A/N: Love and madness are irrevocably entwined in Raphael's mind. This is definitely one of my darker pieces—consider yourselves warned.


Her eyes were narrowed against the overpowering midday sun as she moved slowly through the hedgerows, arms laden with trays of verdant seedlings. She made an off-handed remark about the state of the gardens before casting a cheerful smile over her shoulder at the cantankerous groundskeeper. The sunlight caught the shine of her golden-blond hair, illuminated the soft rose blush of her cheeks.

She was truly radiant by daylight, Raphael observed thoughtfully. He rested his lithe form, half-obscured by shadows, against the high-arched windows overlooking the courtyard, eyes never moving from the enchanting young woman roving through the gardens, appearing for all the world some light-born demigoddess. He had often beheld her in the midnight hour, her fair skin luminously pale and hair reflecting starlight, but this…this was different. Perhaps no more or less beautiful than in their stolen moments by moonlight, but, he was forced to admit, different.

Golden warmth by day, silvered frost by night… Some thread of rationality insisted that there was indeed too sharp a contrast, that this creature belonged here in the warm light of day—not held captive by shadows, fair skin ever-pale and cold by moonlight.

She caught his eye from the courtyard below and smiled affectionately, raising one hand in greeting, and all arguments fell upon deaf ears.

She would be happy, Raphael thought insistently. Yes, he would see to it that her every need was fulfilled, her every whim indulged. She would want for nothing, never be forced to submit to the will of foolish peasants who now held her future in their grasp. She still suffered a deep, abiding love for her family—parents who saw her as inferior and wished nothing more than to see her quickly betrothed to some wretched merchant boy, a sister who could never appreciate her ferocity, her strength of soul and will—but soon that too would fade as she found her rightful place here, among the newly-anointed elite, among those who could not help but recognize her inherent worth.

No doubt that there would arise rare occasions in which she would mourn the loss of sunlight, Raphael acknowledged with a slight frown, but he would see her bathed in candlelight, her skin flushed golden even in darkest night. He would hold her by the fireside, watch flames dance through her wine-red eyes as he lowered his mouth to her neck to drink deeply, feel fever rush through her blood as she wrapped herself around him and surrendered, body and soul, to his desires, hers.

And he would love her, love her fully, properly, no longer restricted by madness and stolen hours of darkness. He would wake beside her, see the curve of her pale breast in low light, feel soft skin against his, never fighting the sun as it rose steadily higher into the morning sky. He would take her into his arms, whisper passionate promises into her ear and maneuver skillful hands until she lay quivering, crying out his name desperately, helpless with desire. And later, much later, when they were both sated and content, lying entwined within the rich expanse of his bedchamber, they would watch the moon rise, her head upon his chest, pale-pink lips forming words of love and gratitude.

No man would stand against them, tear them asunder. She would stand beside him, eyes feverish and determined, sword raised to destroy any who defied the new world order against whose advent they were helpless to prevent. She would feel the strength, the power coursing through her veins as she cut down her enemies, took what she desired, what she deserved. And together they would rule, spreading the infection ever faster, ever wider, for Amy's sake, for theirs, to bend this wretched waking world to their desires.

Raphael gazed intently into the courtyard, where the young woman's smile had turned soft and a slight blush had appeared upon her cheeks. In his mind's eye he pictured her here beside him in the shadows, silver-blond hair wreathed with fire and starlight, fevered lips capturing his with dark, desperate promise, every movement speaking soundlessly of her love for him, of the rich, intoxicating feel of the Evil Seed's power.

Raphael's lips twisted into a chilling grin, his hand tightening around the jagged metal shard in his grasp. It pulsed violently as one sharpened edge bit into the flesh and sent a thin rivulet of blood trickling over his pristine white sleeve, but Raphael was oblivious to everything but the object of his desire, basking in the light of her final day.

Cassandra, my love,he thought passionately, soon I shall liberate you from your mortal prison.

He settled back further into the shadows and watched the midday sun begin its slow journey across the sky.