A/N: I wrote this based on a sketch I'm working on. I will post a link to it soon if anyone wants to see. Claude in pain warning (contains cutting). Dark.

The screams echoed through the cavernous hallway. They ricocheted off of the cold stone walls and the hard, unfeeling metal bars. It would seem that she and I were the only warm, living things here.

And I had just thrown her to the lions.

Each time a scream pierced my ears, my hand gripped the handle of the dagger with more determination. Blood stained the inside of the already scarlet robes. My teeth clenched at the contrast; the cold blade made my skin burn like fire. With each scream, the dagger ventured closer and closer to my own thundering heart. The traitorous thing was still beating, pounding away within me. The beats became more frantic as it realized its fate. She would be led past here eventually, see me laying in a pool of blood, and know that I had suffered right along with her. My tears burned hotly as they blurred my vision, but ran cold down my cheeks. My soul had iced over and all I could feel was pain. Gasping and shaking, I realized I had dropped to my knees and positioned the dagger.

"I confess!" she wailed.

Just then, a strange spasm rippled through my arm and the dagger clattered against the stone floor. Slowly, my thoughts began to surface again through the scarlet haze of pain. I cursed my body's weakness and need to defend itself against my actions.

As I bent to retrieve the blood-stained weapon, I noticed something else.

A few paces away, there was an apple laying on the floor. I noticed that only one bite had been taken out of it before it was carelessly tossed aside. My shaking hand reached for the abandoned fruit of its own accord.

The bite marks had already turned brown. There was no telling who had bitten out a mouthful. The smooth golden flesh would start to decay soon. My thoughts jumped to Adam and Eve….one fateful bite was all it took for them. Most people referred to the forbidden fruit as an apple, though there was no scriptural evidence that it had been anything close. As my blood-stained fingers left bright red smears against the pale yellow skin, I wondered what it had looked like before someone took a bite out of it. Ridiculous thing to wonder at that moment…

One bite. All I had taken was one bite out of the forbidden fruit. And now, I was paying for it in more ways than I ever thought possible…My beautiful Esmeralda, my beautiful gypsy girl…she would be marred forever by my actions. I had tossed her away after tasting sin much in the way that this apple had been tossed away. Both would decay due to the carelessness. Both would rot until nothing beautiful or pure remained and people would wrinkle their noses and keep pushing the decaying remains away. I closed my robes and hoped that the blood wouldn't leak through the surface of them. This was something that I did not want others to see. I didn't want the questions, the guilt, the accusing faces. I ducked into the shadows as they marched Esmeralda past. I squeezed the apple in my hand hard enough that some of the juice leaked out and left sticky places on my glove.

I knew I had to find a way to get her out of here. I would not leave her to a cold, unfeeling fate.

I took a few shallow, gasping breaths and tried to compose myself. I could not show them my pain, my weakness, my sin. I had to be strong for her. Resolving to figure out a way to right these wrongs I had done, I started towards the courtroom. Just before I reached the door, I placed the now half-crushed apple on the windowsill. Maybe someone else would see it and remember what had happened here today…