This is Entry #4 for the GF Records Best Writer contest. ** ** ** ** He opened his eyes in the darkness and stared at the ceiling above. Something seemed wrong, but he couldn't quite figure out what. There was a noise, a whispering...but for some reason, he didn't feel worried. He felt...nothing. He was dispassionate, emotionless. He turned his head slowly to the right, and saw the soft shape of the Human lying next to him. A Human...? Puzzled, he stared at her shape. Female - alluring for her kind, he supposed, but he still couldn't understand why she was lying next to him. She was alive...sleeping. Fearless? Stupid? He didn't know, he didn't care. He sat up slowly, took in his surroundings blankly. A tiny room, walls on all sides. A prison? Containment? He didn't understand, so he dismissed it. A murmur from the Human pulled his attention again, and he turned once more to look at it. She whimpered, still asleep, and she muttered something in her tongue. He didn't understand, and he didn't care, yet....something tugged at his mind, some kind of...recognition? He frowned, annoyed. His mind seemed different, alien. He looked down at his form, and saw the soft pink skin, the pathetic structure. A small noise escaped his lips - he had lips? - in his shock. This was not his form. His skin, his shape, it should be different, it was wrong. Soft and weak where once he had been strong and hard, when his armoured hide had been black and tougher than rock, claws and spikes for impaling and tearing. His eyes rolled in panic, and fury arose from the fear. He leapt from the bed, and threw his head round. Crouching, he growled. Something had changed him, he had a Human body - Human! He bared his teeth, and another growl escaped him. The female Human awoke, and stirred. His gaze snapped to her, and as she slowly turned, their eyes met. Her's widened, but his narrowed. He lifted a hand, and- "No!" he cried out, snapping out of his sleep with a jump, rising quickly to sit, sweating, the covers wrapped around his legs and his heart thundering in his chest. He turned quickly to his side, fearful, but sighed in immense relief. Amy. She lay at his side, sleeping peacefully. Alive. It was only a dream. He glanced down at his hands then, and gasped in horror. They were glowing. He swallowed his shock, and glared at them until the glow faded away. Fear clutched him again, and he inspected Amy carefully, but there wasn't a mark on her. Her breathing was steady, but his movements had brought a small frown to her brow. He sighed explosively, and then froze as he checked himself. He didn't want to wake her. She worried enough about his nightmares already; no need for her to know how shaken he was, how bad this one had been. He got up carefully from the bed, taking care not to disturb it any more, and moved quietly to the bathroom. He closed the door before turning the light on, then moved to the wide mirror over the sink. He looked at his reflection. Sweat, slick on his skin, his hair damp with it. His eyes gave away his terror; he closed them and tried to get a grip on himself. He turned the faucet of the tap and took a handful of freezing cold water. He splashed it on his face, and felt the burning skin. He threw some on his body, and it helped him to calm down. Settled now, the icy water running down his torso, he looked into the eyes of his reflection, and tried to read what was there. He was worried...it had been more than three years since he'd felt even the slighest sign of his power. He had thought it dead, gone. Faded away with the rest of his past, yet tonight...tonight, he realized he had been wrong. It had never disappeared. It had only been dormant, buried somewhere inside of him. He thought of Amy, and his face hardened. She was the reason he had stopped using it, tried to force it away. He wanted to be Human...he wanted to grow old with her. He wanted to age. She was the one thing he had ever loved, and he had happily thrown away his past to forge a new life, for her. It had been hard; he had worried so much about his past catching up and finding him - worried about Amy - but nothing ever did, nothing ever came to find him. Not even when he thought himself truly Human, his powers gone. But they weren't gone, he thought bitterly. He stared at himself angrily, and a memory flashed briefly into his mind, a memory of blood and death. The life he had left behind, a life of pain and anger, dark with fury, when he had embraced his black nature but used it to destroy the monsters like him. He had been an aberration; a creature born of evil, using his powers for good. He shook those thoughts away in anger as he saw his hands gripping the sides of the sink. They were glowing again. His gaze moved blankly to the mirror. There truly was no escape for him. He remembered the sad words spoken so long ago by another, just like him; "We are sentinels of the Light, and we are bound to our fate more securely than any agent of darkness." At the time, he had scoffed and dismissed it, but now those words haunted him. Was there really no escape for him? Could he ever have a normal life, the life of a Human, the form he had masqueraded as for centuries? He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Maybe he couldn't live like a Human forever, but he was going to try. He switched off the lights, and crept into the bedroom. Silently, he moved onto the bed, his eyes on Amy the whole time. He slid under the covers, and propped himself up on his elbow. He smiled at her sleeping face, remembering the first time he met her. He'd fought creatures blacker and more twisted than the deepest corners of the imagination, monsters indescribable in their horror, and all of them paled next to the nerves she had brought out in him. He grinned again, and reached out to move a strand of her hair from her face. She sighed in her sleep, and muttered one word. His name. "John?" He whispered into her ear. "I'm here, Amy. I'll always be here." He watched as she lapsed back into deep sleep, and he rolled onto his back, his eyes sad and his smile gone. He only hoped he could keep that promise.