by Fushigi Kismet
She was praying in the chapel.
The sunlight filtering through the strained glass windows was beautiful.
It haloed the red-gold of her bent head.
Hair the color of Saint Tail's hair; and he told himself not to think of that.
Because that was neither here nor there.
That was a truth no more substantial than one of Saint Tail's illusions.
What was truth?
What was illusion?
What did he want?
His eyes were resting on the copper fire of her hair.
I want to protect you.
And yet, he could not stop his mind from straying to thoughts of that other girl who haunted his nights.
I want to catch you.
She was murmuring a quiet prayer into the still air and it echoed gently back at him where he stood at the back of the church, watching her.
"God, please forgive me my deceptions and devices . . ."
He wondered what she was praying for.
He wondered if he should be praying.
For guidance, perhaps.
What did one do when one coveted two people?
Was it possible to want one by day and another by night?
Which did he want? The reality at his side or the dream eluding him at night?
It was impossible to have them both.
She was still praying, and his eyes softened as he looked at her and listened to the quiet murmur of her voice.
You should just give up. Can't you just accept what you've already been given?
No. I can't. I'm going to catch her! I've got to catch her!
And what will you do with her when you do?
He did not know the answer.
Was he just deluding himself?
Taking one last look at her, he stepped outside and stood leaning against the church for a moment, staring up at the blue sky.
Even Haneoka prayed for forgiveness, it seemed.
'. . . my deceptions and devices.'
He shut his eyes and thought of Saint Tail. Thought of Haneoka. Thought of the painful tug of his heart towards them both.
Please, God, forgive me my deceptions.