"Next round is strip," Davey, their bass player, says with a wide grin; he's missing the tooth next to one of his front ones, and he blows air through the gap. It makes a faint hissing sound and he grins wider.

Rayna laughs, shaking her head, "Not that I don't want to see y'all in your unders, 'cause I sure do." She rolls her eyes a bit, then laughs again, "But I'm damn sure no one wants to see me in mine right now."

Everyone laughs this time except Deacon, who shifts uncomfortably in his seat, staring too hard at the crap hand he's been dealt this round. He smirks grimly, the crap hand he's been dealt doesn't just apply to the cards in his hand and damn if he doesn't know it. Crap hand is an understatement. His internal monologue taunts him—watching the woman you love more than you love anyone, yourself included, marry some trust fund jackwad was more than a crap hand. Watching her build a life with the trust fund jackwad was the worst thing that ever happened to Deacon outside of being born to a supremely meek woman and a raging alcoholic in Natchez, Mississippi. He tosses his cards on the table with a heavy sigh. Like so many other things in her life, this hand will go on without him.

He cuts a glance at Rayna; she's biting her lip as she decides her next course of action and Deacon can't help the tug he feels in his groin. Because the thing is: He does. He wants to see her naked; always has, always will. He's been oddly fascinated by her changing body; it's his first time seeing it happen before his eyes, and the fantasies he has of her in his bunk at night keep up with her shape, real time. She is pregnant in his fantasies now, and he never stops to wonder how perverted that makes him, if it does at all. Regardless, he never imagines her any way other than as she is now. Except, of course, when he imagines her, she is his. The baby she is carrying in her belly is his. He'd never wanted that with anyone until he met Rayna, never saw himself being a father, going to soccer games, bake sales, school plays. Now that he sees her having it with someone else, it's all he wants. Well, almost.

Deacon stares at her a bit harder as she chews on her lip. She looks tired—he knows she's spent more time awake than asleep in the last 48 hours, he's heard her strumming terribly on a travel guitar she's always kept despite her adorable inability to actually play; he's heard her for the past three nights whisper-singing lyrics into the small hours of the morning. She sings songs to the baby in her womb, but then she eventually starts singing something else she's working on. Something unbearably sad—he can't make out the exact words, but when he hears it all he is reminded of is a profound sense of loss.

He hears her because he's awake, too, afraid of the demons that will haunt him if he closes his eyes. Afraid of meeting Rayna in his dreams, afraid of envisioning the life he threw away with a bottle full of liquid, a bottle full of pills, and a few needles for good measure, just in case he hadn't well and truly lost her before he ever stuck a needle in his vein. He has one permanent track mark he wishes he could erase, the same way he wishes he could erase the hateful things he said to her while the drug was coursing through his veins. He didn't mean any of them, but as he so often did back then, he reached for the things he knew would hurt her fast and hurt her deep. Deacon hadn't been good at many things in his life: guitar and picking up women chief among them. Hurting, Rayna, though—that he'd been brilliant at for longer than he cared to admit. Toward the end of their relationship, he'd made hurting her into a kind of art; her tears were like water flooding a canvas, changing the landscape of their lives—he'd spend the rest of his life wishing he hadn't been good at that. Wishing he'd been good at loving her, instead.

Tonight, with that life behind them (and, really, he's glad for it – he's never hated anything more than he's hated hurting her), they're sitting around a table on the tour bus as it ambles slowly but surely towards Raleigh. The band is sitting around the table, playing a pennies game of Texas Hold 'Em. The awkward moment gone, unnoticed by everyone except him, Deacon looks next to him and smiles when he sees that Rayna has the biggest stack of pennies of them all. Six guys, and she's still the one to beat. She can bluff with the best of them; even he can't read her when she puts that wall up. It used to frustrate him, but now it enthralls him, keeps him hanging on even harder, if that's possible. Six years and he hasn't let her go—he wonders if he ever will. If he thinks about it, he already knows the answer. He shakes his head as he watches her rake in another pot.

"How much you got there, Rayna?" Alex, the drummer, asks as he leans forward to get a better look at her pennies neatly stacked in four rows.

His question is met with sounds of inquiry from every member of the band except Deacon, who just watches her, smiling. Her feet are in his lap; they've been swollen, even though she's been wearing flats for the last month and a half. He's taken to rubbing them for her after every show.

