AUTHOR: *throws confetti into the air* Finished the last chap to the Fallen Angel!!!!!! And our exams are OVER! Hahaha! I'm sooo happy :D

Disclaimer: I own the story & the characters Warning: see earlier chappies

To Siond: Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu! Thank you very much for reviewing my fic again! I'm very sorry that this chap does not answer many of the questions (that I mercilessly presented :p) but I have finally decided to write a sequel even w/o the expected responses, (I think not right away. I'm busy with other stuff too.) Hoping for your continued support!

To Eve of Silver Moon: Thank you, thank you for reviewing ^_________^ I'm really happy that you read & appreciated my story! This is the chap where all the romance comes in! (or where I attempted to write one)

I guess it's time to get on with the chap, I'll stop my rambling now, okay ^_~

CHAPTER 8: acceptance

"Wake up!" He shook her sweaty body slightly and for the first time in her three-day coma she responded. Her eyelids flew open. Kashiro sighed in relief that at last her nightmare had ended.

"You alright, Khamari?" The tanned hands released its grip on the pale wrists. His azure eyes lingered for a minute on those red, crimson, -blank eyes? Yes, they were blank. One of the dullest eyes Kashiro had set his sights upon. They lost the fire, the energy that characterized Khamari. And this made Kashiro nervous; shaking her one last time to lit the fire of passion he often caught in those orbs. Still she made no move, the empty stares silently mocking him in his futile attempts.

Kashiro no doubt recognized her lifeless looks. He just couldn't remember from where and when did he saw it. As he busied himself in retrieving a past memory a dangerous hand locked his left arm in a death grip. The brown-haired lad winced in pain; the sharp nails sinking deeper and deeper into his willing flesh drawing blood. Letting go of Khamari's wrists was a very bad idea.

Then in the middle of their struggle the answer finally hit him. It was in the fight with Miyo when he saw those eyes. Eyes that conveyed hatred, revenge, they were the personification of Khamari's even darker side. His suspicions were held true when the uncontrollable girl shouted her manic war cry.

"I will kill you!! Don't you dare avoid this fight, witch!!!" With a hard tug Kashiro was able to pull his arm out. But the damage has been done, his crimson essence dripped down from his arms to the bamboo floor. He once again tried to pin the raven-haired's frame to the ground only to be given a violent shove that carried his body to the other side of the hut.

"Wait! Khamari listen to me!!" The fallen wizard called out to the mad lass, her naked feet venturing towards the village. It was no use. Kashiro laid his drained form against the wooden walls and with renewed determination stood up on his wobbly legs.

"I won't let you go this time... " He ran outside the safety of the hut with his injuries unattended.

**********************************************************************************

A lone shadow traveled across the now empty village. The small figure took tiny steps, wondering where all the people had gone.

//Someone is headed this way, a strong creature threatening the well being of this island. // A gruff voice spoke out from the heart of the shadow.

"Threatening Chrussé? " The lonely figure trembled in evident fear as the thin lips uttered its surprise to the voice speaking from inside.

//You don't have to be scared. //

"I have the right to. I am weak and... "

//You are not weak. Have you forgotten that I am your old self? If I am strong then you are strong too. Not unless you have any question about my strength. //

"No, no. I don't doubt your strength. I just want to know why are we separated. My only worry is the villagers have started to think I am crazy, always talking to myself. "

//You just worry too much. Look, we have to be separated like this because your body is too young for me -a thousand year old spirit. But we are the same I am telling you! // A smile grazed the features of the silhouette

// Understand? Now let's get on with our duty. //

"Yes"

******************************************************************************

Of course, Khamari had no idea what she was doing in the real world. Even though her body had awaken from its dream state her mind was still trapped in the pseudo-reality that Zebele had created. There her rage had been pushed to the max because of the conjured image of the lady that cursed her.

Why can't I hurt her?! Am I still not strong enough?

She kept on lunging forward, blindly slashing in the darkness. The faint outline only glided away from her, its dull gray eyes glinting in mockery.

Don't try to escape! I will kill you!

