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>>whipoorwill::

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>>WHIPOORWILL::

Ellaya

Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.

 

You said you heard a whippoorwill singing outside of your apartment every evening that week, and always at ten o' clock. You said that was strange, because they weren't supposed to live around here and it was the middle of winter anyway. You said it was bad luck, said that it meant death.

I laughed and said that I didn't think you were superstitious, and don't you have a cousin who is a whippoorwill? And you laughed and said yes, you're right, I'm not superstitious and I do have a cousin who is a whippoorwill, and if the superstition was true, I would have died long before now with him around. And you spoke nothing more of the bird, although I guess I couldn't help but worry after that. You didn't seem worried, but that's you, and you're always so calm and collected. I always admired you for that, you know. Of course you know. I've told you before. You were never afraid of your death. You had me to worry about it for you.

So of course you're just smiling at me now, as you lay in my arms, bleeding. It's a sad smile, no doubt, but I can't even manage that, can't even manage to stop crying, not until you tell me that I should stop acting like a child. And I stop then, because you're right. You're always right when you say such things, because you're Falco, and you were forced to grow up so quickly. And you know I have as well, you know better than anyone.

And that was always our common bond — we grew up so quickly, didn't we? We had to. We had to get through all the shit in our lives and then we had to fight a war. And we got through all of it together. And I know I wouldn't have gotten through it without you. You were always there for me, you always had my back. And I guess that was why I came to love you like I did. I never told you, of course, but I think you might have known, and I always wondered if you loved me back. I don't know. Maybe it's just wishful thinking.

I don't understand what happened — how things could have gone so terribly wrong. We got through the war, remember? We got through it with nothing worse than an occasional broken bone. You did break your beak once, remember? I think that was the worst mood you've ever been in. At least, the worst mood you've been in that I can remember. I remember you talking about how pissed off you were at Wolf after he had shot me down, after I was unconscious for a week, and you sounded pretty pissed off, but I was unconscious, so of course I don't know for sure.

But now here you are, bleeding to death in my paws, and I'm helpless to help you or even ease the pain. All I can give you now is my company. I tried to help — I tried to close the wound — but it just won't close, it's too large, and I'm so sorry, I know you've saved me so many times, and I can't believe I couldn't return the favor. I killed the bastard, though. Well, he isn't dead yet — I can see him from here. I impaled him, you see, so it will take him hours to die. I have my blaster with me — you know I always have it with me — but such a swift death was too merciful for him. He's shut up, though — he was howling something awful only fifteen minutes ago. You must be in more pain than he is, and you haven't complained at all. You're so strong.

You hadn't spoken of the whippoorwill in over a week, so I had to ask you if it was still singing outside your window, and you said yes, and it had gotten louder each day. I asked you why you didn't tell me and you said you didn't want me to worry. You know me so well. I'm sorry, Falco, I'm sorry. I couldn't stop the bastard from injecting you with that poison, I didn't know what it would do to you, and I didn't know there was no antidote. I said all these things to you and all you did was laugh and say that at least I had finally killed Andross for good. I can't believe how calm you are. The bleeding is growing worse now, and I can't think of anything better to do than hold you tighter, trying to force your wound shut that way, but it's only getting bigger, and oh God, I'm so sorry. You're right, though, Andross is dying. I can see it in your eyes — you're in a lot of pain, and for it to be visible it has to be terrible. Still you speak nothing of it, that soft smile still gracing your features. You're quiet for a very long time, and I wonder if you are dead, but no, you're not, I can feel your breath. It's shallow but steady. You tell me you're not dead yet, and I tell you I wasn't thinking that even though I know you can read my mind, you know me so damn well it's scary, and I know you just as well, and I know I'm the only one who loves you as much as I do, but not nearly as much as you deserve. I don't deserve to be the last thing you see in the world; I'm not worthy of that privilege. But here I am, trying my best to be worthy, and you don't seem to mind. You start to cough up blood, and I know your stomach has been eaten through. Death is coming soon, and all you can do is apologize for getting blood on my shirt. God, you're so strong.

I can see your com-link from here, the little red light still blinking, the distress call still being sent. The rest of the team will never make it here in time. My own com-link I have since thrown off, tired of trying to ignore the beeping wail that means they are hailing me, and they want to know what's going on. If I answered, I'd have to explain why I couldn't save you, and then all the guilt would come rushing up to my throat and I'd probably start crying again, and you told me not to cry, and I just can't cry if you tell me not to.

I hear a bird singing outside, and you say it's a whippoorwill, and ask me what time it is. I say it's ten and it's nighttime, and you say that it must have followed you here, and you say that maybe it would have been best to be superstitious, and I can't help but laugh as I tell you that we both knew that you were superstitious from the start. You laugh and say that you know I am too, and maybe we both should have taken that whippoorwill a little bit more seriously. I can't tell you that I took it seriously, because if I do then you'll know that I feel as if I've murdered you myself. You know that I'm thinking that, of course you know, and you tell me it wasn't my fault. The tears are stinging my eyes, but I can't let them fall, and I don't let them fall, and I just hug you, and I want to tell you that I love you, but I can't find my voice as I feel you dying. I hold you closer, trying to keep your spirit in you, but of course it's all in vain, and you look at me and laugh and say "Fox, you probably already know this, but I love you." And I can feel the tears filling my eyes, and I can hardly see you through them, but I tell you that I love you, too, that I've always loved you. And you smirk a bit and say of course, who couldn't love me? I laugh, and the tears are so close to spilling over, but I hold them back, force them back, and keep quiet because I know you always want to have the last word. And your life slips from you and now I'm just holding your body, and the tears spill over.

I don't know how long I sat like that, cradling your body and sobbing, feeling weak and helpless and alone. I only remember that at some point Andross died, and I looked at his corpse and couldn't stand the sight of his face, so I cut it off and threw it into the hallway. And then I returned to you, and you looked so peaceful, and it was then I knew I was alone, so very alone, and I just couldn't be that alone — I'm not strong, not like you. I always have my blaster with me, and I have never been more thankful for it as I took it out and put it to my head.

All I could think of at that moment was that I wish I could have done something to save you, that I'm so sorry, and that maybe I would see you again. I'm not crying anymore — if I do see you again, I don't want to be crying, because you don't like to see me cry. There was a moment of complete silence as I sat beside your body and my finger squeezed the trigger. And then I fell forward, and there was some part of me that was still alive, but I knew it wouldn't be for long, I knew I was dying and I couldn't wait to join you, Falco. This shouldn't have happened — none of this should have happened. And all I could think of as I fell across your body and my life drained away is that maybe when I had the chance I should have killed that whippoorwill.