title: Another Day (Feb.05)
author: Lady Charena
fandom: Kung Fu - the legend continues
codes: P/P, PG-15 (past-Destiny)
archive: TOSTwins - others just ask

sum: Caine is haunted by a nightmare.

Disclaimer: This story's mine, but I do not intend to touch the  rights of the owner of the characters from KF-TLC I've used. No moneymaking, no offence meant. Lyrics belong to L'ame Immortelle.

More P/P stories from me and my friends at the Dragon's lair -->
http://tostwins.slashcity.net


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
...as the silence fades away
I gather strength to another day
Another day I've to go through
Another day here, without you...
(L'ame Immortelle)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


I. The Quest

My eyes open to a familiar view. I stand at the shore of the clear lake, where the hills raise towards the plateau with the ruins of the temple, the setting sun gliding them with a soft orange glow.

A gust of cool air blows through my hair, tugs at my clothes, bringing with it a scent somehow familiar - candle wax and incense - and something else. Something that speaks of fire and bloodshed. Of death. After a moment the smell begins to fade and I lift my head to catch the last lingering traces. Then it is gone. The light is rapidly fading and the scent does not come again.

I need... something. Something that was once in this place and now is not. Something once owned and now lost. Something cherished. Something holy. Something beyond any price. And it is not here.

Why is it not here, when I need it so desperately?

A quest then.

I run towards the ruins of the temple.

* * *

Between the remains, still blackened from the fire, the scent of blood strikes. The sight of dark red blotches staining the barren earth makes my step almost falter. Passing through the debris, I see familiar faces etched into broken walls and columns...

A beam of red sunlight comes through a hole in the ceiling, and paints an image of my father onto one of the still standing pillars. He is turning away from me. I blink once and it is gone - replaced by a picture of... Serena, hugging Maia tight to her body, she stands at a window, starring into nothingness. Suddenly her face changes and Teresa looks at me, a brush in her hands, instead of a child. I turn away from it, blindly picking my way through. A wall stops me and as I touch the cold stone, its surface blurs and wavers like the surface of a lake and I see the smiling face of old Ping Hi imprinted. Shying away, I turn to my right, where a broad flight of steps lead toward the big courtyard.

Taking the first two steps, I almost falter and stop. Crumbled on the floor, at the feet of the steps, my Laura lies, a child with Peter's eyes clutched in her arms. Gathering all my strength I move towards her - but the moment before I reach her, she vanishes and our child with her.

I wish I could cry for her... for all of them, but I have forgotten how to do so.

Before me, the ground is littered with bodies... Priests and students, who left the temple a long time before it burned down. Other Priests and students, who were killed, when Dao attacked the temple. The children... So many of them. I knew each life. Each death. Clad in gray and all so very young. Friends, I have got to know during my years of wandering.

With each one I pass by, the tears I have forgotten how to weep, coil tighter in my chest. A weight that presses against my heart and threatens my ability to breath.

I search for what I need in this field of death, but it is not here and I go on. Leaving the ruins behind, a empty No-Man's-Land emerges. Urgency overtakes me, a sense that time is slipping away, retreating like the tide from a shore and soon there will be nothing I can do to find what I need. I start to run, while inside my body a voice screams 'faster' with the promise of pain to come...

Backlit against the setting sun, figures without recognizable features appear - but clearly readable expressions: ignorance, distrust, suspicion, fear - and even hate. Feelings... shadows... that start attacking me. I fight them the best I can, with trust as well as with love.

Suddenly it is over, the circle of attacking shadows fades away - all, but one.

Dao...Tan.

He stands there, arms folded in front of his chest, his eyes veiled with dark glasses. His harsh, bitter laughter fills the air. "I have hurt you, Kwai Chang Caine and I want to go on hurting you... forever."

I blink and Dao is gone.

I can sense there is little time left, the dark of night streaks rapidly in. A night without stars. So I set up running, ignore the aching of my legs and arms and the voice inside, still screaming to move faster.

Again the landscape changes and I stand in my son's apartment. The door to his bedroom is wide open and as I go inside, I see Peter lying on his bed. He is naked, curled up into a fetal manner, arms clutched around his head. Abandoned and hurt. Dying. I know it even before I am at his side. With horror I see marks blossom on his marble skin, scattered across his body like seeds blown by the wind. That they do not bleed, makes it worse somehow, for blood can hide wounds as well as reveal.

