A/n: This is the last chapter. I hope you all have loved reading this as much as I've loved writing it. Thanks for the reviews and such! Enjoy!
"I didn't plan on doing it. I didn't even know he was going to be there. I just happened to see him walking by the picnic tables by the playground while I was walking through the woods near it. It was obvious he was drunk. I think he and his friends had been celebrating or something—probably another fucking win—but they had all left already. Or he was just being a stupid, drunken fuck who decided to go wandering the park by himself. It really doesn't matter, does it? The point is, it was a coincidence that we were both there.
"But the moment I saw him, all I could think about was what he'd said about you earlier. All I could think about was everything he's ever said and done to me in the past two years and—and I got so angry. Angrier than I've ever been before. Yesterday had been the last fucking thing I could take from him. I hate him so much and I just had enough of his bullshit.
"So, I pulled my hood up, picked up a wooden post from one of the old trail signs that was on the ground next to me, and went over to him. It wasn't a conscious decision. It just happened.
"He never saw me coming. I came up behind him and swung the post to the back of his knees. He went down at once, but just to make sure, I hit him on the back of the head. Not hard enough to knock him out. Just to disorientate him. And it felt so good to hit him like that. He had hurt me so many times before, I can't even describe how amazing it was to finally hurt him back. Because of that, I struck him a few more times with the post without any reason other than I wanted to.
"Then, something strange happened. To me. I—you know that feeling when you're half asleep, but still dreaming? That's how I felt. Everything I'd ever written about him—every fantasy I'd had—flashed through my mind. I realized I had the opportunity to make all of them a reality. Here was this worthless piece of shit I hated at my feet, nearly unconscious from alcohol consumption and my hits, and I finally could do the things I'd wanted to do to him since the first time he'd decided I was nothing more than a human punching bag. I could do whatever I wanted to him. He was completely at my mercy. Not like I would show him any, though, when he'd shown me none.
"I started with his arms, cutting extremely close to his veins, all the while whispering to him just how easy it would be for me to slice into one and let him bleed out. He was whimpering the entire time, but it wasn't until I moved onto his face that he began to beg for me to stop. I didn't listen to him; I just carved random lines across his cheeks and nose and forehead and chin.
"There was a lot of blood, running down his face and his arms. I was careful not to get any on me, though I really wanted to touch it. I don't know why—I just did. I think I might have, too, if I wasn't distracted by the lighter in my pocket.
"I took it out, held it up in front of his eyes, and lit it so he could see what it was. He looked terrified and pleaded for me not to do whatever it was I was going to do. I told him to shut up. I also told him that if he screamed or tried to call for help, I'd kill him. I meant it.
"First thing I used the lighter for was to burn shut some of the cuts on his face. Then, I held it to his right ear, letting the flame lick his earlobe. He almost screamed when I did that, but I shoved the hood of his jacket into his mouth before any sound came out. That led to some of his hair accidently catching fire. I let it go for a few seconds before putting it out. He has a burned bald spot on his temple now.
"After that, I picked up my knife again and dragged it lightly over his skin as I whispered things to him. I can't remember what I said—I was so gone by that point. But I think…it must have been bad because he started sobbing as he begged me to stop. To leave him alone. It was so pathetic and sickening that he'd broken so easily that it made me even angrier than I had been when I first saw him walking. He hadn't even tried to fight back this entire time, either. It just proved to me that he really was a worthless piece of shit that didn't deserve to live.
"That was when I realized I was pressing the blade of the knife against his throat so hard that he was gagging. I don't remember putting it there. It just happened. But I didn't stop once I saw what I was doing. In fact, I only pressed harder and began dragging it across.
"He passed out before I actually managed to cut into skin. I remember thinking how disappointing that was. To make up for it, I looked him over as he lay there unconscious, taking in all the damage I had caused him. The weird way his left leg was bent at; the cuts on his arms; the cuts and burns on his face; the blood all over him.
"My knife still pressed against his throat.
"When I saw that, everything hit me all at once. I snapped out of whatever reverie I'd been in and the reality of what I'd done sunk it. Despite that fantasies I'd had of having what I'd written in the Journal come true, I never…I never actually thought I was capable of doing something like that. It shocked me.
"Still, I didn't move. I kept the knife pressed against his throat. Because even though I couldn't believe what I'd done, I also felt thrilled by it. More excited than scared. It made me want to continue—I wanted to finish what I had started. I wanted to slide the knife across Cortland's throat and watch him choke to death on his own blood. I wanted to kill him. I think I would have, too, if my nose hadn't started bleeding right then.
"So, I just left him there for someone to find. I didn't give a fuck what happened to him in the meantime. But on my way back home, something else hit me. Harder than before. Worse than before. Something that caused me to panic and begin to genuinely regret what I'd done.
"That something was you.
"It terrified me to think what your reaction would be when you heard what happened. When I told you what I'd done. Because I wasn't going to keep this from you or lie to you. Even if the truth meant that I lost you, and in spite of how much it would kill me, you still deserved to know.
"And now you do.
"I'm a monster, Klaus. An incredibly sick, fucked up monster. I understand if you don't want anything more to do with me.
"If you no longer love me..."
