With his finger on the trigger, his had the silver pistol aimed right at the head. His hand was slightly shaking, but his face was as serious and stoic as when she first met him. Petals of blood-stained camellias littered the floor, symbolizing what was once a happy place. Now, it was just an abandoned building that had every right to be forgotten.
"You don't have to do this, Xander," she repeated, looking desperately at the raven-haired man. "Please. Just reconsider."
"There's nothing to reconsider, Faythe," he responded, his voice and his eyes cold and piercing, as they always were. "You told me some things just needed to be done; I believe this is one of those things."
Xander moved the gun closer to the head, nestling it into the victim's hair. Faythe moved her hand up to stop him, but she knew it would make no difference. She stared at him for a moment, then she threw her arms up in exasperation, finally cracking.
"Fine!" she exclaimed suddenly, earning a slight sign of movement from Xander. "I'm tired of this, Xander. Why you're so dead set on this foolish personal quest of yours, I'll never know. So, go ahead." She tried to evenly match his cold, seemingly heartless stare with her own. "Pull the trigger. I won't try to stop you anymore."
Xander thought for a moment before tightening his grip on the pistol once again. He glanced at the ground, then he stared back at Faythe. His lips formed a hard, slightly regretful line on his pale white skin. "I would say that I'm sorry..."
He moved towards Faythe and placed a tender kiss on her forehead. Faythe's eyes widened in bewilderment as he stared at her one more time, his eyes now showing a hint of warmth and even... love. His eyes then traveled to the floor as he said:
"...But I can't."
The trigger was pulled, and the gunshot rang throughout the desolate hovel. Faythe's lifeless corpse fell towards the floor, her hair sprawling out around her. Xander just stood there, looking at her, as the soldiers flooded in through the door. They seized him and took Faythe's body away, but even then, he didn't show an inch of resistance. It was as if that shot didn't take away just Faythe's life, but his own, as well. The only thing that he seemed to do was think. Flashes of that moment replayed in his head like cursed broken record. The only think he could think of was this:
'I had to protect you... Faythe...'