Title: in ipso vita erat
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Warnings: character death, adult themes
Category: Drama
Keywords: Beth Turner/Josef Kostan
Spoilers: Love Lasts Forever
Summary: An end and a beginning. 323 words.
Disclaimer: These characters are not my own. Only the story is.
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website or my Livejournal post. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: Written for Medie's "Because We're Awesome" Drabble-a-thon. The prompt was "Moonlight, Beth/Josef, kiss". The title is Latin, taken from the Bible, John 1:4, and means "in him was life".

Beth lies very still. The world is burning down around her. She closes her eyes, wishes it a nightmare, but the smoke sears her nostrils and the heat prickles on her skin.

She swallows the taste of pennies, warm and thick, gags, coughs. Pain stabs through her, sharp, agonizing. No, she can't cough, must not cough. She'll drown in her own blood. Is this what it was like, Josh?

She opens her eyes. Motes of light, bright white, dance at the corners of her vision. A face, there, above her. Mick? No, not Mick, not Mick, Mick is gone. Her vision blurs.

"Beth? Oh my God, Beth."

Josef. It's Josef. Kneeling over her, distress quaking his voice.

She tries to lift a hand; it feels weighted, like she's dragging it through mud. She feels nothing under her hand, though she can see she's touching him, her fingers picking at his collar. Always so impeccably dressed, Josef.

"J-Jos--" She can't speak, can't get the words out around the blood in her mouth. "T-turn--" She can't see, her vision is tinged with grey, fuzzed around the edges with black.

His response is immediate. "No, don't ask me that." Don't sound so scared, please, don't. "Mick would never want--"

What about what she wants? Somehow, she pulls him closer, focuses on his face, sees the beads of sweat on his forehead with a dreadful clarity. Time's running out.

She swallows again, manages not to gag or cough, and then she presses her mouth to his. It shocks him into stillness, buys her time. She whispers against his mouth, "Please, save me."

This is what she wants and Mick would never give her. Josef will.

She closes her eyes and waits. Hears him exhale her name like a prayer, and the sting of his bite is nothing like the pain elsewhere.

This time, when she swallows the blood in her mouth, it's sweet, like honey.