She was reluctant to let him at first, fearing it was too personal, too much, but one night, when they hurt so bad she thought she might cry, she let him. He'd pulled her feet into his lap and worked his fingers over them, massaging the tissue as she leaned her head back against the booth in the tour bus and tried to keep the moans of relief at bay. She nearly succeeded; and Deacon nearly succeeded in hiding his arousal. Nevertheless, it's become a nightly ritual. If the other guys see anything weird about it, they haven't mentioned it. Not that Deacon really cares—Deacon doesn't care about what anyone except Rayna thinks; he hasn't for a long while.

Rayna grins, her smile sly, "You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table, gentlemen, y'all know that."

The guys issue a collective groan, but they're all smiling—Rayna has utterly charmed them all; she can take their money on the road, make bad jokes, and still leave them smiling and asking for more. She's utterly enchanting.

Deacon smiles. Some things never change. His eyes skate down to her stomach where it swells, and his smile morphs into a slight frown. Then again, some things do.

Rayna, sensing his gaze on her, wiggles her toes and places her feet back on the ground underneath the table. She mouths thank you to him, and he nods then picks up the deck of cards.

Deacon is mid-deal when Rayna lets out a little squeal; she reaches for his hand and he drops the cards he's dealing on the little table, some of them fluttering away and turning face up. Rayna takes his hand and puts it on her swollen belly, pressing her hand over his as he feels her stomach. Deacon looks at her quizzically, then back at his hand pressed against her black shirt which is stretched tightly over her stomach. He's never felt a pregnant belly before; her stomach feels harder than he thought it might.

"Wait," She whispers, and everyone in the band is watching them as she moves his hand around, finally settling it on the underside of her belly, pressing his fingers deeper into her skin. "There," She says, looking at him expectantly.

Deacon stares at her, unsure of what he's supposed to do. Feeling the eyes of his bandmates on him, he moves to pull his hand away when he feels it: a thump under his hand. His mouth gapes open and his eyes fly up to meet Rayna's, a look of shock hanging on his face.

She smiles at him excitedly, "Did you feel it?" She asks, just as the baby moves again. Deacon jumps a little at the force, "She's moving so much tonight."

Deacon nods, marveling as he feels the baby kick against his hand; one, two, three. And then it stops. His hand stays on Rayna's stomach as he stares at her—she looks back at him, then smiles a bit sadly as she caresses her hand once more over his before she gently moves their hands off her stomach. She drops both of their hands between them, holds his for a moment, then squeezes and lets it go.

Deacon looks at the cards that fell on the table, only a few of them face-up. He wills the Queen of Hearts to leave him be, to stop staring at him. But she doesn't listen; she never does.

Deacon collects the errant cards and shuffles again before dealing the cards out around the table facedown. As he places the last card in front of Rayna, an odd look comes across her face, and she quietly slips out of the booth and pads down the hall into her room. The guys sip on their beers and talk about the show tomorrow in Raleigh. Someone grabs a guitar and starts riffing, the music floating through the bus. Deacon shuffles the cards over and over again, enjoying the way they bend under his grasp, his fingers running along their edges until the skin on the edge of his thumbs is red.

Rayna's gone a minute too long, and Deacon tosses the deck of cards back on the table where they fan out and skitter to the edge; he heads to the back of the bus, noticing that the door of the master suite is open. Deacon walks through it and back to the closed door of the bathroom. He presses his ear up against the door and he can hear her soft sobs floating through the thin door. He knocks, but doesn't wait for an answer. He pulls the door to the side and his eyes find her immediately in the small space. She's on the floor hunched over the toilet, crying. She's always hated throwing up. She flushes the toilet, but does not move to stand. Instead, she lays her arm across the seat and leans her head against her arm, her cheek pressing in to the skin of her forearm as she breathes shakily in and out.

Deacon steps into the small bathroom and she looks at him, her face pale, her mascara slightly smudged from the tears. He hands her a tissue and she blows her nose and drops the tissue in the wastebasket then lays her head back down on her arm, groaning as another wave of nausea washes over her.

"I wasn't like this with Maddie." Unable to lift her head, her words are muffled against her arm.

"You weren't on a tour bus that might sometimes make a better boat than it does a tour bus with Maddie," Deacon says, crouching down next to her.

She laughs, then groans, throwing her head as far into the toilet as her belly will allow. Deacon runs his hand gently over her back and he watches her face change, watches her rise up on her knees and lean over the toilet bowl.

