Fear of the Dark

Living a Nightmare

Sakura woke with a violent start late in the morning; she'd had another nightmare. Another nightmare of her past…

"Sakura?" Syaoran murmured her name, snapping her back to reality. He noticed she was pale and her skin covered in sweat, her breathing ragged. "Hey, you're ok now." He said softly, smoothing her fringe back into place.

"I'm scared…" She whispered, tears crawling down her face.

"I know, it's ok. You're safe now." He said, holding her in his arms.

She cried into his bare shoulder as he held her, and he soothed her until she calmed and her breathing evened out. He wiped her tears and kissed her cheek, "It's ok." He said softly. She hugged him close, fearful of losing what little hope she had left and of losing him.


Similar dreams tormented Rena while she slept. She was back in Ainz, in a place she didn't know. Her hands were chained above her head, and her clothing was torn. The stone floor beneath her was cold and damp, while the wall in front of her was a simple clear window, forcing her to look in on her sister's torture. She cried out for them to stop, but it was no use.

"Please, stop! I beg of you! Don't hurt her anymore!" She cried.

No response.

She watched as her sister screamed and writhed beneath a man's body. He laughed in her face.

Rena woke screaming. Syaoron woke beside her, but couldn't sense any threat. "Rena, calm down, you're ok." He said softly.

Her screaming ceased, and she snapped out of her state. She looked around the room, frightened, and then met his eyes.

"Syaoron?"

"You're ok, it was just a nightmare."

She closed her eyes and relaxed. "I'm sorry…" She whispered.

"It's ok, I have them too." He confessed.

"What about…?" She asked quietly.

"…My sister was murdered in a pretty foul way. We were there." He replied quietly.

"You and your brother?" She asked.

"Yes…"

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have…"

He cut her off. "Please, I want to." He said, holding her close to his body. She stayed quiet for a moment, and then spoke again.

"How…did you get the scar on your back?" she asked quietly.

"It's a reminder, I guess…" He replied quietly. The same person who had killed his older sister had dealt him the scar; he'd tried to stop her death, but she was long gone from the world. He'd been punished for interfering.

"Is there anything I can do?" She asked.

"Just stay." He whispered.


Sakura sat in the bath, the warm water relaxing her muscles. She shut her eyes, but when she did images of her past haunted her. She opened her eyes as she heard footsteps approaching; she turned to find Rena and Chii stepping into the water.

"Good morning Sakura, did you sleep well?" Chii asked with a smile.

"Yes, thank you." She replied.

"That's wonderful." Chii smiled.

"Hey, are you feeling ok? You're a bit pale." Rena murmured.

"I'm fine." She smiled.

Rena didn't look convinced. "Ok…" she said quietly.

"Gee, last night was hectic, don't you think?" Chii said as she cracked her neck.

"Yeah, I hate balls…" Rena muttered.

"Why?" Chii asked.

"They're noisy and people are irritating."

"Guess you'll have to get used to them." Sakura shrugged.

"Ugh, no thanks." Rena shuddered. She didn't particularly like the idea of having to put on a smile for people she didn't like. She'd rather sit around and play poker all night with the others. The girls laughed at her comment and relaxed into the water.

Silence fell between them. Sakura felt ill and so she decided to get out. "I'm going to get out now, I'll see you later." She smiled, and stepped out of the warm water.

"Alright, I'll see you later." Rena smiled back.

Sakura dressed herself quickly, already feeling her fever. She stumbled out and placed her hands against the cold stone walls which felt wonderful against her skin. She slid to her knees, unable to find the strength to walk.

"Wonderful, what's happened now?" The familiar and irritated voice of Yuui sounded behind her. Sakura turned her head to find him walking towards her; he placed his hand against her forehead and sighed. "Oh geez, are you trying to kill me?" He muttered, picking her up.

"I'm sorry…" she whispered before blacking out.

He carried her to her room where he laid her to rest and treated her before heading off to find Syaoran who was sitting with the rest of the group talking. He walked into the room and Syaoran looked up, greeting him.

"Good morning, how has everything been?" He asked the blonde.

"Oh just great-I found your fiancé collapsed in the hallway with a rather high fever. She's in her room, asleep." He muttered.

"Will she be alright?" Syaoran asked immediately, concerned for Sakura's wellbeing.

"She'll be fine if she decides to rest. If not, well that's another freaking horror story."

"I'll go to her." Syaoran murmured, and stood up.

