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Back in St. Paul, if Just for an Evening...; Minor Content Warning. PM for permission before Joining.
Topic Started: May 2 2011, 02:16 PM (1,530 Views)
T-Fox
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N-Nopony! Ah was talkin' to nopony whatsoever!
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((Peter McCue continued from The Long Road Home))

Katlin didn't look any better for wear by the time that they began to approach their destination. A few times over the course of the journey, she had asked where, but it didn't sound like her to his ears. She sounded so broken... So distraught that he could barely keep himself moving. The girl he had sworn to himself to protect, to care for... But he knew that telling her wouldn't feel the same as just showing her. It wouldn't have the effect, the aid of leaving the surprise to the last moment. And as they crested the hill, looking down on the small village, it seemed serene and peaceful. With a small grin, he turned to his companion, her hand still in his.

"We're here."

His own internal elation was bubbling right to the top. Without stopping to see if she had any response, he carefully helped her down the hill leading into the small semi-circle of building, just hoping that they wouldn't run into a body on the way. That was the last thing they needed while he was trying to bring some life and happiness back to his companion. It wouldn't be like being home again... But it would be as close as they could get.

Thankfully, the first house on the outside of the village's door was unlocked, and seemed relatively untouched. Well, as untouched as a previously lived in house could be. Carefully leading her into the main room of the building and shutting the door behind him, he looked around. Not home, but it would work. A small, black and white television set was affixed in the corner among a few magazines, with a small fireplace nearby. Just the sight of this got the gears turning in his mind, but he should really get back to that later. As his eyes scanned the room, he spotted a little blue loveseat as the only seating in the room besides the admittedly plush and comfortable looking carpet, with an old coffee table just at leg's reach, two empty mugs sitting on either side. Smiling at how cozy the place was, he turned back to his companion, for the first time since leaving actually going out of his way to gague how she was feeling; before seeing her so downtrodden was too much to bear.

"Welcome home Katlin."

He was really hoping that comment wouldn't get her down any more than she already was, bringing thoughts back from Bayview... But too late, it was already out in the open. And if he had anything to say about it, they would make this place a home for as long as they could. She would stay here, he would go out into the town and examine the collar on his own. They would remove each other's, and live happily ever after, together.

Hefting the shotgun over his shoulder, glancing at the mesh pouch on his backpack barely visible out of the corner of his eye where the extra shells sat, he motioned to the loveseat. "Wait here... I'm going to go make sure no one else is here." As much as he wanted to just drop everything and let his guard down for once, that just wasn't smart, wasn't plausable. Quickly spinning and sneaking into the kitchen only to find it ransacked for food, he scanned the room.

That's the same wallpaper Mom put up last year...

The boy's head shook violently, making a note to put off the sentimental feelings, at least for now. If someone was here, then Katlin was in danger, and until Peter had checked every nook and cranny, they couldn't be sure. Going through the room as quickly as he could, his shotgun leading the charge, he then slipped up the stairs as quietly as a mouse, taking note of the various rooms and fixtures. It appeared to be a Townhouse, the upper floor consisting of a master bedroom, a guest bedroom, and a small bathroom with... Holy shit, a shower. Choosing the latter first, he let the door creak on it's hinges, quickly finding the small room to be clear. Repeating the previous process for the other two until he was satisfied that they were alone, he crept back down the stairs, making sure that all the windows were locked.

With a clack, the shotgun fell to the ground, and with it Peter felt a great weight fall from his shoulders. He could finally relax for a day. Nearly ten days that they'd been here. Didn't these infernal games usually only last two weeks? They had to be some of the last alive... That last announcement proved as such. He still hadn't heard Ivan since that first announcement, and no sign of Ridley at all. That was good... He still wasn't alone.

His eyes rose to the dishevled girl on the small blue cusion.