She ran deeper into the spell of darkness, drowning in the pool of her own hate.

*****************************************************************************

"Expect that from Kashiro! He never gives up." Whined the voluptuous woman, flipping back her long braid of mousse-colored hair while she leaned on the hard wall. Her forehead was wrinkled in deep thought as her mind's eye probed the events in Chrussé.

"What do I have to do to get that stinky girl away from him?" She pulled out four deadly daggers and began to juggle them carelessly between her hands.

"Why are you exhausting your powers?" The green-eyed woman expertly caught all four daggers and hid them as her master reappeared along with his two most loyal minions, an elderly black dragon and a human-incarnated one.

"Master Zebele, I was just... "

"Eavesdropping, Nami? What about this stinky girl?" Cold steel eyes hovered before her. Nami fell down before him, hugging his knees.

"It's Khamari! Please master let me kill her. I'll be willing to give you anything just... " A hard kick suddenly nudged her face. Nami stared at Zebele in shock.

"Don't even think about doing it!" The usually passive man stretched one pale hand to engulf Nami's neck, slowly lifting her clear off the ground.

//Master, stop it!// the elderly dragon shouted at the leader of their clan but the raven-haired man gave no heed to his words.

"You may offer me comfort in bed but I will not think twice in removing your immortality if ever you lay a finger on her!"

"I-I'm sorry... No it... –it will certainly not happen." Zebele finally released her. Nami lied still on the floor; her body was trembling at the thought of her immortality being taken away.

"Scared of going back to being the helpless little Mian?" The human-incarnated dragon jeered at the shaken woman, stepping forward from behind Zebele with his platinum shoulder length hair swinging along his back. Nami in return glared at his gray eyes that all of the black dragons seemed to possess.

"Ivar... Mian is long dead." She shot back.

"What I don't understand is why master's protecting the girl even though he practically caused all of her so-called sufferings?" She looked up hopefully at Zebele for the answer but he only turned his back on her and walked away.

//She is one of us yet also one of our enemy.// the wise dragon said.

"Say something in human language, old man! I hate it when you use ancient tongue!" The dagger-wielding Nami struggled to get up, wiping a trickle of blood on her lip.

"What the Grand Dragon said was Khamari is a child of the Black Dragon clan yet she is the offspring of our enemies as well. Poor Zebele, how strong he may be he is still torn between duty and love." Ivar extended a harmless hand to help Nami but she ignored it.

"The master had never been this concerned about the other members of the clan. What is she to him anyway?" She got to her feet and directed her voice to the Grand Dragon.

"Feeling a little jealous?" He again received another one of her death glares. Ivar smiled inwardly at the sight of her beautiful, anger-filled green orbs.

"So are you. What is she to him?" The woman now regarded both creatures, silently awaiting their answers.

"The winged-girl is Zebele's daughter."  

*************************************************************************

Her senses began feeling faint, her system slowly breaking down from emotional exhaustion. The pale body collapsed on the dusty ground, the weight of her body crumpling the pair of black wings. She was tired. All the strenuous activity the unhealed body underwent had finally taken its toll. But her maddening hatred, Khamari's eternal hate wouldn't let her go. Its power was so overwhelming that even if she was drained physically it urged her to open up those unseeing bloodshot eyes, continue on the blind pursuit, following what had been the driving force in her life. Kill the evil Witch of Atlantis. And because of this hate her sight had been clouded, her judgments not accurate to realize that the infuriating figure was only a trick of light, a mere illusion.

Still lying on her back Khamari's eyes shot upwards, not knowing that now they rested on a certain portion of the sky. That area of heaven had begun turning dim for it was way past sunset, the last rays of the sun had long disappeared into the oblivion of outer space only to be replaced by stars. However she didn't notice the quick passing of time for she had not escaped the hold of the dream realm. She also didn't notice the earth-shaking footsteps coming towards her, footsteps that belonged to the guardian of Chrussé. He stopped before the dreaming Khamari and raised a blade-embedded elbow above her, its surface reflecting a beam of moonlight.

//I will not wake you from your sweet dream. Continue it forever and leave this island in peace.//

***********************************************************************************

"Where are you?"

