Summary: Cassandra has a problem; a serious, serious problem… Who can save her now? (Cassandra x Jimena)
Disclaimer: I don't own Daughters of the Moon or 'Dante's Prayer', by Loreena Mckennitt.
AN: Omigod, I realize how strange this is! Truly, I do! However, you'll understand if you read – for some odd, unusual (My favorite word) reason, I think Jimena would be the only one to understand Cassandra… Weird – the setting is like my Serena x Cassandra fic, but altered slightly, and longer… and it's a songfic! This takes place after book eleven, and before book twelve – when Jimena is in her 'mentor stage'.
Purifying The Wine
When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone
Cassandra sat on the park bench, a deathly cold chilling her translucent skin. Strands of maroon hair bellowed around her face as she stared at the lines, her face ghostly and a haunted look lurking deep within her azure eyes. This was purely a distraction, she thought; nothing more… Still, a whispery sigh breathed through her gashed lips. They were bloody due to the unhealthy, insecure habit she had obtained – biting her bruised and battered lips.
Once inch long nails are now stubby and broken – she bites them continuously, not fully understanding why she can't stop. It's as if she grows nervous, and as it increases daily, she is forced to resort to chewing on her tongue and lower lip, and biting the tips of her fingernails.
"Just stop," she commanded to herself, but her teeth moved over her lower lip, and bit down, tearing fragile flesh. A droplet of crimson blood bubbled up and lingered there, until Cassandra finally decided to lick it – it tasted like rust and rotten meat.
For a disturbing second, the sense of someone's eyes on her cause Cassandra to snap her head in the direction of the person; she is weary, shamed, furious, and utterly cold – no one dare interrupt her moment of pure silence in the freezing night and moist park. No one, except…
I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars
"What do you want?" Cassandra snarled, undeniable iriatation ripping through her hoarse voice. Jimena, her raven black hair tied into a high pony tail, simply stood there, eyeing the lines that were carved into Cassandra's bare arm. Automatically, she covered them up; pulling her sleeve down. Jimena shook her head, as if the site of it were old and tiring.
"Are you just going stand there?" Cassandra tried again, growling.
Jimena pressed her lips into a tight line, and Cassandra could see the anger flushing across her face. But, much to Cassandra's disdain and shock, she smiled and strolled confidently over to Cassandra.
"No," she replied in her thick voice, and sat down next to Cassandra, smirking. "I'm sitting…"
Instantly, Cassandra stood, ready to leave – this was not happening; no way… However, Jimena immediately clamped her hand on Cassandra's arm. Cassandra hissed in pain, a piercing feeling shooting up her arm.
"Sorry…," Jimena murmured, unlatching her arm. Cassandra, withering in pain, slumped back down, the pain paralyzing her body. "I didn't mean to do that," Jimena continued, her voice taking on a frantic edge.
Cassandra glared at her own lap. "I know…"
Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
"Why do you do… that… to yourself?" Jimena asked, her voice surprisingly angry. Why is she mad, Cassandra asked herself. Instead of responding, she shrugged and leaned against the oak bench, a transparent mist tangling with her every exhale. It's so cold, Cassandra thought.
"You don't know why?" Jimena snorted, harsh. "You don't know why you… mutilate yourself, huh?"
"And why do you care?" Cassandra snapped, turning her head to glare at Jimena with annoyed eyes. "Is this a game to you, Ji-me-na?" She said her name slowly, as if trying to pronounce it correctly – she was bitter right now, both girls knew it.
Jimena simply sighed, exasperated. "Cassandra," she began in a stern voice, "You don't have to do this… I've known girls who did it, and just like now, I still don't understand why anyone would do that to themselves… Does it cause so much physical pain that it makes you forget about your… depression? Honestly, there are better ways to end 'emotional pains'… Not everyone has abandoned you…
"And I certainly don't know what pain you're going through," she added, "But I do know what pain is… pain like what you're feeling…"
Cassandra stared at her, mouth hanging open. Never –never… has anyone ever spoken directly to her about such things. Actually, it was once, and it was her mother, who was bright and bubbly, so that didn't help much…
But Jimena isn't like that, Cassandra thought.
