Disclaimer: This story involves love, relationship, and "adult" subject matter between teenage boys... so I guess that means your not supposed to read this if your under 18, but really if you are younger than that, I can't stop you. Just Don't Get Caught :) If homosexuality offends you, then leave, or join the 21st century, and open up to it.
This Is FICTION... any character resembling a real life person is by coincidence, and in the rare event a character is based on someone in real life their name has been changed due to legal and personal protection. You never know who's lurking around reading this. So now the little spiel is over so hopefully you'll enjoy this. Do Not Reproduce this story, and if you would like to have it on your web site, email me & get my permission. Thanks. Copyright © Jaded Edge Productions™
The solid oak finished door stood menacingly, almost mocking those who dared go past it. They'd be walking into a place of pain, distress and horrific memories that couldn't be washed away with the brashest of chemicals or erased by the most invasive therapy. Some things never change, no matter how hard you try to change them.
Matéo stood on the cold, concrete door step, breathing hard, trying to keep his emotions in check. His midnight eyes stared so hard at the door in front of him that he felt as if he could see through it's thick exterior. Into the memories of his haunting past. He pulled out a set of keys and tentatively inserted one of the gleaming objects into the keyhole.
"Don't just stand there you fucking pansy! Open the god damn door!" Matéo winced and took a step back from the door as his father's voice echoed through his ears.
"It's not real. He's not here.. he's not here.." Matéo told himself, hoping to calm the nerves that were doing cartwheels in his stomach. He reached for the door knob again and grasped it loosely. The reservations within him were making it extremely difficult to move forward. Matéo took a deep breath and turned the knob, when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Hey stranger." Matéo jumped at the touch, spinning around in alert. His eyes came to rest on the boy in front of him, who looked a little tentative himself. His brown hair was mussed up from the wind and his green eyes flickered with question. Matéo's eyes welled up a little bit as he threw his arms around the boy's solid body. The boy held Matéo tightly, feeling the tension slowly start to release from Matéo's frame, "If I didn't know better, I'd think you missed me."
"You have no idea." Matéo slowly retracted himself from the embrace, but he didn't stray far.
"Well, it is ME after all. How could someone not miss someone as talented and sexy as me?" Derek grinned widely, causing Matéo to smile.
"How did you know I was here?"
"I went to see you at the hospital, but the doctor told me you had been released. I figured you'd probably head home or over to Noah's and your house was first on my journey." Matéo's smile faltered at the mention of Noah and Derek picked up on it, "Let's get inside, my nipples are so hard I think they might fall off. We wouldn't want that to happen now would we?" Matéo grinned softly, while Derek put an arm around his friend's shoulders as they entered the Consuelos household.
Matéo looked around the living room, not quite sure what he was expecting. It looked exactly as the time he had last seen it. The large plasma television stood at the center of the room, surrounded by the tricked out entertainment center that held all of the latest high tech gadgets. The furniture was untouched, leading credence to the fact that no one had been there for an extended amount of time. Matéo's eyes continued to look around the room, when they froze at one point on the far wall. A large dent protruded, except it looked as if the dent originated from the other side of the wall. A picture of Matéo from when he was younger laid on the floor, the glass of the frame long gone. A memory flashed through Matéo's mind without warning..
'Matéo backed away, cupping a hand over his ear. Blood seeped over his fingers as he tried to move away from his father, "D-Dad, please.. I'm sorry. I'll never wear them again, I swear."
"You're god damn right you won't!" Mr. Consuelos slammed Matéo up against the wall of the den.
Matéo snapped out of the memory and stumbled back away from the wall. He felt Derek put his hand on his shoulders to support him, while Matéo started making himself take deep breaths like the therapist from the hospital had taught him. Matéo hadn't realized at the time that it had happened, that he had hit the wall hard enough to leave such a prominent indentation. "I don't think I can be here.."
"You don't have to be, bro. We can go somewhere, get you something to eat, whatever. Grab a coat, and we'll head out." Matéo turned around and looked at Derek. He had come to know Derek as his best friend over the last few months.. a few months that he had been told weren't real by a boy that claimed to have been his best friend for all of their lives.
"D-Derek.. we're friends right?" Matéo questioned.
"Of course we are. We've known each other forever, Matéo."
"We're best friends?"
