Anime: MAR, Couple: Phantom/Candice


Genre: Angst/Romance

Disclaimer: I do not own the anime MAR, its characters, and plot but this story is based from Episode 78. All copyrights are credited to its respective creator, (Nobuyuko Anazai) artists, seiyuu and sponsors. Enjoy!

Ch 1: Delight

"Phantom-sama…" Her tone of voice held a hidden softness and concern that was only portrayed in front of him, always directed to his warm praise and smiles. The female Knight's words trailed as she attentively leaned closer to him, the no.1 Knight of the Chess no Koma, grasped his cold, almost real, human flesh hand in hers and the woman's usual gleam less, pine brown eyes sparkled in the darkened, shadow encased throne room, were they sat now.

Phantom in his forbidden chair, elevated off the floor with a few stairs in front connecting it to ground and two spheres decorated the corners, that the Chess's symbol backed behind grandly and Candice was pushed up on her knees beside his throne, eager and patient to assist him in any possible way to prove her affection, loyalty, use and existence to him. His purple left eye glanced at her worried face and hands clasped around his only one, and sighed lightly in between immense, crushing stabs of searing, overwhelming pain radiating from his ripped off left arm and bare-partitioned chest (revealing a small, dent mark under his collared muscle shirt) that threatened to conquer his calm, sadistic, intimidating and handsomely demonic demeanor and exterior for the past half hour.

He made a valiant effort to smile comfortingly and charmingly at her, trying to conceal his inward pain and rolling sweat perspirations under his white, deliberate right side, face-covering disheveled mop, nape of the neck-lengthen hair; just to see her enthusiasm rise. To his surprise, Candice did not respond immediately to this look with her expected girly glee that surfaced whenever he swayed her easily with this genuinely pleased expression. Her lips curved upward at the corners into a saddened, fond smile, her uncovered left eye that wasn't behind a large, red, circular-foreign-symbolic, black eye patch that dominated half her face, warmed somewhat, and her hand's grip clenched a little more tightly around his only remaining one but that was all. No further reaction.

He frowned slightly before he spoke as gently, reassuring and bravely as he could muster at this moment, "I am alright, Candice. No need to look so depressed." Hoping to fool her battle intelligent mind. The Rock-ARM user's face did not lessen up and break into a happy grin or let go of him and back away respectfully as he thought she might. No, of course not, he thought reasonably in sarcasm.

Her left eye shone almost defiantly at him and her voice hardened slightly and ended in trembled, pleads as she spoke, "Do not lie to me, Phantom-sama. I can see well through your disguise and see your pain that it is consuming you and eating away at my heart. I know you well enough now to separate your pain from real joy and how you lock away your other emotions besides hatred, impatience, anticipation and malice behind those cold, solid walls closed around your heart, mind, and words. Oh, Phantom! Please, isn't there something, anything I could do to ease your pain, even a little if not completely? Tell me what to do. I'll devote myself to making you well again, I promise! Let me help you! Onagai!"

His one visible eyelid lifted and his eyebrow rose to a noticeably surprised arc before answering kindly. It seemed unusual for this subordinate to show another emotion besides her lust for battle, sexual experience, spite, vengeance, determination, respect, and rare cheerful towards others. "I'm afraid there's very little you can do to help me, Candice. I'm truly sorry. If I did know, I would have done so when I had fallen against Ginta or asked you earlier while you helped me get here. The only thing that comes to mind is for you to continue as you are and smile more often. It pleases me to see you happy. I believe my time as an immortal and walking among the living is reaching its limit. Regrettably, even the undead diminish in the pass of time."

' I can do NOTHING! Nothing but smile at the face of the man I love crumble away right in front of me by the will of time! Why do you forsake me Time?! Why can't I hold on to my dear Phantom-sama longer? Why must he suffer this awful pain alone? Is there any way for him to transfer some of this pain to me so he can have a better death? Phantom? Death? Phantom's Death? How can this be? How can I think like that? It seems obvious now that my precious, awesome Phantom will—gulp die. He's in a great deal of pain right now, though he tries his best to bear it and keep it from me, which I despise. Just like so many years ago, ten years ago, he died and rose up from his grave. (I wonder, did he die like this, with very little company or none at all, ebbing away in silent, proud pain.) So maybe this isn't really an end; maybe it's just a good bye before he comes back. He'll comeback again, I know he will. But it may take him longer to resurrect himself so, so I can't bottle up my feelings anymore.'

' I have to tell Phantom how I feel about him. No matter if he cares the same for me or not, it must be now. Before it's too late and he forgets my existence. All this time, it felt like he relied on me, needed me and then sort of rejected me after I lost and failed to play my role in his plan. But Phantom-sama has come around again to acknowledge me, my strengths, weaknesses and feelings'.

'If he is to die, for now, I'm glad I'm the one to stay by his side until his end. I know Rolan and Peta would like to be here too but they're fighting that Team MAR group back in the foyer and I'm just helping our Phantom-sama hide, lie down and die, in his own throne room of Lestava Castle, the perfect place for such a noble leader. Those kids won't reach our Phantom-sama in time because even if they defeat Peta and Rolan, they'll have to fight me for his corpse…Okay, so, so; here I go!' A very long chain of thoughts went through Candice's mind when she quickly realized in a mildly stunned manner the harsh reality to Phantom's words.

