A/N: This is the final chapter, I hope you all enjoy!
Eric wasn't ready to fall asleep. He knew he would only be haunted by visions of Natalie's bloody mangled body. He would rather stay up all night and risk exhaustion at work. He would do anything and everything possible to find the person who had killed her, and run like a coward.
He would fight with every last breath. Sleep would not draw him into her nightmarish arms.
He lost the fight at four in the morning. He fell asleep at the kitchen table, his head cradled by his folded arms. After a few moments of being unaware of his surroundings, he heard her voice! She was singing something, a lullaby. It sounded so sweet, and he felt warmth spread throughout his body.
'Natalie! You're okay! I knew that couldn't have been you.'
She smiled sadly at him, her hair falling in perfect auburn waves over her shoulders, the pale pink dress she wore sparkling in the ethereal white light that shined on them from above. Exactly where the light came from he couldn't be sure.
"I'm so sorry Eric. I'm sorry you had to see that. I never wanted to hurt you. I was called away, on business, you could say. I wish I could have had just another minute with you, I would have pulled you close and kissed you breathless. I would have made sure you got your tuna melt for lunch. I would have handed you all the completed paperwork and basked in your smile, the special one just for me. I enjoyed every second we spent together. I will carry the memory of every touch, every kiss we shared. I do not wish to haunt you, I do not wish you to regret anything. I hope you will find someone else, someone who will love you as much as I did. Be well, be safe, and know I will always love you. Farewell, my brave Detective Rogers."
She faded away, even as the warmth in his veins lingered, and he swore he could feel her lips on his forehead, before the dream completely went black.
He jerked his head upright, his neck stiff from the odd angle of his brief respite. He rubbed his eyes slowly, and pulled back his hands to see his fingers were wet, he had been crying. The dream had felt so real. Natalie had looked perfect, not a scar on her, as if she had never been injured that previous morning.
He stood slowly, and made his way to his bedroom, unable to fight sleep anymore, and unwilling to risk falling asleep in such an uncomfortable position.
Edward woke up the next morning, unsure of what was real any longer. He showered quickly, dressed, scarfed down a quick breakfast, and made his way to Natalie's apartment.
He stood outside, unsure, listening for any motion inside. He heard nothing, so he cautiously raised a fist to knock.
After he listened to it echo around the hall, he heard shuffling inside, he felt his whole body relax,
"Natalie, darlin' you sure gave me a scare, I thought maybe you'd-"
The door swung inward, revealing a distraught and red eyed Detective Rogers.
Edward clenched his fists,
"What the hell are you doing here?"
Rogers held up a hand,
"Please, mister Blake, don't be angry with me. I just had to come here. To be around her spirit. I dunno. Maybe it's silly." He shrugged, and stood back, so Edward could walk in.
"Now, why don't you explain just what the hell is going on? Natalie called me last night, slightly testy, and I called her back, but now I haven't heard back."
Rogers looked at him with fresh tears in his eyes,
"Natalie was killed yesterday morning. Crossing the street to go bring us our lunch…" at this he broke off, his throat closing up of its own accord.
Edward felt the room start to spin.
"What are you talking about?"
Rogers coughed slightly, and couldn't raise his head to meet Ed's piercing gaze.
"A car came out of nowhere, and they think she was probably dead before she hit the ground. Though they can't be sure. Bystanders say that she tried to speak before her eyes fell shut, and never opened again." Rogers bit his lip, and glanced out the wall to wall window that overlooked the city. The sun had long since set, but the nightlights of the city were trying their best to match the suns bright shine.
Edward was seconds from punching Rogers out the window he was so fixedly looking out, when he remembered the dream from the night before. She had been telling him goodbye, she had seemed so real.
"Did she say anything? Before she left?"
Rogers finally met his gaze,
"Not really. She waved at me and blew me a kiss, but I was so focused on my work, I hardly paid her any attention. I wish to God, or whoever is up there, that I had kissed her for real one last time."
Ed glared up at the ceiling momentarily.
"That selfish bastard wanted her all to himself."
Rogers let out a cough that sounded suspiciously like a chuckle.
A large hand changed from being a fist to back to normal as it slapped Rogers back, knocking the wind from him.
"You're alright kid. If you're done feeling sorry for yourself, I'll be happy to buy you a drink. I'll fill Mike in on all the details."
Rogers looked at him with wide eyes,
"You-you want to go to the Blue Mongoose?"
"She spent more time there than she did here anyway, if you want to be around her spirit, that'd be the best place."
Rogers smiled a little,
"Okay fine. But you're buying. I'm going to need a few doubles."
Somewhere high above, in the clouds, Natalie, or as she was now known, Anxo, where she would be going next, watched the two men she cared for most walk into the bar, arms around each other, finally at peace with the thought of her having moved on, and at peace with one another, she smiled.
They might stay friends, or not, either way they would always have her in common.
Love was a bond that was not easily severed.
Thanks for reading as always! R/R.