Author's note: So, I'm finally finishing this story about lost souls, a disastrous meeting, a match made in hell and about love, humanity and what it means to be human. I want to thank you all who have been reading this fic, and obviously appreciating it enough to keep checking out each new chapter. I hope you will find the end to be a satisfying resolution.

I also want to thank my brilliant beta reader, Romany. Without you, this wouldn't have been half as good as it turned out. :blows kisses:

I wouldn't mind at all to hear your opinion about this story, anything from small to big thoughts. I've laid my heart in it. And I've loved getting to know Sarah and Vincent, and I wish them all the best! ;)

/Nicolina.

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Kapitel 18 Wonders of a Wounded Mind

Vincent stood with his back to the room, staring out at the pale light of dawn, watching the city burst alive. It was like a living organism, with a mind of its own. He knew it was a cruel world. And only now he realized he'd helped to make it even darker. That he'd turned it into his own twisted playground for getting back at it.

Avenging his life – or lack of life.

Faces of people he'd never known flashed before his eyes. They refused to leave him alone.

And they were all dead.

By my hands.

It was mere coincidence that he'd failed with Sarah…

Or was it? Had there been a deeper meaning?

He hadn't considered his choice of occupation for many, many years. Perhaps never. It had suited him perfectly and he'd seen other people as trash anyway. He'd never seen anyone that he'd thought of as innocent or worthy of living, and even if he had ever pitied someone, he still wouldn't have hesitated. He'd stopped feeling anything way back, when he was still a child.

Sarah had seen him. And he had seen Sarah.

Suddenly someone had meant something.

And what he had seen hurt him. He hurt for himself and the boy he'd once been, and he hurt for her; for her lost years and her lack of a future.

Vincent frowned as he stared at the flaming orange and red horizon, beautifully drawn by the polluted sky in the rising sun.

All of it was too much for now.

He needed some time alone. To figure things out.

He crouched next to Sarah. She slept peacefully on the floor. He'd put a pillow under her head and laid a blanket over her earlier, when he'd woken up. Shaking her gently, he said in a low voice, "I need to leave. There's some coffee and toast in the kitchen."

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Sarah flew up from the floor, her eyes wide and confused. She'd feared this. She'd even dreamt it just now.

She stood in front of him, swaying, and with a pained expression on her face.

"Stay." The thought of being alone again scared her more than death. To lose him now that she'd had him so close would make her more lost than she'd ever been before he had re-appeared in her life.

"I can't. You know that." He sighed slightly. "I don't love you, Sarah." He stroked her cheek with the palm of his hand. "And even if I did, I could never attach myself to you… or to anyone." He laughed, somewhat bitterly. "Can you see me as a family man?"

'I don't love you…'

A throbbing ache spread from the center of her chest and radiated out through her body at his words; she felt cold, lost...

"I don't mean family, Vincent." She choked on her words as tears started to spill from her eyes. "I won't have kids, you know that! Just you and me. Just us…" Her voice trailed off. She looked at him pleadingly. "I need you," she whispered, staring at her own feet in defeat, as if the request was so big that she couldn't look him straight in the face. "Please don't leave."

She needed him so badly.

He can't leave!

-

-

Vincent felt truly sorry for her.

He did care, probably enough to even stay around for a while, but he didn't want to. It was true what he'd said: he could never attach himself, and he'd hurt her more by giving her false hopes.

He never used to stay in one place for long. He needed to keep moving, never knowing what would happen or where he'd be the next day.

Vincent really didn't know where he would be the next day.

His next contract had been lost during his hibernation at Sarah's, and for the first time in many years he didn't have a pre-determined schedule. Dropping out of a contract without any kind of explanation wasn't a smart move. He was most likely blown in the business and would have to fight like hell to be able to get back his position.

Get back?

He wasn't so sure any more about what he wanted to do next. Sarah had awoken something in him. That little lingering humanity he'd thought had been gone forever, to the point that he'd barely considered the issue, was suddenly itching deep inside of him.

Like scar tissue.

And it felt… good…?

It didn't feel entirely normal.

What's 'normal' anyway?

"I need to be going. Come here." He pulled her towards him and embraced her. The hug was tender, and in it he gave her all the affection he could muster. "Don't be afraid, Sarah. You'll always have this…" He bent down and whispered in her ear as he placed a little object in her hand. Then he closed her fingers around it.

Vincent left without knowing to what or where. But he felt free.

Released.

Thank you, Sarah. And good luck.

-

-

Sarah stood there, swaying, with an intense pain in her chest.

He might as well have shot me, 'cause that's how it feels.

As he walked out the door, never turning around as he pulled it closed behind him, she fingered the little crumpled cartridge. It was the one he had retrieved from the floor behind the counter back at the café, and inside was a little piece of paper with a phone number written on it. He didn't get to see it, but through her tears, a weak smile appeared.

He'll keep his promise. I'll be seeing him again – when I need him…

She took one deep breath and let it back out.

The pain hesitated slightly before aiming another stab at her.

Then she took another breath, feeling an unexpected rush of excitement as she realized she could leave the apartment and just… go anywhere. The prospect of just walking down the street outside her building suddenly felt surprisingly appealing, even thrilling.

If things had turned out just a little differently, she wouldn't have been around breathing that breath, or taking that simple walk.

Suddenly endlessly grateful to be alive, she turned to look at her apartment and her smile widened.

I'm still here! I'm still fucking HERE!

Hitting the button on her stereo, Mick Jagger's raspy voice filled the room and Sarah sang along with all her heart.

"But it's aaaall right now, in fact it's a gas. It's aaaaall right – I'm Jumping Jack Flash – it's a gas,gas,gas."

-

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Three years have passed and I haven't heard a word from him. I know he isn't a contract killer any more, but I don't know much else. I heard he's traveling, and I got some news that he'd been seen at the street where I grew up… I don't know what he did there. Maybe the place means more to him now.

There are a lot of things that mean more now.

He'll come for me. A phone call, and he'll come for me.

I know I won't have to suffer.

Few are that lucky.

For now, I'll live. He gave me my life back.

And I will live!

I've changed.

Those three nights made me realize that I wasn't living. Now I breathe, move and feel. I swim in the ocean and take long walks on the beach, enjoying the breeze in my hair, the sun on my skin…

In these last years I'll have, life has become so valuable, so precious.

He will come for me, and I will greet him.

It's his gift to me.

I owe him my life.

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I will be his last contract.

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THE END