Derek's face took on a look of surprise, "Well, we used to be close, but you know, things got in the way of us becoming best friends. I got really involved with football and you, well, you got really involved with Noah." Matéo looked down at the ground, finding it hard to hear the words that Derek was saying, "Look Matéo, you and I may not be best friends, but we could be. We've never had any problems with each other, in fact, you, Noah and I used to hang out when we were younger. Maybe we could try that again, you know?"
Matéo's eyes met Derek's, "I don't know who he is."
Derek's brow furrowed, 'What do you mean? Dude, Noah. Dirty blondish hair, super blue eyes, has been attached at the hip with you since you were like 4.."
Matéo frowned, "He was at the hospital when I woke up. Derek, I can't remember him. I don't know a Noah. How can he be my best friend if I don't remember him? I would remember someone like that."
Derek walked over to Matéo and they both sat down on the couch, "What did the doctor's say about that?"
"They said I have selective amnesia. T-That, what I think is real was some elaborate altered reality that my mind made up while I was in the coma. I just keep thinking this is a nightmare.. that maybe I'm in a coma now and I'm stuck in this place that makes no sense."
"I don't know what you're going through, Matéo, but I know that you have people here that will help you get through it. I mean, dude, Noah loves you to death. That's your boy and he would die before letting anything happen to you." Matéo's mind flashed again at Derek's statement.
"There's no one that I know that would be there for me like he is. I'd give my life for him and I know he'd do the same for me. You can threaten me all you want, but you stay the hell away from him."
The words were loud and clear in Matéo's head, but he couldn't place them, or figure out why they had popped into his head at that moment. "I just want this to be over. I want everything to be okay. I want to remember who my friends are.. I want my life back."
"Then you'll have to work at it. I'll help you if you want me to."
Matéo's lips upturned into a small smile, "Are you sure you're not my best friend?"
"Hmmm. I don't know. I seem to be forgetting... damn early Alzheimer's."
Matéo pushed Derek playfully, "Clown."
Derek raised an eyebrow, "At least I'm entertaining. Unlike SOME people." Derek quickly jumped off the couch and out of Matéo's reach. "So, let's go out, yeah?"
Matéo stood up and took a coat out of his closet, "Yeah." He followed Derek out the door and they headed on their way, side by side. Even if he and Derek didn't have the closeness that he thought they had, there was no sense in not trying to make that part of his ideal world come true.
Mall of America..
Hordes of people crowded the enormous foyers of the world's largest shopping mall. Sunday was the day to kill time in such a complex, whether it be by shopping, seeing a movie, playing games or even taking a spin on the amusement park like roller coaster.
People walked along smiling and being happy. Friends joked around with each other, families bonded, and lovers held hands merrily. Even those who weren't happy still put on a smile for the sake of being one of the crowd.
Noah sat at a small two person table at the edge of the mall's food court. He poked at his food with a fork, rolling a tomato around his salad aimlessly. His mind was plagued by so many thoughts, most of which centered around Matéo. He frowned to himself, wondering why things had happened the way they had. Why had his best friend been stripped of any memory of their friendship, even Noah himself? It was all too much for Noah to take in and deal with on his own.
"You know you don't have to sit there and pretend you're okay, Noah. Talk to me already." The dark haired beauty sat across the table from her boyfriend, flustered over the bravado act he was trying to uphold. She reached over and took Noah's hand in hers, causing him to drop his fork and give her his attention.
"I don't know what to say, Rissa."
"You, Noah 'I can't ever shut up' Ackerly, don't know what to say? Baby, you need to let what you're feeling out or it's going to to keep getting worse."
"Why me, Marissa? Why did he have to forget me out of everyone?" Noah's voice cracked as he asked the question that had been playing over and over in his head for the past month. He had gone back to the hospital many times since the day Matéo had woken up, but only when Matéo was asleep. It was too hard for him to be in direct contact with Matéo.
"Honey, it's not his fault. Matéo would never choose to forget you, he loves you. You guys are like brothers.."
"Were like brothers.." Marissa squeezed his hand tightly, "What if he consciously forgot about me? What if it's my fault.. like, maybe I did something. I should have been a better friend, then he would remember me.." Tears slipped down Noah's soft cheeks as he rambled.
