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          🌼Choice 🥀

🌹(You're my soulmate)🌹

Episode : 26

Everything went in slow motion; the fall, the shot, the blood splatter and the scream.

 Valentine had seen the gun before me, and he had dived to the floor – grabbing me as he went.

 The both of us fell; our sides hitting the hard, uneven, ground as the gunshot ran out.

I heard Lincoln shout a large 'no' behind me, as he ran towards us. Valentine groaned in pain, from the fall, as I screamed out. 

Antony paused; before he looked down at his gut. The bullet had been aimed for my chest, but he was taller than me. The bullet had hit his mid stomach.

"No" I screamed, as I jumped up and ran to his.

"Julian get down" Lincoln screamed, before I saw him in front of me. 

One moment Lincoln was running towards me, the next he dived at Thomas.

 I didn't look, but I could hear them fighting. I was too busy looking at Antony.

"No" I cried, as I grabbed a hold of him. But I was too weak to hold him up, as we both fell down together. 

I slumped on the floor awkwardly, as he landed on top of me. I was crying, Lincoln was fighting, Valentine was shouting and Antony was dying.

I wrapped my hands around him, pressing them onto the wound. Scarlett blood covered my pale fingers, and I let out a heavy sob.

 "It hurts" Antony choked, struggling to breathe through the pain.

"Just hold on please, we'll get you to a hospital" I willed, hands shaking as I tried to press down harder – stopping the blood rushing out.

 It didn't help any; there was too much blood. "Lincoln, help" I shrieked.

I didn't get a response, so looked away from him and up to where Lincoln was.

 He had Thomas in a choke hold; his large hands around Thomas' neck. 

There was a heavy pause before Layton snapped his hands to the left – breaking his enemy's neck instantly.

Thomas' body collapsed to the floor. Dead. I didn't scream, I didn't cry, I didn't react. 

I was too sad about Antony to even care that Thomas was dead. Valentine was also shouting; I glanced over to see him trying to get the old man to leave.

Lincoln noticed that too, and wasn't happy. He sprinted over, before killing the old man the same way he had Thomas. 

It was obvious Layton was angry but I didn't mind – I, too, was angry.

I turned back to Antony, who I realised had gone limp in my arms. 

His eyes were closed, and his breathing had silenced. "Antony" I said, shaking him slightly. He didn't reply, and his head lopped to the side.

 "No, Antony, no". I raised my blood soaked hand to his neck, and felt for a pulse. There wasn't one. "No, you can't, you can't be".

I pushed him off my body, and lay him flat on the ground. Sobbing hard, covered in blood, I began to preform CPR – my hands pushing on his chest, as I cried.

 After four presses, I sealed my mouth over his and pushed my breath into his lungs. I did that twice, but it made no difference.

"Antony, wake up" I screamed; almost as if I was angry at him for dying. 

I began to panic that his heart had been stopped for too long, and manically began to speed up the CPR. I knew I was acting desperately, but I was desperate.

Antony and I hadn't gotten on when I first met, but we had grown to be friends. 

He was the only friend I really had, except for Valentine, and suddenly he was dead. I had made a special bond with Antony; we respected one another, and understood one another.

"Julian stop" I heard Lincoln say behind me, his hand resting on my shoulder.

"No" I screamed, shrugging his hands away from me. My entire body was shaking, and I was terrified, but I carried on trying to restart his heart. 

Tears were blurring my vision, making everything seem hazy and obscure.

"Julian, that's enough. I'm sorry, but's he dead. There is nothing we can do" Lincoln said in my ear, forcefully pulling me away from Antony. 

I cried, trying to pull away from his grip. But Layton was incredible strong, and didn't even flinch as I fought in his arms.

"Julian, please" Lincoln whispered in my ear. He carried me away from Antony's body and to the car. 

He took a seat in the passenger's side, and held me on his lap as I sobbed hard. "Stop crying, please, stop". He sounded as upset as I felt.

I looked up into his green eyes, to see them glistening with unshed tears.

 I had forgotten, in my own well of grieve, that Antony had been the closest thing that Lincoln had to a friend.

 I wrapped my arms around his neck, and held on as tight as possible.

"He was aiming for me" I choked out, burying my face in his neck.

"He's dead" Lincoln replied.

"If Valentine hadn't have pushed me, I would be dead".

"He's dead".

"The bullet was meant for me".

"He's dead" Lincoln snapped; his voice harder than before. 

His grip on me tightened, as I pulled away and we looked into each other's eyes again. "Thomas is dead, Julian. It's over, it's all over".

"But Antony is dead" I replied, wetting my lips nervously. "Thomas may be dead, but so is Antony".