He headed for Sakura's room, opening her door and entering; he found Sakura asleep in her bed, with a cold compress on her forehead. He walked over and pulled a chair up beside her bed, pulling her hand into his.


When Sakura woke hours later she felt a familiar presence sitting beside her on the bed. She turned her neck and spotted Syaoran immediately, who was reading. The title was in Latin, she realised.

"Syaoran…?" She mumbled sleepily.

His eyes shot up from the book and he laid eyes on Sakura. "Hey, how are you feeling?" He asked.

"I feel tired…what happened…?"

"Yuui found you collapsed in the hallway with a fever." He explained.

"Oh, right…" She mumbled.

"Why didn't you say anything?" He asked.

"It sort of just came on…I didn't realise."

"You could have let Chii or Rena know while you were in the bath." He said with a hint of slight irritation.

"Sorry…" She whispered.

He smiled and placed his hand against her cheek, "It's ok, just don't scare me like that again."

She looked over at the door and her sister came bursting through with a worried look on her face. "Sakura, are you alright!?" She cried out.

"I'm fine…I'm just not feeling too well." She said softly.

Rena sighed with relief, "Oh thank god; I'm seriously going to turn that blonde into a bloody toad!" She shouted.

"Is Yuui being unpleasant again?" Syaoran asked.

"Again? Always!" Rena scoffed.

"He's not that bad…" Syaoran murmured.

"Oh yeah!? He's complaining my sister's killing him!"

"He complains that everyone kills him." Someone else spoke from the doorway.

She turned to find Syaoron standing there. "Whatever; point is he's being a dick." Rena muttered.

"We've dealt with worse." Syaoron said casually.

"How do you put up with it!?" She cried.

"Hey, your sister is sick-you could at least be quiet." He muttered.

Rena sighed and stood up, "I'm going to go shoot some things." She said, and left.

Syaoron sighed and shook his head. Sakura smiled, "I'm sorry she's so difficult."

Syaoron shook his head, "Its fine. It's understandable, I suppose." He shrugged.

"Will you look after her for me?" She asked.

He smiled, "Don't worry, she's in safe hands." He said, and left to go after Rena.

Sakura went to sit up, but Syaoran stopped her. "Don't-you're not well." He said.

Sakura sighed, "I'm sorry, Syaoran." She whispered.

He held her hand, "What for? You're always apologising."

"I went and got myself sick, and now I'm just a burden."

He shook his head, "Sakura, look at me." He said. She looked up at him, and his eyes only showed concern. "You're not a burden. Do you understand that? I love you, and I'll always be here by your side when you need me." He said.

A tear escaped from her eye and he kissed her softly. He parted as he sensed a presence outside the door, and there was a knock. Yuui entered and took a look at Sakura, "Well at least you're awake now. I wouldn't go pushing yourself anytime soon. Stay in bed for the rest of the day; I'll make sure Chii has your meals brought to you." He said. Sakura nodded. "I think it's mostly stress induced, so try and relax." He ordered.

She nodded again. "Thank you," she said, "For all of your help."

He blinked in surprise, and then sighed. "If you need anything, you know where to find me Syaoran."

Syaoran nodded his thanks and Yuui left.

The blonde headed away from the female wing and towards the male wing, and he opened the door to his room. He picked up and old photo frame sitting on the bedside table; the photo was of him and a beautiful brunette girl who seemed to resemble the boys. They were happy in the photo, the photo that had been taken the day they'd gotten married.

"It seems Syaoran has found a good match…Sora." He said softly, unable to stop the tears from falling onto the glass.


Rena stormed out the doors into the garden. She ignored her name being called by her fiancé, and continued down to the target boards.

"Rena, stop!" He called out.

"Why should I?" She answered angrily.

"Because I want to talk to you." He said.

"Well, then talk to me later." She growled.

"Please-stop." He begged.

She slowed her pace and feelings of sadness and anxiety washed over her. She turned to him, and he took her hand in his upon reaching her.

"I know you're upset," He said softly.

"Oh really?" She retorted.

"Please, just listen. Yuui wasn't always like this; he's really a nice person. He only has concern for Sakura-he immediately told Syaoran of her collapse, and immediately made medicine for her." He urged.

"So what happened to him?" She asked bitterly.

"…He was married, and the person he was married to was my sister. Her death hit him the hardest. Can you guess why?" He asked.

"As I've said before, I'm not psychic." She growled.

"He did everything he could to save her life, even though it was already too late. He felt that he had failed her, and had failed as a doctor." Syaoron explained.