I take his hands, gently pulling his arms down, revealing the angry red brands at his lower arms. Peter's eyes open, but they do not speak to me, lifeless like black stone. Around us a wave of heat rises, flames flicker and I hear the roaring sound of not so distant explosions, screams of terror and destruction - leaving me cold and shivering.

I reach for Peter, take him in my arms, hold him close to my body. How many times will he have to die? How many times will I have to watch him die?

No. Not this time. Not his life alone will be taken.

The flames close around us, but I hold on to my child. To my soul.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
When I hold you in my arms
The silence, that I did evade
Turns into voices screaming joy
And my pain to rest is laid
(L'ame Immortelle)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


II. The Awakening

Still shivering, the last images of the nightmare fading away, I sit up and free myself from the sweat soaked blanket I have become entangled with. Only gradually my breath and the wild flutter of my heart decreases.

I get up, will my hands to stop trembling and light a few candles, as if their light could banish the pictures lingering in my mind. A nightmare... I had nightmares before, especially after the destruction of the temple and Peter's dead. Why do they return?

Taking some deep, clearing breaths, I decide against trying to sleep more right now. Instead I wrap myself in a robe, take my flute and walk out onto the balcony. Sitting down on the railing, I try to loose myself in their meditating sounds, but fail. So I simply sit and watch the nightly sky, dotted with stars.

A gentle breeze plays with my hair, brushes my face like the featherlike caress of a lover.

It is not an unpleasant sensation, but it reminds me of the dream and I involuntarily shiver. Slowly, one by one, the pictures return. The faces on the walls of the temple ruin... the shadows.... Tan. I will hear his words into eternity, even dead he still haunts me.

I remember telling Peter that sometimes a dream... is only a dream.

But tonight I find it difficult to heed my own advice.

I close my eyes. Almost instantly my memories replay the last scene... Peter and I, surrounded by flames... their heat sears my skin, while I stare down onto the bruised, dying body of my child in my arms.

"Pop? You alright?"

First I think my son's voice became somehow part of the dream, but then I open my eyes and see Peter lean against the French doors. "Peter! What is wrong, my son?"

"I'm fine. But to be frank, you look like hell." He moves to stand in front of me. "You didn't know I was here, did you? I've been standing at the door more than five minutes."

His gaze drops to my hands and I, too, look down. My fingers clutch my flute hard enough for the knuckles to turn white. I release the instrument and a sharp, tingling sensation shoots through both my arms as blood circulation is restored. "Why did you choose this late hour to visit me?"

Peter gingerly takes the flute from my hands. "I help Kermit with a case, and we did some surveillance work at a guy, a murder suspect. We followed him across town half of the night, with no result. So when I was on my way home, I suddenly felt something..." he shrugs. "...strange. Like you... like you needed me. You know, I'm getting better at fine-tuning you, since we..." His fingers travel leisurely, almost caressing, over the smooth surface of the instrument.

I reach for Peter and lay my hand over his, still his fingers. "I know." His gaze meet mine and I read the concern in his eyes. "I am sorry if I caused you distress, Peter. It was only an... unpleasant dream."

Peter smiles, but the amusement does not reach his eyes. "A nightmare, Pop? Wanna talk about it?"

"I would prefer not to talk at all."

A delicious blush spreads over Peter's cheeks. Putting both his hands onto my shoulders, he leans forward to kiss me.

I close my eyes and let myself drown in his love.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
And I feel your warmth and love
As it into me does flow
I come to only one conclusion
I will never let you go
(L'ame Immortelle)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


III. The Conclusion

Peter murmurs an incoherent protest as I gently extract myself from his embrace and get up. But he does not wake, simple rolls over to fill the now vacant space. I bent down to tuck the blanket around him, brush his hair back and kiss his temple.

I take my robe and go outside to watch the sunrise. My flute leans against the railing, where I left it, when I followed my son inside.

My heart is lighter now, the terror of the nightmare paled with reality of Peter in my life. His love... is more than I could have believed possible...

Something tears inside of me, walls shatter, which had held the tears so firmly contained and cannot contain any more. I remember how to cry at last.

Two strong arms come around my waist and the warm body of my Peter snuggles up against my back. His lips tenderly brush my wet cheek. "Tears? Why?" he asks, his voice still sleepy.

I turn my head to kiss him. "Do not concern yourself, my love. They belong to another day..."


end