Disclaimer: Warren, the X-Men, and all related characters belong to Marvel, and are used without permission. Eithne, her family, and Shalidar belong to me. I am not making any money from this, so it would be lame to sue me.

Author's Note: Finally, the third story in the trilogy! The triumphant return of Eithne!! This story, is of course a sequel to both "Shelter", and "Letting Go". As always, this story takes place in a reality of my own creation; and is constantly at odds with Marvel continuity.

As always, feedback is welcomed at akasha@mlec.net.

Rising From the Ashes

Cold. That was the first thing that I felt. The bone numbing cold of the grave. I knew that without even opening my eyes; knew that I was in the tomb. For a moment, I had remained still; afraid to open my eyes and see the truth for myself. Afraid to see the lid of the coffin only inches from my face. Slowly, I had opened my eyes, and saw only blackness. I felt my heart began to race; felt the panic rise up within me like a great dark beast. What if my powers were gone; what if I were trapped. What if I had conquered death once, only to die again; trapped in this damn box. It would have been ironic, you must admit.

Obviously, I had no need to worry. Within moments I had found myself here; back home. I had hidden beneath the ancient willow; engulfed by its elegant branches. I had been unwilling to allow you to see me; unable to face you. You, who had done this to me. You, who had put me in my grave. You, who had let me go; without a single tear.

Oh, you must understand, I don't blame you for my death. I blame another; as do you. And I don't hate; I could never hate you. I am just disappointed, I suppose. Disappointed that you could turn from me so easily. That you could be so cold. That you could walk away from all we shared, and not even shed a tear. Did you ever cry for me, in all the time that I lay dead; dead by your own hand? Or did you shed your tears for yourself; as always? Vain even in your grief?

You would say that it was simply acceptance of that which you could not change. I know you too well. You think that you know death; that you are death incarnate. Perhaps you would be right. Perhaps you know all there is to know about death. Why should you not? You have held the balance of life and death in your hands; decided the fate of many. You see death as an ending; as eternal. You doubted my ability to conquer that which you were; admit it. You doubted my word.

I told you that I would never leave you; that not even death would seperate us. I told you that my love for you would span time and space; from this life to the next. And you chose to believe otherwise. Of course, I am not surprised. You have always lacked faith in the things that would bring you joy. Always chosen to follow the darker path. Even now, you chose to walk the dark path of death. You have chosen to be what he wanted you to be.

You are beautiful when you sleep. Did I ever tell you that? Would you have believed me if I had? Of course not. Why is it that refuse to see the beauty within yourself? Why do you chose to see only death staring back at you from the mirror every morning? Why do you not believe me when I say that I love you?

Should I wake you; make my presence known? Watch as your deep blue eyes focus on me; and see the truth. What will you say to me? Will you smile at me, say that you love me, say that you will never let me go again? Or will you turn from me again? Perhaps I will sit for a while longer, watch you sleep. I think that I am not ready to see that guilt in your eyes. Not yet ready to see the fear in them; the fear that I will hate you for what you have done to me.

I don't hate you Warren; I don't have to. You hate yourself enough for the both of us.

Cold. That was the first thing that I felt; as if someone had left the balcony doors open. I knew that it was you; knew that without even opening my eyes. For a long moment, I had lain there completely still; afraid to open my eyes and see that it was all a dream. The light fragrance of gardenia filled the room; the scent of you. Could it be true; had you conquered death as they said you would?

Several minutes have passed; and still my eyes are closed. Stupid, I know. Might as well open them and face the truth. You are dead, and death is eternal. I should know. But, if I lie here for a while, eyes closed, I can believe that you are alive. Convince myself that I did not put you in your grave; that I did not destroy everything that was important to me. But why fool myself; what difference does it make? I have accepted the truth; chosen to move on. Why bother to fool myself at all? Why? Because I would sell my soul to have you back. Because without you, the darkness will overtake me; I have no reason to fight it now. Because you were the part of me that yearned to live in the light.

I will open my eyes and face the truth; face the cold gray dawn. Everything is gray now, without you. The french doors are open, I was right about that. And beyond the doors, the dawn. The light of the newly dawning day has colored the morning sky in hues of red and gold. And there, on the balcony, you stand. A soft breeze rustles your hair; swirling the fiery curls around your face. It tugs at the train of the silver gown, defining the gentle curves of your body. It must be a dream; it is simply too perfect to be real. The backdrop of the blood red dawn behind you; the way that you seem to glow in its light.

I close my eyes, I can not bear this. I will open them in a moment and you will be gone; proof that you were no more than a vision born of guilt. Warm breath against my cheek; soft lips against mine. I know that they are yours; would know that even if I were blind.

"Eithne, I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you.", I hear myself say; as tears flow down my cheeks. You say nothing, only look up at me with those inhuman golden eyes. I expect to see hate in them; hate for what I have done to you. I see only love; love that I don't deserve. Love that I will accept without question because it comes from you. I doubted you when you promised that you would never leave me. I was wrong, I see that now. I will not make the same mistake again. I will not doubt you.

I take you in my arms, lost in the feeling of your body against mine. I have longed for this with every fiber of my being; thought that I would never again feel this. You are tired, I can feel it in the way that you slump against me. I carry you to the bed, lay you down in the center. I will sit here with you for a while, watch you sleep. There is no need for words just now. Later, we will talk of all that has passed in your absence. Perhaps even speak of my part in your death. For now, all that matters is that I don't see hate in your eyes; as I expected. You have come back to me; come back to save my soul as you always have. You will drive back the darkness; and make me whole again. That is all that matters for now.

You don't hate me Eithne, because you don't have to. I hate myself enough for the both of us.

Back To The Main Story Page