Arnaud led Raquel to the porch, as she had requested, wishing to see the sunset. She had watched the sunset many times, but each time Arnaud noticed that she was gradually growing weaker. It was no surprise to him for she had been ill ever since she survived the explosion that had taken her hometown of Verklarung. Giving birth to a beautiful daughter did not help matters as that quickly deteriorated her health. She had fought her illness for more than ten years and now it seemed that she was losing the battle.

He could feel her frail frame as she leaned heavily against him. Her steps were slow and heavy, her breath rattling in her lungs. She would occasionally cough, clutching her chest as she did so. He had told her many times to rest, to watch the sunset from the window of their room. But she always insisted on going out to the porch, to feel the wind caress her skin as the day breathed its last sigh as night took its first.

This was no different, but for some reason Arnaud felt uneasy.

They finally reached a bench—the same bench they had sat on together for many sunsets. Arnaud helped her sit before sitting besides her, his hand clutching hers, fingers interlaced. They sat quiet for a time, listening to the wind as it whistled amongst the trees, enjoying the sight of a flock of birds heading to their homes. The clouds drifted slowly across a sky colored with hues of pink, purple, and orange.

“Many people take most things for granted,” Raquel suddenly spoke, her voice soft as not to disturb the tranquility of the evening. “To see the sunset and not be able to appreciate that they lived another day only saddens me.”

“Is that why you watch the sunset?” Arnaud asked. Raquel remained silent and he turned to look at her.

Her eyes were closed, her head leaning against his shoulder. “I'm so tired, Arnaud,” she whispered. “I think I would like to rest.”

That's what I've been trying to tell you!, Arnaud wanted to say, but held his tongue, hearing the weariness in her voice.

Earlier he had felt uneasy. Now he felt frightened.

He held her close, replying softly, “Let's go back then. It's getting late and I'm sure Old Lady Maxwell is waiting for us with Ellie.”

Again, Raquel did not reply. Instead, she slumped against Arnaud, as if she had fallen asleep.

But Arnaud knew better when he brushed her hair aside to gaze at her peaceful face. Tears streamed down his face as he silently wept. “So, you've finally found it,” he whispered.

In his heart, he knew that this would be the last sunset she would see as it finally set on her life.

All That Glitters Is Cold 3 Fanfic Competition

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