Disclaimer: Not mine! I don't really want them either, 'cause then I'd have to feed them.


Tiamat's Child

When I was very young my mother had a lover. I remember her being a lovely woman, with grey eyes that were as soft as thistledown and long black hair that shone like water on a moonless night. She was always kind and gentle and good. It was hard to turn away from her, even when it was necessary.

She melted my mother's walls in ways I never could manage. She would step through her defenses as if they were nothing more then thin sheets of gauze. She was strong, in ways that had nothing to do with power. My mother, who had promised herself she would never love anything, loved her helplessly.

And so did I.

She was so bright, so clear. Her body had been formed from flesh into a vessel for the most beautiful, intense light there ever could be. She was intoxicating to be near, so warm and comforting that it was almost overwhelming.

But a light like that was never meant for a human to hold. It was too much, even for someone as wonderful as she was. Despite her strength the light raged out of control within her, becoming a flame so searing it hut to look.

Her light ate her from within. It destroyed her body, devouring her muscle and flesh to fuel its growth. The thinner and weaker she became the stronger her light grew. By the time she died her presence was overpowering to the point of pain.

My mother said that it was cancer that killed her, but I knew better. Her light consumed her. I watched it take her and I know.

The same thing will happen to you.

Oh, not exactly the same thing. You and she are different, after all, but it will be much the same. You will dissolve into nothing, eaten away from within by your own purity.

You are beautiful and fleeting, like the first flush of autumn on the leaves. A splash of soft, warm darkness that I can dream of sheltering in, even though I know it will not happen. You are too lovely to last. Too perfect for me to hold.

And now you ask me why I like you. Why do you need to ask? Do you really have no idea how incredible you are? No, of course you don't. You are far too modest to see your beauty, and no one ever comments on it, so you see yourself as nothing special, just another boy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What do I tell you?

"Because you're warm." The words slip out before I have time to ponder them.

Your eyes widen and a look of startled disbelief crosses your face. I suddenly have an insane urge to lean in, cover your lips with mine, and *show* you how perfect you are. I could caress you, touch you, and leave absolutely no doubt in your mind that you are the most precious thing in the world to me.

I catch myself from going so just in time. I might very well have kissed you if it hadn't been for Krad's warning growl. This is probably the first time I've ever been grateful for his interference.

I pull back and step away, trying to lessen the temptation to kiss you. It does not help a great deal. Why do you have to be so desirable as well as lovely? I have met many people who are nearly as beautiful as you, but none of them have made me want them the way I want you.

I don't know why it is you that I feel this way for. It does not make much sense. I should not feel anything for anyone least of all you. Why?

Krad hates you, you know. He hates that I dare to look at you, that it is hard for me to keep my eyes off you. He hates you for having me and he hates you even more for not knowing that fact. He wishes to kill you because you are Dark, but he wants to do so as slowly and painfully as possible because I love you.

I won't let him. I won't! I won't let anyone hurt you, least of all him. Least of all me.

I turn and walk away. I can't stay, not with you looking like you do. Not with me being who I am. Not when I can't look at you without a surge of wanting. I need you far too much, and it isn't fair to you to push that on you.

So I'll walk away. If you call after me I'll come back, but I won't stay if you don't want me. It's too dangerous, too much of a temptation.

You don't call to me. But that's all right, I didn't expect you to. Why would you?

I'm the only one who wants you. I'm the only one who'll ever want you. Krad's voice is smug.

…I know.

But I'll always come running if you call, even if you don't want anything more then a helping hand. And I won't go too far, I can't. I'll be there at the end, if you want me there, and I'll hold your hand as your beauty burns you away to nothing. And love you all the more for it.