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*And Then There Was One..: A Revision*

*And Then There Was One*

*By: JLJ*

*Warning: Extreme sadness....*soooooob*

*Summary: Butch and Cassidy say their final goodbyes...*

***********************************************************************

*****

Cassidy gasped sharply, covering her gaping mouth with a trembling hand as her eyes fell upon the still, crumpled form of her partner. Sprinting up to him, she quickly got to her hands and knees, kneeling over his battered body. She laid her head against his strong chest, trying to ignore the nausea rising in her throat as she felt his warm sticky blood smear against her skin.

Cass strained desperately to make out a heartbeat, although at the sight of him, she fully expected none. Her attempts were not in vain, but it was very faint and she could hear it gradually slowing, wearing out from its long struggle.

"Butch...no, please..." she whimpered in a quivering voice, her racing heart feeling as if it might shatter in her chest any moment. Her eyes stung from hot tears that were threatening to spill down her beautiful cheeks. With a shaking finger, Cassidy gently brushed a lock of soft teal hair off his handsome face, while she carefully eased him off the ground and into her arms.

Butch stirred at the movement and his big brown eyes slowly fluttered open, with a spark of recognition in them. A sad little smile tugged at his lips as he surveyed his injured body and the crying woman who held on for him for dear life, refusing to let him go. His Cassidy.

"Cass.." he gently whispered, hoping to reassure her as it deeply broke his heart to see her in such grief and heartache.

Her head jerked back at the sound of his voice and she looked at him, startled, but greatly relieved at his alert and aware state. She gasped and nervously chuckled with joy, then gingerly raised his head up so that they could gaze into each others eyes. A message of unspoken love passed between them as the two focused on nothing but the other and the closeness they shared.

"Oh, Butch..." she said, her tone thick with emotion. "I thought you were..I....I thought you were...." Cassidy stopped short, unable to utter another word. She just couldn't say it to him. She just couldn't.

Butch weakly reached out for her hand, but was too tired, too exhausted to grasp it. It limply fell to his side, splashing as it fell in the puddle of blood that he lay in. By this time, the thick liquid had already begun to slowly seep into Cassidy's uniform, only helping to increase the forboding sense of dread and fear she was feeling...

'He has lost so much blood..' Cass thought numbly, her brain working slowly and stiffly in vain, unable to fully comprehend the deadly reality of what was happening to him.

Cassidy began to grow desperate as she looked down at the dark crimson tide flowing from his wounds, she frantically tried to staunch it, the tears cascading down her face. "No... Butch..." she wept as she saw his eyes begin to close, possibly for the last time.

"Please Butch, you've got to hold on! You just can't die! ..I need you..." While grieving with the vast burden of her immense sadness, she ripped a section off her skirt and proceeded to wrap it around his chest as a rather makeshift tourniquet. But she knew the truth, that Butch was far beyond any help that she could possibly give him....

She just didn't want to believe it.

The sky above was growing steadily darker all the while, as clouds gathered above. A few raindrops spattered down upon them, then a steady shower began, drenching them both and diluting the blood. But they were aware of nothing but the other, the rain never phasing them in the least.

Butch fought to keep his eyes open, the temptation to rest them a while becoming very powerful, but he must resist as long as possible- not without telling her something that had weighed heavily on his mind since the day he first met her.

"Cassidy?" he softly wheezed, his voice growing raspy as death loomed nearer.

"Yes? What is it Butch?" she raised his head up farther, his face positioned so very close to her own. Cass didn't want to miss a single word he spoke.

"Cass... I....." he paused as he painfully gasped for a shallow breath, then continued.

"Cass..I'm so sorry.. I didn't want to hurt you!" The sorrow was shown plainly in his dark eyes. He didn't want to leave her all alone, with no one to take care of her. A lone tear of anguish trickled down his face; Butch didn't want to die tonight, not with so much to live for.

She began to mourn hard and long at this. Butch had already reluctantly accepted his death, given up his fierce fight for survival. But he couldn't die...he just couldn't! They were best friends; how could best friends be seperated forever?

