Naina lives with his ghost

She has to… he gives her no other choice.

Because every moment that she is alone, he is there… watching her, waiting…

"You should've told them the truth." She tells him.

"What would I have gained from it?" he asks, "I was dying anyway."

"And I lived… free." She tells him, "Why didn't you want me punished?"

He gives her no answer, just a small sad smile.

She lives with the secret… that it was her.

She lives with it and it crushes her more with every passing day.

Sometimes he tries to comfort her, sometimes she is relieved by this.

"I know you didn't mean to do it." He tells her, "It was an accident."

"I pulled the trigger…" she tells him, "I didn't give you medical treatment… you died."

"You weren't in your right mind at the time."

"I killed you… you died."

"You were punishing your brother's killer."

"…You died."

"I died."

"Yes, you did… and it was my fault."

And there is silence.

They have this conversation often, she and her ghost.

And it always ends the same way.

"Why didn't you tell them it was me?" she asks frustrated, "Why? I would've preferred to have been punished than left with this burden."

"You already know the answer to that." Her ghost tells her sadly, "And I'm not going to tell you and give you another burden to carry."

She does know, oh she knows. She tries to pretend she doesn't, but she's never been that stupid that she couldn't work it out.

"Stop it," she tells him one day.

"Stop what?" he asks.

"Stop loving me," she tells him, "Hate me instead. For god's sake don't love me anymore, I can't stand it."

Silence.

"You would've loved me too," he tells her, no trace of doubt in his voice. "It just needed time."

And she wishes that she could tell him that he was wrong.

Because he's dead, and she's alive, and you're not meant to fall in love with someone after you've already killed them.

And every day, every day she regrets that moment, that day, that emotion.

He doesn't blame her, her ghost.

And she lives with him, because really, she has no other choice.

The alternative is unimaginable.