I was not sure whether I should go ahead and write this. It is proving to be quite difficult to write – in more ways than one. Updates are coming, but will not be as often as I have normally updated. This story will require a more delicate touch.
It is not a happy story at all, but I feel I have to tell it all the same.
Let me know what you think.
She feels so tired, and so, so cold. As much as she'd like to stay here to live with him in Suffolk, in the cottage with the front door with green paint peeling, she feels herself being drawn away. It is peaceful where she is going, but she can't help worrying about him all the same. She suddenly knows how much he needs her and relies upon her, and here she is leaving him behind - again.
"Harry," she manages to blurt out, struggling for breath. "We were never meant to have those things." She takes one last look at him, his true feelings for her unmistakable in his beautiful eyes. She knows for certain how much he loves her, and how truly she has loved him. That is enough. It will have to be.
"She's arresting," Erin calls out to Dimitri from behind Harry's shoulder.
From somewhere just above herself she watches dispassionately as Dimitri kneels beside her and stabs the adrenalin-filled syringe into her body, but to no avail. Were they able to hear her she could have told them not to bother. She's already gone.
Her limbs are heavy. Her side where Sasha stabbed her no longer a sharp and throbbing pain. Harry's voice, so dear, so near a moment ago, drifts away like a whispered promise on a light breeze. Suddenly she's standing beside him, watching him kiss her lips, hold her (like she'd longed for years for him to hold her), cry as he rests his face against hers. Harry's shoulders shake with his sobs, his face broken in pain. She lightly touches his shoulder, but he seems unaware of her touch.
"Harry," she says, leaning close to him. "Harry, I'm here. It's alright. I haven't left you."
But he doesn't answer. He just holds her body and sobs, his cheek against hers, his hand – the one covered in her blood – held aloft like it had been burned in a naked flame. And try as she might, she can't feel his cheek against her own. She can't feel his tears.
Ruth wants to cry, but she can't. She's far too calm for crying. She turns to see Erin, her face stricken, concern for Harry written all over the younger woman's face.
"It's alright Erin," Ruth says. "I'm alright, really."
But Erin doesn't hear her. Nor does Calum or Dimitri. And Sasha Gavrik lies on the ground, holding his leg and moaning in pain. She feels nothing for him, this man who took her life.
"Let's leave them," Calum says to Erin. What he means is: Let's leave Harry in private to say his last goodbyes to the woman he loves.
She knows for sure now.
She has gone where no-one can see her, or hear her. And this time she cannot come back. There are other people around her, people who were not here a moment ago. At least a dozen of them. She recognises no-one. They all have something to say to her, but she is not interested. Go away, she thinks, and they do. Just like that.
Looking back at Harry holding her body, crying still, his hands holding her face, she can now pin a name to this elusive feeling. Ruth sits back on the grass behind Harry and lets it all out. She cries, and shouts and punches her hands into the grass beneath her.
"This isn't fair!" she cries. "We'd only just found one another – and now look at us!" Separated by a gulf no-one can cross.
No-one can hear her, of course. She just had to say that, to express her sadness. This moment has been lived by she and Harry before. When they'd parted at the wharf just over 5 years earlier, she had left him behind – alone, bereft – just as she was doing now. The memory of his face – sad, lost, bewildered, guilt-ridden – accompanied her throughout her time in exile. Now, as then, all she has of him to take with her, wherever she is now about to go, is a picture in shades of grey – a picture of regret, of pain, of love lost, of opportunities gone.
It isn't fair. It was not supposed to be like this.
They had waited so long.
She feels no guilt. She is too angry.
She hears the helicopter approaching. She hears it before the others, so her hearing must be more acute now. She stands back as her body is loaded and flown away, leaving her colleagues, and the man who murdered her in place of Harry, to watch it leave.
Harry stands apart from the others, his face a study in grief and loss. Her blood stains his shirt. She hopes he'll throw the shirt away. She wants to go to him to wrap her arms around him, but this would be for her, because he cannot see her, he'll not be able to feel her. He has no idea she is still here.
Which must mean she is as lost as he.