He had always been an explorer, since the first breath he drew to the last, and nothing could be more unnatural to him then lying still. But life, he found, was often very unnatural and illogical, that the land with no borders or lines or owners he had always been searching for was what he always ran from - that life itself was unmappable, just like her. She was life, his life, she was fenceless freedom and yet she was all the boundaries and divisions of the world that he could not obey. But even though life has finally caged him, she had him first, always had him - she held his soul and heart and passion in her hand and would never ever let him go, not even now that she was dead. So he had to explore the lands that were given to him, the rough canvas of the roof over his head with all its grooves and cracks and the sweet, smooth curves of her body that knew no end or boundary, the ripple of muscle under creamy skin that replayed in his mind, melting away all the walls and fences and military barricades, letting them fade to nothing so that all he knew was the feel of her in his arms, his sinful bliss.

But that was gone now, irretrievably lost, because death dissolved all lines and borders and yet death was the one impenetrable barrier, the endless desert; the one love that would never be requited. And he longed to travel that desert with her, longed to feel what she felt and see what she saw, even if that was nothing at all. There was no god, he knew, only fantasies and illusions of hope, but she was still an angel and there had to be a better place for her. A place he dreamed of without rules or regulations; where love governed all and marriages weren't made to tear people apart.

The morphine, he found, was much better at numbing the body than the soul, and no drug on earth could reach that intangible thing called love. His mind, however, was merciful, and for as long as it could it walled off his burnt heart, put up the barriers and boundaries he now found he could not live without. His drug was denial and he wondered at the fact that something his former self could not imagine living without: her - was something he now wished he never experienced. How cruel, he thought, is this world, that even pleasure is pain, even love is hate and even heaven is hell? All he had left were his thoughts and his imagination and maybe his sweet Hana, who walked in every morning and kissed his scarred cheek, not knowing he could not feel it: he could only imagine. No, it seemed that his own body betrayed him, that his own flesh decided that if it could not feel her, it would feel nothing at all, and his marred, jagged skin, with all the valleys and hills of the desserts he used to love, refused him even the dignity of his own face, just like his memory refused him his name. And life refused him her.

Love, he decided, was god's greatest mistake.

He used to hate being owned or branded or claimed, but now he longed for it, longed for her hand in his hair and her easy, casual command of his heart, the way she had shown him a world without maps. A world he could never be a part of, a boundary he could never cross in the unmapped lands of choosing between what was right and what was true.

But there was a boundary he could cross, one that was unavoidable and seductive; promising him a land without fear or love or pain or regret, where everything is equal and all is forever silent, nothing but the wind carved sands for the rest of eternity.

And there, perhaps, she would come to haunt him; come to lay with her burnt lover, for it was she, after all, who burned him.