Sweat poured off Buck’s face. His body thrashed around on the bed. "Where are you? I can hear you…," Buck reached out toward something unknown. "Come here. Who...?" Buck fell into a fitful silence.

***

"Buck, you look like hell, son," Teaspoon said with a worried frown. He leaned back on the porch chair to get a better look at his young friend.

"Thanks," Buck said wryly. "I haven’t been sleeping well lately."

"Yeah, you were moaning so loud it almost drowned out Cody’s snoring." Jimmy smiled.

"I do not snore!" Cody said indignantly.

"You’re asleep, so how do you know if you snore or not?" Jimmy poked him.

"I have it on good authority that I do not snore. Even last Friday..." Cody began.

"Cody, there is a lady present." Teaspoon nodded in Lou’s direction. She shrugged. "Now Buck, what are you dreaming about that has you up all night?"

"Well, I don’t really know. I feel that I’m searching for something or someone." Buck ran his hand through his hair.

"Rider comin’! " Rachel called out before Buck ran to his horse.

"That boy better get some sleep soon or he’s gonna fall off that horse." Teaspoon mumbled to the boys as he got up.

"Don’t worry, Teaspoon. We’ve got it all planned," Cody clapped his hands together and smiled.

"Somehow that just doesn’t make me feel better," Teaspoon said as he walked toward his horse.

***

Her hand caressed his brow as she hummed. She placed a kiss on his temple. Buck tried to open his eyes but could not.

***

"Arianne, you can’t keep him!" Bridgette motioned to Buck. He was still asleep in his bed.

"I don’t want to keep him. I want him to choose to stay with us." Arianne pouted.

"You are a vain and selfish fairy, Arianne!" Bridgette disappeared by winking out. She was Arianne’s nanny since childhood. Arianne’s mother, Tslina, was captured by a human long ago. By fairy law it was said that if a fairy was captured by a human, the fairy could never return to the fairy realm. The fairy is doomed to live out her now mortal life on the human plane. It was also law that if a human chooses to stay in the fairy realm when asked, the human becomes immortal.

"She never lets me keep a human. This human is gorgeous! He’s spiritual and could live by our rules," Arianne rationalized. "Besides, his future is bleak. No one would appreciate him the way I would."

"Arianne!" Bridgette’s voice demanded. "Come now! If your father hears of this, you will be severely punished."

Arianne’s father was a prominent figure in the fairy realm. He studied the human realm to get a better understanding of them. He hoped to re-unite the two worlds as they once were in the forgotten past. He had never forgiven himself for his wife’s disappearance when Arianne was but a wee fairy. Tslina had come looking for him, but, instead, had found a human, who captured her. He almost gave up his studies to reunite the worlds when she was captured. Since then, his heart was filled with sadness and suspicion of the human world. He continued to study the human world, but at a distance. He forbade Arianne to enter their world, and she listened most of the time, until she saw HIM.

"Fine!" Arianne kissed Buck’s lips hurriedly and winked out. Buck tried to hold those soft lips to his own, but grumbled at the empty air his hand passed through. Rolling over, Buck fell into a deep, gratifying sleep.
***
*You kissed a girl in your sleep!* Ike smiled at Buck. *Who was she?*

"That’s just it. I don’t know. She doesn’t look like anyone I have ever seen." Buck thought hard as if to wrap his mind around something. "She seemed to be arguing with someone."

*You?* Ike signed.

"Nah, she was arguing with another woman… an older woman. " Buck rubbed his chin. "It was over … keeping me. Okay, this is too weird. " Buck jumped to his feet.

Ike laughed. *You’re afraid of a dream keeping you?!*

"You’re right. It’s stupid." Buck mused, "She has a beautiful voice.”

"Quit your mooning, Buck! Next thing you know you’ll be trying to make yourself sleep just to see her! Cody laughed. "Come on, let’s get this fence fixed."

"Dinner in about ten minutes, gentlemen!" Rachel called.

"Great! I’m starved!" Cody launched himself onto the porch.

"Hey! What about this fence?" Buck yelled after him.

"Seems you’ve got it covered…lover boy.” Cody ducked as Buck threw his hat at him.

"Cody, I don’t think this is such a good idea. You know the last time you messed with Buck the spirits were after you," Lou reminded him.

"Maybe Cody likes the feel of pork fat all over him.” Jimmy gave Cody a playful shove.

"You can’t believe that bunk." Cody sprinkled the dried root he gathered earlier on Buck’s plate. He had consulted a book at the library. "Plus, all I’m doing is giving him a little help sleeping. Teaspoon said he’d better sleep or it would affect his job."

