Kenny teleported to the apartment, still shaking. He felt numb inside and completely and utterly lost. Jen no longer loved him.
Svetlana was waiting up for him, sitting on the sofa, sipping a mug of hot chocolate.
“How’d it go, Kenner?” she asked.
“It went into Jen,” he choked. “Jen doesn’t love me anymore.” He leaned his bow and quiver against the back of the sofa, drifted to the armchair and collapsed into it. He felt like he was on the verge of shattering into pieces.
“What?!” Svetlana exclaimed, shocked. “What happened?”
Kenny’s voice was barely a whisper as he summarised what had happened with a brevity that utterly belied the pain he was suffering at this moment: “Jen woke up when I was there. She made me not fire the arrow at her sister by kissing me. We went to her room to keep kissing and somehow the arrow went into her own heart. I used my magic but it didn’t work. I managed to break the heart of the girl I love.”
“Oh Kenner,” Svetlana whispered. She put her drink down, stood up and came over to him. She sat on his lap and hugged him tightly. “I’m so, so sorry.”
“I was ready to give it all up,” Kenny whispered. “The mission, my obligation to try to stop Chaos. I just wanted to love her. I didn’t care about anything else. And now there’s no chance we’ll be together. Ever. I... What do I do, 'Lana?”
“I don’t know, Kenner,” Svetlana said quietly. “But ... but don’t you realise you’d have been punished? How high a Chaos level registered?”
“It was 6.8 at one point, but I didn’t care. I knew I couldn’t leave. So I just stayed there and kissed her... until the arrow went into her.”
Kenner stared across the room without seeing anything. His mind was full of the memory of the moments after Jennifer had woken up. How could this have happened? How could Jen not love him anymore? What stung the most was that she had ceased to love him so shortly after she had done that wondrous thing - kissed him to stop him firing the Heartbreak Arrow at Susanna. After such ecstasy, such bliss, which had been strong enough to make him stop caring about the mission, about Order, altogether, he was suffering the worst pain, living out a dreadful nightmare. How was he still functioning after falling from such dizzying heights?
Actually, that wasn’t what stung the most. No, what truly stung the most was that it was Kenner himself who had done this. Kenner was the one who had been holding the Heartbreak Arrow when it had gone into her. He had no recollection of moving the arrow even slightly - he had thought he was holding it firmly and that he loved Jen too much to be anything but careful holding such a dangerous instrument. How he wished he had dropped it when she had kissed him! It was almost too much to bear: the lover being the destroyer of the love.
“I don’t know if I can ever get over this,” he quietly confessed to Svetlana.
“Kenner,” Svetlana said, her tone one of anguish. “Don’t say that. I know that this must be terrible for you but you can’t let it be the end of you. There are so many people who care about you - who’d be devastated if anything happened to you. Not just me: think of your family.”
“I know,” Kenner said miserably. He suddenly hugged Svetlana back and buried his face in her shoulder. “But I can’t stand the thought that this was my fault.”
“It wasn’t,” she insisted. “It was an accident. A truly terrible accident, but one that you shouldn’t blame yourself for. Please, Kenner, don’t let this rule your life.”
Kenner felt the despair in Svetlana’s voice and hugged her so tightly that she gasped in pain. He didn’t want Svetlana to hurt. He didn’t want anyone else to hurt. He would bear the weight of the world on his shoulders for breaking Jennifer’s heart, but that task should fall to one person alone. Realising that he was hurting Svetlana now - physically - he eased his grip on her and, trying to be brave, told her “I’ll try not to. You’re a great friend, Svetlana, and I don’t want to throw your friendship back in your face by not trying. But I think we both know that this is going to be so hard.”
“Of course. It couldn’t have been anything else,” she whispered. “But I’m here for you, Kenner. I’ll try to give you everything you need: support, time, space... Just don’t give up.” She stroked his back. “Don’t you ever give up.”
They sat like that till Svetlana started to go to sleep. Gently, Kenner woke her up and sent Svetlana into his bedroom. There, she changed into her pyjamas and then opened the door for him to come in. He slipped off his shoes and socks, and then joined her, still clothed, in the bed. Svetlana took his hand and squeezed it comfortingly before switching off the lamp on the bedside table. They slept next to each other like two young siblings, for that time blissfully unaware of even the notion of heartbreak, comforted by the knowledge that the other was close by if they should remember it.