Sacrifice

I don't feel any pity at all; I almost smirk as I watch the almost constant stream of bullets impact upon the soft, fleshy body of Mathias as I fire round after round at him, trying to keep both my arms steady as the recoil causes them to jar painfully as I advance on him. The pain doesn't matter though; the pain hasn't mattered since I set foot on this island. All that ever mattered was getting my friends off this place; Jonah, Reyes ... and you. I made a promise to her that I'd keep you safe; I made a promise that we'd make it out of this together. I don't break promises.

I'm not sure how many times I've shot Mathias but I don't stop, I won't stop until he is dead or until I run out of bullets and even then I'll finish him if his wretched life still somehow clings to him. This man tried to take everything from me; took Roth, Grimm and Alex from me and now he tries to take you. I'd gladly kill this man over and over again in the most horrific ways possible to repay him for the hell he has put me, and the people I love, through. In my head I've killed him so many times and watched that mad look on his face turn to one of fear as I took his life from him but I only have one chance, one opportunity to savour it. I almost laugh as I hear his wailing scream as he tumbles from the top of the Ziggurat, pushing myself through the howling wind to reach the edge so I can watch him fall into the oblivion, wanting me to be the last thing his sees as the darkness engulfs him.

I'm suddenly brought out of my triumphant gaze as the wind seems to howl even louder and I'm almost forced over the edge myself by the force of it. I brace myself and bend my knees slightly to keep my centre of gravity, stuffing both pistols into my trousers and bringing my hands up to my face to shield myself as I turn around, the unnatural blue light emanating from the altar almost offensive to the eyes as I stumble towards it, the violently shaking bodies of both you and Himiko appearing through the swirl.

"SAM!" I yell at the top of my lungs, grimacing as the wind bites at my skin and tires to force me back. It feels like I've said your name a hundred times already throughout this ordeal, every moment I've spent on this island I've thought about you and how I need to bring you back to me. I try to grab you and pull you away from the altar, reaching out with both hands but I recoil almost instantly with a yelp of pain, the blue light feeling as it burnt the flesh from my hands as I stagger back, cradling them as I turn to look at Himiko. Her decomposing body seems to mock me as it sits their triumphant and ensuring that it will live on yet again. Not this time. Not if I can stop it. I fumble at my belt, unhooking my climbing axe as I stagger towards the Sun Queen, each step getting harder and harder the closer I get like she's using all her might to stop me. I raise the axe high above my head, glaring down at the lifeless face in front of me as the blue lights seem to fade around me like she's given up already.

"Get away from her you bitch!" I snarl, letting out an almost guttural roar as I bring the axe down as hard as I can, my shoulders locking as the point of the axe embeds itself just below her left eye, her face almost caving in from the impact as I bury it to the hilt, sure that it has pushed itself out the other end. She lets out a wailing cry but it turns into a whimper, the unnatural blue light that surrounds us quickly disappearing as I step backwards, trying not to fall as I watch her final moments, staring in morbid fascination as her form rapidly decomposes in front of my eyes, her body convulsing a few times before it seems to collapse in on itself, the fabric of her now empty clothes fluttering in the wind as the dust that was once a great queen blows away in the swirl, finally dead after all these years. I fall to my knees and gasp for breath, my body aching all over as if trying to tell me to let it finally rest now that it's all over. I groan as I deny my body that request, crawling on all fours towards your still and silent form as you lay there in the snow, the gown your wearing making you look almost like a queen ... the thought makes me shudder to think what could have been if I'd failed. "Sam? ... Sam?" I gasp as I get closer, a wave of relief washing over my body as you stir, the corners of your mouth twitching and your eyelids gently fluttering as I reach you, wrapping my arm underneath you and lifting you gently towards me, cradling you in my arms.

"Lara ... what? What happened ..." you murmur, your eyes opening just enough to look up at me as smile as best I can back at you. It feels like a while since I last smiled but if there's one thing that can make me smile no matter what, it's you.

"Shhh Sam it's okay" I say reassuringly as I brush a strand of hair from your face, my hand shaking and shivering in the cold as I try to tenderly brush it behind your ear. You looks so small and fragile in my arms, like I could break you if I held you too tightly which is all I can think about, just wanting to hold you tight and make sure nothing ever takes you away from me again.

"I knew you'd save me ... you promised" you mumble again, groaning as you try to sit yourself up but I stop you, keeping you in my arms as I look down at your angelic face, your eyes looking up at me from under your lashes, they look so clear and bright with a tinge of blue as a thin smile forms on your soft lips "You promised" you repeat again and again.

"I told you ... I told you I wouldn't stop until I got you back Sam" I say as I stroke your cheek gently with my thumb which elicits a small little moan from your lips as I cradle your face in the palm of my hand, a look of pure content on your face, willing to say here for hours just looking down at you. I know we can't stay here for long though; Jonah and Reyes are waiting at the boat and the storm continues to rage all around us causing you to shiver in my arms. I frown slightly as keep a tight hold of you, slowly looking up towards the sky which makes me wince at the sight of the thick black clouds that still hang over us, the wind still howling violently.

