Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, no profit is being made from this, and copyright infringement is not intended.
Author's Note: Sorry if I'm sentimental again. I'll try and be funny once more when I start updating the other fic that has been left hanging for quite a while now. Hopefully, next month.
A calculated nod and a glance downwards after a quick but gentle turn of a slim wrist informed her that it was still too early to presume that she had been stood up as the face of the very expensive wristwatch, a birthday gift from her father, informed her of the time, a little after seven in the evening. But deep in her thoughts, as she shifted in her seat, there was this persistent whisper like a finger prodding in her mind that there was a possibility that the person whose presence she was patiently awaiting might not grace this place at all even though her source, a very reliable source, informed her that the woman was true to her word.
Even so, it had been twenty eight years since that particular woman left. Surely, even she had changed.
The person whose presence, and absence, had quite a lasting impression on the people she once knew, the lives she once touched.
And these fortunate, and not so fortunate, lives were somehow linked like an unbreakable chain to the present, to her.
As a result, once and for all, she wanted to quench this thirst that started to drain her emotions dry when she was but a child, end the torment that had been gnawing at her insides, meet the person behind the legend, see with her own eyes the woman that became an enigma, come face to face with the ghost that hounded her, that seemed to lurk in the dark corners of her life.
How can I feel this resentment towards a person whom I haven't even met?
A slight disturbance interrupted her train of thought.
At the far side of the subtly lit room of the restaurant a couple walked in as the very attentive Maitre D offered a warm greeting before escorting the pair to a reserved table. She herself had reserved this particular table at the far corner a good week before today because she wanted the privacy and privacy came at an expensive price. Yes, it was a very expensive restaurant indeed, meant only for the elite few.
And she was one of them. Wealth and prestige were a few aspects of her life that she was silently, and sometimes deniably, thankful about.
But she could not help but think if this was a somewhat strange attempt to impress her guest.
No. She doubted if the woman could be impressed as easily.
She just wanted to meet her in a detached setting, not the overwhelmingly familiar surroundings of her ancestral home.
While her fingers delicately touched the almost fragile stem of the wine glass, as she stared at the rich, red liquid that quietly settled inside, her thoughts once again drifted away.
She had read about the articles, the words of praise bestowed in her honor. But there was no written proof whatsoever, nothing mentioned about the matter that she was carefully searching for.
And she had seen the face, her face, from various images that abound one website after the other. But, since she had not seen the woman in the flesh herself she always thought that, with the technology today, images could be very well deceiving.
No one could possibly look that beautiful.
It seemed that she was, in every aspect, perfect. And no one could be perfect. No one.
She was almost convinced of the fact until her eyes fell upon the image.
A female, a statuesque female, was walking towards her table after a polite inquiry with the suddenly verbally challenged Maitre D. A few eyes were also enchanted to look in the woman's direction.
It was certainly not just about the dress. It was plain and white but of the softest fabrics her eyes had fallen upon that it outlined gracefully the curves of the woman's body.
It was all about the woman. Everything about her.
She was like a vision that every eye was meant to see. That looking away was almost a sin. It was like taking the best artist, making him mold a face from clay, endowing the perfect shape, elegant cheekbones, a regal nose, full, ruby lips…
And eyes as blue as the ocean on a beautiful summer day.
Even the voice had that silken tone to it.
Beautiful in her own right, she felt a little inferior nonetheless. Though she would be damned if she would let it show.
"Have a seat."
She did not know if the compliment was meant for her or the waiter who was more than eager to assist.
"What would the…miss like to have for a drink?" The young man asked.
The beautiful face smiled. "Just water please."
"We'll order later." She almost heaved a sigh when the waiter finally turned to leave. Then she prevented herself from taking a deep breath before turning her eyes to face her guest but her mind betrayed her anyway as she admitted, it is really hard not to be awed by the beauty. "I almost thought you would not show up."
"I gave my word."
"So you did."
