"Have mercy! It's his fault, not mine! Kill him, have mercy on me, please! I-" Iris brought down the knife, and buried it deep in the place where Jeremy's heart had once beat.
He screamed once, jerking, and then was still.
"Jeremy!" Kurt cried out, convulsing sickly and he fell, and Dave was barely able to catch him in time.
"Kurt? Jesus, Kurt! What's wrong?" He went quickly to the floor, cradling his blonde lover. "K-kurt?" Kurt tried to speak, but then he groaned and coughed, and an impossibly bright spray of blood trickled from his lips, staining the light whiskers on his chin a deep crimson. Dave stared in horror, and felt himself break. "Kurt! Oh fuck, oh God, your mouth! You're fucking bleeding!" Rage engulfed him and he turned to Iris, who was watching silently with fathomless brown eyes. "What have you done to him, you bitch?! What have you fucking done?"
"It's his time." Iris's voice was surprisingly soft. Jeremy's blood coated her hands, and was impossibly dark and thick. Barely human, at all. "His tattoo has faded. It's his time."
"No, that's not true, take it back, you fucking bitch! Take it back!"
"Da...david," Kurt gasped, and Dave turned back to him. He gaped, amazed to see a new clarity blazing in Kurt's eyes even as they began to glaze over. He knew immediately what that clarity meant. Kurt's words only enforced his understanding. "David, I... I remember."
"You, you remember m-me?"
Kurt almost smiled "...Uh-huh..."
Collapsing, Dave sobbed. "Jesus, oh God, K-kurt, you have no idea how m-much, how fucking much, I've missed you."
"I, I'm sorry." He panted harshly, and a sliver of blood passed through his lips to stain his chin. "Didn't mean to, l-leave you, I... wasn't you. I, I didn't want to hurt you, I..." He paused for breath, and a tear slid down his cheek. It traced the same pattern down his face as the blood had, and the tear drops turned red.
"I, I love you, David," he muttered. Dave held him, and began to cry bitterly. "I... always, you. And, I'm sorry. So sorry, David."
Dave shook his head fiercely. "Don't be sorry, you-" But then a great wave of pain came from somewhere in the sky and broke over both of them, and they cried out in unison. The pain was sudden and intense, and almost as bad was the shock that accompanied it. But there was something deeply sad, and strangely beautiful, about this pain. The pain was centering at their wrists...
"Oh my God, Kurt," Dave breathed. "Look."
They both glanced down, at the little, baby tattoos budding on their wrists; one for each man. They were gleaming, vibrant and young. Kurt smiled weakly. His lips were rimmed in red. Dave whined in the back of his throat. Too much blood. "That, that proves it... then." Even his eyes were red. Too much red. Too much pain. Dave felt his heart sting. "We're... we really are, soul mates, now." He trembled in his lover's arms. "L-listen to me Dave, I, I know I never told you enough but, but you've always, m-meant the world to me. You were an incredible drummer... and a good, good friend."
"H-hey!" Dave felt an overwhelming fear. "Don't talk like than, man, you're okay. It'll be okay."
Kurt only stared, and brought a hand up to limply caress Dave's cheek, stroking his beard. "Look at you, Dave. You're s-so fucking beautiful, after, after so long." Dave sobbed and bit down on his bottom lip hard, teetering on the brink of insanity. No not now I just got him back not now God oh God please not now... He raised his head to scream at Iris again. "Don't just stand there, you cunt! Save him! Fucking save him, like I know you fucking can!" He held up Kurt's wrist, brandishing his new tattoo. "You can't take him, he's not Jeremy's mate, he's mine. Mine!"
"It's his time," Iris repeated without pity, but spoke in an even softer tone than She had before. Her eyes flickered briefly, then sealed over again. Fathomless, again.
"No, no, no!" Dave clutched possessively at Kurt, rocking him, sobs wracking his body. "I won't let you take him! I won't! Bitch!"
"Dave!" Kurt gasped, in his last few seconds. "Look at me Dave... fucking l-look at me." Almost against his will Dave turned, and looked down at his lover with huge, grief stricken eyes. "You, you can't save me. Jeremy dies... I, I die, too."
"You, have to let me go. Let... fucking let me go."
