Pouring out of Kris came all his feelings, for everything and for me. I barely knew him and yet he already had a fascination with me I had only seen in people set towards celebrities.

Was I a celebrity to Kris? Surely not. Only, that gleam in his eye, it gave me another answer entirely.

I had become his crush.

Damn it.

"You honestly saved me," he gaped.

We were sitting on a small patch of the carpet, waiting for the blood to stop. Kris kept creeping closer to me as I tended to my wounds, while also trying not to pass out. Eventually I gave up and allowed him to examine my scrapes and scratches.

"If you try to kiss it and make it all better I'm seriously going to club you," I hissed, gasping for air once it was said.

The major gash in my stomach was the worst, and it hurt to even breathe. I leaned into Kris's shoulder by accident when he came up behind me to look at unknown cuts I had on my back. He didn't seem to mind me doing so.

His laugh was silent, but against him I felt his body rumble to the motion of a soft chuckle. I wanted to smile, but the formation of my lips was stuck to a thin line of pain. Instead I touched the hole in my torso every few seconds, to keep myself awake and aware enough to not fall asleep.

"You should see a doctor," Kris said.

I rolled my eyes. "And say what? While protecting you I was attacked by a giant red bug thing?" I rolled my eyes again to show how stupid of a remark he had made, only to realize he couldn't see me doing so.

He scoffed at me. "Your company doesn't have doctors on call? If they don't, you should think about switching to another job."

"Another job?" A burn rippled through me like a current, striking every corner of my body. "What would that be? I'm not trained for anything else. Being a normal cop after this is like becoming a real estate agent after being a huge Hollywood actor."

Nothing but the pain filled my mind as he pondered on what to say next. I shrieked out in agony as more blood seeped out onto the floor beside my leg, dying my jeans a crimson color. Kris's arms tightened around my upper torso, the only place I wasn't badly hurt at, amazingly enough.

There he held me like a child, with me propped up against him just as well. My head on his shoulder, my back pressed into his chest, and my legs sticking out way ahead of us both, I did feel like a small child.

In this moment I was the kid. For once in my life I was the weaker one.

"Blaine," he whispered close to my ear. His face was in my hair, like keeping a secret. "Blaine, stay with me. Don't fall asleep. Whatever you do, don't close those eyes for too long. I don't want to lose you."

"You," I choked out a laugh, "just met me." After two minutes of actually being allowed to get to know me he wouldn't want to be around me any longer. I become this boring, foolish person who believes everyone has a bad side and that I get stuck with it.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted his smile. "Exactly," he answered.

"Do you believe in fate?" he asked while I was trying to breathe.

Without answering he seemed to understand my point on the matter. I didn't believe in fate. If I did that would mean I believed that someone else was deciding everything I was doing and I was simply following someone else's orders without realizing it. I didn't want to believe that I wasn't in charge of my own destiny.

"Me either," he said in a half-voice. It was quite clear he did, but somehow he was trying to impress me by lying. Why was he lying to impress me? When people do that I simply think they're pathetic. It's not good to lie; otherwise the person is only impressed with things that aren't really parts of you.

That's why I never talk to anyone outside of work, because if they ask what I do for a living I would only end up lying.

"Am I making you uncomfortable?" His questions never ended.

"Awkward or in pain?" I asked back.

His smile retraced its way back onto his beautiful young face. "Both."

"Neither," I answered. "Your questions are pissing me off, but…" I could live with them.

My eyes drooped closed and I fell back, beginning to fall into a deep unconsciousness. His quiet smile was all I remember before succumbing to the slumber I shouldn't have required. Once I shut those eyes again to blink I fell asleep. In a strange boy's arms while bleeding to death. It felt like a scene out of one of Shakespeare's plays.

I could still hear while my whole body was numb. My eyes wouldn't open, and my mouth wouldn't move, but I could still hear.

Kris was suffocating me with his tight grip, but I was unable to say anything. All I could do was breathe and listen.

A bang at the door made him tighten his hold, and I attempted to cough. My whole body was breaking down; I had to wait for him to realize I was in pain from his clench. By the time he realized it there were six other people in the room.

"Grab Blaine," Zef said. I wanted to smile. "Now!"

Two large, bulky men – or so they sounded – came and grabbed me. One held my feet and legs, while the other held my head and upper torso.

I was in worse pain from the men holding me than when Kris was.

Zef's heels clicked as she came closer to Kris. I could smell him, which was sort of scary to do. His smell grew stronger as Zef closed in.