Deacon grabs her hair from her face and holds it behind her, his fingers gently wrapping around her thick hair, turning it into a makeshift ponytail.

"It's okay," He whispers gently, his free hand still rubbing her back as she heaves into the bowl, her tears flowing down her face. "You're okay."

He's only seen her like this once before, when she drank too much, the first and last time she ever tried vodka. It was right after she got her record deal, Watty'd put a band together, and they'd gone out for a fun night on the town before the real work began. That night, she was doing shots, keeping up with the guys in her newly formed band who egged her on, though she never stopped saying it tasted exactly like how rubbing alcohol smelled. Deacon was sober that night; he watched her in awe as she knocked them back, one after the other, her body swaying seductively to the music of whatever dive bar their ragamuffin group had staggered into.

She'd made a lot of friends that night, and a good impression on some tough guys who'd heard the surname Wyatt and deduced a lot of things about her that would ultimately prove to be false. Most deductions about Rayna Jaymes, they'd all realize soon enough, largely were. She was in a field all her own.

On their way home Deacon had to pull over to the side of the road—an empty field their only witness—and hold her hair back from her face as she hunched over, her hands on her knees, and retched, emptying the contents of her stomach over and over again on the asphalt until there was nothing left. And then once more for good measure. "No!" She kept blindly swatting her hand back at him as he held her hair, "I don't want you to see me like this!" But Deacon didn't move, just kept her hair in a gentle vice grip, whispering softly to her as she cried.

When she was done, tears were streaming down her face, her eye makeup trailing after them following their carefully carved out path. Deacon wiped away her makeup with his thumbs, then wiped the mascara remnants on his jeans; when he caught a glimpse of her in the headlights, she looked like the cutest raccoon he'd ever seen. He stared at her, a look of wonder on his face, his heart overflowing for this incredible girl, "Is it wrong that I still want to kiss you now?" He asked, whispering on the side of the deserted road.

She laughed then, her arm wrapped around her midsection, "Please don't."

Deacon put his hands under her arms and gently lifted her up into his truck.

"Oh," He said, laying his hand gently on her knees, preventing her from swinging her legs into the truck. "You got a little…" He pointed to her ankle, then grabbed a tissue from glove compartment. Rayna followed his index finger and was mortified as he ran the tissue along her ankle, cleaning her off.

"I'm mortified," She said, dropping her head into her hands.

Deacon tossed the tissue on the side of the road, feeling only slightly guilty about littering. He loved this girl, but he still didn't want to toss that tissue on the floorboard of his new truck. He touched Rayna's knee, then lifted her legs by her calves, placing her feet gently on the floormat.

She dropped her hands and peered at him from under a curtain of her thick hair. He smoothed it away from her face and ran his thumb across her brow bone. She dropped her gaze to the dashboard. "Mortified," She whispered.

"Hey," He said, his finger still lightly stroking her eyebrow, "Don't be." She looked at him, "Okay?"

She nodded, biting her lip. "Okay." She nuzzled her head into his palm, "Okay." She said again, then sighed.

Deacon leaned in and pressed a tender kiss to her temple before he shut the door and got back behind the wheel.

"Besides," He said, shifting the truck into drive, "A lot of very fun things are going to happen to you tomorrow."

The next morning, Rayna awoke with her first hangover.

After that night, she swore she'd never touch vodka again—and the thing about Rayna Jaymes was that, when she said she'd never do something again, she was pretty damn good about keeping that promise to herself. Except, of course, when it came to him. Though that had apparently changed.

He shakes his head to clear the memory away, though he can feel it looming like a cobweb in a house he has refused to clean for the last six years.

"It's okay," He whispers again, his palm rubbing a small circle on her back.

Rayna inhales shakily, then flushes the toilet and leans back against the cool glass of the shower. Her head follows and she groans a little bit. Deacon follows her, letting her hair go as he leans back against the wall next to the shower.

He stares at her, her eyes closed as her head is tipped up towards the ceiling. "Is it wrong that I still want to kiss you now?" Deacon asks, a hint of his smile slipping into his voice.

Rayna smiles, and lets out a little laugh. She opens her eyes and glances at him, "Please don't… remind me of that night right now," She shakes her head and rubs a hand over her stomach as she chuckles, but something flashes behind her gaze and Deacon thinks for a minute that this 'please don't' sounds a lot more like a please do.

But he lets the moment drop, he has to. "No vodka talk," He winks at her, "Got it."

