Chapter 9:

Prepare for the feels. Seriously.

Oh, and MyrninsBitch gets a oneshot for being the first reviewer on the prior chapter.

Claire's POV:

The stiffening of whatever she was resting on made Claire realise that she was asleep, that she was wasting her final hours alive, and so she felt herself return to consciousness relatively slowly. Only when she was almost ready to open her eyes, did she realise that she was in fact resting on Myrnin, who had evidently also fallen asleep; there was no other explanation for why he would allow her to rest on top of him. Even with her…predicament, she wouldn't be allowed to.

"Hello, Claire," he whispered in her ear quietly, evidently aware that she was awake. "Would you like any refreshment?"

She shook her head slowly, and at an equal speed, opened her eyes; it was growing dark in the laboratory, and so the light wasn't painful on her sleep-filled eyes. She was more tired than she ought to be, given how much sleep she had gotten last night, but she couldn't waste the rest of her life asleep. Whilst it would make the…end less painful, it would mean that she didn't have the opportunity to do some of the things she loved the most before she did leave the world of the living, and move into whatever came next. That thought scared her, and so Claire decided to forget about the fact that something was going to happen to her; she didn't know what, but she had a distinct feeling that she wouldn't be floating in space for the rest of eternity.

At least, she hoped she wouldn't be.

"I…what time is it?" she asked quietly, struggling to sit upright. Myrnin aided her, using his strength to pull her from him and onto the sofa to his left, their bodies no longer touching. She was pleased with this—it afforded her the clarity she needed to think things through.

Her body felt different to before; it seemed heavier than before, and even something as rudimentary as breathing seemed to take more effort than it usually did. Whether this was a psychological effect or was actually happening, Claire didn't know, but she wasn't going to mention it to Myrnin. She wanted to spend her final time on this planet having fun—or as close to fun as she could manage, provided that she didn't lapse into the world of the twisted and unknown again—rather than being prodded and poked as Myrnin tried to find her a painkiller she didn't need.

There was pain, too, now that she thought about it; she didn't just ache, she pained, all over—each limb seemed to hang there, and it felt as though she should be hanging off the side of a building, should have just completed an absail down the side of the Eiffel Tower, or basically anything that would require the energy it felt she had lost. Her body felt spent, and given the fact she had just slept for however long…it made Claire certain that her body was shutting down.

Perhaps this involuntary euthanasia she was getting was the best thing after all; perhaps within days, she would be immobile, locked into her body like the vampires she had found in the prison had been like even though their diseases were different, and she would starve to death, all the while aware of what was going on. She didn't want to be locked in her head; she wanted out before that happened. So perhaps amidst the darkness of what was happening, there was a humane side to it, also.

"It's after six," Myrnin said slowly, shifting as he spoke. One minute he was sitting next to her, the next he was on the other side of the room, digging around in the fridge. "I have a pizza for you, if you desire nourishment. It's supposed to be the best, though I'm not quite sure…there is supposed to be red stuff amidst the yellow strands, yes?"

Claire couldn't help but laugh; it was so Myrnin to make her feel normal through his blatant lack of understanding of the modern culture (though pizza's existence through multiple centuries meant he ought to have seen it before) and she wondered whether or not he was actively trying to find ways to distract her from what was happening. She ought to be wanting to kill him the entire time she remained conscious and sane, but she didn't; all she wanted to know was that when she died, he was going to carry on his existence as though she had never been more than a blip on his radar.

It was strange that she wanted him to forget her, to act as though she had never existed, but she was doing this for Myrnin's benefit; she didn't want him to hurt more than he had to. She didn't want to leave the world without having made her mark on it, but something told her that if any trace of her was left, Myrnin would also be no more.

"Why are you…oh, never mind," Myrnin inquired, and Claire could tell that he was befuddled by the fact that she was laughing. Her execution was so close, and yet she was joyful and exuberant—though with the way that his gaze flitted over her, resting on her eyes, she could tell that he was checking for signs of madness, for signs of the disease.

Too late, Claire realised that this was how Myrnin got when he was about to go over the edge, and she soon found herself begging herself to be able to retain her sanity for the rest of her time; she didn't have much time left at all, and to spend even a minute of that out of control wasn't what she wanted.