"You're Kris, right?" she asked.

My guess was he nodded because she continued on.

"It's best if you pretend this never happened. Okay? Just put it off like you did with all the others. We don't want anyone asking too many questions about this and actually get the truth."

"Where are you taking him?" He tried to push past her, but two of the other men came at him like two rockets, shoving him far away from Zef to touch her.

She laughed and had him dropped to the ground. I honestly didn't think she was this way. Harsh. Cold. Cruel. Not to the assignments, that is.

"Oh, we have our own hospital. It's best you forget Blaine. He's been in quite an ordeal, we don't want you to hurt him anymore than he's already been." I could hear her smirk in her voice. If only I could move.

"Do you understand me?" she growled.

He stepped forward. "I don't care what you say," he snarled back. "I don't care if you tell me that if I go with him I'll be shot in the head or taken to Afghanistan, I'm going with him. What are you going to do, arrest me? I'll just tell people what really happened here. Okay? I kind of like this guy, Blaine. He saved my life. Is it wrong I want to be there when he wakes up?"

Flummoxed, Zef stuttered to herself.

If only I could move my lips to smile.

"Now, if I'm allowed to say this, your men are hurting Blaine." Kris shook off the two men and pushed past Zef.

Somehow my sense of hearing multiplied in the last few minutes.

His breath fanned my face while his hands – or, at least, a third pair – fixed my shirt and hair. I would have made a face of protest, but well…

"You're holding his head all wrong. See, he's in pain. His breathing pattern is all wrong because he can't scream. And you're holding his legs too sloppy. If you walked out of this room you would've dropped him down the stairs or something." A random finger, which had to be his, ran across my face. I shuddered on the inside.

"I'd hold him right but I'm way too scrawny to do any heavy lifting." He leaned close to my ear, whispering, "No offense."

I laughed on the inside.

At least the kid could be polite when he wanted to be.

"Let's get going." Zef's shoes made loud sounds as she passed me by and went out into the hallway. "He's lost too much blood already and I'm afraid he'll lose too much by the time we get to the office. Plus, this place won't clean itself."

The men holding me followed after her, and someone was holding my hand the duration of our walk down the stairs and out into the limo. It was Kris's hand most likely, but I honestly was befuddled on why.

"He's not going to die, right?" Kris asked, shakily.

No one responded. Because of this, now I was terrified. I didn't want to die, especially since I had defeated the thing that would be the reason for my demise. Somehow I knew it was out there, somewhere, snickering because I was still about to die by its hand.

Sounds from outside the limo rung in my ears, deafening me by their thunderous booms and thuds. I wanted to wake up, and I wanted to no longer feel the pain. More and more blood was oozing out of my wounds and all over my clothes, making me feel disgusting even when unconscious.

There was the pain, the sounds, and yet my whole body felt gone. Nothing was capable of movement. I was like a ghost throughout the entire car ride.

Zef was talking mysteriously up in the front, most likely into a cell phone. All five large men were surrounding me, each holding a part of me up from the floor of the limo. My hand was still held by a smaller hand than my own, which now had to belong to Kris, while the rest of me burned with excruciating agony.

"We're almost there," someone said, as an earsplitting cry cut through the silence. "Won't be long now."

"Good," Kris growled.

The hand holding mine tightened around my numb fingers.

I hadn't realized it was my shout of pain until my throat felt scratched and parched. It wasn't long until another one escaped me, without thought or desire to, and the pain in my stomach only elevated.

The screams didn't feel like they belonged to me. They were filled with a pain I didn't even feel myself, a sorrow I didn't want to think about, an overwhelming sense of aloneness that I couldn't escape.

The driver slammed on the brakes and I slid into two pairs of legs, my left side enflamed with a throbbing sensation. The owners of the legs quickly picked me up and carried me out carefully; all the while Kris kept his hand enveloped over mine.

"Quickly," Zef said, a door sliding open. "This way."

Earlier I thought we were supposed to be going to the office building I was used to visiting practically everyday. Though that building didn't smell like bleach, and the doors didn't squeak open, they swooshed.

This was a completely different building; only it still wasn't a hospital. For that I was positive of. Zef wasn't dumb enough to take me to one of those with the wounds I had.

"You're going to have to let go now," she said, picking off Kris's hand. He didn't budge, not wanting to let go.

I was still in one of the large man's arms, my head flailing in the air, as well my as legs.

The other four men were off somewhere else, the sounds of their footsteps having disappeared quite a while back.

