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Here they are again, echoes of each other showing us that love nurtures us differently.

He’s fighting for what he loves. It isn’t her. She’s already a memory, another thing to flagellate himself with, even now as she stands solid before him.

Here is love given up. Here is where she turns to little more than a wisp in his mind, she can see him forgetting. She can.

She wants to cry.

“If you loved me at all, if you cared for me at all, you’d come back.”

He just stands there. His arms hang at his sides. He might be crying, too, but it isn’t enough.

All he can say is, “I love you.” and he sounds like a liar.

And then she’s shoving his chest, and he’s not even fighting back, just standing and taking it. He has the nerve to look like a kicked puppy where not three minutes ago did his eyes burn white and he stole a life without lifting a finger. She hates him for a moment. She can taste the ash in her mouth.

She says, “You selfish man! You never loved me, you were just so lonely that you took the first thing that came along!”

She says, “I was nothing before I met you, don’t you see? I am a creature shaped by your hand– and don’t look at me that way; I’m right and you know it!”

She says, “Everything in me came from you!”

And so it is. What would she have been without him? The answer is nothing, nothing, nothing. She was empty before he breathed life into her. The benevolent God deigned to set the caged bird free, but he only tightened the shackles.

He looks broken. His knees wobble like they might give out. All she can think is: Good. Let him hurt forever.

“That is not true! You are my heart, I would have given you anything–”

“Then give me this!” She cries. “Come back. I don’t know what I am without you. Come back!”

“Then that is something you must discover, vhenan .” He’s holding back tears. He comes closer, to lower himself where she’s on her knees clutching her hand. She wishes it would finish her off right now, if only to catch the look on his face in her small seconds between alive and not.

There. If she is to die, let it be out of spite.

His hand wraps around her arm, cold metal through her sleeve. She hates it. She hates him. She does.

“No, stop– Don’t touch me.” It comes weak and thin, encroached upon by the clinks of his armor. She’s not the Inquisitor here; she’s fresh into womanhood and on her knees having her chest ripped open.

He touches his forehead to hers. “You claim that you are nothing but a body, but dwelling in you is the entire universe, my love.”

Then she’s blinded by the way his eyes flash. He crushes his mouth to hers, drinking up her tears and a few of his. Everything is so very wrong.

It’s over too fast. He stands. He tells her he’ll never forget her. She doesn’t believe him.

And then he’s gone, and her arm is gone. It didn’t even hurt, just crumbled away and the dust blew off somewhere.

Once more she finds herself in halves. She can’t even cry anymore. She’s outside her body, watching this strange hollowed version of herself go through the motions of blink and breathe, and from time to time, look up in perfect silence at the clouds.