"So, it's not healed?" "No, but you can walk on it." Iñaki sighed, wrapping her wings around her still nude form. "Well, I guess it's better than it could be." She smiled warmly at her companion. "Thanks...Xan." Before they could continue with pleasant small talk, the spirit of the Demon card once again floated to them. It dropped a pelt into Xantus's hand, turning to leave. "Master Rashi says it will heal her completely." With that, the spirit took off, leaving the two staring at the pelt. "I don't care WHAT Rashi says! He's gone nuts! And until he finds his common sense, I'm not accepting anything from him!" "Well, I'm not going to throw it away." "Fine, I will." Iñaki shot a small beam at the pelt, disintegrating it as it fell from Xantus's hand. "My, my. Aren't we in a cheery mood." "Yeah, whatever. I'm going to sleep." "You seem to do that a lot." "It's the best way to escape from the nightmare of reality." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I thought I couldn't get back here anymore." "Iñaki..." Iñaki turned, surprised to find the shimmer behind her. "Sid! You're still here?" "Yes. Why wouldn't I be?" "I don't know. It's just been a long day...night...expansion of darkness." "That's understandable. I'm leaving now." "What?!" Her head shot up in surprise at the suddenness of the statement. "But, why?" "You don't remember me." "But I'm trying Sid." She sighed. "Sid...isn't even your real name..." "Well, good luck." "Sid? Sid! Sidney!" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "SIDNEIL! Don't leave me!" Iñaki sat up suddenly, turning toward the sky, her face cold. "This is all your fault! He had to DIE to prove he loved me?!" She looked to the ground, tears threatening to spill. "Where's the justice in that?" she whispered softly. Xan placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, but she shrugged it off half-heartedly. [Quit making such a fuss,] came a voice at the back of her mind. She blinked, then shook her head. [You don't need to make such a scene. You only had to say his name.] Iñaki looked up, confusion filling her features. Suddenly, the area was lit up by a burning white light. She and Xan both shielded their eyes. Iñaki had to turn away, deciding it was a good time to hiss angrily. 'What the hell...?' Silver-gray eyes looked around the quickly darkening area. He turned at a hiss, slivery-white hair flashing in the dimming light. He smiled and walked over to the girl with her back to him. "Um, excuse me, I think I'm lost. I was looking for 'Girl with Happy Aura' but seem to have stumbled upon someone else." Slowly, Iñaki turned around, disbelief in her eyes. "S-Sid?" "Oh! Iñaki, it is you! Well, you've certainly changed. You're stuttering!" "Sidney!" Iñaki lunged forward, wrapping her arms around him in a tight embrace. Xantus quirked an eyebrow, but remained silent. "Hey, what's new? Other than the dimension and traveling partner?" "A lot, actually. Xan, this is Sidney...my husband. Sid, this is Xantus, my friend and traveling companion." "Well, it's nice to meet a new face. Do you know Rashi? Oh, where is Rashi, by the way?" "Gone nuts," Iñaki mumbled. "What?" "He's not here. Don't worry about it. Not right now..." "So, something's dampening your spirits," Sidney said, eyeing Iñaki curiously. "You left something out somewhere." "Yeah, well..." She looked up at Xantus, who nodded somberly. She sighed. "Sid, I... betrayed you..." "What? How? By becoming a vampire? Oh, come on..." "No, but that's partially the reason." She turned from him. "After the damned vampire... I was in shock, and you know better than anyone what happens to my mind when I go into shock..." Sidney blinked, looking back and forth between Xantus and Iñaki. After a moment of uneasy silence, he burst out laughing, causing them to jump. "Wait, wait. Lemme get this straight... So, you became a vamp and went into shock. You came back to camp, so to speak. And the only person traveling with you is him, so..." He fell over onto his side, in an almost hysterical state. "What's so funny?" "How did you survive the night with her?!" "Sidney!" Sidney sat up, trying to calm down. "I'm sorry... but it's just... so funny. I can't believe you were worried about that!" "Well, why wouldn't I be?!" "Remember what state you were in when we first met?" He wrapped his arms around her, kissing her forehead. "Iñaki, if we let something small like that tear us apart, then we shouldn't have gotten married." "But..." "Don't worry about it. You didn't forget me, and you didn't throw the band away." "But I couldn't remember your name!" "But you do now. You couldn't remember, but you hadn't forgotten. That's the point I'm trying to make. The only way our bond could break is if one of us completely forgot the other and threw the bands away." He brought her face to look into her eyes, leaning forward to gently caress her lips with his. "Our love is stronger than that. Nothing could ever tear us apart." "Sid…"

Just: ... You contradicted me.
Kris: *shrug* Yeah.
Just: And did you just dis your own character?
Kris: Yeah, but that's their relationship.
Just: *evil grin*
Kris: Oh no. What are you gonna do?
Just: What?
Kris: The last time you grinned like that, you made my character a LESBIAN!
Just: ...So?
Kris: JUSTIN!!