Kris still wasn't allowing Zef to remove his hand from mine, his other hand now holding up my head. Zef wouldn't allow this behavior, could she? If she just simply gave up and allowed him to hold my hand I would find the situation that much more terrifying. Everyone seemed to gain a new attitude the moment I fell into this not quite coma. I was just hoping that if I ever came out of it they would all return to what was considered normal.

"Please," Zef begged. "It's best if you just wait here. We don't want civilians entering past these doors."

Kris finally caved in, letting go of my hand. It slipped out of his fingers and dangled in the air, along with the rest of my right arm.

"Will I ever see him again?" he wondered. His fingers lightly grazed mine, making me inwardly shudder a second time.

"Maybe."

Zef must have given him the best smile she could manage, for he stopped asking questions.

"Now," Zef turned on her feet, most likely towards the massive man and me, "let's save your life." She ran her fingers through my hair, kissed my forehead, and shoved a needle into my stomach, inches from the gash in it.

I started to shake, almost slipping twice out of the man's arms, and then officially fell asleep.

Surgery took seven hours. Surgery for what exactly I'm still unsure of. I'm not a doctor, and so I can't officially tell that my wound was easy enough to just sew up. Simply guesses and estimations. All I know is that I didn't die, and Kris never stopped hugging me.

The kid apparently stuck around those seven hours, not wanting to leave my side the entire time I came out of surgery but was still asleep. Zef was nice enough to allow him to sleep in my room.

I found it sort of obnoxious and childish, while at the same time loved someone actually cared about me. Even if he only met me hours ago.

I woke up to Kris half asleep, and half lying on the bed and sitting in a chair, his arms wrapped around me with his face shoved into my chest. Thankfully I woke up quietly, for I simply pretended I was still asleep until he was tired enough to slip back into the seat.

The entire duration I was in the "hospital" we never spoke. He somehow managed to never be around when I was awake, and always beside my bed when I was asleep. Once he left a message written on my forearm, with a simple "It's Nice To See You Breathing."

I awkwardly made sure not to smear it for as long as possible.

Flowers and cards piled up around the room, the cards all empty but one, and all the flowers sent anonymously. I'm sure they were all sent by Zef or Kris, maybe even both of them. It was nice all the same, to wake up to something new every day that week I was stuck in the "hospital."

On the day I was discharged from what I later learned was a 'special hospital,' Zef caught up with me in the town car that picked me up. I wasn't allowed to drive for another week, and it was quite aggravating, but at least I was given time to think when usually I would be focusing on the road.

"Good morning, Blaine," she smiled, her lips a bright red color today. I never saw them with lipstick on before. It was a bit startling at first.

Her whole face was done with dramatic make-up, and as my eyes finally focused on the scene I spotted a fancy dress underneath the giant coat she was donning.

"Morning," I said, groaning from the pain that formed in my stomach. It was still sore, but thankfully wasn't as painful as it once was.

Her fingers fumbled with each other while her eyes darted from me to the driver and then back again.

"You can never see Kris again," she stated simply.

I knew this was bound to happen. After a mission is dubbed complete, and either the thing is dead or arrested, there's not much else you can do but leave the assignment alone to live a normal life again. Knowing me, this was a safer route for him on more than just the ordinary levels. I was an acid that destroyed people's lives, and I couldn't stand to see a kid like Kris destroyed because of me.

The expression on my face must have been heartbreaking, or pathetic, for Zef said more than she normally would on any other day.

"You can see him one last time," she tried for sweet, coming off as sounding cross. "To tell him the news. I'm sorry that this must be difficult for you, since you seemed to have, err, bonded with the assignment. It's happened to me once or twice in my life."

My eyes met hers momentarily. "Really? Or are you just trying to be sympathetic and lying for my comfort?"

Her smile framed her older face. "My late husband was an assignment," she said. I didn't even know she was married. "There was a werewolf that wanted revenge on him, since he accidentally was delivered a werewolf once instead of a cow. He was a butcher, you see. I was assigned him and he and I clicked. Back then it didn't really matter if we met up with our assignments after the mission was completed, and so him and I met a few times afterwards. Over the course of a year we fell in love, married, and then he died of cancer seven years later."

I frowned. "I'm sorry," I said.

"It's not your fault. Apologies are unnecessary. All I'm saying is that I know how you must be feeling."

"NO," I shook my head. "No way. This is different."

