"What am I?"

His voice was hoarse. The look in his eyes tore my heart. It was filled with anguish, self-loathing and confusion. But the truth, I couldn't tell him. If he knew, he would never forgive himself. He would not, even if he could. Sensing my hesitation, he grabbed my shoulders and shook me hard.

"You know. I can see it in your eyes. Tell me!"

It was useless to lie. We were created to detect lies. So that we could eliminate any enemies that disguised themselves to get close to us. So I could only remain silent. It seemed that he knew this too.

"Why? Why won't you tell me? Please..."

He buried his head in my neck and slumped against me. His shoulders were shaking. He was crying. My heart shattered. He was never afraid to show his tears. A long time ago, when we were still young, we made a promise. He had forgotten all about it. But his body did not.

We promised that we would cry only in each other's arms, as the closest of friends. If we were together, that is. But we had to part ways eventually. And for many years, I have shed tears alone. I wondered about him...

"Am I really what they say I am? Am I a monster?"

His voice, although muffled, was overflowing with pain. He didn't deserve this. He wasn't a monster. He didn't posess the capability of being one. To be a monster, one had to be cruel and twisted. One had to be heartless. One must live to kill.

No, he was far from a monster. He abhors violence. He killed, only because he had to. Our survival instinct is very strong. So much more than the others. When we get ambushed, we made sure all our enemies were annihilated. When we attacked our enemies, we did it quietly, quickly and we left no survivors. Perhaps this was why we are such efficient killers. Perhaps this was why we were created.

"My name? What they are calling me, is that my real name?"

His voice was bleak. He lifted his tear drenched face to mine. Now, his eyes were empty except for utter damnation. He had given up. The realization hit me hard. All breath was knocked out of me. I couldn't do this anymore. Hurting him, hurting me. I'm so tired, so weary.

Why wasn't he fighting and forcing the truth out of me?

My eyes widened at that thought. Did I just think that? No. No. No. No! I was such a hypocrite.

I told myself it's all for his sake. The messed up truth is that, I just wanted to prove to myself that he was a monster. I looked into his eyes. No, he's no monster. I was more of one than he would ever be. Some part of me was probably enjoying the prospect of him in pain. Some part of me was probably withholding the information just to see him writhe and grovel in despair. But that's not who I am. That was what they want me to be, that was what they programmed me to be. I won't let them change me into something sick and perverse like them. I won't.

"Will I be affected by the ruin? Can I die?"

The ruin was coming. The breeze that came this way carried the cloying smell of death. Although it would never affect me, affect us, physically. We can't die. But, it would still affect us all the same. When death was all around us, there was no way things can stay the same. Perhaps I wanted him to kill me. I doubt I can still retain my sanity when the ruin comes. And I don't want to lose myself. He felt the same way, it was quite obvious. I could hear the way the word 'die' left his lips. Such a morbid word, but he had whispered it with hope. We know, we will never be the same. Devastation changes everything.

"The ruin. Is it my fault?"

He was the one that brought the ruin. But he was not the one responsible. The one responsible for the ruin was gone. Soon, we would be all that's left of what once was. A constant reminder to nobody how fragile the world truly was.

"What will happen to us?"

He was trembling. Holding him close to me, I could feel the tremors of his body. We are the only two that will survive the ruin. Even those that were created like us, created with us, cannot last through it. We are intricately linked together. Our fates are inexorably intertwined. When he killed her, an immortal, it was also as if I did it too. The crimes that he committed, I am also guilty of them. Now that he can't die, neither can I.

I've tried. And failed.

Tenderly, I stroked his face. I can't blame him for this cursed immortality though.

He didn't wish for this. He was not to blame for this. Even if it was his fault, I would still forgive him. Without rhyme or reason, I would do anything for him. Although, when there is nothing left in this wasteland, what will become of us? Can we handle the emptiness? When we look around us, seeing vast spaces of nothing and knowing that will be what we have left for all eternity, what will become of us? Will we just drift from nowhere to nowhere?

I'm terrified. I've seen him gone into a bout of madness a while ago, and I realized something. This is what I'll become when I've finally lost my mind. Without even realizing it, I have also been having these fits of insanity. Even though I'm able to recover from them, sooner or later I'll let go of the reins to my control and succumb to the temptations of utter madness. I looked into his eyes again. Once bright and fierce, now it had dulled like a flame burned out, into a dead and impassive blue.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Insanity awaits us. Death sounds so comforting. I envied the others. I'm so tired of the pain. So sick of grief. But they're all what's left of my sanity. Even so, I could feel it slipping away from my clumsy fingers. Thread by thread.

The end is near. A roar. A scream. The ground shakes. The beginning of the end has arrived. I took his hands, held them between mine.

"Casshern."