When I close my eyes, I see the bones. Dry and white, in piles in the suns, in the deserts and in the cities. There was a time when I could remember that each skull once had a face, but now I can only see the bones. Sometimes I see what could have been; this is what will be.

When I open my eyes I see the room and its bed. I have no orders tonight, nothing to do but eat or sleep. Then comes a knock at the door. It is Dominique. She is the next scheduled to die.

"I fight the brother tomorrow," she says to me. "With the Cyclops eye I know I can." She trails off, then looks me in the eye.

"I can't win, can I? Vash will kill me tomorrow."

Knives' brother doesn't kill. I'll kill her tomorrow. I open my mouth to say so, but she holds her finger up to stop me.

"Don't tell me, I don't want to know. I want to at least put up a good show."

I nod.

"It really will all be destroyed, won't it? I suppose there's no point in wishing I had realized that while there was still time to get out."

"No one has very much time anymore."

She shakes her head. "I thought I was cleaning up the garbage."

Suddenly she reaches out and touches my arm. I glare at her and remove her hand.

"Legato," she says in a desperate tone, "Don't throw me out of here tonight."

I close my eyes and for an instant I see a time that never happened where I smiled into her eyes and she smiled into mine. When I open my eyes she is kissing me, and I let her.

I pick up her hands in mine. I can feel her bones.

She pulls me down onto the bed. I don't want to be close to her, but what will it matter really, what two human bodies do?

She continues to touch and kiss me, clearly expecting some response that I am not prepared to give.

She speaks again. "Don't you feel a need, after all this death?"

All I feel a need for is death. But I allow her to stay. If she thinks she can take pleasure from me instead of pain, who am I to care. I accept her caresses, and eventually, in a small way, I respond. There is a brief dream of human skin and the murmuring of a voice.

She thanks me afterwards, though I don't understand for what, and she knows I want her to go. As she is leaving, I can see Midvalley in the hallway. He stares at us, shocked, and I shut the door.

The next day we are all in conference with master Knives as Dominique has her meeting with the brother.

At one point Knives looks up and reports to us that she has failed. I stand, knowing what he wants me to do.

But Midvalley is already rising out of his seat. "Don't make him do it. I'll do it."

There is no arguing with Knives, but he allows Midvalley to run out the door. I close my eyes, and for a moment I see a place where Knives is not, a house where a black-haired woman waits for me. But I open my eyes again, and think only of the bones.