Kashiro's eye caught a harsh glint of a blade a few meters away from him and quickly realized that the blade's helpless target was none other than Khamari. With a fresh burst of speed he ripped across the dusty road, laying his person between the deadly weapon and its chosen victim, hugging the unfeeling girl to him dearly as if holding onto his lifeline. Closing his eyes shut he quietly anticipated the blade; nothing came. Instead what he felt was a sudden release of energy from within, an aura of white light covering him and prevented the blade from going any nearer.

//What's happening??!!!// The hulking persona of the guardian retreated his weapon, alarmed at the guest that had just interrupted his task. Kashiro was equally surprised too. While still holding Khamari on his left arm he held his glowing right hand under the intense scrutiny of sky blue orbs.

//Who is he? Why did I not sense his power earlier?// He observed the brown-haired boy from a safe distance, watching as an eerie glow emanated from the boy's thin build. Equipped with battle-hardened fists and flesh-imbedded knives, and accompanied with fierce keen eyes roughly framed by a wild mane of honey brown hair, Kashiro's physique was nothing compared to the mass of muscles the guardian's body was made up of. Yet the creature couldn't help but let a shiver of fear run through his spine. Something was at work here, a force so ancient it had existed long before him.

The unconscious girl gave a slight squirm in the warmth of Kashiro's embrace.

"I must stay..." Illuminated arms struggled to prop up both bodies into an upright position but failed.

"... and protect her. I must." He winced at the pounding ache in his chest. The blue-eyed lad was confused at the different sensations felt by his body, the numbness of his skin at an unknown release of energy and the pain hammering on his heart.

"I must take her away.... We must leave... " His orbs darkened with an uncertain emotion as he settled them on the stoic face cradled in his arms, taking note of its blank expression and bloodshot eyes. The throbbing pain relentlessly racked his fragile spirit. The pale features blurred before him, his eyesight at last surrendering to the dizziness now taking hold of his fast disintegrating consciousness.

//Anyhow, I should not worry over him. He's quickly losing his strength.// Noted the scheming guardian as Kashiro got knocked down, joining the raven-haired girl in her dreamscape.     

"The light... ", Khamari mumbled, " ...I see it..."

****************************************************************************************

        Deep inside the darkness Khamari caught a glimpse of it, a pinprick of light shining like a lone star within a background of infinite gloom. She lifted her arms in a gesture to shield off some of the brightness that was too much to her unaccustomed eyes. And for the first time in hours her attention was diverted away from the ghostly picture of the Witch of Atlantis.

"Light? In here?"

The light, it seems so far, unreachable yet...

Familiar. The beams are welcoming and serene. Even in its distance from me the rays never fails to make me feel warm.

Warmth.   

Her bare feet traveled along the nonexistent ground, arms now moving freely about her sides after she had grown used to the tiny brightness. The Witch of Atlantis stood forgotten at the back of the twilight world.

Warmth, a stranger in this coldness, an alien in my life; it feels good to have this again.

Warmth, it makes me feel important and cared for.

In warmth...

I feel loved.

~tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug~

Khamari halted at the echoing of a heartbeat, confusing it with the heavy and irregular one she had heard from her previous dream.  But this was different and after listening to it for a minute she felt serene again.

The heartbeat, each pound evenly spaced, light and calm. Who could've owned such noble heart to produce these sounds?

~tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug  tug-dug~

I heard this somewhere before.

One pale hand reached out to lay itself at the left part of Khamari's chest, keeping track of it's own pulse.

My heart, it's beating at the same rate, resonating with the pounding of this stranger's heart. Who are you? Are you here to help me?

While still basking in the tenderness of the light and immersed in the resonating of heartbeats a thought unraveled in Khamari's mind.

"If I'm light then maybe I can pull you in with me."

No. Is this stranger...? Is it him? Is it...

Kashiro

"No..." Khamari took a step back as all confirmed her suspicion. The light, the warmth, the tenderness, all seems to personify Kashiro himself.

