A/N: This is the newest story in what I am titling my "Iris Project" The basic premise is I take the song "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls along with my favorite pairings from all fandoms and see what comes out. The only similiarties between stories are: They are all called "Iris", they are all one shots (duh), and they are all inspired by the same song. Other than that, they'll move around every conceiveable category available I'm sure. Please enjoy and stay tuned for the next installment


The lock wasn't hard to break although Henry was still careful. He didn't want anyone to be too worried about burglars. One of these days he actually was going to take the key he borrowed and make a copy. But that was for another time. Quickly he made his way up the stairs and into the apartment he had spent hours staring at this night.

She slept quietly on cheap sheets, her breath stirring the wisps of hair that fell on her face. His hands itched to move them away so as to be better see her profile. But Henry kept his hands by his sides. He would not disturb the peaceful dreams she was having right now. It had been too long since her dreams had been quiet, since she had rested at ease. Too often he came here to witness her calling out in her sleep of some horror she could not be rid of. That pained Henry deeply.

He grabbed his usual chair and set it next to the bed where he could easily observe everything about her. Her pale skin shone in the moonlight that trickled through the curtains making a sharp contrast between her face and her dark hair. Henry wished he had a pencil but it wasn't really needed. There were dozens of sketches of this exact scene back at his apartment, carefully locked away with all of his more important treasures. Already he knew he would be adding to the stack when he got home.

She shifted so she was now on her back and the roll gave Henry a breath of her scent. A pure scent that smelled like snowflakes and incense and candlelight. Such a bright pure scent for someone who spent so much of her life in the shadows. Henry wished she didn't. She was too innocent for the dark world he lived in. It would destroy her light soon; he could already see it dimming at times. If Henry had his way, she would never be touched by darkness again.

He was distracted by his thoughts as a smile ghosted over her lips. It was only for a moment but it was there. Selfishly he hoped that it was thoughts of him that brought that smile to her face. That she was dreaming of the two of them together even though it could never be. Henry wouldn't allow it.

Oh, he knew she wanted him. That all he had to do was wake her up and she would allow him into her bed. She wouldn't ask why or how, simply pull him into her arms and allow nature to take its course. He wouldn't even have to use any charm on her. She wanted this more than he did. Or at least that's what she thought. Henry was certain there was no one who could want this more than he did.

But she deserved so much better than that. She deserved a man who could appreciate all the things Henry could not. Things like the way she sparkled in the sunlight, as Henry was sure she did though he would never know for certain. A man who could give her children and a family. Henry was just as certain that she would make a magnificent mother if given the chance. And he had no way to provide her with that chance.

No, if Henry took what he wanted she would be trapped in the world of darkness forever. She would know nothing but pain and sorrow after a while and Henry wouldn't allow that. Because he knew no matter how bad it got, she would never complain. She would never say a word against him or her lot in life because that was simply the sort of person she was. She would sacrifice everything she had for those she loved and even more if it was called for. So Henry decided to sacrifice for the both of them. He would keep her at arm's length and pretend with everything in him that she was not the one he wanted so desperately. He would ply his interests instead on the woman who would never choose rather than the one he truly wanted. Because if he told his angel he wanted her, she would gladly choose to follow him down his path of endless night.

Henry stayed in his vigil until it was nearly time for dawn to rise. He despised the sun more than ever these days for the time it took him from her side. Not only could he not simply be near her but each moment the sun was up was another moment that she was unprotected. That things with grudges could attack her and Henry could not stop them. But still Henry forced himself from her side. He needed sleep if he wanted to come back her tomorrow night to guard her sleep as he had done for the past two months.

He rose from his seat and paused once more to look over her lovely form. On impulse, he leaned down to press a kiss to her forehead. "Until tomorrow," he whispered, "my sweet Coreen."

Then he was gone so fast that even his sharp ears didn't pick up the faint reply. "Sleep well, my sweet Henry."