It will be tonight. I know it from the way Daren holds me closer than usual, one arm like iron around my waist, pressing our hips together. I know it from the way he touches me with such intention, like he is taking one last opportunity to memorize the shape of me. His fingers that so often grip me to bruising or drag welts down my skin instead glide like silk down the side of my face and along my jaw. They come to rest against the curve of my neck, my heartbeat throbbing beneath his palm.
That hand trembles just a bit as it rests against my skin. When we kiss, so much gentler than usual, I taste blood in his mouth. I think I can even hear the rattle of his straining lungs when he breathes, though perhaps that is only my paranoia. Regardless, I can sense his exhaustion and how hard he struggles to remain present, focused, to not lose himself in the pain. If I could see more than his pale outline in the darkness, I know that strain would be obvious in his glassy gaze and the shadows beneath his eyes.
I saw the knife on the nightstand earlier but I said nothing. Maybe that makes me a coward. Maybe it makes me a fool. Or maybe it just means I am as tired of this as he is, even if I cannot bring myself to admit it outloud. That would be too close to admitting defeat; too close to admitting these last months of misery and slow wasting have finally bled me of hope. So I said nothing then, and I say nothing now as I lay my head against the curve of his shoulder. I close my eyes and let myself sink down into slumber.
Daren always goes for the throat in his fights, one quick, clean cut and a fast death. I doubt I will even wake up. When it comes, may his death be as kind to him as the one he gifts to me.
“I’m going to kill you before the end; you know that, right?”
“… yes. I know.”
“It’s for the best. It’s easier that way.”