"Kurt, I can't. I can't. I'll die."
"You'll be okay." The blonde shivered, and his voice failed him. "I, I... fucking love you, man..." He exhaled painfully, and felt a great coldness envelope him from the inside.
"Kurt, no, no don't, please..."
Kurt tried to say something more, something to comfort his lover. But before he could think of anything, his soul disintegrated, and his lifeless body crumpled into Dave's arms.
Siri felt it then, a supernova of pain that radiated, permeated, into every cell in her body. She turned direction mid-stride and flew towards the apartment Kurt and Jeremy shared. The pain was hot, to her it looked as though the walls themselves were melting.
Oh no, no. She's here. She's come.
"Fuck!" She uttered the obscene, human curse word without even being aware of it. She knew Jeremy was gone. Faded. Kurt was either also gone, or fading at this very moment. It was hard to tell. In that apartment, the atmosphere was cloaked in a dark aura that was near impossible to see through. Her twin sister was strong. Too strong, really, for Her own good.
Above all things she had felt was the undeniable truth that Kurt and Dave now shared the inseparable bond, and that if Kurt had faded, Dave would soon follow him. Just as Kurt had followed Jeremy.
Oh Kurt oh Dave how could I let this happen to you? It's not your time yet, I felt it! You are special! You are different to the others!
She skidded to a halt and almost fell over her own feet, when she heard the voice of Iris in her head.
(Give it up, sister. These souls belongs to me, now. That is how it has always been. That is how it always will be. The bonding mark has faded, and now they are mine.)
Siri tired her best to argue, as her sister spoke to her.
(No! You're severely mistaken! Kurt's soul is no longer tied to Jeremy; it's tied to David. They're the ones who are bonded, now. They're the ones who share a common mark.)
(Then I shall take the one you call David, also. Soon, he will belong to me. They all will.)
Siri ran faster, blurred and quicksilver. She was raging at the unmoving wall of her sister's logic. Burning with rage.
(You mustn't take either one of them, Iris! Stop being so insolent, they don't belong to you! Don't you realize, can't you feel it? It's imperative that they survive. Something crucial to all of us, involving them, is about to happen.)
(You must learn not to interfere in the affairs of others.)
(And you must learn to stand down and admit it when you're wrong!)
Her brain pulsed furiously. Snarling silently.
(I forbid you to hurt them!)
(It's too late for that, Siri.) It could have been her imagination, but to Siri it almost seemed as though her sister felt sorry for her. The voice in her head was very soft, and mellow. (Kurt has already gone. Now, I have to take David, too. They're mine. They belong to me.)
And the mind-link between them was severed by Iris, and Siri found herself suddenly alone. No! She moaned to herself, and was filled with a powerful, new resolve. She was going to save Kurt and Dave. She didn't know yet how she was going to do it.
But by all that was good and loving in the Afterlife, she was going to do it right.
Dave could only slouch numbly, and cradle Kurt's body in his arms. Something from inside had been cruelly ripped apart, leaving him numb and cold and bleeding. At first, no tears could come, nothing came.
Then, the extent of his grief and pain was realized.
"Kurt!" He howled harshly, but even that was an effort, as his existence began to ebb away. He screamed at Iris. "You can't have him! You can't have him, you bitch! He is mine!"
"No, Dave," said Iris simply, making his blood boil. "He's not. He belongs to me. And soon, very soon now, so will you."
He knew it was the truth; he could feel life draining out of his body in waves, his vision was fading, the world was dark, grey, unfeeling. But he found he didn't really care. An existence without Kurt by his side was no existence at all.
"So what?" he muttered limply, and finding he could no longer support his own body weight, laid down beside Kurt, and waited to disappear. "I don't fucking care if I die, or fade, or whatever fucking shit this is. Without him, it's not fucking worth it." He sighed listlessly, and buried his face in Kurt's long, blonde hair. "I'm sorry," he breathed, and Kurt's hair turned damp from tears. "I'm sorry I c-couldn't save you from this." He sobbed quietly, and found that failing Kurt hurt more than dying ever could. He kissed the last of the blood away from his lover's face, and Iris watched impassively. Impassively, save for a faint frown line developing on Her forehead.
