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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
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((GM'ing approved. I hope my method is acceptable.))

Edging ever closer, Nick was teetering on the edge of decision. An opening came - he steeled himself - closed again. Flicking off his flashlight, he squeezed into the shadows, bouncing on shaking legs, feeling cascades of hot blood racing through his chest. He couldn't do it. He knew it. Nick Reid didn't make snap decisions, he thought everything through, slowly and surely - Phil went down hard. He was facing away. Nick's thoughts swirled with the white-hot intensity of a brilliant star. He couldn't do it -

He leaped forward, pushing off the wall and through a sea of adrenaline. Had there been anything else to see, Nick could have only seen Tom anyways. Everything was twisted, spiraling into a tunnel within the tunnel, revealing nothing but Tom, standing there, acting in slow motion, and he, Nick, racing forward with blistering heat radiating from every part of his body, droplets of sweat forming, passing through a deepening tunnel that was so cramped and so airy, flying through the boundless sky as he squeezed himself through the eye of a needle -

Contact. The spell shattered and he tumbled downwards, landing hard, half-cushioned by Tom's body. The sword was free. It was all his. But something else burned inside him, a sleeping beast stretching its wings. It shook itself, and roared.

There was no going back now. No more "accident", no more excuses, no more sneaking and hiding and lying. Years of suppressed rage, rage at the world, rage at himself, rage at everything and everyone. It all came free. There was nothing to hide any more. Twisting and spinning and jolting and burning its way into the forefront of his mind, a bolt of raw emotion burst free from the citadel imprisoning it. Rolling Tom over, he grabbed him by his shirt and heaved him upwards with untapped reserves of strength and fury. An image shot through his mind, of Maxwell holding him up, the fists pounding into his face. There, in front of him, in his hands. Taunting him, jeering, spitting in his face. Muscles fueled by the fire running in his veins, he slammed the boy's head into the wall.


The shout tore tears from his eyes. Why was he being tormented like this? In his hands was the reason he couldn't live in peace, the boy who had stolen away the last happy moment of his life. It was traveling catastrophe, and this chaos' newest soldier.


Another slam, another sickening sound of skull on stone. He wanted to vomit, to run, to curl up right there and die. Why was he making him do this? It wasn't fair! Ending one life and ruining another, and all because of him -


He was bleeding now, Nick could see dark blood on the wall before him. Why was he doing that? He had no right to die! He was supposed to fight, to struggle, to man up and tear into Nick, because that was the order of things. To spill his own blood, to see his life force leaking to let him know he was still alive...


It tore his throat. But he didn't care. Holding Tom's limp frame, looking into his glassy eyes. He couldn't be dead. There was no way. No, he would rise and chase Nick to the very gates of Hell. Just like Alex. Just like Maxwell.


The light on Tom's collar wasn't blinking. He was free. Free from the drama, free from pain and hurt, free from the island, free from anger and depression. Free from people. But he, Nick, he wasn't free, and he wasn't going to be free, it would just keep on hurting and never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever stop.


Finally, his trembling fingers fell loose of the boy's shirt, letting him slump to the rocky floor. They closed on the hilt of the funny square sword, a token of the bizarre reality that led him there. It was all so surreal. Sur meant over, right? So it was overreal. Too blatantly, coldly real. His body was a cold, trembling shell now, aimless, hopeless, helplessly adrift on the unflinching sea of time. No redo button, not even pause. He couldn't make things better again. Ever. Between violent quaking sobs and miserable crying wails, one short sentence escaped his lips.

"I'm sorry."



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