The word hug it the air for a moment before being sliced down by the rain that soaked them both.
The world froze, and everything moved in cold, sluggish trickling formations around them.
“Please don’t do this.”
There was no reply, but the rain slid in silent screams off the tip of his hat. The black trenchcoat she knew so well hung across his shoulders, soaked through. All they had been through and all they had seen had come to a stopping point here, and the horror of it all had turned the universe upside down.
The steel in his eyes cut sharper than the knife still embedded between her ribs.
“After everything-” her voice broke and she could smell her own fear. Could he not see her pain for what it was? She took a step forward, but her knees betrayed her, buckling and forcing her into the mud. He was there though, as he always was, catching her and holding tight like the cold that seeped through her shirt.
“I told you something the day we met. Do you remember it?”
How could she ever forget the day they had met, his sideways glance under this very same hat. Her heart had stopped knowing their destiny, knowing this very day would come.
“You told me you would never lose yourself so easily. That you could never-” her voice choked, and she hated herself in that small silence more than she had ever hated anything in her life.
“Say it.” The steel never left his voice.
“That you would never love.” Her vision was already going, and could no longer tell the difference between the pooling rain or the pooling blood from her side. “That you were un-lovable.”
His face remained unchanged, yet his eyes grew even colder. “They should never have trusted me.”
“You. I knew what would happen, and I let it. I let it all play out like some sick and twisted game, knowing it would end with my knife in you. Leaving me more fucked up than before.”
“You’re just scared.”
In that small word, said in utter defiance, he said more than in anything he had ever uttered in his life, and behind his eyes, she could tell he knew it.
“The world is tainted red, the blood of the unlucky staining the skin of the strong.” Words were hurting now, and the tightening in her chest was so constricting, she felt each vein slowly being pulled out of her chest.
“Go. Leave me here. Leave and don’t look back.”
The corner of his mouth twitched and thunder echoed through the valley.
“You’ve done your job. There is no surviving this.”
He let her go, then, and as her head rested into the mud, she broke into a spasms of coughing, blood trickling from her lips.
“I find peace in the rain.”
Her eyes closed then, and he knew her soul had melted from her body. He pushed himself up from his knees, dragging himself upright.
“Peace. I give it to you with my whole self. Take my peace, for I am left with nothing but writhing pain. And in the wake of your peace, my misery begins again.”