He would never be alone again. Quickly shedding the backpack and plopping down on the seat himself, he just smiled at her, and took her hand into his. There was no need for words. They had shut the door behind them, left the gore, the violence, the death and terror behind for as long as these walls stood, nothing needed to be said. For as long as they both stood. Finding a meal would come later. For now, rest and relaxation were so much more important.
Coming soon to a deathmatch near you:
Garry Brooks - Swave Countryboy
Jade Aurora - Tomboy Drummer
Jasmine Tolle - Pacifistiic Artist

Memories of those past:
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What is wrong with you people?!
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T-Fox
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N-Nopony! Ah was talkin' to nopony whatsoever!
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Her words caused a small smile to break on his face. The first one in too long that didn't feel forced. He turned a milimeter, just to feel her arms around him, her head on his shoulder with a renewed vigor, closing his own eyes and placing his own head against hers. His arm slid down to her side, wrapping around her waist comfortingly. It felt so right to have her so close, so... tender, something he had never experienced before in his life. And it felt so right.

He let out a soft sigh, just focusing on the warmth, letting Katlin's words linger in the air for a moment longer, the sweetness giving the room its own character and feel.

Would things be like this when they got back to St. Paul? Would his parents acknowlege everything they had been through and allow them to be this close when the real world came crashing back down? As much as he enjoyed this, the penalty was death... At least for one of them if not both. The real world, Bayview, was the better option. If they went back... What would they do?

Another sigh.

"Anything for you."

He just sat, cradled in each other's arms for a time, a time he didn't care to count, just savoring each and every passing second, willing his stomach silent, willing his mind to ignore any little discomfort that popped up. Any moment could be his last, and each and every good thing in his path needed to be remembered and held on to for as long as he could. Draw every little drop of strength from every single experience, because it was needed, more than he would ever know.

He had no idea how long it had been when he heard a noise at the door, startling him and sending his heart beating at a breakneck speed. Reflexively he jumped, in the process giving Kalin a nice little scare as well. His demeanor immediately became frantic as his eyes scanned the room, unable to see anything out of the windows, still dark from the inky blackness of night. The outline of his shotgun, glinting in the soft light given by the moon and helping to bolster the romantic feeling in the home not a few minutes ago suddenly became his best friend, leaning over the soft arm of the love seat, grasping for the cool metal which instantly brought reality back the moment its cool steel brushed over his fingertips.

"It's Imraan Al-Hariq. Who's in there?"

Imraan. The past few days had made a small defense mechanism for Peter, in the fact that he had pushed the humanity of those he wasn't close to out of his mind so that the Announcements didn't make him break down every single time that they cracked to life. All nine of them. But the name was familiar, so he strained his mind to remember as he missed the shotgun on the first grab. Deep breath. Take your time, there's a door in the way.

The feeling of the plastic on the grip of the weapon was encompassed by his palm, and he brought the weapon to bear.

Imraan. Religious. Kind. Words flashed through his mind here and there, ones he hoped were really descriptors of the man currently at the door. If that were the case, this didn't need to come to blows, so to speak.

"Peter McCue and Katlin Anderheim!" He fired back, his off hand resting around the forestock of the weapon, again that rubbery grip slapping home.

What was this game doing to him? Had he lost his humanity, pointing a loaded weapon at a 17 or 18 year old kid on the other side of a wooden door? What was wrong with him?

Breaking from Katlin's grip quickly, he dropped to a knee, and brought the weapon to bear, stock nestled against his shoulder, just like he remembered from the National Jamboree back in 2005 when he fired something similar for the first and only time in his life.

The next question sounded so cliche in his mind. Like something that would make both Imraan and Katlin groan in response. But it needed an answer to have any idea of how to react to this new intrusion.

"Friend, or Foe? We still aren't playing, and have no plans to!"

At least it wasn't Maxwell or Kris, but this game changes people... He just wished he knew the other boy's intentions.
Coming soon to a deathmatch near you:
Garry Brooks - Swave Countryboy
Jade Aurora - Tomboy Drummer
Jasmine Tolle - Pacifistiic Artist

Memories of those past:
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What is wrong with you people?!
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T-Fox
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N-Nopony! Ah was talkin' to nopony whatsoever!
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Katlin sounded so incredibly excited. She knew this boy... He really couldn't call anyone on the island a boy any more could he? Every single god damned person put through this had proved that they were, indeed, a man. Especially those who hadn't gone the route of playing this far in to the game. This man on the other side of the door was most likely just as armed as he was, but... Katlin trusted him. Wholeheartedly. That would have to be enough.

