He broke before her eyes.

A long, lanky form standing the middle of the battle-torn field. Head down in complete obliviousness to the world around him. His coat flowing around him like a cloak. Rain fell in a steady torrent around them. Nature trying in vain to make up for the vacuum of energy he...they had created. All around steam rose from the heated ground and the charred remains of the dead as the dying flames coughed up their final smokey breath to the starless sky. The cold wind, as only Chicago could make it, carried the steam and smoke across her line of sight and hid the man from her for a single moment. In that moment she could hear the calls for a medic behind her, for someone to tend to the wounded. She could hear the splatter of muddy feet and the thud of boots on hard concrete, and she didn't care.

Earth, wind, fire, and water.

Nature had its balances, like he had always told her. Balance could be shifted to achieve a desired effect, but in the end it had to be maintained. The chaos around her was proof of that. What never bothered to mention, though, was human nature needed the same.

She couldn't see his face through the muddled air but she didn't need to. The face that made up her greatest hopes and nightmares was never clearer in her mind. She could see his dark hair(greying in recent years and entirely too long for someone his age) hanging in front of his eyes, masking them from view. His long face was creased and scarred by age, worry, and the general dangers he lived with. Dangers he had chosen to face since it seemed to him no one else would. His dark brown eyes would have looked eternally haunted by everything he had ever done were they not staring blankly now at a pile of corpses

He broke before her eyes.

Falling to his knees in a mixture of mud, blood, and ash, the champion of the war became an equal to those slain. The man who had filled both her dreams and nightmares gone like the hell he had just summoned. Hands stretched out, shaking noticeably even beneath the leather glove, gently collecting a single body against himself. He never cried.

She took a step towards him, fear guiding her movements. She knew his mind better than either would admit. She knew his heart better than he thought too.

A hand reached out from the darkness, grabbing her wrist before she had a chance. A chill ran through her though the touch was long familiar. Glancing back, she looked up into Thomas' eyes. The white court vampire stood like stone, his grey eyes slowly darkening as the adrenaline (or whatever fueled a vampire in battle) ebbed away. She shuddered slightly as the last traces of his power diminished back beneath the surface.

The rain fell in a steady torrent.

"Don't," he said, his voice empty of emotion or anything remotely human. His eyes saw what she saw, though. While his mind spoke through his mouth and kept him from doing anything, his heart seemed to know what she had in mind. Shooting him a disgusted look, she turned away.

The rain fell like an impenetrable wall between him and them. A million drops making up a whole blocked her from him like the body he held had done for years. It never killed her, never shattered her beyond repair. She grieved for what might have been and treasured the moments they shared. She understood though.

Nature had its balances, like he always told her. Balances could be shifted to achieve a desired effect, but in the end balance had to be maintained. The cold blond figure in his arms was all that remained of his balance. She was his opposite and his equal, something Molly could never replace. Looking back up at Thomas, Molly yanked her hand away from him.

"I'm doing my job," she stated, her tone becoming like his after years of listening. With a swift movement, she turned and headed towards him. The vampire made no move to stop her.

The world was no longer the same.

Large hands and lanky arms cradle Murphy's body like a glass figurine. He was bent over her, around her, as though trying to either protect her from her fate or perhaps seal in whatever of her spirit remained. She could feel his pain as though it was her own. Perhaps it is, she thought quietly approaching. It cut through her in ways she couldn't describe. A throbbing welling up from the deepest reaches of her being, stabbing and tearing its way into the forefront of her mind.

She ignored it completely, using the control techniques he had taught her long ago. She knelt down in front of him, looking towards the face which wouldn't meet her own. A childish longing came over her, wishing he would stand up or look at her. She wished he'd tell her everything was alright, because he had never lied to her.

She reached over slowly, letting his eyes see her hands as the took hold of his. He looked up suddenly, catching her off guard. She couldn't suppress the intake of breathe at the emptiness in his eyes.

"We'll move her somewhere safe," she said, knowing on instinct it was something he wanted to hear. He stared at her for a moment, not comprehending or not caring about what he was told. He nodded slowly.

Arms tightened around Murphy, pulling her close to him as he tried to push himself up from the slippery ground. She reached over, steadying his shoulders and being the support he needed. They moved slowly at first, a funeral procession without a grave to go to. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Thomas frown disapprovingly as his eyes thanked her. They were the ones who knew him best. At least, as far as ties of blood and mind would allow. Those were nothing compared to Murphy though. The balance he and she created left everything else to dust.

She could sense the change.

She led him to an impossibly empty cot in the wizard's encampment. Guided his movements like a puppet on a string. Her mind shuddered at the image, the ghostly touch of dark magic stirring against her will. Never again, she had sworn that to him as he lay helpless in his bed, nearly killed by power she couldn't control. Never again, a child had cried out becoming a woman for his sake. Never again.

They layed her body across the bed. Death had not been peaceful for her, but it had been swift. A deep cut penetrated past thick pieces of Kevlar beneath a layer of metal armor. There was no mess to clean, her heart being pierced before it had a chance to beat out the life-giving liquid. It had been swift, sudden, and she had seen it coming. It was better than the alternative.

Molly looked away, blocking out the phantom pains in her own chest. Murphy had always projected a strong energy, despite her lack of magical ability. Maybe it was simply her acceptance that things weren't always understandable, or that she had to rebuild her box. Maybe it was her fierce, indomitable sense of will. Maybe was a lot of things. None of which mattered anymore.

He stood still, staring at the body. It killed her to see the look of confusion fill his eyes as he looked it up and down, searching for something unseen. She didn't dare ask what and knew not to touch him. It wouldn't have done any good.

"She's gone," he said, his voice raspy with disbelief. She looked over at him, watched him with the attention he deserved. He reached over the cot, tenderly touching the space just above Murphy's shoulder blade. His knees caved underneath him

"She's gone, grasshopper," he repeated, "My angel's gone."

He shattered in her arms.

A.N. : *hides behind shield* Please don't kill me! Sorry for such a depressing fic, I just had this going in my head for a while. Reviews are appreciated since I've never done anything like this before.