She took a sip of the wine not because she wanted to but because it was a welcome distraction. The woman was studying her close, too close, as if searching for any resemblance from her parents with these unnerving blue eyes.
Then she remembered that this woman might be reading through her, after all she had senses that were above that of the average human, not to mention powers that were from the gods themselves.
She almost shook her head. Greek gods were just myths.
But then…this woman would not be here in flesh and blood if they were only fictional characters.
It was suddenly confusing. She had to remember her reasons for meeting the woman in the first place.
"Did…he ever take you to anything as fancy as this?"
The sudden inquiry seemed to have surprised the woman. "No."
The woman smiled again. "With…him…"
She noticed it.
There was a slight catch to the sensual voice. The mere mention of even the pronoun that referred to the man seemed to be such a daunting task.
"It was either at the watchtower cafeteria, or take out. We don't really have much time for anything near as this that sometimes we skip dinner altogether."
The eyes that tried to smile at her held a hint of regret that almost made her hold back. Almost.
She had to remember what this woman did to her life.
"Not even dinner at the manor?"
"Or you skip dinner there altogether too?" The words might have slipped casually, but the venom was pure.
There was an understanding beneath the blue orbs. "Helena…if you're looking for validation as what my relations---"
"What exactly was your relationship with my father?"
It took seconds longer for Diana to answer the haunting inquiry. It had been so long since last heard the almost same words. She even once asked that from Bruce himself.
"What am I to you?"
"We were teammates…" It was still a little hurtful to remember. "We were…friends."
"As much as I wanted there to be more, I am afraid that's all there was to it."
The sincerity in the voice affected her. It was more laced with truth than with regret, as if she had accepted the fate to be apart with the man she loved with an unquestioning mind, with an open heart.
"Do you expect me to believe that?"
"No, I don't expect you to," Diana conceded. "But it's the truth. And I'm sorry to disappoint you."
"Disappoint me?" Helena shook her head. "Disappointment is nowhere near to what I am feeling for you right now."
Diana understood. "You dislike me…you may even hate me," she suggested with a calm voice.
Helena's eyes watched the placid face before her and there was a moment she was tempted in anger to hurl the wine at her guest just to wipe away that patronizing gaze. A glass of water placed between them interrupted the tense atmosphere.
"I know from the moment I saw your eyes a while ago that you invited me here to blame me for some reason that I am not aware of."
"And still you came."
"Because I wanted to."
"You wanted to meet his daughter." Helena leaned on the back of the chair. "What did you feel when you first heard of me?"
Diana remembered J'onn's words ringing in her ears. "I was surprised…jealous and envious though I know I gave up the right to feel those things," she answered. "But…there was a part of me that was glad that Bruce finally has the chance to have a family of his own…and be happy."
"Happy? Happiness?" Helena laughed bitterly. "Do you know how many birthdays you stole from me? How many holidays?" The younger woman leaned in again, with undisguised dislike in her eyes. "You should have stayed and married him and saved us all this trouble."
Diana sighed and closed her eyes. There was nothing more that I wanted than that, she thought in private before opening to the world again. "I would have if only…Bruce asked me to."
The next words felt like sharp claws digging into her skin. "He chose your mother. He wanted to marry Selina." Her voice was resigned. "He did not love me…he cannot love someone like me. And I can't blame him."
There was a flicker of surprise in the young eyes that she was quick to notice but still she knew Helena would soon recover as she waited for more accusations to be hurled at her. When there was just silence that answered, she let a moment pass before continuing.
"Who would want to love someone they can never grow old with anyway?" She tried to inject a little amount of humor as she shrugged her shoulders to mask the truth that after almost three decades it was still such an agony to relive all the last few moments when Bruce last spoke to her.
"You don't belong in this world. We don't belong."
It was still tearing her apart. And looking at his daughter made her bleed even more.
She looked at the single rose on the table but her mind was far, far away…twenty eight years prior to be exact. It seemed that it was only yesterday, because all of the grief, all of the sorrow never left her.