Those dark eyes of hers stared at me with familiarity. "You like him," she said, as if reminding me. "I would go so far to say that you don't even know it, but you do. I saw the way he looked at you when I came crashing through that hotel room. I know he likes you as well. I know this isn't comforting to hear, but you'll find someone else. He'll find someone else."

"I'm…" What was I going to say? I'm not gay? I despised women, and never really gave much thought on my own gender, so I couldn't really tell. It wasn't like I had a lot of experience in the love department to know what orientation I was.

Another of those smiles Zef had that made me question my sanity formed onto her dark features. "Don't deny what it is just because you two are boys." She shook her head, her curls falling into her face. "If there weren't any rules against this, against being with your assignments, I would say go for it. However," she shrugged, "I'm sorry to say that there are rules. I have to follow them, as do you. No exception."

"The kid bugs the hell out of me," I groaned, thinking back on the last real memory I had of Kris. Another memory cut in the middle of it, and I felt my lips out of embarrassment.

"So?" she asked. "Jeffrey – that was his name, my late husband – annoyed me more than anyone else. He was the complete opposite of me. Yet, I wouldn't have traded any of those arguments for the world. After all, they were only arguments of love. Only eye rolls of love, and grimaces."

"You're talking to me as if I should be with Kris, when at the same time you're telling me I can't." I sounded accusing, when I didn't mean to come off that way at all.

Zef eyed me in silence, making me worry that she was going to have me thrown out of the car. Once we stopped at a red light she slid a small bit closer to me, grinning. "I'm just telling you that if the world were fair, you could be with him. And I'm sure you would be. The world isn't, and since it isn't you can't be with him, no matter how many times you try telling yourself you wouldn't even if you could."

"You're making absolutely no sense, Zef," I said.

"You want to be with Kris, though you're telling yourself you don't, which I'm sure is only because then the telling him you could never see him again thing would go harder than originally planned. So here you are, saying you don't like Kris, when it's so obvious that you do."

"Again," I smiled despite myself, "you're making no sense."

"Well," she laughed, shaking her head again, "I tried to make sense."

More silence. More awkward glances at one another. More staring out the window, hoping that what I would have to do wasn't required. I didn't want to have to be the one who had to tell Kris we could never see each other again, yet I didn't want our last official memory to be me passing out leaning into him.

More memories resurfaced while I thought in the quiet.

"You kissed me on my forehead, before I went into surgery," I recalled.

Startled by the statement, as if it were another accusation, she paused from speaking. After a split second of thought on the matter, she laughed. "I don't remember doing anything of the sort."

The car slowed, then eventually stopped altogether. It was parked in front of our office, and she moved to get out. Passing by me to do so she stopped in front of where I sat, her eyes locked with mine. That same smile I'm sure that caught her late husband's attention darted across her face, making her even more beautiful than she naturally looked on her own. "Goodbye, Blaine," she said, winking.

"Bye Zef."

As the car pulled away from the curb I thought I saw her wave, but it must have been the trick of the light, for when I looked back again, she was instead on her cell phone.

Back home I found Blizzard happily sitting on my kitchen counter. He was looking healthier than when I last saw him, and I let out a happy sigh. When I first remembered his existence I was worried I'd come home to find him dead. It was nice something was going right in this world.

"You hungry?" I asked, searching for his food. It wasn't in the cupboard I normally stashed it in, but plainly placed in easy sights by the sink. I was a bit startled by it moving.

Clearly someone else had been in my apartment. But who?

I glanced around, as if somehow that would magically give me insight on the perpetrator. Until I stepped into the bedroom and saw the note on my changed sheets, I was worried it was some goon who thought that feeding my lizard would be good to do before he stole something or stashed away to kill me when I came back home.

Zef had sent Jenna to come to my house, to fix it all up for when I got back. She really did care for me, surprisingly. Here I thought that a boss and her employees only had a specific kind of relationship. She had to prove me wrong, prove she was indeed different after all.

Naturally if someone knew me as well as Zef did, they would be running in terror. Not her.

Weird.

After I found where my trashcan had been moved to, I raised my hand to throw the balled up piece of paper I transformed the note into, only to double over in pain from my chest and stomach wounds.

My knees met with the floor and the paper slipped from my hands while I felt my wounds, checking to see if something went wrong with my hand being raised so high.

Only an idiot like me would do such a thing after surgery. Only, wasn't I supposed to be better afterward?

I touched my chest underneath my shirt, feeling nothing wrong but the sharp aching. Then I suddenly felt Blizzard crawling up my back. He was being a real pest, unlike usual. I shook him off gently, watching as he crawled away to find something better to do with his time, while I slowly stood back up and straightened out.

