Disclaimer: Murder by Numbers belongs to Barbet Schroeder, Tony Grayton and company.

Notes: Set at the end of the movie. Please note that there's reference to canon character death in the movie.

His intent is rather simple: ensure that their pact was fulfilled at the bitter end. There was no way out but death.

Richard didn't want to die just like he hadn't wanted to betray Justin but they had made a promise to one another. And now he's almost certain that he'd been played from the very start. As he unloads the bullets from one of the guns, he feels sick but he needs to know. And if he's wrong, well he needs to make sure that Justin's safe before he follows him in death.

Time seems to speed up when Justin finally arrives. How long do they have? How long do they have before it all becomes unraveled? How long does he have before he finds out the truth? Justin's reluctance makes him unsure and he almost vomits as he forces the lines of their vow out of his mouth. The words ring hollow and he still can't tell if Justin's reluctance is real or false.

"Three."

His words are followed by silence as nothing happened. Justin's face twists into rage and now he knows the truth. He had been played and used and now he was going to die. He lets Justin's anger flow over him and he just wants Justin to shoot him, to finish this. If Justin shoots him then he can still save him. This time it'll be saving Justin from himself because Justin can pin everything on him. In death he can play the role of the villain while Justin dons the mask of the victim. No one ever needs to know the truth.

And then it's too late because that stupid bitch cop is there and he hates her because if it wasn't for her digging then everything would still be okay. Justin would still be his, or at the very least he'd still have the illusion that Justin was his. What makes it worse is that for all of her digging, she can't see the truth, she's just as blind as he was. She easily cast him in the role of the seductive villain and Justin as the poor, helpless victim.

He's not sure what's worse: the fact that he can see through Justin's act now or the fact that all he can think of is saving his betrayer. He's read the writing on the wall and still he doubts what has been laid before him.

Everything's a blur and he realizes that he has one last chance to fix this, to make things right. (Although the idea of anything ever being right seems impossible, especially right after he's shot Justin.) But even with his hands tight around her throat, he's too much of a fucking pussy to do this right. He let's go just enough to let her finish things, he's clever enough to have realized her intention when she was kicking the railing.

He licks her face, desperate to live up to the role of the monster that she's cast him as in her head. He thinks of Justin and how he tasted and then suddenly he's weightless. In a second, he realizes that he's falling and he can't think of anything as he falls and falls and then ...

((END))