He closed his eyes, wrapping his hand around the shotgun just a little tighter. Get ready, open the door. Keep the shotgun just in case. Just in case Imraan had snapped and started playing.

Three...

Tw-

Suddenly, before he could even get to one, he heard the faintest of creaks, the sound of a latch opening. His eyes shot open in panic. No, Katlin wasn't supposed to be the one in danger, she was supposed to be protected so that she could live! Opening his mouth to shout, anything that would be just as unhelpful as anything else... The man on the other side stood there, a similar shotgun limply in his hand, draped as if it were nothing more than a schoolbag, gravity dictating its aim.

"Hey."

Imraan's words sounded to be out of shock rather than anything else. Surprised, pleasant shock. That's an emotion he hadn't heard out of someone in far too long. He swallowed hard, following Imraan's gesture, letting the shotgun go with his off hand, and draping it down to the floor. He addressed Katlin, cracking a smile.

A smile...

It had only been nine days, but the concept was already foreign to Peter. A smile... The smallest, but most powerful gesture, no, tool that anyone here on this island had left in their arsenal. A genuine smile. And it was frankly infectious, as Peter nearly immediately found himself with a grin on his face as well.

"Hey man, don't worry. I'm not... well you don't have to worry about me."

That was all Peter needed to hear. Now, he had no way of telling, or knowing if Imraan's words were completely sincere. But... This was unprecedented for the pair. Someone else who was like them. Scared, running, trying to survive, not playing. Someone who just wanted his old life back, who just wanted to go home.

Whether or not Imraan was sincere... Peter felt safe with him in the house. And wasn't that all that really mattered?

"I'm glad to see you... You have no idea how glad I am to see you. It's just been Katlin and I since day two."

He let the shotgun clatter to the floor with a muffled rattle, it coming to rest immediately on the carpeting.

"Another friendly face... I can't believe it."

However, the gears began to turn as their new companion traveled over to, and immediately flopped onto the couch that he and Katlin were on a few minutes ago. Imraan said he had 'stuff to do'. The only thing Peter could think of was...

No. No way in hell. He just didn't want to believe it. Couldn't believe it. His plan on day one had been to undermine the system. Save as many people as he could. Now there were less than one hundred, and it looked like the only two he would be saving were himself and Katlin. If that.

No. Don't think like that.

But if Imraan really was friendly, if he really wasn't playing... Peter could try again. He could save what, maybe a dozen students if he was lucky? Still... He could save them. It was a chance.

But what... Why did Imraan want to leave so badly? All three of them were safe here!

"...What do you mean you have stuff to do?"

He took an involuntary step closer to Katlin. He may not have had a weapon, but his fist clenched protectively, as if by instinct. Something in this just didn't seem quite right, and while his conscious mind refused to accept or acknowledge it, everything else in him did.
Coming soon to a deathmatch near you:
Garry Brooks - Swave Countryboy
Jade Aurora - Tomboy Drummer
Jasmine Tolle - Pacifistiic Artist

Memories of those past:
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What is wrong with you people?!
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T-Fox
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N-Nopony! Ah was talkin' to nopony whatsoever!
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((Moving this along a little bit.))

Imraan's words were so soothing. While they still didn't sit quite right, in Peter's mind, that was enough. He was a friend, he wasn't a threat... right? He had to be. There was no alternative, he just plain had to be. He had people to see. How had that not crossed Peter's mind? How was he so paranoid, so apprehensive about a fellow classmate? It was less than two weeks ago, everyone was at least civil towards each other, if not friendly. Had he left his humanity that far behind?

As the word yet rang in the air, his mind, and eyes, wandered back to Katlin.

No... No, I still have my humanity. All three of us do.

There was no getting around it. This game changes people. They hadn't lost their humanity... They hadn't been on the announcements. The people he really had to fear, the people he had to... he had to... kill... on sight...

Yeah... Those were the people that had lost their humanity to the game. Those were the people who had been changed the most.

The image of that boy, getting shot with an arrow at the sawmill momentarily flashed through his mind, and he allowed himself an involuntary shudder.

