Cold metal dug into his abdomen. How the gun fit between them when they were so tightly pressed together, Ken didn't know. He tasted blood on his tongue from where the other man's fist had found his mouth. It was such a familiar flavor, but even after all of these years it still wasn't a pleasant taste. He worried his lower lip between his teeth, feeling the sting of the gash as teal eyes gazed up at his opponent's face. He could feel Schuldich's cool breath washing over his cheeks. They were both out of breath and their chests moved against each other. He could feel Schuldich's heartbeat, and he told himself it was racing because they'd been fighting.

Schuldich considered him for a long moment and finally released Ken's hand. Pain shot up his arm when it was freed; Schuldich had wrenched it to one side before Ken's bugnuks could find his flesh. Ken didn't mind. He had been aiming knowing that the telepath was going to be able to stop him.

There was a loaded gun pressed into his gut, but Ken felt a smile pull at his lips.

"Regrets?" he asked the other man.

Schuldich arched an eyebrow at him. "I'm the one holding the gun," he pointed out. "You?"

Ken laughed, slowly lowering his arm back to his side. Schuldich didn't need to hold onto it; no attack Ken tried could move faster than Schuldich's finger on the trigger. Ken wriggled his hand free of the thick glove and reached up, burying his fingers in the German's thick hair. "Why should I?" he asked, mouth pulling in a wry grin. "I wouldn't have this happen any other way."

Schuldich snorted at that, letting Ken tug him down by his hair. Schuldich's mouth was rough against his own, but there had never been any sort of tenderness between them. The German tasted like smoke, as always. It was appropriate, Ken decided. It suited the German's personality. He lifted his other hand to Schuldich's hair, digging his fingers into the German's skull as he tried to get as much as he could from his lover. The gun never wavered, but Schuldich's free hand hooked in the hem of his pants.

They'd always known it was going to come to this. They'd known it since they first started, and they'd kept going with the agreement that it would happen with no regrets on either side. Weiss was Weiss; Schwarz was Schwarz. White and black, good and bad, and while one couldn't exist without the other, there could never be a happy ending for them.

They'd always known it was going to happen, and yet…

I wanted things to be different.

He drew in a ragged breath, tilting his head to one side to give Schuldich access to his throat. Desperate fingers raked over the telepath's shoulders, trying to soak up as much of the older man as he could. Schuldich's mouth was hungry against his skin and he felt something violent wrench in his stomach. What Schuldich wouldn't say was clear in the hand that was tightening on his side, in the fierceness of his kiss.

I wanted to think that this would work. That we could be happy.

I just wanted…

Yeah, don't we all?

The gunshot was deafening.

The silence afterwards was louder.

Part One
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