Marissa leaned over the table and kissed her boyfriend gently on the lips trying to comfort him. She had been spending as much time as possible with him, trying to get him through something neither one of them had experience dealing with. "You know.. maybe there's a way to help Matéo remember."
Noah's eyes met Marissa's, "I'm not bringing him into this. Besides that I don't know how it will effect Matéo seeing him.."
"Noah, he's going to run into Tobey eventually."
"Matéo thinks they were together.. like.. really together."
"Is it the fact that he thinks that or the fact that Matéo apparently has tendencies toward guys that bothers you most?" Marissa's tone came out a bit harsh, causing Noah to look up at her with a hint of anger.
"How could you even imply that? I'd never turn my back on, Matéo. Not if he was gay, bi, straight, green, purple or blue. I'd give up anything for him, period."
"Then prove it. Take some of that fire that just lit under you and get your god damned best friend back, Noah. Don't sit here and wonder why it happened, because it did and there's no going back on it."
Noah let his eyes drop to the snow white table, "I don't know how.."
"Start by saying hello."
"What?" Marissa had spotted Matéo walking side by side with Derek headed for the food court while she was giving Noah her little pep talk. Noah followed Marissa's gaze and his own eyes settled on the pair of boys. Matéo was smiling and laughing, something that made Noah smile in response. It had been so long since he'd seen anything remotely resembling a smile cross Matéo's face.
Marissa saw the smile creep upon Noah's face when he saw Matéo, so she squeezed his hand and motioned with her head for him to get up and approach him, "Go talk to him."
Noah's smile dropped and his eyes flickered with uneasiness, but he knew he wasn't going to win any argument with Marissa, at least not on the issue at hand. Matéo and Derek had stopped walking and gotten in line at one of the many chinese eateries in the food court. Noah stood from his seat and slowly made his way toward them. The butterflies in his stomach fluttered, causing his whole body to tighten up as he got closer. Derek noticed Noah first and stopped his conversation with Matéo. Matéo had turned to order while Derek stepped out of line to greet Noah, "Hey Noah, how's it hangin'?"
"I haven't had any complaints, so I guess it's hanging good enough." Derek smiled and touched his knuckles to Noah's in acknowledgment.
"Well, to hold onto a girl like Marissa, you can't be too challenged in that department." Derek's eyes glinted with a hint of mischief and a world of playfulness.
"Hey now.." Before Noah could properly respond, Matéo had finished ordering and noticed Noah's presence. Matéo's deep dark eyes locked onto the ocean blue of Noah's eyes, causing the level of awkwardness to rise to an unprecedented level between the two boys. "Hey.."
"Hey.." Matéo looked down at the ground while he spoke, not being able to hold Noah's gaze.
"Number 27!" One of the employees of the restaurant yelled out and Matéo promptly walked to the other end of the counter to retrieve his and Derek's food.
Derek looked at Matéo as he got napkins and utensils, then turned his attention back to Noah, "So he wasn't kidding.. he doesn't know who you are."
Noah looked at Derek and frowned, "Yeah.. Um, I'll catch up with you guys later."
"Why don't you join us, Noah? It's been forever since all three of us have hung out."
"It can't be all three of us when one of us doesn't remember the other." Noah's head drooped and he turned on his heels quickly. He started walking fast and before he knew it he ran smack dab into someone. Noah nearly fell over, but caught his balance. He looked down and unfortunately for the person he ran into, they didn't catch their balance in time.
"Could you give me a hand.." Matéo looked up at Noah from the floor, where the food he had just bought was now splattered all over the front of his shirt. Noah reached down and Matéo clasped his hand. Noah pulled him up to his feet and immediately started apologizing.
"I'm so sorry, Téo. I wasn't watching where I was going.. I'll get you more food. I-I'm sorry.. I'm such a shitty friend.. fuck.." Noah didn't give Matéo a chance to respond as he went over to the chinese place and told the girl at the register to make another order for the guy that had number 27. Noah fidgeted with a silver ring that adorned his right ring finger. He slid it up and down the smooth skin of his finger out of instinct, a nervous habit he had developed not long after he had gotten the ring. Noah walked over to the end of the counter when his number was called and picked up the food. He turned and saw Derek sitting at a table directly in front of him. Noah brought the tray of food over and set it on the table. "Where's Matéo?"
"He went to the bathroom to clean up." Silence fell over the table for a few moments before Derek spoke up again, "He's not mad at you. Accidents happen, Noah. You just need to relax."
