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Disclaimers: Universal/MCA/Renaissance are the proud owners think I forgot their names. Hmm...oh well, I'm sure one or two of you out there have an idea of who they might be. Anyway, whomever they are, their souls live here in the realm of fan fiction, where I think they truly belong.

Fine Print~ "Specter" is the sixth short story in the series called Apparitions of Love, even though they really aren't stories, but just exercises in subtext/maintext/supertext...whatever. Call it what you will, just keep the flames to yourself. This one is rather mild compared to the last two. Enjoy.

by Silk
copyright 1998

Once again the terror rushes through me as I sit up in my bedroll, my eyes darting out into the night but refusing to look, for the moment, at the space beside me. Unnamed fear and despair rule my soul, the spectral memories of the night cruelly torments my mind.

My hands clench into the fur beneath me, the muscles of my body straining to keep still. Ghostly images continue to flash through my mind, of a world without a soul and a love left behind. I see the real world as a dream, an unreal vision that plays with my half-asleep mind. A scream hovers on the edge of my tongue and only the fact that my mind is still frozen in partial slumber keeps me from releasing it.

Finally, after several moments, I open my weary eyes wider and turn my head, determined to discover the truth of my nightmares. A soft cry of relief escapes from me at the sight of the body curled up only a handsbreath away. I collapse back onto the ground, like a spring that has lost all tension. I'm boneless, barely holding on to life...but I'm holding onto it just the same. My strength is here beside me.

How would I survive if she were not there, I wonder.

Thankfully, she is and I softly sigh into the evening breeze, content in the knowledge that all is well in my world as I gaze over at her. I've been alone without her before and I thought my soul would die from the experience. If I lost her again...

Such reflections vanish as I watch her. Such innocence. Such determination. Such awe inspiring beauty.

Everything about her fills me. But there is one thing that drives me to distraction more than any other.

Her eyes.

They never cease to amaze me with their allure and never cease to surprise me when they look at me, seeing me through Love's veil. To her I'm a hero, a person as good as she is. I find it so hard to live up to her expectations sometimes, feeling the call of my earlier life in the darkest of moments. But when she looks at me and gives me the faintest of smiles, I find myself rejuvenated and filled with loving her. Without the light of her love to guide me, I know I would've been lost long ago. So for her, and only her, I'm the hero. Through her eyes, I see myself the way she sees me. It's an amazing gift she has, to see the good in everything and through that gift she gives the strength of conviction.

Those eyes. Just the thought of them, hidden behind sleeping lids, blanketed by long lashes, sends a flash flood of love and desire through me.

And just the thought of the love we have...sends an even more powerful force of need surging through my veins.

It's almost palatable, this love of ours, and as I sit in the darkness awash in desire, I find myself wanting to touch her. Carefully, so as not to wake her, I reach out my hand and touch the silken tresses. Even with the soft glow of the campfire nearly gone her hair leaps and dances as if ablaze like a wildfire. It seems so alive, touching me, caressing me as I run my fingers along its length. I shiver as it tickles my palm.

Carefully, I brush my fingertips along her cheek, down to her mouth and gingerly brush her bottom lip with my thumb, trying to remember all the times I've touched them. But it's impossible; too many memories...too many times have I feasted and been feasted upon by her.

The edge of her mouth twitches into a slight smile and I know she's starting to awaken. It's hard to feel guilty about it though, for when she finally opens her bright eyes and looks at me, I've found that I've forgotten everything for a moment.

The night is gone.

Dark dreams forgotten.

Everything fades as the lighter half of my soul looks into my eyes, radiating love.

Her gaze burns me to the furthest reaches of my heart.

I've fought armies and gods, but there's no weapon as destructive nor as sweet as the power of this woman's soul on mine. After all the blood I've spilled and the pain I've caused through the years, I find it a miracle that I've been gifted by her presence. I know that if I had met this woman before I had turned willingly from my dark path, I would've been defeated by her with merely a glance.

Grasping my hand in hers, she gently kisses my thumb that still rests against her lips. Then, with an impish gleam in her eyes, she moves onto my fingers and sensually nibbles them.

My heart is beating so fast and loud, that I'm surprised the owls and crickets around us aren't startled into silence by the sound. Smiling back at her, I turn over, resting part of my body against hers and using my free arm to hold the rest of me above her.

Her lips part and her tongue darts out to stroke two of my fingers, then draws them into the wet cavern of her mouth. My eyes briefly flutter closed as the sensation of her tongue caressing my fingers, dipping in between and around, begins to drown me in a warm tide of sensuality.

No specter could be as passionate. No apparition of demon dreams could love me this way. No illusion could be...this real.

A low guttural moan escapes my lips and she releases my fingers from her mouth with a sweet parting kiss.

