She could feel it burning the instant she stepped out from the dark shadows. She felt the sting and the heat and the burn. She started laughing.

Julia had reached her breaking point. She was burning, approaching death, and she was laughing hysterically. But she kept walking. By this point, she had reached the top of Widow's Hill, in full sunlight. She felt death, and she embraced it.

"I love you, Barnabas," she whispered as she closed her eyes.

"NO!" she heard from behind her.

All of a sudden, she was cloaked in darkness and being dragged back to the forest. Wrapped in Barnabas' one and only cape, Julia fought him every step of the way.

Reaching the edge of the forest, Barnabas leaned against the tree and pulled Julia between his legs and cradled her to his chest. She fought him, at first, hard. Then she realized how futile her efforts were and she knew that no matter what, he wouldn't let go. So, she sobbed.

Long and hard, she sobbed into his neck. At some point, he had pulled her up into his lap and had his long arms wrapped tightly around her trembling form, one hand stroking the top part of her head, the other one rubbing soothing circles on her thighs.

"I'm sorry, Barnabas. I'm sorry… I'm sorry…" she mumbled into his neck.

"Hush, love. I'm right here," he said pressing a kiss to the side of her head.

Julia's sobs eventually subsided to hiccups, and she started to fall asleep. He would carry her back to hotel later, he decided. With Julia wrapped entirely around him, and himself touching her as much as possible, offering as much comfort as he could, he realized, with a start, that he didn't want anything more than what he had right now.

That was how Vicky found them. She saw him kiss her forehead and, for once, she didn't hate a man for leaving her for another woman. Because, he wasn't cheating on her, physically. He probably didn't even realize how much he obviously loved her. And she loved him. So much. But, she had to make sure he was happy. So, she silently walked over to him and kissed his cheek, softly.

His eyes fluttered open and he saw his beloved standing over him. He then realized his situation, and started to stammer out an explanation. But, she stopped him.

"Be happy, my love," she said. "I only want for you to be happy. And I know you're happy with her. I understand. Let her love you, Barnabas. She did give up everything for you."

"But… Victoria…" he began.

"I know you love me. But, you love her just a little more. And I'm okay with that," she stated.

"Really?" Barnabas asked.

"Really," Vicky said with a smile. She leaned down and kissed him one last time before walking away.

Barnabas sat there dumbfounded for a second before a smile slowly spread across his face. He looked down at the beautiful woman in his arms and kissed her. She, half asleep, lazily responded. It didn't take Julia long to respond with fervored affection.

Barnabas pulled away slowly. He cupped Julia's cheek and leaned his forehead against hers. With a jolt of realization, he knew everything would be okay.

a/n or will it? mwahaha. nope, probably not. (: r/r

sidenote. this was the last chapter. i might write a sequel. depends. (: for now, i have begun writing a Sweenett fic that will be posted in the near future. Much love!

anabelcatherine.3