"Relax?? You can sit there and say that because you're not the one that lost your best friend, Derek."
"Dude, just calm down. I'm not trying to start anything with you, I'm just saying it's not like Matéo's dead, Noah. Yeah, it sucks that he doesn't remember you, but you can help him remember you and if that doesn't work then build a new friendship with him. So why don't you just sit down and hang out with us for a little while?"
"I-I can't. Marissa is.."
"Marissa is going to head home." Marissa's voice interrupted Noah. She leaned over and kissed Noah on the cheek, "Listen to Derek, he knows what he's talking about."
"Marissa, I don't want to.."
"Oh, what's that? You'll call me when you get home and tell me all about what a good time you had with Matéo and Derek? Okay, good." Marissa smiled sweetly and started walking away. Matéo came out of the foyer just up ahead and she stopped him as they came upon one another. "Just try Matéo.. for him, okay?" Marissa pecked Matéo on the cheek then went on her way. Matéo looked at her confused, but just shrugged and went over to the table. Noah was still standing beside the table looking none too happy.
Matéo sat down next to Derek, now only in a wife beater and jeans, his food covered shirt was now a casualty of the food court. Noah looked at Matéo and felt his heart race a little bit. His nerves were in overdrive and he didn't know how to act around someone he knew everything about, when they didn't know a thing about him. So he did the only thing he thought he could.. run. "Have a goodnight guys.."
"Wait," Noah stopped and turned to look at Matéo, "Stay.. I want you to stay." Matéo gave a small smile that seemed to squash some of the butterflies that were wreaking havoc inside of Noah. He took a deep breath and sat down across from Matéo and Derek. The conversation was non existent for a few moments. Matéo, though pushing his hesitation aside momentarily by asking Noah to stay, was still unsure of how to begin talking to his best friend.
Derek eyed both boys curiously, not really knowing what it would feel like to be in their shoes. Not many people experience forgetting someone that they had been so close to all of their lives or being forgotten for that matter. "So, Marissa wears the pants in your relationship Noah?" Derek grinned widely, trying to break the tension.
Noah scrunched his nose up and gave a mock scowl, "We both wear pants. She just.."
"Tightens the belt? Cracks the whip? Pulls the chain.."
"Okay, okay. Mr. Analogy. Marissa just doesn't like to take no for an answer when she thinks she's right." Matéo listened to the exchange between Derek and Noah, carefully glancing at Noah when he thought his attention was firmly on Derek. Matéo studied every detail of his face, the way his eyes sparkled with the light, the slight dimples hovering below the surface when he spoke. Every subtle movement or trait that showed, Matéo tried to snap a picture of with his mind. Trying to recapture what was lost inside of his head. He frowned slightly when nothing became even remotely familiar. Noah glanced out of the corner of his eye to Matéo who immediately looked back down at his food, poking at it with a look of frustration on his face. "Matéo, you should eat your food, not play with it. You look thin.." Matéo looked up from his plate and his eyes were met by Noah's, who started to gain a slight shade of pink to his cheeks, "I'm sorry, I just.. habit-- I guess."
"It's okay. So you look out for me?" Matéo questioned.
Noah nodded, "I try to. I didn't do a very good job of it apparently." Noah couldn't hide the sadness in his tone. The guilt over what had happened right under his nose was at times overwhelming.
"Say guys, um, I have to pick up a gift for my sister's birthday. Why don't you two stay here and talk, and I'll come back when I'm finished, okay?" Before either Noah or Matéo could answer, Derek stood up and started backing away. He almost laughed when he saw the pleading looks upon their faces, but he knew it was for the best whether they knew it at the moment or not.
Silence once again took over the table. The background noise of people chatting away at nearby tables was all that could be heard besides the thoughts rummaging in Noah and Matéos' heads. "Um.." Noah tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come to him. He felt helpless. He was very social and good at meeting new people, but this wasn't someone new. This was Matéo. The boy that had always been by his side no matter what. To Matéo, Noah was just another face. One who he didn't even recognize.
"So.. You and Marissa have been together a long time?" Matéo asked. He could feel the tension between the two and didn't know what else to do to make Noah feel more comfortable than to just talk, even if he had a good chance of making the situation worse.
