Content warning: death. 461 words, Gabriele and Arien, at the end of a journey.
“No, dammit dammit dammit,” Gabi chanted, immediately falling away from the male persona she held so strongly to in favor of the female she’d had at birth, clinging to the young man in front of her. “Jasfe Tlacatl, Jasfe Tlacatl gamma Arien sa’Between-the-Lines…”
Whatever Gabi had wanted to say was cut off by Arien’s hand reaching up weakly to press against Gabi’s lips. “Stop, Gabriele. You can’t fix this and you know it.”
“Arien…” Tears were streaming down her face. Her heart was pounding in her chest, throat tight, eyes burning. “Ari, please, let me try…I have to be able to do something…”
“It was too late by the time you saw me, Gabi.” Arien managed a faint smile, the words getting weaker by the second. “I kept it away from you…long as I could, at least. I did…what I wanted to.”
“Ari, gods below, please…” The angel would feel his friend’s body trembling, shaking from the poison coursing through his body. And though she’d spent her whole like working with words…her voice was fighting to say a few now. “Don’t leave me.”
Pain that had nothing to do with the wounds on his chest flashed through Arien’s eyes. “Gods, I’m so sorry, Gabriele…” He coughed, body convulsing violently, and Gabi pulled him tighter to her chest, trying to support him best she could. “I promised you I’d stay…and now…”
“No, no, no Arien please for the love of the departed gods don’t blame yourself.” Her voice kept cracking; she couldn’t see through the tears. “You’ve been everything I ever could have dreamed of and more; please don’t put that on your shoulders too.”
“Who…who’s g…” Arien’s voice was raspy, fighting to be heard.
“Please don’t push yourself, il mio amore…” Gabi ran a hand through Arien’s hair, almost afraid that she’d hurt him more.
“Who’s going to take care of you now? You’ll…you’ll be all alone.”
Had she held even a notion of having a shred of composure left, Gabi lost it, closing her eyes. “I’ll have the children, once they return from seeing your sister. I’ll make sure Audra is taken care of. Just…just rest, Ari…you’ve done so much for me. You deserve some rest.”
“Heh…I could…say…the same…for you.” It was getting hard to hear Arien now, so Gabi simply tucked her head down, resting her ear on his chest…the small patch of his chest not torn into by poisoned blades. “I’m…sorry, Gabi.”
“Don’t you dare apologize for anything, Arien.” Gabi fought to keep her voice steady. “You have given me everything when no one else would. Do not ever apologize for that.”
“Then…I am sorry…that I’m taking that away.”
Dammit, Arien. “You’ll always stay with me…in my heart, Ari.”
The silence after his heart stopped beating was deafening.