They started off on the wrong foot. Zane a criminal with enough alias' to not be found through quick research; Nick a detective with enough determination to see things through to the end. The first day they met was still strong in their minds.
Zane had opened the door, faking a persona named Zachary, and claimed himself to be Nick's partner on the case. He had found Nick looking annoyed as he tried to climb out the window.
When their eyes met, color sparked to life. Hues of gray and black transformed to red and blue and they knew they were fucked. A rare event that welcomed nothing but trouble. Soulmates. Destined to be each other's better half no matter what cards fate dealt.
Nick O'Flaherty had been gorgeous then, even when he glared at Zane and barked at him to get out of his office. Zane had laughed at the sight, surprised by the idea that a man of the law was his beloved soulmate. Fate had clearly rolled a one on the dice just to spite him. Regardless, he forced it in stride and- not twenty four hours later, Zane fucked Nick into the mattress, kissed him goodbye after he was outed as a thief, and ran off into the night. He dared his partner to come after him.
You needed only meet your soulmate once for the consequences to begin. If parted for too long, the color drained from your eyes and your world was once again painted a myriad of monotonous black and gray. If you never reunited, you became blind. If either set of eyes were damaged, you would share the pain. Stupid, dreadful consequences.
Because of the rules, they kept meeting. Unfortunately.
Each time started the same way. Nick threatened to arrest Zane and Zane replied with a tease and a innuendo. Then somehow they ended up working together. They were an effective team: Zane unafraid to get his hands dirty, Nick confident, and reckless, enough to charge ahead. Not that he doubted Zane's ability to follow him and watch his back, of course. If, hypothetically, Nick pinned Zane down, handcuffed him, and kissed him violently enough to make the criminal writhe under him then maybe the soulmate bond grew stronger.
They always ended the same too. Zane managed to slip the cuffs (Nick always pretended he let him) and bade him farewell once more. It was Zane's way of dealing with their situation. He wasn't sure if he loved Nick desperately or if he loved Nick because of their bond. He would never be sure. So he played fate's game in a way that offered the easiest way out for both of them.
Practicality and number crunching told him he loved Nick. His criminal nature convinced him he only loved Nick because he was forced to. He didn't want to think about what Nick thought of all of this. So he never brought it up. Instead, he ran.
Which is why today was marked in Zane's calendar as the worst day of all time.
It hadn't started the same way. Partly because it was Zane's fault, dragging Nick into his latest heist. Nick had barely protested, already used to the love of his life's criminal activity and knew that stopping him was pointless. That had warmed Zane, pleased that Nick was learning, but now he felt guilty. Had Nick denied him, they would not have been in this mess.
This mess being trapped inside an ancient tomb ready to collapse around them at any second. Zane pulled Nick along, eyes blurred through falling dust and the rushed need to escape. They would never make it, Zane could hear the bomb timer counting down. They were essentially fucked.
Then Nick had to go and sacrifice himself like a fucking martyr. He shoved Zane out a door the first chance he got and it slid shut, locked, and Zane only had a moment before the event registered.
"Nick!" Zane slammed his fists against the door, heart pounding. "Open the door," he yelled louder in case Nick hadn't heard him.
A door slammed on the other side and Zane froze, knowing that their pursuers had caught up to Nick. Shots fired and shouts filled the air and Zane pounded on the door, screaming obscenities. "Nick, I swear to God," he yelled, fist red from his actions.
All too quickly, the noises died down. The sudden silence halted Zane's fist, anxiety and anticipation formed in the pit of his stomach. He choked on his words before he finally pushed them out of his throat, "Nicholas answer me." Zane had always prided himself on remaining calm and collected during tough moments. Now he pathetically waited for the soulmate he'd kept at a distance to answer him.
His vision hadn't gone dark. Nick had to be alive or else... Fate laughed at his thoughts because at that moment, his left eye started hurting.
"This," came Nick's muffled voice from behind the door. "Is for the best, Z."
"Like hell it is," Zane gritted out. "Open this door."
Nick laughed on the other side. Faded, bitter, tired. "One of us has to get out alive, why shouldn't it be you?"
"I'm a criminal. You're the detective here- no, none of that right now. Nick, we can both get out alive. We have time!" He jiggled the door knob, pushing against it in another attempt before his knees wobbled. Zane slid to the floor, head pounding as his left eye throbbed. "What'd you do to your eye," he demanded.
"You noticed, huh?"
"Of course I noticed, we share eye pain because of this stupid bond-" He shouldn't have said that.
"Stupid, yeah?" Nick's voice went still, disappointed. "I knew you hated it but it's nice to finally hear you admit it."
Zane closed his eyes, the pain unbearable. He inhaled, trying again. "Nick, I love you. I can't tell you if it is because of our bond or if it's real feelings, but we can figure it out. Open the door, I can get you to a doctor. We can survive-" He stopped when the door pressed against him. For a second he thought Nick was listening to him but it turned out that Nick was slumped against it instead.
"Zane, can I let you in on a little secret?" Nick sounded miserable.
Zane imagined Nick's head lulled against the door, eyes closed, eyes bleeding. He imagined wounds and tattered clothing. He choked on the thoughts, nodding his head before he remembered that Nick couldn't see him. "You idiot," he started to say instead of accepting Nick's need to speak.
Nick ignored him. "You're the greatest thing that's ever happened to me." The laughter that followed was breathless, almost incredulous. "You're this dumb criminal who snuck into my life and made it your home. I tried to arrest you and you always slipped away. I could have caught you but I didn't want to. I wanted to let you win. I wanted to chase after you: I did chase after you."
"And look where that's got us."
Zane didn't have to look or ask or anything. He knew. They were in the middle of fucking nowhere and Nick was dying in the next room over. Separated by a door littered with emotions and confessions. Zane wanted to bust it down and save Nick- but he couldn't. His strength had been used up in the chase and if Nick wanted him out of the way, Nick would make sure Zane stayed out of the way. Which meant-
Zane opened his eyes and confirmed his fears. His vision was fading. He remembered what the color blue looked like- the door had been shaded lightly, almost a pale tone. Now it differed completely and Zane's breath hitched. He wiped at his tears and wasn't surprised to learn his left eye was bleeding.
"Do you remember the night I tried to turn you in?"
He did. Zane had asked Nick to come with him. He'd promised Nick the world: treasures and gems and the stars above and peace. Together, just the two of them. He'd offered Nick the world in exchange for his heart. Nick declined, called the police, and Zane had escaped the car and promised Nick another time.
"I wish we could have done that, Zane. If there is one thing I regret right now, it's that I never got to tell you I chose you. That I always wanted to run away with you and capture that dream of freedom. I'm sorry."
"We can still have it," his voice was a scratched record at this point.
"Knowing you... loving you was a gift I don't deserve."
An eruption sounded. Zane managed out Nick's full name before light blinded him and the tomb collapsed from the bomb that had signaled the end of their relationship. Ringing filled his ear and agony escaped his lips, then Zane was surrounded by darkness and his world emptied.
When Zane woke up in the world, he cursed fate and himself. One eye opened and revealed a grayscale room. The other eye, his left eye, was black. Removed. An eye patch replaced it. He didn't speak, instead he stared up at the hospital ceiling. Who had saved him? It didn't matter. He should have died.
His soul reminded him that part of him did die. The only part that had mattered.