiraled out of control. 'I wish Nick was here. God, I miss him so much.' When her tears subsided, Madison pulled her keys out of her purse and headed back towards the apartment. She knew that it would be empty tonight, as Vida had a date with Xander. She shook her head. Those two were one of the most unlikely couples that anyone would have thought of, but they were a great couple.

Her mind wandered as her body was on autopilot, getting her safely to the apartment. Madison entered the apartment, and it was empty, just as she had thought. She entered her room and moved to the large, round mirror that rested on her oak dresser. She removed her jacket and looked in the mirror, examining the bruises that now marred her skin. The bruises were now a sickly bluish-purple color, and pain shot through her arm from time to time. Madison closed her eyes and sighed, wanting to just pretend as though it all hadn't happened. She stripped off her clothes and dressed for bed. She lay in bed, wishing that a certain Red ranger was there with her. Her gaze fell on his blanket, which she snatched up immediately, inhaling the scent of it. It still smelled like him, a mixture of leather and cologne, even though she had had it for this long and had held it for so many nights as she slept. Memories washed over her like water, and her eyes drooped shut. That night, she dreamed of herself and Nick, together, like they were supposed to be.

As soon as the front door shut, Tristan sighed out loud to himself. He had just done something that was very stupid by treating Madison the way he had. Trying to regain her trust would take lots of work, and he would have to work quickly. Although he hadn't anticipated this, he did know one thing: 'At least I have tonight to come up with a plan to get her to trust me again.' He quickly finished putting everything from dinner away, wishing that Madison was there with him. They had been dating for two weeks now, and he had fallen for her completely. He wanted her not only because of the prophecy, but because he was in love with her. He went to his room upstairs and quickly got ready for bed. Less than five minutes later, he was staring at the ceiling, wishing that she was there with him. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. 'Focus, you idiot! If you want to get her back, you're going to have to come up with something, and fast.' Tristan lay in bed for the next forty-five minutes, attempting to come up with something, but his thoughts always went back to her. He eventually fell asleep, with thoughts of her flooding his mind.

The next morning, Tristan awoke in a sour mood, having remembered the events of the previous night. Madison had come close to finding Nick hidden below his house, and he had acted foolishly, resulting in Madison leaving his house and not accepting his apology. Add in the fact that he hadn't slept at all because he'd dreamt about Madison all night, and Tristan was one guy who'd woken up on the wrong side of the bed. He still hadn't figured out a way to get Madison to trust him, and that made him extremely frustrated, and with no one to take his frustrations out on. Unless… He had told Nick that he would have a chance to get himself free, and Tristan would have to come through on his word if that happened, and he could not let Nick win. Smirking to no one but himself, he got out of bed and was dressed in record time. He went downstairs, prepared some food for his captive, and headed towards where he was holding the Red Ranger. He waved his hand and unlocked the door, yanking it open swiftly. He descended the stone stairs, not surprised to see that Nick was as per usual awake.

"You're awake; I take it then that you had a good sleep last night?" Tristan remarked casually as he unlocked the cell and entered it. He closed the door behind himself and after he relocked it, he placed the food on the floor in between himself and Nick. He leaned against the door and met Nick's gaze.

"You know, I still haven't poisoned your food. If I were going to kill you, I'd do it some other way," Tristan told him dryly.

"Well, that makes me feel so much better," Nick replied as he took the food and began to eat it, hoping to soothe his growling stomach. At the current moment, Nick wasn't sure of what to think of Tristan. The guy had kidnapped him, imprisoned him, had deprived him of a normal bed and food, and now Tristan was letting him sleep in a comfortable bed and giving him hot meals.

"It should, you know. I'm going through far too much trouble with you, and it's all just to make sure that you stay out of my way."

Nick stopped eating to regard Tristan warily. He didn't trust Tristan at all, and those words didn't make him feel any better about the situation at hand. "You're making sure that I stay out of your way because why? What did I ever do to you?"

"Never you mind that. Eat your food, and then we'll talk about what I told of yesterday when I came to visit you then. Do you remember what I told you?" Tristan asked.

Nick picked up his fork and began eating the eggs that were on the plate before him. He remembered what Tristan had said; how could he forget? Tristan had said something about giving him a chance to get himself out of the prison that he was in. But how? Nick knew that no matter what it was that his captor had up his sleeves that it would not be easy. Knowing that Tristan was expecting an answer, Nick nodded his head slightly as he finished up his breakfast.

Tristan caught the slight nod and smirked. So he did remember. This was going to be fun and very sweet. "All right, then. Follow me if you want to find out how you will get yourself free, and don't even think about trying to run away."

Tristan wasn't stupid. Before he had even let Nick out of his containment, he had placed a spell over the area so Nick wouldn't get far, if for some reason Nick gained the upper hand and managed to knock Tristan out. Tristan walked over to a wooden chest and opened it, his gaze falling upon the swords that were there. He waved his hands at the swords, muttering a spell under his breath. "Pick a sword, it doesn't matter which one you choose. They are all lightweight now." To prove this, Tristan chose a sword for himself that looked as though it weighed about ten pounds and he easily swung it in an arc.

