"I warned you to stay away."
A soft whisper cracks across the space between you, tempts a tremble from your steady hands. The gun wavers.
Forget-me-not eyes peer up at you from a soft, dusty face, past the armor and through layers of secrets into the place where some dying thing beats in your chest. She still knows how to reach it, though all the world has given up trying, and for a single breathless heartbeat you hate the path that has brought you here.
"You don't have to do this," she pleads, hands clenched in the soot by her knees. "They'll take you back."
You shake your head wordlessly, throat tight and eyes burning like your body has forgotten what your mind has taught it. She keeps her gaze trained on you as you gather that grief and emotion smoldering in your lungs, clutch it tight and shove it deep within the locked corner of your soul that she cannot touch.
You don't want to be saved.
Auburn fire burns hot on flesh and wood kindling behind you, turns the house to cinders as a scorching wind carries its ashes away in the night. The blaze gazes back at you, reflected in her crystal eyes as your gun finds a place between them.
"Please don't do this," she chokes on a sob, tears smearing through the ash on her face. The dying thing in your chest clenches but you have learned to ignore it, let it be smothered by the dark like all the things from your past.
But the sight of her like this causes something akin to actual pain; you can barely breath through the shock of it. You have never faltered before in your mission, but this sharp pulsing slips through the cracks of your shattered soul into the firelit twilight.
"I told you." Your strangled voice pierces the space between you. "I warned you to stay away." She sobs harder, beauty untainted by the destruction you have created. Your finger tightens.
"I didn't want to hurt you."
You leave the way you came.