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    He always knew that if the connection were broken, he wouldn’t be able to take it. They were at war, and war came with risks. They knew that. He knew that. They were happy until that moment, they were satisfied and content with each other. That psychic link, that intimacy between them was like an eternal embrace.

    The bullets tore Ellis’s skin apart. One, two, three, four. Shoulder, chest, stomach, arm. The steel spiraled through the air, as if in slow motion, and Aidan saw them coming towards him. He and Ellis saw them at the same time. In that moment, Ellis was Aidan’s Aegis, though Aidan had sworn that it would be the other way around because he didn’t want Ellis to get hurt.

    His blood spilled out onto the ground, and Aidan caught him as he was about to fall, sat down on the graveyard battlefield, cradled him.

    —DON’T DIE PLEASE DON’T DIE DON’T LEAVE ME PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME ALONE I LOVE YOU PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

    Ellis reached up and placed his hand on Aidan’s face, sending all of his love to Aidan, sending comfort and memories and reassurances.

    —I’ll see you on the other side, my love.

    Aidan wished he didn’t notice when the connection cut off. He hugged Ellis’s cooling body to him and shut his eyes tightly and hoped this was just a terrible nightmare, that at any moment Ellis would change it into a dream like he always does because he notices things like when Aidan has nightmares, and when he opened his eyes, Ellis’s were closed and his body was stained with red. The tears fell from his face first, disbelieving tears. Then he started shaking with sobs, burying his face in Ellis’s shoulder. Eventually the fire ceased, and so did Aidan’s tears.

    A fellow soldier came up to him. “Oi, can’t be ‘olding ‘im like that forever.” Aidan looked up slowly.

    “Can you tell whoever takes care of our bodies to bury us together?”

    The soldier’s brows furrowed for a moment. “What’re you talkin’ bou—”
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May 2012

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