THE DARKEST STORM

"I just can't do that again"

It had been two days, two days since the escape from Shambhala, two days since he carried her back to the village, and two days, since she last stirred. They had explained to him, that she was too far gone, too much blood lost, too much shrapnel in her battered form, too much. They bandaged her up as best as they could, and left with apologies and solemn shakes of the head. They left him to a bitter loneliness; they left him to his fears.

A soft glow emanates across the room, as the lantern flickers ever so brightly on her bedside drawer. Outside, a light shower had started, little drops of rain clattering on the quaint little Tibetan house. Within, he sat motionlessly by her side, his hands clasping hers tightly. He had not left her side since they returned, and even the urgings of both Chloe and the recently arrived Sully, would not shake his resolve. This time, there was no enemy he could physically strike, no impassable obstacle he would somehow overcome. No, this time he was helpless, and all he could was remember her pained, muffled sobs as he carried her out of that accursed city, like thorns twisting into his side. And when her body turned limp, and her breathing more shallow and laboured with each breath, the very life of him, faded with her.

She had been there, before the grenade's fire, because of him, and for him. He wasn't sure if it was revenge for Jeff and Schafer, or her own noble intentions, but he knew she would have chased after Lazarevic regardless, whether he would follow or not. He saw the sadness in her eyes, when she witnessed the siege of the village, innocents slaughtered and her sorrow at the part they played in it. The same sense of adventure and daring he first loved about her in Panama had dimmed somewhat, with the death and destruction which followed them. But she was still Elena, still that irrepressible fire, the lighthouse which guides him home through the darkest storm, except this light, was going out before his very eyes.

Outside, the rain starts to pick up as a storm develops, a great gust of wind, howling in the night. The lantern flickers ever so slightly, before it is extinguished, as the room sinks into a pitch black silence. Here in the darkness, he grips her hands tightly, and pleads desperately for her to not leave him. The weak pulse on her ice cold hands however, suggests a grimmer reality, one which he could not accept, but is helpless against. Then, in his own strange way, he recounts their past adventures together slowly in soft whispers, from Panama and El Dorado to stopping Lazarevic in Tibet, wondering out loud how many times she had saved him from certain doom, all the while with a bittersweet smile on his face. The tears trickling freely, he berates himself angrily, because he never should have dragged her into this, never should have let her tag along, never should have let her get so close. But if not her, who else in this world would risk their own life for him on countless occasions whilst making fun of him doing so, and who else could ultimately save him from himself, but the beautiful and talented Elena Fisher.