-Preface-

In the end, does it really matter what side you're on? Does anyone honestly fucking care if you were loyal to your little group or not, does it even matter if that loyalty is the very thing that kills you?

Naomi was waiting in the park as we had both planned. I found her sleeping on a bench wrapped up in a pink jacket. In the late-night darkness, her red-brown hair looked black. I brushed a few stray strands back into place as gently as I could. As soon as my fingers brushed against her cheek, she began to hum in her sleep. It was an oddity of hers that adored.

We all live, we all die. That's the end of it. There is not reward for "dying by your king's side" or a special VIP section in heaven. We are all going to hell, every single person involved in this stupid war is damned to burn for the people they have killed and the lives they have ruined.

Her eyelids began to flutter, but she did not wake. Some part of me was relieved, it was the same part that wanted to remember her like this: a sleeping beauty with no hate, no grudges, no pain. If I had left then, without another word or after thought, she would have forgotten me. She would have lived life happy enough without me. But her eyes cracked open, a warm smile spread across her face. It was too late.

Hate and love are dangerous emotions to mix. Its damage is evident enough in the sky. A stray weapon destroying the only thing that gave us light in the darkest of night. No one noticed. No one cared.

We still did not stop. Our bloodlust was monstrous and uncontainable. As centuries began to pass and the original reason for the war had been forgotten, we still fought until our own pointlessly violent lives ended one by one.

"Gage," her voice had a rare softness she saved especially for me.

"Go back to sleep," I said suddenly.

She looked at me in a funny, amused way.

"Why?"

"You don't want to see me."

Thinking I was joking, she chuckled.

Even though I knew I should be leaving, I didn't stand up or walk away. I couldn't even manage to keep my hands to my own damn self.

I traced the line of her jaw with my knuckle. Her warm, amber eyes locked with mine and melted. Before I knew it, she was kissing me, and I was lost.

Naomi and I were born to be soldiers. Both of us had high ranks, both of us were among the best, but neither of us understood why the happiness went away as soon as the cheering crowds dispersed.

I believe that is what brought us together. The feeling we shared that made us believe that somewhere there was a life beyond fighting and hate. Together, we made vows to break ties with our allies and to leave our lives behind.

But ties are hard to break. Alliances, friendships, loyalty go deep. They are impossible to erase.

It was hard to gather my wits, but as soon as I did I broke away from her. She looked up at me, shocked and hurt. I couldn't look at her anymore, my hands dropped to the ground and my eyes followed.

"I'm sorry," I managed to say in a hoarse whisper. I doubted she could hear me, but I could not make myself say anything else.

Without a word from either of us, I left.

Believe it or not, there are idiots out there who would throw away happiness for pain. As of now, I am one of them.