He had felt the lack of her presence like a physical ache in his soul. Those searing, soul storm blue eyes that incessantly haunted him, did so even more intensely whilst they were apart. He had been kept from his duties by a mandatory training program lasting an agonizing two days. The time oozed by like viscous magma, scorching the very essence of his being with the agony of their separation. It was worse than losing a limb or an essential part of his soul. It was as though there was no oxygen without her there. She dominated his every waking and sleeping thought with her gentle beauty. Her soft smile lacerated his heart as the memories of what once had been tore past his mind’s eye in a blur that somehow came to him in perfect clarity. She was the most intoxicating drug and he was the most hopeless addict, the withdrawal symptoms like those of someone in the throes of an unending, horrific nightmare. His skin, even over the two days, became pale, his eyes sunk, into bruised sockets, burning with a feverish intensity that civilized people pretended to ignore. Like the animals they truly are, once his back was turned, they tore him apart in the cold, mindless fury found only in predatorial beasts. They failed to realise that he could hear every cruel word they uttered and that it served only to harden his resolve against all humanity, save that one angel. That one glorious being with the storm blue eyes that had possessed him with her kindness. That kindness had seared a brand on his heart that went soul deep and now, his very existence depended on her nearness. He could not eat, he could not sleep, he could barely breathe without her, without seeing her smile.
He felt no psychic intuition. No supernatural connection alerted him to her distress. As he lay, snared by obligation to a carbon-copied hotel bed, praying for some kind of relief from the fever her absence induced, she was slammed against a wall in a throbbing night club. As he lay, unaware, aching with need for her smile, she scrubbed her skin raw, until minute beads of berry-bright blood beaded under the skin. As photographic memories of her tore through his mind, providing an exquisite new torture, she dragged herself, aching and sick to the core of her being, into the relative sanctuary of her bed, creating a fortress with her duvet. Like mirror images, they sat through the night, glassy-eyed, as purple-black painted smudges under their eyes. The moonlight danced in her hair, a gentle caress, as it slid its cool fingers over the planes of his cheeks. The light was their company through the night, gradually warming from silver to gold as the sun claimed the place of the moon.
Hundreds of miles apart, they swing their legs out of bed, wincing as cramped muscles unlock for the first time in hours. They move robotically, absorbed completely in their own thoughts. Had they passed on the street, their gaze would have passed through the other, so complete was their immersion. While whispers followed both, the tones were polar opposite. One, scandalised, suspicious, vicious. Another, shocked, sympathetic, gentle with a trace of pity. Both looked like victims of circumstance. One, looked as though fate would consume them, the other, looked as though their internal flame merely flickered for the moment, but would flare again, bright and beautiful again.
It was that flame that drew his fevered gaze that night. Instantly, the calm of her presence erased all trace of pain. The sweet rush of return almost overshadowed the subtle signs he saw that something was wrong. The bruises smudged under her storm blue eyes. The slightly paler tone of her skin under the make-up. The lack of light in her eyes as she smiled. The slight forced note of her laughter. Her tendency towards silence as opposed to her gentle talk. Subtle, easily overlooked signs to all but he who noticed every breath she took in his unseen presence. His blood flared white-hot. Whoever had dared touch an angel and steal her light, would pay dearly for their trouble.