Never Again.

Look what sort of a mess you've gotten yourself into this time! You idiot, you dung-brained, limpet eating idiot! You know full well what you could do to her!

Ara shook his head viciously, trying to push the memories out of his head. He had to sort this out, once and for all. Before it was too late again.

He squeezed Flamara's hand gently, whispering her name softly in her ear. Her eyes flickered open, and a small smile lit up her face as she recognised him. Ara tried to smile back, but only managed a sort of pained grimace.

"Listen. I think I owe you an explanation, before this gets too out of hand. Geoff's told me everything you said, and about your flame dying, and now I realise that I have to stop this before it gets too far. I'm sorry Flamara, but  I can't let you get too close to me. I know I sound unreasonable, and I probably am being, but... I just can't do this, not after..." his voice trailed off and he growled under his breath. Flamara looked at him, utterly confused and looking very hurt.

"After what?" she asked softly, her voice half-choked with tears.

Ara looked away, keeping his eyes fixed on his clenched fist by his side rather than look at her, "Something happened once before. Something bad. I did something terrible and now I can never forgive myself for it. I can't risk that happening again."

"Why? What happened? Please Ara, tell me what's going on." Flamara raised her hand, trying to touch his shoulder. Ara pulled back, shaking.

"I... I can't. It's... it's just..." then, with a cry of despair, the Halfborn slammed his heel into the ground as hard as he could, tearing through the floorboards like a hot knife through butter.

"I can't do this! Don't you understand, I just can't! Nothing makes sense any more, I don't understand anything! It's all just one big mess of emotions and memories and I just can't take it!"

With that, Ara gave one last long shriek of despair before once again bolting off down the nearest corridoor, ignoring the cries coming from behind him. He just gritted his teeth and kept running, silver tears streaming down his face like a river.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I just can't take it, it's too much. I never meant to start this, I'm sorry!

Ara didn't stop running until he reached the dead end of a long passageway. There was a ledge high up on the wall, half-hidden behind a support beam. Ara flapped up onto it, then sat there, feeling empty and broken, the same words going over and over in his mind.

Never again. Never, never again.

The End

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