Title: Forgive Me
Fandom: Kathy Tyers - Firebird Trilogy
Summary: "Everything she'd let her world revolve around crumbled like a castle in the sand. Down went her pride, washed into the ocean. Down went her selfish intentions, dissolved in the waters. Down went her sins, washed clean in the Speaker's forgiveness." The Dabarrahs help Ellet to see what she's been doing wrong. Missing scene from Fusion Fire.
Rating: G
Pairings/Characters: Ellet Kinsman/Damalcon Dardy, Master Jenner Dabarrah, Mistress Anna Dabarrah
Length: 1,600 words
Genres: um... angst, romance
A/N:Well, I just re-read Fusion Fire for about the 4th time, and I noticed that there was a scene just begging to be written... So I wrote it. Hopefully, it will redeem me from my rather poor introduction into the Firebird fandom (Word to Come: Divine Appointment). Read and enjoy.

Forgive Me

When Mistress Anna had summoned Ellet and Dardy to Master Dabarrah's office, Ellet had thought it had something to do with the RIA ship that they had brought with them—the one Firebird had recently taken away to Three Zed. After all, the two Sentinels had never really gotten a chance to give the sanctuary master the full report on the project.

She should've listened to the feeling she got stepping into that office. She should've obeyed that sudden urge to run. Instead, she ignored that sense and walked right into the Master Sentinel's trap.

He sat behind his desk, fingers steepled and eyebrows raised. "Ellet, you are being unreasonable," he said.

She consciously thickened her epsilon static shields and hid every bit of her thoughts behind them. "Why?" she asked, raising an eyebrow of her own. "Why am I being unreasonable?"

"You're clinging to pride and selfish desires," Dabarrah replied, the slight narrowing of his eyes letting Ellet know he'd noticed her thickened shields. "To the point that you are ignoring absolutely all reason." He paused and added, "To the point that you're neglecting your honor and duties as a Sentinel."

That was a low blow that set Ellet back. Master Dabarrah had insulted one of the very core points of Ellet's being. She took great pride in being starbred and in being a Sentinel, and therefore honored among people. Master Dabarrah implied she had forgotten that.

After that, it took her a long moment to get her emotions back in check.

"I have neglected nothing," she said firmly. And she believed it.

Dardy looked over at her, hurt evident in his eyes. Maybe there is someone I've mistreated… slightly, she amended mentally. She felt an echo of his hurt in her mind, despite her thick shielding. She decided to ignore it.

"Ellet, you need to evaluate your priorities," Dabarrah said, dropping his steepled fingers to clasp his hands together, then dropping them to his desktop. "Beginning with your intentions for Brennen Caldwell."

She understood he wanted to her to drop her shields and show him. She resolved quickly that she would not let him see everything. Only what she must allow him to see.

"And remember, the Speaker sees your heart," he said as though he knew the thoughts she hid behind her shields.

Quickly, she sorted things out in her mind—what she would let Master Dabarrah see, and what she would not—and "arranged" them behind their appropriate amounts of shielding. Then, buried with her deeper thoughts beneath her inner shields, she dropped her outer ones.

She felt Master Dabarrah brush over those feelings, taking them all in. And along with him came Dardy, whose sense smelt faintly of pain, and then of jealousy when he read some of her thoughts towards Brennen.

But his touch was so soft and caressing that Ellet's control momentarily slipped.

A few things floated out from beneath her deeper shields before she had the chance to regain control.

Master Dabarrah quickly read over those thoughts as well, then withdrew, sighing deeply and re-steepling his fingers. Dardy remained close a little longer, but gradually he too withdrew. Ellet re-raised her shields, still keeping them unnaturally thick.

"Sentinel Kinsman," Dabarrah said, switching into a more commanding, formal mode simply by using her title instead of her given name, "do you realize the depths to which your selfish desire has gone?"

Ellet offered no response.

"You've planned and schemed to take Sentinel Caldwell away from his wife and bond-mate," the sanctuary master said, eyes clouding with distinct disapproval. "To break a bond that the Speaker Himself formed and consecrated."

Wondering how the master had managed to read that, supposedly buried beneath her inner shields, Ellet's jaw tightened. Still, she offered no response. She couldn't feasibly deny what Master Dabarrah had said.

So he went on. "You have essentially plotted to kill Mistress Caldwell—Firebird Mari, who you claim to be a friend—to intentionally send her husband into bereavement shock," he said, the shadowy cloud of displeasure darkening. "So that you might be there to comfort him yourself. This is a sin, Ellet. You are both coveting and murdering."

"I haven't murdered Lady Firebird," Ellet said coolly. The other charges weren't as easy to deny.