Jimena is… tormented – on the inside.
"Are you okay?" Jimena interrupted her thoughts, true concern flooding in her eyes. It made Cassandra's skin crawl; more than it already was, that is… With Cassandra's prolonged silence, Jimena placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. Cassandra was frozen.
Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and the fire
Jimena grimaced now, making Cassandra back away slightly.
"You don't need to be alone, anymore," she whispered, eyeing Cassandra. "I'm not a scary monster who is going to betray you in the end… Not everyone is a monster… You have to understand that…"
Cassandra's lower lip quivered.
"I know that," she protested in a low voice. But the logic was beginning to work on her, and she could feel something inside her stir… Maybe there was hope after all? Cassandra's eyes lowered, and she shook her head at the thought.
There can be no hope for someone… like her – Cassandra.
Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars
"There is hope," Jimena reassured, as if reading her thoughts, and for some reason, she clasped a hand around a strange amulet that hung around her neck; it was a stone with snakes coiled around it. Oddly, it seemed to sooth Cassandra, also.
Jimena, seeing her eyeing it, tilted her head. "It's my Medusa stone… It gives me hope, energy," she explained, and her eyes suddenly danced with delight as she returned her gaze to Cassandra. "You must have something that gives you hope? Some necklace, or watch, or something that has memories or anything else at all that gives you hope?"
Cassandra rested her head on her palm, thoughtful. When nothing came to her, she shook her head at Jimena, who groaned in frustration and began searching her jean pockets and jacket pockets. Cassandra watched on, curious.
A few minutes later, Jimena had ceased searching, and her eyes found a ring on her finger. She seemed to be debating something in her head, but when she glanced at Cassandra –lifeless eyes, ivory skin, shivering form- she made a decision, and carefully pulled it off.
"Here…" She handed the ring to Cassandra. Like a sloth, Cassandra tediously grasped the ring, holding it between her index finger and thumb. Dumbfounded, she gazed at Jimena.
Jimena laughed half-heartily. "It's my promise ring from Collin," she started, "But I'm giving it to you as a memory of me… Because it seems I've been the only one so far to 'understand' you, Cassandra… And I guess – well I guess that can give you hope…"
Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares
Cassandra was speechless.
Jimena, the girl she nearly destroyed… gave her a ring so that she could "remember her"? She was acting as if everything Cassandra had done was in the past and never coming back… Well, I guess it isn't, Cassandra thought.
"Well…?" Jimena pressed, her eyebrows raised high.
Cassandra cleared her throat. "Well… I'm… surprised," she admitted. "Why would you give this to me? Why would you even comfort me? Wouldn't you, like, want revenge or something…?"
Jimena laughed again, amused by her questions.
"No, I don't want 'revenge'" She shook her head. "I'm doing what I was destined to do… give hope to those who have lost it…"
"… That's nice…"
Those two words were the only thing that Cassandra could muster. What am I supposed to say, Cassandra wondered, frustrated with herself. Jimena grinned, something Cassandra had never thought she was capable of.
"Oh, and here," Jimena added. She pulled out a piece of cloth, lifted Cassandra's sleeve, and tied it gingerly around her bloodied arm. Brown-red blood seeped over the cloth, staining it. Cassandra stared wide-eyed at Jimena.
"What?" she asked innocently.
Cassandra blinked several times and shook her head.
"This has got to be a dream," Cassandra muttered, incredulous.
Jimena's smug smile contradicted her. "You're not dreaming," Jimena assured, black tresses falling over her black eyes. "If you were, it'd be Stanton who was reassuring you, not me…"
To Cassandra's surprise, she laughed along with Jimena, instead of shriveling up at that name.
"That wasn't nice," Cassandra scolded, although smiling.
"Neither were you when you tried to kill me," Jimena retorted playfully.
After several more seconds of laughing, they ceased, and an awkward, yet calm silence formed between the two girls – until Jimena glanced at her again, her eyes hard as stone.
"You won't hurt yourself anymore, right? As a distraction?" Jimena stared at her, waiting.
"… No… I won't." She glanced sideways at Jimena. "I think you've distracted me enough…"
Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
Please remember me
Please remember me, ...