"I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."

His hands are all over you. It fills you with a heated sense of urgency that you've thought long forsaken. Apparently, the afterlife doesn't make an exception. You're still alive, somehow. Somehow dead, and you find yourself strangely apathetic about this particular state of things. That's what death is for, isn't it?

He unsettles you.

You wouldn't admit it, that's why you keep your eyes open even though you can't look at him. There are empty spaces where his eyes used to be, black pits that you're afraid to find filled with a darkness that you can't face, something as ugly as your own expression reflected in the void.

He's moving with a lazy sense of direction, as if he knows exactly where he wants to take you, but he's patient about it. You have the rest of forever, after all.

`I thought you hated me,' you tell to nobody in particular as his lips brush over your neck. There's static electricity in the air, an anticipation of something different. Something violent, like an explosion or a murder. Revenge, bloodlust. But you can only feel the empty pit in your stomach, and the silence surrounding him.

`I'm over it,' he answers lazily, tangling his fingers in your hair, moving upwards so he has more leverage when he straddles you.

`I-I almost killed you,' you reply with a trembling voice.

`Don't flatter yourself, ED. You weren't even close.' To your horror, he lets out a low chuckle that echoes through your bones. For one moment, you feel comfortable. You feel secure beneath him, like he's your safety boat, your lifeline, even though he's never been more terrifying than he is now.

You open your mouth to speak, but his lips meet yours in a perfectly coordinated motion. The moment freezes, suspended in time until you realize that you're not quite afraid. You're dead. There is nothing to fear anymore.

You ease up into the kiss, letting the moment expand into timelessness. You feel like a broken clock, burnt and melting down on the walls. You hang on to him like he's the seas, speaking a wordless truth that you've always tried to elude.

`There,' he smiles to you when you finally part. You still can't look at him.

You're dead; there is nothing to hope anymore.

It's a relief that almost feels like bliss.

He breathes into your mouth, giving you air from his lungs. You feel a pang of life shooting through your insides, lighting you up with painful, exhilarating awareness.

`Cool, huh?' he grins, pulling back.

He's not dead, not entirely.

`I don't know, I'm kinda getting' used to this, bein' in the afterlife and all,' you lie.

`Bullshit, ED,' he says and grinds against you slowly with a fierceness that you've always hated him for. It's full of systematic despair, a soft blindness that's always splintered him in two.

It's not very different from your own.

You clutch at him as he crawls under your clothes and beneath your skin, claiming you as if he's always had the right to, as if this was always something that was supposed to happen.

You break apart piece by piece, letting him deconstruct you with slow hands and a patient mind. His sharp bones dig into your skin, filling empty spaces that you never knew you had.

You're dead, but life still crawls alongside your body like the shadow of a long-lost friend.

`I've always been kinda out of it,' he explains afterwards. `It's not much different since I died, just that now I'm actually here.'

He's lying back with his arms under his head. His voice is relaxed, almost soft in your ears.

You feel exhausted, comfortably numb.

`I'mma rot here, Sol.'

`You're always whining about something, even in death,' he answers, amused. You grind your teeth and roll over, straddling him. You plant your hands on his shoulders and you look straight into the blackness where his eyes used to be, expecting to find something there. Instead you're blinded, overwhelmed by nothingness, ether looking back at you through the eyes of a madman.

You suddenly realize that you're not mad, not even upset. You're not afraid anymore. You lie on top of him, aligning your limbs with his until you feel like barely a shadow, one of his doubles. You're dissolving, sinking.

He chuckles and kisses the top of your head. For a moment, you forget how to breathe.

You lie like this together for days, years, eons, until you forget why you're here in the first place. You feel weightless. You're floating, carried by the waves. You're not trying anymore.

Your fingers tangle with his and you're quite sure you love him like this. Steady, almost serene. It's different and you still expect some kind of blow to twist your expectations and throw them back at you, but you're wrong. He only draws half-circles with his fingers in your hair, smiling at you and at nobody in particular, intoxicating the air with his presence.

The sound of his breathing lulls you to sleep. You let yourself sink, embraced by the cold comfort of emptiness, spiraling towards a central point outside of the edges of your think pan. It feels like nothing. It feels like bliss.

You can hear the sea bubbling up somewhere beneath you, but the rise and fall of his chest keeps your direction straight. You're going nowhere.

`You came for me,' you mean to say in a stupid fit of gratitude, but sleep steals you before you can utter a word.