Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I'm just borrowing things for a while and I promise I'll put everything back exactly how I found it when I've finished. Well, almost exactly how I found it. ;)
He was not a man prone to regrets, but now, at this particular point in his life, he found himself with many. If they were pennies, he would be rich; if they were morsels of food, he would never go hungry again. Regrets had become the friends to him that real people could not be, simply because he was too difficult to be around. But with her it had been different. Yes, she had put him in his place when needed – and when it wasn't – but she was never afraid of him. She never backed down, and he admired her for that. That was how it started; simple admiration for the person she was, nothing more. Yet she had come into his life when he needed someone the most; only neither of them realised it.
*Angel of Mercy
How did you find me?
Where did you read my story?
Pulled from the papers
Desperate and hardened
Seeking a momentary fix*
She had saved his life. He doubted she meant to, sometimes he doubted he would even *want* to, but the very simple truth was that she had. She saved it every day she was in it, and now he hoped she would save him again. Though circumstances had once again torn them apart, she had never been far from his thoughts, though she was far from his heart. He grunted at his own sentimentality, a sure sign, in his mind, that he was becoming old.
He grunted again and shook his head. 'Becoming' old. It was laughable. He had been old since time began, or so he felt most of the time. Except when he was with her. It didn't matter what they were doing – most of the time they were working anyway – as long as she was around him. And when she wasn't, he felt her absence very acutely.
*'Fore just the daylight
Come and I stand by
Waiting to catch the quickest plane
Fly me to nowhere
It's better than somewhere
That's where I've been and nothing's changed*
He had tried to forget her, he had even flown away in a vain attempt to seek happiness, but nothing had worked. He had ended up right back where he had started, still feeling the same way though without her presence to soothe his soul. When she left, she had left a gaping hole in his life, in his heart and soul, and self-recrimination coated him like a second skin. But he couldn't change things, even if he wanted to; he couldn't tell her how he felt.
He could see her eyes, recall the exact shade of blue with ease, and the precise colour of blonde of her hair. He could hear her voice as though she was right next to him, and for a moment he turned, really believing she was. But he was alone, had been for some time now, friends and colleagues all deserting him one way or another. And she was no exception. And so he found himself, at one of the most crucial points in his life, with nothing but memories for company.
*All I wanted to say
All I wanted to do
Is fall apart now
All I wanted to feel
I wanted to love
It's all my fault now
A tragedy for sure*
A tragedy indeed. He never forgot that day, the day she left his life for good. Many a time he looked back on that day, picking it apart nanosecond by nanosecond, trying to find some way, *any* way, that he could have changed things. Made them...better? Different? He wasn't sure. And the guilt... It was like a hundred tonne weight on his chest, crushing him, an invisible constant reminder that he had failed. That his best just wasn't good enough; not for his family, the team...not for her.
And now, with only regrets, memories and guilt for company, he wanted to cry. He had not cried for a very long time; since that fateful day, actually. But now...now he felt like he could cry up a storm. He had thought, in the very deepest depths of his broken soul, that she would come for him. He thought – perhaps somewhat foolishly – that he deserved it. That he had done his time, completed his penance, forsaken every earthly happiness just to make up for his mistakes, or at least since she had been gone from his life. He felt he owed her that much, since he couldn't apologise to her.
His hand reached out involuntarily, grasping at what was unclear as there was nothing but air in front of him, but clearly he could see something. Perhaps it was her, perhaps it was hope; perhaps they were both the same thing to him. But it didn't really matter. No one was around to notice anyway.
As Boyd's breath rattled in his chest, he closed his eyes. She hadn't come for him. It was the ultimate punishment for his fractured and pained life, to spend eternity alone. The irony was almost too much for him, and if he'd had the strength, he would have laughed. Despite his most desperate attempts to change his personality, his ways, she still hadn't appeared to save him. And on some level, he wasn't surprised. On some level, he knew he deserved it.
But then something shifted in his surroundings. It was nothing tangible – no scent, no bright light, no gentle sound – but he knew.
"Tell me you're here to stay," he said, not opening his eyes.
"No, I'm not," she replied.
"Then why are you here?" he asked, his tone bitter.
She was smiling, he knew she was, and suddenly hope flared in his chest. "For you. You're not staying either," she replied. "You know it's your time."
"I'm not ready," Boyd said, finally willing himself to look into her clear blue eyes.
"Of course you are," she told him matter-of-factly. "Or I wouldn't be here."
*I'm so lost in you
A tragedy seemed to be over now
A tragedy it seemed to be*
"I should have told you," he started to say, his voice thick and raw with emotion.
But she held her hand up and smiled. "You don't need to say anything, Boyd. I knew."
"You...knew?" He stared at her. "Then why the hell did you leave?"
She laughed, but there was an edge to it. "Do you really think that was my choice? After what happened, how can you honestly ask me that question?"
Boyd ran a hand over his face, feeling the weight of the years grooved into his skin with each line. "I know. I'm...sorry. It's just...I missed you. So much has happened, so many times when I needed you and you weren't there."
"And in the end, Boyd, it was no one's fault," she told him, reaching for him. "Not even yours. It just...was."
*Angel of Mercy
How did you find me?
How did you pick me up again?
Angel of Mercy
How did you move me?
Why am I on my feet again?
And I see you*
As his fingers curled around hers, Boyd felt warm rushing through, thawing his frozen soul and breathing hope into his spirit that he didn't even realise he needed. "I love you."
Her smile was like the proverbial sun rising. "And I love you." Insistently, she tugged at his arm. "Come on, we're late."
Boyd looked amused. "Late? Seriously."
She rolled her eyes. "Clearly a figure of speech."
He walked a few steps and then stopped. "Is it...too late? I mean, can I change my mind? Go back, if I wanted to? To my...life?"
"Would you want to?"
Boyd thought about it for a moment, then shook his head. "No, not really. Just like to keep my options open."
She nodded in understanding. "Turn around."
As he did, he saw his aged and frail body in the armchair, eyes staring lifelessly back at him, and startled, he looked down at his appearance, his free hand feeling his face. "I'm...younger."
"You can appear however you want to now," she told him with a smile. "Time has no meaning any more...for either of us."
"How do you see me?" he asked, needing confirmation the impossible was happening.
Mel's smile grew. "As I always have; a grouchy old bear with the heart of a teddy bear."
As they walked away, hand in hand, their shadows fading past being ghosts, Boyd's voice was heard replying incredulously, "A teddy bear? Really?"