A/N: I've always wanted to write a piece that takes place during Fred's death scene, but I must admit, I've been reluctant to touch the episode A Hole In The World, for the sole purpose of accidentally ruining it. Joss Whedon created an amazing world, one of which I myself felt unworthy of stepping into, and he wrote and directed the episode so beautifully that I didn't want to disturb that fact. However, that nagging feeling is always there, no matter how much you try to bury it, and I knew I had to write this.

Just a little montage that takes place in Fred's bedroom, and those of you who know the episode will know the scene. It's exactly one thousand words, which I think actually suits the atmosphere of the story, and hopefully it turned out fine for my audience.

Just a little tip, listen to some music while you read. Something that inspires sadness but at the same time a little hope.

Wreckage

Dead things don't cry out in agony. They don't feel nearly as warm in your arms as they should. They don't shudder, or gasp. Cry. Breathe. Choke. Dead things don't move their lips to the rhythm of life. They don't hold you, or kiss you. They don't warm your face with their breath. They don't feel, or need. They don't see. Hear. Smell. Dead things don't live. Dead things are still. They don't move. Dead things don't love.

How could she be dead?

He watches her, quiet and aching as she sleeps. Exhausted, her face lays gaunt, damaged, dry. It is masked delicately by the strings of her hair, their curls drying awkwardly from the cold sweat that drips in beads on her forehead.

The open book faces him, its pages exposed and words pouring into him without much recognition. Things about leeches and demons, things that would help her. He doesn't realise how much time passes as the hollow rising of her chest grows weary with each fall. He just looks on.

Her lips are blue, her cheeks sunken and temples pulsing ever-so-slightly in the pale light of her room. The window is bare, open and allowing for a stride of sunlight to burst gloriously into the room. The pale red of the walls sinks as the sun fails to reach those far away corners and edges. The room is lit beautifully, with only two small lamps illuminating the scene, only their very dim hue casting moving shadows across the walls.

He thinks this is the way she likes it, with very little light and a mysterious darkness to dip into.

She wakes, with her eyes splitting open and lips cracking apart. He looks at her, book forgotten, its leeches crawling away.

The light watches everything unfold from behind the arched window and casts a sad smile over the day. She fades, in and out, glistening with sweat that dries cold on her cheeks. He holds her in his hands, trying to forget how dead she feels, trying to remember when she was warm and not struggling for breath.

He can't.

Everything is consuming him. Her cold skin shakes and he runs his fingers tenderly over her arms, the top of her knee, the base of her neck. He kisses her forehead tenderly while she cries tears of drying dust into his clothes. He knows it will end soon, this torment and suffering, but until it does, he is captivated by her pain.

He promises, words of comfort and loyalty, whispers of incoherent murmurs, though they still manage to make sense to her.

She is losing herself, becoming closer, edging her way into that sweet oblivion and all he does is watch. He knows there is no cure, no tourniquet, no treatment for the pain. All that remains is the onslaught of quick decay.

He feels her slipping, he feels her body giving up and becoming colder.

She slips under the covers of her bed and they curl together in a fervent rest. He watches her struggle beneath the dim light that hurts her eyes, notices the way she tries to swallow her words and can't. He would do anything for her at this precise moment because he is hers, and as he reaches up to turn off the dank lamp, she stops him.

"I don't want you to turn it off."

She suffers but won't turn out the light, even though it hurts her so much.

He holds on to as much of her as she lets him. He can't let go, not now. Not when they are so close.

She feels the tug and panics. She hears the voices, the calling in whispers, and she scrambles to hold herself against the arched headboard. He watches her in desperation, afraid to do anything, but too afraid to just let her die.

"I'm with him! He won't leave me now, we're so close."

It is now, in this moment, in this dim light and sickly pale hue, he sees the dead thing, and chokes on his words as he promises he won't ever leave her.

She steadies herself, holds herself, and breathes a strangled sigh. He hesitates moving any closer, but she reaches out her hand and grasps his, her grip weak yet still so strong. She pulls his shaking hand forward and lets it rest against her chest, over her heart. He feels it pounding so hard, though it is slowing with each breath she takes.

They stay there for some time, listening to each other breath, watching each other intently. They both know, they both see, that this is the end.

She crawls toward him, his hand still feeling the pulse of her heart, and dips her head into the hollow of his neck. Their tears spill into the other's as they hold each other, shaking.

She asks one thing of him; that he kiss her. He does, and it sears the both of them. Her lips crack and peel beneath the soft pressure and she lets them. She knows she doesn't have to worry about that anymore.

Softly, she asks him if he would have loved her. He says he does love her, has loved her.

Everything she needs to know before that final breath.

She coughs, blood emerging in crimson daubs, and he holds her tighter. She isn't scared. She isn't scared. She isn't scared.

So why can't she stay?

Her eyes remain open as she rests. This time she won't wake.

Dead things don't cry out in agony. They don't feel nearly as warm in your arms as they should. They don't shudder, or gasp. Cry. Breathe. Choke. Dead things don't move their lips to the rhythm of life. They don't hold you, or kiss you. They don't warm your face with their breath. They don't feel, or need. They don't see. Hear. Smell. Dead things don't live. Dead things are still. They don't move. Dead things don't love.

How could she be dead?


A/N: Done. Reviews are appreciated.