Authors note: Last chapter! Wewt! I'm added at the end something that I thought would be an epilogue but it was just too short and too epic to just be something that was put as a continuation of the story…it HAD to be the end! WEEE! I'm so excited! Also, I can't get the idea that Augustine's freedom is, like, a baby and he and Kenny are the parents. –nervous laugh- It makes sense but it's a little weird,eh?XD;;

Chapter Five- Status Quo Ante-Bellum

He was a sorry sight, he knew, and if he were a human they would have rushed him to the nearest hospital. The attendants would scurry to see the new arrival and call out for fluids, hooking him up to all sorts of machines that would beep and ping, keeping him in check. His family would cry, how could they let this happen? Why hadn't they noticed? But if he were human he would be dead already, so none of this fantasy really mattered.

One by one, just like the time that he had first taken James into his apartment, mortal after mortal shuffled into his home after he told Augustine to go out and find them. How he was able to get the pompous fool to do it, Kenny had no idea. And so he sat, on the white couch in the small out cove where James had been killed, the mortal's blood already mopped up by either the first few people to come see him or Augustine, for a snack. The thought made him shiver and he curled up in the soft corner of the couch, where James had, and closed his eyes desperately trying to connect with the deceased somehow.

"Sleepy?"

Kenny didn't have to lift his head to know that the solemn giggle came from Jill, with Zen sauntering sluggishly behind his eyes for the first time not glued to the woman's tight miniskirt. Turning his head, Kenny unraveled himself and sat up, hugging his knees. "Jillian…Zenith…" He nodded to them with a sigh.

Jill slid forward and lightly perched on the edge of the coffee table in front of Kenny, while Zen stayed behind, though it was clear that he was worried all the same. "Oh Kenny, is it true?" The woman's voice wavered for a moment and her eyes glistened with tears that she told herself she would only shed after she left the apartment, "What I mean is, hunny, do you really think that this is what you want?"

The man that she had always known as fierce and unfeeling, but careful and strangely kind, was fading. She couldn't help but think about all the times that Zen had come home drunk or just not come home at all and she would, in tears, knock on Kenny's door, lonely or frightened always in those days, and he would let her talk her troubles away, sometimes even let her sleep in his bed while he slept on the couch if the loneliness didn't disappear by the end of her wakefulness.

A tear slide down her cheek and Jill looked over the immortal being. When they had met they were both about the same age, but she grew older, grew into her skin and now, though Kenny was far from her younger, she couldn't help but look at him as a child who didn't know what he was doing. He is confused, she thought to herself, another tear escaping from the pool gathering under her eyelids; the Kenny she knew wouldn't do something like this.

"Yes."

She was snapped from her thoughts as the firm voice that had once belonged to this Kenny echoed through the cool niche and Jill nodded sadly as if to say that she knew that there would be no swaying him decision. This was the same man, just a little less of him. Leaning forward, she fondly wrapped her thin arms around the vampire's shoulders, breathing in his sweet scent; even in death he smelled of the most wonderful things. Zen took a step forward as if to tell Jill that she was overstepping the boundaries with her hug but she ignored him, whispering to Kenny, "He thinks that he can protect me if you get thirsty, but he can't." She giggled lightly, "But hey, at least he's taken care of me, right? I just wish that he didn't pick a fight with every guy that I so much as say hello to!"

Kenny chuckled under his breath, happy for a moment that Jill still had a sense of humor and that Zen was beginning to respect her. "I hope you won't need me anymore," he whispered back, his cool breath brushing against her neck as he withdrew from her embrace. "But from the looks of it, he's more stable and for that I am glad." A lopsided smile curved his lips for a moment, but the feeling in his face was slowly disappearing and the smile dropped after Jill had seen it.

She frowned, "so, how does this work? I mean, there's got to be an easier way for you to…Die." Another couple tears slipped down her face, but she kept control of her voice.

Sighing, he threaded his fingers together on top of his knees as if the goodbye suddenly turned into something of a business meeting. "Augustine," he mumbled, seeing from the corner of his eye as Jill nodded once as if to say that she knew who he was talking about, "he could do it easily, but he refuses to so I must do it myself, I…" He looked away for a moment to the corner that he was moved from and a certain bleak feeling filled the air. "I can't, I…" Kenny had to stop then, regain control of his face like his sister had taught him.

