Title: Alone I Break [formerly Forever, Signed...(In Blood)]
Author: megan
Email: Megjule2003⊕aol.com (IM's the same)
Disclaimer: nada. nil. zip. nothings mine except the dream world I live in.
Rating: R for violence.
Summary: Liz and Michael were together. The 'Royal 4' left in Departure. Liz unravels.
Author's Note: this is a very personal issue to me. it just kinda spilled out into a fic. I apologize if it makes anyone uncomfortable.
Warning: graphic. dark. if there are any SI's here, this could be triggering. please be safe.
Feedback: id absolutely love and cherish every word.
Thanks: peachy, without her words and encouragement, this fic might have never seen the light of day.

Liz shuts the bathroom door behind her, leans against the wall and sinks down to the floor. She draws the blade across her skin, her breath rushing out in release. She watches the small, dark red rivulet as it winds its way down her leg.

Tears slide down her face, falling on her skin and intermingling with the blood, both ending in a little red pool on the floor. The slow, steady drops hitting the tile floor mesmerize her. Each one is like one minute, one day of the pain she’s been in for far too long, sliding farther and farther away. Each drop that falls from her holds the simplest kind of relief.

The feelings she hated, the things she could never talk about slowly seep out the small opening and release the pressure, allowing her to breathe again. But it only lasts for so long, and then the cycle starts all over again. She hears a door shut, but she knows her mom won’t bother her. She gave up on her a long time ago. Most did.

She grasps the cold porcelain edge of the sink with both hands and pulls herself up to stand. She turns the bathroom light off and walks into her room. She unbuttons her shirt and shrugs it off, letting it fall to the floor. She slides her long skirt off and steps out of it. She walks over and stands in front of her full-length mirror. Another ritual. She stands there, entranced by her reflection.

Others would be horrified by it, but it’s life to her. Normal. Welcome. Inevitable. Her face is pale and there are dark circles under her eyes. Any part of her body that doesn’t have to be seen on a usual basis is scattered with marks. Thighs, hips, stomach, chest, sides. Scars, scabs, open wounds. Her fingers flutter over her skin, tracing the lines in remembrance.

After a while, she goes back into the bathroom and takes her shower, a necessity. She has to wash away the blood, wash away the memories. She gets out and wraps her bathrobe around herself, tying the belt almost to the point of suffocation.

She walks over to her dresser and opens the drawer, pulling out some pajamas. Her shirt is stuck in the back of the drawer, so she has to pull harder. The drawer gives suddenly, slipping off its track. She hears a soft thud, followed by fluttering. She looks down at her feet and sees her old leather-bound journal and scattered papers. She had almost forgotten she had hidden them there. Almost. A book filled with her past. Letters. Love letters. His letters.

She kneels down and begins to scoop them up, handling them like they are on fire. Just two fingertips, as quickly as she can. She had put them away, never wanting to deal with them again. They were what caused this pain. They were what turned her into this shell of her former self. They were what sealed her fate. Beautifully written soul-stealers. All leading up to the biggest fall of her life, the last letter. The ‘Goodbye’ letter. A single piece of paper that took away her everything. She used to imagine that she could burn it or tear it up and destroy it, and that that would bring him back. That getting rid of the letter would change everything. That if it didn’t exist, then neither would this problem. This living hell, if what she was doing could even be called living.

She collects them all into a pile and stuffs them back into the book. A few pieces of leather, some stitching, and one hundred and fifty pieces of paper that contained everything good she’d ever had in life.

She sees one last paper and knows exactly what it is before even touching it. It’s how he said goodbye. How he told her he was leaving. How he told her he was never coming back.

She picks it up and turns it over, her eye catching on the date. One year. One year, today. How had she forgotten? Was that it? A year? It felt like a lifetime. Something sparkles on the paper and she notices that it’s a tear. She hadn’t even realized she was crying. She runs back into the bathroom and rummages through the drawers, blinded by tears. She pulls out a blade and slices her arm. It’s like a drug though. Once you’ve been at it a while, the initial amount doesn’t cut it anymore.

She slashes again, frantic. She feels like she can’t breathe. She chokes on her sobs, gasping for air. She feels nothing. Where is the relief? The release? She stumbles backward, her back hitting the tile wall. With no further to go, she slides down to the floor, knees against her chest.

In one hand she holds the blade, in the other, the letter. To her there is no difference between the two. Each cuts away at her. One at her body, the other her soul. She makes her decision. She kisses the paper and then lifts the blade, slowly, gently to her wrist. She makes the cut that will be her last. She lays down, her face against the cold floor. The blade falls from her hand with an almost inaudible clink.

She feels like someone threw open a window, fresh air rushing into her lungs. She’s breathing, truly breathing for the first time in a year. The blood flows out of her and seeps into the paper under her hand. It slowly turns from white to red, the words disappearing.

**…an’t survive here. I don’t have a choice. I wish with every part of me that I didn’t have to do this, but I do. Just know that I’ll always love you, only you. I’d give anything to say I’ll be back soon, to ask you to wait for me, but I can’t. I won’t be back. God, Liz, I am so sorry. I love you. Forever. Michael.**

Before she closes her eyes, she whispers one last thing. “I love you, Michael. Forever.”