"I don't love you."
And Bruce's dreadful admission could still manage to grip at her throat and bring tears to her eyes.
And Helena saw all of it, all the pain, as it passed the beautiful features.
Was it the truth?
Helena watched the blue eyes glisten with unshed tears. And now she was starting to consider the fact that she might have been wrong after all.
That her father was the first one to inflict the hurt.
"Helena…I came to this world with nothing but a valiant and noble reason. The world was in grave danger, and I wanted to do my part." Diana broke from her reverie and was thankful that her emotions did not slip from her eyes as her even voice tried to reach out and erase the coldness from the young woman's heart. "Here I met remarkable people, I made friends…and I met your father. And I fell in love with him."
She looked at the face before her, a face that reminded her so much of the man she once loved. "Bruce…he was the remarkable one of all, though there were a few times when his lesser admirable qualities outweigh his admirable ones," the tone in her voice remembered with a hint of amusement. Then her eyes became wistful at the thought of her next words. "I must admit that…there was almost a chance for us."
At the confession, she could sense a strange interest building from Helena. The eyes seemed not to stare with such coldness anymore but were waiting for her to utter the next few words.
"…But things changed. It was better for the world to finally almost embrace harmony. In a way, it was not for me. Things became normal…ordinary," she smiled ruefully. "Bruce wanted an ordinary life. And I don't exactly fit in that category."
"So you left."
"The world no longer needed saving." Despite the pain, she still smiled. "Meanwhile, I still have to save the relationship with my mother."
For the first time, Helena tried to place herself in the predicament of the woman she was very prepared to despise all her life.
How awkward it must've felt when the world that you once swore to protect no longer needed you, that it somehow accentuated the truth that you were different.
And the person you counted on to stay with you and understand, the person you loved, could no longer include you in his life.
It was surprising how she suddenly was starting to comprehend everything.
Her father was the one who let go.
But why let go of someone like Diana?
"In the world I grew up in…you were merely a shadow, a memory. But little did I know that your memory will be as strong as your presence in his life." The resentment was slowly fading. It was more laced with sorrow now, than with restrained anger.
"I always looked up to you…every young girl wanted to be you," Helena went on. "And once, when I was almost seven years old I had the misfortune of asking my father about you."
Helena remembered. It was one of those days she spent at the manor when her mother and father agreed to joint custody when Bruce appealed years after the divorce.
It was morning, during breakfast. The atmosphere was deliciously filled with the mouthwatering aroma of baked bread and she breathed in unconsciously as if expecting to smell the scent.
"I didn't know it then…"
"Daddy…what was Wonder Woman like? Were you friends with her? Where is she now?"
She could almost hear the young and innocent voice.
"I should've noticed the way he suddenly tensed back then…but I was just a child," she shrugged. "Alfred was kind enough to change the topic. But later that night, I saw dad in his room, sitting on the edge of the bed, holding a tattered black dress." The image was etched in her memory, the vision of her father's profile that was staring blankly ahead while his fingers felt the soft, black fabric.
Diana felt the small pin pricks of guilt that touched her skin at the words.
"My mother was kind enough to fill me in…by the way they got divorced less than a year after they were married. She, more or less, told me about you, three months before she passed away."
Diana never really knew Selina. But her heart was apologetic in a way for what happened. "I'm sorry."
"He never loved her. Well…not in the way he loved you…nowhere near the way he still does."
As she looked deeply into Helena's eyes she wanted to believe the words. If only she could.
"Did you ever love him? Because I believe my mother did, with all that was left of her heart." Helena said with an amount of melancholy. "And even though she knew she could not compete with a memory, she tried her best. But still…she failed. But I have to give her credit, at least she fought for him." A pause. "I can't say the same about you."
"I love Bruce." I will always love Bruce.
"But we are not meant to be."
"How do you know that?"
Diana looked once again in surprise at the young eyes searching for the hostility that welcomed her earlier. And there was no trace of the loathing, instead, in its place was something else.
