Epilogue

Garrison trudged up the gravel road to the cemetery. He regarded himself as he dragged his feet through the wet gravel and smiled thoughtfully. Thanks to Skyy Blue he had been clean for seven months and was now ready to go back to school in the city with the hopes that he would never have to resort to the drugs he so readily abused again. This time he would not have to make the journey back alone. This time he would have Dax, and well, Iris fully in his heart.

He came around the curve at the top of the hill and paused just outside the iron gates, gazing at the acres of headstones beyond their entrance. Amongst the figures of saints, the weather beaten mausoleums, and flower arrangements they rested. Dax Banner and Iris Moreno. Today was the day he would come home and say good-bye one last time.

Everyone had begged him to stay and continue on with the life that he had had before. But why? He had asked. Life could not revolve around Averton Bay forever, this he knew to be true. As he moved forward he remembered the look of hurt and distrust in Zack's eyes. No matter how much they had amended between themselves he knew that once he had left again that he and Zack would probably never speak again. Skyy Blue had not judged him, merely smiled in his old way and gazed upon him with respect as was his character. Twilight had caught her breath and disappeared overnight. He would probably never hold her in his arms again. This amazingly saddened him.

He walked through what seemed to be miles and miles of rows of headstones, knowing exactly where he was going and taking his time to get there. A light rain had begun to fall, lightly soaking his clothes and skin. He paused at the end of a row, lifting his face towards the heavens as he accepted the cleansing waters. He was glad to finally have come home. He turned and began walking down the aisle where he knew he would find them, passing Banners who had slipped away years, decades ago.

He came across Roscoe first, and paused to greet his surrogate father. Roscoe had treated him better then his own father and had constantly pushed Garrison to be a good man and to pursue dreams even if they seemed like they were absolutely insane. Which was all right by Garris, as he smiled gratefully at the beautiful headstone that Liviene had bought when Roscoe had passed. He stepped forward and pressed his hand against Roscoe's name, as if touching the man's name would let him feel the great, gruff hugs and hear the gently spoken words that were given when his own father had beat him again.

Garris said nothing as he let his hand slide off the headstone. He moved slowly to the grave directly next to it and sank slowly to his haunches in front of it, tears arriving faster then he had intended them to.

"Hey Dax, it's me man. I brought you your favorite." Garris began, pulling a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and placing them on the headstone. He pulled out another, opened pack and lit one.

"I've decided to go back to school in the city and make something out of myself. I was doing good before bad times hit, so I know I can do good again." He said in a matter-of-fact tone. "I don't think I'm going to come back to Averton, buddy. This will probably be the last time we see each other here, so I hope to see you elsewhere in the future."

He took a trembling drag off his cigarette. Cold more from the rain then sitting next to a grave and having a casual conversation with it.

"I've decided that in a way I don't miss you anymore. Yes, I miss you. But I know that even after what happened to you that you are in a better place and that...well, that you can live at peace finally knowing that there will be no more pain. I truly do miss you, Dax. I feel like I'm living life now for the two of us." He smiled a little.

"At first I really fucking hated you for making me live this life by myself. I felt like I had to live up to some strange and weird expectation for the both of us because you were my other half and I just couldn't bare to not live as if you were living with me. But now...I realize that you are living your life elsewhere and I hope that you are happy and that you are the best of God's critters up there. I just need to live life for Garrison from now on. No more Dax and Garrison. I've come to realize that you are really gone, and pretending that you are going to show up at my door someday isn't going to happen."

He put out the cigarette, and put the butt in his pocket. Sitting a little closer to the gravestone and staring out across the sea of headstones.

"Dax buddy. I'm glad we had this conversation today. Saying good-bye, I thought would have been a lot harder then this. I just wanted to let you know that I'm okay and that I'll keep on going." He stood up and brushed the grass from his slacks. "I'm going to miss you still, but I don't think it's going to hurt anymore."

He placed a hand fondly on Dax's grave as he had before on Roscoe's.

"Things change, but you know that I won't change too much. Maybe grow up at some point. You'll always be with me, just you. I just don't have to worry about the guilt so much anymore." He patted the stone and smiled again. "Dax. I love you. And I'll see you when I see you. Just like old times."

His hand slid off the top of the gravestone and he began weaving his way through the stones to an area just a little ways off. She was by herself. Surrounded by none of her family because most if not all of them were buried in Carl's Bayou. He smiled broadly as he saw her simple, cheaply furnished headstone and squatted down next to it.

"Hey Iry. It's me. Just came to say that that last night was the best night of my life, regardless of you going back to heaven from whence you came." He leaned forward and kissed her name. "I said good-bye to Dax, and now I have to say good-bye to you too. You are a good girl, Iry Moreno. Whatever you may have thought in real life, and whatever you may think now. So stay that way."

He stood up, cramming his hands and rocking on his heels like he normally did when he was nervous. "I, uh, love you Iris. But I know you and Dax were always meant to be. I respect that in every way possible. I'll talk to you soon. I promise."

Garris turned to walk away, heading back up the row toward the road when something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. He paused, his shoulders hunched slightly forward and shifted his eyes to look upon the greatest scene he would ever witness.

He watched them walk down the row six columns down, hands interlocked silent laughter between them as the one with lime green, surprisingly symmetrical liberty spikes leaned over and kissed the girl who never belonged in their world. They trounced effortlessly through a few headstones and Garris swore he heard their residents moan in complaint as the two lovers trespassed upon them. He turned his body slightly to watch them continue on their way and just as the two reached Dax's grave the tattered Converse clad teenager scooped up the pack of cigarettes on the headstone and vanished with the girl of their dreams in a peal of eternal laughter.

Finally at peace with themselves.