A/N: Please ignore the lack of editing. As soon as NaNoWriMo is over, I'll be able to address that more thoroughly.

The Red of the Sun

Chapter Three

She's so calm laying there, so peaceful and pure. How can she really be on of us? She's too kind, too giving, too concerned with others. Really, how could she have healed the blazing idiot that tried to kill us? She knows better. Mary is not a stupid woman, but her gift leads her with a blindness that is appalling. If there's someone or something hurt or distressed, their beleaguered souls call out to her nonstop until she fixes whatever is wrong. She described it to me once as a waterfall of voices, roaring in her mind constantly, a din she couldn't escape. But a way was found. Out here in the country, there's so few of us that it doesn't roar. It rarely speaks and she is so content. She has said though, that where the voices are so rare now it only makes them echo louder in her mind when they do flare to life.

Michael can't imagine being leveled with that sort of gift. It would drive him crazy in mere moments. He doesn't handle stress well and he doesn't like to be disturbed. He can't imagine how she has managed to stay sane all these long years. Mary is a very strong woman indeed.

He had been furious yesterday, when he'd felt her calling him. He'd hastened to the bottom of the hill, near the darkened forest, only to find her healing the very same man he'd only hours before sent to die. All he'd done to protect their little family had been for naught. And Michael still felt betrayed. How could she? He'd allowed himself to be closer to her than any of the others. Many a night, he had sought her company, hoping for a friendly game and open conversation. She made him feel real, alive, and now that trust had been shattered. Opening himself to others had always led to heartache, so why had he chosen to be stupid now? Pushing her away had proved harder than he'd thought though. Even in his anger, it was difficult, forcing her soft body away from him, turning her caring smile into a cold, reserved frown. But she'd brought the whole thing on herself. He knew it was hard for her, but she had made her choice, the lives of others over him, and now they'd both have to live with it.

"Michael," the soft sleepy murmur from the bed froze him in his tracks. Had she seen him, hiding where he was in the shadows?

"Oh Michael," her voice rang against him, still soft, still sleepy, barely intelligible and sending shivers down his spine. Something he'd always hoped to hear, longed to cause, and now it didn't matter. Couldn't matter.

Sleep still claimed her, that glorious red hair tossed from side to side as she mumbled, caught in the throes of her dreams. She was beautiful, absolutely amazing, taking his breath and offering only sadness in return. They could never be. He would not choose a mate that didn't place him above the well-being of total strangers.

"Michael, Michael, please don't do this," she moaned, thrashing within her nest of blankets, tossing and turning and arguing with the figures of Morpheus. "Please Michael, don't leave me."

What? What? What had she said? The little wench had the nerve to beg for him as she violated the trusts he'd placed in her. He needed to leave, to get out of here, to get away from all that had been lost. His long, leather clad legs drew him swiftly to her door. A shaking hand grasped the knob, turning and pushing slowly. The old hinges gave way with little resistance, one slight screech bouncing harmlessly down the hallway. He strode quickly to the back door, needing air, needing escape, needing to leave behind feelings that never should have been. Dammit! If he'd left her be these past years, then he would not be in this mess.

Black coattail flapping behind him, he sped away from the house, down through the dewy grass of the fields, heading for the only place that gave him solace. The dark forest, the frightening beasts, the hauntings of days long past. There he could be free, free to fight the evil within, free to rage and destroy, free to lose all his pain and once again emerge cold, frozen. He'd visited this place rarely, the opportunity to pour out his pain not often needed, but tonight, tonight this desolate place would receiving a lashing that would linger for decades to come.

His body fed on the lingering traces of light surrounding him, drawing the very traces from the broken down trees littering his path. All thing held the energy of the sun, the only difference being in what quantity. He pulled with all of his power, draining things only barely clinging to life and not caring of the consequences. If they couldn't survive one night without the sun's healing energy, they didn't deserve to live at all. His body thrummed, the liquid heat flooding him made his veins sing and soon the very tips of his fingers were twitching, itching to pour the all consuming power out.

As Michael neared the glen not far from his calm meadows, he pointed one bony and the frisson of heat drove up his body, encasing his brain before flaring out his fingertips. Tree after tree lit the night, flaming to life and burning before him. He commanded the droplets of light, floating in the air above him to form and seek, calling their strikes of power down on the unsuspecting limbs surrounding him. The fires roared, his passionate rage almost spend and his lips curled back into a smile, teeth bared and throat choking on laughter. Everything was how it should be once again, only the dead could feel his emotions, and those dying trees had borne it well.

As the smell of charred wood filled his nostrils, coating his clothes and hair in smoky remnants, the grin faded. Pulling inward, he buried everything that had been there an hour before and felt his icy composure push to the front, swallowing all else in its determination. His soul went dormant, slumbering in its lair, waiting for the next event that would call it forth. Hopefully that would never happen.

Long legs drew him out of the beaten forest once more, the whisperings of all its dark inhabitants fading away as their curses bounced off his back. He could care less what they thought. They were cowed, outdone, and knew it. Crossing the meadow quickly, he reached the sleeping house once more. His bed awaited and he made his way there quickly. It was time for rest. He was at peace and life was settled, all those feeling back in their places once more. He would wake at dawn, and everything leading to this night might never have been. Michael would think no more on it, the events settled, battled and forced from him. Life would go back to its former, barren normal.

A/N: Please review and let me know what you think. Thank you very much for reading!