"Well, we’ll find out now! Here they come," Jimmy said as he sat at the table, dishing food onto his plate.

"Here, Buck, Ike. I served up your plate for you to make up for running out on the fence job." Cody handed each of them a full plate.

"Uh, thanks Cody," Buck said as he sat. "This is great."

*Thanks,Rachel. I’m starved,* Ike signed.

"You’re welcome,Ike. It’s my pleasure," Rachel smiled.

***

"…..How clearly I first saw you smilin' in the sun… Wanna feel your warmth upon me, I wanna be the one… I'm so tired but I can't sleep… Standin' on the edge of something much too deep…" She sang softly and close to his ear.

"Who are you?" Buck whispered.

Arianne looked at him, startled. Realizing his eyes were still shut, she smiled. She continued to sing, "It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word…We are screaming inside, but we can't be heard… But I will remember you…Will you remember me?"

"I’ll remember you." Buck sat up and grabbed her hand.

Arianne tried to pull free. "No, Buck! Please let go!" Arianne was desperately trying to pull from his grasp. "Please!"

"Why do come to me in my dreams? What spirit are you?" Buck asked her. He was seeking her out with closed eyes. He lost his hold on her hands.

“I am what some of you call a fairy,” she whispered to him and winked out.

“Buck, what are talking about?” Jimmy called to him from across the room. “What spirit?”

Buck opened his eyes. He found himself sitting up in his bed. “Did you hear her?” he asked Jimmy.

“You were talkin’ in your sleep, lover boy. Be quiet so the rest of us can get some sleep,” Cody grumbled as he rolled over.

Buck looked at Ike, who just smiled and shook his head. Buck laid back thinking of his…. FAIRY! He slapped his forehead. “I have got to get some sleep.”

***

“Buck, do you remember me? I’m here for you.” She smiled at him from the trees.

“Who are you?”

“Believe in me and I will come back.” Arianne’s face blended with the tree leaves.

Buck rubbed his eyes, “I’m going crazy.”

*No you’re not. You’re just tired.* Ike clapped him on the back.

“Seriously, Ike, she was just here,” Buck grimaced. He turned his head toward the trees when he heard the giggle.

Ike looked at Buck in astonishment.

“You heard it, too?” Buck grasped Ike’s arm.

Ike just shrugged and signed, *wind.*

“It’s the spirits. I just don’t know what they want. I need to ask Red Bear,” Buck said aloud.

***

After talking to Teaspoon Buck rode out to see Red Bear.

“What brings you, my brother?” Red Bear clasped arms with Buck. “You look troubled.”

“I have been having dreams. A spirit is talking to me. I fear that I am dreaming when I am awake, too.” Buck walked with Red Bear through the village.

“What does the spirit want?”

“Me,” Buck stated fatalistically.

“You need to cleanse yourself to get a clearer message. Go to the sweat lodge. I will send Spotted Owl to see you. He will help if it so,” Red Bear instructed his half brother.

“Thank you, Red Bear. Buck headed toward the sweat lodge.

“Running Buck?” Red Bear called. “What is the spirit called?”

“Her name? I don’t know, but she’s a fairy. Buck smiled ruefully. “It is a white man’s spirit name.”

Red Bear’s lips tightened to a straight line and he turned away.

***

The chanting and drumming was mesmerizing. Heat and smoke filled Buck’s lungs. He closed his eyes. She was there.

“Why do you torture yourself this way?” Arianne asked, caressing his face.

“What do you want of me?” Buck asked.

“Your companionship, your love, you.” She giggled.

“Why can’t I see you?”

“I don’t want you to just yet.”

“What is your name?”

“I am Arianne. Running Buck, talk to your brother. He believed in me once.” Her voice smiled. “I mean you no harm.”

“Don’t go.” Buck beseeched her with eyes still unseeing.

“Look for me and I will be there.” She kissed his brow. “Sleep…”

***

“Running Buck, you have slept for three days,” Red Bear spoke softly. “How are you feeling?”

“Better. She spoke of you.” Buck sat up and took the bowl Red Bear offered him.

“I thought she might.” Red Bear looked at the item in his hand. “This is a comb I made for her.

“What does she want?”

“She wants what she lacks. I thought I could give it to her, but it was not right to run away from my life. She wants someone to always be with her in her world. We are different from her people. We cannot live happily in their spirit world.”

“Was she once a person?”