Things definitely were different now. And not just because I couldn't raise my arm over my head anymore without feeling like death has come upon me at last.

There was a new number scrawled on the pad of paper by my phone when I bothered to check for messages. None. That's because all the people that knew my number knew I was in the 'hospital.' Or it may have been because I rarely get messages.

The number was unfamiliar, but I didn't think to call it. I was sure it belonged to Kris, and I couldn't handle talking to him right now. Over the phone, especially.

*******

"We cannot see each other." I pained to say it, but it had to be done. "We can't see one another. We… damn it." Like a teenage boy before his first date I was staring at myself in the mirror, idiotically fixing everything that wasn't wrong with what I was wearing.

Only I wasn't a teenage boy, and I wasn't about to go on a date.

Why should I care what Kris thought of me? I would never see him again. This would be the last time, ever.

I ran a hand through my hair, no longer caring if it was or wasn't messed up. Besides, I thought I heard once he liked my hair naturally disorderly. Or was I thinking inane thoughts again?

Stop thinking about it so much and it'll all be fine.

Easier said than done.

Zef had called me twice since she left me, asking if I were willing to do what she wished for me to do.

Twice I could have gotten out of this, twice I could have said, 'I don't feel like hurting someone's feelings today, why don't you do it?' and twice I answered with a, "I'm fine. I can handle it."

What a bunch of crap.

Blizzard passed me by as I changed my shirt for the sixth time. I was going mental. It's not like clothes really matter here, or how I look. Basically as long as I don't say, "You annoyed me so much that I'm grateful I can never speak to you again," I'm fine.

Right?

I picked up my phone, took a deep breath, and dialed the number given in hopes it wasn't Kris's number. If it were, I didn't really know what to say in order to meet him somewhere.

Plus, where would we meet? Somewhere public? Private? The movies? Bowling alley? Drive-in?

The number I dialed wasn't Kris's after all, luckily. It was a number to a restaurant in downtown called The Blob. Such a gruesome name to call a restaurant, don't you think?

I asked for Kris and the person on the other end grunted and said he didn't get on until ten.

Ten? How late does this kid stay up?

"Great," I muttered, and then hung up on the man. He was most likely pleased I didn't ask anything more. The man wasn't exactly a talker – my kind of person.

It was eight now, so I was granted two more hours practicing something that should come easily for me. As an agent I should know how to do these things as easily as riding a bike or driving a car.

I was indeed grateful for one thing, however, even if it weren't the ability to be an ass to everyone. At least I knew where I could meet Kris without having to explain my reasons for wishing to see him.

That was easy.

The hard part was coming soon, though. I knew that. I knew that very well.

And so I waited, changing my shirt another two times and my pants another three. My hair was a mess and I brushed it down, only to mess it up again. Blizzard kept running past me, probably wondering why his owner was acting stranger than usual. I would have told him, but he was a lizard and I preferred not being too crazytonight.

Eventually it was a quarter past ten and I had on the same outfit I started out with. Blizzard was lying on one of my shirts I abandoned on the floor and he looked rather bored. Though that may just have been the way he always looks.

"Wish me luck," I said, only to glare at myself in the mirror.

Talking to a lizard. Wherever did I go wrong?

Keys in hand, phone and wallet in pocket, I set off for The Blob, only to realize I didn't know the address.

I quickly went to the phone book stashed away in one of the kitchen drawers and looked up 'blob' in restaurants.

Not to my surprise there was only one listing.

I put the address in my phone and left without another word, not to myself or to my unable to talk back lizard.

My stomach was acting up as I sped through the city on my way to downtown. It couldn't have been because of what I ate – 'healthy' hospital food. It also couldn't have been because of the stitches in my skin, because it was in the inside of my stomach that was being weird and not the outside of it.

Emotions were the last thing on my list to think of, since I hadn't really wanted to form any for anyone. Especially this little irritating pest who attacked me. Well, I'd like to think of it as attacking.

I honked my horn at someone who idiotically cut in front of me on the freeway, but soon forgot about it when the exit I had to take came up. I made sure not to get too close to this person, in fear they'd act out if I did, and exited off the next ramp to find myself in the deadest part of the city.

