Summary: This story is a companion fic to Morning Sun and should be read after that story.
Notes: Dedicated to Wynde.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Used without permission. Making no money from this.
While this story is nominally set in the ATF AU created by Mog, it fits pretty much anywhere.
The sun is muted by the swirling grey of incoming clouds and the air is chill with the coming of fall. He holds me close, warming me, supporting my weight as we sway together. I have nothing else left to give him but this moment, this illusion of timelessness. It won't be much longer before I'm gone, before he's alone.
I brush away tears he doesn't know he's shedding. He's been left so many times, a powerless bystander to the implacable specter of death. I murmur reassurance, comforting him with the sound of my voice.
He moves closer and I snuggle into his body. Burying my face in his long hair, breathing in his scent. I am overcome by love. It sweeps through me, giving me strength to face the end. I trace his cheek softly, soothingly, granting solace with my touch. "We knew this moment would arrive," I try to prepare him. The words hurt him, I know, but there is little I can do to change the truth.
I rest my forehead against his, whispering my love to him, although he knows it well. I want to protect him, even now as my breath catches and stutters. My vision greys around the edges, echoing the clouds filling the sky. I need to reassure myself, ensure that he knows I'll always be with him. He won't ever be alone. I have to know he won't forget, so I ask, as I always do. "Think of me when I'm gone?"
His answer is a poem, one he wrote for me years ago. The words are still beautiful despite the countless times I have heard them. I want to answer, to tell him I understand, but my voice fails me. The familiar pain wracks my body and I shudder against him, slumping in his arms. He lends me his strength, holding my body. He keeps me standing.
I told him once that I wanted to die on my feet, not a wasted shell in a bed, or a broken man on my knees. He remembers, and I'm grateful. For that and for so much more. He's given me the world. I only wish, for his sake, that I could make it stop, somehow freeze this moment forever. But life keeps moving forward, all attempts by us to create a sanctuary, a moment out of time, are doomed to fail.
As if confirming my thoughts, the end comes nigh. I can feel it hovering over me. Tears slip unhindered from my eyes, a silent mimicry of the ones trailing unnoticed down his face. Suddenly there is so much I want to say, so much left to tell him. "Take care of yourself . . . ." My voice tapers off as I see recognition and then pain flare in his eyes. I lean forward to comfort him in the only way I have left.
A soft brush of lips and . . .