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Eleven.

Wren.

´Take it.µ ´What?µ Wren asked, this was not going to plan; every move he made took her by surprise. ´Well, you came to kill me, didn·t you? So why not do it properly? With my own sword ² the one that ended the family and friends that you came to avenge. She just stared at him, shocked. ´It·s not a trap. I·ll give you five seconds, then, if I·m still alive, you won·t be. I won·t move, I won·t even defend myself.µ She took the handle that he offered, holding it awkwardly at first, then with a little more confidence. I can do this. She pressed the long, sharp edge to his neck, similar to how he had to her only seconds before, but a lot harder. He inhaled a long ragged breath, and held it. She pushed the blade slowly forward, fascinated by the crimson droplets that stained the polished silver. He grunted a low sound that she could feel vibrating through the sword·s handle. This time, he clenched his fists tightly, his arm muscles tightened from the effort of not moving ² but still, he kept his promise; he didn·t make a move to defend himself. Wren took a deep breath of her own, not so sure now that she could do this ² but desperation and determination won over her own feelings. She had no idea how to do it ² but she had to, she had no other choice. She pulled all of her thoughts and feelings together, keeping them under iron control. The sounds, smells and images from that night flashed through her mind, and she felt the anger rise inside of her ² I can use this. As she made to add the final strength that she needed to kill him, he expelled his breath and whispered hoarsely, almost as if he was defeated ´I·m sorry.µ Something inside her broke suddenly, and instead of feeling the anger and adrenaline from just a moment ago, she just felt empty. There wasn·t a thought inside her that tried to tell her that he could be lying. No one·s that good a liar. She took a step backwards and dropped the sword as if it had burned the soft flesh of her hand; neither of them even gave it a second glance as it fell onto the carpet. Wren slowly backed herself to the wall ² he·d two words and that had disarmed her. Her eyes were wide as she sank to the floor and drew her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them before she hid her face as her eyes began to water. She didn·t notice when Dagan left the room, but when he returned a minute later with a bloodstained cloth held to his neck, she couldn·t keep her eyes off him. He watched her too as he absently wiped the blood as if nothing was out of the ordinary. He also seemed shocked at what he said, but unlike her, it didn·t seem to affect him. Wren realized that her cheeks were wet and hastily wiped the tears away, earning herself a half-hearted smile from Dagan. ´How·s your neck?µ she asked, not wanting the silence and the unknown to continue any longer. ´It will be fine ² no thanks to you.µ He replied coolly, his voice completely avoid of any emotion she could hope to decipher. ´You killed my family ² everyone I knew.µ ´I·m sorry.µ He repeated. She waited for him to elaborate ² to maybe explain why he did it. She had to know why. And why did he let me live? Wren stared at him, searching his face for the answers that he refused to give her. He was hiding something ² but she didn·t know what. He said he was sorry« But he doesn·t regret doing it« She realized suddenly, as if someone had told her. Dagan·s expression changed from the cool indifference of a second ago to a barely controlled aggression, his eyes narrowed and his irises paled, and ´What are you looking at?µ he growled.

Wren forced herself not to flinch at his tone, ´You.µ she replied, suddenly thinking about how easy it was for her to read his expressions, like an open book, her mother would say. It terrified her. ´Why didn·t you kill me too?µ Wren asked, unable to stop herself. The silence in the room had started to become smothering, and she had to stop it. Dagan stopped pacing, his back straightened and he stood still, as if he was asking himself the same question. ´When I saw you, all you did was stare at me« Like you stripped me of all my defences. You weren·t afraid of me ² you·d seen what I·d done, and knew what I was going to do, but you weren·t afraid. You didn·t run ² even when I killed your mother, you didn·t even scream.µ ´What are you getting at?µ ´It was like, you didn·t see the surface. You saw something else ² you stared at me, but saw something that wasn·t« Something that hasn·t been for a long, long time. Something that no one alive could even remember ² hell, I don·t even remember.µ ´For the love of« Get to the damn point.µ ´I think you already know.µ He replied, but Wren didn·t answer him. She needed him to say it, to confirm the suspicion that was niggling away at the back of her mind. She needed to hear this from him. ´I think«µ he paused, as if unsure how to put into words what he thought, ´I think I·m in love with you.µ Wren recoiled like she·d just been slapped; this was not what she had been expecting. ´That·s why«µ he shook his head then shrugged, ´I couldn·t hurt you.µ Anger flared inside of her ² suddenly, she wanted nothing more than to see him suffer. And now, she knew what to do. She stood slowly, still feeling drained from the pass of the adrenalin rush from before, but she now had renewed determination, how dare he? Dagan·s head shot up to watch her as she took a turn at pacing the room. ´You·re in love with me?µ she sneered, the side of her lip twitching upwards, ´You couldn·t hurt me because of this? What a load of crap! You already hurt me. Don·t you think that killing everyone I knew and cared about would hurt me? I·m not made of stone. Do you even know what it feels like to watch someone you love die?µ He looked as if he was going to say something, but she cut across him as he opened his mouth, ´Do you know what it feels like to watch someone you love die and know that there·s nothing you could do about it? To watch them look at you, silently pleading for you to help them somehow as they take their last breath? And as you watch them crumple lifelessly to the floor, all you can feel is complete helplessness?µ ´I never - µ he started. ´No. You never thought about that, did you?µ she whipped around, but not fast enough for his sharp eyes to lose track of. She grabbed the short sword from the floor and smiled sadly at him, weighing it in her hands. ´If you really do love me, then this is what it feels like. Now you can understand how I felt ² even if only a little.µ She whispered, all my family is dead« My brother isn·t my brother« Nothing I know is true. ´If you·re going to do what I think you are« Oh crap.µ His eyes widened as he realized that she meant every word she·d said. She positioned the tip of the blade at her stomach and said coldly, ´I can·t kill you for what you did to Hunter and Alex« To me« And all of those you·ve killed« But I can take away someone you claim to love.µ Dagan got up quicker that she thought possible, but before he could reach her, she took a deep, determined breath and thrust the blade into her stomach.

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