Downtown isn't one of those places you go at night to find something to do. Usually people are leaving downtown in search of places to do something at. I wondered why exactly Kris would be working at a restaurant here, but it's not like everyone can afford to drive to Middletown – the busiest part of the city at this time of night – to get a job there. He mentioned living with two other teenagers his age, and he didn't have his own car, so I was only assuming…

The Blob had no parking nearby, unexpectedly, and so I had to drive quite a ways to find a place to park. I made sure to park near a light. This part of town wasn't the best place, for demons and humans alike.

If my car wasn't broken into, something twice my size might maul it instead. How was I to know?

As I passed by the building itself on my way to the entrance my stomach started hurting again. I felt it as I pushed the door inward, entering what seemed like someone's house and not a place to dine out.

I didn't really know what Kris's job here entailed, but I scanned the area for waiters in case he was one himself. In the corner I heard the familiar tone and I turned to see him talking to a table of older people.

He looked better today than he had since I last saw him. Maybe it was because of the environment. Maybe it was because he hadn't spotted me yet. Maybe it was because something wasn't trying to kill him and he wasn't locked up to a bed.

I was thinking too much, when I should be thinking as little as possible for this moment.

All these people, while he was at work. I was worried that telling him here would attract unwanted attention if he behaved badly. But why would he? I'm sure he'd appreciate getting rid of me as much as I should appreciate getting rid of him.

I remembered passing an alley on my way to here. That could be a good spot to tell him.

"The place is seat yourself, so go ahead and sit where there's an open spot," the woman at the counter beside me said. I looked away from Kris and at her to see her giving me a strange look.

"I'm not here to eat," I replied. The place wasn't my kind of place. I preferred my home to everything else pretty much. "I'm actually here to speak with someone. It'll only take a minute."

She blankly stared back at me now. "Whatever." Then she turned to her fingernails, as if they were more appealing to her.

I figured she must have been seventeen too.

With her no longer paying attention to me, and no one else seeming to either, I walked straight across the room and waited behind Kris while he finished up with his table. I made sure to not stand too close, in case he walked as he turned.

"I'll be back with your drinks," he said, promptly turning on his heel to fetch them their things.

I followed him as he gave his order to the cook, asked other tables how they were doing, all the way until he was at the soda fountain, filling up the glasses full of assorted beverages.

Clearly I was very good at keeping hidden since he didn't seem to notice me even as I stood right beside him.

"Kris, may we speak in private?" I asked.

He jerked, nearly spilling soda all over his front side. His blue eyes were brighter as he stared in shock at me over his shoulder.

"Blaine! Blaine, what are you–" Kris stopped talking to pay attention to his drinks. As soon as he was done handing his drinks off with the table he looked back at me. "What are you doing here?" he said.

I eyed him, wondering how he could look so happy when looking at me. The room got smaller as he stared. "Do you think you can ask for a break?"

He was walking again, this time to another server. "Huh? Oh, yeah. Sure." He gulped, wiping his hands on the small waiter apron he was wearing. All the while he was whispering to the other server and removing his apron he couldn't stop staring at me. I was getting unnerved at the fact, my stomach spinning out of control.

His eyes were like lasers cutting through me. It made me nervous.

"I'll be back in fifteen, Steve," he said to the cook behind the counter.

"Yeah, whatever kid," the man said in return.

Ha! I wasn't the only one who called him that.

Kris rolled his eyes and gestured to the outside. I directed him to the alley out back behind the building and then paused halfway down it. If I could, I would have walked forever, just to postpone the moment we've all been waiting for. Well, the moment I've been dreading.

"So you're out of the hospital?" he questioned. His face was hidden in the shadows of the wall. I wondered what

"Looks to be that way, doesn't it?" I replied tartly, only to feel guilty for the tone immediately afterward.

Kris didn't seem bothered by it. "Good," he said, nodding. "Good. They know you're out, right?"

"Ha. Yes. They most certainly do."

An awkward silence began building, until he cut it down with a flick of the wrist and a sentence I was anxious about receiving.

"What would you like to talk about?" he asked. His fingers were running through his hair repeatedly, as his legs swayed him back and forth. He was nervous as well.

That made me a little less on edge.

"We need to talk."

He frowned. "This is never good… What about?" Then he paused, eyes widening again. I hated when they widened. It made him more–

"Are you dying? Did that thing give you internal injuries? Is this one of those things where you try to make amends before you die?"

"Shh," I said, holding back an eye roll. "Shh. No. No way. That's not it. I'm not dying from internal injuries." They would tell me that wouldn't they?

"Then what is it?" he asked.

Ack. All these questions! "I…" I paused, taking in a few deep breaths.