"He has his own life."
"A life that is still waiting for you."
"I came here ready to hate you…I wanted to lash out all my frustrations on you. And I have been successful at the first few attempts."
The anger went far back that day, when she saw such sadness in her father's eyes while holding onto a memory of a love that he lost. And at a young age, she concluded that it was the sole reason why her life felt so incomplete, why her father's embrace felt so cold, how he never uttered words of love and comfort like every father did to their only daughter.
Because she was not the daughter, not the product of his love.
And the therapies never erased the longing of a warm hug, a loving smile, nor did it remove the anger that was slowly building into a storm within a young girl's heart.
But now…she had been wrong.
After all the hurtful words, she was met with kindness, sincerity and understanding.
Something that she was ashamed to accept.
"Now, I remember that what Alfred said once was true."
"Young Miss…" Alfred smiled at her once when she visited the kitchen. "All I can say about Wonder Woman is that…
"He said it's impossible not to love you." It was almost a whisper. "And my father…he loves you."
Diana looked away from the truth.
"Diana…" It was the very first time Helena spoke the name that brought her life such misplaced torment. "If you still love my father…"
Diana almost knew what the next words were.
"Come to the manor."
She was planning to, only she did not know how to face him again.
"Please…Diana…" But the pleading in Helena's voice was strong enough to melt her indecision. "If only for the last time…"
She had been staring at the nondescript pattern on the oak wood and biting on her lower lip for quite a time now that if she was not who she was she would have already been bleeding. And she sighed for the umpteenth time, smiling at a thought in her mind that if Alfred was her today he would have pushed her inside the room without even hesitating.
If he could.
Somehow, the big old house seemed too empty without his wonderful presence. Closing her eyes for a while, she could almost still taste the tartness of the cheesecake they shared on her last visit. Slowly opening her eyes to the present, they traveled to the length of the dim and quiet hallway as if expecting him to show up with a smile that always welcomed her.
But Alfred was gone, and so was a great part of the history of this house.
And with a deep breath, she faced the imposing door again as her right hand finally moved to the cold knob, giving it a soft turn before placing her left to give the wood a slight push. The hinges cooperated with her, not bothering to emit a single squeak as she put her right foot forward and entered the bedroom.
She froze for a while at the sight of him lying on the middle of the large bed, facing away from her that she wondered if he was even awake at all, turned to the thick drapes that prevented the wonderful sunlight from filtering through the glass of the window.
Recovering from the initial surprise at seeing him this way, alone and vulnerable, her feet at last inched forward inside the dimly lit room, her footsteps muted by the carpet. But unfortunately, a vague reflection was cast on one of the machines near the bed.
It was the stern voice she remembered and her breath caught, though Bruce did not even try to look at her.
"I don't need any of your medications."
There was a small sigh that escaped at the knowledge that he thought she was one of the nurses.
She immediately noticed him stiffen at her voice, and she could hear his ragged breathing almost stop.
Am I hearing her voice again in my mind?
He closed his eyes, hopelessly shutting out the images that invaded his mind like a strong wave crushing to the shore at the sound of that very familiar voice, thinking that his drugged mind was betraying him like it always did. And when he opened them again, he looked back at the reflection of a white clad figure. But he dared not turn to see if the apparition was real.
Because he could not bear the agony of being disappointed again, for seeing something that really was not there at all, just a powerless attempt to recapture what he once lost. Someone he lost willingly.
But it was the same voice. So he faced the ghost of his past once and for all.
A foot or two from the bed was the vision, with flowing, raven hair framing the ageless and beautiful face, the same blue eyes.
Was it really possible? That she was really here, this close?
"Leave me alone."
His eyes hurt from staring and with a tired expression he turned his back to her and closed his eyes, expecting the hallucination to disappear into thin air a few moments later, just like it always did, after inflicting the hurt, the torture that haunted him for all this time.
"Sorry, but this time I am staying."
