Shots rang through the night. He laughed. "You really thought lead would hurt me? Little bits of lead? I thought you'd know better."

I said nothing and waited.

He flinched and clutched his chest. "What-?"

"Not lead," I said. "Iron."

He staggered backwards and fell to the pavement, his hand held to his chest. Yellow ichor plodded between fingers like molasses, like he'd gone on for so long he'd forgotten how to bleed. Wild eyes met mine, and I could see that for the first time in probably a long while, he was afraid.

"I can't die," he said, a hysterical edge to his voice. "I'm immortal."

I shook my head. "Nothing's immortal."

"No," he said, shaking. He crawled backwards until he backed against the wall, then wrapped his arms around his knees. I almost felt bad for him. Almost.

"I've been alive too long to die."

"Doesn't work that way. Just means you're overdue."

"I need more time!" He was getting sluggish.

"You've had a hundred and seventy years- most you stole. That's more than other people get."

"Not. . . enough." Eyelids drooped.

I wanted to leave. The only thing keeping me there was form. You couldn't let them die alone. No matter what they had done, you had to stay until the job was over.

A pale hand reached out to me. I didn't recoil. I didn't turn in disgust and walk away. This, too, was form. I sat down beside him and took his hand.

He died with a soft sigh shortly after. His body melted away into the darkness, leaving behind only the iron bullets.


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