Why haven't I realized it before? Kashiro, he is the light. If I get too close I will...

She backed further away from the light source, the music of uniting pulses have grown fainter as she did so, her heart beat refusing to keep up with the tempo of Kashiro's. An unacknowledged fear started filling her. Her fear was neither for the darkness, the witch nor for herself.

Khamari feared for the safety of Kashiro.

She feared that she might not control herself and harm him in the process.

Damn... I allowed myself to grow attached to this person. It's my entire fault. I let him get too near... too close. But there is enough time. I can still find a solution before an unwanted consequence happens. 

And taint his pure light.

"But it's the light that you refuse to see, the lending hand that you avoid to hold. Why do you worry so much about my well being when it is my decision to do all this? " Echoed Kashiro's voice in the recesses of Khamari's sub-conscious.

"Don't you try to go inside my mind!" She shouted in reply, clutching her head between two sweaty palms.

Why is he speaking inside of me?! He doesn't understand... He is the only one left, the last one. I need to get away. I need to...

"You need to kill me..." came the voice of the illusion, reappearing in front of her to demand Khamari's stolen attention.

"You need to kill me to get back to normal, right? Why don't you do it then? Why can't you kill me?" The witch continued. With this she had been successful in bringing back the girl's seething resentment.

"Yes, the only solution is to kill you. Then, I don't have to fear myself accidentally harming the important people around me ever again!" Khamari aimed a fist towards the apparition but was stopped by the voice inside her.

"It was not your curse that urged you to kill. It was your hate. Your hatred had blinded you long ago and it's blinding you again now!"

I told you already to go away! I don't want you to get involved in this.

"I will not give up. If you can't see with your own eyes I'll lend you mine. Then see the world in my perspective." 

The miniscule ray suddenly grew in size, until it lighted the whole sinister world of Khamari, drowning out the mocking apparition of her enemy, engulfing her drained body in the warmth and light she had long longed for. The beating of her heart once again twisted with Kashiro's in unison. And the music of their pulses led Khamari's mind back to the gates of reality where her nightmare ends.

***********************************************************************     

//How kind of you to faint at a time like this! This would make my job of killing any potential invaders easier!// The protector of Chrussé confidently strode to the unconscious pair, ready to finish them once and for all when the boy's hand twitched.

 //Sorry but I will not give you another chance to fight back this time. Nothing personal young boy, just doing my job.// This time the guardian rushed with plans to use all available blades equipped by his body to kill the two in one blow.

"Nothing personal either." Kashiro spun around and met the blades of his enemy with a blade of his own.

//A sword made of light?!?// The creature stared at Kashiro in mystification. The coating of light on his enemy's skin had only grown stronger that his eyes would hurt at trying to discern him too much.

//Who are you? Why have you come here?// Azure eyes met the guardian in calm regard.

//I asked for your name! Answer me!// He attacked yet again but was effectively blocked by Kashiro's sword of light.

//You can't protect that girl forever! She is dangerous! She will utterly destroy you!// The guardian pointed out, referring to Khamari that was still embraced by Kashiro's free arm.

"I have promised to help her and that includes protecting her with my life." The light-covered lad slashed at the crack of his opponent's defense and was rewarded by a small moan of pain from the other.

//I guess it is time to stop playing games now. You are quite good for someone so young, knowing your sword work and can understand the ancient language so well. But... // The colossal figure shuffled a short distance back, grinning with admiration for the boy.

//...I cannot risk being seen by the villagers. So I'll finish this off nice and easy.// He raised his hands, palms facing the night sky.

//Lightning, come!// Something tore across the clouds and quickly made its way towards the ground, striking both Kashiro and Khamari. The guardian turned on his heels happily and started to walk away.

//That should take care of them.//

//I think not.// He turned around in correspondence to that voice speaking the ancient dialect and his fierce eyes widened in surprise.

//You are still alive?? No human can survive that attack!!// Before him was an unharmed Kashiro, faithfully protected by a column of light that included him and the winged girl. But something had greatly changed in him that the guardian couldn't pinpoint which.