"Yeah. Well, I mean I think eight months is a long time. She's the glue that holds me together, I guess you could say." Noah's lips pursed a bit into a semi smile thinking of his girlfriend.
Matéo could tell Marissa made Noah happy, and he was glad that something did. Even though he really had no real emotional attachment to Noah, he felt as if the sadness in Noah's demeanor was his fault. "That's nice. It's good to have someone like that."
"Yeah. She's helped me a lot lately. I mean, well.. you know." Matéo nodded, "You were really the prime target in school though. I bet when you get back that everyone will be fawning over you even more."
Matéo raised his eyebrows, "I remember. I hope it's not worse when I go back, no matter how many times I get knocked in the head I'm still never going to enjoy that kind of attention."
"No one will ever touch you again, Matéo. I swear to you," Noah's voice held a deadly serious conviction in it. The protectiveness he felt for Matéo had increased ten fold since what had happened.
Matéo smiled at him, "Thanks, but I think I'll be okay. The only person that I need protection from isn't getting anywhere near me."
"I know, but.. Look Matéo, this is hard for me. I know you don't remember me and I know it's not your fault. It hurts a lot to think that we may never be the same again, but I'm not going to give up on you or our friendship. Not now, not ever. If by some fucked up reason your dad ever gets out of jail and tries to come near you I'll kill him. I swear on everything that I love, he will never ever hurt you again. Not while I'm around."
Matéo was taken aback by the ferocity in Noah's voice. The anger and pain merged into one and exploded out of his mouth. "Noah, you don't owe me anything. I should've known better than to fight back with him."
"Don't you dare try to blame this on yourself. Your dad is evil, Matéo. Anyone that could do to you what he did is pure evil. He treated you like shit and there's no excuse for it. You're the nicest, most selfless, beautiful person inside and out that I've ever known. He didn't deserve you in his life."
Matéo's face heated up with a blush, flattered by his words. "Thanks.. um.. You seem like you're pretty much what you described me as too. Selfless, nice, *ahem* beautiful.."
Noah giggled a bit, "You think I'm beautiful? Aww."
Matéo's face didn't feel like it could get any hotter, "Umm, don't let it go to your head.."
"I'm sorry. I've always liked to embarrass you." A moment of silence passed, giving Noah a second to mull over what was churning in his head, "So, how long have you known?"
Matéo looked confused, "Known what?"
Noah chewed on his lower lip, "That you're uh.. you know.." Matéo just furrowed his brow, while Noah tried to word his question, "How long have you known you were.. gay?"
Matéo didn't expect such directness. He hadn't really given it much thought, but considering how much his mind had confused him, it didn't seem all that unusual that he didn't think about the fact that he had been with another boy. "Well.. I don't know. I never really thought about it. I just knew I was in love with Tobe.." Matéo stopped mid sentence, his eyes locking onto something across the food court. Noah turned his head in the direction of Matéo's gaze and froze himself.
Tobey walked casually, his long locks bouncing with each step. He seemed to have an aura about him that exuded an unnatural confidence. His presence drew attention when he went by, not by any act he committed, just by the way he carried himself. Matéo's breath had caught in his throat and he had to remind himself to let it go before he suffocated. Memories of the car coming at himself and Tobey played in Matéo's mind. The thought of Tobey being dead had plagued Matéo to no end and there he was, not thirty feet away looking as beautiful as the day Matéo had met him. As Tobey got closer, Noah regained his composure. He knew that Matéo would eventually run into Tobey, but not this soon. Matéo didn't know this Tobey, he knew some Tobey that was his boyfriend. These two barely knew each other and disaster could be imminent with a confrontation between the two. Matéo stood without a word, "Matéo, don't.." Noah's words feel on deaf ears, as Matéo started making his way toward the boy he loved.
"I'm not crazy." Matéo told himself with every step he took. Tobey didn't see him approaching, but Matéo sure saw him. He felt the tears sting his eyes, brimming at the edge of his lashes. He tried to contain his composure, taking in Tobey's presence. Tobey had stopped to look peruse a small kiosk and had his back turned to the direction that Matéo was coming from. Matéo stopped a few feet from him, his breathing shallow and his heart racing. "He loves you, don't be afraid." Matéo tried to psych himself up, pushing away everything he had been told by others. That what he had known for what seemed so long was not real. He put a hand on Tobey's shoulder, "Tobey..."
