She fell to her knees beside him, leaning over to see how badly hurt he was. His eyes were half-closed and not quite focused, and every breath he took was shallow, uneven.

"Adam," she said urgently, shaking his shoulder. "Commander. Adam, can you hear me?"

He blinked, his eyes clearing a bit to look up at her. A half-smile touched his lips. "Hello, Lady," he said faintly.

She forced a smile in return. "Hey." Her hand tightened a little on his arm as he tried to puch himself up. "Don't try to move. Just rest, or you'll strain yourself."

He examined her with far-away eyes, taking in her face as if he was really seeing her for the first time. "I don't think I've ever told you that you're beautiful, have I?"

Her heart skipped a beat and she shook her head. "Shh," she whispered. "You're hurt. Just stay still. There'll be others here soon. They'll help."

"You know, I always kept meaning to tell you I love you," he said. "I guess I just...never found the time." His eyes closed. "Never found the words."

"It's okay," she said, trying to reassure herself as much as him. "It doesn't matter, stop talking. It's going to be okay."

"I was never quite sure," he murmured. "Of what you'd say, I mean." He gave her a weak smile. "But I guess at the end, I've got nothing to lose, have I?"

"Don't say things like that," she said, grabbing his hand. "It's not the end, don't be stupid. You're going to be fine. Everything—everything will be fine." Her breath caught a little and came out as a sob.

"Shh," he whispered, raising his free hand to brush a tear off her cheek. She pulled back just a little, turning away to dry her eyes with the back of her arm.

"You shouldn't have done it, you know," she whispered.

"I had to," he said, like that was the most obvious thing in the galaxy. His hand tightened around hers as he looked up at her again. "What was I supposed to do, let you be killed?" He laughed, though his smile looked more like a grimace. "Yeah, right."

"You didn't have to save me," she whispered.

"The universe needs you alive," he told her softly. "You have to keep going. There are people who need your help. Your protection." This time, his smile was a real one, albeit shaky. "They need you alive, more than they need me."

"But I need you alive!" she said desperately.

"Make me proud, Lady," he murmured.

"Don't give up," she whispered. "Please—please, don't give up. You can't. It'll be alright." Her voice broke on the last word and she swallowed. "It'll be alright."

He nodded, closing his eyes again. "Lady," he managed, his voice fading. "Promise me you'll keep fighting. Promise me you'll try. I know you can do it." He sucked a breath in through his teeth. "I know you'll make me proud."

She caught his head as he fell back, drained of the little strength he had left. Tears welled up in her eyes but she blinked them away and bent down to press her lips against his.

"I love you," she whispered, but she wasn't sure he heard her.

She kissed him again, trying not to think about the time they'd lost and the time they weren't ever going to get. She wanted to reassure him, tell him it would be okay, but her tongue refused to form the lie and her voice was too choked to speak, so she sat in silence beside him, fighting to keep her heart from breaking as his raged breathing slowed and his heartbeat grew fainter.

It wasn't until his hand went limp in hers that she broke down and let herself cry.