This my be viewed as femslash, or it may not. I see it that way, so I have placed the appropriate warnings - not that there's really anything to warn about.

Since I first drew breath, I knew I would die on a stormy night. The knowledge was always there, like a gentle weight against my mind, but it never scared me. I always though people feared death because it was foreign, but I had always lived with my Death hovering behind me like a bright shadow. When other children spoke to imaginary friends, I spoke to my Death.

On that night, when the storm began, I followed the call of the rain and thunder and left the stillness of the sleeping house. The woods were dark and silent around me, only the gentle pounding of the rain to make it seem like something other than a dream. I raised my face to the dark clouds and let the rain drench me, as though it would wash away everything related to this crumbling world and leave only my soul—and my Death—behind.

It is as though the sky has broken down and started crying, I thought, feeling the drops soak me through as thunder rumbled. The sky was illuminated by a brief, jagged flash of light, visible even though my closed eyes. Even now, the lightning is like distant wailing. Soon that anguish will flood the earth and drown us all. But how much grief can one world bear?

And then that chilly warmth blossomed behind me, like the heat of pain on icy flesh. It was silent, as ever, but I smiled in welcome and spoke without opening my eyes.

"You've been gone for a while. I was starting to get lonely."

There was a long, long pause, and then a quiet, musical voice murmured, "Most people would be happy not to have their Death near them."

In all the times I had spoken, this was the first time she has answered. I could guess why.

"Today's the day?"

Another moment of silence. "You don't sound sad."

I opened my eyes, but didn't turn around. "Death exists before anything else. If living is a constant quest for knowledge, then the knowledge we gain at the end is the real goal." Thunder growled, and I waited it out before continuing. "So…in truth, death is the discovery and complete understanding of the end. When I think of it like that, it's all right. I am sad, but not too much."

With a soft sigh, she approached, and the presence stilled by my side. "Most people fear death, you know."

"Mmm." I sank to the ground and looked up at her. "But sometimes, death is all you have. If you don't want to live what life you have in constant fear, you get over it."

Above us, lightning split the sky again, a scream of light against the grim-grey clouds. My Death stepped forward slightly and looked down at me, blocking some of the rain. Her eyes were golden in the darkness, like a prayer. They weren't human, those eyes—but at the same time, they were more human than the eyes of anyone I knew. She looked down at me, and the faintest trace of a smile touched her mouth. "You are brave."

The earth shuddered as thunder roared, and the pounding rain intensified. I looked away from that gaze and shook my head, and though I was trembling, it wasn't from the cold. "No. I'm not. I'm not brave at all."

For a brief, silent moment, I bit the inside of my lip, and then whispered, "What is it like?" I couldn't stop the question, as hard as I tried.

Another pause. She didn't seem much of one for words.

Then my Death sank down onto the sodden ground next to me, mindless of her neat black clothes. Her voice was soft and slightly wistful. "Those who do not know what love is liken it to joy. Those who claim to know what love is liken it to terror. Death is much the same as love—gentler even than a breath, but as terrible as the weight of the world. The ending of everything, and the beginning of everything else, an echo of star-song in a midnight meadow and laughter in a crowd."

You wouldn't think that would help, but it did. I closed my eyes again, feeling the rain on my face. "It's different for every person, hmm?"

She nodded, once more stoic in the deluge.

I sighed and pressed my hands over my face. "Then…you're going to take me?"

A gentle force pried my fingers from my skin, and my Death grasped my hands in her own, carefully. I looked at her, and she rose, pulling me to my feet. Then, gently, she leaned forward and rested her forehead against mine.

"Yes," she answered softly, "I am."

My hands were trembling, so I tightened my grip on her and managed a small smile that took all of my bravery. "Will you…will you stay with me, just for a little while?" My world was empty except for her, and always had been. The disease that ate away at me ate away at everything else, too.

My Death lifted our entwined hands, and I could suddenly see the red thread that bound us together, wrapped around our palms and tangled around our fingers. "Death will never leave anyone behind," she said, a soft promise. Then she briefly closed her eyes and whispered, "You least of all. Most people have hope because they cannot see Death standing behind them. You have hope despite it. Never before have I felt that I did a good thing by appearing before someone—but in your eyes, for the first time, I do not see myself a monster."

She looked so sad, so detached, that I stepped forward and rested my head on her shoulder.

"I've been waiting," I whispered. "It was…lonely."

My Death put her arms around me and laid her cheek on my hair. "Not anymore," she said. "Not anymore."

Darkness closed softly around us as the rain continued to fall. In the distance, lightning split the sky like an inconsolable wail.

But the sorrow could not touch us.

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