"What's the point in my choosing a sword? What are we doing with them?" Nick asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.

Tristan rolled his eyes. The boy's blasted curiosity would be the end of him one of these days. Rather than choosing to give him a curt response, Tristan chose to surprise Nick. "You were trained in the art of battle, yes? Sword fighting and hand-to-hand combat?"

"Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?"

"It has everything to do with it. You and are I going to fight. The winner will get whatever he wishes from the loser. Pick a sword and meet me in the circle," Tristan told him roughly as he pointed to the circle that lay not very far away.

As Tristan walked away, Nick turned back toward the chest and examined the swords. All of them looked to be very sturdy, and they were all very lethal. Some had short handles, others had long ones, but all of the swords shone in the light and were very sharp. After several moments of perusing, Nick chose a sword that reminded him of the sword that he had used as a Ranger, only this sword didn't have a curve to it. The sword that Nick chose had a medium-sized handle, with black and red jewels lining the edges of the handle. The blade itself was a good two feet long with a double edge. Pleased with his choice, Nick shut the doors for the chest and walked over to the circle, where Tristan stood waiting very patiently. This alone should have been a sign to Nick that something was wrong; he would later come to recognize that Tristan being calm meant that something bad would indefinitely happen.

When Nick stepped over the line and into the circle, he felt like he had just plunged headfirst into a freezing cold lake. He turned around, expecting to see something behind him, but he was only met with a blank stretch of gray-black wall.

"There's a barrier that's been put on this circle. Neither of us will be allowed to leave until there is a winner or if I say the counterspell to release it. I take it from your look earlier that you did remember what I said to you yesterday?" Tristan asked again.

"What about it? And what are we doing anyway?" Nick queried.

"We're going to have ourselves a sparring match, you against me. You don't have your wand, and I sincerely doubt that you can do wandless magic, I won't be using my magic against you, as it wouldn't be fair. The winner gets whatever he wishes from the loser."

"So this is what you meant? In order for me to get out of here, I have to beat you, and that's it?"

Tristan nodded. "You're a smart one. But should you lose, you will continue to stay here in the cell, and I shall not be healing any injuries that you might….incur. It's your choice, take it or leave it, it makes no difference to me."

Nick stood across from Tristan, thinking about his choices. He had two options. Either he could fight Tristan and possibly get the chance to get out of there, or he could not fight Tristan and be stuck there for the rest of his life. The latter was out of the question. All Nick wanted to do was see Madison again and tell her how much he cared about her.

"All right, we'll fight." Nick knew that if it came down to it that he could do magic without using his wand. Despite the warning that he had received not to, Nick did try to set himself free. After three hours and about four hundred tries, Nick realized that it was futile. Tristan hadn't been lying when he had told him that Nick wouldn't be able to get out.

Nick stuck his hand out. "We'll shake on it; you'll have my word and I'll have yours."

"What, you don't trust me? I'm hurt," Tristan replied in mock pain.

"You expect me to trust you? And this is coming from the guy who kidnapped me. No, thanks. I wouldn't trust you with my life, and if I could be out of here, back home and with the girl that I'm still in love with already, I would be." Nick continued to hold his hand out, waiting for Tristan to shake it in agreement.

"Oh, you mean Madison? It's a shame that you weren't there to comfort her when she received your letter. The poor thing was crying her eyes out and she doesn't even deserve you. Luckily, I was there to comfort her," Tristan taunted.

At one point during Tristan's speech, Nick's hand had dropped to his side, no longer hanging in midair. At the thought of Tristan "comforting" the woman he loved, all rational thought leaped out of Nick's head as he surged forward, his own sword aimed for Tristan's chest.

Tristan saw the anger and fury that was building up inside of Nick, so he was more than ready for the attack. He sidestepped it and brought his own sword up to meet Nick's in a strong hold, using a bit of force to counter the amount that Nick was putting behind his own sword. "Don't worry. I haven't hurt her. Not yet, anyway."

"If you so much as touch her, I swear I will…." Nick was cut off by the abrupt amount of force that Tristan used to push him away.

"You'll what? Let me remind you again that you are stuck here, unless you manage to beat me and I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future. And I don't recall hearing Madison complaining last night when I was kissing her and touching her. She is a very…" Tristan was unable to finish his sentence, as Nick had rushed him and was quickly attacking. The two went back and forth, trading blows and blocking parries. This went on and on for nearly several minutes, until somehow, both had managed to cut the other somewhere on their body. Tristan had managed to cut Nick's chest, and Nick had cut off quite a bit of the skin on Tristan's left forearm. Both of them were bleeding profusely, and yet, neither of them stopped to examine their wounds. Stopping required concentration and examination, and stopping to examine one's wound was as bad as forfeiting.

Nick's arms were killing him, the pain in knots that pressed against the muscles in his body as they screamed in protest. There was no way that he was going to let this thing win. 'I am going to get out of this prison one day and when I do, you had better watch out, Tristan Dulhaine.' Although his body was in excruciating pain, Nick continued to block, dodge, and thrust, using his sword. Both of them obtained even more wounds, but neither one lost anything serious. Neither one gained the upper hand, until Tristan managed to land a kick to Nick's chest, making Nick sprawl out on the floor. He waved a hand in the air, and a deep red shimmered before disappearing.

