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"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." Norman Cousins.

Bloodied and alone, he lay on the floor beyond redemption. His body, once beautiful and admired, was as broken as his muddled soul. His sad cry for help had been met with violence and the unexpected sympathy of the one he desired to hurt the most.

No, there was no salvation for the bastard son of a bastard father, who had depended upon the generosity of his betters to even earn his livelihood. He had resented the superior air of the man who had taken pity on his sad plight and taken him under his roof, for no matter how much the Earl of Masen tried to disguise it, Emmet could see it within his eyes, the contempt of those well born towards the likes of him.

He bid his time and after a long game of seduction he had taken his vengeance upon the body of the Earl's heir, a true peer bending over to a stable boy. The boy had been eager for his cock, for his fucks. And Emmett had taken him roughly like he would the lowest whore from the nearby village.

However, the boy enjoyed it, thriving on the intensity of their encounters. Emmett found himself intrigued and oddly captivated by the instrument of his revenge. Soon, he, who had never admired a man's form, was taking enormous pleasure simply by gazing at the boy, watching his graceful gestures, listening to his kind words. It had sneaked upon him, the feeling of falling so deep into a well he knew he would never find his way out of.

He had been in love with Edward for years, had endured his abandonment, his rejection, his promiscuity. The shadow of Jasper, the pompous boy who more than once had stolen his love, had always loomed on the horizon. Emmett had convinced himself that Edward would always come back to him, no matter what.

And he had up until the moment he opened a letter so long ago. A simple look from Edward and he knew it was truly over, for good. The words that would break his heart followed a little latter, meanwhile he took whatever memories he could steal, before the dark night of separation descended.

The day he left, he plunged himself on a tavern, drinking away his heartbreak. There he stayed, for days, months, up until the day the other one had talked to him, offering him advice on how to get Edward back. Something outrageous, show him how desirable you are, let him see others coveting you, he said. The man guaranteed he would take Edward there to see.

Stupid in his heartbreak, clouded by gin, he had agreed, not stopping for one second to think of the consequences. He had never before worn a corset or skirts, he felt odd, uncomfortable. But he pushed through, foolishly clinging to the notion that it was the only way to get Edward back. Then there was the raid, the defiling of his body, the taunting of his soul. The destruction of his will.

Nobody came, only Jasper and on the blond man's pitying eyes Emmett met the true meaning of hell, for there was no experience more painful than seeing the goodness within the very person you yearned to destroy. Jasper's gentleness and patience was a stab to his heart, for the first time he considered that perhaps the aristocrat was the better man, for there was no denying that he truly cared about Emmett's wellbeing.

Realizing that he would probably be the only visitor he would get and acknowledging that his end was near, for the first time Emmet allowed his heart to open, he let go of his resentment and his fears, and spoke of everything and nothing, inviting Jasper within his soul. The understanding and compassion he found on Jasper's eyes had been the strength he needed to endure the next few months of abuse and torture, of humiliating words.

Edward's absence was what hurt the most, the impossibility of saying one final goodbye, of looking into his eyes and saying the words that had never been offered. He knew Edward would never come, but he waited, hoped, prayed. In the end was all in vain, his life, his hopes, his love, tainted as it was. They tried to help but nothing could stop the wheels of destiny and his had been sealed the day he seduced an innocent boy. For his hate he would pay a dire price, for his love he would accept it.

When the day came he was so broken that he welcomed death, so mangled that he felt only relief, so broken that he didn't even care. His hanging was cheered by loud voices from unknown people who judged his crime viler than their own. He died repeating a mantra he dared not voice, however in his heart and in his mind had been the song that lulled him to his final sleep: Edward, I love you.

"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy." Eskimo Proverb.