“No, she is not a spirit in the sense of a passed loved one. She lives ‘between,’ where time has no meaning. There isn’t love, happiness, sorrow, or any strong emotion. They just are.”

“Why did she choose me?”

“You must ask her that. She obviously feels that you have things in common with her. It doesn’t hurt that you are good looking… like I was.” Red Bear smiled and nudged Buck, who smiled back at his older brother.

***

“Buck,” Arianne called softly to him. “Buck, find me.”

“Why do you come to me only in dreams?” Buck asked as he held her hands.

"I come to you in your dreams because I can show you my world this way. Would you like to come?" She smiled at him. He released her hands and caressed her cheek.

"Yes I would." He gazed into her eyes and she led him through space where time had no meaning. "Who are you?"

"I am Arianne. Welcome to my world." She smiled brightly at him. "I knew you would survive the trip. Your people have always done well."
"What are you talking about? You mean there was a chance that I could have died?" Buck became a bit anxious.

"You were never in danger of death. At worst, you would have been addled…but you aren’t. Nor was your brother, Red Bear, when he made the journey." Arianne took Buck’s hand and brought him to the edge of a cliff. "Look!" She presented him with the valley below.

"It’s fantastic!" The valley was a lush green. Birds flew and called to each other. Water rushed over the falls to pool at the bottom, where others of Arianne’s kind played.

"Arianne, who’s this?" a boy of about nine winked in next to them. Buck jumped a little, but relaxed as Arianne laid a hand on his arm.

"This is Buck. Buck, this Cleome." She smiled at the boy as he waved and winked back to the pool.

"Arianne, what is this place? How did I get here?" Buck rubbed his brow. He looked down at his feet when he felt the water lapping around his ankles. "How … what? Arianne?" He turned to look at her. She was diving into the water.

Arianne resurfaced and walked toward Buck. Her white filmy dress was plastered to every curve of her body and her chestnut hair was hanging to her hips. Drowning in her amber eyes, he heard her say, "Relax and enjoy this. This is your time to play. Your life has been hard and will continue to be." Her lips met his in a persuasive kiss. Groaning, Buck cupped her head, deepening the kiss. His tongue tasted her.

Giggling, the children in the pool splashed water on them. Buck threw back his head and laughed. Feeling energized, he dove into the water and played with the children. As they tired Arianne introduced each one to Buck. With a wave, each would wink out until Buck and Arianne were alone.

"I really enjoyed this, Arianne. Thank you." Buck kissed her cheek.

"You say that as if you would like to leave." She pouted.

"I can’t stay here forever. I have responsibilities, friends and family to get back to." Buck held onto her. "Come to visit me? Or I’ll come back here?"

"Don’t you want to stay? We could play everyday. What is back there to hold you? You have a half brother that you barely see, a bunch of friends that may or may not be around much longer, and a war that is coming. What kind of life is that? If you stay here with me you would never want for anything, and you would live forever by my side." She stormed around. "I love you! I have come to you every night for weeks."

"Arianne, listen. Life is friends and family. Life has good and bad times that make you appreciate what you have." Buck hugged her tightly.{separate these two lines.}

She hugged him in return until, shocked, she put him at arms length.

"What’s wrong?" Buck reached for her.

"It’s time for you to go back. You have given me much to think about" She turned from him, hugging herself.

"Will you come to me in my dreams?" Buck asked quietly.

Buck awoke. In the predawn light he heard the echo of the single word, "y-e-s". He smiled knowing that he would have no trouble sleeping in the future.

***

“Well, the trip to see your brother has done you good, Buck.” Rachel said as she placed a plate in from of him.

“Yeah, Buck, you look great” Kid smiled.

“Thanks.”

“Cody, don’t you have something to say to Buck?” Rachel urged him.

“Umm, Buck, the night before you left, when I dished your food for you … well, I put some herbal roots on it to make you sleep. Hope you’re not mad at me.” Cody cringed, waiting for Buck to explode.

“You were warned before. How can I trust you?” Buck looked at his friend.
“If it makes you feel better, I haven’t been able to eat a thing since you left.” Cody looked around desperately at his other friends for help.

“It’s true. Everything that Cody tried to eat goes bad,” Lou interjected.

“Your spirit is spoiling all my food. Every time I go to eat, it’s gone sour.” Cody was on the floor in front of Buck, holding his shirt front. “Buck, you got to believe me. I was just trying to help. You were real tired and I thought if you could just get some sleep the spirits wouldn’t bother you. I’m starving, Buck. Please make it stop.”

Buck smirked at him. “Well, you could perform a ceremony.”

