You are surprised that his blood is blood like anyone else’s, bright and terrible scarlet. You think you’d always vaguely imagined it to be blue, aristocratic. Possibly the royal violet he’s so fond of, the color of the stupid wonderful dyed streak in his hair, the color of the gems set in the rings he always wears. But it’s red, because it is blood, and that is the color blood has to be.
Reality is stuttering like digital tv with shit reception, artifacting all over the place, repeating itself in idiotic little shards. You’re not sure what’s going on around you because your personal continuity of awareness stopped some time in the recent past with the flat smacking report of a gunshot and a surprised little noise from the man beside you.
You didn’t even know it was a goddamn gunshot at first, even, because what the hell, you aren’t in the middle of a gang war zone or an action movie and then there’s another one and this time something whines past your face and you catch up with the script and duck, pulling Eridan with you, and he moves oddly, heavily, without his usual grace--and you are on the ground beside him and distantly people are running, shouting, things are going on but you suddenly can not think at all because Eridan’s beautiful grey coat has grown a strange dark blotch and your fingers pressed against it come away red.
You can hear sirens somewhere, a long way away. He stares up at you with bright surprised eyes, and he opens his mouth to say something like what just happened, Sol and coughs instead and now you are shaking your head in helpless negation, no, no, no, because his lips are cherry red, candy red, the color of freshly oxygenated blood. He’s blinking, reaching up to touch your face. This is not happening, this cannot be happening, this is not allowed to be happening, someone somewhere has made a terrible mistake and any moment now it will rewind to the bit before Eridan’s blood was all over you and bubbling
beaded bubbles winking at the brim
at the corners of his mouth. “S-sol,” he says, and coughs again. “Sol?”
“Shh, it’s okay, you’re okay, you’re going to be fine, they’re...there’s a...they called 911...”
“Sol,” he says again, with a little more strength behind the single syllable. His hand wavers but he reaches up to cup your face, rub his thumb across your cheekbone. You can feel that he’s trembling in long terrible waves, and your world blurs, doubles, wavers, hot tears spilling down your face. “What’s...happening?”
“I don’t know,” you say and this time it’s nothing but the truth. All around you you can hear a faint pattering and you think, fuck, tears, you’re crying, that’s, that’s no good, you mustn’t cry, and then you realize that it’s rain. “Eridan. Eridan, just...hold on, please, stay with me, stay with me...”
His hand falls away from your face, feels dreamily at the spreading stain across his chest: it is almost completely dark now, the pearl-grey eaten up by that wet red. When he looks at his fingers you can see the realization flicker through his eyes, and see fear there for a moment, before it goes away under something brighter and more distant. He looks wise, as if he’s seeing past you into something that means more than this.
Nothing can mean more than this. There is nothing other than this moment and the weight of him in your arms and the little bubbling sigh of his breathing.
“It’s...okay,” he says. “Sol. Don’t cry.”
And now you are sobbing, stupidly, helplessly, tears blurring and streaking your glasses. The sirens are closer now and people are shouting, possibly even shouting at you, but none of that matters in the least because Eridan’s fingers reach up to drift across your lips. “Don’t...cry. I love you.”
“Don’t fucking leave me,” you say, strangled with tears. “Please. Please.”
His lips curve in a little smile, the sweetest smile in all the world, and he gives a little shudder in your arms, and then is still.
You make a terrible raw keening noise. The drizzle intensifies, beats down on the both of you, and you hold him against your chest and you rock helplessly and your tears mingle with the warm spring rain running down your face. His hand lies open on the pavement and his blood is being washed away in drifting tendrils, like seaweed, like lace. Distantly people are saying things, purple nitrile hands tug at you, trying to take him away, but there is very probably nothing in the world that could make you let go of him until a sting in your upper arm brings blank blackness rolling over you, and then there is simply nothing left to think.