~* Preface *~

So here I am ... sitting before you, like that of the persecuted pending a verdict, biding my time before that inevitable scream claws its way out of me, shredding my flesh, wrestling the muscles and terrifying the sinews, gnawing its way out by any means possible from a tortured silence filled with an angst that would run your mouth dry.

I attempt to explain all in a manner that I can, with nothing holding me back, this is my story ... one of pain, sorrow, and a virtue that can't be hidden behind closed doors, something that would send a foreboding intensity from beneath the shadows of the mind. A working soul that has nothing but an essence, a true and higher form which is meant to improve us with it's experience.

~ * Chapter 1 * ~

There was a nothing-ness in my mind and body that I was perfectly able to succumb to. There was something wrong but I couldn't quite understand it. I'd been in this `nothing-ness' for a time when I couldn't even remember. There were voices all around me, and a reverberating sense that I was being moved from one position to another. It was then that I realized I was completely out of it, and that the movement that I thought I was feeling, was my own actual waking body being situated from ground to gurney, then into the ambulance.

The next few moments in time seemed to falter. My breathing became hesitant, images of light flashed before me and the sting that was once a vast sensation in my body ceased and with a sigh, I was finished, I was happy. Happy knowing that after this pain, disgust, and sorrow that I became progressively deadened to, I would see him, be with him, and hold him, and I would end because my thoughts and feelings were completed. I would finally be able to just let go of my prejudice and all other nauseating `traits' that we humans seem to empathize so well.

...I can't find a pulse...

...Charging to 300...


Pain was my absolution at this point. I was ripped from my haven to walk again amongst those that put me here. But as soon as it came, it was gone.

...He's slipping into V-Teck....

...Charging to 360...


Torture is my peace, for that's what they were putting me through. One seemingly perfect moment I was still, without a worry or thought, the next I was writhing in a state that couldn't be described or explained.


...I've got a pulse...

~ * ~

"Hey sleepy head, wake up ..."

His fingers gently ran across my cheek, and it sent a shiver throughout my body, how does he do that? My lids softly opened to a foggy world. It was then that I realized that I'd fallen asleep in his arms with my contacts in. Man, didn't I feel like a fool. Awaiting my eyes to refocus, I quickly scanned the area for that little bit of drool that sometimes slips out when you're having a really good nap. Nothing ... yes! I lifted my gaze to peer into his liquid green eyes, and that tousle of dirty blond hair. I thought to myself, am I still dreaming? When I went to say something, this sort of gurgle came out instead of actual words, nope ... definately not.

"Hello there" Cole giggled softly.

"Hi, what time is it? Oh I'm so comfy don't tell me" I replied as I nestled back into his warm hold.

"It's almost noon, hey, no going back to sleep now."

"Oh you're no fun," I mused, but grumbled as I realized that I had to be home in an hour, "almost noon, I have to get home and start my essay."

"Oh yeah, what is this one about" Cole asked politely but I know he knew the answer to that question already. But he was always proud of how I stood up for my rights as well as those of others, so I simply stated.

"The social discrepancies that gay youth have to face in today's educational system, it's going to be such a hard essay to back up, so I'm going to need to interview you and our English teacher Mr. Paulman, and any others we know to get legit comments and quotations. But no more talk about that I just want a little bit more time here, it's perfect."

It was an unusually ideal day. The middle of summer, a slight breeze that warmed instead of cooled, and the sun was setting this coma-inducing tenderness that was just so inviting. We had been having a picnic that day, and decided to play our favorite summer game, by watching the clouds float carelessly across the sky and trying to decide what they most came across as being. Cole was explaining the last one, before I slipped out of consciousness, which he thought looked like a fully bloomed lily poking out in a field that would otherwise never have known something to be so beautiful, yet so fragile.

Even his interjections were serene, how annoying.

"Are you still with me?" He poked half-heartedly; I must have been drifting off again because I was suddenly aware that I was staring out into the gorgeous field that lay before us.

"Yes, I'm just reveling in how much I love this" whispering into his ear as I nibbled on the lobe and gave him a gentle squeeze.

"Hey! None of that," he added quickly as he pulled me close and kissed me with such conviction that any sense of the world seemed to slip away.

"Then what was that?" I breathed slyly, still recovering from that amazing connection.

"You don't want me to kiss you?" that evil `I'm toying with you' grin slid onto his face, as he began to slide away.

