Author's Note: This fic was inspired by the song "Children of Beslan," by Steven Cravis. You should go find it on YouTube right now and listen to it, because it's beautiful.


The words bore into her heart until she has to write them down, anywhere, on the walls, on her arms, on the surface of the planet. She can never say them out loud—he can never hear. Instead she finds a plain sheet of paper and hides herself away, and she writes.


You are the maddest and most impossible person. You are beautiful. You make me brave and young and alive, and there is no one who has ever mattered more than you. I will follow you forever and I will never stop running with you.


He kisses her softly, over and over again, everywhere but her lips, and whispers breathlessly, Never leave, and she clings to the lapels of his jacket, closing her eyes. His left hand is cool against her neck, his right hand lost in her hair, and she feels both of his hearts beating wildly beneath hers.


Nothing else happens. There are never any other words, and she forgets, and he must forget. She has given herself to someone else long ago, and she will never tell him. Sometimes he looks at her from across the ruins and smiles, and she feels something fierce rise within her.


The day she leaves, she presses her lips to his forehead and feels his hands come to rest at her waist. He says nothing, but when she pulls back there is pain in his eyes. She realizes she is holding onto his lapels, and she drops her hands to her sides.


In Leadworth, later that night, she cleans out her pockets and finds the worn piece of paper with her words on it. She hasn't looked at it since she wrote it, all those ages ago, and now there are new words, just below hers. It is his handwriting, and it reads, I never want you to.


She waits for him every night in her garden. He never comes back.