Disclaimer: I do not own any recognizable characters, places, etc, nor do I own the song Helena by My Chemical Romance.


"What do you want?"

The low growl came from the darkest corner of the room. Even Jarlaxle had a difficult time discerning the bent shape of Artemis Entreri from the wall. The man sat there, doused in the gloom.

"Artemis, it's been days. I implore you, come out."

"Why should I? It's not as if anyone out there wants me."

Jarlaxle snorted. "And why should they? You killed their companion. They want justice." He watched as the outline of Entreri stood, his stance defiant.

"I did what I had to. Nothing else."

Jarlaxle shook his head. "Were you forced to drive your dagger between his ribs? Were you forced to take his life? He had laid down his weapons. He knew he was defeated."

Entreri made his way into the thin beam of pallid light that came from the open door, his face wrenched in an expression of immeasurable agony. His eyes were red. "You think that I could have gone on living knowing that he surrendered to me? After so many years of this shit?" His voice was callous, caustic. It hurt Jarlaxle to hear him speak. "I did what I had to do!"

The mercenary stared at the now-unrecognizable man before him. He had known Artemis Entreri for a long time, and understood why he was the way he was. But he had never seen him hurt so much, or so deeply.

"You killed him when he had forfeited," the drow continued without mercy. "Can you imagine what that was like for him? All he wanted was a peaceable existence with those he loved. Beyond all odds, he found that. He had found those who accepted him and wanted him, and you took that all away."

Entreri's mouth opened and closed soundlessly. "I did what I had to," he said yet again, quietly, uncertainly.

"Remember his face, Artemis." There was no remorse in the elf's voice. "Remember how he looked. On his knees before you, his scimitars on the ground. I know you saw the regret in his eyes. Why didn't you stop there? Why didn't you let him go freely?"

"Stop!" Entreri barked, looking very much like a frightened animal. "Stop, please!"

"He was bleeding, his hand was broken, he was exhausted and terrified. He had given up, Artemis. Yet you still felt the need to take your dagger and plunge it into his chest, into his heart. Remember his cry, Artemis. Remember how you hurt him."

The assassin had turned away from Jarlaxle, his shoulders hunched and trembling as he fought back the wave of emotion the drow knew assaulted him.

"That dagger…your dagger. It drew his life force into you. How does it feel, knowing that he is with you for the rest of your life? You are living off of him. He is as much a part of you now as your own skin."

An inhuman sound escaped the man, and Jarlaxle discerned it as a sob.

"Realize what you have done." Jarlaxle raised his voice slightly, made it a command. "Come out of here and go make amends to his friends—if they will even allow it. If they ask for your life in return for his, you will not deny them."

"No!" Entreri snarled, his voice thick. "You have to understand—I did what I had to do!"

"You say that, Artemis, but you know you are only trying to assuage your own guilt. You know how utterly depraved your actions were."

"Shut up!" Entreri yelled, his eyes wide. "Shut up, shut up, just shut the fuck up! I don't need you fucking telling me that I was wrong. I know what I did was wrong."

"Then go out and tell them. If you have anything left in that black hole in your chest, you will tell them that you were wrong."

"I can't," Entreri breathed, closing his eyes against the pain. "You have to understand…Jarlaxle, I can't. I know…I know I was wrong. I know that I was wrong. I know what I did…I killed someone." His breath caught in his throat, as though he was trying to fight back tears. "I killed him! …I killed—" It was too much for him, and he covered his mouth with his hands. He was shaking. He knew full well what he had done.

Jarlaxle held out a hand, beseeching the assassin. "Artemis, please. Come with me. They're burying him today. You need to come."

Entreri shook his head, turning away again. "I can't. Don't ask me to do this."

Jarlaxle stood in the doorway for a moment longer, staring at the man's back. "Very well, then. So long, Artemis, and goodnight."


Can you hear me?
Are you near me?
Can we pretend to leave, and then
We'll meet again
When both our cars collide