Everything hurt. My back, my head, all ribs and muscles were as much on fire as he was. My own blood dripped slowly to the ground, a small gory puddle below me. From where, take your pick. The cut on my eyebrow, the slash at my arm, the multitude of other wounds on my body. All from him.
This is my fault, this is all my fault. I let my guard down, a wall I had built up to almost two decades crumbled from his touch, from his smile, those damn soul crushing eyes. I convinced myself we were friends. That he would actually come to like me, maybe fall for me as much as I did that first battle. I was an idiot. I still am an idiot. And now here I was about to die.
“Get up!” He yelled, fire flickering up his arms and legs. The anger in his eyes was like brimstone. Every step he took forward singed footprints that trailed behind him, black and smoldering.
“I said get up and fight me!” My brain was telling my whole being to just lay down, accept my fate. I’m a stubborn son of bitch though, and with shaking legs I faced him, nails digging into my palms. Liam was just as banged up as I am. Covered in blood and bruises already turning purple, he snarled.
“Come on, fight me! Fight me you bastard, take the first shot!” He pelted fire balls at my feet. I just stepped back at each one, soon hitting the wall. I bit back a groan, eyes shut tight. Finding my voice with a raw throat, it just came out.
“Just kill me…” I whispered. I opened my eyes again. Some of the flames covering him were gone, his eyes softening.
“What?” He asked almost as quiet as me. All the rage in me finally surfaced.
“Don’t give me that. Don’t try to act sympathetic all of damn sudden. I know what you are! We both do! You’re a ticking time bomb finding excuses to kill me, well here you go! I’m all yours! Just kill me and get it over with!” I spread my arms staring him dead in the eyes. They were still a warm brown, and I hated I still melted under them. I wanted him gone. I wanted him out of my life. He was never going to see me as nothing but a bad guy. He was the hero. I was the villain. And I was going to let him vanquish his villain.
Liam didn’t move, snuffing everything out on his body. I stepped forward and shoved him hard in the center of the chest where I know it would hurt.
“Stop being so noble for one fucking second! Kill me! Just fucking kill me! You wanted a fight so just bash my head in, roast me alive, do something! Just-!” I pushed him again and again, weaker than the last, not even bothering to bite back the soft sob I let out. He grabbed my arms, keeping me in place. I stopped fidgeting, seeing spots from how much pain I was in through blurry eyes.
“Justin…” He stared at me, one hand sliding over my cheek, wiping a tear away. I furrowed my brows at him.
And then I felt warm. I felt heat radiate my skin, ricocheting inside my bones, soothe my muscles. Because he was kissing me. Liam the fucking Scorch Mark was kissing me.
The cut on my lip stung from the pressure, but I didn’t care. I could barely feel it. There were only a few things I was focusing on. His lips on mine, hand on my cheek, the curvature of his body against my own, his busted nose running blood across my jaw and down my neck. I raked my hands through his hair, tugging at it. It was smooth against my fingertips, covered in ash and cinders.
This wasn’t a kiss anymore. This was support. We clung to each other because both of us understood, admitting it or not, that the other was the only one that kept us grounded. He was my anchor, so I didn’t soar off. I was his life raft, so he didn’t sink to the bottom.
I had to breath, but I didn’t want to pull away. The moment we do, then the kiss is over. We are back to being enemies. We are back to fighting and putting up appearances. Just a second longer. That’s all I needed, a second longer.
Liam had different plans. He pulled away for air. The only sounds I could hear was our panting. I felt his racing heartbeat against my chest. I wondered if he could feel my own, just as fast as his. We looked at each other, a mix of confusion, want, anger, sadness, affection was dancing across his irises, and probably in mine too. He realized the same conclusion I did. This can only be one kiss. One moment that had to be forgotten.
And then we heard sirens. Neon red and blue flashed onto our clothes from the windows. Liam turned his gaze to the cop cars. No, no, please, not yet. He looked back at me.
“I…” He didn’t even get a chance. Policemen busted in, weapons raised. Their screamed orders came deaf over my ears. I just raised my hands, no attempt at using my powers. Soon, I sat in the back of an armored car. The chains chaffed against my wrist, but I was numb to it. All I noticed was the muffled praise Liam was getting from the commissioner a few yards away. He caught my eyes, face still and hard despite the damage. I looked away as hot tears threatened to fall.
And then the doors slammed me into darkness.