He draws butterflies in her blood.
He is holding her body and she is stiff and cold and heavy but she always is. The steel of her back is bitingly chilly against his bare arms and he's goose-bump thrilled at the touch. She is silent, looking away, but the glass of her eyes glow in the almost-dark. She is beautiful.
He uses one hand to swipe the hair from her brow, tucking it behind the synthetic clamshell of her ear. Her hair is not soft but it does not break under his fingertips. She does not break under his fingertips. He slides his hand down, catching her on the cheekbone with his fingers. He leaves a smudge of blue. She does not turn away but she does not flinch and that is what matters. She is perfect like this, silent and stately.
One hand is underneath the wound in her breastbone. The metal of her chest and belly is dripping with blood and he gently drags his fingers through it, leaving swirls and butterflies and hearts. He starts to draw a spade, but smudges the stem out. It's just a heart facing her, instead. Her blood is coolant and oil and dye and it stains his fingertips blueberry.
"You are beautiful," he tells her, and she looks at him. Her eyes are coals and her face is expressionless, cold lips set in metal. When she speaks, her voice is monotone.
"No," she says, and raises one delicately-wired hand, placing it over his. He is in the middle of drawing another heart and she wipes it out with his palm. "I am not okay with this."
Her fingernails are the same bright blue as her blood. He painted them. He spent an hour with her hand on a table, bright light shining in the gloom of his workplace. He made sure each nail was immaculate, each stroke of paint fitting the cuticle perfectly.
"We can be together, Aradia." He says.
"No," she repeats. "we are not equal."
"We are." He grits his teeth and pulls his hand out of her grasp, bringing his thumb against the torn metal of her chest. He needs to show her. He needs to make her understand. There's a sharp slice of pain and he's bleeding, but it's okay, he will take any pain for her. He can take anything for her. "Look."
He raises his thumb, crooking it towards her, and she looks without interest.
Their blood is the same shade of blue. Exactly the same shade of blue. Hers is slicker, oilier, but they are the same. Hers is cool, not warm like his, but it's such a small difference.
"It doesn't matter." She shakes her head, tries to sit up. She's weak, though, and falls back against him. He should pump more blood into her, when he can. Patch the wound.
He wants to tell her, but does not, about the taste she left on his tongue. The tang of coolant. The sharp acridness of smoke and exhaust. He does not tell her about the sound of her, the silence now that breath has left her. He does not hear her heart but he hears the whirr-grind of gears ticking away.
"You're perfect." He tells her, and kisses her again. Eyes closed, he can see her lights. They're warm and red and they shine through his lids. She does not resist. She kisses him back. Her mouth and tongue are dry, sandpapery, but it doesn't matter. He will fill her with life.
He will bring her to life, he thinks. He does not know how, but he will. He will make her love him.
The world is ending, but he does not resist when she pulls him down with her.