AN: A quick short for the Advent Challenge on Live Journal. I'll be posting up all the original ones I did, but I think this one is my favorite. For those who have read Arcanus, the name Lunaria might sound familiar to you. Unbeta'd, so please forgive my grammar.

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Too Late

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She tries so hard not to look absolutely terrified at his overwhelming presence and fails. Older and yet so young, so young, that she cannot stop the step back she takes as he stands before her. Lunaria feels as if he is staring deep within her soul and she fights not to shiver.

Everything about him is darkness personified. His clothes, hair, those violet eyes encased in black orbs. They feel unyielding, unmerciful. Shadows seem to pour from his being, creating a sort of invisible miasma that one feels and fears. The only thing about him that is bright is his alabaster skin. His veins, black and dark violet, line his body. She swears they almost seem to glow.

She fights the urge to bite her bottom lip when his seem to twitch up at the ends, as if taking pleasure in her fear. He takes another step forward, raising his hand. Her breath catches and she almost screams when she feels his icy hand gently grab her wrist. Crimson eyes widen as she takes in this overwhelming, extremely powerful being. His expression reveals nothing but his eyes remain on hers.

Lips part and Lunaria can feel her chest threatening to burst, lungs needing air. Then she is distracted from her thoughts as something cool and metallic drops into her waiting hand. All too quickly he moves away, eyes narrowing briefly.

He bows slowly, smoothly. "Happy birthday, Lady Lunaria. I wish you many more." He speaks for the first time, a deep rumble that sounds slightly husky from a voice not often used. Another bow and her gaze is locked on the object in her hand as his presence slowly begins to fade.

Two silver charm bracelets are his gifts to her, but that is not what has her entranced. It is the actual charm on them, a slender blade on each. One holds a blade the color of his overwhelming presence, while the other is colored the brightest silver. In each blade is etched a single word.

"Beloved Moon."

A startled gasp escapes her when the charms turn into life-sized versions of the two swords and she stares in awe at them in her hands. The perfect balance with unimaginable power flowing from them. 'Beloved', the ebony blade, is full of his own power and it takes her a moment to sense there is something more, something deeper. Something hard and deep grips her heart when she realizes what it is.

His soul.

The other blade, 'Moon', is its polar opposite in every way. It radiates with power from her own sisters...even the ones that have remained silent for thousands of years. A blade of the finest materials, she can feel the love of siblings that she had only known for a century since her creation and yet...so much emotion.

How did he do this? Why did he do this? He was the lord of darkness, the living embodiment of a cold void. The most powerful of them all, he was feared and avoided; for good reason from what she had learned. He supposedly had no heart, no emotions, and yet as she held Beloved, everything inside of her sensed differently.

Closing her eyes, her heart began to pound wildly when all of a sudden flashes of what had transpired earlier flickered through her mind, but seen with different eyes. With eyes not clouded with rumors and others fears of the man.

The darkness that had seemed to envelope her in a cold embrace, threatening to suck out her very soul now instead felt warm and comforting. Protective. His eyes, which had seemed intimidating and unyielding now seemed mysterious with something deeper she could not decipher. When he had narrowed those unique orbs at her, she realized it had been with warmth, not agitation.

And finally, the way his lips had twitched upward for just a moment...he had smiled at her. Not with malice, but with genuine affection. According to Arian, his half brother, that was something that hadn't occurred in thousands upon thousands of years.

Guilt wracked her frame as she stood in the darkened hallway of her home, clutching the swords as tears stung her eyes. She was a lady of the moon, a creature created by the Goddess with powers over emotions and yet...she had blinded herself to what had been so completely obvious. She had so easily believed everyone's words that she had seen what she had wanted to see, a boogeyman instead of a man.

Ignoring the stares, Lunaria ran through her own home, her gown a whisper along her dark mocha skin. She tried to sense his presence but it was faint and she knew he would not remain. So she headed for the entrance. Guilt hit her harder as she remembered that he had entered through her front door. Even though he was more than powerful enough to simply 'appear' as others had, he had taken the respectful route and openly announced his presence to her.

"Goddess, forgive me."

When she found him, it was at the bottom of the steps leading to her home. He stood, his gaze locked on the planet in the sky, the planet that the goddess had created them all to protect. Standing at the threshold, the blades were now back in bracelet form, dangling from her wrists. She was panting and yet he kept his back turned to her. He knew she was there, yet he did not acknowledge her presence. Then again, should he?

With the wave of a hand a portal of pure darkness opened before him. Shadows leaked out like smoke, tendrils wrapping around their master, inviting him back home. Before she realized what she was doing, she began to close the distance.

"Kard!"

His hand lowered at his name being called and he turned; his expression as blank as it had been before. Lunaria stopped a respectful distance away, still panting, but now confused. Where before she had been able to sense his emotions as she could with others, now there truly was nothing. In fact, were she not looking at him, she wouldn't have believed he was there.

He was so...powerful. It made absolutely no sense.

When he continued to look at her calmly, heat rose to her cheeks as she realized he was waiting for her to continue. Feeling foolish and highly embarrassed, Lunaria looked down at her wrists, guilt and sadness pouring off of her in waves. A strange feeling was moving through her as she looked at 'Beloved', the blade he had given a piece of his soul to make...just for her.

"I...thank you." She finally said. "I'll treasure them always."

Cool fingers tilted her chin up. Kard tilted his head as he regarded her, taking in the sadness and guilt floating in her eyes. A thin smile emerged and a different sort of heat fanned her cheeks when his thumb slowly stroked her skin.

As the emotion quickly grew and slowly began to manifest a name for itself, she watched as his hand rose again. This time, he reached behind her head, delving into silver locks. A tug, and then the cloth covering her forehead slipped into his waiting grip. Gasping, her initial reaction was to cover her marking with her hand but he stopped her.

Pulling her hand away from the marking on her forehead – four crescent moons surrounding a full one – he took a step back, gaze intense. "Light should not be in, or with, the darkness." He says. He turns then and for a moment it seems as if he will keep the cloth she always wears. It slips through his fingers eventually to land on the ground as he walks into the portal awaiting him without another word.

So Lunaria stands there, long after he has left, her fingers brushing over the strange mark that had been given to her upon her creation. A mark that set her apart from the others, a mark that she had always been ashamed of for reasons she still did not understand.

It is not until she feels the tickling sensation along her cheeks that she realizes she is crying. It is not until then that she understands his words, his meanings, and understands just who he is. His words play in her mind over and over, the warning clear.

"Light should not be with the darkness."

She knew what it was he was truly saying, and it burned her down to her very soul. Because he was right, she knew it. She didn't know how, but she knew he was speaking the truth. Shouldn't, couldn't, don't give into temptation.

"Don't fall in love with me...like I did with you."

Falling to her knees, Lunaria buries her face in her hands.

"Too late." She whispers softly, her hand cradling the black blade on her wrist. "Beloved."