Rena looked to her feet. "I'm sorry. What I said before was rude." She whispered.

"Don't worry-he pisses everyone off." He shrugged. "But now you know why he's like that."

She nodded, and walked slowly along the grass. She looked at the flowers in front of her at her feet. They were pretty, growing brightly in the sunlight.

A sudden pain struck her where she'd been dealt her wound, and she let out a cry of agony. Syaoron ran to her before she could fall to the ground, catching her. "Rena, Rena what's wrong?" He asked, beginning to panic as sweat formed on her skin and her chest heaving with rapid breaths. Her hand was covering the place where the wound once was. He pulled her hand away, but there was no blood.

Good, it's still healed. So where is the pain really coming from? He thought to himself, trying to deduce the cause. Then he felt something warm on his knee: He looked down, shifting her slightly. It was blood.

He looked at her back and spotted the wound immediately-but he was so confused as to what had caused it. How did she get it?

"Quick-get help!" He shouted at the guards posted by the doors.

They ran inside and less than a minute later Yuui came running out.

"What happened?" He demanded.

"I don't know-it sort of just happened."

"Who is it that's trying to hurt these girls?" Yuui wondered irritably as he set himself to work. "Help her inside; I need to see the wound."

Syaoron picked her up carefully and carried her inside; he brought her to her room and laid her on her bed, removing her dress from her figure. There was a wound in her back, and something was wedged inside. Yuui set himself to work on her, carefully removing what was causing the bleeding; it was a stone.


When Sakura next woke sometime late in the afternoon, she immediately noticed the worried look on Syaoran's face. "What's wrong?" She asked.

He looked away for a minute, and then back to her. "It's Rena. She's been wounded." He said softly.

"What happened!?" she cried.

"That's what we're trying to find out." He said gently.

Sakura began to panic, "Where-How is-"

"Shh, calm down. Rena's under a strong anaesthetic at the moment. Her wound has, and is still being tended to and she's going to be fine." He told her softly as he stroked her cheek.

"Will she really be ok…?" Sakura whispered.

"Yes; she's a strong girl." He smiled.

Sakura took in a deep breath and released it. That's right; her sister was in good hands now. She trusted these people and put her faith in the one she loved. Rena would be ok. She opened her eyes to find Syaoran looking at her while he held her hand, as if waiting for her attention but unable to find words to speak.

"What's wrong…?" Sakura asked.

He smiled again; of course she could tell. "I have to go and meet with the council in regards to recent events; Chii will sit with you until I return, if you would like company?" He told her.

"You've been having a lot of those lately too…" Sakura mumbled.

"What's wrong?" He asked.

"Well…is there something you're not telling me?" Sakura asked softly.

He squeezed her hand and gave a small apologetic smile, "It's just that a lot of things are all happening at once. It's a little difficult at the moment." He told her.

"Can I help somehow?" Sakura asked softly.

"I'm afraid there's not much you can do for me, except wait." He said softly.

She smiled, "Then I will."

He smiled back and then stood, allowing Chii in and then left to go and attend the council meeting.

When Rena woke she felt a searing pain in her back, and she groaned. "Goddammit." She muttered. Her mind was too blurry to figure out if anyone was in the room while she lay in the bed on her stomach; only it wasn't her room-it was the familiar surroundings of her dear fiancé's room.

"Here," someone to her right-a female voice-spoke. She suddenly felt a prick in her arm and the pain subsided. She looked over and spotted a girl she'd only seen around a few times placing a needle back down on the tray on the bedside table.

"Who are you?" Rena asked.

"I'm Irene; I'm part of the medical team here in the castle-a nurse, actually. How are you feeling?" she asked with a polite smile.

Irene was slender with well defined curves, and she had soft pale lilac eyes. Her long strawberry blonde hair was pulled back in a braid and she wore simple clothes, much like Chii's, with a white apron over the top.

"I feel dreadful; what happened?" Rena groaned.

"You were what they called 'shot', your highness."

"Shot? How?" Rena asked, confused by the term.

"It's a technique that combines magic with throwing or shooting a stone from a man-made device. The magic is used to accelerate the speed at an alarming rate, causing fatal and instant damage to the target." Irene explained.

"What? But we would have sensed…" Rena didn't understand any of it.

"That's the other reason as to why it's so deadly; you can't sense the magic user as they are trained in supressing their aura so that they can't be sensed. In other words, they're assassins." Irene said sadly.

