He did not hesitate. Nor did he even flinch as he used both hands to smash the hilt of his sword into her temple. He needed Cassandra out of the way and knocking her out cold was the most efficient means to that end.

When it was done, he let out the breath he had been holding and crouched beside her. With an odd gentleness he brushed the hair out of her face. Her face was soft and relaxed in her unconsciousness and he gave himself a moment to really look upon her. She was beautiful, and in a perverse way, he was glad that her immortality had been triggered when it was so that she would always be young and beautiful. He felt a tightening in his groin and cursed in a long dead language. He hated that his body was reacting to her nearness as if millennia hadn't passed since the last time he had touched her.

His fingers ghosted over the ugly bruise on her temple that was already fading as her body healed. He had never in his wildest imaginings thought he would have ever made another mark on her like that. As it completely faded away under his fingertips an unexpected wave of self-loathing washed over him as he remembered a time when he had reveled in leaving bruises on her as he broke her to his will.

Knowing time was of the essence and that he had to get her out of there, he carefully picked her up. Her head was cradled against his shoulder and as he tilted his head to look down at her he was struck by the random desire to kiss her. Just once. He shook his head to chase away the thought. Something in him recognized that that would be almost as egregious a violation of her person, given her current fiery passionate hatred of him, as when he had forced himself inside her all those years ago.

He finally took a deep breath and stalked to the bridge with his eyes straight ahead, never looking down upon her as he went. As he approached the middle of the bridge, his destination, she moaned and he looked down to see her open her eyes.

He could have said any one of a hundred things, but instead, he grit his teeth and said nothing as he hoisted her over the railing.

Cassandra felt no such restraint and spoke hoarsely, "You should have killed me when you had the chance."

His teeth remained gritted as he locked his eyes on her face for a brief moment before letting her go.

He did not hesitate. But he did flinch as she hit the water.

the end.