I'm throwing up again. Violently, even though there's practically nothing left in me. It hurts like nothing else in the world, not because I'm not used to it, but because I am. Because I promised I wouldn't do this again, and you're standing in the doorway watching me, not here next to me because you know what I would do to you. You still have stitches in your cheek from when I smashed your face into the mirror last time.

"How many times is this?" Your voice is quiet, seething. Not angry at me, exactly. Just frustrated because I won't let you help me, no matter how sick I get. I won't drag you down with me, damn it. I won't. You belong in the sky, despite the fact that your wings have been ripped from your back. I've seen your scars. I won't let you carry mine as well.

I stare up at you, shaking, a humorless smirk creeping over my mouth. "You should know. You've been awake for every second of it, and you shouldn't be. Go back to sleep."

"Why?" You snap suddenly, and the tension in that single word betrays you, even though you look incredibly bored, leaning there with your arms folded.

"Because I said so," I retort, with as much sarcasm as I can, which isn't much. God, I can feel myself dying already. It always happens so fast. Life is here, and then it's gone.

You crouch down in front of me and grab me by the underside of my jaw, and I can't fight you off, and you know it. "That's not what I meant. Stop avoiding the issue."

"You never really ask a specific question. It's your own fault that said issue is ridiculously easy to avoid." It's taking enough effort to stay awake, much less explain why I do this to myself – which is what you really want to know, and what I've never told you.

"Tell me. God. Please just tell me." Your forehead is laying against mine, and you're not snapping anymore. You're broken now, and as always, it's my fault. I swore I wouldn't drag you down. But is breaking you really any better?

"Take me home," I hear myself whisper, fading in and out of consciousness. "I don't want to die here." I don't want to cry, either, but I'm so fucking tired, and this disease that no one gets anymore just happened to choose me, and it's burning through my entire body inch by inch by inch, but you don't know that. You think I'm doing this on purpose, and you're still here with me instead of getting the hell out while you could. You think I'm killing myself, and you haven't left, and you're not angry with me, even though you probably would be if you thought I was strong enough to take it.

I wish I was going to live long enough to make it up to you.

"You're not gonna die, love. Not while I'm around."

My head lolls against your shoulder, and I wish I could believe you, but reality isn't a fairytale. There is no magic cure. There isn't just a spell you could cast, and make me better again. I am too far gone. And that's not why I start crying – I'm crying because this isn't fair to you, and I'm going to leave you here without a good explanation, and you're going to think that it was my brain that killed me instead of a disease, and I am so, so sorry. I didn't tell you because I wanted some part of you to believe that there was hope, that maybe I'd get over this. But in the end, that doesn't matter. What does matter is how much of what I told you – what you trusted me to tell you – was a lie.

"Please take me home. I don't want to die here." I am shaking uncontrollably; I can't stop, can't get a grip, and everything around me is fading. If I go to sleep, there's no guarantee that I'll wake up again.

Home is outside, and that's where you've carried me, standing by the old wishing well on top of the hill. "We're home. It's all right now; don't cry."

And I force myself to stop, and open my eyes, and let myself breathe until my shaking limbs have stilled. I know how much time I have left, and I'm counting down the seconds until I have to leave you here. Oh, God. I'm going to miss you.

"See? You're all right now. You were just a little homesick."

I don't understand what's happening at first, because all of a sudden something blots out the sunrise, and then I'm staring straight at your raven-black wings, which have to be a hallucination, but look so startlingly real. It makes me cry again, because the last memory I'll have of you is a lie, just like yours of me. "I'm so, so sorry," I manage to choke out. Nineteen. Eighteen. Seventeen... I can feel myself slipping away.

"Don't be. You're just homesick, that's all."

It occurs to me that you were my home, because I could probably survive anywhere if I had you to fight with, and joke with, and dream with. And then I wonder why the living hell I got so sappy when I started to die. "I'm scared," I say, because I am, although I hadn't really wanted to worry you any more. Ten. Nine. Eight. I'm terrified.

But you're there when I close my eyes, and there when I open them five seconds later, standing in front of the gates to a place I've never seen before even though we've travelled every inch of the entire world.

Your voice is soft enough to be an echo. "Welcome home."


A/N: Written to 'A Chomaraigh Aolbhinn O' by Solas, because it's such an epic, sad song. Ironically, it is also about being homesick. But not quite in the way that I ended up writing about. Don't you just love me for writing tragedy. Yeah, I know, not usually my cup of tea. Although the ending for this piece was originally MUCH worse. I changed it because I absolutely despise hopelessly sad endings. (You know I'll have to write one sooner or later because it's outside my comfort zone, right?)

Actually, this could also be taken as a oneshot, but I'm not gonna say that's the only way it can be interpreted. 'Cause, y'know, Hayden DOES kinda have a tendency to get sick, and then there's the whole reference to the black wings... if you've read Hasting Place you'll know what I'm talking about. DON'T KILL ME; THOSE TWO CHARACTERS JUST NEVER SHUT UP. Their fault, not mine.

In any case, I do appreciate feedback in all forms and sizes, if not for a means of improvement, then for snark material. … I have a rather annoying habit of writing amusing essays over destructive criticism and painfully vague reviews. By all means, if you want to see that, flame me. I'll be sitting in my emo corner laughing maniacally and tapping my fingers, deciding which layer of your psyche to shred first. "Isn't that illegal," you ask? "Isn't it psychological torture?" Nope, just brain-picking practice for a lowly Psych major.

FOR REAL THOUGH, I LOVE YOU ALL. This is my 'I-haven't-taken-my-happy-pills-today' way of saying that I like entertaining y'all. Anywho. I should shut up before I REALLY give people a reason to kill me. Thanks for reading!