Jill didn't want to upset the boy, which is what she viewed Kenny as in this moment of hopelessness, but she couldn't help from letting one comment slip from her glossy lips. "All over that little twerp?" Zen took another step towards them, and Jill knew that he wouldn't without a doubt to pick her up and carry her out if he had to take another step forward. She kept her mouth shut to comments like that from then on.

A smirk colored emotion over Kenny's features and he snapped out of the feelings that he had felt before, chuckling, "It does seem a little silly doesn't it?"

Jill nodded, glad that he didn't take it the wrong way and nonchalantly stated, "Yes, I mean, you only met him, like three days ago."

"Was it really only three days?" Kenny mumbled as if speaking to the air around him and looked out the window towards the setting sun. "When you've lived for so long, the days run together," he paused, looking as if he was going to cry and turning towards Jill once again, "I loved him. I did. I realized it right here, where I'm sitting! I just…I just didn't know what it was. I didn't know how to show…It was the same feeling as my hunger so I always thought I was hungry, but- but- Jill…"

Kenny's eyes reddened and a few small crimson tears rested in the corner of his eyes, almost bubbling over before Jill reached over and, using her fingers, closed the vampire's eyes manually. Drawing back to her perch on the coffee table she winked and pointed to one of her own eyes, "You're going to need those, from what you told me once."

She was referring to one of the nights that she had spent over at his apartment where he had talked for just a few moments about Augustine's disappearance to see if she was the one that his sister was talking about that would show his emotions but all she did was nod, so instead he told her about his current predicament. At the time, he hadn't eaten for a few nights, laziness really but also a little depressed about Augustine, and told her that he would have to be careful and eat the next day because even a drop of blood could keep him alive for a little longer, it would just be really painful that's all. Augustine had told him that.

"Yes, I suppose so…" He mumbled, looking past Jill now and to Zen who had stiffened at the mention of 'love'. "You should go now, the sun is setting and I've been told by others that we're being picked off by other gangs in town at the news of my taking ill." Laying a hand of Jill's shoulder, Kenny looked into her eyes and gave a slight smile, "get out of this hellhole that I've created, it was nothing more than something to distract me from myself and now I'm giving it to someone else, but not to you, this is not the place for newfound hope. Please go and leave this all behind."

Jill reached to her shoulder for his hand, eyes shimmering as she caught a glimpse of her former leader, perhaps the last she would see, in the eyes of the boy but he removed his hand before she could touch him; typical. She wiped her clear tears from her face and stood, nodding and letting her voice crack, "I'll never forget you, my friend."

With that Jill walked into Zen's chest and he wrapped his arms about her as they walked towards the door. Below his breath, Kenny mumbled, now looking out the window, "I wish you wouldn't."

-*-

It had been two weeks since he had stopped eating and only one day after he had talked to Jill that Kenny found that he couldn't get up from his bed because he couldn't feel his spine. It was one week after that that he lost the ability to move his elbows and knees. And finally a month without food, his blood lust had all but blinded him.

All throughout those painful four weeks, Kenny had resisted the urge to cry out as his body slowly began to die, rotting from the inside. Of course the room where he lay for that time was filled with the overpowering smell of flowers, another mechanism of a vampire's body to attract food to those who weren't able to catch it but no humans came for him, he had told them not to come.

Augustine at first hadn't taken him seriously and gone off on a two week trip around the world to see if the people that he once knew were still alive, more or less, and well. When he had gotten back, the situation wasn't so bad, but a week after that, the third week, the older vampire showed signs of worry.

"Come now, cease this nonsense," Augustine had chided, a pleading tone at the end of each word. His freedom was what he had always wanted but the second goal of his was to be free with someone else; that was always the plan. Always…

Was it Kenny that had inspired this second goal? Augustine couldn't even remember anymore if his absence had changed how he thought about things, his plans, he couldn't remember what he was like before the day he realized that he was being followed by that first James. He was free then, probably different than what he was now but he didn't notice. He didn't notice that he had lost his sense of purpose: what to do after he was free.

"Don't leave me Kenny," the vampire begged on the first day of the fourth week, stroking Kenny's beautiful blonde hair as it lay on the pillow- the only thing that hadn't been unaffected by his starvation.