"You really love him, don't you?"
Dave glanced up, surprised. "Yes. Of course I do." He could barely see now; and he knew soon he would be completely blind. So he turned what was left of his sight back to his lover, wanting Kurt to be the last thing he ever saw. "I l-love you, Kurt, fucking forever." His voice dropped, his vision faded, his mind clouded over. The only warmth left in the world was his love for Kurt. "I would have died for you. Know that. I would have fucking d-died for... for you." Weakly, he pressed their tattoos together. A perfect match.
"You're mine now, Dave."
No I'm not. He could no longer speak as he laid his head on Kurt's chest, but Iris heard his thoughts, as clear as a bell. I'll never belong to you. I'm Kurt's. Always and forever. The way it should be. I... Kurt. And wearily, he closed his blinded eyes.
"Dave?" For the first time, Iris's voice was tentative, but Her words went unheard in the cold, dark room.
Dave was gone.
Siri burst into the room in a torrent of bright, blinding light. Her eyes snapped with agility across the floor, focused briefly on the triumphant Iris, then darted to Jeremy's bloody form, then rested on the final, puddled heap on the ground. Her eyes filled with tears. Oh Dave... Kurt. I'm sorry.
They were still, entwined in each other, resting on a smear of blood on the floor. If not for that tell-tale smear of blood, the couple could have been sleeping. Siri knew they weren't fucking sleeping.
Iris... Empty, devoid of life, shells and husks of their former selves. Vessels that had once carried living being but were now dead and dry. She was shaken by her grief for the two, tears swelled and slid down her cheeks. They were so empty. But even now, they were beautiful.
Iris regarded her quietly.
"It's over, now," She murmured, and Siri eyed her. Her dagger had been wiped of blood and was back at Her waist. On Her slender wrist, Iris wore the large, silver bracelet She always kept close, and hanging from that bracelet were three bright, glowing spheres of warm energy. Tokens of the souls Iris had collected, and claimed as Her own.
Siri wasn't even close to giving up. "Two of those souls belong to me, Iris."
Her sister smirked wryly, but Siri was not in the mood for mind games. "Only two? You don't want to try for the third?"
"This isn't a joke. You claimed Jeremy's soul under your own terms, that's fair enough. But I'm reclaiming Kurt and Dave's soul under my own terms. You may deal with the damned. But I deal with the loved."
"Kurt and Dave are damned. Kurt's tattoo faded. He severed his tie with Jeremy. They destroyed each other."
"Iris, Jeremy raped him."
"It was preventable." It was preventable? Siri felt great rage and frustration at Her indifference. But she knew this wasn't really her sister. This was just her sister's facade.
"I know you better than this, Iris," she said quietly. "I know you must fell at least some empathy towards them. Kurt and Dave fell in love, Iris.
Don't you see that? They were made for one another, right from the very beginning."
"I know." Iris was sombre and reflective. "You're right. They did fall in love. And in doing so, Kurt stole away Dave's soul. Jeremy's tattoo faded, and started the chain reaction. And now, I've had to claim them all."
"There was no chain. It was broken. Jeremy and Kurt weren't connected when you killed Kurt; didn't you see their wrists?" Siri was pleading to her sister's better nature, the one that had been hidden and suppressed, for countless years. "Kurt and Dave share a common mark, now. They are bonded. You only take the ones without bonds!"
"Kurt broke his bond, and formed a new one. His original bond still broke. It does not omit him from my care."
"Iris, please. Take into consideration, nothing like this has ever happened before!" Her anger was close to the surface, and she struggled to keep it down. It would do no good to insult her sister, now. "Please, I, I wouldn't be insisting if I didn't know it was important. Please, give them their souls back, Iris. They're in love." She paused, and the brown shine in her eyes mirrored her sister's. "Don't you remember what it's like, to be in love?"
Iris flinched a little, suddenly insecure. Memories of thousands of years ago, from before they were assigned to this damned job. Before they, and the rest of the Afterlife, were cursed with this hideous situation of tattoos and enforced bonding and fading away. Memories of a family, their mother. Of the young boy She had loved, dark and mysterious and smiling. Her eyes grew misty. "Siri," She choked. "Don't you, don't you remember what it's like to be damned? We're cursed. We're all fucking cursed. There's no stopping this, and even if there was, there's no point."