//Who said I was human?// The light dimmed a little, allowing the humongous monster to peek into Kashiro's seemingly changed features. Then the guardian saw it, an extra eye in the boy's forehead and the sudden lengthening of his brown hair.

//A third eye!!! What creature are you?? Introduce yourself.// He felt the shivers along his spine intensify as the now ice-cold orbs stared at him with an eerie expression.

//I am a proud member of the Clepsydran race. My name is Cian, 99th prince of the Clepsydra Kingdom.//

//I haven't heard of such race of people.//

//But we have heard of you. You are the guardian of Chrussé, and also the appointed protector of the scroll of life and death.//

//So you are here for the scrolls eh? The Mistress gave it for me to protect and protect it I shall! Lightning, come!// Again lightning obeyed and appeared in the heavens.

//Tricks used twice won't work on me.// As the sparks came rushing towards him he held out a hand and reflected them back to its summoner, reinforcing it with a beam of light.

//NOOOOO!// The reflected energies hit their target perfectly, creating an earth-shaking explosion at its immediate contact. Cian, the prince, stood rooted on his spot, obviously unfazed by the defeat of his enemy.  

        Kashiro?

A pair of garnet orbs flickered to life, instantly looking up at a different version of the Kashiro it knew so well. A pale bruised hand rubbed newly opened eyelids, once, twice, then again resolved to looking back at the owner of warm blue eyes.

Did I just imagine it? A second ago I swear I saw Kashiro with long hair and a third eye.

"What happened?" She asked softly. The brown-haired boy shook his head as if he had just gotten out of a dream.

"I'm not sure... All I remember is there is this creature trying to kill you. Me, using a sword of light after that... Maybe I got knocked out. The monster is gone too." He answered truthfully.

"Oh"

"I am glad you are finally awake, Khamari." At the near proximity of Kashiro's voice, Khamari became suddenly aware of the closeness of their bodies and the arm embracing her tired frame.

Warmth...

It was his warmth after all...

But it might be a slip-up, maybe this is the heat that prompted me to slay my own mother.

I can easily mistake the heat for warmth right? And if I stayed in this position any longer...

"Let me go." The pale girl snappily said, averting her eyes away from Kashiro's face.

"You are already exhausted. I'll be happy to carry you back to the hut."

"I said let me go! Take your hands off! Don't you understand the situation?" She now gazed up on his face, eyes silently pleading.

"I understand the situation perfectly. It is you who doesn't." The red orbs blazed when it caught sight of the wounds in both Kashiro's cheek and arm.

"Look what I did to you! I only hurt you! If this continues I might actually... "

"Hush for a minute. Do you think I will go after you if I do not trust you with my life?" His clear sapphire orbs locked with the blazing garnet that is Khamari's.

But I do not trust myself not to kill you.

"From the moment I swore many years ago I already know what was at stake. I have accepted who you are, Khamari. Why won't you accept me?"

It's not that...

"That's not it, I accept who you are."

"Then accept my help for once. Stop running away." Kashiro flung two arms around the pale girl and embraced her securely.

Why am I feeling this?

Am I running away from him?

Am I running away from this feeling?

"Now that I've caught you I won't let you run away again. Although I can run a few miles more it's getting lonely living alone, don't you think?" Came the soft voice in her ear.

Yes, it's lonely. The garnet orbs glanced at the pale full moon in its ethereal beauty.

The full moon is my witness.

"Kashiro..."

"I don't want to hear anymore objections from you. Tonight, get some real sleep. For I'll stay by your side." His strong hands cradled Khamari into a comfortable sleeping position.

"Kashiro..."

"What is it?"

" ...thank you..." Beneath the starlit night sky and held tenderly by sturdy arms Khamari snuggled comfortably, the strong regular heartbeat of Kashiro lulling her softly to sleep.

"Good night, my fallen angel."

A/n: That was the longest chapter I've ever written!! @ I've started this a long time ago but well I'm a bit lazy so hehe this got out a bit late. Thanks also go to cze for reviewing! Thank you for taking time to read and review ^_^

The sequel may not be posted right away but I'll be happy if you support it too.  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!