"No!" I squealed, but swiftly pounced and in an instant we were both rolling over in a frenzy of kissing, laughter, and hysterics until finally, he had me pinned.

"Now this is an interesting predicament that you've gotten yourself into"

Still laughing (from him tickling me) I simply declared that;

"This isn't fair! You're picking on the weak one!"

As the tickling went on and I was roaring with laughter I used what little strength I had left to throw him aside and got on top of him, which didn't last very long because, as I did this I happened to notice this group of people walking towards us. At that moment I knew what was going to happen, I had noticed this group before, and they were the idiots in my English class and always called vulgarities when they saw me walking down the hallway at school. These were not people I wanted to get in the way of. That's for sure.

"I think it's time for us to go." I pleaded and started to pack up our things into my bag. Cole seemed to be unfazed by the situation that was unfolding like some nightmare.

As they approached it seemed as though nature itself was telling me to get out, the breeze suddenly started to give this whistling chill and the sun unexpectedly hid behind one of the clouds that I could swear resembled something demonic. This would not end well for either of us.

~ * Chapter 2 * ~

"What do we have here, two faggots enjoying a picnic." Spat the leader of the group, a 6 foot tall `punk' with steel toed boots, and a greasy jet black mane that half covered a face littered with piercings and tattoos. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as he said this.

"We're not looking for trouble," Cole stated, trying to be diplomatic but it really wasn't any help to us.

"Well wouldn't you say that it was a little late for that?" The leader, Darren, beckoned back towards his league of baboons, which emitted a series of swearing, hoots, and hollers.

"I don't understand, we weren't doing anything to harm or disturb you in any way, so please explain to me, how did we come across this `trouble'" As Cole let that slip from his lips I knew that he'd sealed our fate. Cole sometimes doesn't know when to just leave things alone and back away quietly, instead, he shoots off his remarks, which usually does get us into trouble. But I admire his tenacity to find an underlying reason to their hostility.

"You don't need to go looking for trouble for it to find you," which didn't really bother me much, but as Darren said this, his absent minded hooch of a girlfriend, Amy, chimed in a statement that made me want to bash her face in.

"It's because you disgust him, and every one around you, you fags think that it's ok to be what you are?! Ha! You are nothing but a disease, a disease that must be exterminated by the harshest means possible."

I really don't care if someone has a problem with me, but seriously! By now the blood running through my veins was hot with frustration. Frustration for the fact that this bimbo just compared Cole and I to some lower life form that just needed a good eradication.

People say that when you're about to go through something horrific or life changing, time seems to slow and the things you care about most flash before your eyes. However, all I saw was Cole, and I felt painfully empathetic because, I was the main reason why he was in this situation in the first place. It was I who coaxed him into dating, it was my idea for us to be public about it, and it was my stupid idea to have this picnic.

As we all know, when time slows, it must fast-forward a bit in order to catch up. So before I could even breathe they had Cole on the ground and were blindly kicking him in the stomach, whilst he tried to get up they just beat him down with crowbars that just seemingly came out of nowhere, my cry's and screams were obscured by each excruciating strike to Cole.

When they backed away from his motionless body, and equally decided that he wasn't going anywhere, they maneuvered him flat on his stomach into the dirt and had me pinned on my knee's to tearfully gawk. His low short breaths made me whimper slightly causing Darren to send a shrilling sadistic pain to my face, stomach and legs by his immaculate precision with that crowbar. When it didn't appear as though they were going to do anything more it was unexpectedly clear that they were saving the `harshest means possible' for last. For when they were satisfied that I was in an absolute eye lock with the scene that lay before me, they tore down Cole's pants exposing him to the world and Darren withdrew a 6-inch combat blade from the sheath attached to his belt, which he then began to slide up and down Cole's thigh each time getting higher and higher towards his tail bone.

"You like that eh faggot." Darren hissed, all the while his blade dug into Cole's skin leaving a gory array of trickling wounds.

In that instant, I was mortified, tears began to stream from my eyes with such weakness it was uncontrollable. Held back, forced onto my knees, watching that unscrupulous bigot engrave `exit only' into the skin just above my boyfriends ass was more than I could bear.

"Stop it! Please!" Was all I could seem to muster between the cries of pain that were coming from Cole.