"You don't understand, do you?" Siri's voice was soft with sympathy. She too, missed her mother. "Imagine an Afterlife with no marks, no bindings. No selling your soul for sex, and no cold dread when your mark begins to fade." She glanced over at Kurt and Dave again, locked in a lover's embrace, and sighed. A part of her was jealous, for the love they shared. "Imagine an existence, where everyone fell in love, and were free to make their own choices. They messed up so badly, when they made it like this. I don't know if it was punishment, or if they really though this way was for the best. It doesn't matter. All that matters is how awful the situation we are left in now really is."
But Siri spoke over the interruption, desperate to speak her mind. "People should be free. To find their true soul mates." She locked eyes with her sister. "That's what we have here, Iris. Two souls that are made for each other, yet you still insist on keeping them apart.
Iris was a little taken aback, and shaken. "What can we do about it, sister? It's how it's always been, it's how it always will be. You can't just-" But then her sister's mind flared, and Iris was able to clearly read her mind. What She found made Her gasp. "You, you can't seriously think that, Siri. Even, even if we used these... these soul mates to try it, do you actually believe we could free everyone from this shit? Is that what you're suggesting?" She shook Her head, sadly. "It's just a fantasy we share, nothing more can come of it. It's enticing, but impossible. We're all in this, stuck like this, forever."
"You've made yourself believe that," Siri murmured. "To help you cope with your situation. I don't blame you, I did too, until a few weeks ago. But what if it were possible? What if I told you it's not only just possible, but that I know it's supposed to happen, to be successful? You have to trust in me, Iris."
"It can't be done."
"Free them, then. Wake them up, and we will see."
Iris made a small noise then, and Siri was beyond surprised when she realized the noise was a sob. "Even, even if I could wake them up. Even if by some miracle I could return their souls to their bodies, there, there isn't even a hope of it working. And then, if, if it did work..." She paused, hesitantly. "If by some, insane chance it worked, we would become obsolete."
"Yes, we would," her sister echoed softly. "And we would be free, finally. From all of this."
"We would fade away."
"After all we've benn through, don't you think that's for the best?"
"Yes." Iris bowed Her head. "I suppose you're right."
Oh, Iris. Don't be scared. "Then let us try it. For Kurt and Dave. For everyone here."
"Please. For me."
Iris gazed at her for a long time, Her eyes filled with sadness and doubt. Yet, there was also a glimpse of... something in her face, that gave Siri hope. "It's only... if we're to try it, I think you should do it. After all, I shouldn't be trusted with giving someone life. I only know how to take it away."
Siri soothed her softly. "We'll do it together, then."
It made her sister's eyes widen with shock and appreciation. "Alright."
The shared a smile as they got down beside the lifeless bodies, and the moment was a good one. Iris gently slipped two of the lights from Her wrist, the brightest of the three, and handed one carefully to Her sister. They didn't speak as they did it. The moment did not need words.
They moved together in perfect time, without even being aware of it. In turn, Kurt and Dave's jaws were taken lightly into careful hands, and their mouths were softly pried open. Once more speaking through their bond, Iris sent her sister a quiet message. (My biggest regret is that I'm going to leave this place with everyone in the Afterlife hating and fearing me.)
(Think of me then, sister. Do you sense how I feel. I love you, more than anything. More than everything.)
(Here goes nothing, then.)
Their soft smiles were sisterly and identical. They locked eyes for the last time as the bright spheres of light were placed in the men's mouths, then vanished.
Floating in space. In extreme, suffocating blackness. Whispers filled the spaces, and they were spiteful.
Dave tried his very hardest to exist again, but it was far too much for him. He hadn't the strength, and fell back against the nothing, faded and forgotten. He didn't even have the strength to search for his Kurt. And it left him heartbroken.
"Oh Kurt. Where are you? I want to be with you, I want to be with you, please. This is Hell, this is fucking Hell! Don't make me exist without you!"
This is Hell.