The silence was obviously awkward as Peter ran through so many possibilities, so many scenarios in his mind, trying to force them back to the good ones, the ones worth his time. The ones that would make this a little more bearable, a little less terrifying. Apparently Katlin had already picked up on it, because she had already begun stammering about food. As nervous and worried as she sounded... She was right, there really wasn't all that much more that they could really eat. There was shitty bread (almost gone), or trapping another animal (not happening in a town). Before he could even say something though Imraan was already rummaging around in the kitchen.

He mentally kicked himself for being so inattentive.

The creak of a cabinet opening, quickly followed by a loud crashing sound. He jumped as soon as the sound of broken glass echoed throughout the otherwise stoic house, his hands locking up into fists, his foot crossing between Katlin and the kitchen door, as if he were about to slide up in front of her, to defend her. The shotgun was too far away if he wanted to, if Imraan wanted to... And besides, that wouldn't be his instinct anyways. He still hadn't fired the damn thing yet.

"...yeah, since that. Sorry, bad memory. You guys find anything?"

He slowly crept up to the door jam, peeking his head around, smiling as he noticed that it was just broken glass in the cabinet. He wasn't drawing a weapon, making a weapon or anything.

God damn it Peter... For the love of hell stop it. He's your friend!

That wasn't completely true... but... Yeah it was. Stop kidding yourself. On this island, if they're not hostile, they're your friend.

"We haven't even had the state of mind to look." Stepping full out from his hiding place, he slunk around the corner and opened up another cabinet on the other side of the room. "A couple of little cans, yeah... We can probably make something out of this. Well, something a lot better than moldy bread."

---

A few minutes later, about five cans and a box sat on the counter top next to the stove. Three cans of SPAM, two cans of Green Beans, and a box of Rice Krispies, far past their expiration date. He glanced at what to anyone else would be the most disgusting combination ever. But to the three of them, it was pretty much going to be a feast. The stove wouldn't light, apparently the gas main had been cut. Glancing through the window behind the sink, the sun was just setting... But cooking outside was a bad idea.

Wait... They were right next to the woods. After quickly verifying with Katlin, Peter darted outside, making sure to grab the shotgun and sling it over his back along the way. He wasn't getting caught off guard while breaking branches for firewood, of all things.

A few minutes later he had returned, carrying an arm load of twigs, and one or two slightly larger logs, that almost looked like they had begun to rot. Smiling, he let the armful fall behind the fireplace gate, coughing a little bit as it kicked up the dust of fires gone by. It made him think really. Who had this place belonged to? How many romantic nights were spent on that exact love seat, in front of a cozy, roaring fire? What was life here even like before the game was brought here?

It really was a sad thought... Especially if Danya and his men had to clear out... Okay, enough of that thought.

With his knowledge, it was pretty easy to get a fire going, and the moment he noticed the large log catch, the SPAM and beans went in his mess kit, and the mess kit went right on top of the embers.

SPAM, Beans, and Cereal. Nasty any other day of his life. Today? Amazing. And he couldn't think of anyone but Katlin better to share it with. Flopping back down on the couch, he patted the seat next to him, indicating for her to come sit next to him while they waited for the low quality meat product to sear a little bit.

The noise of the crackling fire was broken as Peter addressed Imraan with the first actual discussion question of the entire evening. More than the hellos and I'm glad to see yous. He had been curious. Curious what this man had gone through that he and Katlin didn't. He had mentioned a bad memory before, but... It wasn't that pointed of a question. Imraan would most likely avoid it if he really wanted to.

"So..." He glanced up to the roaring flames. Something about a fire really made a place feel like home to him. "...How have you been making the past week go by?" His voice was somber, solemn... Thoughts of the horrors he had seen dancing through his own head.

That question probably wasn't the best idea.
Coming soon to a deathmatch near you:
Garry Brooks - Swave Countryboy
Jade Aurora - Tomboy Drummer
Jasmine Tolle - Pacifistiic Artist

Memories of those past:
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What is wrong with you people?!
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T-Fox
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N-Nopony! Ah was talkin' to nopony whatsoever!
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((Minor GMing hopefully approved by Dr. Nic. My IM is breaking so as soon as I get a hold of him, I will confirm.))