The silence settles between them and Rayna's eyes flutter closed as her head rests against the back of the shower again, "I haven't slept in days," She whispers.

Deacon nods, though she can't see him, "I know." He says, watching as she basks in the soft light of the bathroom as though she's basking in the sun, still not looking at him. "Working on a new song?" He asks. He starts to hum the sorrowful tune he's heard coming from her room for the last few nights.

She smiles, "Mmhm," She nods her head a little, then her voice follows along with his humming, breathing words out in to the air between them, her voice melodic and sweet. She keeps her eyes closed—she can't look at him and sing this.

The lyrics float through the tiny bathroom, and Deacon is struck by how sad they actually are; he feels his heart beating in his chest and swears it cracks a little when she gets to the chorus of the song, the lyrics the most melancholy thing he's ever heard her write—they're even sadder than he imagined, listening through the walls. He feels his heart aching as the song continues; he knows what it's about. What her sad songs have always been about.

When she finishes, she lets out a little sigh.

"It's beautiful," Deacon breathes, his eyes suddenly wet.

"Thank you," She speaks quietly, as though she'll break something between them if she speaks too loudly, "It's not done yet, though." Her voice sounds tired, "I don't know how it ends."

Deacon reaches out and grabs her hand. Her eyes flutter open and her mouth drops a little as she looks at him. He's staring at her intently, his gaze holding everything he has ever felt for her – all good things.

"I do," He says, holding her eyes for a minute, watching as his words wash over her, as his meaning sinks in.

Then, he drops his gaze and stands up, pulling her up with him.

"I do," He says again, tucking a piece of her hair behind her ear. He reaches into the medicine cabinet and pulls out her toothbrush. He puts a dab of toothpaste on the bristles, runs them briefly under the cold tap, and then puts the toothpaste away.

He hands her the toothbrush and leans down to kiss her gently on the cheek, his lips lingering just a moment longer on the soft skin there than a friend's lips should.

"Get some sleep, Ray," He whispers before he leaves the bathroom and slides into his bunk. He pulls the curtain closed and tries not to think of Rayna and her swollen belly, of everything he's lost, of everything that could have been, if only… if only a lot of things.

He fails. Of course, he fails.

. . .

A hush has settled over the bus as the ambling motion rocks the musicians gently to and fro, lulling most of them to sleep the way some of their mamas did; the way some of their mamas didn't.

Deacon's still in his bunk, hopelessly courting sleep as he stares at the black curtain between him and the only woman he'll ever love when he hears her frustrated yelp followed by the sound of something hitting the wall. He slides the curtain back and sets his feet on the floor, moving quietly to the back of the bus.

He knocks gently, bringing his lips to the crack in the door, "Rayna?"

He hears her shriek a bit on the other side of the door, "Don't come in!" She shouts on a cry, then sighs exasperatedly, "Come in!" She says, her voice simultaneously panicked and resigned.

When Deacon opens the door, he is entirely unprepared for the sight that befalls him—someone could have told him exactly what he was walking in to, and he'd still have been knocked on his ass by the sight of it.

Rayna is standing at the edge of the bed, her black bra and panties the only clothing she has on. She has a container in her hands and as he surveys the room, he sees an empty container on the floor, a bit of its remnants left on the wall against which it had very obviously been hurled.

She slumps on the bed, her body leaning a bit, and she starts to cry. Overdramatic sobs rack her body, her chest heaving as she sobs. Deacon steps into the room and closes the door softly behind him, moving over to where she leans against the bed.

"Hey," He says, stopping in front of her, "What's wrong?"

When she looks up at him her eyes are red and watery. She sticks her hand out to him, the container jutting out at him. She looks sweet and oddly childlike, and Deacon feels his heart constrict at the sight of her.

"I was putting this cocoa butter on," She nods at her arm, shimmering in the dim light of the master suite, "And I ran out. But I couldn't get the other one open," She thrusts the offending container at Deacon, speaking around choked sobs, "and I washed my hands like six times, but I still couldn't do it, it just keeps turning and turning and I'm so tired I can't even feel my hands anymore, and I just want to put this on and go to bed and…"

"Shhh," Deacon says, pressing a gentle finger to her lips. His hand moves and his thumb flicks away a tear coursing down her cheek. He reaches out and takes the container of cocoa butter from her hand. "Let me," He says, bringing his hand around the lid of the container. His hands slip a bit as he tries to open it, but finally he succeeds.

