A/N: This was written whilst listening to Hans Zimmer - A Small Measure of Peace. I listened to the piece and wrote what it conjured within my mind (those who have seen The Last Samurai may understand the origin of the idea for this fic) The music was on a constant repeat as I wrote, so the tempo of the writing doesn't completely flow with the piece of music. I didn't even attempt to make it do so

wwwyoutubecom/watch?v=GWm8-jlddaw (For some reason it wouldn't let me add the fullstops into the address so you must add that yourself when pasting into the address bar, sorry)

That is the link to the piece of music, If you would like to listen to the music as you read. I do recommend this, however it is entirely up to you. I would also like to add that some of you depending on how fast you read will find that the length of the music and the length of writing will differ. When I read it myself I found that I finished 30 seconds before the ending of the music, yet one friend only finished reading after the music had ended and the other finished with 5 seconds to spare.

(If the music does stop before you finish and you want to finish reading as the writing was intended then don't bother skipping right to the start you should be close to the end by this point (unless you are a very, very slow reader), so just restart the music from the 7 minute point and it should work out completely fine.

(Excuse the whole 'you should do this and that' part of the a/n, I have a touch of ocd...)


Her breath hitched in her throat, she could feel her tears burning her eyelids as she closed her eyes. She ignored the rapid thumping of her heart and turned all her attention to his voice.

Nothing else mattered but that sound, those few remaining minutes. Reality began to slip away from her, it brushed across her skin like a sweet gentle breeze, fading to nothing.

Still she focused on his voice, those precious words, the last few she would ever hear him utter. Her heart began to beat faster, thrumming a painful rhythm in her chest. She could feel the sobs rising in her throat, their origin from somewhere within her soul and she let out the barest whisper of a cry.

"Be strong."

The words resonated in her mind. Be. Strong. She bit the inside of her cheek, to keep the steadily growing hysteria from escaping. She let her head fall back and tried to keep a hold of herself. Her hands clenched themselves into tight fists her fingernails curving red marks into the soft flesh of her palms. and she turned slowly to face him ignoring the stinging in her hands, the burning of her eyelids, the sickening painful pulse that had started in her heart and was now everywhere - in her limbs, in her throat, in her eyes.

She swallowed hard as she faced him, tilting her head upwards and straightening her back. Doing what a lesser person would have been unable to do she forced her features into a neutral mask and looked up into his eyes.

Her face regarded him as though they had never met, but her eyes were alive. Nothing, no one and no amount of training would ever distinguish or even lessen that flame. Those burning eyes were one of the reasons he loved her. He half smiled as he let himself remember how in times gone by those eyes had burned with passion, determination, joy. Now as he gazed into them the fire that burned there was one of fear and pain, but through that, even now he could see the one thing about her which he truly loved. Her power, her strength. As he let his gaze wander over her, drinking in the details of her face and body he saw that same strength reflected in every part of her, the tilt of her chin, the length of her neck and her steady unmoving gaze.

He held his hand out toward her, motioning her to come forward. She carried on gazing at his face as she took one slow purposeful footstep after another. He smiled as she approached, everything she did was with an absolute sense of grace, even walking. She stopped less than a foot in front of him. Her eyes slipped away from his a little, moving instead to gaze at his lips.

He opened his mouth to speak but she cut him off with her own. She wouldn't, couldn't hear anymore. She was tired of listening, her whole life had been spent listening, following orders - his, her commanders, her family.

Now she wanted to feel. She pushed herself against his body, grabbing his face tightly, then pushing her fingers roughly up into his hair. Soon this would all be over, and with no other thought but this in mind she kissed him as hard as she could. Her fingers gripping unto his neck tightly as her mouth attacked his with a raw ferocious passion.

They stood with their arms entwined around one another, kissing desperately until finally, breathlessly they broke apart. The animal intensity of the kiss rendering them both light headed.

They stood for several long moments, breathing deeply. Watching as the other gazed upon them. His hand reached up and he carefully ran a fingertip along her jaw line, before gently outlining her lower lip. His mouth curved up, the light from it reaching his eyes, while her mouth remained immobile. She moved her head back slightly, lifting it upwards so she could look into his face properly.

Then it was her turn to reach out and carefully touch him. Her eyes searched his as her hands explored his face. Moving her fingers first across his cheeks, over his ears and finally tracing the line of each of his eyebrows. She stopped in the middle of his forehead and slowly ran a forefinger along the slope of his nose until she reached his lips. She hesitated for a fraction of a second before placing her lips were her finger had been moments before.

It was the lightest of kisses and as she pulled away she felt her eyes begin to water again, but no tears fell. He couldn't stop his heart constricting at the sight. The pool of moisture in her eyes, reflecting the sadness within his own.

"I'm sorry"

He wrapped his arms tighter around her slender body and pressed his forehead against hers. For many long seconds they stood that way and within those moments time seemed to meld together. There was no past, nor present and both knew there wasn't going to be a future for them. All their moments became one, a thousand kisses, laughs, passionate embraces, arguments, achievements, sorrows and joys. A partial lifetime of memories falling into the space of a few seconds.

"Don't forget me" she whispered, the words were out of her mouth before her mind realised what it was she was saying. They were foolish words and she felt a spark of anger for saying them, however he merely laughed quietly. She closed her eyes against the pain in his voice as he replied.

"Never."

She nodded slowly, once again fighting to contain her emotions. Strong. It was what was needed of her and she couldn't let him down, she couldn't let herself down.

Her lashes sparkling with tears he pulled her closer to him, running his hand through her hair and nestling his face in its softness. He could feel her trembling against him and he held her tighter still whispering beside her ear.