Once he's finished explaining what happened, Russell just stares at me in silence. All emotion has disappeared from his face; there's no expression there. Except in his eyes. I can tell he's trying to keep them blank, but he can't. Not with me. I see that he's anxious. That he's scared. Of both himself and me. Of me leaving him now that I know what he's capable of. Now that I know what he's done.
And he really believes I'm going to leave. He really thinks I can no longer love him.
Which is absolutely not true.
I reach out to put my hand back against the side of his face (he pulled away from me while he was talking). Russ still just silently stares and waits. But slight confusion has entered his gaze, and I can feel his body trembling. I stroke his cheekbone comfortingly, staring deeply into his eyes. And for a moment, that's all I do.
Then, I lean forward and pres my lips to his.
Russell lets out a small, surprised gasp. He obviously didn't expect me to do that. Regardless, he moves in closer and starts kisses me back with fervor. I can sense the relief rolling off of him.
The kiss lasts a few more seconds before I end it by pulling away. I take his face between my hands and just hold it gently while I look him over, taking in his appearance.
Messy black hair that's much shorter than when I first saw him (now only long enough to brush the tops of his ears and eyebrows instead of his shoulders). Soft, pale skin over angular bones that create sharp, severe features which make him look ethereally majestic. Perfectly shaped lips that feel like they're meant for kissing. Long, dark eyelashes that frame the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen and will ever see.
Even if those eyes can turn so cold sometimes. Even if they hide fucked up thoughts and emotions. Even if questioning doubt continues to linger in them as he stares at me. Even if those eyes are the eyes of a bloodthirsty monster—he's still so incredibly lovely.
And he always will be.
So, how could I ever leave someone like that? How could I ever leave him?
I couldn't. I can't.
Resting our foreheads together, I gaze intensely into his eyes. "I'm not going anywhere," I tell him in a whisper against his lips. "And you're not a monster. Not to me, at least."
And that's the truth. I don't think he's a monster—I think he's an angel.
"Klaus," he says, staring at me uncomprehendingly. "How can you say that after what I did?"
"'Cause I don't care about that," I say. I run my fingers through his hair and bumping my nose to his. "I care about you. Besides, I've known what you've wanted to do and what you're capable of since I first read the Journal. And it didn't scare me away then, did it? So, why would you think now is any different? Why would you think I would leave you? Stop loving you?"
"The Journal is just words on paper," Russ explains. "This isn't. I wanted to kill him—I almost did kill him. If anyone besides you finds that out, I'm going to be in serious shit."
"You kept your hood up right?" I ask. When he nods, I smile. "Then you're safe."
"What if Cortland recognized my voice?"
"He was drunk and too busy concentrating on…other things. I doubt he recognized your voice or else he probably would have called you out on it."
Russell shakes his head, glancing away from me. Yet, he still reaches up to take a hold of my wrists. "And what if somehow someone else figures it out? What if I accidently got blood on him when my nosebleed started and forensic bullshit leads them to me?"
"Cortland did actually give you a bloody nose and a split lip yesterday," I say. "So, you just explain that as to why your blood was on him."
"And what if they don't buy it?"
"Then I will lie for you," I answer at once, without hesitation. "I'll tell them you were with me the entire night, so there no way you had anything to do with it."
He snaps his gaze back to stare at me with wide, disbelieving eyes. "You would do that?" he asks, his voice hushed with something very close to awe.
"Because I would do anything for you."
"Why?" Russell demands. "And how can you be okay with all of this?"
"Because I love you," I tell him simply.
Russ stares at me for moment with an unreadable expression before he smiles, slowly and lovely. "I love you, too," he murmurs. "But is that the only reason you're okay with what I did?"
I shake my head, smiling back. "No. I also think Cortland deserved everything you did to him." I lean forward so my mouth is right beside his ear. "There is one thing, however," I then whisper. My stomach flutters with glee when I notice it makes Russell shiver and his breath hitch.
"What?" he asks, whispering now, too.
"The next time you decide to do something like that," I say, "bring me along with you."
"I want to watch. And help."
Russell rears back from me with an astonished, searching look. A moment later, an ardent glint enters his eyes and something between a smile and a smirk appears on his lips. "You're just as fucked up as I am, aren't you?" he asks teasingly.
Instead of answering, I merely grin at him and take his left hand in my left hand. I line up our scars before pressing our palms tightly together. Then, I look back up into his eyes, hoping everything I'm feeling right now is conveyed through the meaningful stare I'm giving him. From the way his gaze softens and how Russell affectionately squeezes my hand, it does. Still, I need to tell him. I need him to hear.
"I'm yours, Russell," I say. "Always have been, always will be. You know that, right?"
He nods and kisses me gently on the lips before resting his forehead against mine.
"Are you mine?" I ask.
"Yes," Russ says. "I love you, Klaus."
"I love you, too," I sigh.
"Regardless of what happens?"
"No matter what."
"Together," Russell whispers, squeezing my hand.
"Forever," I whisper, and squeeze his hand in return.
We both smile as we say those familiar words. As we remake that old, sacred promise. All the while staring deeply into each other's eyes, barely even blinking.
Then, both of us lean in with unspoken agreement and our lips meet again. We kiss for a long moment, unhurriedly and tenderly and wonderfully. Never looking away. Never breaking eye contact. Still holding hands with our palms joined. With our scars touching—our scars together. Just like they were when we made them years ago.
Just like Russell and I are meant to be.