"I'm fine," she confirmed with him, taking a deep, calming breath in order to steady her heart rate, and to get the flush in her cheeks to die down. "And yes, it's meant to have bits of cheese on top of some tomato—wait, not like that! Myrnin, it's mouldy! Just how long have you had this in here for?"

Myrnin looked sheepish as their eyes met once more, and as he handed the pizza over to Claire, she noted how it was so soft that it indented where his fingers had been pressed. "Well, it may have been bought in the preparations for the New Year festivities…"

Claire quickly thought about the date in her head. "Myrnin…it's almost September; you mean to say that you've had this pizza for almost nine months?"

He nodded slowly, and Claire had to laugh again. "Well, it doesn't matter, does it?" she said slowly. "We can just order one in, can't we? It won't take, like, six hours for them to deliver it, will it?" she snorted slightly, before she realised that she didn't have six hours. "Then again, with the fact that they'd be trying to find this place, it could take them about six years—and the pizza'd be in a worse state than this one!" she continued, motioning to the one in her hands, having continued speaking in order to forget about what she had thought about: how little time she was going to be around.

Myrnin nodded once more and reached into his pocket for the phone he was ordered to have, before handing it to Claire. She took it and dialled her favourite pizza place in Morganville, requesting them to go to the Day House; Myrnin was able to get it from there, she was sure.

"See you in ten!" she said as cheerfully as she could manage as she sent him out straight away after calling, on the pretext that she wanted to set some plates and then make herself look presentable. Before he went, though, Claire found herself needing to call something out after him, "I love you!" she didn't know if she meant as a friend, or as a lover, but she knew that she did, indeed, love Myrnin. She had no desire to analyse their roots.

As soon as the laboratory was empty, Claire moved back to the sofa, curling herself up into the foetal position, and rocked herself slowly, unable to stop the tears streaming down her cheeks.

She had less than six hours to live.

Myrnin's POV:

He knew that she was sending him out for a reason, and even though he tried his best not to invade her privacy, Myrnin couldn't help but hear the sobs that wracked Claire's body as she waited for a death that was actually less than twenty minutes away.

It seemed alien to him that only a minute before, they—well, Claire—had been laughing over pizza and his idiocy at keeping one that was so out of date, because the last ten minutes or so had been a complete daze to Myrnin. He hadn't really paid attention to any of it, yet he knew that if he asked himself to recall any detail about it, about Claire, then he would be able to tell himself. It was just a method to avoid the pain, he felt, by pushing the events as far out of the realms of normalcy as possible; perhaps if he did that, he felt, he would be able to pretend that killing Claire was merely a dream, too. And she had told him she loved him…that was best kept under a veil too, until he had had chance to process the evening's events. And that, he felt, could take more than a millennia.

Once at the end of the road, Myrnin tried to dial the number to cancel the pizza, but had no idea how to do it. The number had disappeared…and now the phone was flashing. Oliver's name was coming up, and the shrill noise the machine was making gave Myrnin the impression that his most-hated vampire acquaintance was attempting to make contact with him.

Stabbing at buttons, Myrnin lifted the phone to his ear in hope that it would have put the dog on the line. "What do you want?" he asked suspiciously, at the same time as Oliver said, "I see you're able to operate the technology Amelie provided you then, fool."

Evidently, Myrnin's stabbing of buttons had worked. But whilst he would normally draw upon this success as fuel for attacking Oliver, he had no energy to do that. As he heard Claire cry, he knew that he was just as fragile as her, and as soon as her heart stopped, his may as well have never existed.

"What do you want?" Myrnin repeated as the silence grew between himself and Oliver. There were sounds of movement, as though Oliver was using his vampire speed to speed along to his intended location, but before any further noise came from the phone, he looked up to see Oliver standing there.

Deliberately flipping the phone shut, Oliver stood opposite Myrnin, clad in black leather, and it was with great effort that he resisted saying anything. The not unkind expression on his face aided Myrnin's resolve, also.

"She knows?" Oliver asked, and Myrnin hesitated before shaking his head. "Fool! I thought it was decided that you would tell her when she would die."

"I…I wanted to make her think that she had a bit longer," he whispered, suddenly seeing the evil side to this: she thought she had longer to say goodbye to the things she loved, and so when he returned in there to snap her neck, she wouldn't have finished. "I didn't want her to be scared when the sun set…I wanted her to die without knowing she was going to die."