The meal was fantastic, especially for what it was, all things considered, and Peter frankly never wanted it to end. It almost reminded him of the campouts he used to go on. The patrol sitting around the fire, cooking, eating, telling stories... Okay, that last one was a bad idea, but still. It was the feeling of security and comradery that the fire brought every time he was around one. It felt like home. And hell, he could even imagine the senior kids packing Spam for a lunch as a trick to play on the younger boys back when he first joined when he was twelve.

He felt the corner of his lips curl into a soft smile as he sat and remembered the shenanagains that they would get up to way back when. Back in the good old days.

But... All good things come to an end. His little query hadn't gone unanswered, and while it was nice to break the silence... What could he expect? Of course Imraan's week had been going just as poorly as everyone else's. Then again they were alive so there was that, but... What kind of a stupid question had that been?

Imraan folded his arms, his face seeming to suddenly become cold, bitter, distant. At least that's how Peter took it. He closed his eyes and allowed his teeth to clench over his tongue, holding the infernal thing in place as not to be the cause of any more strife. Any more hurt.

And poor Katlin... She was taking this just as hard as she was. She made him promise to stay safe, stay alive and to... stay him. Something about that made him feel all bubbly inside, touched him. It was the sweetest thing he had ever heard so far as he was concerned. Such a innocent girl... She didn't deserve this. Especially not Imraan's answer... But who could blame him? He was just being realistic. Only one person would survive... And if the Imraan she knew was to stay himself, then that would involve killing... Katlin's intention didn't go unnoticed though.

"The third one... I'll try."

...Good.

If anything, it was a promise, a start. When you think about it anyways, any person who loses their life here without changing, without breaking, without leaving their morals behind... That was how to undermine the game. That was the proverbial third option. He was still going to try to escape, he had to... But the more likely option. Stay strong, and die the way you lived.

"You take care of her, Peter. Don't get any blood on your hands. I've got stuff to do out there. Make sure that someone like you gets to get out of here alive."

He felt tears welling up. It's amazing how fast you get attached to someone, how much of a pillar of strength they become in your darkest hour. His lower lip curled in, and he blinked the droplets away, fighting them for just long enough, instead offering Imraan a stark nod. He didn't understand, and frankly he never would. But he knew Imraan had priorities.

Someone like me... Someone like us... I wonder who he has in mind.

And with a flash, as if a ghost, Imraan was gone, the door clicking shut behind him. Even the socially inept Peter McCue could hear the sorrow and regret in Imraan's voice as he made his final departure their lives.

He had been strong for so long, but he knew the next time he heard Imraan's name would be on the announcements.

...and stay Imraan.

Hopefully not on the killing end.

His head swiveled as he looked up from his squatting position on the floor in front of the dying embers, looking at the poor, scared girl, his charge to protect. The flimsy tin fell to the ground, and his arms wrapped around her form.

"I..."

No words could reassure after that... He was feeling it too, and she knew him before. What would he say. It's going to be alright? He'll survive? Blatant lies... Nothing would be alright again. At least not until they were back in the civilized world. No words could convey how much he cared, how much he wanted to steal her pain away, take the hurt onto himself and leave her a happy girl once again.

She turned her head to his. He could see tears streaking those beautiful cheeks... A caring finger raised to wipe one away. Before she could say a word of thanks, of longing, of sadness, of anything, his lips met hers. Not the gentle brushes and pecks from days before that had even then made his heart flutter and caused him to be giddy like a little schoolgirl. For the first time he knew passion. It was meaningful.

It said "I love you."
Edited by T-Fox, May 24 2011, 08:21 AM.
Coming soon to a deathmatch near you:
Garry Brooks - Swave Countryboy
Jade Aurora - Tomboy Drummer
Jasmine Tolle - Pacifistiic Artist

Memories of those past:
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What is wrong with you people?!
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T-Fox
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N-Nopony! Ah was talkin' to nopony whatsoever!
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
((GMing permission granted from Dr. Nic. Again.))

It felt so right. Suddenly, everything just fell into place. The stars aligned, and his heart told him what he had done was right. He would have time to marvel that he had successfully analyzed a social situation for the first (and probably last) time in his life. Starry-eyed. Yeah, that worked. That described how Peter felt right now. He'd never been this close to someone in his entire life. Either physically or emotionally.