Kenny looked like a discarded china doll, his eyes shining brighter than the tarnished, sanded skin that covered him. He was really a sorry sight now and if he had thought that he was before then, obviously he had been wrong. Everything about him was delicate and he could feel as every partial in his body screamed, as if he was on fire, these were the last moments.

Augustine waited in silence, feeling as though he could cry. It was one of those 'don't appreciate what you have till it's gone' kind of situations and he could really feel the weight of those words on his shoulders, but in his mind, there was nothing that he did that was wrong. All he wanted was his freedom! That's all he wanted! Could he not have it? Did he not deserve it? Kenny came as an auxiliary prize, but could he still not have that as well?

The other vampire took Kenny's hand and both were surprised to see that it did not crumble into sand at his touch. This was the last thing that he could do; it was too late to try and make him eat because forcing him would only break him faster. With their hands joined just like they had when they were running through the woods, Augustine mimicked Kenny in hopes of restoring some will to move one.

"Love?" He whispered desperately, gripping the even colder hand between his curled fingers.

Kenny looked from the ceiling where he had been gazing lifelessly, turning his head as best he could towards Augustine and, as a single drop of blood slid gracefully from the corner of his eye, Kenny lightly shook his head, closed his eyes and breathed, "No."

The last soft breath that Kenny had exhaled brushed lightly against the cracked skin beneath his white button down shirt and all at once the cracks in his skin widened and his skin crumbled, revealing that it was only an empty shell of Kenny. Augustine could only watch in horror as the remains turned into a light dusting of ash in the shape of his former lover on the white sheets. Ash slipping through his fingers and onto the floor.

-*-

He had done this before, that time it was for his freedom, that time his eyes were clouded as they were now. He lusted for love now that he had his freedom, and he would not wait. Kenny, oh, Kenny had been love, yes, that was love. But he had ruined it and he could punch himself for it. He had. This time, this time nothing would change because he knew what he wanted and he knew how to get it. Kenny had given this experience to him and he would not forget it.

He waited patiently, listening in on the gruesome scene through the little house's walls: the boy had devoured them in quite a hurry. Perhaps this one wasn't as innocent as he had thought him to be, not like Kenny at all, but enough.

It was time to step in. He took a few steps and he was in view of the fledgling, who looked up at him in confusion. Running a white gloved hand through his glossy black hair, he lowered his gaze to the boy and stated matter-of-factly, "My, aren't you in a bit of a pinch?"

The boy only tilted his head and smiled slightly, giggling, "Am I?"

This cute insanity drew the vampire closer and he extended a hand to the seated boy, not caring if his hands were soiled by the blood on that of the other's. "Why, yes! You are but a novice and yet you have been left like this? Alone, you couldn't possibly survive for long. Here," their hands joined and he pulled the boy up with the slightest of ease, "I will take it upon myself to teach you our ways."

Brushing his fledgling as if dusting off imaginary rubble and ash, he smirked and released the boy. "I am known as Augustine, what is your name, child?"

Sorry Afflictions . End

End note: There we have it! –throws confetti- Completed! Woohoo! Oh jeez, I love these kinds of stories so much, you know? The ones where everything get's flipped and the villains are really just normal beings with human desires. In the end, the characters are just people, no one is bad and no one is good (except maybe James because he was just born into it really) and everything comes full circle I suppose!^^-

-sigh- The only happy ending was Jill and Zen's!XD I threw that in there for Palm because she said that she liked Jill so, yeh!;D

Review please! I might have left something out (like I always seem to do) and I would be grateful is everything made sense to you! And…omg! –referring to authors note at the beginning- Kenny died in child labor!:0 –stifled chuckle- It makes sense, but it's just so…inappropriate! –dead- Okay, thank you so much for reading! –heartcling- Here are some people's stories that I recommend!;D They all have aspects that I've fallen in love with as far as overall awesomeness!!! –fansqueal- Most can be found in my favorites!

Eden by PalmTree

A Tale of Woe by Kalista Jia

The Last Singer by Anego

A Nightly Kiss byGoddessLunaria

Aidean by Aidean

Devils' horrific journeys/ Thorn World by Rayne