There really had been only one answer, one reply to give. His or hers? That had been the demand, and with every ounce of his soul, he would give his life a thousand times to save his love.

The twinkle of her eyes, always filled with mischief, had blurred behind a cascade of tears. She'd been given the same choice, and he'd known her answer as surely as his own.

Theirs was not a love meant for this world, but it would transcend the cruelty thrust upon them. She would suffer greatly, until she too crossed the threshold, but she would endure. He loved her strength beyond any other quality.

Their last moment had branded itself into his heart. She sacrificed even then, and transferred a portion of her strength to fortify him against what must come. But he'd made her stop, less she weaken too much.

They'd made love for the last time, his hardness pressed gently against the softness of her curves. Her gown fell in a billowy cloud of white silk, pooling at their feet, moments before he swept her into his arms. Gently, so very carefully, he lay her on the bed, then worshiped her naked flesh with the heat of his mouth and sweep of his tongue.

He'd traced a final path down her silken skin, memorizing every detail, desperate not to forget. The fine hairs of her arms lifted in response to his touch and he caressed every inch of her skin until the breathy moans of her desire rose in pitch, stoking his need. He had shed his leather, needing the exquisiteness of her flesh pressed against his skin. Gliding his hands up her body, he stopped at the swell of her breast, cupping her perfection with a gentleness he no longer felt.

He leaned down and captured her nipple between his lips, sucking, licking, and biting to incite her desperate cries.

They'd had little time, and rushed where they should not. He regretted that now, standing in the darkness with only the memory of their last night for company.

A stolen moment gifted to a man marked for death gave him a sense of peace.

He'd taken her swiftly, plunging his full length inside her silken walls, until her strangled moans swept to a crescendo of unintelligible pleasure. With their lips melded together, he drove them ever higher, until the flew to a place so intense it transcended all thought.

With that memory, he faced his fate. The metal doors overhead drew back, allowing the light of the morning sun to creep down the walls. He could huddle in the corner, and wait for his fate, but he was not a man to cower.

He was not a man at all.

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