No. His mind was not betraying him. And he could feel his heart drumming faster in his chest that it was starting to ache.
She is here. She is really here.
It had been so long since she last heard her name pass his lips.
"After all this time…you're still pushing me away?"
"It's for the…"
"Best?" Her hands clasped and unclasped on her sides. "If this is the best for me then fate must be so cruel."
At the sound of her wistful voice there was nothing more that he wanted to do than push his body to stand next to her and tell her everything that he still felt while looking straight into her eyes. But his questioning mind wondered in dread what she still felt for him after what he did.
Does she still love me?
Pity and love were not the same. The latter might have died to be replaced by the former. And the realization made something within him clamp shut once more.
"I don't want your pity. Or any…disguised comfort you plan on giving."
The years might have aged him but it did nothing to tame his stubbornness, his arrogance.
"I am not that charitable anymore, Bruce. And believe me, pity is the farthest thing from my mind when it comes to thinking about you."
The irritation in her voice made him remember the many disagreements they once had as teammates. "You sound angry."
"Because you still have this uncanny ability to bring out my anger, you pompous, arrogant…jerk," she complained. "And look at me when I talk to you."
And he did.
And their eyes met yet again, but this time he was sure she was there, flesh and blood, not a product of his imagination.
And the twenty-eight years in between them, the time they were apart, seemed not to form a distance after all because all of the emotions were still reflected in the way their eyes misted as they gazed at each other that neither one of them moved, nor blinked, nor took a breath in seconds.
Then there was a flicker of a smile in his face. "I see the years have sharpened your tongue quite a bit. And your hair…"
She did not think he would notice that she had it cut shorter than the last time they met. "It's mother's idea."
He felt the familiar skip in the beat of his heart that only her smile was capable of bringing. And silently, for whatever reason she was here, he was thankful that he had this chance to see her smile again.
"Why are you here, Diana? Did J'onn tell you?"
"Yes," she admitted. "And Helena wanted me to see you."
He felt a stab of hurt at her admission that she only came because of his daughter's request.
"Bruce…" She noticed his pain. "Helena could never convince me if I did not want to see you. And I wanted to see you."
"Because…I miss you. I know you miss me just the same so don't even bother denying it."
He did not just miss her. A part of him already died that day when she left. And now, he was dying still. But there was still enough life left for him to be grateful for.
"Did you leave the island without permission again?" he asked when she gently sat on the bed beside him.
"No, I'm on official leave."
She was searching for the right word. "Indefinitely."
"Until I go?"
Until I die? It was the unspoken question. Because he was dying.
As he regarded her face that was tainted with sadness, he reflected on the decisions he made and often wondered why he did not have the courage to ask that he be put out of this misery, this pain. Instead of being given a few months to live after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, why hadn't he, with all his resources, used his influence to end his life? And why did he subject his body to this torture of prolonging his existence, if there was even any chance at all for that?
Because of the chance of a moment like this.
His slightly wrinkled hand found hers. "This is what I wanted to save you from, Diana. The pain of losing."
"I don't think…you can save me from that." Her voice reflected her feelings as she raised his hand to her face. "I love you Bruce, always have…always will. And with that love comes the acceptance of what you are."
"I don't deserve your love."
She rubbed her face against his hand. "No you don't. But still…I love you."
"It's a little too late for me."
"No…" She moved so that she was lying beside him. "You're still here, with me. Besides…if you leave, I'd brave the underworld for you."
A soft laugh escaped him. "I'm sure you would."
She raised her face and planted a soft kiss on his cheek.
"Diana…there are things I'm not capable of anymore."
She snuggled close to him. "Then you just have to hold me and tell me you love me over and over again to make up for lost time."
"I could have given you more," he whispered into her hair
"There's nothing more I want."
He closed his eyes in guilt at her words. I could have given you my life, for whatever it's worth.
He could have given her every single second of what was left of his heart, they could have tried making a home, a family, despite of the lives they lived, they could have had a very meaningful future. But he was a coward for not taking that route. Instead, he let fear and doubt take all of that away.