It didn't make sense that the storms would continue to rage, the Sun Queen was dead and her power finished forever but what was keeping the weather like this? Why won't it clear? Slowly and with a sense of building dread I feel like I'm going to be sick as my stomach knots itself and twists in agony, my throat suddenly going dry as a sickening feeling comes over me, the realisation hitting me hard making me feel as if I've been winded. Suddenly everything seems to make sense; they way Himiko seemed to give up as I raised by axe above my head, the way her body seemed to collapse in on itself as if something from within had left it. She'd been trying so hard to stop me from reaching her before it seemed like she gave herself up but she hadn't. She'd already left before I brought the axe down ... she'd moved on. Himiko had cheated me. She had won.

"You got me Lara" you whisper, your soft voice causing the pain in my stomach ... the pain in my heart to get even worse, a dull ache that seemed to spread throughout my body every time my heart beats. I whimper slightly as you bring a hand slowly up to my face as I close my eyes, feeling your soft and cold hands run over my features and it's my turn to let out a slight little moan as you caress my cheek. I keep my eyes closed; unable to even look down at you as I try and tell myself that I'm wrong, that Himiko is dead and this is my Sam and nobody else. But it's not. You're so cold in my arms and it's not just from the wind around us, like it's coming from within. "Don't ever let me go Lara ... please."

"You know I'd never let you go Sam" I say softly, struggling to open my eyes and hold back the tears as I look down at my Sam, knowing that you're already gone ... that Himiko will soon be in control and I've lost you forever. I want to scream up at the sky and curse Mathias and Himiko with all my breath for what they've done to you and pray that somehow we could swap places, have Himiko within me so that I can end it all and let my Sam carry on with her life. I can't.

"Lara" you whisper again, my heart aching every time my name passes through those lips. I'm the reason you're here, I'm the reason that all this happened to you ... my name doesn't deserve to be spoken by you.

"Shhh ... Shhh don't talk" I tell you but it's you who stops me from talking, placing a finger softly on my lips and stroking them gently, shaking your head slowly as if nothing could stop you from saying what you want to

"Do you remember when ... when we first met?" you ask. I fight back the urge to just cry and I nod my head slowly instead. I could never forget when we met, the way you rushed up to me, a total stranger, and shoved a camera in my face to ask me all sorts of questions about the university and myself. I was so awkward, so shy that I must have made an impression on you because from that moment on you could never stop filming me, never leave my side. Meeting you and that silly camera was the single best moment of my life. I'd never forget that.

"Of course ... why?" I whimper again, doing my best to put on a strong voice as I hope to god you don't ask me what's wrong. I think about everything we did in university and everywhere we went in the world on our holidays to try and forget for just a second what's happening ... what's going to have to happen.

"I should have told you the moment I met you" you breathe, and I hear your own voice cracking slightly as you look at me with a determined expression on your face "My life was shit until I met you Lara, I felt worthless until I found you."

"Sam that's not true ..." I start to say but you cut me off again.

"It is. Meeting you was the best thing that ever happened to me and being with you just ... just felt so right, like I finally found who I was ..." you pause, chewing softly on her bottom lip and letting out a sigh as I find myself dreading what was coming next "But I was scared that ... that you wouldn't feel the same way about me. But after all this, after everything that's happened. I need to say it."

Don't say it ... please god don't say it.

"I love you Lara" the words hit me like a ton of bricks and my heart feels like it shatters into a thousand pieces the very moment those words come out. I can't control myself as I feel a tear run down my face, my lower lips trembling uncontrollably. You place a hand on my face again and it just makes me want to cry harder "I don't care if you feel the same way ... I just needed to say it. After everything you've done for me ... you deserved to know. I love you Lara." There are those words again and this time I can't hold it back as I sob gently, quickly getting myself back under control and wipe my eyes with the back of my hand, feeling you wipe some of the tears from my cheek as well. "You don't have to say anything ... I just needed ..."

"Shhh" I whisper as I grab a hold of your hand on my cheek, holding it tightly as if I'd never let it go, slowly lowering it back down as I look at you, my eyes filled with tears as yours begin to well up as well. It wouldn't have made this any easier, how could it, but I wish to god that you hadn't told me that. I'd always suspected it, always seen the looks you gave me and how happy you were whenever we got the chance to be alone with one another. I was never sure if I felt the same way ... too scared to even let those conflicted feelings out for just a second. It's all clear now though, that you're the one who I loved with all my heart and I never let you know, never told you the words that would have made you so happy. The realisation has come too late "Sam ... close your eyes."

"What? Why?" you ask, a puzzled look on your face as you squeeze my hand.

"Please ... just close them okay?" I ask again, my hand trembling in yours as I smile, hating myself that I'm deceiving you like this "I need to ... I need to do something." You carry on staring up at me; a firm look on your face as I start to think you're going to pressure me into telling you why. You nod your head after a few seconds and gently close your eyes as I lean over you, my chest heaving up and down as my heart almost bursts from my chest "No peeking" I whisper into your ear, making you tremble all over I hover my face over you, my nose gently brushing against yours.

