I felt the arrow pierce through my back. I had been too slow – the cuts on my legs and the gash in my side lagged my movements through the chaos. But at least I got to her in time.
Her ruby eyes widened in shock – shock that I become her human shield; to block the oncoming arrow that would have claimed her life.
"Natsuki!" She cried, her arms slipping under mine to keep my wavering body up.
The fire and chaos was getting out of control, her guards were all but annihilated – only a few remained and, now, even I won't be able to protect her anymore.
"Run, Shizuru." I ordered, resisting the cough of blood that tried to escape.
She whipped her head around to find the escape route that her guards had died paving the way for – her arms still wrapped possessively around me.
"Forget about me Shizuru, you need to go. They're after you; I'll be fine, just leave me." It came out as a croak – air was getting into my lungs making it hard to breathe.
"No, no I can't. I can't just leave you." She struggled to keep her emotions at bay and refused to meet my eyes again – it was rare to see her like this, in such a situation.
'Where is the usually strong and confident leader go? Do you fear losing me that much?'
It was hard to speak, with wounds all over my body and the intrusion in my back made breathing hard, let alone resisting the urge to scream my cries of agony.
I bit back the pain – I can't let her see that – I steeled myself to speak again in my most authoritative and assuring voice.
"Listen to me, Shizuru!" I brought her gaze back to me – locking our eyes as I continued.
"I'm going to be okay" I assured.
"I'll come find you." I promised.
"But you need to survive this. Wait for me." I finally ordered.
I gave her the best smile I could muster – though weak. I tried to support my own weight with my injured legs.
With tears flowing from her beautiful eyes, she silently nodded at my request.
"I'll wait for you Natsuki, I'll wait for you." She turned to run, following the loyal men that called for her as I stood weakly amongst the chaos of burning forest and dead men.
Once she was engulfed by the night I stumbled towards the nearby bushes – moving away from the fire and battle field. I collapsed onto the ground – face down.
'I need to stay alive. I won't die here.' I told myself – crawling further way from the glowing flames.
It felt like hours before I reached a part of the forest that was no longer lit by the flames of battle. I clawed my way to a nearby tree and lend my shoulder against it – breathing heavily.
'I can't die here. I promised. I promised.' I keep chanting to myself, faintly aware that I could no longer feel much sensation from my limbs.
Calming my breath, I reached back to grab hold of that blasted arrow and wrenched it out of my body. The sharp searing pain shot through my body but I was soon overcome with relief that the incessant throbbing was finally gone.
My breath was shallow and frequent – every breath felt pointless, like I was breathing but received no oxygen at all.
I moved to sit with my back on the tree, looking up to the night sky – I stared at the full moon and the stars that accompanied it.
I felt cold – as though all the blood had drained from my body – the night air chilled my shivering body.
I was tired; the energy in my limbs was spent, and I bordered the realm of dreams.
'I lied to her.' I thought melancholy to myself - coughing up a mouth full of blood as a sob escaped from me.
'I shouldn't have told her to wait for me, there's no way I can return to her now.' Tears slid down my dirtied face.
'I regret not telling her that I loved her one last time. I'm sorry for leaving you like this, Shizuru. I'm sorry… I lied.'
Darkness claimed me.
A/N: Apart of me feels I should just leave at where it is... But I already wrote the rest!
So to all angst readers: stop here!
Everyone else (who wants a happy ending): go to the next chapter!