If only he let her in.
Now, sadly and regretfully, all he could give her was spare change, the few precious moments of what was left of his existence.
Imminent death really had a way of ruining everything. And he wanted more time just to make up for what was supposed to be hers.
"Don't have regrets Bruce. Because I will not. What's important is now…that we are here together."
How could he just let her go back then, when she meant the world to him? Maybe it was time he told her the truth.
"I died that day, when I let you go. I can't even remember how I managed to get by after all these years with this emptiness…" He closed his eyes and held her tight. "I love you, Diana. I love you very much… And I'm sor---"
"After what I---"
She silenced his lips with a short kiss that told him everything was forgiven, while a tear trailed down her cheek.
"Why are you crying?"
"I'm crying…because I'm happy."
He wiped the tears that followed. "I make you happy?"
"Happy…sad…frustrated…" she enumerated while she composed herself. "You make me feel so many things. Anyway…I'll be moving in some of my stuff this afternoon…Is that okay with you?"
"You're really not wasting time, are you?"
"I've wasted enough already."
He smiled again. He had been smiling more this morning than he ever did the past years. But his expression sobered at a thought. "Diana…I am not always like this. There are times when I'll be difficult."
"So...?" She raised her brow. "What else is new?"
"It will not be easy."
"Nothing is ever easy with you."
"Are you sure?"
"Never been sure of anything more."
She kissed him passionately again just to prove her certainty and he was surprised that he still had it in him to respond. And just before she took his breath away, she broke the kiss.
"How long will you stay?"
"Forever…" he whispered. "I like the sound of that. And Diana…"
"Just so you know…you make me feel a lot of things too."
And after staring at his face for a long time, as if memorizing every line, she rested her head on his shoulder, draping her arm across him while his arms held her very close that she could feel the beat of his heart. They stayed that way for a long time, trying to summarize the years that they have been apart into a few hours of sharing memories.
Love may not be able to move mountains, but love definitely moved him to do more things that he had not done in a while.
The following morning, he was able to feel the warmth of sunlight lightly grazing his skin again after quite a time of hiding in the darkness when she suggested that they enjoy the morning by the garden. With her hand holding his and her love giving him hope, he faced the outside world once more, breathing in the wonderful scent of morning air and marveling at her beauty bathed in light.
She tried her best by preparing a simple breakfast for the two of them and was brave enough to cook lunch. After a little disaster in the kitchen, they decided it best to call the delivery service for dinner. And though the food was still bland for him, just the fact that he was sharing dinner with the woman he loved made it the best dinner in a long time.
And that night, as they reminisced yet again, he took the chance of giving her something he should have given her a long time ago.
She looked up while he stood beside the bed, holding something in his hand. "Yes?"
He moved to sit beside her, not once taking his eyes from her.
"I know…it's a little too late. But, I'm yours if you still want me."
"Of course I still want you."
"Then be mine." He held out his right hand. "Wear this ring."
Her smile froze on her lips as she looked at the beautiful, diamond studded ring that used to belong to his mother. "Bruce…it's a family heirloom"
"It should've been yours."
I should've been yours.
"You can't refuse me now," he added with a smile to lessen her hesitation.
"Or would you rather have a priest or a minister here right now? Because that can be arranged."
She managed a short laugh, despite her trepidation. "Seriously…"
"I'm dead serious, forgive the expression though."
She was starting to laugh again, hiding her face in the pillow in embarrassment for treating his earnestness with amusement.
"I'm proposing…and she's laughing her heart out," he whispered to himself. "This is a first."
"I'm sorry…" She tried on a sweet smile before extending her hand.
He willingly took it as he sat beside her. "All right, just think of is as…an errand."
"When Helena plans to get married, and since you two seem to get along, give it to her. But…" He paused for a while and searched her face. "Try to make sure she marries the right man first. That is…if there ever is a man brave enough to court her."
