Disclaimer: I Do Not Own These Characters or This Poem
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
The city was crumbling. The buildings broken down to piles of rubble and the belongings within them crushed down into nothing more than dust. One lone building remained standing in the center, the HQ. Its walls bared a spidery array of cracks and the roof was curving inward but still it remained standing, the last beacon in a dismal city. Inside its walls all that remained was crushed computer monitors and bent railing. And two trangenics. When the warning of an attack had come in most had chosen to escape but the brave few that had chosen to remain and defend their home quickly began to dwindle. Now, only two were left.
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
The two living in a sea of dead. Broken and bloody and on the brink of insanity they sat among rubble and clung to each other. Max and Alec, the leader and the second in command, were all that was left alive in this once bustling city. This place of safety which now only held radiation and decay. Max leaned heavily against the familiar wall of the HQ, Alec cradled tenderly in her arms. A stream of red flowed from a gash above her eyebrow and dripped down to ripple in an ever growing puddle as she stared across the ruined building. Her crushed arm lay limp in her lap, resting at the crown of Alec's head. His spiky blond hair was matted with blood and soot which led down in a trail along his face and neck. His jaw was clenched in agony, lines of exhaustion spreading from his pursed lips and weary eyes. Max used her one working arm to stroke the side of his battered but handsome face before she dragged it back to its position at his abdomen. She cringed as it brushed blood soaked metal and let her gaze wander back to the gruesome sight. The image would be burned into her mind for as long as she lived, maybe longer if you believed in that sort of thing, the image of a re-bar protruding out from Alec's middle.
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
Everyone had been fine, just a few bumps and bruises, until the first building came cascading down. It came down in pieces, spraying out its insides and launching shattered glass hundreds of feet, the living scurried like ants, unsure if they should take cover or find open ground. The dead lay still, either crushed under rock or impaled on shrapnel, they had nowhere to go. The bombs had fallen in quick succession and it seemed so dismal that this entire city could be nearly wiped of life in a matter of minutes, but that's what happened. Alec had been the one to find Max. She had been in the mess hall's ruins, her arm caught under a slab of concrete where she had nearly escaped the doorway. His movements were slow and clumsy, she should have realized something was wrong, but she didn't. After some struggle he pried the rock from her mangled arm. Then he had helped her into the HQ, wiping away her tears and setting the bones in her arm before they managed to collapse in a heap.
"Thank you" she murmured, but Alec didn't answer. He didn't as much as twitch. Slowly and with a steady touch she moved her hand along his sides, first right then left, until she felt the metal embedded in his left side. She removed his jacket from the wound and cringed in sympathy as it tugged at the wound still tacky with congealed blood. The wound was through and through and his shirt had already been soaked through with blood, changing the light grey to a deep reddish purple. Along with this, fresh blood also continued to pump from the agitated wound. "Alec."
There was no answer.
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
He finally woke an hour later, his eyes bleary and face filled with pain. Max hadn't moved since they sat down other than positioning Alec in her lap. His head remained propped on her thigh and his scraped hand pressed tightly over hers on his wounded side. "Max…"
"Yes." Her gaze snapping down from across the mangled room and down to his thoughtful face, she couldn't keep the excitement out of her voice at his consciousness.
"Promise…me…something…" He garbled out, panting at the exertion of making words. Max stilled for a long moment before nodding, unable to process words. His hand clenched tighter on hers, rubbing the rough pads of his fingertips along her soft fingers, "Don't leave."
Max took in a shaky breathe, giving a tight smile, "Where would I go?"
Her tone was soft and playful but the words were strained with truth. Alec rewarded her with a pained smile before his eyes slipped closed again. They lay back like that for a few more minutes, clutching to each other like their last request, it probably was.
"Max…" He whispered hoarsely back, breaking the gentle silence and cringing at the agony which bloomed in his chest as it expanded.
"Yes." The sound was choked and hoarse from a mixture of tears and smoke.
"There's something I need to tell you." His voice was faint but pleading as he stared openly at her. His emotions bared wide open for only her to see. Tears welled in her eyes as she soaked in the bitter sweet moment.
"And what is that?" The words barely above a whisper.
"I love you." The words were crystal clear in Max's mind and she didn't hesitate with her response. "I love you too."
Alec gave a weak smile before his bright green eyes began to dull and a wispy breath brushed over his full lips, Max let out a strangled sob. Then nothing. All that remained in the dead city was empty eyes, a still chest, and silence.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
Max leaned down and pressed her lips to his, taking in his taste and feel. She allowed for a single tear to pool in her eye and spill over its edge. The drop of water slid over the bridge of her nose and accumulated at the tip before dripping down onto Alec's still face. She removed her smaller hand from under his and reached up to carefully slide his eyelids shut. As her hand moved downward it left a bloody smear across the pale skin. She kissed the skin above his closed eyes, her cheek brushing against his long eyelashes, taking in a deep breath. Taking in that last moment. Then the last building fell.
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone