She remembers back to when they were still children, when everything was simple and nothing was complicated and saying 'I love you' was an everyday occurrence because you didn't really, truly understand what you were saying, didn't know the weight your words carried.
She remembers back to when she was sixteen and he was eighteen and he was leaving, leaving to join the military and prove that his life was worth something, that he could make a difference, remembers hearing him shout her name as the train pulled out of the station, hearing him shout 'I love you' when he was too far to hear her as she called his name, straining to see him as he faded into the distance.
She remembers back to the night when he burned her back, remembers seeing him close his eyes and turn his head, unable to look at her because of the guilt eating him alive, tearing at him from the inside, watching him through half closed eyes as she took his hand and whispered 'I love you', watching his face soften with a smile as she offered him a raft, a piece of happiness to hold on to in the midst of a sea of despair, a sea that rose with the sun over a desert wasteland.
She remembers back to watching him cry, thinking that if this is what it takes, sitting beside him at all hours of the night and pulling the bottle from his fingers, holding his fingers tight and saying anything, anything to help him forget that today he saw his best friend buried in the ground, that his best friend died trying to help him, telling him anything he wants to hear, holding him tight and telling him she loves him and she's not going home until she sees him smile.
She remembers back to the day she thought he had died, thought Lust had killed him, thought she would have to bury him as he had buried Hughes, thought that she would give anything to have him back, give anything to die beside him; she remembers hearing his voice as though reaching beyond the grave, seeing him standing before her once more, saving her from herself, hearing, after he destroys Lust and collapses to the ground, hearing him whisper 'I love you' on his last breath before closing his eyes.
She remembers back to the tunnels beneath Central, to the gun in her hand as she tries to stop him from becoming the monster he has always feared, knowing that she can't kill him, no matter how many promises she has made, knowing that she isn't strong enough, feeling the strength leave her as he kneels on the ground, hearing the unspoken words in the air between both of them - "I love you too much".