To Myrnin's surprise, Oliver reached out a slapped one hand down on his shoulder, a show of solidarity, before he removed it—it did linger for a few seconds, however. "I understand; you didn't want her feeling as though she was going to her execution, as so many thousands, probably millions, have before her," he summarised, slowly walking with Myrnin back towards the alleyway. "It was noble—something I cannot believe I am saying to you—and whilst it may not have been right…we do not need to tell Amelie. As far as she needs to know, Claire died a peaceful death, knowing she was going to die."

Myrnin was dumstruck. "I…thank you," he muttered, the civility here just as strange as the situation they were in. "Though this changes nothing."

"I never expected it to," Oliver confirmed, stopping just outside the wooden shack. His voice lowered to a level so that Claire wouldn't hear it, adding, "I'll wait here. I can see…everything I need to see."

Slowly, Myrnin nodded, his mouth dry, even though he had no need for saliva; it was as though he was going to his execution, not Claire going to hers, because as he took each step down the stairs, one agonising step at a time, he felt as though he was getting closer and closer to the end of his own heart. His happiness and Claire's life were intertwined, and to remove one removed the other.

She seemed to sense someone's presence, and so Myrnin noticed how Claire shuffled herself to a sitting position, hearing her wipe her eyes as she did so. "Myrnin, is that you?" she called out, confused. "The pizza can't be here yet, is it?"

Myrnin froze where he was, just out of Claire's line of sight, turning his head slightly towards where he had just come from; Oliver stood there, at the crest of the stairs, his face grim but foreboding. Claire was dying, if Oliver had to do it himself.

Finally, after what seemed like an age, Claire settled back down on the sofa, her back to where Myrnin stood, and as he realised it was time for him to make his move, Myrnin realised that there was wetness on his face: tears. He had shed dozens of tears, his vision slightly impaired, yet he had no issue with locating Claire's exact position, ready to spring in three…two…one…

And then she was turning around, facing him, as though she knew he had been standing there all along.

"What?" she whispered, tears streaming down her own face, and Myrnin stopped half a metre away from her, his expression a mixture of shame and agony. "Are…are you doing it now?" she continued, her voice cracking on the final word.

Myrnin couldn't speak, so he merely strode forwards, taking both of Claire's wrists in one of his hands, and nodded, his curls flying everywhere. "I'm sorry," he managed to get out, and he was surprised and pleased simultaneously that Claire launched herself into his arms.

Her mouth was at his ear and she pressed her lips to it softly, the heat of her breath making him realise just how cold he was. "Make it quick." Claire's voice was barely audible above her sobs and tears, "please. I want this over."

Myrnin grasped the girl tighter in his arms, on the pretext of hugging her, and as her hair tickled his skin, he muttered equally quietly, "I love you, please forgive me."

Before she could say another word, he had twisted her head with one move, the audible crunch of bones in her neck indicating that it was broken, the sudden stop of her heart beat telling Myrnin that she was dead: instantaneous death, just as Amelie had wanted. Just as they all had wanted.

It didn't make him feel any better.

Somehow, Myrnin heard the advancement of Oliver down the stairs as he fell to the floor, Claire's motionless body clenched tightly in his arms. "I'm sorry!" he cried out, burying his face in Claire's back. "I'm so, so, so sorry! Forgive me, Claire, please forgive me."

He was ravaging a war in his mind, a struggle to keep himself out of the darkness that Claire's death—Claire's murder—threatened to pull him into, a sanctuary from this soul destroying woe, and the fight to stay here, with Claire, to punish himself…and to be with her. This was the last time he would touch her, the last time he would hold her in his arms, feel the warmth from her skin seeping into his; he would never see her again. His heart couldn't stand to lay eyes on her once more.

"I'm sorry, Claire," he wailed once more, noting how Oliver stayed well away, and made no comments. "Forgive me."

And that's all he could say for another five hours.

Please don't favourite or alert without reviewing. There's another chapter to come, so if I get 10 reviews, I'll write the first one & the tenth a oneshot. Ok?

I'll update as soon as I've got my uni application in, and since I'm applying to Oxford, that has to be in within two weeks, so yes, two week update MAX.