"Stop ... please!" they all mocked, but with one raised hand silence and authority was resumed by Darren "why would I stop? I'm just getting started Queer" and with that, Darren ran the blade from the bottom of Cole's spine all the way to the top, stopping only when Cole was in to much pain to scream. There was so much blood that the pungent metallic smell was all I was registering and all that I cared about.

Flipped onto his back, Darren and one of his goons began to carve something into his chest; an eruption flew out of Cole's mouth, a sound that I will never forget. It was the most hope shattering scream that left nothing but fear, anguish, and a torment which was muddled half way through by a spurt of blood that shot from his mouth.

At that they dragged me over to stare at the broken, drenched body of the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. The shock that came across my face must have been what they were sniggering at. Fixed into his chest, like it were a damn etch-a-sketch, were two words. Die and Queer.

One of Cole's swollen eye lids parted slightly and stared at me with a solemn conclusion, I had to be near him, I broke from their grip and sprung towards him, grasping him, trying to hold onto any part of him that wasn't cut open. The distress and revulsion seemed to cause my body to tremor with such force that I didn't know what to do.

Staring blindly into their eyes, an obsession ferociously escaped my quavering lips

"You will reap what you sew."

Lowering my trembling tear stained face to his, I whispered.

"I vow to take vengeance for you, the pain and utter gluttony that they have forced will burn them," I knew I was running on limited time, his breathe became short and I knew he wasn't going to last much longer "Cole, I love you, with all my heart, and I'll never let you go. I love you" laying one last kiss onto his now distended blood caked cheek, he whispered,

"I love you. It's not right to show a bias towards their actions, rise above ...

At that I charged, taking one of them down, I couldn't stop hitting this one in the face. I didn't know who it was, all I knew is that at least one of them was going to feel.

A connection to the back of my head, and darkness washed over me.

~ * Chapter 3 * ~

Whiteness surrounds me.

Too white to be freedom, but not the perfect kind of white for this to be the pearly gates, no, it was the unnatural kind of white you'd find in an insane asylum, or a hospital. Attempting to move caused a sudden surge of pain to shoot through my body. Could this be hell? As I tried to breathe, I found that also to be hardly possible, it felt like there was this giant snake blocking my airway, blocking the possibility to pull myself out of this stupor that seemed to be so blinding.

I'd been stabbed with a thousand dull knives, each leaving a filthy laceration.

Creatures dressed in white were all around me, pressing my limbs into the surface connected to me. Without mobility, closter-phobia began to scratch at my insides. Sting to the arm and a cold wave began a rush of warmth to wash over me. Having to feel all of this sent me into an overload and I seemingly passed into darkness once again.

...Cole? I'm sorry I let you go, I'm sorry I didn't try harder to save you...

...Don't apologize; you need to wake up now...

Raising the eyelid that wasn't caked shut, I gazed around at a scene I would have only pictured to happen in the cinema. A hospital bed and flowers all around me, red ones, yellow ones, as if there had been a celebration. What was there to celebrate, I lost Cole, my dignity, and I couldn't remember if I'd even put up a fight before they ...

Something was holding my hand, or at least that's what it felt like. I peered down to look, and there was my Mother asleep at my bedside. I wanted to let her know that I was awake, but I didn't want to move anymore for the pain was just receding. My finger twitched out of reflex, minimal pain, and that seemed to do the trick because, with that, she shifted her weight and began to lift her head slowly, but upon making eye contact with me the tears began to glisten down her cheek.

"Alex?" that word softly slid off her lips.

A second twinge of pain shot through me as another spasm caused my wrist to momentarily move. Hope, justice, and faith were the central emotions that seemed to be emitting from her voice.


"Don't try to talk" it seemed as though talking was hard for her as well "Don't try to move, I know you're going to be in pain for a little bit, but everything is going to be alright."

I was not going to be alright. I was not going to be able to get out of this bed as a whole ever again. My better half, that one person that I could share anything and everything I needed to with. That one person that I felt completely comfortable around, his body was something that I could just hold and everything that was bothering me would be ok. Someone whom I loved was unpredictably taken from me. How could she even begin to grasp my pain? I was a husk, a waking body of wistful energy.

Everything was not going to be alright.


~*Chapter 4*~

It was the first day of class, I was so nervous to be there. I wore my new green and blue polo shirt and a nice pair of dark brown kaki-shorts; quickly I noticed that everyone was in denim and overly large shirts, how ghetto, man I probably look like a fag. Dammit.

Walking along side the Principle is even more intimidating; people are staring with judge filled eyes ... I hate this.