Tobey didn't startle, just turned calmly, his deep green eyes meeting Matéo's equally deep browns, "Matéo!" Tobey smiled widely and wrapped his arms around the latino boy. Matéo felt a huge wave of relief rush out of him, melting into Tobey's embrace. He let his arms rest around Tobey's waist, the tears flowing freely down his cheeks and dripping onto the shoulder of Tobey's jacket. "Hey hey, why the tears?"
"You have no idea how much I've missed you." Matéo didn't want to let go and Tobey made no move to make him do so. He ran a hand over Matéo's back, trying to soothe him into calming down. Tobey spotted Noah out of the corner of his eye, watching their embrace intently. Noah kept his distance, not wanting to interfere for fear of alienating Matéo. "Are you okay?"
Tobey pulled back a little, so he could look at Matéo and vice versa, "Yeah, I'm fine. I think the real question is how are you doing?" Tobey ran a hand over the back of Matéo's head, his fingers lightly grazing where the scar was that the desk had left. Tobey frowned, knowing the damage that had been done. "Does it hurt?"
"No. Not anymore. Everything is better now." Matéo smiled widely, his heart soaring.
"I'm glad. It's been too long, Matéo. You should've woken up sooner, I was getting lonely," Tobey smiled. Matéo's mind screamed. It wasn't all a dream, they were all wrong!
"Matéo..." Matéo was broken from his thoughts by Noah's voice. Noah looked at Tobey and nodded, "Tobey."
"Hey Noah. I bet you're happy to have this one back huh?" Tobey smiled, not knowing better.
"Oh.. um yeah." Noah looked at Matéo who had gone back to staring at Tobey. Matéo looked as if he was ready to kiss him right there, "Tobey, can we talk for a minute?"
"For sure," Tobey hugged Matéo one more time and Matéo reluctantly kept himself from protesting to Noah's request, "I'm happy that you're back Matéo. We'll catch up soon okay?"
"Do you have to go?" Matéo tried not to plead in his voice, but he was feeling desperate.
"Yeah, I need to help my mom at home with my siblings. I'll be grounded for a decade if I don't show. Don't worry though, I'll see you in school if not before. Promise." Before Matéo could say anything more, Tobey walked off with Noah. Matéo took a seat at the nearest table, reveling in the feeling of happiness that ran through him. Smiling, Matéo just heard one thing in his mind, I love him.
When Noah was satisfied that they were out of Matéo's line of sight, he stopped and Tobey followed suit. He studied Tobey for a moment, not really knowing all that much about him other than he was a transfer from Vancouver who seemed to fit in easily at school. He could see why Matéo was attracted to him, there was something about him that gave off a friendly vibe. "Look man, I know that you don't have to listen to anything I say, but I'm going to say it anyway."
"It's nice that you were so welcoming of Téo just now, you didn't have to act like that."
"Act like what exactly? I wasn't acting, Noah. He was happy to see me and I was happy to see him, I don't think that anything out of the ordinary happened."
"Maybe not to you," Noah sighed, "Look, I'm just trying to protect him from himself. He thinks that you're someone you're not."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"He.. I don't know if I have a right to say this. I just don't want him to get hurt."
Tobey smiled lightly, "Noah, you're a good friend. I would never hurt Matéo and I'm sure that if I did you'd have my head on a platter."
"You're right I would, but you don't understand. Just because you wouldn't hurt him intentionally doesn't mean that you won't unintentionally."
Tobey laid a hand on Noah's shoulder, "You worry too much, Noah."
"Just.. he's not himself. He thinks that you're his boyfr..."
Tobey leaned in and whispered in Noah's ear, "You shouldn't be so eager to let out a secret. It could change someone's life forever." Noah stepped back, contemplating what Tobey had just said. Tobey smiled and moved away from Noah, "He'll remember, Noah. Some things are worth waiting for, even if you have to wait forever. Just don't let your mind close to what can and can't be." With that Tobey walked through the glass doors of the mall exit, leaving Noah to stand alone, confused as ever. He looked back to Matéo who remained seated, looking more content than he had since waking up. For now Matéo's uncertainty and fear had been silenced, but by leaving Matéo for that moment, they had instilled themselves within Noah. He would bare the burden of the unknown, not for himself, but for his best friend. No matter the how steep the price.
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