Disclaimer: The usual.
Notes: It could be considered AU but it could also easily follow the storyline, just in the future. It's Spencer/Ashley. It's a dark story about loss and the places it can take a person.

Prologue - Current Time

Oh the blood and the treasure and the losing it all.
The time that we wasted and the place where we fall.
Will we wake in the morning and know what is was for,
up in our bedrooms after the war?

"Frank, there's a girl outside! She's been hurt! I can't tell if she's breathing! Help me carry her inside the doors…someone just left her outside the emergency doors. They couldn't even bother taking her inside…Frank…hurry…she's very pale…."

She's shaking. The blood is still everywhere. It coats her hands and the smell takes up all the space in the small car. She's begun to taste it in the back of her mouth. Metallic. It's not her blood of course, but it might as well be the way she feels. Her own blood is too busy pounding in her ears.

She grips the steering wheel and feels the sticky blood beginning to dry. This was not what she wanted. This was not how it was supposed to be. She's amazed she hasn't driven off the road yet in her haste, her panic, in her overwhelming loss. She just keeps driving trying to lose the memory. She never looks over at the passenger seat. It's empty now.

She speaks to the emptiness hoping, praying, that somehow the words will be heard by the girl they were meant for. Her voice, thick with tears, overcome with emotion, no longer sounds like her own. So even as she speaks she hears the words as if they belonged to someone else now she is someone else entirely.

"Baby. Baby, I don't know if you can hear me but I'm sorry. Fuck, I'm so sorry baby, I'm so sorry. I know we had decided. We had made a plan. Just in case. And we fought because 'just in case' seemed so final. So ominous. But we had a plan. And I couldn't follow it, baby. I'm so sorry. We said in the end we would be together. No matter what happened. But I couldn't, baby. I just couldn't. I couldn't hold you while you slipped away from me. I couldn't just let you go. Not when there was a chance someone could save you. Even if I can't be there. Even if I have to leave. Even if it means we will never be together again. I couldn't do it. Don't hate me, baby. Don't hate me because I couldn't just let you go. It wasn't supposed to be this way. Life wasn't supposed to be this way. If only…if only it had never happened. If only things had never changed. If only he had never gone to the store that day. That's when the world stopped making sense."