“Oh, no, please, Buck. I’m serious.” Cody gulped in air.

“Well, since you were just trying to help, I’ll try to help you.” Buck smiled and grabbed Cody’s shirt front. “Promise me you will never give me that kind of help ever again!”

“I promise! I’ll swear on anything!” Cody jumped to his feet and took Buck’s plate.

“Hey!” Buck laughed as Cody wolfed down the food.

“This is shear ambrosia!” Cody lifted his eyes heavenward.

Everyone in the room laughed, including Arianne, who was watching in her ethereal state. Buck reveled in the fact that she was there, sharing this time with him. Inexplicably, he felt drawn to her and liked knowing she was there for him. Ike watched his friend quizzically and smiled.

***

“Walk with me, Arianne” Buck whispered softly into the night air.

“I am here,” she said, appearing next to him. They walked away from the way station.

“So, you can appear to me when I am not asleep.”

“Yes, although it is dangerous to do so.”

“Why?”

“Well, first off, I could be captured and, secondly, you may be thought of as a mad man,” she giggled.

“Charming thought.” Buck smiled and caught her hand.

“Please let go,” she commanded softly.

Buck did not want to upset her so he dropped her hand. “Sorry. I should have asked.” Buck felt hurt and thought that it was because of his Kiowa background.

Arrianne, annoyed, turned to look at him. “I’ve been told that I am self-centered, but you take the cake. Stop wallowing in self-pity. I know you have been wounded by thoughtless others, but did you ever think that I might not want to hold your hand because you could easily capture me? You’ve already got my heart. Don’t take my choice of a life away from me.”

“What?” He stared at her, stunned. She winked out.

At the sound of a whistle Buck turned to his friend, Ike.

*She was here?*

“Yeah, but I screwed things up.” Buck sighed.

*What happened?*

Buck told Ike what had transpired and Ike started laughing. “Ike, it’s not funny.”

*Yes it is. In one fell swoop she scolded you, understood your feelings, and told you she loved you. You’ve got it bad!* Ike tried to catch his breath.

“Well, then help me.” Buck looked sick and proceeded to tell Ike everything that had happened in his dreams.

*Sounds to me that you two need each other for different reasons. The thing is, you have to decide what life you want to live. Do you want this one, where there are ups and downs, love and hate, joy and sorrow, or hers, where everything is a happy medium. She obviously has stronger feelings than most fairies. That's why she is drawn here. She doesn’t know what to do with herself.*

“Thank you, Ike. You amaze me. I think I understand what to do now.” Buck walked quietly to the bunkhouse.

“I thank you, too Ike,” Arianne whispered in Ike’s ear.

Ike’s eyes opened wide. He stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled it around and signed.
*It’s just the wind.* He hurried back inside.
***

It took Buck a long time to fall asleep that night. He had a lot of thinking to do, as did Arianne.

“Father?” she called.

“Yes, Arianne,” Azlan came to her in their favorite field of flowers.

“I am curious. When mother was captured…..” she began before her father interrupted her.

“I knew this day would come. Arianne, walk with me” He took her hand.

“What is the deal with walking and talking?” she asked exasperatedly.

Her father laughed. “It is something the humans do often when there is a hard story to tell.” His tone became more serious as he started the tale he hoped never to tell. “You were a wee lass when your mother was captured. I, as you know, had been studying the humans for quite some time. She was very interested in seeing who I was watching at that time. So she followed me.” Azlan took a deep breath. “You must understand, Arianne, I loved your mother very much. This in itself is very unusual in the fairy world. It has happened in the past and has caused havoc, which is why it was forbidden to feel such intense emotions. Do you understand?”

“Yes, so what happened?”

“Well, your mother followed me and saw who I was watching in the human world. It was her father.” Azlan stopped walking.

“What are you saying?” Arianne turned to him.

“Arianne, your mother was a human who chose to stay with me because we loved each other. You inherited her passionate nature.”

“How was she captured, father?”

“She materialized to be with him as he lay dying. He held her hands and cried. I allowed her this time with him, for she was never allowed to see him before. I knew it would break her heart. He was a broken man. Her mother passed away many years before and with Tslina gone, he had no one. I would periodically look in on him and help him when he needed it, but it wasn’t the same.” Sadness emanated from Azlan’s being. “When he held her hands and called her given human name, she was lost to us.”

“Why haven’t you told me before?”

“It is not our way, Arianne. You had to ask.” Azlan looked at his daughter knowing he may lose her.

“Is she still alive?” she whispered.