"You can do this"

"For you"

"For me" he repeated.

She nodded again, pressing her head firmly again his chest and listening to his heartbeat. She imprinted the sound into her memory and kissed his chest.

He exhaled slowly, ignoring the pain lacing through his heart. Now that the time was approaching, how could he say goodbye? Yet he had no choice, there was no alternative. He longed for a chance to change it all. Far and wide his praises were sang as a revered fighter. An all powerful warrior, but what was the use of power, of great titles in the face of man's feared adversary? In the face of time? Many things he could do but undoing the past he could not.

He held her face with one hand and tilted his head round and whispered in her ear. Before she could stop him he spoke.

"Stop!" her voice rang with the strength of steel, and the frailness of a dying flower. He regarded her with sadness and with a great force of will dropped his arms to his sides and stood back, stepping away from her. She could sense more words coming and afraid to hear them she moved swiftly to kiss him.

A heart wrenching kiss that disarmed them both. She could feel tears on her face - whether they were his or hers she did not know. A bitter kiss, a note of finality hanging in the air, but for this very reason it was also the sweetest. It was happiness, sadness, fear, courage, everlasting and fleeting, it was everything and nothing. And so they poured their entirety - heart and soul -into the kiss, savouring the moment, so the moment became like seconds, the seconds like hours, then years, until finally a whole lifetime had passed within that one kiss.

He broke the kiss sharply, his breath hitching in his throat. He blinked rapidly, his heart hammering wildly against his chest. His face crumbled slightly. He pulled back far enough to look at her face, to look into her eyes which were now overflowing with tears. A slight trembling began in his torso and as he continued to smile at her it grew and spread through his body like wildfire. He fought to keep the smile on his face, even as the first trace of blood appeared at the corner of his mouth.

She felt him weakening and tried to wrap one of her arms tighter around his body to keep him upright even as the hand of her other arm was clutching the hilt of the dagger she had imbedded in his body. She could feel his blood running over her hand, seeping into the tiny crevices of her skin, warm and wet.

As he weakened she fell to her knees with him. He sat back on his heels wavering as he regarded her. He tried to speak to tell her it was 'ok' but when he opened his mouth it was blood not words that came out.

She watched as his breathing started to labour, as the life began to leave his eyes. He fell forwards and she caught him, cradling his head in her hands she lay him on his side and trying not to weep lay down beside him.

He nodded slightly at her.

"It's k" he managed to mumble. He slid his hand forward across the space on the floor between them and her hand met his the rest of the way clasping it tightly. She lay there watching as he got weaker and weaker, as the puddle of blood around his torso grew until it reached her. She lay there as his blood seeped into her clothing, into the grains of the wooden floor disappearing through the cracks, taking his essence with it. She stared into his eyes as she and everything else around them absorbed his life.

She hadn't planned on saying it, she had told herself she wouldn't, but when his eyelids began to flutter she pulled herself to her knees and moved toward him, she leant over him her hair falling into the small puddle of blood beside his mouth and whispered in his ear the very words he had whispered into her own.

She turned his head and gently rolled him unto his back. He was only dimly aware of his own reality but he had heard her words and made an effort to keep his eyes focused on her. He fought a losing battle as his they began to darken, he squeezed her hand as hard as he could and gave her a shaky smile. Seeing his effort she smiled back at him. Smiled while scream after scream echoed inside her mind.

He saw the intense pain in her eyes and marvelled at how he had seen nothing like it and his heart ached with more than the effort to keep his dying body alive. And as she leant down and transferred the taste of iron from his mouth to her own, he thought how this could destroy her. The strongest person he had ever known, his match in every way and it seemed he was going to be the one to break her.

His thoughts began to dissipate as quickly as he formed them and his breaths came softer and softer. He closed his eyes and it seemed like an eternity before he opened them again. She kept very still as she leant over him, barely breathing herself.

" I love you," it took every fibre of her being to steady her voice and utter the words without breaking down.

Strong. The last word he thought to himself as his mouth twitched in a last attempt at a smile.

Even after the last breath had left his body, still she hovered over him staring into his face. She stroked his cheek once more and pressed the barest of kisses against his blood stained lifeless mouth. Marking the end and the beginning of a path for her that neither of them had wanted.

She stood slowly, staring bleakly at her hands before composing herself. She schooled her expression to portray no emotion. Her blank face entirely at odds with the river of tears washing down her face, drowning the fire in her eyes.

She let them fall for a few minutes while she recalled everything she had been taught and trained. She was a proud, strong warrior - that was how the world knew her and that was how she would act. It didn't matter that pieces of the inside were falling away, or the fire he had so loved her for had been extinguished in the wake of his blood.

She wiped the tears from her face with her sleeve, smearing blood on her face in the process. She stood with her back straight her head held high even while her soul sought to join its mate and die. She worried not about her appearance. She was a warrior, a face full of blood was demanded. A face full of tears unheard of.

She moved slowly, making her way outside she inhaled as much air as she could, and with nothing but oxygen and his last words to keep her going she began to walk and did not look back.

"Stay forever strong and know in my heart and yours I will always love you."


A/N: Thank you for reading, any constructive criticisms are entirely welcome. For those of you wondering about the way it ended, there is no conclusive answer. As I said in the summary there is no beginning or middle to this romance, only an end (we don't find out why she did it, we only know that she did). The rest I leave up to your imaginations, you decide how things could have led to the end event. In fact why not post a review about your theory on the ending? The more creative the better. I would love to know other people's interpretations. Who knows, maybe the best theory will get a prize? ;)

Ax