a/n: credit for the title goes to Andrea Gibson's poem, How It Ends, and DeVotchKa's song, How It Ends


The first time he almost died had been an accident. He had been climbing a rock wall alone, something he had done hundreds of times. It was barely a ten-minute walk from his flat, but this time, he slipped, falling at least a hundred feet down the slippery rocks. He lost consciousness for a couple moments, but soon woke up. He resigned himself to die, and had been happy to. For some reason, he started to sing. Halfway through his third song, a lone hiker heard him and found him lying on the rocks, half dead. He was later found to have twenty-seven broken bones, many cuts, some near-fatal, and a severe concussion. The hiker, Kylie-Sue Davidson, a beautiful woman o twenty-nine, only a year older than he, soon became his girlfriend, then Master. Exactly five years after she saved him, they held a collaring ceremony and pagan broom-jumping. Kylie died seventeen years, five months, and twenty-seven days later, of a mysterious illness.

Greg was devastated. He had lost his wife, Master, and soulmate with absolutely no warning. His depression, which had ended twenty-three years, five months, and twenty-seven days ago, came back, thrusting him into the worst low he had ever experienced. He quickly started burning himself again, and became heavily suicidal, trying to kill himself three months after she died. Greg almost succeeded, and would have, had he not been a hopeless romantic, and so decided to kill himself in the same place he had first seen Kylie: the large, rock wall in the woods. He had passed out this time, and the doctors later said that had he been there just five more minutes, he would not be here today.

This time, Greg's saviour was a tall, strong, but somewhat ugly man of 46, the exact age Kylie would be had she survived. Rick was a new member of a fairly small multiple system, who joined, Greg later found out, the same day Kylie had died.

Greg resisted Rick at first, both when he saved him, by weakly trying to shove him away when he briefly gained consciousness for a moment when Rick picked him up, and later, when Rick stuck around, continuing to save him, love him, and, finally, Master him. Rick knew Greg hated him, and why, but also knew Greg needed him, more than either of them knew. Despite Greg's half-hearted efforts, Rick stuck around, and Greg soon found himself loving Rick, and hating himself all the more for what he viewed as a betrayal to Kylie.

After some time, Greg began to recover, with Rick's help, from the depression caused by Kylie's death. Rick, ever patient with his love, allowed Greg to initiate their first kiss. Their relationship started suddenly, continuing with a passion that had not existed in his slower, romantic love with Kylie.

Finally, Greg was happy again, and though he still missed Kylie, he got better, seeing more and more of her in his new Master, loving Rick all the more for it.