"Now you know my door is always open, so you can talk to me. This is Mr. Paulmans' class and he's expecting you, now is there anything else you need? No? No questions no answers. Alright."

~ * ~

"Ok everyone, this is Alex, he's a transfer student all the way from St. Lawrence! Let's give him a warm welcome and try not to scare him away." Mr. Paulman joked.

I could tell that he was going to be one of those teachers that were always friends with his students and that he would be someone that I could talk to without being treated like a circus animal.

"I'll have you sit just there beside Cole Andrews."

I looked to see where he was pointing to, dear Jesus, that boy is fine. Why did he have to put me next to this Adonis? Oh lord, please give me the strength to say hello and not look like a damn fool.

"Hi! My name's Cole, Cole Andrews."

"Well hello there Cole Cole Andrews, I'm Alex Alex Anderson."

We exchanged a chuckle and I knew that I was through the worst of it. Except for when I went to sit down some asshole behind me pulled my chair out from under me. Down I went.

"Hey! Mr. Zatkins! What did I just say." flustered Mr. P.

"Sorry sir." Darren lied weakly, sniggering to himself and his cohorts around him.

"Don't worry about him," Cole whispered while he reached out his hand, "we'll watch each other's back"

As I nodded my crimson flushed face Darren decided to pipe in again.

"Oh look, fag and faggette! How nauseating" placing his finger in his mouth and re-created a gagging noise.

"Ok, that's enough, Darren, office, now."

I decided that looking back wasn't going to be a good idea. So, intently looking at my text book and exchanging notes with Cole was going to be my favorite past time in this class.

When the bell rang for next period, Cole asked where I was headed to.

"Economics with Mrs. Reinbrack"

"Hey, that's my next class!"

Thank you god, you have graced me with two classes with this hunk. It was also a plus mainly for the fact that I didn't have a clue as to where I was headed.

"Hey faggot!"

My feet became lead, palms clammy, and my blood instantly ran cold.

"Yeah, I was talking to you; because of you and your cock-sucking boyfriend there I got a three day suspension for `un-orthodox behavior.'" Darren exclaimed rather loudly as he passed Cole and I, "you just better watch your back from now on queer."

Here I thought that moving was going to be a great thing for me, new school, new atmosphere, a new start. Apparently not, since Darren decided to out me to the entire school, that secret spread like wildfire and by lunch time people I didn't even know where asking if the rumors were true. All I could do was sit in class, pretend the stares weren't burning holes in the back of my head and prepare for what lunch was to bring.

Entering the cafeteria a wave of nausea hit me as the eyes began to focus, also causing the noise to lower around me, I waited in line and prayed for a corner to disappear in, I'd lost my appetite buying lemonade instead. Walking absent-mindedly through the crowd I spotted an almost empty table, one other occupant, some guy that was in my Economics class.

"Do you mind if I sit here?" I asked politely.

It seemed as though no one had ever spoken to him because he gave me a quizzical look and replied;

"Of course!"

As I sipped my drink slowly I began to replay the day's events through my mind. A shadow appeared over me, breaking the unconscious daze I was in.

"Sorry for putting you through all of this Alex." Cole muttered as he slumped down beside me.

"It's honestly not that much of a problem, it would've come out that I was gay anyway. I'm actually kind of glad that it wasn't me that had to tell people." I replied as earnestly as possible.

Cole's hopes didn't seem to improve through out the rest of the day, and regardless of what I said he was still dead set that it was his fault.

~ * ~

By three I was ready to get the hell out of the school, eyes and whispered voices were trailing every single move that I made, and I was the science project that seemed to be gaining some serious interest by everyone that could put two words together.

I was heading out of the school and towards the sidewalk when a group of bubblegum girls came up to me giggling and exchanging ideas in hushed tones. I couldn't really make anything out, but by their presence I figured that they, like the rest of the school, wanted to know every single minute detail.

I was about to continue walking when one of them, I'm guessing their star fashionista, popped through the group with a candy apple red lollipop in hand.

"So like, are all the rumors about you and Cole true? Like, inquiring minds totally want to know!"

I felt as though my mouth was hanging open slightly from the sheer stupidity of this girl. But nevertheless, I answered them the best way I could.

"I wouldn't say that all of the rumors are true, Cole and I are just friends, but the ones about me being gay, are definite."

