Title: Forgiveness (sequel to Dreamers in the Tower)
Author: Dreamwind
Warnings: Angst, shonen ai
Disclaimers: The typical, don't ask, don't tell, don't own, don't sue. The song "Just 'N' Image" is by Ace of Base.

//I'm driving through the night
I'm driving through the rain
The engine roars I'm on my
Way from Mr. Pain//

Firesong looked back over his shoulder at K'Valdamar Vale. It had become his home these last few years and now he was leaving it behind. He was leaving everything he had managed to surround himself with after the mage storms. He no longer had an ekele, he no longer had a vale to stay in, and he no longer had Silverfox's respect and love. He had lost everything. Sure he could go back to K'treava but he really didn't want to. He didn't believe he deserved any of the wonderful things he had. He had been trying so hard to surround himself with things and people that could make him forget that awful mistake.

It didn't help. He had tried to keep it locked in his heart but it escaped, just like it escaped that night. Silverfox had turned to him and had romanced Firesong into telling him his greatest secret. Firesong couldn't forget. He couldn't forget the look of disgust and horror that had spread across his lover's face as he revealed what he had done to Karal. It hurt to remember the way Silverfox had quickly moved from Firesong's side, as if he would be contaminated by Firesong's sin. It hurt Firsong as if Silverfox had run his heart through. The memory of Karal lying on his pallet whispering Firesong's name still left him curled in a fetal position and weeping inside and Silverfox's disgust had only made it worse.

//My eyes keep seeing what
My mind wants to forget
Those sequences they
Rock n' Roll inside my head//

Firesong continued down the dark road with only his bondbird as his companion. He had left without a word to any of the other inhabitants of the vale. They would notice him missing eventually and more than likely Silverfox would tell them about what he had done to Karal during the mage storms. Then he would never be able to return to his clan. He wanted to just srivlle up and die, but he couldn't. Not yet. He had to explain to Karal that it hadn't been his fault that he had been having sex dreams about Firesong. That it had in fact been Firesong projecting those dreams onto Karal. He needed Karal's forgiveness or hatred before he could kill himself.

//Over and over and over again
I concentrate harder and harder and then
You are just an image
(that I can't see)//

In the palace at Haven, Karal sat alone in his room. He was consumed with overwhelming emotions, which made him more confused than he wished he were. It had been years since he had even thought about all of this. He didn't know why he had begun to dream of Firesong again. Instead of dreams filled with sex better than anything he had ever experienced in life, they were dreams of Firesong standing alone in a vast black void. Every time Karal got closer Firesong would begin crying loader and he would just keep repeating the phrase " I didn't mean to do it!"

No matter how fast he ran towards his friend he could never get there, either the ground would drop from beneath his feet or spikes of earth would erupt in front of him with a wall of fire beyond it. The dreams were so painful. Karal would wake sweaty and shivering with emotional pain that was not his own. He could feel the soul wrenching guilt that was consuming Firesong's heart and soul even from behind the barriers of the dream.

//You are not for real
You turn into a picture of somebody
Someone I don't know
Someone I don't feel//

An'desha looked at Karal from across the table. The young Karsite priest was paler than he should be, large blue bags hung under his eyes which seemed even emptier than normal. An'desha was worried about his friend. Karal seemed to be even worse off than Natoli had told him in her letter. Leaning forward An'desha took Karal's hand in his own and spoke earnestly with him. "Karal, my friend, what is bothering you so?"

Smiling weakly Karal replied, "Nothing. I'm quite alright."

"Karal, you are not alright. You're ill. Natoli is so worried about you that she called me here from the plains. You helped me once, let me help you now."

Sighing Karal leaned back in his chair. "Very well." Karal rubbed his forehead. "I've been having these weird dreams about Firesong lately."

"So you're having dreams about Firesong ?"

"Not that type of dream, An'desha."

"I never meant to imply."

"Fine." Karal leaned his head on his hands. "The dreams are so...sad and painful. It's like I can feel his heart breaking and bleeding him to death. An'desha I can't describe how painful it is to watch him crying and screaming 'I didn't mean to do it!' ."

An'desha listen long into the night as Karal told him all about the dreams he had had of Firesong during the mage storms and about the way Firesong had acted towards him after. Soon He had told An'desha everything that had happened as well as all the new and painful dreams.

//The wolves cry out tonight,
I see your broken line
The sun will rise without
A love without a smile//

Firesong stood inside his ekele in companion's field. He had finally made it back to the capital city of Valdemar. Even though he had told himself that all he had to do was tell Karal the truth about what happened in Uthro's tower, he found that as he was standing there in front of Karal he just couldn't seem to get the words past his lips. Karal looked like death warmed over and what Firesong had to tell him would probably kill him. He couldn't do that to Karal, he already done enough to the poor boy as it was.