The blood vessels in his face and body dilated, not from embarrassment, but the adrenaline that came with this incredible feeling, and a warm shiver shot through his spine. He felt Katlin's arms rub against his back as his body body gently trembled in such a pleasured way. That contact. It was so warm, it made everything feel right. Imraan wasn't in his mind anywhere anymore, even though he just walked through that door to his death not minutes ago. But he didn't even have enough of his mind left unoccupied for the feeling of selfishness, the one thing that his paranoia had always forced room for. No, something tugged at the back of his mind, but he for once in his life had the strength to push it away.

Her strength flowing through him, from her fingertips to his. When did their hands clasp between them? When had her head found its way to his shoulder, soft hair nestling into the nape of his neck, her warm breath washing over him, the phantom feeling of it enveloping him completely. His fingers flexed in her hand as he let out a soft sigh, head tilting to hers, an affectionate touch.

His heart guided, and he listened. All was right. For a moment the entire world revolved around this one boy and this one girl, together, away from the pain. Comfort, strength, love. Love...

Another soft kiss. It was silent enough that you could hear a pin drop, the soft noise of skin touching skin nearly echoing through the room, echoing through his own mind. Each moment engraved on a new slide, filed away in the very front of his mind. The here and now.

Parting. Just an inch. Just enough to gaze at each other, the bond strengthening with the potpourri of blue and green. Warmth flowing through the room, cause by the spark and fire, though the embers were barely a crackle beside them.

He stood, not knowing why, at least not in his conscious. The faint look of longing that greeted his gaze. Never parting, always together. Fingers interlocked, power, a bond that could never be broken. This is what he was fighting for. The here and now. Moments that couldn't be replaced, things that money could never buy, things he would never have discovered if it weren't for her.

Each step, climbing higher, closer to cloud nine. Never again would he be alone. Higher and higher he climbed, the blue below their feet seeming to washing into a fast ocean. Beauty in everything around him. She was his port in the storm. A beacon, her pale skin radiating, a joy he had never seen from her. Warm hands clasped around his waist, a form pressing against his back, a momentary pause in the motion. Stop to smell the roses, pick one up, gift it to your love. Lips touched again, delectation plastered everywhere he could look. Everything melted away. Pastel blues, the ocean on which they stood, walking on water, the strength unfound ever before guiding them. One step at a time, one more time. Moving towards that plateau. A soft click, metallic, pierced the serenity of his mind. Yet again they were close. Closer than before. Bodies pressed against each other, affection, the room seeming to warm as her presence entered.

Lie down on your cloud, oh angel of mine, lie down and rest with me.

A warm softness on his neck, another shiver of ecstasy. Every moment, every frame a new snapshot. Pushing the old from the back, discarding them on the floor. Skin against skin. No words were needed, all was understood with each touch, each sigh, each flash of soft crimson upon this Angel's cheeks. More falling to the ground, more being lost, yet so much more gained. Uncertainty was ever-present, but courage derived from love. A gentle caress, on top of the world. Not a thing would bring him down.

"Katlin..."

Everything was in a name, and no other name would ever be so sweet, every sound music to his ears. Ecstasy building from every touch, it was all going so fast but replaying so slowly. Every single moment, another snapshot in time, another thing to savor, to hold dear, to cling to every day of his life. His life was hers, and her life was his, sealed with a single touch, a single moment, growing closer and closer with each and every embrace, every word, every sound.

So close to her, so powerful. Tired, yet happy, his energy spent in mere minutes, the power of love, of passion. His savior, his guardian angel. The blues and whites, the reds and greens all fading slowly into one, mixing, an embrace, so close, so warm, so tight, so safe in her arms, lying upon the cloud for which they had made, had been slowly working towards their entire lives, never stopping, yet never realizing. Slowly fading from view as sleep overtook him, though unbridled joy yet lept from his heart.

((Peter McCue and Kaitlin Anderheim continued the next morning...))
---
Inspiration and Dedication from and to a very special person on this site.
Edited by T-Fox, May 26 2011, 07:56 PM.
Coming soon to a deathmatch near you:
Garry Brooks - Swave Countryboy
Jade Aurora - Tomboy Drummer
Jasmine Tolle - Pacifistiic Artist

Memories of those past:
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What is wrong with you people?!
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