"I love you," I whisper, my voice cracking slightly.

Without answering she takes control of my body, running her hands hotly down my sides, her touch only constrained by the linen nightshirts we wear. Then, before I can even begin to fumble at the fastenings, they're gone as she pulls mine and then her own off of us. When we are finally naked to the world and to each other, she pulls me back down to her, our warm flesh touching from entwining legs to sensitized breasts.

No specter this. No fiery death threatens except the one I'll find in her arms.

Wrapping her fingers in my hair she pulls me down to devour me. Warm breath, sweet wetness...we merge. Twisting and stroking, our tongues dance and caress.

As we swim in this bliss called love, our hands restlessly explore, touching aching flesh, stroking heated skin, and sliding into slickness. Our bodies coil like snakes around each other, each of us trying to meld deeper into the other. Pleasure both consumes and pains us. No matter how much we try or will it, we can't become one. But oh...we come close to that Elysian perfection.

Breath comes faster the closer we both come to the edge of bliss. Eyes meet, both of us silently begging for release at the same moment. She is more than real to me this way, more alive, no longer screaming in my horrible dreams. Instead, she becomes ingrained deeply in me. Her breath quickens in my lungs. Her blood beats in my heart. Her thoughts race through my mind. Her strength burgeons in my arms. Her passion feeds my soul. She becomes all to me.

Even after we cry out and fall back to the mortal realm and the night's breeze does its best to cool our bodies, the flame of our passion is still too great to be so easily quenched. With a sly smile she lifts her head from my chest and looks down at me with that smoldering gaze I know so well. Wordlessly, she slides her body slightly up mine and lowers her warm lips to mine once more. My hands glide along her silken skin to grasp her more firmly to me.

I want so much...need...soul, wrenching, aching need to merge, to be one with this woman. But even at the pinacle of passion, even the melding of our souls doesn't seem enough. I crave more and at times like this one, when our passion blossoms out of control, I can feel the same desire radiate from her.

The flame between us bursts into a wildfire, then into a firestorm of desire when her lips part and her slick tongue glides against mine. I feel so much for this person in my arms that I fear I'll die from it. How can anyone live with such passion and not be burned alive, like a moth that knowingly flies into the fire. I'm weak in her grasp and have no defense against such love she brings to me.

It's at this moment, when I feel something...change. Under my lips and my touch, she begins to feel less substantial. My lover looks down at me with pleading eyes as I look back in surprise. What is this? My hand no longer touches her; instead it caresses only air. I'm frozen in shock, stunned at what my eyes tell me but what my mind doesn't, or won't, understand.

She whispers my name faintly just before a cool breeze sweeps over us and blows her away. The woman I love, whose voice echoes in the depths of my soul, disappears as if she's never been.

My heart screams and I abruptly sit up in my bedroll, my eyes opening and immediately searching for her. As my lungs take in huge breaths and bellow out again, I feel a terrible sense of loss. What is this? Am I only dreaming? I turn my gaze to the space beside me and my heart constricts at the sight.

It's empty...and has been for days.

I blink several times as my mind tries to separate substance from dream. Then it comes to me, the truth in all its harsh reality.

Her smile is gone from my world. Her eyes won't be there to look into mine with desire. Soft touches, a sparkling laugh, her stories...all a memory, taken away in a moment of self-sacrifice. The light in my soul is gone as surely as she is. She was only a vision in my dreams...a specter.

I can see in my mind's eye the color of spring green gazing into mine as she falls to her fiery end. Night sounds fade as I hear her scream my name and I wipe the tears from my face. How many lonely days and nights have passed since that dreadful day? I shiver from the knowledge. Too long...even one day was far too much. An eternity has passed with every pulse of my heart that has beaten alone.

The only hope...the only vision I survive on now is one of the future. A possibility, an apparition of love. But then my heart howls and my spirit cries in grief. Here, alone in the dark of night, I think that perhaps there was no dream and there will be no future. Perhaps she was only an illusion created to destroy me.

I've searched and searched, but she's nowhere to be found. She lives only in my dreams, haunting me with her eyes and possessing my memories with the last time she cried my name.

There's no anger, no fury...just loneliness. Deep, soul dissolving, loneliness.

I sink back onto my bed furs and close my eyes against the emptiness that fills me. The night is almost gone before I begin to uneasily drift into the mists of sleep again. I try and keep with me the sight of her caressing my body and her bright soul merging with mine in love, and I pray, to any god that will listen, that I will awaken to a better dream.

The End


Not much to say this time, except that I'm glad the fourth season has finally started. I just hate cliffhangers.

Warlord in Training - Card carrying Union member even.
Have Katiepult. Will throw stones at the SNL writers for a Twinkie.
"Bard? Where? You must be seeing an apparition."

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