by Shadowy Star

Disclaimer: I don't own the Coldfire trilogy. It belongs to C.S. Friedman. I do own this story. Do not archive or translate or otherwise use it without permission.

A/N: It runs both ways.

Companion piece to A New Bond.

I wonder when it'd stopped to be a game and turned into something completely different. I look into your hazel brown eyes and I can see no fear in them. But then again, you were never afraid of me. Even as you learned my true name, you hadn't been afraid. Angry, yes, maybe even furious, but not afraid. Youre a brave man, I told you that.

It was your courage that impressed me from the first time we met and does still. Who else would have dared a Knowing on an obviously powerful Adept? Who else would have dared to face the Master of Lema? Who else would have dared to oppose the Undying Prince, an evil Iezu and an angry Patriarch?

And now you're standing there so calmly as if my shot didn't miss your ear by only inches. I just hope you'll never know how much my hand was shaking when I tried to impress you. This lack of control is unacceptable. But that's the effect you have on me. You make me lose control. It first annoyed me endlessly. Later, you taught me control isn't everything. Being in control doesn't ensure a positive outcome, after all. I learned that the hard way. It was my pride, me thinking I was in control that led to the things with the Undying Prince going so very wrong. Oh yes, I learned.

I always knew, right from the first time I saw you that you would be dangerous to me. First, in my arrogance, I thought of you as a challenge. I genuinely thought I could corrupt you, use you as a plaything for my bored mind. I underestimated how much you fascinated me. Your mind, your soul, you... so very intriguing. I wanted to know more, I wanted to know how you worked and thought and why you had that much influence on me. I wanted ... well, you. Not like I want you now, no. I wanted the puzzle 'Damien Kilcannon Vryce' solved. Period. Or at least, that's what I quite successfully managed to convince myself of back then. On the ship, when you bravely and miraculously agreed to feed me your fears I thought I was getting close to that goal. But the more I got to know you the more I wanted. I no longer wanted your fears, I wanted to know your dreams. I wanted to know what had made you the person you are. I still do. I still dont know.

You don't realize how much you've changed me. You found something still human in me and, somehow, you managed to make it grow. No, not somehow. I know exactly how you did it. You gave me a part of your own soul. For me. For me?! For the evil incarnate? How could you trust me so much? Me who'd stated plain and simple that I intended to corrupt you? To be your personal evil, sophisticated and seductive? And though you knew all this, you still trusted me. You're a very brave man. Only you could do it, only you in the whole world. You with your endless kindness and compassionate heart, with your passion and honor. All of it is right there, in your beautiful hazel brown eyes as you look at me now.

Do you remember how you tried to convince me go with you to the Southern Continent? I remember how passionate you were, arguing with me. You tried everything to convince me to go, from logic to feelings. You'll never know my decision was already made. I swore to protect you at the mad sorceress tower and I failed. Failed? Me? Yes, I did. You almost died when the earthquake struck.

Maybe it was then I realized that my fascination with you had grown and turned into something else, something that made it impossible for me to let you die. Do you really think I opened the tunnel for Lady Ciani? No. It was for you. I tried to believe otherwise back then but who was I fooling? I knew then, in what was left of my heart, that you broke through the walls I'd protected myself with for so long. I fought it and I fought you. I wanted my control back. Sometime later I realized you've dropped your shields as well. You let me in, just as I let you in. We became entangled, our very souls did. From then on, I was never able disentangle myself from you. So of course, I would follow you to unknown shores and into every battle. I trust you. I always did.

This is, ultimately, why I'm here, talking to you. I trust you not to endanger me. I trust you... It must show in my eyes because now, I can see it in your luscious eyes how you straighten your resolve to keep me safe.

And I wouldn't endanger you, either. You have a life waiting for you. I can't and wouldn't get in the way. You probably would want to return to the church. They'll take you back gladly though I understand, really understand, why you quit. I twisted everything you believed in, everything you had faith in, twisted it beyond recognition. This has been my goal at first. Maybe I wanted the only thing for you to believe in to be me. I don't like to share. Now, I blame myself for that and always will. See how you changed me? Three year ago, I would have rejoiced in it. I would be proud of myself to achieve that, destroying someone's faith. How could you have forgiven me for that is beyond my comprehension.

As I look at you now, I see all of this. I see your forgiveness for that and for leaving you now, I see your concern about me, I see the grief and pain I inflicted on you. It's so difficult to say I'm sorry which is why I'm not doing it but sorry I am.

You look at me and there's something in those beautiful eyes of yours that I don't understand. Forgiveness, yes. Concern, yes. Grief, yes. Pain, yes. But there is something else, a tenderness in your eyes that reaches down into my soul.

"Go," you say, and I can feel how much it pains you to voice this one little word. Your voice is calm and strong but your eyes are so very sad, as if your world is ending. Could it be that you would feel for me what I feel for you? I look into your eyes and... You can. You do.

Relief floods my soul and heart.

"No," I say. And smile. I feel myself truly smiling, not my usual smirk. I can't stop it and I don't want to either. You are, and always were, my biggest temptation. I can't walk away now. I'm unable to leave you behind. I never was, not really. I'm not going anywhere.

The relief and happiness in your eyes ... they make me... I try to remember what this feeling is called that runs through me. Happiness? Ah yes. Happiness.

I need the connection, so I step forward, lean in closer. No doubts. You hold your breath. You can't believe it, either.

"Not without you," I confirm but there's still a look of disbelief in your beautiful eyes and of a desperate hope. I have to show you.

I brush my lips against yours and everything around me disappears. I'm focused only on you and you... You raise your hands, putting them on my back, and draw me closer. Your hands are so strong but you hold me as if I were fragile. Ridiculous. I'm, of course, not. You won't hurt me, so I wrap my arms around you while I continue to kiss you. You touch my hair, so gently I can't help whisper your name. You demand access to my mouth. Well, we'll see about that. I'm not to give up control easily. Control? Why is it important? I wonder a second later because kissing you is like nothing I've ever felt before. I can feel your body reacting and so does mine. I don't want you to draw back but you do. I look up at you. Your eyes are shining, radiating joy and happiness. You press kisses to my cheek and temple. I thought you wanted to wait until were in my hotel room?

You offer me a hand and look at me questioningly. Of course, I want. You're mine. I intertwine our fingers. I'm not letting you go. You look a little astonished, close to shocked. Then, I watch the realization of what's happened enter your eyes. You know how I feel know. But you have no idea what I'm planning to do to you as soon as we reach the hotel.

I can't keep a devilish smile from forming on my lips, and you laugh.

"Whats so funny?" I ask challengingly though, of course, I know you somehow guessed what I have been thinking.

"Nothing," you say and kiss me again before we're going to leave.

Behind us, my former home is burning, but right beside me, my real home is walking, my hand still in his.