He felt himself jerk convulsively, and for one fleeting moment, he felt like he could almost exist again. But then it was gone, and he tumbled down. He was weak, too weak. "Kurt..." He would have cried if he could of, if he'd had eyes or tear ducts, or any sort of anatomy for that matter. His body was gone. "Kurt, I need you. Please. I love you!"
He thought about Kurt. About how much he loved the little blonde, and how he could never, ever exist without him. And how no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't seem to save him. "I don't care where we are," he murmured plaintively. "I don't care if we're alive, or in the Afterlife, or Heaven or Hell or some fucking other place. I just need you. Because I love you. I need you with me, please. Kurt."
Another jolt, harder, and more intense than the first, and Dave groaned. It was like a bout of amnesia he just couldn't shake, an orgasm that wouldn't come, a rope he couldn't fucking climb. And he wanted to desperately to remember, to come, to climb up and out and break through the surface.
A massive jolt, painfully hard.
White lights appearing before his non-existent eyes.
So close. So... fucking... close. I, I'm almost there, Kurt. Kurt.
And then it happened. "Kurt!" The dam broke, and suddenly he remembered, he had his orgasm, the rope twisted in his fingers and pulled him up and out, away. He broke into consciousness. And then, he suddenly found himself existing again...
Dave choked, gasped, and woke up.
"Kurt?" he groaned as he came alive all at once, breathing again, pulsing, beating. He could feel every system in his body functioning. He could feel the blood in his veins. He could feel breath rush in and out of his lungs. And it was bliss. It was like Nirvana.
"Kurt!" He rolled, almost falling onto the body of his lover, and started to stroke him, shake his shoulders, anything to wake him. He wasn't aware of his own tears. His voice was hoarse with disuse, and he vaguely wondered how long he'd been dead.
Then he dismissed that thought for good.
"Kurt, oh fuck, man. Come on, wake up. Wake up. I need you here, with me! Don't, don't fucking make me go on without you!" His hands fumbled all over Kurt's body, and he searched for any signs of life. "Kurt. Damn this." He sobbed quietly, and touched the blonde's closed eyelids with trembling fingers. "Oh God. I love you. I love you." He sobbed, and leaned down to kiss his lover back to life.
But Kurt beat him to it.
He stiffened and cried out, his eyes snapping open, wide and deep and impossibly blue. Dave loved him, with every scrap of his heart.
"Kurt!" Kurt's eyes found Dave's, and he visibly relaxed with relief, sighing, shivering all over.
"H-hey... hey, my David." He smiled weakly, and was beautiful. "It's good to see you again. S-so... fucking wonderful..." Dave strangled his moans and fell onto him, both comforting and receiving comfort at the same time, both holding, and being held.
"Jesus," he breathed, and buried his face in the slope of Kurt's neck. "Oh, Jesus, I though I'd... I love you. S-so much, and. And I'm so, so sorry that I couldn't save you. That I couldn't ever save you..."
"Hush, no, Dave," Kurt murmured so strongly it was almost a soft growl. "Don't you dare. Don't you dare even fucking say that. It's not fucking true. You, you've saved me so many times. In life, in the Afterlife, on so many fucking levels, man. You saved me every day. And I love you. Fuck it, I love you with all my heart more than anything in the universe. Oh God. And now, you're my Dave. You're my Dave. And, fuck, it makes me so happy. I want to spend an eternity with you."
Dave half sobbed, half cried and they kissed, fusing and becoming one, whole being.
On their wrists, their heart shaped tattoos radiated with warmth, without pain but with an almost orgasmic pleasure. They turned an impossible shade of silver, and a light seemed to pulse from within.
All across the Afterlife, couples pointed and exclaimed as their own tattoos began to shine with spectral light, dazzling them. They didn't understand it, only knew it was good, and they rejoiced. Hugs and kisses were exchanged.
There was laughter.
Partners everywhere made love.
Their tattoos shone bright for a few more moments, then slowly began to fade, fade completely, never to be seen on anyone again. They were free.
After what seemed like an eternity, Dave and Kurt broke apart, and smiled hazily at each other.
"H-hey," Dave murmured suddenly, looking around them. "Where did Siri go? And, and Iris?"
"...I don't know." They looked around.
But the sisters were nowhere to be seen