Rashi looked on with wonder. He saw what seemed to be Sidniel walk into the cave. He smiled. "Doppelganger." and drew his sword. "Well...looks like its time to re-meet, Iñaki...." Rashi jumped from his ledge and headed into the cave. "Iñaki, WAIT!" Rashi stood in the doorway, holding his sword, his cloak flowing in the wind. "He’s not Sidniel. He's a doppelganger." Iñaki’s eyes widened as ‘Sidneil’s'’ narrowed. "I'm sorry, Iñaki--but Sidneil is DEAD no matter how much you want to deny it! And, you are under my guidance and I will NOT LET YOU BE HARMED!" Rashi jumped forward and threw his sword through the fake, causing its true form to be revealed. *** an hour later **** "So, you see Iñaki--I have not been killing good, I have been killing evil. This realm has been merged with the mirrored realm. Most things are reversed now.” He looked at Xantus. “This is not the same realm you came from. It has changed." He turned back to Iñaki. "The unicorn's horn was to protect you from the vampire I sensed in the area." he withdrew another unicorn horn from his messenger bag and grinded it up. He mixed it with some herbs and oils, then poured it into a cup. "Here, drink this--it will remove the vampiric part from you.” Iñaki took it, and hesitantly drank it, then fell to the ground, clutching her stomach. Rashi leaned against the wall and lit up a cigarette and watched as a dark spirit fled from Iñaki’s body. "Xantus, heal her again." Xantus did as asked, and Iñaki stood up, smiling. "I--I’m ok now..." She smiled at Rashi, and walked towards him. **SLAP** "What the hell was that for, Iñaki?!" Rashi was in awe. "How DARE YOU!!!YOU HAD ME THINK YOU WERE TOTALY OFF YOUR ROCKER!" Rashi smiled at Iñaki and sighed. "I couldn’t get a hold of you right away. I did keep an eye on you, however. I've been watching you this whole ti--" Rashi felt a tingling in the back of his mind. "I must go, Iñaki. I will rejoin you soon. Forgive me for leaving you again." he pulled Iñaki close and hugged her, then turned and ran off in the opposite direction, disappearing into the darkness....

Kris: Wow. Inaki slaps him a lot...
Just: Yeah, I've noticed...

Inaki watched as Rashi took off. As soon as he'd left, she fell to her knees, all strenght leaving her. Xan knelt by her side, a bit worried. "Inaki?" "Damnit. Damnitdamnitdamnit!!" She pounded her fists into the ground, anger filling her voice. "I HATE THIS PLACE!!" She threw herself to the ground, dry sobs wracking her throat. "I hate this place. I just... I want to go home. I want to forget everything!" She sat up and tore the band from her arm, pulling back to toss it, but stopped. She brought it back down, examining it. She shivered slightly and finally tossed the band to the ground. "I give up," she said quietly. "Sid's gone. Our love wasn't strong enough." She sighed. "I guess I'll just have to look...somewhere else..." Inaki fell to the ground beside the arm band, falling into a dreamless sleep, the first since meeting Xantus. And she welcomed it graciously.

Xantus quietly sat down against the wall, watching quietly over the sleeping Inaki. He reached out and picked up the discarded arm band, twirling it in his hand. He removed the glove from his left hand, allowing his black flesh to touch the band. A flood of memories familiar to him washed over him, and he closed his eyes. He concentrated, and the gold of the band began to wash off and mix with his skin, giving his hand a golden shimmer. A single word echoed through his head, and he smiled. He stood up and put the band and his glove into his pocket, as he knew he would need them later. He then picked up the sleeping Inaki, careful as to not let his exposed hand touch her. He carried her out of the cave, and, unfurling his wings, into the black sky. As he cradled her carefully, he touched his left hand to her forehead, and felt the single word seem to melt from him to her. . . "Sleep tight, little one," Xantus said, "You will need it where we are going."