This moment has come too soon. I would rather tell him I was dying from internal injuries. We'd have something cheerier to talk about. This was hurting my stomach too much. I wish time traveling were possible, because I would go back in time and tell Zef that she could tell him herself or send someone else to tell him this. Anyone but me.

My stomach was aching, the pain almost too much.

Why did I agree to do this?

Kris stole my hand, which I had to snatch back when people came walking by. It wasn't so much that I was afraid of being caught holding another male's hand in public, as I was afraid of holding anyone's.

Man, woman, child, demon with a slimy green skin that burns everything it touches.

He reached out for my hand again when the people passed – all humans, I noticed – and then almost stole a kiss when I wasn't paying attention. I just about knocked him into the opposing wall when I glanced back at him and saw what he was about to do.

His lower lip curved out in one of those childish pouts. I swear I wasn't going to miss that.

At least I honest to Zef hoped so.

"So," he cleared his throat. "You're leaving? For good?"

Psychic?

I stuttered and nodded, though I didn't exactly need to speak while nodding. The two just somehow formed a pact. My head was spinning out of control with weird new things to do.

I shut my eyes from the world, one hand over my mouth and the other keeping Kris at a good distance from me. He didn't protest. Surprise.

Breathing in and out, like any human should do without thought, I dropped both my hands to my sides, eyes slowly opening to a depressing Kris.

Why is it he's insanely happy, sickeningly annoying, or so depressed and sad that I just want to hold him like he really is a small child?

Damn him and his tactics. If he even has tactics.

"We can't see each other, ever again." This was harder than I practiced.

It took a while for him to reply with even body language. After a good, long silence, he nodded his head slowly and ran his hands through his hair.

I fought the urge to open my arms and allow a goodbye hug. Instead I peered up at the stars, the moonless night, wondering what other types of creatures out there were looking up at the same sky.

"Now," I went on, despite my better judgment not to, "that I killed what was after you, my job here is done." Our eyes met, and I, again, fought the urge to hug him. A simple, manly, friendly hug.

I hoped he knew I really did care, despite the fact I hated people.

Pursing his lips in a way I found less childish than usual, he swept a hand over his brow, turning away to face the wall he almost was thrust into a minute ago. I watched, quietly, hoping that maybe I could just sneak away. Only I knew that the minute I would officially make that decision it would crush me more than I'd care to admit.

It was ironic that the first person I really cared for I have to abandon in the dust of my now known not so complicated life. I'm sure if I found myself still despising him, like I do with every other person on this planet, I wouldn't have to leave him behind, wouldn't have to let him go.

"Do you want to go?" he asked.

And there goes the rest of my brain.

Thinking about this question isn't exactly a form of science. I should have said yes, or no, but I couldn't. My lips would not form the proper words. If I even uttered anything I'm sure it would have sounded like German.

What was I to say anyway? No would only lead to very complicated situations. Yes would be a half lie. And maybe would simply just be confusing.

I remained silent. I think, in a way, not answering was worse than saying anything at all.

"I see," he said, after much silence on both our parts.

Another deep breath. "That's not important," I told him.

His brow creased and he mockingly smiled. "Oh, isn't it?"

"It isn't." It shouldn't be!

One of his eyebrows elevated above the other. "Care to elaborate? Or is this going to be one of those because I said so moments?"

"Because…" I almost left it at that but Kris snorted at the fact I was leading to the easiest response. "Because, no matter if I wanted to stay in contact with you still or not I can't. That's the point. There's no choice. There's no 'I don't want to talk to you anymore so I made this up' going on. There's no 'Thank god there's this rule because you were really annoying' going on either. There's just the rule."

"Break the rule."

"I can't."

He leaned back against the wall, peering upward. He appeared to be holding back tears. His eyes eventually met mine again when he wasn't on the verge of crying anymore. "Are you on a leash?" His voice filled with venom. "Will you be fined $250 if you break it? I don't think this is like driving drunk, Blaine. They're telling you you can't see another person ever again for the next… however old you'll be when you die!"

Why couldn't he understand? Not that I did, but I thought he'd be smart enough to let this go.

We had only met a week ago! Why was this all even happening? It seemed like we had known each other longer than that.

My stomach burned. I nearly doubled over from how bad it felt to breathe.

"You don't know what would happen if I broke their rules," I said. "It would be worse than a fine or getting arrested. They could take you away to another country, give you a new name, a new identity… Or something worse."