"He died in battle, like a true soldier, giving himself for his leader. 

And he will forever be remembered for it". He pressed a soft kiss to my forehead, his lips lingering there for a few seconds.

We decided to take Antony's body back to the pack, so that he could have a proper burial. 

We laid his body in the back of the car, Lincoln drove and I sat on Valentine's lap as we drove home. I curled up in Valentine's hold, trying to stay awake.

However, I did end up falling asleep at some point on the drive back, and woke in a terrible nightmare. 

I screamed, and cried, and thrashed around. I was lying on the couch, in Lincoln's office, as he sat behind his desk.

"What's wrong?" Lincoln demanded, looking up from his desk.

"Bad dream" I muttered, sitting up on the couch and running my hands through my loose hair. I glanced down at my clothes, noticing that I had changed. "Did you change me?"

"You were covered in blood. I didn't want you to wake up like that" he replied. I was glad, and offered him a small smile.

"What are you doing? What happened to Valentine? What about Antony?" I fired the questions quickly, feeling I had missed so much from just a simple nap.

"Everything is sorted, Julian. Valentine left, he said he would call you in the morning to check on you, and Antony's body is in the hospital.

 We'll have a funeral soon" Lincoln told me, his eyes going back to the paperwork in his hand. There were large bags under his eyes, and his frown lines were deep.

Walking over to him, I saw he was working on plans for Antony's funeral. 

"You need to rest, Lincoln. Why don't you get someone to do this for you?" I suggested, worried about how he was handling the death.

"The person who does this usually is my Beta. And in case you've forgotten, my Beta fucking died" Lincoln snapped angrily. I flinched at his hard tone, and automatically took a step back. "Go home Julian, I have lots of work to do".

"Okay" I whispered, looking away. I knew Layton was lashing out, because he was grieving, but it still hurt the way he spoke to me. So I left him alone, to deal with the funeral arrangements, and walked home.

I thought about a lot of things as I stumbled back – mostly about Antony and Layton. I couldn't get the image out of my Lincoln; the bullet hitting Antony, and him falling to the floor.

 I thought over the possibility of what would have happened if Valentine had pulled us both out the way. 

I thought over the possibility of what would have happened if Valentine hadn't pushed me out the way. Both thoughts were as grim as the other.

When I got home, I took a shower – because I still felt like I was covered in Antony's blood. Both mentally and physically; he died because of a bullet that was aiming for me, and that made me feel responsible. 

I knew it was stupid, I kept telling myself that Thomas was to blame, but that didn't ease my whirling mind any.

Lincoln returned later that evening, his face full of tiredness and sadness.

 If I had only just met Lincoln I would have thought he looked emotionless as normal, but I knew him too well – I could see the pain and grieve in his eyes, I could see the mask he was holding in place. 

And, even though he'd never admit it, his mask fell away with me.

I was sat on the bed, and he looked down at me. "Sorry" he mumbled, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck.

 I was shocked – Lincoln had never apologised unprompted to me before. 

I hadn't expected him to give me one, but it was nice to get one. By how uncomfortable he looked, I didn't think he'd ever apologised to anyone before.

"It's alright" I smiled sadly, as he took a seat next to me. 

He sat closer than expected, and the bed dipped throwing me closer into his side. I didn't mind any, and quickly cuddled in to him – as his arms went around me.

"Are you tired?" he asked me.

"No, but you must be".

"Maybe a little" he shrugged. There was a heavy silence that fell over the two of us. "We're having the funeral a week today" he broke the silence by saying.

"We should go to bed". I moved away from Lincoln, and readied myself for bed. He did the same – neither of us talking as we did so. 

The tension between us was thick; both of us not wanting to speak about the elephant in the room. The very dead elephant that was our very good friend, whose death we both felt very guilt about.

Once in bed, Lincoln turned the light off and we both just lay there in silence. To my surprise, it was Lincoln who broke the silence. 

"I don't want to appoint a new Beta" he blurted out. I turned over, and we faced each other – it was dark so I could only see the outline of his face.

"You need to, you can't do all the work by yourself" I sighed sadly, reaching up and cupping his cheek. "You'll kill yourself if you do all the work by yourself".

"But I don't want another one" he frowned. He sounded like a small child in a tantrum; and maybe if the situation were different I would have laughed some.

"They won't be replacing Antony. No one can do that. They'll be your new Beta, not your new Antony" I told Lincoln. There was a heavy pause, before I hugged him close – Lincoln burying his face in my neck.

"I love you, Julian" he whispered, and for a moment I was frozen in shock. 

But I didn't get to focus too long on the power of those words, because suddenly Lincoln began to weep.


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