i’m only human
“I lied, you know. I do love you more. More than anything.”
The radio station the three former students were listening to kept switching from pop to punk rock, a subtle flick from either the passenger or the back seat returning it to the station that they had been listening to moments before as Tatiana’s companions waged a silent battle beside her.
After a flick of the man’s wand beside her had it turning back to the rock station, the brunette had had enough. “Must you two act like children?” she asked them, hazel eyes flicking up into the mirror to glance at both Seren and Will simultaneously. “We’re going to Ariel and Nathaniel’s engagement party, after all; that should remind you that we’re nearly twenty.”
“Considering I was forced to sit in the back, I think it’s fair that I get to pick the station,” Seren defended herself, holding up her arms in a sort of shrug.
Will snorted in the passenger seat. “Think again, Blondie.”
“You know what? Driver gets to pick the music, shotgun and backseat shut their pie holes,” Tatiana decided after a moment, and with another twist of the radio dial, the station began blasting One Incantation. Seren cheered in the back while Will groaned beside her.
“That’s no fair,” he complained bitterly of the music. “You love Seren more than you love me, don’t you?”
She spared a glance over at him and then quickly at Seren in the back seat. Brown and hazel eyes peered at her from either direction she looked, and she turned back to the front wheel thoughtfully. “That’s not true,” she replied after a moment, turning down a narrow street. “I love you both equally.”
A stage whisper from the back caught her attention, “She loves me more, Will, she just won’t say it in front of you.”
“Shut up,” Will whispered back, mocking her tone, and Tatiana glanced at the two affectionately with a quick turn of her head. When she’d looked at Will, however, his eyes were on the road, a hand stretching out. “Tatty, watch out—“
She turned just in time to see another car coming in the opposite direction on the narrow path swerving, landing itself directly in their path. Tatiana pressed hard on the brake, slamming her foot down, but it was too late; the other car’s arrival had been too sudden.
Their collision was imminent.
There was a screech from somewhere within the car, another shout of, ”Stop!”, but Tatiana was too numb to speak as the front of her car crashed against the side of the other’s without any way to stop it.
The world went black temporarily. By the time Tatiana had opened her eyes, she was leaning forward, her head on the wheel, a narrow cut from the glass dripping blood from her temple. Forcing herself to take a deep breath, she winced as she sat up, thankful of the airbag in front of her before remembering her companions.
Whipping to the left (and then wincing as she did so), she took in the scene: Seren, blinking at her in surprise from the back seat with a purple bruise blossoming on her arm, and Will, his head slumped onto the dashboard, face a bloody mess.
“Oh my Merlin,” Tatty managed to stammer out. “Ser, are you okay? Will?” While the blonde nodded quickly, the only thing she heard from the man was a low groan and she panicked, pulling off her seat belt and pushing open the door beside her. After a moment, Seren followed suit.
By the time the blonde witch had arrived at the door, Tatiana was already there, bending close to the man and tentatively placing a hand on his shoulder. “Will?”
Another groan. She tried again, shaking it slightly. “William, look at me,” she ordered, trying to keep the desperation out of her voice but finding it impossible. Where had all her training as a healer gone now? She was left helpless, wand in hand, but unable to do anything.
“We should try to get him out,” Seren spoke from beside her softly.
“No,” Tatiana snapped, a flash of her training coming back to her. “Don’t touch him. He’ll just bleed more.” She hadn’t realized how harsh her tone was until after she’d spoken, and despite the blonde’s cringe, she seemed to understand, stepping forward and cautiously placing a hand on her best friend’s shoulder.
Tatty dropped to her knees beside Will, shaking his shoulder. He numbly turned his cheek toward her, dark eyes fluttering open. “Tatty,” he murmured softly, and she reached forward and threaded her fingers through his, ignoring the stickiness of the blood on his palm.
“Don’t leave me,” she whispered, leaning forward and brushing back his hair with her other hand. He seemed not to have the strength to reply. “I lied, you know. I do love you more. More than anything,” she added, her thumb tracing the outline of his cheek, still ignoring the bloody residue.
Will didn’t reply again, but one side of his lips seemed to draw up briefly before falling suddenly, his hand falling limp in hers. Tatiana bit her lip in order to stop the tears, but they trickled from each eye steadily anyway, despite her best efforts.
She didn’t know how long she stayed there, bent beside him, sobbing, but finally Seren’s hand on her shoulder moved to her arm and gently pulled her up, hugging her close.
“The person in the other car,” Tatiana managed finally when she was able to talk again, brushing back the hair that had stuck to her tears, “Who was it?”
“I dunno,” Seren managed, glancing over at the other car; empty, now, the person in it seemingly having abandoned it right after the collision.
“Why didn’t Will’s airbag work?” Tatiana asked, glancing back at the lifeless body in the car.
“I dunno,” Seren replied again, averting her eyes from the gruesome site in the car.
“Seren, you don’t think…” she gripped her friend’s arm tightly, daring hazel to meet hazel. “This wasn’t murder, was it?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Tatty,” the blonde managed after a moment, taking her friend’s arm and turning to steer them out of the street. “You’ve hit your head too hard. I think we need to see a healer right away.”
The two limped out of the street, but Tatiana spared one last glance at the body of her dead lover, the cogs turning and clicking in her head.