"I promise" you say back, a slight smile on your lips which hurts more than anything as I hold your face with one hand, my other reach down to my belt, trembling and shaking uncontrollably as if I'm trying to stop myself. I want to ... there's nothing I want more than to stop myself but I can't. You're going to be gone soon and I can't let what will take your place be allowed to remain. It's not you anymore, not for long. I don't think I can do this.

Sometimes you've got to make sacrifices, Lara. You can't save everyone.

I know about sacrifices.

No, you know about loss. Sacrifice is a choice you make, loss is a choice made for you.

I fumble at my belt, feeling for what I'm after as I grab a tight hold of it and pull it slowly from my bet and hold it tightly to my chest. You're still laying there with your eyes closed; your chest slowly moving up and down as you wait for what you think is coming next. I hate what I'm doing, wishing there was some other way to do this but there isn't. I lean in closer to you, feeling your breath against me as my lips almost touch yours. I can feel you trembling all over as I tighten my grip, moving my hand over your chest.

"Don't open them" I whisper before pressing my lips softly against yours and in an instant I feel like I could melt as you kiss me back, your lips pressed so tightly into mine as you moan into the kiss. I watch as some of my tears drop down onto your face, wanting this kiss to never end as I kiss you harder, letting all my bottled up feelings out along with yours. I wonder what would have happened if we'd told one another years ago, what our lives would have been like if we'd just admitted it all. I like to think we wouldn't have come on this expedition, maybe went backpacking around the world together for years, not settling down and just content to be together wherever we were. Maybe one day finally settle down and buy a home together, one to call our own and we can be together like we've always wanted. Me and you. Lara and Sam. I stare down at you as we hold our kiss, wanting to take this moment to memorize every feature on your face how it is right now, looking so peaceful and so content that you've finally got what you wanted for so long. I whimper into our kiss, our first kiss as I tighten my grip on the blade in my hand and push it down into you, the blade sliding through your skin and piercing your heart.

Your eyes widen instantly and I feel you gasp into my mouth as I pull away and break our kiss, tears streaming from my face as I don't bother to hide it anymore, a look of pure shock and pain on your face as you look at me, your gaze falling down to the knife buried in your chest, a pattern of blood forming on your white dress as your crimson blood seeps through it. The look on your face, the betrayal makes me sick to my stomach and I curse myself, hating myself and everything I've ever done. I wish you'd never come on this expedition. I wish we'd never met. I'd sacrifice those years of pure bliss we had with one another in a second if it meant you getting to live a long life without me.

"L-Lara?" you manage to say between laboured breaths and it almost kills me the way you say it, as if asking why. I wish it had killed me as your hands tremble, the patch of blood on your dress getting bigger and bigger as I take a hold of them letting go of the knife, gripping them firmly as I lean over you again, and my voice fading as I try and say something. How can I ever answer that?

"I love ... I love you Sam" I force out as I feel my entire body going weak. It hurts so much. I lean in one last time to kiss you whilst your still here. It's not the same, you don't kiss me back. Why would you? I hold it anyway, trying to savour it as I kiss you again and again before pulling away and looking square into your eyes, letting go of you to cradle your head in both hands "I ... love ... you" I repeat again, mouthing the words over and over as you fade away, those bright eyes disappearing as I stop hearing your laboured and rapid gasps for breath, replaced by nothing but silence. I press my forehead against yours and let it all out, crying hysterically against you as I throw my head back and scream out at the heavens at what I've done. I shake you gently as if trying to bring you back but it's stupid to even do that. I'm the one who took you away, you're not coming back. I move away from you, collapsing backwards onto the floor next to you as I wail and cry as hard as I can. Trying to remember your expression when we kissed but all I can see is the look of hurt on your face as the knife plunged in your heart, the way you asked me why I did this. You trusted me. I try to think that maybe you'd understand, that you'd know why I did it but that wouldn't make a difference. Even if you knew and practically begged me to do it I'd still feel like this. I'm dead inside. You were the last little light I held on to and now even that's gone. I'm dead inside.

I stare up at the skies, grabbing your cold lifeless hand in mine as the clouds slowly begin to fade and part to reveal a beam of sunshine that falls on the both of us, the howling winds stopping instantly as I lay there. I'm not crying anymore ... I'm too ashamed to cry. I don't know how long I lay there next to you; minutes, hours, I don't care about how long I make Jonah and Reyes wait. I hold your hand tightly in mine, unable to look across at you out of guilt. I have to tear my hand away from yours as I slowly climb to my feet, feeling so weak and defeated as I stand, the warm light from the sun blazing down on my skin. I bring my hands to my face to wipe my eyes, slowly turning to look down at you and wanting to cry all over again. I control myself as I kneel down next to you, reaching my arms underneath you to pick you up in my arms, holding you small and lifeless body tight against me as I stand up and prepare to take you away from here, take you down to the boat and get away from this place once and for all. I promised.

A/N: A one off story of what could have happened at the end of the 2013 Reboot. I'm trying to write an ongoing story that won't follow this continuity so reviews about my writing technique would be much appreciated so I can give a decent story to you guys. And yes it will have Lara/Sam lol ... this was a bit sad I think. Thanks for reading.