DISCLAIMER: We all know they're not mine. Don't sue, I will bite. Now, on with the tale.

This is for the SD-1 October fic challenge. The elements were death of a main character, a Halloween costume, the word eerie, and this quote: Do not go gentle into that good night. Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

It's amazing how differently things turn out from the way you expected them to be. For example, I never thought I'd still be risking my life on insane missions at the age of 42. I never thought I'd find the love of my life, only to lose her such a short time later. And I never thought I would die so completely alone.

So many things have led up to this moment, I can't even begin sorting them out. I can't even try. It hurts to breathe; rationally, I know this is, quite obviously, due to the bullet currently lodged in my chest, but my emotional side wonders if it isn't due to the pain that's been wreaking havoc on my heart for the past six years. It hurts to think as well; all the things I'm trying so hard to remember keep slipping away amidst a blur of memories, good and bad.

            Pain. Physical; I can feel it. Emotional; I can see it reflected briefly in her eyes. Mental; it's all too much to handle. Neither of us wanted this to happen, but it has, and there's no way to make things right again.

            She stands above me, looking down with a mixture of sadness, regret, pain, loss, and anger. It takes only a few moments for her to manage to wipe those emotions all out, and once again stare at me blankly, as if she'd never seen me before in her life. But underneath her cool, composed exterior, I can still see those feelings raging within her. I slowly close my eyes as a shudder racks my body. My left hand rises of its own will, and moves to cover the painful wound in my chest. I pull it away a moment later, and open my eyes to see more blood than I'd imagined. It wasn't supposed to be like this, but this is how it's going to end; that much is obvious.

            My eyes slowly drift up to meet hers, and she finally drops her guard, lowering herself gently to her knees and slowly taking my hand. No words are spoken; none are needed. Everything that needs to be said is communicated silently. Just behind her, I catch sight of her two allies, approaching quietly. She turns to them, and the silence remains. When she again faces me, tears have softly begun trickling down her face. Her mother carefully reaches for her; she bursts into sobs as she rises to her feet and turns away from me for the last time.

            I again shut my eyes, resigning myself to what is surely to come. She speaks for the first time as she walks away, evidently answering a silent question.

            "I suppose… it runs in the family, doesn't it?" I hear a low voice next to me, calmly requesting assistance for a downed agent. I don't open my eyes as he places my radio next to me and goes to catch up to them. I don't open them as I hear their distant helicopter take off, nor much later, as I hear even more distant voices searching for me. There's no reason for them to be here; they can't change what's meant to be. So I simply relax, making myself as comfortable as a man dying of a gunshot wound can get.

            Do not go gentle into that good night. Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas, if I remember correctly… which, right now, I wouldn't bet on. It's her voice I hear reciting these lines. Externally, an eerie silence pervades the inky blackness; they've given up searching for me. I've now officially been abandoned by everyone.

            I force my eyes to open and attempt to sit up; the pain burns through my chest, giving me no choice but to ease back down and stare at the sky. I hear a bird up in the trees, and it reminds me of the Halloween costume I attempted to put together three years ago. It was supposed to be a bluebird, but ended up looking more like a turkey. It was the most hideous thing I had ever seen, and as such, was also the last thing I ever made. I cough painfully, nearly choking on the blood that comes up. My head lolls to the side, allowing the fluid to pool on the ground next to my face.

            Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. I think that's a Shakespeare quote; I can't remember anymore. But it makes me wonder… does life mean anything? Will mine matter anymore an hour from now, when I'm gone from it? Did it ever matter before?

            I never knew dying would take so long.

            It wasn't supposed to be like this. That seems to be the only thing my mind can truly wrap itself around. It shouldn't have happened like this; I shouldn't be here, she shouldn't have left, it shouldn't end this way. But it is… it will, and I can't right this wrong, no matter how much I want to.

            Suddenly, or perhaps not so suddenly, my chest constricts. It feels tighter than it did before, and my breaths become more shallow. I'm soon gasping for air, but it's not making a difference. With a final clarity, I understand… it's finally ending. These years of torture and pain are finally going to be over. It's a shocking realization; I actually welcome deaths cold embrace. I never thought I'd be happy to die, but I also know I can never again be happy to live.

            My body fights to survive, though my soul has long since given up. I feel the rasping breaths, the pounding and slowing of my heart, the fading trickles of blood… but it doesn't mean anything to me. This is finally the end, and I'm relieved that it has arrived.

            But as my eyes slide shut for last time, the image of her, walking away with her mother and Sark and leaving me to die, is replaying over and over in my mind. The bullet from her own gun is burning in my chest. And as I slowly draw my last breath, one final thought occurs to me.

            Perhaps love truly does conquer all, for on this night, it has undoubtedly conquered me.

*releases a breath* Ok, I hope that didn't suck. The challenge ends in a few hours, and I… totally forgot about it. So, I threw this together in about an hour. Anyway, thanks for reading, reviews much appreciated!