"Is there a reason behind this? Do they not like their agents making friends?"

I truly didn't really know the reason. There were reasons given to us if one of us bothered to ask ourselves, but I doubt those were real reasons. They were simply reasons given for the curious to tide our interest.

"The reason is this. After every mission the agent is not to contact his or her assignment ever again. Usually they don't have to do this, tell the people in person. Usually the assignment wants nothing to do with the SDT again. Usually the agent wants nothing to do with the assignment again…"

Crap did I just admit that?

He noticed, too. A small half-smile played at his trembling lips. "So you're admitting you would still want to know me if there was no rule?"

"Uh." Uh-oh. "Yes?"

He nodded, taking in the admittance, and dropped his eyes to my shoes. "Well that's… something."

"I'm sorry." There I go apologizing again.

"Your palms," he muttered, looking down at them. I hid them behind my back.

"What about them?" I felt hot in the face. Was I blushing? Oy!

"Why are there scars all over them?"

"That's not important."

"You always evade questions!" he shouted.

I gulped, averting my eyes. Is this the part where he starts saying horrible things about me, hoping to shoot holes through my self-esteem?

"I don't think I'll ever forget you," he sighed. My whole world was turned upside down at the sentence. I wondered why exactly he would say such a thing like that, to me above all. "You saved my life. You were the first person I've met who actually seemed to care about me, even if you don't like to admit it."

When did he get to know me? I don't remember this happening.

"I…"

And then I ran.

Behind me I could hear him crying out my name, hoping I would come back to finish the end of that doomed conversation. However, going back now would be impossible. Even if there were no rules, I'm not one for showing my emotions, and I think I almost did just then.

Running was all I could do.

Run. Run. Run some more. Run until my lungs collapse. Run until my legs give out. Run until my heart bursts in my chest. So much running involved.

I would rather not run, but if I stopped I feared Kris would catch up to me. What would I say if I ever saw him again? What I almost did back there? The truth about what was roaming around in my brain, waiting to be uttered?

All this made me wonder what would have happened if I met Kris before Rose, or if I met Kris outside of work instead of while on the job. Would any of this have happened? Would it be at all different?

I'm sure it probably would be very different.

"Come back, Blaine!" I heard more screaming down the blocks. I decided to turn a corner, hope to drown out Kris's voice by the sounds of cars passing by on one of the more used streets.

My stomach heaved as I tripped over myself and landed into a signpost, knocking myself backwards into a building wall that looked like every other building wall around here. I bent over, hands on knees, gasping for breath, praying Kris was nowhere behind me.

There was no telltale sound that led me to believe he was anywhere near where I was. I peeked back around the corner and didn't even see him at all. He might have been back in work, but I wasn't sure. I didn't take any chances, and so I didn't head back to my car right away.

Instead, I crumpled to the ground and slowed my breathing some, gulping a few times to wetten my throat.

My head was aching at the idea of Kris, but I could not stop thinking about him. He glued himself to a part of my brain I used frequently, and so I always seemed to think of him when thinking of something else as well.

I wondered if doing exactly what the company wants me to do is such a good idea. It's been known that not everyone follows company rules. But I don't remember any of those people that didn't living long…

"Go back to the boy," half my brain told me.

"Don't be stupid," my other half rejoined. "Zef would kill you, not to mention GPS would find him and steal him away before you got the chance to prove you–"

I swatted my brain thoughts away. My inner mind was worse than other people, because it knew intimate details about me that bugged me worse than anyone else could do.

The two paths had been laid before me, and only I could choose which one to take. No one else could really make it for me, whether it was the right or wrong path. I had to take it myself, I had to make the choice myself, and I honestly didn't want to.

I would rather take the third route and do neither, but in this case there was no third choice. I only had the two.

Go back to Kris and hope that by some stupid miracle he'd still want to know the dumbass I was, or go back to my car and never see Kris again like I'm supposed to.

The choice was mine to make. What one would I take?

It was hard. Too hard. It should be easy…

"Oh for crying out loud," I grumbled, standing up and dusting myself off.

My brain was hurting still.

It was when I stretched my stitches again, causing me to lurch backward, that I decided.

I decided the idiot path. Maybe it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Wasn't that the big quote people kept passing around?

My mind set, my stomach not torn apart – just aching – I was ready to double back to The Blob and do the most stupid thing imaginable.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone across the way in another dark alley (they apparently have quite a few in downtown).

One of the vampires from a few weeks before was watching me from the shadows.

Could this day get any worse?


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