"That like, totally rocks!" Was the only thing she said before popping the lolly back into her mouth, spinning on the spot and bouncing back to her cloud of Barbie wannabe's, and as they walked away an eruption of high pitched squeals and giggling were all that could be heard.

The rest of my walk home was un-eventful, which I was very thankful for. Turning onto my street how ever was the end to that notion. For upon my doorstep I could tell that there was someone waiting. Whom it was I didn't have a clue, but as I drew nearer I instantly knew that it was Cole, probably rehearsing another monologue about how he should be stoned for putting me through some hardship that wasn't really phasing me at all.

Walking up the lane to the house how ever I noticed something different about him, he had this slightly crooked grin sliding onto his face as he saw me, and everyone knows that curiosity killed the cat, so, as a fish is drawn to a worm, I was hooked.

"I've decided to stop saying how sorry I am" Thank-god I thought, "but that doesn't mean that I'm going to stop talking to you, and, according to the buzz at school, you and I are dating?" Cole matter-of-factly snickered.

"I know! I was bombarded by the glam-squad as I was leaving, I tried to assure them that you and I were just friends and that the only true rumor was that I was gay, but I'm guessing they bent that reality as you're gay, I'm gay, we're friends, so it's obvious that we like, must be dating." My impression of the Barbie's must have been better than I thought for Cole chuckled as he shook his head.

As Cole and I exchanged a few laughs at that and after I invited him in for a glass of soda I thought that if I played my cards right maybe I could make another one of those rumors a little bit closer to the truth. But we'll just have to see.

~* Chapter 5 *~

Trying to hold my concentration in order to pay attention to what Mr. Paulman was talking about to the class was very hard since my `happening' with Cole yesterday and with him not being in class today I could re-live and replay it as many times as I wanted. He seemed to be talking about the Shakespeare movie we just finished watching and whether or not the relationship between `Romeo and Juliet' was actually love or was it just a lustful happenstance between to hormone driven teens.

Upon hearing this it sparked a thought in my head, was Cole and my friendship turning into another R & J story? Or was it something on a totally different and higher level? Oh why do I have to go off on such a random tangent, I always do this, I just start to daydream and re-play the events over and over until I'm just obsessed with it.

"Earth to Alex"

My `tangent' was suddenly broken when an eraser connected with my head.

"I'm glad to have you back on this planet Alex." Mr. Paulman cracked "Can you please enlighten the class with your opinion on today's discussion?"

"Ok," Damn, how am I going to get myself out of this one "to me, Romeo didn't love Juliet for the same reasons that she loved him."

"Really, and if this were an examination question what evidence can you provide in order to prove this hypothesis?"

As I racked my brain with trying to put together an intelligent response the class started to sing the Jeopardy theme song, "Well, for example, before arriving at the masquerade Romeo had consumed a potentially lethal, and a severely hallucinogenic narcotic, then after, as the scene unfolds and the lines between Romeo's reality and imagination begin to dissolve he finds himself faced with Juliet whom is dressed as an angel, and Romeo being a knight in shinning armor. This would cause Romeo's `high' to be that much more conducive to his already blurred reality causing Juliet to seem as though she were a vision, a perfect and graceful creature that emits a powerful yet, seductive aura of purity. But also, making her that much more un-attainable. As we all know, when something you want that badly is just out of your reach you work that much harder to get it, causing Romeo to have a euphoric, but chemically induced love for Juliet."

As I said this with closed eyes, I knew that when I opened them, people would really stare. `The New Kid's a Romantic Freak!' would read at the top of the daily school bulletin.

"Well Alex. That was a very interesting take. I think that if you were to take that hypothesis and fully explore it you could come up with a very difficult argument. Which is why, I would like everyone to come up with a one page essay on their opinion on today's discussion. I want on my desk Monday morning."

As the moans and groans of the class had started to ring, another more amazing sound began, the period bell, I gathered my books as quickly as possible and headed out the door to my next class without even thinking. Too many pairs of eyes had their stare on me and I was not looking back.

The rest of the day passed without any more `episodes' of passion, and once home I kicked off my shoes, grabbed an ice tea from the fridge, I went to my room to see if I could re-live a little of that passion without the interruption of school, or teachers asking dumb questions.

~ * ~

"So this is the bathroom" I said to Cole as I gave him a tour of my bedroom's on suite bath.

"That is so cool! I wish I had a bathroom in my bedroom!"