"You lose, for today anyhow. You lack the ability to hide your emotions in a fight and you let them get the better of you," Tristan panted. Tristan waved his hand once at Nick and began walking towards Nick's cell. Before Nick knew it, he was being dragged across the floor by an invisible hand.

Tristan yanked the sword from Nick's grip before he threw him bodily into the cell, smiling sadistically when he heard the younger boy's groans of pain. "That was definitely interesting. We shall have to try that again sometime." Tristan tossed both of the swords onto the floor, waved his hands, and watched as they flew back into the chest. He walked up the stone stairs, waving his hand to make the door of Nick's cell shut itself.

Nick laid on the floor in pain. He had lost severely, and he wasn't sure that he wanted to do that again anytime soon. That fight told him that although he was a good fighter, he was in bad form. He didn't know how he had done it, but he somehow managed to crawl over to his bed and hoist his own body onto it. Large cuts and bruises adored his body on his chest, his back and his sides. He shifted around painfully, trying to avoid all of the wounds that had been inflicted upon him. When he was as comfortable as one could be with numerous wounds all over their body, he fell into a fitful sleep.

While he slept, he dreamt about many things. He dreamt about his family, his friends, his home, but the one person that was always in his dreams was Madison. Usually it was her telling him that she loved him and missed him, other times he remembered memories of the two of them.

Without any warning at all, Nick found himself lying in a beautiful lush field that was filled with wildflowers and long grass. He turned his head slightly and was shocked to see Madison next to him.

"Where am I? How did I get here?" Nick asked relentlessly.

"You're safe, and here with me. That's all that matters," Madison replied as she began to clean and bandage his wounds. When she got to one that was on his shoulder, he hissed at the burning of peroxide on it. She bent her head to the wound and blew on it, making shivers emanate through his body.

"Is that better?" she asked.

"It's more than better, it's great," he told her. He loved her so badly, and he wanted nothing more than to take her in his arms and kiss her. She kept working on his wounds and when she was finished, she leaned back on her feet.

"All done," she said as she finished. Nick gingerly sat up, the pain shooting through him like a rocket.

"Thanks, I owe you one."

"No, you don't."

The two of them sat there for several moments. The tension was so thick that it could have been cut with a knife. Madison gathered her courage and gently put her arms around him.

"I've missed you so much. I wish you were here with me, instead of wherever you are," she cried. The tears rolled down her cheeks as she didn't bother trying to stop them.

"Hey, don't cry over me, okay? I'm here now, and I'm not gonna leave anytime soon," Nick assured her with a calm voice. He rubbed her back in small circles while whispering soft things in her ear. Although Madison had stopped crying, her body shivered as she pulled back to look at him.

"I have to go now, and I don't really want to."

"Then stay here. Stay with me, where no one can bother us and we can just be together," Nick replied. His forehead leaned against hers as she shook. His lips had a mind of their own as they made their ways towards hers. Identical jolts shot through both of them at the contact of their sealed lips. Nick kissed her sweetly, putting everything into this kiss, and she responded obligingly. She pulled back before the kiss could escalate any further, knowing that she had to leave soon. Madison shook silently from the sobs that threatened to wrack her body. She backed away from him, knowing that if she kept standing so close to him, she would never leave.

"I can't do that, Nick, I'm sorry. I love you so much. I need you to fight for me," Madison told him as she started to cry again.

"What? What do you mean? Maddy, what the hell is going on?"

She swallowed and ran forward. She threw her arms around him and held onto him as if he were her lifeline. "Just fight for me. Fight to come back to me, please. I need you," she cried.

Before Nick could begin to try and calm her down, an invisible force pulled her away from him. She fought as hard as she could against it, and Nick also tried to run after her to pull her back, but it was of no good. It was as though he had somehow become adhered to the place where he was standing. His legs were completely frozen in place and no amount of pulling or tugging would make them budge.

"Maddy, come back! God, I need you!" Nick cried out.

"Just keep fighting for me! I love you..."Her words echoed over and over again, practically carving themselves into his mind. For him to know that there was nothing that he could do to save her made him feel as though he wasn't worthy of being with her, as though he didn't deserve her. A scream from the distance pulled Nick out of his dream induced slumber.

Nick shot up, grimacing in pain. He was sweating all over, and his chest heaved from the nightmare. He looked at his wounds and was surprised to see that they were somewhat healed.

"What the hell? Why am I having these dreams? And why did she leave?" So many questions were zooming around Nick's head that he soon felt dizzy. Before he could lie back down, he collapsed from the mental and physical trials that he had endured, no longer able to stay awake. Little did he know that his torment was far from over; it was only just beginning.

A/N- Whew! This is by far the longest chapter that I have ever written. Sorry that it's taken me so long to update this. Now that the semester is over, I'm going to try to update a lot more often. This chapter is just where it all begins! And yes, I am very aware that many of you want to kill Tristan. I want to kill him too, but I can't, and none of you can either, sorry! Thanks to all those who reviewed last chapter! -smiles-