The stars looked oddly bright she noted as he carried her out of the rubble. She could feel the pain distantly and it was growing stronger every moment, looming over her. In the background she could hear him begging her, pleading her, to stay awake, but her eyelids were slipping. A part of her, one that couldn't feel the pain or confusion, was amused that he'd finally tossed his pride out of the window. Still, he sounded so heartbroken that she tried to reassure him she was alright. She opened her mouth to speak and realized to her surprise that she couldn't formulate the words to tell him everything was okay.

The darkness around her shifted; she could barely make out shadowy figures coming towards them; friends, she realized. She heard several intakes of breath, several muttered words, and then she felt him lower her to the ground. He lay her down as gently as possible, yet her world still spun and she had to close her eyes before it stopped. She opened them to see someone talking to him urgently in a low voice. He turned to her and tried to smile. She struggled to look down, trying to see what all the people around were fussing over, but he wouldn't let her. He just kept repeating the same words over and over. She knew that he was trying to help, that he didn't know what to do, but she didn't want to know that everything was "fine". She tried to tell him this, but again, the words weren't there. And then the pain got worse.

She could barely see his face anymore, could barely feel her hand in his. The night air felt cool on her face, and suddenly she felt restless, as though she was waiting for something urgent. She wanted to get up; to pace around; to do something other than lie down idly. She managed to convince herself that moving would erase the pain, would cast it off like an unwanted jacket. But they wouldn't let her move. And he, he wanted her to stay still. He told her so, smiling sadly down at her. She wanted to tell him to not be sad, but the mood felt sad. She felt like she was missing a big joke and then realized that this was the end. Panic gripped her heart, adrenaline soared. Her head pounding, every fiber of her being was yelling how unfair this was; how utterly wrong this was. It couldn't be her that they were whispering about; she wasn't that girl who died a tragic death. And yet, there was nothing she could do. She had always wondered how people were so calm when they were dying, she knew now it a cover. She was sick with fear, though she had no time to savor it, to extinguish it. She would die with the taste of fear on her lips.

And now he was crying; hugging her to his chest, begging her more insistently to stay with him. She tried to tell him that she hadn't any choice; that surely he knew that. She didn't want to feel guilty for something she couldn't stop; dying was not her fault. But there was just not enough time. There never did seem to be enough time to do anything in life, she reflected. The darkness increased and she knew now was the moment. His cries of grief worsened in the distance and she let go. And suddenly the darkness was gone, leaving nothing in it's wake. She died with the starry skies above her, in his arms, with the taste of wisdom on her lips. And as his sobs subsided to shuddering gasps, as his arms slackened, time moved on, erasing the moment and leaving him with only memories to cherish. Only memories to hold; only memories to love. And there it ended, so final and mundane that one could only wonder how love was beautiful or kind when it left so suddenly. When time moved on, leaving him frozen in that moment forever, her in his arms, and sadness in his eyes.