“Yes. Arianne, listen!” He grabbed for her as she tried to turn away. “I am forbidden to see her, but you are not.”

“How could you? How could she leave me? All this time, she was dead to me. Why?” Tears poured down Arianne’s cheeks.

“She stayed with her father because she felt she owed him. He was alone. I understood. We took the chance that I’d be able to sneak you to see her and that somehow we’d still be together.” His voice anguished.

“Where is she now?”

“Bridgette says she is in the town where your human is living,” he continued. “Do not blame Bridgette for not telling you. It was not her place. You have been drawn to your human…”

“His name is Buck,” she interrupted.

“You’ve been drawn to him because he is like you. He is very passionate and has had to choose his path with the white men versus his own. Your mother also longs to see you.”

“I want to see her.”

“I know.” he smiled ruefully. “I am selfish. I don’t want to lose you too.”

“She must make her own choice, Azlan!” The queen appeared and both Arianne and Azlan bowed. “Do not worry, child. Think on it and the answer will come to you. I fear the only one to be hurt by your decision is the young man.”

“I don’t want to hurt him.”

“Then be truthful with him. He is honorable.” The queen winked away.

“She is right.” Azlan smiled.

“Of course I am!” came the echo of a response.

Arianne giggled. “Thank you!”

***

Buck was very concerned that his last encounter with Arianne was his last. He threw himself into his work.

“That boy is working himself into a lather,” Teaspoon commented to Rachel. “He looks like a rattler ready to strike.”

“He hasn’t heard from his dream girl in a few nights,” Cody jested.

“Ah, hormones, the bane of a young man’s life” Teaspoon thoughtfully lit his cigar.

Buck was pitching hay as if the devil were after him. When he finished Rachel called to him, “Buck, would you like some lemonade?”

“Thanks, but I’m going for a swim.” He stalked off.

Teaspoon held onto Cody to stop him from following Buck. “Let the boy be.”

***

Something was tickling his cheek. He slowly opened his eyes. He had fallen asleep on the bank as he dried off. Arianne was sitting next to him, chin in hand.

“Hi,” he croaked as he sat up.

“Hi, yourself.” She twirled a leaf in her fingers.

“I’m sorry that I made you angry the other day.”

“You’re forgiven.” She leaned in and kissed his surprised lips.

“Arianne, we have to talk.” He pulled away. She kept kissing his lips, cheeks, and neck. He gave in and cupped the back of her head to guide his lips to hers.

“Mmmm, that was more like it,” she said a few moments later with a bemused smile.

“You have a great smile.” He traced her lips with a finger. “Oww!” He laughed as she nipped the tip. They sat quietly for a while until Buck drew in a deep breath and asked, “Why do I have a feeling that you’ve made a decision that I’m not going to like?”

She bent her head, unable to look at him.”I have. You know that I have feelings for you, right?”

“Yes, and I have…”

“…feelings for me. I know. There are a few things that I have to get straight in my life before I can make my life’s decision.” Arianne told him what had transpired between her and her father.

“You need to find your mother first,” Buck said understandingly.

“Yes, I do. After I have that straight, I can think about the rest of my life. You do understand?” She cupped his face in her hands. “I love you and that will never change.”

He kissed her with his soul. As she winked out he could hear the strains of her voice singing, “I will remember you. Will you remember me? Don’t let your life pass you by. Weep not for the memories.”

***

Many months later, Buck thought of Arianne with fondness and hoped things had worked out for her. He wished they could have had time to explore more, but he knew her decision was right. If it was meant to be, it would happen.

Buck looked up from the paperwork he was doing in the jailhouse when Teaspoon entered.

“Boys, I’d like you to meet Miss Faerune. She just moved here to be with her mother. I thought she should meet the law in town so as to know how safe she was.” Teaspoon presented her to the room.

Cody scrambled to straighten his clothes while Jimmy stood up straight and smiled. Buck stood and took in the vision before him. She had the most beautifully familiar amber eyes that sparkled with amusement.

“Hi, Ma’am. I am Buck Cross.” He took her hand and kissed the back of it very gallantly. “Would you do me the honor of escorting you on a tour of our town?”

“Why, I’d be honored, Mr. Cross.” Miss Faerune placed her hand in the crook of his arm.

The boys watched them leave. They were stunned that the quiet man they knew had upstaged them all.

“What is that tune you are humming, Miss Faerune?” Buck asked. Arianne just laughed.

The End

I Will Remember You
Song by Sarah McLachlan



Thank you to my two new wonderful friends Erin and Sarah. Thanks for beta-ing my story.