A/N: Before we begin, two huge thank yous must be given to a pair of wonderful ladies without whom I would be utterly lost.

The first goes to Saime Joxxers, aka Robynne. Since you're clearly hanging around the ST fandom, chances are that you've already read her fan-fics. If you haven't, however (and I can't imagine why you wouldn't have), you most definitely should because she is a fantabulous writer. But read my story first. ;] In addition to being an awesome author, Robynne is also an amazingly thorough beta and an exceedingly kind, patient person. I'm not sure sometimes how she remains so patient with my various antics, woes, and temper tantrums, but I'm very grateful that she does. This story would not be what it now is without her.

Second thank you is to MrsRuebeusHagridDursley, aka Morgan, who is also an all-around awesome beta, writer (if you like RENT and/or manga/anime fic, be sure to check out her page. You will not regret it), and friend. Morgan is always willing to discuss musicals and/or my stories and/or the ridiculous antics of Sweeney and Nellie with me at all hours of the night. She is also very adept at dealing with my mood swings and has saved me from jumping off the cliff of writerly despair more times than I can count.

On with the story. I'm a bit nervous about sharing this one, as it's written in an objective PoV. It's something I've never tried before and something that isn't attempted very often, but, well, the story demanded to be written this way. I hope you enjoy.


Two figures are in a bakehouse. They whip across the floor in a whirl of dancing feet and crooning words, bodies illuminated in oranges and whites by flames burning high in the open oven. The man drips with blood that is not his own and wears a smile. The woman's eyes are half-closed.

"So let's keep living it," a man sings.

"Just keep living it," she echoes him.

They dance nearer to the open oven.

"Really living it!" they sing together, but for the man, it is a shout. His hands, which rest on her waist, tighten as his arms push her away, lips curling and shattering the smile to reveal bared teeth –

"No!" shrieks the woman, and clutches his shirt. Her eyes are open all the way now.

The man's arm muscles and jaw clench further and then he yanks one arm from the woman – she gasps – and shoves closed the oven door, slamming her against it. The woman keens and struggles. The man stares at her.

"You lied to me," he says. The light from the oven's flames peer through the oven grate behind the woman's head and ripples across his face.

"I didn't, I didn't," she says, flailing against his grip, eyes shut. "The oven door, love, it's hot, please let me go – "

"You deserve pain," he tells her.

Her eyes fly open, watering and wide, as she breathes hard. "Kill me, then. Kill me like you killed her, if it'll make you feel better."

He snarls and touches the oven door's handle.

He goes still.

Then he touches her stomach.

She stares at his hand against her abdomen and does not move.

He snarls again and rips his hand away.

The woman blinks and the man is gone.


A/N: Reviews are love.