Sensing his great despair, Cassidy tried her absolute best to put on a brave front for him, so he wouldn't perish worried about her. Wincing from the throbbing pain of her heart, she lovingly stroked his cheek in an comforting motion, and sighed as she felt his smooth skin beneath her fingertips. He tensed slightly, savoring her light, gentle touch against his flesh.

Tears ran unheeded down Cassidy's cheeks as she felt him slowly begin to slip away, helpless to do anything more. She knew she must tell him- it was now or never.

"Butch..." she started in a halting voice, painfully exposing her unexpressed feelings for him in its inflection.

"I just want you to know that.. I love you..." With that she began to sob even harder, as she felt a pain more incredible than any pain that should ever have to be endured by anyone, ever.

His soulful eyes lit up at her message of love and he gave her another weak, yet very sweet and sincere smile. "I love you, Cassidy..." Butch exchanged back to her, their vow of everlasting love now completed. Then...his eyelids drooped as they began to shut forever. Cass knew of no way to say goodbye to him, except...

She dropped her face tenderly towards his, her heart pounded with emotion. Slowly, their lips softly met for the first time. Cass felt exhilerated, than devastated as she realized he was gone.

Cassidy began to quietly weep at the heart-breaking realization that Butch died before they could both experience their first kiss together. It had been so long that she had longed to hold him and feel the powerful connection of their mouths...but she had been too late.

Then unbelievably enough, she felt his moist lips gently press back against hers, a signal that he was still alive enough to enjoy the loving caress of their affection.

Cass wished with all her heart that this precious moment they shared would never end, that all time would stop so that they could be together forever. In a world where they would feel no suffering or pain, where they could experience true happiness and contentment..with each other, with no obstacles to tear them apart.

She held him tightly as long as she could until she felt his body go limp in her arms, and the pressure cease.

She gasped as she broke off the kiss and looked down at the young man lying in her embrace. His pallor was deathly white, making his lips stand out as red as his blood. Recoiling back slightly, she refused to believe it possible. Cassidy hurriedly felt his neck for a pulse, even a faint one. This time...there was none.

The day's frightening events all rushed back to her at once with an crippling resignation: Butch was... dead...

There were so many things that she would never do with him again.

Never again would she hear the familiar sound of his voice, and his teasing laughter as they joked together at the end of so many hard days on the job. They would never proudly recite their motto, making their enemies tremble with fear at the sight of them. No more grabbing ahold of Butch when she would pretend to be scared, when in reality, it was because she loved the feeling of being so near to him and breathing in his sweet aftershave. That smell always made her feel so warm and safe...so protected.

But now he was gone and its beautiful scent had been replaced by the pungent odor of his blood. That odor would be imprinted into her memory for the rest of her life...How he looked, lying there, would not be a sight she'd never forget as well.

A great rift in her life where Butch used to reside now opened, Cassidy could see nothing else to do but gently lower his body back to the ground. However, not before she held her true love close one last time, feeling his fragile body to still be warm. After releasing, she bent lower and kissed his lips again, holding it for what seemed to be forever, then pulled back.

In her last contact with her lost love, Cassidy sadly lay down beside him, placing her head on his chest like she had the first time she found him, looking completely vulnerable and alone. Now she was the one who was truely alone in the world because ...there was only one of them now. One alone.

Off in the distance, she heard police sirens begin to wail incessantly, coming closer every second to where Butch and Cassidy lay in a bloody heap, but Cassidy no longer cared. She had nothing to care about any longer; her care was now dead.

"Why Butch?? Why did you do it? Why did you die for me?" She bitterly asked him through her sobs, though she ultimately knew she'd never recieve an answer, from him or anyone else.

When an bewildered Officer Jenny eventually found her, she saw Cass only lying there beside him, their bodies so close, as she wept for her fallen partner. Her best friend. Her soulmate.

***

Life is an never ending cycle, and with one end ushers in the start of a new beginning.

***

Copyright 1999
By *JLJ*
Feedback? You bet! (Butch@team-rocket.net)

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