Title: Faded

Summary: Rosemary Hathaway. Shattered. She's trying so, so hard to keep going. But is this really the type of thing you can recover from? A Post Shadow Kiss drabble. OneShot.

You thought I had changed, after Spokane and Mason and seeing all those unforgiving realities that existed outside the walls of the academy. I thought I had changed, too. I thought nothing could be as life-altering as watching Isaiah take the life of someone I cared about so deeply.

You thought I had changed then, but I think you would barely recognize me if you saw me now.

Sometimes I don't even recognize myself. I'm going through the motions- track, seek, hunt, kill- knocking out Strigoi left and right, sometimes using the ghosts of those they've killed to lead me to them; but I feel like I'm not really there half the time. I forget who I am, who I've been, and I stop feeling.

That should worry me, probably. But what worries me more is the part of me that welcomes those times.

Maybe Rhonda was right when she foretold my future. Maybe she was right to be so concise. She will kill the undead. She will kill Strigoi. Nothing more, nothing less. Rhonda didn't say anything else, because there was nothing else. It's all I've become. I'll find you one day, and I will drive a silver stake through your heart, and I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a chance that that silver stake would find its way to my own heart soon after.

I think about Lissa sometimes, and it sparks something in me that feels a little like my old self. I miss her sometimes, but it's that kind of distant, vague sentiment that ends up completely overshadowed by the ache I feel for you.

I didn't know that kind of yearning was possible.

Your face is starting to fade from my memory, but it still lingers on. I think about the cabin, and how we lay together in that unfamiliar room, and I feel the most like myself. But it hurts to remember, and I fall quickly back into the hunt.

I don't know that I'll ever fully recover from this. I'm not sure this is the kind of thing you can recover from. Somewhere along the way, your soul became inexplicably tangled in with my own. No amount of counseling or medication will be able to fix that.

Lissa worries about me. I feel that sometimes, through the tug of our bond that she uses to call to me. I had made a promise to her, but I honestly don't think I'm capable of keeping that promise now. How can I pull the darkness away from her, when my own shadows are swallowing me so absolutely? She has Eddie and Christian, and I know they will do an admirable job protecting her.

I think I have no choice, really. There is nothing else I can do but this. When I do find you, I will try so, so hard to be strong. To be strong like you always said I was. To make you proud.

I'll try to be stronger than Anna and stronger than Ms. Karp. Because of all the things that Father Andrew used to tell me, just one keeps replaying in my mind- there is no rest for the souls who kill themselves.

A tiny part of me believes that maybe, just maybe you and I can be together again. I believe in ghosts now, why not believe in an eternal afterlife? I saw Mason struggling to find peace, to make that journey out of this world... who's to say I won't do the same one day?

Your face has started to fade, but it lingers on. And perhaps, one day, I'll find you again.

"Will you say to me when I'm gone:

'Your face has faded, but lingers on,

Because light strikes a deal with each coming night.' "

[Iron and Wine, Each Coming Night]