I do not own The Kite Runner. No one truly owns Hassan.

"…It was the look of the lamb."

My legs surprising held as the turmoil within me raged like a wild fire. I held on to nothing; my hands grasped for a way out of this horrific scene. I couldn't even turn my head away as Assef grunted. I hesitated. Hesitated some more. Guilt ripped apart my insides, burning with all the things Hassan had ever done for me. Protecting me, believing me, trusting me, understanding me, Hassan had always been there.

Where was I when he needed me? Crouched behind a crumbling mud wall, my eyes wide with shock. Why was I even here? Why couldn't I at least move, leave, anything would be better than watching Hassan get… I couldn't even say it.
Every time I came up with a reason to help Hassan, I came up with an even better reason not to. I could run in there like a banshee, swinging my fists like that American actor Sylvester Stallone. But I'm no Italian-stallion, or whatever it is, and I would most likely get myself killed. I would be forever aligned with a Hazara and a lowly servant. But I'd finally repay Hassan for standing up for me all those times, for cooking and cleaning for me and always believing me when I lied…

Self-preservation, self-proclamation… loyalty to me or Hassan… the noises increased in volume from deeper in the alley and my frozen knees suddenly gave way. I slumped against the wall, knowing one way or the other, I had to move.

I wished desperately for someone else to make the decision for me; one leg, then the other, and I was off, running like the true coward I am. As I ran, I realized who the real lamb was. Hassan might have stopped fighting, but he didn't give in or give up.

I was the one who had given up.