"I can't feel my senses
I just feel the cold
All colors seem to fade away
I can't reach my soul
I would stop running, if knew there was a chance
It tears me apart to sacrifice it all but I'm forced to let go
Tell me I'm frozen but what can I do?
Can't tell the reasons I did it for you
When lies turn into truth I sacrificed for you
You say that I'm frozen but what can I do?"
—Within Temptation, Frozen
"I need you to promise me something, Ethan," said Lena Duchannes. Tonight was the night of the Sixteenth Moon, and Lena—the girl I loved—would be Claimed for either the Light or the Dark.
"Anything, Lena," I murmured, our eyes meeting. I gazed into her beautiful green eyes, drinking in her features. I would always remember like this: with breathtakingly stunning jade eyes, long raven black curly hair that was softer than silk, and a touch that in every sense of the word ignited sparks between us… No matter what—even if she became Dark—I would love her. I would always love her. Nothing could ever—would ever—change my feelings for her. I knew we had no chance for a future together, even if she was Claimed for the Light. Mortals and Casters were incapable of physical intimacy with each other; nobody knew that better than Lena and me.
"Promise me that when I become Dark, you'll leave," she said, tears brimming in her eyes and spilling over. "Promise me that you'll leave Gatlin and never come back. Forget about me." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. There was no goddamned way in hell that I would leave Gatlin, let alone forget about Lena.
"No. No," I said firmly. "I'm staying here with you." I reached for her, gently taking her face in my hands. "I love you, L, and I'm not leaving you."
"I don't want to hurt you more than I already have," she responded.
"You won't, you won't," I desperately reassured her. "You're going to become Light, and…and we'll figure this out. We'll find a way to be together." I knew I wasn't only trying to convince her that everything would be okay; I was trying to tell myself that everything would be okay. Just as I had done when my mom had died. But I knew that as much as I tried, it would change nothing. Nothing was okay. I couldn't lose Lena, I just couldn't. I'd lost my mom, and I didn't know what I would do if I lost the woman I loved.
Lena choked on a sob, and I found that I was barely fighting tears of my own. "You have no idea how much I wished that were true," she said quietly, and quickly wiped her tears. "I love you, Ethan Wate."
"I love you too, Lena Duchannes," I said just as gently. "I always have, and I always will." I pulled her into my arms, kissing her fiercely. I could taste her tears and feel her slight shudders as she tried not to sob. Lena bit my lip, gently tugging at it. It seemed we kissed for hours, until Lena suddenly shoved me away from her.
"Ethan, get out of here! Get away from me now!" she shouted. She let out a gasp of pain, leaning against the tree, a hand at her heart. I was frozen, rooted to the spot, paralyzed by fear and worry. I didn't even have to look into the sky. I knew a pale full moon hung above us. Lena let out a piercing scream that was drowned out only by the music of the party, before she let out a deep breath.
"Lena?" I asked, slowly making my way over to her. "Lena, are you okay?" She cocked her head to the side and smiled, opening her eyes and looking directly into my eyes.
"I've never been better, Ethan," Lena answered. Oh my God…no, no, no, no, no! Her eyes were no longer emerald, but a striking gold. "You have no idea what it feels like. I feel like I have all the power in the world." She chuckled darkly. Her laugh sounded just as beautiful as it did before she was Claimed, but it had a dark, malevolent twist to it now. It was Lena, but at the same time, it wasn't Lena.
"L, listen to me. It doesn't have to be this way," I said, trying to reason with her. "This isn't you." I drew towards her, and she advanced towards me.
"You never knew me, Ethan," she spat. "The Lena you knew is dead. This is who I am now." A lightning bolt suddenly struck, just mere inches away from me. I jumped back, startled.
"No, it isn't," I countered. "I know you. You're smart, funny, one of the kindest people I've ever known in my life. You're a force to be reckoned with." I took another step towards her, and she stood her ground. "Your favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird. You keep a journey full of poetry. Your necklace keeps your best memories close with you. Your biggest fear is becoming Dark."
"I am Dark," clarified Lena. "Ethan, please. Leave now while you still have the chance." Her voice slightly wavered when she spoke. I gazed into her eyes and said the words that she needed to hear, the words I needed to say.
"It doesn't matter to me," I told her, "because I love you, Lena." At those words, her cold, steely eyes softened and I held her in my arms, brushing my lips against hers. She didn't fight me, nor push me away. We broke the kiss and for a moment, I thought I saw the old Lena, the Lena I had dreamed about and fallen in love with.
"I love you too, Ethan," she whispered. My heart swelled and broke at these words. It was a miracle that Lena still loved me, but things were different now. She was a Dark Caster, and all chances of us being together had been destroyed. She stepped out of my arms and slowly walked away, taking her heart with her.