We eventually made it to the bed; although, it was already too late to save our skin from all the scorching it endured as we crossed the line of morality and legality. Tacitly, we agreed not to apply other people's rules to our case and to allow ourselves what we both craved so intensely.

Tonight seemed to last only half an hour, and that, despite the fact that I never shut an eye throughout the whole period the sun spent sleeping. Insomnia had nothing to do with it; Jared did. We just lay in bed and talked. We actually talked unafraid of denting each other's confidence and feelings. In this small hotel room, no threat existed; there was no room for it, only enough for the both of us.

"Can I ask you something?" Jared asked while toying with my fingers.

I craned my neck to look at his face, which rested atop my chest. "Yeah," I answered simply.

"Why on my wrist?"

As I gave no response, he shifted and rolled onto his stomach still atop me then, with his chin digging into my sternum, he asked again. "Why did you put the pendant around my wrist? Wouldn't it belong around the neck?"

"Does it really matter? I mean, it is gone now, so…"

"Well, actually, it does matter." I watched him squirm over to the edge of the bed, hesitate a moment, then launch himself in a sprint to the bathroom. I merely assumed he really had to go and was delaying the conversation, but he came back right away, carrying his shorts and searching the pockets from which he suddenly produced the pendant in question. "See, it's not gone." He climbed on the bed rocking his weight from knee to knee and moved forward until he could sit back on his feet. "So tell me, why there?"

I stared at him in confusion. I distinctly remembered seeing him throw the object; how could it be back? "Oh, don't look at me like that! I was pretty angry when I tossed it but regretted it almost instantly, which is why I went looking for it later that day. Of course, I couldn't find it, but once the snow started to melt, one morning, out of pure luck, I found it. It was just there, like waiting for me. Don't know what it's made of, but it didn't even rust, just got a little dirty in the mud…" He shyly handed me the chain. "I did my best to clean and fix it." As I took it from him, he reiterated his question, " So, why the wrist?"

So I told him more or less what thoughts had crossed my mind when I had set it to his wrist, and in a chortle he replied, "Only you could come up with something like that!" Then softer, he added, "Will you attach it back for me?"

I felt like a bruised piece of my heart had suddenly been healed; I felt more accepted than ever before. So many things in our lives had been stirred into being completely unrecognizable, yet I could still see the outline of what could easily be ours if we gave it a chance.

"What do you think happened for the cabin to go up in flames?" I felt in the tone of his voice the implied question and worry.

"Who knows? It might have been the coffee machine. I don't remember turning it off…"

"What if…"

"What if what, Ja? It is nobody's fault."

"Yeah, but…"

"No, no, no. It was not your fault, all right?"

"But…"

"No! I don't care if you voluntarily set fire to my bed and poured gasoline all over the place; I still refuse to blame you!"

Round emeralds looked at me with amusement. "It seems you're still looking to save me."

"Of course. You don't actually think I would give up on saving you from your self-destructive habits?" I paused to grin at him. " So? Where do you want to live now? Castle?"

He burst out in laughter. "What? You're actually offering me a castle? Do you think I'm dense enough to turn that down?"

"Um, no, but I am quite sure that I can think of something to top that. How about you go back to school, finish your studies then you could get a job doing something you like?"

He stared at me, doubt deeply incrusted in his eyes, and only replied after a good few seconds of silent questioning. "Do I have to?"

Copying his pace of response, I gave it a moment, pretended to be thinking it through then, shrugging, I replied, "I guess not. It's not like I dislike keeping you close anyway."

"Then why would you even suggest a stupid idea like that?"

I knew he was looking at me, waiting for me to look back, but I went on gazing at the ceiling above me with my head safely cradled in my arms. "It's not a stupid idea. I just want to make sure that you are doing what you want."

He spiritedly bounced up and onto me, straddling my waist, then he leaned down low and whispered against my lips, "Well, I'm damn fine with just sticking with you." Suddenly overwhelmed with enthusiasm reborn, he began trailing kisses down my neck and jaw.

"Ja?" He did not answer. "Jared?" He still would not pause in his ministration, so I decided to resort to extremes. "Jared, do you think we should invite your mom to come live with us?"

He straightened up and glared at me with a sickened expression. "Urgh! Man! I kiss you, and you think about my mother. Do you have any idea how gross that is, not to mention what kind of mental repercussions this could have on me?"

I curled my hands over his hips and stroked them gently. "Look, what do we do about her?"

"How about, we move to another country and never speak of her again?" I smiled as kindly as I could. "Are you sure that you do not want to talk to her? I would give so much to be able to speak to mine."

In a deep sigh, he replied, "Maybe so. But would you be willing to give me up so you could talk to your mother again? Because I wouldn't, and trust me, you would be the price I'd have to pay."

How many persons on this planet can boast about their lover who would do anything to cling on to them? Mine decided to turn the page on his family, a page that had already been turned but to which he chose not to look back so we could stay together. If his mother ever found us again, we might be in trouble. After the surprise apparition of her son, whom she thought dead, she might have decided to renew her search and this time find him and bring him home. The thing is, Jared found somewhere else he wants to call home, and I am glad that it is wherever I am.