Rayna watches him, her breathing heavy as her sobs settle, a calmness only Deacon has ever been able to provide coming over her, "I loosened it for you," She says, a smile on her face.

Deacon laughs as he keeps twisting the lid off, "Yeah," He nods, "You sure did."

Rayna bites her lip, and works on it a bit, watching as his hand works the lid off, "Plus," She says, her voice low, "You have much more practice at that particular motion than I do." She chokes back a laugh.

Deacon's gaze drops to his hand, and he watches as the lid finally twists off, his hand still spinning with it. He sets the lid on the dresser next to the bed and lets out a full, throaty laugh—the kind he'd worry would wake the band if everyone weren't so exhausted already. The kind only Rayna has elicited from him. He remembers the first time he laughed like that, even now. It was with her—until that day, he hadn't even known he could laugh like that; he hadn't known the laughter that follows happiness. He'd never known anyone who laughed like that and he'd damn sure never experienced it until he met her.

He laughs again, enjoying the sound, "I suppose," He says, his thumb and forefinger working on the safety seal, "But you're pretty damn good at that particular motion," His eyes flicker down to her hand as it rests on her stomach, "To the best of my recollection, anyway," Deacon says, his voice infused with a velvet tone as he peels the safety seal back and drops it in the wastebasket.

Rayna can't help herself—she giggles, bringing her hands up to her face to cover her mouth. It's a sound she hasn't made in ages, and she finds she's so happy to be making it again, even if it's only a response to a sexual joke with her ex-lover while she's pregnant with another man's baby. She doesn't want to think about that.

Deacon grins and hands her the opened container, "There," He says, watching as she takes it from him. He tucks his thumb under her chin, "Nothing to cry about."

Rayna shakes her head, "Uh," She says, dipping her fingers into the cocoa butter, "Have you seen me?" She shakes her head again, rubbing some of the lotion on to her arm, "I'm twice the size I was with Maddie, I look like a damn house," She laughs, but Deacon watches as her chin wobbles and she leans back on the bed, setting the container of cocoa butter next to her.

Deacon steps closer to the bed, and then stills, "I have seen you," He says, his gaze slowly travelling over every inch of her body before it lands back on her eyes. He smiles when he finds her watching him with rapt attention. "And you're gorgeous," He says, leaning his head forward, "Do you understand?" He asks, his voice suddenly serious, "You're absolutely fucking beautiful." Deacon says, his words taking up all the air in the room.

Rayna nods, looking at him appreciatively. "Thank you," She whispers, shyly. She runs her hands through her hair and sighs when she realizes they have cocoa butter on them and now so does her hair. She lets out a sound somewhere between a cry and a laugh, "I'm just so tired," She closes her eyes and leans her head against the wall, "So tired, I don't even want to do this," She waves her hands blindly at the cocoa butter, "I just want to take every fucking stretchmark and sleep." She sighs, and shrugs, "I'd look real good, then."

Deacon exhales, "If you were nothing but stretchmarks, you'd still be the most beautiful thing in the world to me, Ray," When she looks at him, he nods, "You know that's true, don't you?" Deacon sits next to her on the bed, leans over her and picks the cocoa butter up. "Let me do it." He says, his voice heavy.

Rayna's eyes widen, and her head snaps up. She looks at him, her eyes narrowing slightly. "I don't think that's…"

Ignoring her, he dips his fingers into the cocoa butter, then retracts them, staring at her, "Where?" He asks her, his eyebrows raised.

"Everywhere," She says, releasing the word on a breath.

Deacon feels her words in his stomach as they travel down—he tamps down his excitement; he won't allow his innate attraction to all things Rayna ruin this. She needs him; as much as he ever needed her, she needs him now, and he won't let something like an erection get in the way of that.

He starts with her legs, smoothing the butter over her thighs, picking her legs up gently as he kneads the skin, working his fingers in to her tired flesh. She's tense at first, but eventually she relaxes, letting her legs fall into his hands, letting her head fall back into the pillow. Deacon massages her, enjoying the way her muscles move under his touch, the way her soft skin absorbs the cocoa butter as he presses it into her. His calloused fingers work her muscles gently, easing out knots one by one. He watches her face as the tension slips away from it and peace replaces it, a specific type of euphoria starting to settle in to her features. Even though he's already done it tonight, he massages her feet again, focusing on the pressure points he knows feel especially good to her.

