Title: Nature Boy

Author: chocolatemooses

Rating: PG

Summary: He had to do it, hurt her. He had to cut out her heart, in order to save her life.

Author's Note: I was watching Moulin Rouge and I randomly got struck with this idea. I am not sure how I feel about the finished product though. Oh well, read and enjoy!

If being invincible has taught him anything, it is this: no one, no matter how powerful, is ever truly invincible.

Laying on top of her looking down into her guileless face, he had never before felt such pain and agony. He felt like he was being torn in two; one part of him screaming, yelling, fuming at the notion that she had betrayed him, used him, lied to him again; the other half fighting, grappling, wrestling his inner demons, fighting for her life. He so wanted his answers, wanted to know the truth; but to do so would mean to hurt Elle. And he could never hurt her, not without destroying a part of himself in the process.

He let his eyes drift shut, just for a moment. He wasn't ready for this, for her, for whatever was happening between them. How can a man who doesn't even know his own heart give it away to another?

Gabriel let his eyes flutter open to look down at the girl whose whole life revolved around him. She might not have said those words exactly but they both knew, she had no one else. He knew that no matter what she wasn't leaving him, not of her own free will. He knew that he could tell her of the monster that resided within him, the monster that destroyed anything and everything that was good, but she would just laugh it off, ignoring the fact that he could and most likely would kill her. Even if he squelched his current desire to rip open her skull and delve into the depths of her fractured gray matter, it would only be a matter of time before the urge returned. Anything could set him off, most likely it would be something innocuous and retrospectively unimportant. He would kill her and he would be left behind, broken and alone.

He couldn't let that happen, it would hurt him too much to have to live with that knowledge, the knowledge that he was responsible for her death. Yet, he knew that they could never really be together, too much hurt and distrust lived between them. He racked his mind for a solution to the problem set before him, calling upon his own power to see the pieces of the puzzle and to create a reasonable picture.

An idea began to form in his head, a painful and desperate idea but as the seconds ticked by he realized there was no other way. He closed his eyes and let his head drop down onto Elle's shoulder, the pressure of his body against hers increasing ever so slightly. He knew what he had to do, in order to save her, but that didn't mean he liked it.

Gabriel pulled his head up, his face a sneering mask. "God," he said, his voice dripping venom into her delicate ears. "You really are useless aren't you?" His heart fractured as he watched her serene face contort into a look of confusion but he continued, purposely ignoring the searing pain in his chest. "Couldn't even lend a hand back there, could you?" He slowly peeled his body away from her form, trying to make the lie easier to believe. It was harder to say the things he needed to say with her so close to him, he was able to feel her breath hitch and he could see the glittering of her eyes as they filled with tears. "If I had known you were just going to sit back and watch me do all the work then I wouldn't have let you tag along in the first place." He quickly stood and brushed the sand off his bloodied pants. He wanted to look at her, wanted to catch one last glimpse of her pretty face but she was so distraught that he knew he wouldn't be able to lie to her while watching her heartbreak dance across her features.

Elle pulled her body into a sitting position, wincing slightly as she jarred her injured leg. "Wha-What are you saying?"

He called upon every one of his well-honed acting skills to keep the derisive tone in his voice. "I'm sorry, I thought I was being clear." He finally forced himself to look at her, taking extra care to keep any emotions locked away in his heart. He could see that she was crying silently and that she had protectively wrapped her arms around herself, trying to keep away all of the hurt he was throwing at her.

Her voice was soft but he could detect the vein of anger buried just under the surface. "Why are you saying this? I thought-"

"You thought what?" His voice was mocking and almost gleeful as he continued to tear her apart bit by bit. "You thought that we'd live happily ever after?" Her head was lowered, she stared at her hands ashamed of the emotions she was feeling. "Well, I'll let you in on a little secret. I only said all those things before because I wanted to get into your pants. You were the one that got away Elle." He paused, his mouth curling into a ugly smirk. "But if I can be totally honest, it was a bit of a letdown. With all your prancing around, I had been expecting to be wowed. I was sadly mistaken." He carelessly shrugged his shoulders, the perfect picture of a man at ease. "Oh well, easy come, easy go."

Her head shot up and he was forced to look into her bright blue eyes, filled with anger and betrayed disbelief. "Did you really think we could ever work out Elle?" Her hands twitched as sparks uncontrollably flew out from her fingertips. "How could anyone ever really love you ?" She pulled herself up off the ground, her body shaking with thousands of emotions. "Your damaged goods, Elle." She clenched her fists and gave him one last pleading look, a last ditch effort. His words were going to break her. "And no one could ever want you. I don't want you."

The moment the words were out of his mouth he felt the expected agony as thousands of watts of energy filled his body. Pain seared through him with so much power that he was knocked back onto the sand. He was grateful for the pain though, it was a welcome relief. As his mind numbed and as he felt consciousness slip away, it became easier to deal with the torture of his heart breaking. After what could have been a few minutes or eternity, the pain stopped and his wounds were finally able to start healing, even though exhaustion ran rampant through his body.

It felt as though all of his senses were distorted; sounds were muffled, sensations were numbed, and he watched everything through hazy eyes. He looked up at Elle and could see her screaming over his quickly healing body, cursing him, hating him, damning him. She watched as his skin knit back together and as he slowly became whole. She then turned away from him, determinedly wiping her red eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. She limped away from him, her little feet making small impressions in the sand.

He watched her retreating form with lidded eyes until he couldn't see her anymore. It was then that he finally allowed the tears he had been holding back to fall, they streamed down his face and landed in the warm sand. He hated himself, hated what he had done, but it was for the best. He had to do it, hurt her. He had to cut out her heart, in order to save her life. He only wished that he had been able to keep from breaking his own.