A/N: Last chapter. It's all romantic and fluffy, but in a really disturbing way. Before I let you read the chapter, I would like to say a huge thank you to those who not only reviewed the story, but followed it as well, until the end. You know who you are :)
The sequel will be up shortly, maybe in a couple of weeks or so.
On with the finale!
Blood of a Stranger
Chapter Ten: Breakdown
The silence was deafening. He could just feel the tension slicing through the hot air like a serrated knife. She hadn't said a word. Not a word. Not a whisper. Not a sharp sob. Nothing. And that was what hurt him the most; that was what spilt his heart through its middle. That was what dug the knife in deep, twisting it so the wound would leak rapid blood and spill onto the floor beneath them.
He couldn't stand it. He couldn't stand the hurt. Not her hurt. Or his hurt. Or their hurt.
What they had witnessed, what they had done…it was a sin few ever lived to taste on their tongues. It was not the solvent that should be sizzling ripe in their mouths. It was the exhaustion of a life, the killing of another human.
It was not something he wanted her to experience. He hadn't meant for her to be the one to release the caged bullet, exploding in the dense night sky.
That was not how he wanted it.
She held her arms, gripping so tightly with her fingernails they bled. She didn't seem to know, didn't seem to care. Didn't seem to notice the crimson streaks licking their way down her arms.
He didn't want to be the one to remind her of the blood.
There was so much blood.
He guided her through the room, pressing her back gently as she stumbled on the polished wood.
She wasn't even looking where she was going. She was just going.
He heard the distant ticking of a clock and he was suddenly forced back into reality. The police would be at the scene by now. They would be wondering why the anonymous man who had called them decided to disappear into the deadly night.
They wouldn't understand.
The couch seemed like rock to her as she lowered herself slowly onto its leather surface. The rocks cut into her, their sharp stabs piercing her insides, making her gasp. Or maybe they were shudders. Convulsions.
She didn't know.
She could see the blood. It was everything. It stained her unclean hands. It was splattered over her eyelids, there in her afterimage every time she blinked. It was on the clean floor beneath them. It was there.
Jack couldn't bring himself to talk, couldn't bear to shatter the barrier between them; it was so delicate.
He let his actions speak words. Walking gingerly over to his bathroom, he ran a steaming shower. He let the soothing drops of hard water pound on the tiles before moving back over to the couch.
She looked at him with wide eyes, dapples of brown peering at him, confused.
What was going on?
He took her hand. It was dead cold. There was no feeling pulsing through it as he led her towards the bathroom, hesitantly fingering the zip on the back of her cobalt dress, and pulling it down slowly, looking away modestly.
He had caught the swell of her perfect shoulders in the poor light of the room.
He left her there.
Tried not to listen as the water proceeded to pound hard on the tiled surface.
She emerged several minutes later, close to an hour he guessed, wearing the dress, her hair dark and dripping cold onto her neck.
Her eyes still reflected a lost woman. A woman who did not know her place in the world anymore. A woman without any inspiration to move forward. She just wanted to sink, lower and lower, faster and faster.
He knew, because that had been him a few years ago. He had been that same, lost soul searching for the meaning, for the answer to life's greatest mystery.
Why are we living?
For a moment, for a pure second frozen in time, the two forgot why they were alive. They forgot about what they had been called to do. They forgot about their purpose.
He was the first to blink, to shatter that frozen moment.
She didn't care; she was gone anyway.
She was there, on the couch next to him, begging him with her eyes to break down with her. To let every poison just run through their veins together. She wanted to lose herself.
He held her, with as much tenderness as he could manage.
It was all so wrong.
She finally broke, tears of anguish and relief pouring from her, soaking his blood-mattered clothes. She didn't care. She needed this. And he let her. He carefully touched her hair, stroked its damp tendrils. She buried herself deep into the hollow of his neck. And he let her.
He didn't mind when she pressed her lips to the firm skin of his neck. It was wrong, he knew, but he didn't stop her when she did it again, only this time harder and more desperate. He tried not to close his eyes as her cold hair touched the skin of his chin.
He winced as her fingers lightly caressed the swollen scar on the back of his neck. The one he could never forget.
He let her just slide into that peaceful deafness of non-existence. He was already there. He knew how it felt.
Her lips reached the side of his head, the tender pulsing on his temple. She pressed against it for a number of seconds, draining the remaining life out of both of them.
The look in her eyes spoke to him with a ferocity that neither of them could deny. And he let her look at him like that. She pulled herself forward, capturing his lips with perfect grace with her own, and tasting him.
And he let her.
He let her cry loudly and sob uncontrollably as she kissed him.
He didn't want to move. He didn't want to respond to her lips on his. He didn't want to shatter the reverie she was so contently drifting into. But, he did.
His hand stroked the bare skin of her back as her hands raked through the tussles of hair on either side of his head. A single tear slid from the rim of her eye and trickled steadily down her face to rest on the edge of her chin. It balanced there, before finally giving in and tripping over the edge and splashing onto Jack, spilling over the hollow of his neck.
He wanted this.
It was wrong.
She was crying.
She was damaged.
It was damaged.
He wanted to pull away from her lips, he wanted to ignore how they felt on his, he wanted so much for her to be happy.
Not like this.
But he couldn't pull away. He couldn't stop the way her lips continued to crash down onto his. It was magnetic. And he couldn't fight it.
She eventually heaved over him, her lips peeling away from his, her head crashing down onto his chest. She leaned heavily into him, arms pulling tightly around his neck.
He held her, whispered vague words into her ear as he pressed his head against hers.
The glazed wood seemed cold when he walked over it, his arms heavy from carrying her across the room. She was placid, delirious. They reached his room, separated from the rest of the apartment by a door.
His bed was still; unmade.
It was a sanctuary for her, a place to rest her head and rid her mind of those plagued memories.
She was near unconscious when he laid her down softly above the covers, her arms still wrapped tightly around his neck for security. He unhooked them carefully, grappling with her gently when she refused to let him go.
It was ironic, how much now she gravitated towards him; how much she wanted him there.
She was curled quietly on the bed as he leaned over her, brushing the hair from her face with a tenderness neither of them would have expected. He moved closer towards her, bending down slightly. He touched his lips to hers in a soft kiss. He moved back as she stared at him with wide eyes.
He whispered calmly into the night, "I'll take care of you."
He left her alone, scared and curled up on top of the clean sheets. And as he wandered down the halls towards the couch, he closed his eyes at the painful sound of her cold sobs.
A/N: I thought of that ending before I even began writing this story, so I sort of revolved the last couple of chapters around Tru breaking down, and as well as being repulsed by Jack, she feels comforted by him.
Anyway, again a huge thanks to those who reviewed, read, and followed me throughout this amazing journey, and I hope to relive it all when I write and post the sequel :)