When he's done, her eyes are sleepy and half-open; her mouth, too.

"Thank you," She murmurs.

Deacon looks at her, "Did you get your stomach?"

"No," She says, "I'll do it," She raises her arm, but it's too heavy and falls back down at her side. Her eyes slip closed.

Deacon chuckles, "No," He shakes his head, "I'll do it."

He dips his fingers back in to the cocoa butter and takes some out. He rubs it between his palms for a minute so it's not so cold. Then, gently, he lays his hands on her swollen stomach, watching as her eyes flutter open and lock with his. He smooths the lotion around, careful not to put pressure on her stomach, marveling at the feel of her pregnant belly underneath his palms.

When it's rubbed in, Deacon can't seem to move his hands from her belly. Rayna sighs and smiles at him, "Thank you," She says, reaching down and covering his hands with hers.

Deacon clears his throat, "You're welcome," His thumb caresses her stomach before he pulls his hands away. He grabs the cocoa butter and twists the lid on, sliding it back on to the bedside dresser. He leans down and presses a tender kiss to her forehead, "Sleep," He says, his voice gentle yet commanding.

He moves to walk past her, and her hand darts out to grab his forearm. She tugs on his arm a little bit, "Stay," She whispers, "Please?" She looks at him, and she looks so tired and vulnerable that he knows there's no way he can deny her, even though he also knows that he very much should. For many reasons, not the least of which is his sanity. Not the least of which is how much he loves her.

"Okay," He whispers, nodding once.

Smiling softly, Rayna rolls on to her right side and makes room for him. He slides in to the bed next to her, resting on his back. Rayna reaches behind her blindly and grabs his hand. She tugs on it, and he rolls over behind her. She takes his hand and places it on her stomach, sighing as she snuggles back in to him.

In the back of her mind, she knows she shouldn't be doing this – but she's tired and lonely, on the brink of delirium having not slept for at least 60 hours. Deacon has always been the greatest comfort to her, so she can't really bring herself to care.

Deacon tucks his head into her hair and breathes deeply, her scent mixed with cocoa butter filling his nostrils. She shifts against him, and he feels himself growing hard against her.

His whole body stills against her, "I'm sorry," He moves to roll away but she stops him.

"It's okay," She says, her sleepy voice slurring her words, "Just hold me, babe," She whispers, and he can tell she's half asleep.

He inhales sharply at the endearment as it falls from her tongue and he feels his heart twist along with his stomach. He can't hold her accountable for what she says in near-sleep, but it's enough to let him know that he hasn't been imagining it, whatever's been between them in the years they've spent apart; the realization simultaneously hurts and comforts him.

"Okay," Deacon says, wondering whether he should shift to try to hide his hardness from her as she shifts against him again. When he tries, she holds him right where he is. Right where he wants to be. Right where he has only ever wanted to be.

"It's all backwards, Deacon," Rayna mumbles, her hand pressed against his as it rests on her belly.

"What is, baby?" Deacon asks gently.

"This." She says, lightly gripping his hand where it rests against her stomach, "Us." She sighs, then yawns, "Every damn thing."

The thoughts swim in her head, merge together, and for a moment she wants to tell him everything—how Teddy rubbed her feet while she was pregnant with Deacon's child, and now Deacon is doing the same while she is pregnant with Teddy's child. She wants to tell him that they would never have been in this mess in the first place if he could have just loved her enough to quit drinking. She knows addiction doesn't work like that, but she's so tired it's all she can think. It's all there on the tip of her tongue, their whole story, but the tired waves are crashing in and she is powerless against them as they move the words to her lips.

"Why didn't you love me enough?" Is all she can get out, is all she can make sense of through the fog clouding her brain.

Deacon wraps his arm tighter around her, and his voice is shaky, "I did love you enough, and I still do." He sighs, "Maybe I didn't love you right," He says, and she nods sleepily, silent tears tracking down her face, "But I do now, and I'll never stop. Never." He interlocks his fingers with hers, "This is how it ends," Deacon says, squeezing her hand, "Your song."

She squeezes his hand back and then chokes on a sob, "But it's all so… There are so many…" She tries to find the words to tell him everything, but when she reaches for them she finds that they are gone to the darkness, to the place where sad things live. Like every morning she has ever woken up without him.

"Shhh…." Deacon nuzzles her neck and plants a soft kiss there, "Sleep." He whispers the word quietly, "Sleep, baby."

And finally, after three days, she does.