Salvation

A Ghost Rider Story

She walked up the hill, trying to find that perfect spot. The night sky was spattered with stars that glittere like diamond dust, and her eyes, ued to the darkness, searched the countryside, before picking out her destination and moving toward it.

The blonde boy following her looked around, worried, his own eyes havign adjusted to the darkness but beign nowhere near as well-adapted as hers.

"Yuna, where are we going? We're lost again."

She turned back toward him, her dual-colored eyes looking into his blue ones.

"Nuh-uh, we're almost there. I told you, I know my way around."

She did, too, despite being a city girl, at heart - the wilderness was a place she'd had many dealings in, where the wild places could shelter a shady deal. She held out a hand to the teenager, just a year or so younger than she appeared to be. "Come on, Tidus. Don't you tust me?"

He smiled at her and took the hand.

"Of course I do!"

Her smile was sad, hidden in the darkness from his eyes, used to the bright daylight he loved. It was so easy to lure him, with her beauty and the promise of 'love'. If she had been after his blood, he'd be hers, hook, line, and sinker... he was such a trusting boy, so free-spirited. She led him on into the night, to the small clearing she had in mind, a place where she could show him why he should never have trusted her so much. She sighed, looking down to the ground. She didn't want to break his heart.

Why do I care? she asked herself. I've broken worse than hearts nd felt no remorse... hundreds of times, I've killed stupid young men like him, who think that a pretty face hides a weak woman...

But then, Tidus wasn't like that. He didn't see her as just the beauty granted her by her curse. He respected her for her strength, and... he'd even convinced himself that he cared about her.

We'll see how long that lasts, after we get there...

"Yuna?" he asked, worry in his voice. "Are you... okay?"

She looked up at him, forcing a smile.

"Of course! Why wouldn't I be?"

She made it extra-happy-sounding, just for him. He was so sweet, for worrying about her, even though she was... what she was...

She shook her head.

"Come on now," she told him. "We're almost there."

Indeed they were. A few moments later, they entered the small clearing on the edge of the woods. They weren't too far outside of town, so it would be easy for him to get back to his house before dawn came, and his parents went looking for him. If she had to, she could carry him home. She hoped she wouldn't have to - if he took it that badly, she might have to leave town.

"We're here. Now... we can be together, just us."

The teenager grinned, and she could sense his emotions rise with the beating of his heart, the rate of his breathing. He took her in his arms and kissed her, strong, yet gentle. She returned the gesture in kind, soft, alluring, giving him everything he wanted in her. She kept her strength out of it, being only as strong as he wanted her to be... finally, she pulled away, her sadness evident now, even in the dark.

"Yuna?"

He was confused - it was evident in his face, his voice. He held her sides, not wanting to let go. She looked away.

"Tidus... I..." She broke off, swallowed, started again. "There's something I have to tell you."

He looked at her, puzzled. "What?"

"I..." She stepped back, breaking his grip. She could see the sadness, mingle with his confusion, felt someting inside her break with that look. Tears came unbidden to her eyes and she wiped them away, turning away from him so she wouldn't have to look at him.

"Tidus... I'm... not right for you."

"wh-what?!" he asked, his shock overpowering his sadness momentarily. "What do you mean, not right for me? Yuna, I really care about you, more than I've ever cared abotu anyone!"

She stepped forward away from him, shakign her head.

"You only think you care about me. I... I can make people feel that way. It's my beauty, you look at it and you feel what you think is love... but it's not. It's just an illusion... and I don't want to use you like that."

He stepped forward - she could hear his feet snapping twigs. "What are you talking about? That's nonsense!"

She shook her head. "No it's not... it's the truth. There are more things going on in this town than you realize... and I'm one of them."

She turned back around, showing her true form as she did so. Her face, hideously twisted into the visage of a demon; her dual-colored eyes now shining with a sickly green light. She bared fangs at him, fangs meant for the drinking of blood. "Don't you see now, Tidus? I'm a vampire... a monster. I've killed hundreds in my long lifetime, without so much as a moment of thought. You don't want me."

He stepped back in shock at the sight of her transformation, and her eyes hit the floor as she dropped her true form. Suddenly, she felt his hands on her shoulders. She looked up, suddenly meeting his blue eyes.

"Yuna... do you honestly think some spell could make me feel the way I do for you? So what if you're a vampire? You'd never hurt me... if you truly wanted to, you'd have done something by now. If you didn't care about me... you'd never have shown me your true face."

She looked at him in shock. Did she... care?

"Nothing else matters except that we're together now, and I love you. So stop worrying about it - it'll all turn out okay in the end."

He was right, she knew that... and somethig else welled up in her. Relief? Very possibly... his words had woken realization. In the time that they had been together, she had grown fond of this young human... not just fond of him, perhaps. Perhaps, she'd even... fallen in love.

He wrapped his arms around her, and she felt the warmth of his beating heart. Her own heartbeat had stilled since she was no longer paying attention to keping it going, and she wrapped her arms around him as well. She placed her lips on his, and for once, let herself truly enjoy the feeling - he wanted to be there, not because of her magic or charm, but because he truly loved her. It was a miracle - she loved him, too.

Is this what it feels like, to be human? she wondered to herself absently, lost in the passion of the kiss. It's truly wonderful, to be loved... maybe I can find my salvation right here, in his arms...

Then she lost herself completely to the feeling.

End