Disclaimer: I do not own nor claim to own any of the following characters, places, or events. Just the story.

Ragged Like Hate
by Dax's10thHost

It is ragged in her palm, ragged like his nails, except not. Because his nails were the sharpness of love, and this… this is the sharpness of hate.

The relentless fire of why burns into her skin, hungry and roving, ranging up her arm and across her shoulders, around her other arm and back again, then down, down, down—down like the shaft, and searing like the teeth of the chains squeezing, squeezing her legs and waist. And then it quiets, and is ragged. Just ragged.

It is ragged, and she hates it. Hates it.

She hates it, but she clings to it, because it's all she has left, all she can do, and she cries, great sobbing cries of blood and muck and lost moments, knowing she'll never feel a smile grace her lips again. (Or the touch of his hands or the warmth of the sun or the coolness of rain…)

I was just fine playing House. And the blood is sharp in her nostrils, coppery and crawling over her tongue, creeping down her throat and heaving up in jagged, wrenching coughs. I want to go back. Just let me go back. Please. I didn't mean it. I'll do anything.

And the raggedness again, the teeth of the debris in her palm as she clenches it, clutches it like one dying (I am dying… I'm dead…), and that's all she can feel, all she can think—

No, no. "I love you James, I love you. I love you so much." Because I know I'm letting let go, because you won't ever let me go, and I have to save you if I can. It's because I love you that I'm letting go, James, so please hear me when I say I love you. It's all I have left, so please. Please listen, James. Please love me back. Even though I let you go. "I love you James." I love you.

Why? the raggedness burns, screaming through her skin the words her mouth cannot. Why me? And again, only the raggedness, the sharpness, the shrapnel of anger and the blood of nothing left to live for.

The rock. I have the rock. What can I do with the rock? How can I save him?

The bomb. Yes.

She pounds, the jerks of her muscles defiant, broken, haunted, furious at this thing called life. She pounds, and the raggedness pounds, pounds down on the bomb, clunking against this thing called hope in death, and she groans. Her muscles are shreds, her bones like fire inside her. "Come on!" she screams, and pounds. Pounds harder.

This one is for Rachel.

"Come on!" Again.

This one is for Julian. The nephew she'll never meet…

"Come on!" And again.

This one is for Goodwin, even though it was wrong.


Go, James. Just go. Leave me. Please. Save yourself.

"Come on! Come on!"

I love you, James. I love you. iloveyouiloveyouiloveyou

"Come on, you son of a—"

white light. searing. complete.

…it worked.