A lapse of silence followed the zombie-man's reply, making him feel, well, a sense of something what humans would call, 'awkward' or 'embarrassing' or even 'uncomfortable' (and a little cold, if my body could feel room temperatures again. As if the air has become 'chilly', or 'stiff''. That was long ago, though, the Ghost-ARM user mused) while he waited for Candice to work out her thoughts and let his words sink in for about twenty seconds. Phantom took this pause of conversation as a chance to observe the rest of his Knight's desirable features. Right now, her face plainly said shock, dismay, helplessness and an incomplete resolution undoubtedly beginning to form in her head and expression.

Her long, high parted, uneven, chin-length, bangs framed her face, that black French styled beret with it's yellow cross sat baggy and comfortable on her head behind her bangs, and the rest of her straight, curvy, waist lengthen, all-natural chocolate brown hair would flow down her bare shoulder blades and spine. That black, leather chocker with its little silver lock around her neck dangled off her collarbone, her shoulders pushed forward, both mid biceps covered down to her wrists in criss-crossing, black leather straps, held together by crimson red wrap-trim and thick, black bracelets.

Unfortunately, all he could see from his seat was from her mid-biceps up but he knew her frame fairly well, because that's all she really wore everyday, so he could imagine the rest of her body and style. Ten lengthen, pointy-sharp, purple colored, fingernails protected her fingertips, giving her razor claws to rake and tear across skin in unexpected close-combat. Her well-defined, large, chest and cleavage peaked out teasingly from its matching red, wrap-trim that went underarms and hugged her midback; from there down, she covered herself in a sleek, glossy, black one-piece bathing suit that exposed sides of her woman hood and covered her wide hips and perky bottom. Gray nylon covered her left leg all the way down to her toes, her right one was also dressed in that red trim and same nylon from her long mid-thigh down, which disappeared under her also, black leather army boots that reached up to her long mid-shins, with buckle straps decorated on the front of them; completing her sexually, casual appearance.

Whenever his darkened violet, cat-like, sliver-pupil eye looked her way, flicking over her figure up and down whether she entered, spoke, fought or exited in his presence, he couldn't help but marvel at her body's seductive curves, like the many other groups of male or female population within his organization undoubtedly goggle, drool and fantasize over her flaunting beauty. Candice's many characteristics such as her willing, loyal, headstrong personality, alluring body and near unfailing strength were perhaps the most attractive reasons for him to allow her to follow him like a love-sick puppy and join the elite membership of the Zodiac Knights.

He prompted her invitingly for a response. "Candice, I'm waiting for a reply. What do you say to my leaving of this world? Surely you must have some opinion or protest to my inevitable fate. Won't you share what's unnerving your mind with me?" Her brown eye seemed to recognize who was sitting in his throne in front of her and spoke just then because she shook her head a little, snapping back to attention and answered what she had reflected on to accomplish.

"Yes, Phantom-sama, I have a reply I would really like to share with you. You see, I'm deeply saddened that your death is approaching but I believe when I cry over your lifeless body, I will also be awaiting your return to MAR Heaven so we may try to reconquer it again. I promise to survive until that time and help everyone else cope with they're grief and depression over your loss. And when you resurrect again, Peta, Rolan and I will definitely have your preparations set for your arrival; we will have formed the new and improved Chess no Koma, established secure lodging posts and welcome you back with a joy filed, big, delicious feast and formal ball in your honor or whatever pleases you. Just as we had this year. We will stand by your side faithfully past the time we finally take over and remold MAR Heaven into the dream you have envisioned for years. Won't that be wonderful to come home to, Phantom-sama?"

Again, he was taken aback by a nearing delighted surprise that rivaled the pain within at her response that he would assume to come from the vampire-intellectual, Peta, his right-hand man, (or his 'left-hand man' because his left arm is wrapped thoroughly in bandages, though it seems he has a green, reptile-scaled arm underneath all those bandages) who would come up with brilliant words to describe the ultimate goal of the Chess no Koma that linked them so strongly together, combined with fear, discipline, order, strength and revenge he instilled into them. Despite his intensifying pain still coursing through him, Phantom smirked broadly at Candice's thoughtful ambition. "My, my, Candice, Aren't you the deep thinker? I say I would enjoy that sort of homecoming indeed. You certainly do have a way with promises, my dear."

"Arigato, Phantom-sama! It means a lot to hear that from you." The brunette answered with pride. "Well, you came up with the plans, did you not? You impress me beyond that of an ordinary human woman, you know, Candice." Her single human eye widened, that thin brown eyebrow rose up to slid under the blackstrap attaching her eye patch to her head and her mouth dropped open and curled upwards excitedly. "Y-You really mean that, Phantom-sama?" The former military mercenary faltered in daring, rising hope leaking into her tone of voice. He smiled sincerely, "Hontonei, my dear Candice."

'Kay, so that's the first chap, and they'll be another…oh, seven to go! - I hope you guys enjoyed this beginning for this awesome pairing. I've already finished the following chapters but now it's just a matter of uploading them. And readers remember to: READ, REVIEW and RECOMMEND! Alright? Thanks, Bye!