NB: I do not own Wicked Lovely or any of the characters. Melissa Marr owns the neighbourhood, I'm just playing in the metaphorical back garden. Enjoy!

-x-

Keenan was running. He'd felt it; the whole Summer Court had. For the first time in centuries, he was terrified to his very core. He knew Moira. He'd seen her determination. He'd seen the burning, unadulterated hatred in her eyes when he told her what she was becoming. He cursed himself; he should never have been so blind as to assume that she'd just let him win like that. Praying desperately that he wouldn't be too late, he carried on running.

He sprinted into the clearing where he'd known he'd find her, for better or for worse. He wasn't out of breath at all, but the body on the ground brought him to his knees. A tsunami of grief, guilt and self-loathing rose up, threatening to engulf him. He could only stare, shell-shocked and burning with shame. Her peace, her silence, her lack of hatred or defiance in death reminded him that she was only seventeen. A fragment of a life for a mortal, let alone one of the Fey. He was horrified. Nothing had ever brought the stupidity of this power play home so powerfully before. Not even the hatred of the winter girls, one after the other, steady and unchanging. This mortal girl, this child was dead because of him. Dead at only seventeen. So young. So strong, so brave, with her whole life ahead of her. Dead because of him and his stupid greed.

He collapsed, his head on the ground, howling like a wounded animal. He hated himself too much to even touch her. Not fit, he thought with disgust, to even lick her boots. He blamed himself entirely, screaming with pain under the weight of his burden. He'd finally found his Queen. And she'd hated him so much she'd killed herself. The broken body, the blood, the discarded gun, the leaves falling in the middle of summer for her, the forest and summer itself in mourning. He knew he would carry this picture for all eternity, and he wanted to. Wanted to remember her. He'd loved her, he didn't want her forgotten. Never again, he swore to himself. No more lying. No more cheating. Only if they agree. The thought of this made him feel physically sick. Another spineless, faceless girl, replacing Moira. No. It would never happen again. She'd been the one. The only one. And to punish himself for what he'd done to her, he'd live for eternity without a queen. He didn't care about Beira anymore. He deserved it. Let the earth die. What did it matter, now she was gone? He fell silent, cherishing his few memories of her. After all, they were all he had now. There would never be another like her.

Donia moved silently into the clearing, for once without Sasha. She glanced down at Keenan, simultaneously heartbroken and glad that he'd seen how stupid, how pointless, how damaging this silly charade was. Then she looked at Moira. She stood, wordless, head held high, proudly saluting the brave girl who'd refused both choices, who'd made her own path. She wished she'd had the courage to do the same, so many years ago. This girl had finally shown Keenan what he'd been doing, and he couldn't bear it. She had no sympathy for him, but she mourned the girl she'd never known. She must have been a remarkable mortal, she thought. And she dropped her head in grief, not for King or Court, but for this girl, stronger than Donia herself had been all those years ago. She looked at Keenan, crying like a baby. Nothing, ever, had affected him so deeply, and she was almost happy. Perhaps now he'd stop.

Slowly, more and more of the Summer Court drifted in, also grieving for their lost Queen – she had, after all, been their Queen in everything but technicality. The mourned her like they would have mourned the loss of Keenan. They knew she would be the last Summer Queen.

Seventeen.