A/N: This is my first Village fic. I loved that movie so much and I really wasn't satisfied with the ending. . . So I wrote my own. There will be three chapters when I'm finished, and I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. Also, R&R for cookies!


Sorrow

"You may run from sorrow as we have. Sorrow will find you. It can smell you."

***

She stepped into the room, hands stretched out in front of her to feel for obstructions. The Elders clustered around her, offering their hands, guiding her, directing her to the side of the bed. She knelt down and grasped the hand of the person lying on the bed. She smiled as a slight haze tainted the darkness. "I'm back, Lucius."

Ivy Elizabeth Walker lay in the mud, gasping for breath, her sightless eyes gazing skyward. Rain fell from the grey sky, soaking and chilling her. She lifted her trembling hands to her face. They felt clammy. Cold. She began to sob. She didn't care if she died. Nothing mattered anymore.

She stayed by his side all through the rest of the day and through the night. And all through the day after that. The medicines were helping him, she was sure. He had moved twice, and his breaths were deeper than they had been. Finally, her father made her come home to rest. She didn't want to leave, but the knowledge that Lucius would be all right made the separation bearable.

She hadn't realized how tired she was. Her father helped her drag herself into bed, and she was fast asleep within moments.

Ivy was losing consciousness. She could feel her senses dimming. She was so cold. So tired. Ready to die.

As soon as she woke, almost four days later, she stumbled her way over to the one-room house where Lucius was. Ever since her cane broke, walking had become slightly more difficult.

The rough wood of the door greeted her outstretched hands. She thought she could hear someone weeping within. A mixture of worry and curiosity flitted across her mind as she knocked. She heard the slight creak of hinges and a deep-colored blotch tinged the blackness as her father opened the door. He stood there for a moment, as if surprised to see her. His color flared brighter for an instant, then dimmed. He hugged her so tightly she could not breathe. "Oh, Ivy," he said, "I'm so sorry."

The crying stopped for a moment, then a choked sob reached her ears. Confused, she felt her way to the bedside. Lucius' hand was where it had been when she had returned with the medicines, and she grasped it, stroking it fondly before she realized. . . "Papa, why is he cold?"

Her father gave a sorrowful groan and began speaking her name over and over, pleading with her. She could barely understand what he was saying, something about festering and slowed breathing. A numbness had settled over her mind like an invisible barrier that separated her from the rest of the world. "Why is he cold?" she asked again. She knew the answer, but she refused to even consider it. Then, one word shattered the barrier as if it had been made of glass: "Dead."

She opened her mouth, but it was too dry to manage anything more than a croak, and something was caught in her throat. She felt Alice Hunt grasp her shoulders, felt her hot tears fall on her neck as the woman tried to offer whatever comfort a heartbroken mother could. At length, Ivy shrugged off Alice's hands and stood. Turning her pale gaze towards her father, she shook her head once, then fled the house.

She ran and ran, far past her normal limit. Her father had called after her, but very soon his cries had faded and all she could hear was her own labored breathing and the rustle of the forest floor disturbed by her frantic scramble to get away from the Village. Finally, when her legs refused to carry her any more, she collapsed.

Ivy thought she heard something approaching her through the trees. The wind had picked up, and the biting rain was coming harder now. The world was fading. . .

Ivy Elizabeth Walker lay in the mud, gasping for breath, her sightless eyes gazing skyward. Rain fell from the grey sky, soaking and chilling her. She lifted her trembling hands to her face. They felt clammy. Cold. She began to sob. She didn't care if she died. Nothing mattered anymore.

With rapidly diminshing senses, Ivy was vaguely aware of strong arms picking her up, and the rough fabric of a shirt rubbing against her cheek.