Rena groaned again. She'd been shot, and she didn't know who it could have possibly been. "Where's Syaoron?" She asked the nurse.

"The prince is in a council meeting; he said he'd be back shortly." The blonde smiled.

"Why am I in here?" Rena then asked.

"You'd be best to ask him that and not me," Irene giggled.

"Alright, thank you Irene…" Rena sighed.

"If you need anything, just tell me." She smiled.

Syaoran sat down in his seat at the council table, a large round wooden table where everyone could see each other. "What's going on?" Syaoran asked as he sat down.

"We just received news of Prince Fern's death." Fai replied, sliding him the piece of parchment with the written news. Syaoran read and looked back up, feeling rather disturbed.

"What was the cause of death?" He asked.

"Arsenic, I hope." Syaoron muttered. A couple of the council members laughed.

"Unfortunately, no; it was a stab wound to the chest." Yuui said.

"Pity; though, poison is a woman's weapon. He was annoying, but I don't think he deserved to die." Syaoron rolled his eyes.

"Was there any evidence left behind?" Syaoran asked.

"No, nothing." Kurogane replied.

Syaoran nodded, "Alright."


Sakura looked up from her sketch as Syaoran entered her room; it had been roughly three hours since he'd left for the meeting. She put her things to the side and moved over to make room for him. He sat down on her bed and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, and he picked up her sketch to look at it. It was a skull with flowers coming out of the eyes, and it was surrounded by writing, like she was writing her ideas on the page.

"What's this?" He asked.

"It's an idea for my next painting." She said.

"I look forward to seeing it." He smiled and kissed her.

She smiled back at him as he parted, and gently rested her head against his shoulder. "How was the meeting?" Sakura asked.

"Disturbing." He replied softly.

"Disturbing?" She asked.

"We've just received news that…" He wondered if he should tell her. It was true she was doing better these days, but if she heard his name again, how would she react?

"That what?" she asked.

He sighed, "Prince Fern has been murdered." He answered, deciding not to keep secrets from her.

Sakura stayed quiet for a moment and squeezed his hand. "Oh…" was all she managed to say.

"That, and there was a bunch of stuff about the wedding. I can't say I'm thrilled they're throwing that stuff at me the day after the ball."

She looked up at him, "You're not going to be locked up in that stupid study again, are you?" She mumbled.

He laughed, "No, but you might be." She looked at him with horror. "That was a joke," He reassured her, "Neither of us will be. Today they were merely talking of costs, nothing more." He smiled.

She sighed with relief, "Ok…"

"Yes, so there's no need to panic."

"I wasn't panicking, it's just that…" She mumbled, looking away.

"What?" He asked.

"I'd worry…if you were constantly at work like before the ball." She said with a slight blush.

He smiled and pulled her closer, "I'll keep that in mind." He said softly.


Syaoron entered his room to find Rena staring at the bed board, completely bored out of her mind. "You're awake-finally." He said, sitting down as Irene left.

"Why am I in here?" She asked.

"Because by the time Yuui got the stone out of your back, your sheets were completely covered in blood." He replied.

"Oh." She muttered.

"So, was it you who killed Fern, or somebody else?" Syaoron asked.

"As tempting as it was considering he wanted to rape my sister…but sadly no. Besides, most of the time I'm with you and I have no idea where he lives." She said.

"Fine. How's your back?" He asked, moving onto a different topic.

"Incredibly painful. Irene gave me a shot of something for it when I woke up, but it's wearing off now." Rena said and Syaoron sighed.

"What's your problem?" She mumbled.

"I'm sorry I couldn't help you in time." He whispered.

She shook her head, "It's ok, there was no warning."

"I know, but…"

"Please, it's ok. I'm alive, I'll heal." She smiled.

He placed his hand against her forehead and smiled, "Your fever's gone," He said, "That's a relief."

"I'm kind of cold; who undressed me?" she mumbled.

"I did." He said.

"Oh." She said as he pulled the covers up around her exposed skin a bit more. "Irene is really nice."

"She is; she tends to a large majority of the castle staff-and is Yuui's apprentice." He said.

"Wow."

"So, what are you going to do?" He asked.

"What can I do? My back is killing me and I can hardly move. It's like having that bloody wound all over again."

Syaoron sighed, "I can at least stay with you, if you want?" He offered.

"I'd like that…" She mumbled, drifting off to sleep. He watched her as she slept, worried about her mental state and confused as to who wanted her dead and why. Why was it so necessary for these girls to die?


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