"She takes after you."
"I know," he sighed, tucking strands of hair behind her ear before holding her hand again. "If anything ever came good out of this dying thing, one is…I seem to have recaptured the love of two people whom I have neglected." His fingers softly massaged her hand.
"Knowing that I have little time left made me reach out to her and it made her listen. I didn't say much, just all that needs to be said, that I'm sorry and that I love her. And that I'm proud of her for turning out well, even when I was not there most of the time to guide her." He raised her hand to his lips. "And who knew she would be the reason you are here today?"
"Things really have a way of working out."
"Yes they do."
Then he slowly put the ring on her finger. Contrary to her earlier feeling of indecision, she was too caught up now in the magical moment that she did not even dare to blink and miss any of it.
The ring fit her perfectly.
"I should have done this a long time ago."
The trace of regret in his voice made her aware that there were too many should've beens. And it only meant that there was so much that the two of them could not make up for in a few days. Because it was not enough, it would never be enough. And the thought that he would no longer stay that long with her made the tears start welling in her eyes.
She used to think that she did not have regrets, that being with him today on borrowed time was more than she could ever ask for. But there was this very small whisper, a very faint wish in her heart that begged for a few moments more.
She abruptly removed her hand from his hold when she brushed a tear that escaped from her sad eyes. And he saw the simple sign of emotion.
And he could not bear to see her face with such sadness that he had to bow his head and close his eyes before feeling a warm drop of feeling on his hand.
"I'm really sorry, Diana. All I have managed to give you is sadness when you have given so much to me."
When she heard a catch in his always steady voice, she reached out and touched his chin to raise his face to hers. It was only then that she saw his tears and it only accentuated the sadness, the grief that she was fighting from within, only now she was defeated by all the sorrow.
With a sob, she reached out and embraced him, opening all of her emotions and unleashing all the pain as well as the happiness that she was about to let go of while he did the same, holding her so very tight with all his heart because it was probably the last time he would ever be blessed to be this close to her.
And there they cried for all the wasted time, for all the passed up chances, for the different future they could have had.
When the sadness was finally over, they remained holding each other close. As if trying to erase all of the sadness from her face, he kissed the dampness, the tears away.
And in the exact moment when their eyes met, he knew precisely what he wanted to do and the same was reflected in the way she was looking at him. He once believed that he was not capable anymore, but that was before her presence changed everything again.
He was going to give himself one last try.
With all that was left of his strength, he took her into his arms and claimed her lips in a kiss, a kiss that he very well remembered. She felt so soft under him, so warm and giving. And as if fate itself was willing to give him this last chance to be with her, he felt the familiar warmth, the passion coursing through his veins.
There was no fear, no doubt, no hesitation in the way she opened up to him, and he took her with nothing but gentleness and love.
And they made love that night, in the truest sense of the word, culminating the longing after all the years, finally one in a magically short moment when all else was forgotten but the love they had for each other. In the aftermath, they remained holding each other close, glorying in the short time that they have left to feel each other's love.
"I can stay like this forever," he whispered into her hair.
Until when is forever?
She held him tighter as if that would prevent fate from taking him away. "Me too."
And forever turned out to be just two days more. Two more wonderful days spent in love.
He left her when the sun was just about to rise to welcome a new day, while she held him in her arms as they waited for the first few rays of light to wake them up. Only his heart suddenly slowed to later beat its last and he would never see the sun rise again while he forever slept.
And the tears came with the sadness, the grief that always followed. But there was a welcome thought somewhere in her heart that wherever he was now, she knew that the last few days of his life was spent in happiness, something that he did not allow himself to feel before.
"You are my happiness…" she could almost hear the whispered words. They were the last ones he ever said to her.
"I love you, Bruce," she whispered one last time though he could no longer hear her voice. But nevertheless, she allowed herself the last few minutes of just holding him close.
Then she saw the ring on her hand.
No matter how short a time they shard in love, he would always be hers and she would always belong to him.