"Firesong. Whatever you have to tell me don't be afraid to say it." Karal smiled encouragingly. "It can't be that bad."

Firesong hung his head. "You're wrong."

"Perhaps telling me then would make you feel better."

"It would ease my conscious but I fear that it would only harm you. I don't want to hurt you again, Karal."

"How can you be so certain that whatever you have to say will harm me?"

//I always think about
The way you had to leave//

Firesong looked down at the ground, refusing to meet Karal's eyes. "Do you ever wonder why I behaved so very cold and distant to you?"

"Well, I thought that you were jealous of my friendship with An'desha."

"At first I was, but Silverfox helped me through that before we journeyed to Uthro's tower." Firesong took a long pause. " I meant what did you think after we saved everyone from the mage storms?"

"I don't know what I thought, really. I was so wrapped up in my own problems that I never really notice you acting any differently towards me." Karal felt the blood rising in his cheeks as he remembered the dreams that had taunted him during the storms.

"Oh." Firesong looked away while he fought with himself about revealing the truth. "I know about the...problems you had while we were in the tower..."

//I close my eyes
Cause I was with you
By that time//

"You know I got to speak with Natoli so you shouldn't have worried about that."

"That's not what I was talking about. I was referring to the other problem that plagued your heart."

Startled Karal looked up at Firesong. How could Firesong possibly know about his erotic dreams?! If he knew why had he never said anything before?! "You...were?"

"They weren't you're fault, Karal. It wasn't you really dreaming them."

"I don't understand."

"They were my dreams." Firesong rushed to explain not giving Karal a chance to speak. "I didn't know that I was projecting them onto your consciousness! I never meant to hurt you Karal. Honest!" Tears streamed down Firesong's face as the damn holding all his guilt and pain finally broke. "I didn't mean to do it!"

Karal was too shocked to respond. He didn't even think Firesong had liked him all that much and now he was finding out that the erotic dreams he had had in the tower were actually Firesongs! It was too much. How was he supposed to respond to this? This was all so confusing. Firesong pained whimper cut through Karal's thoughts and he looked to where the healing-adapt cowered in the corner.

Images of Firesong screaming for forgiveness surrounded by walls of earth and fire filled Karal's mind. He realized that this had been killing Firesong emotionally slowly over the years. Pushing his own thoughts further away Karal moved to Firesong's side and pulled the older man into his lap, holing him while he cried into Karal's shoulder.

//Faster and faster and faster-ahead
as if you were waiting
for me down the way//

Firesong's crying slowly dissolved into small tremors, which eventually faded. Karal continued to hold the adept, as he stroked Firesong's hair whispering reassuringly that he would always forgive Firesong. Firesong sniffled and looked up at Karal through red-rimed eyes.

"How can you say that after what I did? I...I raped you."

Karal continued to run his fingers through the white silk that was Firesong's hair. He smiled down at Firesong as he felt his heart being pulled upon. "You didn't do it intentionally. Besides how could I ever stay mad at you?"

Firesong looked confused at the words that Karal was telling him. Karal sounded so sincere and still, there was something in the way he was speaking that sent shivers along Firesong's spine. Firesong was taken completely by surprise when Karal fingers moved under his chin to lift Firesong's lips to his own. The kiss was soft and so full of love and promise that Firesong lost his breath. When Karal released him Firesong could barely stammer out "why".

"Firesong, I know that you are a good person and that you care deeply for your friends." Karal brushed a stray strand of hair out of Firesong's face. "You and I haven't always been on the best of terms but I still consider you one of my best friends and friends don't just abandon each other when they are hurting."

//I have never seen you
lying on a floor
Crying needing more//

"Now I want you to know that as long as you need me I will always be here for you." Karal dried Firesong's tears and hugged his friend. "I will always have opens ears and heart for you. When you are sad and need a shoulder to cry on you can always come to me. When you are happy I will be there at your side smiling right along with you. When you want to be a little peacock and show off your new robes I will gladly come and admire them."

Firesong felt one of the first real smiles he had had in years spread across his face. "What if I wish to dress you up and play with you like a doll?"

Karal chuckled. "That we will have to see about. I don't know if I'm ready to be your boy-toy."

"I promise it would be a most...interesting adventure." Firesong leaned forward tell his lips were almost touching Karals, "Most interesting indeed." The words were spoken as a light flutter of kisses upon their lips.

For now...