"You've sent her on a mission she will doubtfully return from. One that you expect her to fail on. You've intentioned for her to die, which is crime enough—but if she does, then you will have murdered her, Sentinel Kinsman."

Dardy glanced over at her sympathetically.

Ellet remained steely and silent. That charge she wasn't going to admit to yet. Even if she could clearly see the validity in the master's reasoning.

Dabarrah sighed. "Your selfishness has effectively blinded you, Ellet. You've been needlessly chasing after Brennen Caldwell and the right to be part of the Carabohd family when true connaturality—in your bond-mate to-be—has been right in front of you for some time."

Again, Dardy looked over at her, radiating hurt.

This time, it was much harder to ignore him. His hurt seemed to be manifesting deeper and deeper in him each time the master touched on the subject—and it seemed to be driving deeper and deeper in Ellet's own thoughts and feelings. Becoming harder and harder for her to disregard.

But she did. "Damalcon will not be my bond-mate," she argued sharply.

She was willing to bond to no man but Brennen Caldwell.

"Ellet." Dardy, who had remained physically silent the entire time thus far, startled her when he spoke. "We're connatural." His tone was unbelievably soft, yet convicted. "Deeply. If you'd just let me—"

"No," Ellet argued vehemently.

She felt rather than heard Mistress Anna lingering on the outside of the office door. Ellet knew the sanctuary mistress was listening intently and forming a plan, but she didn't rightly care. Dardy and Master Dabarrah had done nothing to change her mind. The mistress wasn't going to either.

"Elle," Dardy said, surprising her slightly by using the nickname he'd taken to occasionally calling her. "Please. I love—"

Again, she sharply cut him off. "No. Damalcon, I don't love you."

Behind Ellet, the office door opened to admit Mistress Anna, then closed again. She wasted no time in joining in the argument. "Ellet, you're being unfair," she said even though Ellet didn't turn to face her. "You're being unfair to yourself, to Damalcon, to Firebird." She paused, then added, "And you're being unfair to Brennen."

That stung Ellet like a slap to the face. She just sat there, blinking dumbly.

The mistress continued anyway, coming around to stand in front of Ellet and laying a hand on her shoulder. "Brennen has made his choice, Ellet," she said softly. "He's chosen Firebird as his bond-mate, and the Speaker has made it so. 'What He has joined together, let no man separate,'" she quoted. "You've been trying to violate the Speaker's will, Ellet. But you've never been able to overcome it. He's stopped every plan you've put in motion."

It was true, Ellet mused. So far, every attempt she'd made to come between Firebird and Brennan had turned out fruitless. She'd thought it was because she hadn't been determined enough. Now she saw a different, more sensible reasoning.

"With good reason," Mistress Anna continued. Taking her hand from Ellet's shoulder, she gestured to Dardy. "He has a different destiny for you, Ellet. You've been trying too long to walk a path he's set for someone else."

Everything fell on her then like a shockwave.

Brennan had openly chosen Firebird over her. He'd courted Firebird, followed her, sacrificed much of his career for her, married her, bonded to her, given her the sacred name and lineage, made her the mother of heirs to the ancient prophecy… And if Ellet didn't honor those choices, all Brennan's own to make, what kind of friend was she to him?

The Eternal Speaker too had put Firebird into those roles. Everything that happened was part of the Speaker's plan. But Ellet had foolishly tried to fly against that plan, to insert herself into Firebird's role and onto Firebird's path. And yet it had gotten her nowhere. She had time and again disobeyed the Speaker's call, all in the name of her own selfish pride. What kind of follower was she being to him?

Oh, forgive me! she silently prayed.

And she glanced sideways at Dardy. He'd been there at her side, patiently waiting for some time. He'd been waiting for her to come around, to see reason, to see the Speaker's path, and instead of doing so, all Ellet had done was used Dardy to get herself closer to Brennen. She really had neglected a good man that the Speaker had intentionally put in her pathway to help save her from her selfishness.

Ellet buried her face in her hands.

Everything she'd let her world revolve around crumbled like a castle in the sand. Down went her pride, washed into the ocean. Down went her selfish intentions, dissolved in the waters. Down went her sins, washed clean in the Speaker's forgiveness.

She looked up at Dardy, tears beginning to well up in her eyes. "Forgive me?" she asked softly.

His eyes said he'd already done so, but he nodded anyway. An accompanying soothing touch passed through her mind, so soft and caressing Ellet wondered how she'd never seen it before. Damalcon Dardy balanced her completely, all her highs and her lows. He saw it all, and accepted her for who she was. He loved her for it.

Behind the desk, Master Dabarrah cleared his throat, shaking Ellet from her thoughts. "Now, about Damalcon's proposal to you, Ellet…" he said.


Please review. I need to know I didn't screw up this on this one too.