Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lief's POV

I paused outside the door to my room and took a deep breath. If Pagan was awake, she was going to be furious with me. I didn’t want her to be mad at me. I wanted things to go back to the way they were before. The way they’d always been, until Dankmar appeared and screwed up everything. Of course, Father had been right- I should have taken her sooner. I’d just wanted to let her enjoy normal for a little longer. Pushing the door open, I stepped inside the candlelit room. 
Pagan spun around and the fear evident in her eyes caused my chest to ache. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. She trusted me once. I wanted that back. 
“You’re awake,” I forced a smile I didn’t feel as I closed the door.
“Where are we?” she snapped and just that quickly her fear was replaced by the anger I’d been expecting. 
“My place. You like it?” I replied and wished I could take it back immediately. My reluctance to answer her question wasn’t winning me any points. 
“Why am I here Leif?”
Why was she here? Of course she’d want to know that. If I’d done what Father had said then she’d already be living here. Happy, with no Dankmar to color her opinion of me. 
“Because you belong to me.” I replied.
Pagan’s eyes narrowed as she took a step closer to me. “I don’t belong to you, Leif. I’m not a possession. I’m a person. Please take me back home.”
Unable to hold in the bitter amusement churning inside me, I laughed. “So that Dankmar can have what I created? I don’t think so Pagan,” I paused and tried to gather my thoughts. How could I explain this to her so she could understand?
“You see, he was bound to love you. You’re different. He saw that. But what he failed to explain is that you’re different because I made you different. Not him. Not fate. Me. Everything about you has been molded into my creation. You were chosen for me.” I held out my hand, “it’s okay, trust me. My touch would never harm you.”
Pagan began shaking her head in denial and backed up until she was pressed against the foot of my bed in an attempt to get away from me.  
“Have I ever hurt you, Pagan? Listen to your soul. It knows where it belongs. The fire flashing in your eyes right now is your soul reaching for me.” I wasn’t going to let her fear me. Closing the distance between us, I stopped in front of her and held out my hand, “give me your hand.”
“Please Leif, take me home. I just want to go home,” she sounded desperate. Again, my chest ached. I’d spent my life making sure she was happy. When she’d been hurt, I’d gone to her and cheered her up.When she’d been in danger, I’d protected her. And now, this was the thanks I get.  I hated Dankmar for making me do this to her.
"What must I do to make you trust me? You trust Death without question. Death, Pagan. He is Death. How can you trust a creation meant to take souls from earth and not trust me? I’ve never let you get hurt. I’ve never left you alone. But he shows up and you fall mindlessly under his spell. What did he do to deserve you? He didn’t save your life. He would’ve taken your soul when you were a kid. Left your mother grieving the loss of her child and not thought of it again. It’s what he does.”
“But why did you save me?” she asked, interrupting me from the rest of my rant.  
Why had I chose her to save? This was a loaded question. I’d only been a child when I’d found her but even then I’d known she was special. That she would be mine. 
“I’m not your darkest dream, Pagan. I may walk in the darkness but I saw a life worth saving and I chose it. My father chose it. He agreed you were meant for me. Now it’s up to you to accept that the life you have always lived is coming to an end. It is past time. You were supposed to die that day on the road and when Death came I was to take your soul instead. You would’ve trusted me. Your soul and my spirit are one. But Death broke the rules,” growling in frustration, I turned from her fearful expression and stalked over to one of the candles I’d lit earlier while she’d slept. “I’d become lax in my judgment. I knew Death was with you but I believed he was doing what he does when he takes a special interest in a soul, preparing you. Instead, the fool was falling in love with you.” 
Grabbing the flame in my hands I held it and let the warmth soothe me as the flame grew stronger with my touch. Fire always did help me focus. I needed to remember that she was scared right now. She needed time and I’d already proven I could be patient. 
“I may not control Death but I do control the dead. Those who made less than intelligent choices on earth. They walk among the darkness under my father’s command. Under my command. I need someone to fill the loneliness. You’ve been my companion for over fifteen years now even if you don’t realize it. But your memories will slowly return. You’ll see that you do, in fact, belong to me.”
Her eyes still glowing the same color as the flame in my palm grew wider as she stared at me in horror.  That had not been my intention. 
“You’re just going to take me from earth? What about my mother? I can’t just leave her.” 
She was right of course. I couldn’t take her now. I needed to prepare the humans close to her. Planning would need to take place. I’d have to reevaluate my plans now that Dankmar had attached himself to her. Never had I imagined this outcome. When he’d shown up at school I’d known I needed to stay close to her and make sure she was safe from him until I could take her. But not one time did I fear he’d fall in love with her. He was Death for Ghede sake! Death didn’t fall in love, dammit! 
“I’ll take you back soon. She won’t even realize you were gone. I just needed a place where I could talk to you. To explain, without,” I paused and attempted to control the disgusted snarl the reminder of Dankmar evoked, “that stupid transporter or Dankmar continuously botching my attempts.”
The instant relief on her face wounded me. 
“You were worried I would hold you prisoner? Come on Pagan, you know me better than that. When have I not made sure you were happy? When have I ever intentionally hurt you? Never,” I reached over and took her cold trembling hand in mine. Expecting her to jerk it away, I was pleased when she gave me this one small gift. 
“What is it you want to talk to me about?” she asked peering up at me through her long thick eyelashes I’d always loved. 
Her heartbeat had slowed back down to normal and the tension in her shoulders had eased. I couldn’t keep the relieved grin off my face. 
“That’s better. Your heart has slowed down. I don’t like having you scared. I never want you to fear me.” With a gentle squeeze of my hand, I tried to reassure her. “Come for a walk with me, please. We can talk while I show you around.”

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