She wrapped her hand over his long, lean and narrow one, picked it and examined it. Lined with creases, it was callused. A hand that had known hard work, that had known misery and defeat, that had known success and pure, unadulterated elation. She followed the currents of the deep canyons with her gentle touch; her smooth white fingers darting, pecking, fluttering along them.

Softly but firmly, he peeled her hand off of his. He ran a few fingers around her thin wrist, caressing the soft, raised bumps of her spider web veins. He lowered his head to his fingers, trailing his parched lips where they had once been. She giggled, ran her digits through his gray lined hair with the casual ease of the teenager she had once been. Regretfully-so full of regret, it ached his heart- he grabbed her palms from his mane. Captured them resolutely, dwarfed them between his singular, mitt of a hand. He forced them back into her chest with a force that surprised them both; he was not usually like this.

Her face registered part surprise, part hurt at his spurning actions. Her mouth opened. He knew that she would be asking questions, more questions than he could bear. He could see the entire situation laid out before him in a mental map, knew exactly what each of them would say, what the final consequence would be. She would ask him what was wrong. He would shake his grizzled head, try to avoid the subject. He would fail, like he always did. He always failed when it came to her. He would tell her that they weren't meant to be together, that he was all wrong for her. She would protest bitterly. He smiled at this. Of course, she would protest. She would scream and shout, rage and cry. The tension would build and build, and she would be so devastated by the mention of it. And he would stay. He would stay, until that one day when he lost control. When one of them slipped up.

He knew the day would come. He knew they weren't meant to be together. The knowledge of it was as thick as a cloud overhead, one that seemed to follow him, and only him, around and around wherever he went, until he felt like he wanted to just chuck something into its depths and growl and snarl his rage at the very thought of it.

She stared at him, as he seemed to reflect inward upon himself. He still had her wrists clasped in his hands, pushed up against her chest like a confining prison. But she didn't mind it. As long as he was there, holding onto her, she didn't mind it. It didn't matter that his face was steely hard, and that she knew, innately, that he was going to do something absurdly stupid. She tucked this memory of their hands interconnected deep inside the pocket of her mind, where it could never be taken away.

Inch by unwilling inch, he pried his fingers from their stiff position around her wrists. She sagged against him, trying to remain in contact. She didn't know what was happening. Why was he doing this, revealing this cold exterior that she knew wasn't the real him? Wasn't it enough that they had precious little time left? That tomorrow morning, the castle would erupt into chaos? And that either, or both of them, might die in the ensuing conflict?

He inhaled as much oxygen as possible, trying to keep his head clear of her shattered expression. Distance. He needed distance. To avoid the pained look in her eyes that made him feel like a murderer.

"I can't."


She was curled up against the partially destroyed wall. She was curled into a ball, tightly wound and sobbing. Rubble lay in little bits around her, the destruction of glass into miniscule shards that somehow seemed to sparkle in the late rays. The tears fell in raindrop-like consistency, and the thickness of the air made it hard for her to breath. A shuddering breath in, another out. Choking on her own saliva and the pure agony of a heart breaking, she blinked away invasive tears. Her harrowing eyes spooked the survivors, and they avoided her as though she was a ghost.

His head lay limply in her lap. She wove a thin, shaking hand through his silver streaked hair, and tightly would the other in his still, lifeless hand. She flipped it palm up and traced the lines in it, the deep canyons that marked his knowledge, his life, his love. Her spidery fingers memorized every inch of his hand, one that she had known so well for such an inadequate amount of time.


AN: I hope you enjoyed this small one-shot. It's my first. Please feel free to enjoy, comment and give me feedback if you like.