Three Months Later...

It was windy on the grassy knoll where the white cross stood. Two figures struggled up the hill, heads bent against the gale, not saying anything least it get lost in the wind. The forecast had predicted a sunny day with a few clouds, and as the two continued their struggle up the hill, a large cloud passed over them.

The taller of the two, even if he was only taller by an inch, mounted the hill first, his golden brown hair, in desperate need of a haircut, flying out over squinted hazel eyes. The sound of heavy breathing made him turn and offer a hand to his companion.

"You okay, Derek?" Robyn said. "We can take a break, if you want."

"Yeah, let's do that," Derek said, already lowering himself to the ground. In a minute, he was stretched out completely on the grass, his walking can lying on top of his chest. "After this, I never want to come back here."

Robyn sat down. "Not ever?"

"Not ever," Derek echoed.

Robyn breathed deep and began to pick at the grass. A harsh, unsteady silence, filled with things that needed to yelled, and cried, and argued, consumed them both.

"How are things with Jillian?"

Robyn stiffened and sneaked a peek at Derek, but Derek was staring at him with those eyes like broken brown bottles. Robyn shrugged. "We're good."

"Oh." He didn't sound interested anymore. "It's just so strange-"

"Yeah, well," Robyn said. "I was going to tell you sooner, but shit happens."

"That it does," Derek said, eyes flicking to the orange paper crane sheltered under his hands. "That it does..."

Robyn threw the blades of grass in hand into the air. They fluttered back to him, landing in the folds of his jeans and on his shoes. "God, Derek..."

"I made a mess of myself."

Robyn started to say something, but stopped himself. "Yeah, you sure did," he muttered instead.

"You'll help me clean up, though, won't you?"

"You're asking the wrong dude. What about Rory? He's practically your new best friend, and I know for sure he wouldn't mind helping you out."

Derek smiled. "Don't worry, Robyn, you'll always be my number one." He laughed when Robyn shoved him into the grass. "And he likes girls, too, you know," he added when he had recovered.

"Yeah, well, I still want to punch his face in," Robyn said. He leaned back, the cross directly in front of his eyes. "Are the hallucinations still bad?"

Derek sighed, eyes following the spirals of the wind. "They'll always be bad so long as I get them, which may be for the rest of my life..." He shrugged, rolled to his feet with all the grace one can muster with a cane, and started limping toward the grave marker. "Gimme that hammer, will you?"

Robyn got up, bent to pick up the hammer, and went to meet Derek at the cross. On the shorter of the two arms, in very fine, thin lettering, it read: "Monique 'Momo' Fieldsworth". There was nothing else on the cross aside from the wreath of paper cranes that were already starting to lose their brilliance.

"Who was your sister, Derek?" Robyn said.

Derek smiled as he positioned the crane on top of the cross, a tiny nail buried into the fold of its wing. "She was beautiful and smart, but I think she was a little messed up from the very beginning." He paused to hammer the nail down. "She always talked about being 'free'. Mom was mad at her a lot when she started high school, cause she was always hanging out with the wrong type of people. I remember once," he remarked, slipping the second nail into place, "she brought home this girl who smelled like the powder old people wear and cigarettes.

"I was dead scared of her, but she and Monique... they laughed like a couple of hyenas every other breath they had. Then, Mom threw a fit and I never saw that girl again. I don't even remember her name."

Robyn slipped his hands into his pockets. "It was a real quiet funeral."

Derek pushed away from the cross, staring at the crane. It fluttered a little this way and that, but it was secured on its perch. Pulling a slip of paper from his pocket, Derek held it between the thumb and ring finger of his damaged hand. "You will travel a great distance before you realize the truth," he read aloud.

"What's that?" Robyn said.

"Nothing. You got the lighter?"

Robyn's fingers curled around the smooth object and he pulled it out of his pocket. "Not that I don't trust you, but-"

"Yeah, whatever," Derek said, holding the scrap above the lighter. Robyn lit it and a burst of orange caught the piece of paper. A thin line of smoke rose up, followed by hungry red flames and blackness burning their way through what was left of the fortune.

Derek tossed the crumbling ashes to the ground before the flame reached his fingers, then stomped on the smoking remains.

"Closure?" Robyn said, looking from the flattened grass to Derek.

"Closure," Derek echoed, giving the cross one last glance before turning around, a smile on his face, and heading back down the hill. There was a feeling in his heart, and though he wasn't quite sure what it was, he held on to it and knew he would never let go.


And that's a wrap. This is perhaps the shortest chapter I have ever written for this story, but, it's the end, so why not? Thanks to everyone who read, to everyone who reviewed, and to everyone who ever put this story on their alerts. You are all amazing. You supported me and made me believe that this story had potential.

Even though my writing is nowhere near what I want it to be, all the help and encouragement I received from you guys, every piece of advice and criticism, has been shaping me up in unbelieveable ways.

Again, thank you. I hope this ending was satisfactory. I'm not a very good slash writer, or romance writer in general, so I won't pretend this is the best thing that's ever been written, but I feel I did a good job with it. Gimme your comments, questions, concerns! I want to hear them. :)

Velvet.