He has to make her believe him. He cannot afford for her not to. She will be on the wrong side in this battle if she remains at his side. In another world and another time, this blossoming… something probably would have become much more. She has the capacity to heal and piece together so much within him that he had thought was beyond repair. But he is a complete and utter fool if he believes for one second that her staying with him will end in anything but her being injured, or worse, killed. He will not allow that to be added to the things that still weigh on his conscience. Not if he can help it.
So he rips her heart to shreds, word by agonizing word. He tells her she was nothing but an amusing pet, to be discarded at will. He tells her he’s never cared about her. That she is nothing. The words tear out of him with wrenching pain, stained with his own lifeblood, and he sees the agony as they hit home like poisoned darts, piercing her to the marrow. He cannot look her in the eye, because then she’ll see the part of him that is screaming, is desperate to tell her, “Don’t believe it! It’s not true!”
After he has finished his verbal vivisection of her heart, he sees her swallow hard as she struggles to keep her emotions in check. The only outward sign of her pain is the wetness currently making its way down her face, from eyes brimming over. He meets her eyes for just a split second, and he regrets it instantly, because he knows the look she gives him will haunt him for the rest of his life (however long that may be). Then she takes one small step forward and places a hand on his chest. Years of deception allows him to remain with his features schooled into a mask of indifference, but he fears his wildly beating heart may betray him.
She raises herself up on her toes in front of him, and he sees what she intends to do and turns his face away, eyes squeezed shut, so that her kiss lands somewhere in the region of his jawline. He knows if he allows her that one kiss where it was intended, all of his defences will crumble away, and he knows exactly where that will lead. There is a puff of breath that stirs his hair, as she sighs softly, then the pressure of her hand disappears and she is gone.
Cross-posted to darcy_loki
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