I guess, we will have to be extra careful for the following year, but Jared –all too happy that I decided not to go back into the forest– has begged me until I finally stopped teasing him and agreed for us to go on a one year car trip across Canada. We are supposed to go from province to province and, as Jared seems to have developed quite a liking for hotels, we would stop every night at a different one, always in a new town. I don't especially want to go; in fact, I would not have gone at all if Jared had not insisted, but it should make avoiding his mother a great deal easier, and besides, he even got one of his town friends to look after the dog for him. Apparently he is a big dog lover; I think he is a fool.

"Jared, what are you doing? Come back to bed. I am getting lonely here."

He ran and plopped down beside me, jeeringly waving an apple in front me. "You hungry?" Yet, as I moved to grab it, he drew it back to himself and took a large bite out of it then, with his mouth still full, he began, "Hey, I've been thinking," he swallowed with difficulty and took another bite. "what if I changed my name too?"

"Why?" I distractedly asked as I lunged for the apple that was flying over my head but missed.

"Well, I dunno. So that I can have an original name like you do." He ducked again when I tried to snatch the object of temptation. "I could be something like 'Jade' or, you know, something."

I tackled him down and wrestled the apple out of his clenched fingers. "Is it your name that you want to change or your gender?" I hungrily tore an enormous bite off the fruit and cockily added, "'Cause I'm not into girls."

Lying back down peacefully, he murmured, "So, I should stick with 'Jared' then?"

"Definitely. I love Jared."

-

We snuggled close together and watched the sun rise, or rather, we watched the sky grow brighter and brighter as the sun actually rose on the other side of the building.

Pathetic. What's pathetic? Again the sun rises in the promise of a bright future, and I find myself wanting to believe in it.

--- The End ---


(A/N)

Hey people! Delivering the epilogue as promised! I hope I haven't messed it up too bad!

And since this is the very last chapter, I hope you'll find it in yourself to leave a review and tell me what you thought of the story! I never get enough feedback! And if anyone should want me to reply, make sure I have your e-mail address either through your review or your profile… or, if you don't want your address to appear anywhere here, you could always e-mail me. Otherwise, I thank you from the bottom of my heart right now since I won't get a chance to do it later.

To any who might be interested, I am planning on posting another story; however, I cannot tell you exactly when that will be because I'm having certain issues with its ending. And I can't post until it's finished; that's my rule!

Pivoine: I really must thank you five times over (maybe even ten) for taking the time to leave a review for each chapter while you were catching up! And I must also thank you for all the sugar-sweet comments! Also, no, I wasn't scared with the shooting being that close by because by the time I got to school, the shooter had already been gunned down. Oh, and you're right about my nationality. The accent's a dead giveaway, right? Pour ce qui est de ma maîtrise de la langue française, considérant que c'est ma langue maternelle et mon domaine d'étude, je dirais que ma compréhension est plutôt bonne. Donc, ne te gêne pas pour me parler en français si c'est ce que tu préfères.

Kizuna: Thank you very much for your review once again! I'm glad you enjoyed the last chapter and I hope you liked the epilogue as well!

Magalina: It's been a true pleasure having you along for the ride! You really put a smile on my face with each single one of your reviews! So, I sincerely thank you! And, I'm really happy you liked the last chapter; I hope the epilogue was to your liking as well.

Kilian: I have to apologize to you since I wasn't able to conclude the story to your liking. But I still thank you immensely for the reviews; your opinion really does matter to me. And I hope the epilogue, at least, was ok for you.

PearlinTheMist: I must thank you for your straightforwardness – a quality I hope to acquire someday – and I apologize for not being able to bring the story up to your expectations. I can see how this story could have gone on for a long time, and maybe one day, I'll get back to it and scrap the ending to give it a new life, but not today. Anyhow, thanks for reading and reviewing; it means a lot to me.

Chemist The Great: Thank you so very much! I'm very happy you liked my story and took the time to tell me!

Tcha: If it worked every time, I wouldn't have half as many reviews! lol I'm so very glad you approve of the turn of events and the length… A big fear of mine is to drag something on for so long that it loses all sense. And thank you very, very much for having at least stuck around to review me. You can call me selfish if you want, but I'm still incredibly thankful that you did read and review! But I know what you mean by "lurker"… I owe reviews to half my favorites... don't tell them that.

A big thanks to Lami, rodeoclown, pivoine, Walter Dash, FlawedSerenity, Tears Of The Black Dragoness, Swirls, xvs, Archipelago, R.L.D, Jaque Dark, Sundown, Tcha, Fledging, Destination Oasis, Magalina, Lazy Pen, Sundown, Kizuna, Kakiryu, Kilian, PearlinTheMist, Chemist The Great, AlxBlack, D.H. L'Orange, diebyownhands, Vicci, Kayleigh Painted Desert, dot-sye, and Akai ringo for having helped me see this through! (Hope I didn't forget anyone)

Also, thanks to any clandestine readers who haven't made their presence known but have read my story.

And finally, the biggest of thanks to my dear Spawn of Hell without whom I would have never posted anything!

Love you all so much!

Chibicherrychan