One Second Too Late

This is my first one shot. I like writing this kind of story, it makes me feel sad, but it gives me comfort, also I will use "Scott" instead of "Pantsman" when he is off duty (Like Batman being called Bruce when he's not working as Batman)

"O' the pain of life,

O' the inevitable hold of death,

O' the day when all light fails,

O' the night that came starless,

O' cruel world full of strife,

O' the sorrowful wars waged,

Oh the people, they put their faiths, their thoughts upon the small, little things...

O' when the time comes, when we all stood up and say...

'Let it go'"

Leo finished, he had just finished writing the song he worked on for months. After Scott and Aeris found Leo's ability to sing, years ago, Scott showed him possibilities of a musical career. Aeris encourages this idea, as Leo has not a job. As months passed Scott and Leo worked together as a duo, Scott plays the piano and Leo sings the verses.

"Leo, that doesn't even rhyme!" Aeris exclaimed,

"I don't care. It's not supposed to rhyme." Leo replied,

"You already earn more money than I do, selling your singles, Leo." Aeris said, "Why do you still live with me?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Leo asked, he started dating Aeris years ago, but the relationship was unstable. In spite of that, they never gave up.

"Yeah, whatever." Aeris answered,

"Leo, why did you give up video gaming?" Aeris asked Leo,

"Because it by the time I rescued the princess from the castle, I could've written three songs already." He replied

At the start of the last quarter of the year, Leo had announced to his obscure fan base that he was working on a new single, and that he was to play it by the end of the year.

Scott had already finished working on his piano solo and now that Leo finished the song, he scheduled a gig, due on New Year's Eve.

Leo had plans to propose to Aeris after the gig, as he feels that he could not wait. He had loved Aeris since when they were kids, but he never told her until recent years.

Aeris had always noted that Leo has grown distant and cold after he had become a hit in their town. And Aeris had a hunch, and she begged Leo not to perform, but Leo would not listen, consoling her that soon, he would be able to sell more singles and buy them an actual house.

As months passed, on December 31st of the year, Leo Leonardo III ascend to the stage, he looked to the VIP section, but Aeris was not there. He had planned to call Aeris up on stage and propose to her after the show. And so he waited for Aeris.

Sadly, the show must go on, and so Leo did sing. As he sang, he scanned the group of audience for Aeris, but she was not there. And so it was, that at the end of the gig, a messenger came to Leo. And to Leo, the messenger said

"Mr. Leonardo, I regret to inform you that your companion, Aeris has fell victim to a car accident, and is now in an emergency room at the hospital, but the doctors could not save her, her only wish is too see you one last time before she dies".

Leo took this as a jest, and told the man to stay away. But the man was stern, and he looked as one filled with disgust.

"Will you not go to her?" He asked, "The doctor sent me here to fetch you! Had I known that you would make such a response, I would've stayed behind and assist him in saving your friend!"

And Leo saw that in the man's words there was no lie. Leo sped to the hospital, driving past the speed limit through traffic lights, he ran into the hospital. The hospital was only a five-storey building. He did not wait for an elevator; he ran up the stairs into the emergency room

And indeed, Aeris was in the hospital, and she knew that her time had come. Her mother was at the side of her bed. And at the last moment of her life, Aeris said to her mother "Mom, Leo is busy at his gig, but when he comes, tell him that I love him, and I would not want anything more than to spend my life with him, I am sorry that I could not do that now. Perhaps in another life, we shall see." and with that, Aeris left the earth. Exactly a second before Leo bursts into the room. He had overheard everything, and he felt as if his soul has left his body.

A funeral was held for Aeris, and many people went to pay respect for her. Many people were of Leo's fan base, and they cared not for Aeris at all. A few people were deeply saddened by these events, though none was as sad as Leo.

Leo visited the grave every week, always telling news to Aeris' tombstone.

Leo would often play home videos of him and his beloved, Aeris, at his apartment. He gave into drugs, believing that it could help him contact Aeris from beyond the grave.

Leo had visited many mediums and witch doctors to try and communicate with Aeris, they all said that Aeris' soul wants Leo to move on, and declares that as long as he tries to communicate with her, he could never do so.

As days turned to weeks, and weeks into months, and months into years after Aeris' passing, Leo still could not overcome his sorrow. He has taken up a life of drugs, alcohol and company of a few of his groupies. Yet he still could not fill that empty space in his heart.

He had already sold his apartment and is currently living with Scott, for he could not bear to live in the place where his memory of Aeris runs strong.

And one day, when he was practicing his The Pain of Life ballad, he could take no more. He wept as he sang the first verse, and he ran away. Scott found him crying in his room.

"Had I acted instantly, had I not taken the assistant's message as a jest, I would have been with Aeris before she died!" Leo yelled "And had I obliged her request, she would have lived!"

Leo threw an empty bottle of whiskey at the wall, and it shattered into a million pieces. Scott left Leo to his sorrows, knowing that there would be no way to comfort his heartbroken friend.

Then on New Year's Eve, the same day of Aeris' passing, Leo decided to visit Aeris' grave. What he saw there enraged him with a blind fury; Two teenagers, loitering around Aeris' grave, rolling on top of it, as if trying to provoke a ghost to attack, in short, disrespecting the grave of the person Leo had loved most in the world. The two teens saw Leo, running at them with an intention to kill. And they ran for their life. Just before Leo could clutch them, he heard a familiar voice speaking to him, "Leo, no! Let the kids go, they were just acting stupid like you did before."

Leo looked behind him and saw a pale image of Aeris. She was translucent, and white in color. Leo had no idea whether he was under effect from his drug, or was this the ghost of Aeris. He walked with his arm stretched forward; trying to touch what seems to be Aeris' ghost. As he touched her, the image dissipates.

And Leo was again stricken by grief. He fell on his face and cried for what seemed to be an hour, then he finally crawled to Aeris' grave, produced a pocket knife, and said

"O' the pain of life,

O' the inevitable hold of death,

O' the day when all light fails,

O' the night that came starless,

O' my love who had gone to where I could not follow,

O' my sweet darling, Aeris,

Please welcome me into thy arms."

And Leo took his life with his pocket knife to follow Aeris to wherever she was,

But whether he found her or not, no one could tell.