A Soldier's Death

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. I loved Maes Hughes and I wish that he wasn't dead. R/R if you feel the same way.

The gunshot surprises me. It rings so loud against the lonely streets I think for sure someone will hear it. Someone will save me. Someone will watch my back. I feel my body fall backwards, my head hitting the concrete. Were it not for the bullet in my chest and the accompanying pain, I might be scared of getting a concussion from hitting the concrete so hard. I wouldn't want to worry Gracia with the medical bills if that were to happen.

The impact against the sidewalk jars reality into focus. I'm going to die. Sure I knew it would happen eventually. Sure I knew that the probabilities of me dying prematurely would rapidly increase when I became a part of the military. I'm an investigator; it's my job to know the numbers. But still, I would've wanted it to end differently than this. I wouldn't have envisioned dying a soldier's death, killed in the line of duty. It's not really my style, you see. That's why I took a desk job. It's so much easier to experience war in the form of body counts than up close on the battlefield. But I guess in some wars no one's ever really safe.

My chest hurts. I place a hand to it and feel the hot blood pour from the wound. Gracia's going to have a hell of a time getting this stain out of my uniform. She'll try her best though. In my last moments, lying here on the sidewalk in the pouring rain, I think about how incredibly lucky I truly am. I've seen war change a lot of people. I've seen it turn them into animals, inhuman monsters. There was another reason I took a desk job. It wasn't just to protect myself from the monsters that were the enemy. It was so she didn't have to witness me become one. She's always kept me strong, given me hope. I love my wife more than anyone alive.

My fingers twitch, moving and clawing for something I can't yet comprehend. They finally rest on a piece of paper, growing soggy due to the rain. I touch the paper, already knowing what it is without having to look at it. The picture of Gracia and Elysia fell out of my wallet during the ruckus. I know I'm holding it now. I'd put it back in my wallet and save it from the rain but I don't have the energy for that. It's a shame too, it was a beautiful picture. I hope someone can explain it to Elysia. She's only a little girl. She won't understand that Daddy can't be with her anymore. I recall all the moments I spent with my daughter. I do not feel cheated strangely enough. Other men in my predicament would curse God for not letting them be there to watch their daughters grow up. It will be hard for her, I know that. But I am eternally thankful I got to spend the most glorious four years of my life with her.

I wish Roy was here. It's odd the thoughts that occur while dying. But I do wish Roy was here. He's my best friend, after all. I guess it was stupid of me to keep him in the dark about all this Lab Five mess. But it'd look bad for him if he was involved. I couldn't risk tainting his reputation and impeding his progress on becoming Fuhrer. That's how it's been with us, you know? I do the leg work and push him up. He'll make a good Fuhrer one day. I know he will. I just hope he can make it on his own and can forgive me for being so stupid. I'm sorry, Roy.

My vision fades now, darkness taking me down. I feel my breathing become more labored and I give up the fight to keep it steady. My fingers curl around the picture of my family and I smile. I have led a happy and fulfilling life. I have married the most beautiful woman on Earth and have been a father to a wonderful little girl. It's strange that even though I took a desk job to avoid conflict I still died in combat, in service to my country. As I close my eyes for the last time and smile I realize that in the end I could ask for nothing more than to die a soldier's death.