Chapter Sixty Three ~ Futile

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"Aiden?"

There was no beat of his heart against my palms. I was frozen for a long moment, terrified by the stillness beneath my hands, and then, even though I knew, I knew it was futile, I began chest compressions.

Gaping chest wound, multiple internal injuries, countless bodily functions that had ceased, creating numerous possible causes of death. But he was still warm, and if I kept making his heart beat then he would still be alive, and he'd keep bleeding out with every press of my hands but he wouldn't be—

There was an awful crack as I broke one of his ribs in order to get the necessary compression. I pulled back, sickened by the feeling of bone grinding against bone inside Aiden's chest, but almost immediately returned them, as though I could still help him somehow.

My hands were still on his wound; there was no strength left in me to continue to press futilely against the blood his heart had pumped out of him. One hand slipped to his shoulder, clutching to it as though he could still anchor me to this world, as though he were still here. I let my other hand slide up to his neck and lay there heavily for a long moment before traversing to the sweep of his jaw bone, the expanse of his cheek. My hands left trails of his own blood over his skin and I flinched hard, pulling away and hovering uselessly above him for a moment before his gravity pulled me back.

I ignored the fighting that was still occurring in the distance, hands unable to leave him, eyes unable to stop tracing his face. "Tell Aisa what?" I asked numbly. Aidan didn't respond.

A drop of rain hit my shoulder, several following cue as I looked up, blinking at the sky. I stared into the falling rain for several moments, unable to speak, unable to breath, unable to do anything, just a kid on her knees among the rubble, trying to keep the blood from leaving an already dead body. My hands slipped from him, hanging limply by my side as the rain turned the blood into mud.

"The sky is falling," I finally murmured, staring emptily at the clouds. "Let's watch the sky together."

But Aidan didn't respond. His eyes should've been curious and brilliant and accusing and loving and bright and alive. Not empty and dead, dead, dead, unblinking as pieces of the sky dropped into them. His eyes were supposed to sparkle when I handed him a cake, laugh at Aisa's antics, soften when I didn't understand something, narrow as he studied the chessboard, flash and smolder and burn with unknown emotion as he promised that he was still here, still here, still here.

Instead, his eyes stared unseeing as the first drops of rain washed away the last of his tears.

Something deep inside me, in my stomach, in my chest, broke. There would be no more afternoon days spent on grassy green hills, no more arguing in the middle of the night, no more days spent playing chess or cooking or just spent enveloped in each other's company.

All that was left was the blood, the death, and the empty void Aiden had left in his wake.

I stayed by Aiden, staring at the falling, shattering sky, ignoring the screams of comrades who I didn't know, didn't care about, ignoring shouted orders, ears deaf to the world. My eyes refused to see anything other than the shattering sky and Aiden's dead eyes.

I'd failed. I'd failed. I'd failed. I shouldn't have ever come back here.

So I just stayed beside Aiden, waiting to leave this battle with him, waiting as I felt his hand go cold, waiting as his face turned white and his lips turned blue, waiting as I tried to feel a dead heart beat again.

Before I even really realize they're there, first response medics have snatched Aiden from me and forced an oxygen mask over his mouth and strapped him down in preparation for extraction and started chakra jolts and I knew that it wasn't going to work. I watched his still and bloody body and waited for them to give up.

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