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"Tell me," the Creature said when he could go on no further. It gathered him up in its arms, awkwardly cradling him. "Tell me you love me. You are so very weak, my dear, and you will not last very long. And I want to hear it from you, before you die."

It brushed away the frost from Victor's mouth. "Tell me," it whispered in his ear.

Victor blinked slowly, and wet his lips. "I don't," he said raggedly, drawing in a wheezing breath. The Creature eased him into a sitting position, rubbing a hand down his back until Victor's breaths sounded less laboured. "I don't love you," Victor said. "You're a monster; an evil thing. I never loved you."

The Creature sighed. Its breath gusted over him, warm and rank with seal meat. "You're a poor liar," it told him. "I have spent enough time around humans to have mastered the art of lying, and it is odd that you do it so poorly, my dear." It touched his mouth thoughtfully. "Of course you loved me. I may be the only person you have ever loved. And isn't that a little terrible in itself, that you will not admit it?"

"No," Victor shook his head, his breathing growing more distressed and urgent. "No, I didn't, I -"

"Oh, but you did," the Creature said, pressing a kiss against Victor's temple. Its lips and skin were equally soft with no tell-tale prickling of stubble. Dead skin, soft and supple and incapable of change. "I think if someone had taken a knife to me, as you did to my bride, and cut me up in pieces in front of you before I had even been born... Oh, my dear, I think you would have wept." It pulled him flush against its chest, forcing his head back to bare the skin of his throat. It nuzzled the pulse-point there; Victor felt it smile as his breath hitched. "You would have wept all the tears you've yet to shed for your Elizabeth."

"Don't say her name!" Victor cried out, anguished, and his chest spasmed with the force of it, setting off a series of painful, wet coughs.

Alarmed, the Creature wrapped an arm around him and leaned him forward, letting him cough up whatever was brewing in his lungs. "There, there," the Creature said, awkwardly stroking Victor's back through the coughing fit. "There, now. I didn't mean to upset you. I won't say her name again. I promise. Hush, now, hush."

Exhausted, Victor allowed himself to be positioned back against the Creature's scarred chest, the furs wrapped around them both. "Please stop," he whispered. "Please."

The Creature smoothed back his hair from his eyes. "Ah, my dear Master," it whispered into Victor's ear, "I think you have forgotten who is chasing whom."