"Well my parents are upstairs, and seeing as this is like another apartment in this basement it's like I don't even need to go upstairs for anything, and it's less likely for my mom to just come barging in un-announced." oh I hope that wasn't to forward for him to think it's desperate. Oh god, please do not let him be easily freaked.

"Really ..." Cole's voice trailed off as we moved back into the main part of the bedroom. Cole removed his backpack and jacket and saying something about how he was getting warm. My own face was starting to flush from being in his presence.

"Yeah, it's cozy, set's the mood for attracting my prey" Hopefully he'll understand my humor about hitting on him.

"Is that what you're doing?" was all he needed to speak as he turned and slowly walked his way toward me, removing his shirt, grabbing my face and placing one of the most ferociously tantalizing kisses I've ever felt, it stole my breath away.

I followed by removing my jacket, shirt and then grabbing onto his hand as he showed me to the bed and lowered my topless body onto the mattress, guiding his bulging crouch into my leg and in turn, rubbing his leg into my now hardening bulge. I inhaled sharply at the thrill of our actions. He delicately kissed my left nipple and I hissed gently, chills spreading through me. Only whispered groans escaped my lips as he kissed my right nipple just as lightly. He teased it until I cried out in pleasure, then returned to my left nipple, barely touching it with the tip of his tongue. The air made the wet spot feel cold and if my nipples weren't fully erect before, they were now. He did the same to my right nipple, and I tensed up more so than before, drawing in another sharp breath. He momentarily lifted his face off my chest and made eye contact with me.

"Alex, I really like you, and would like to be in your life for a while, if you'll have me?" he asked, kissing me hard on the lips and then pulling back. He rested his head on my chest now, waiting for my answer.

"Yes," I said, breathing deeply, inhaling the fragrance of his hair. It smelled sweet. Like coconut, I guess the shampoo he used to wash his hair seemed to stay with him at all times. I could feel him smiling against my chest. With that, he moved up and kissed me again.

We practically ripped off our pants and underwear, I noticed he wore boxer briefs like I did, our lips met again, continuing our breathless lip lock. As he re-positioned, I knew what was to come, reaching into my nightstand I grabbed out a sheath for his sword. Once covered, it was slowly guided into me, connecting with me, our two bodies entwined in a single love making motion. Butterfly spasms filled my body slowly making their way down and through every blood cell. It was as if every nerve in my entire body was on fire, filled to the brim with elation.

As Cole thrust into me, I began to grind into him making his moaning gradually grow in volume; this elevation in movement was causing both of our inhales to happen in short quick intakes. I could feel him inside of me; I could feel the semi-dampness of his skin as he rubbed against me, the stippling sensation from his neatly trimmed stomach hair to the deep lub-dub sound of his heart.

Guessing by the shudders he was feeling the same way. This is what I was waiting for, this moment in time, and as I began to loose myself in time, or in this feeling, Cole did something else that I wasn't expecting, he reached around to slip his fingers into mine causing a hand lock between us. We were totally connected on both the spiritual plain but in the waking one as well, my entire existence was about this happenstance. I turned, put my arms around him pulling him forcefully into me clutching his buttocks with one hand, and his shoulder with the other, this went on for quite some time and when his buckling began a sound emitted from his gut, a fierce grunt of absolute relief. Feeling this sudden surge of erotic ecstasy gave me that last push to get me over and into my own wave of mind blowing bliss.

As Cole and I collapsed onto the bed, tangled in both the sheets and each other's limbs, he put his arm over me, kissed me gently on the cheek, and then again on the lips. But this time, the kiss was full of passion, and that's when I believed that happy endings could exist.

~* Chapter 6 *~

Flashes of color were fluttering over my eye lids. For a second I had deffinatly believed that it was all just a horribly nightmare and I would wake up with Cole beside me, warm, unharmed and still alive, but, no such luck. I noticed that I could move my lids more freely; I guessed that the swelling had gone enough for me to open both eyes, one more then the other but at least it was something. I noticed that all the flowers were gone, and in there place was a suitcase, a couple of pictures and some books.

I turned my head to see if there was anyone else in the room, I saw someone asleep beside me, but my vision hadn't completely come back to me yet, everything was still a little blurry. The fluorescent lights were piercing my head but I couldn't seem to muster the energy needed to make a noise, to talk, or to even see if there was a nurse call button. I couldn't find a reason to continue so I allowed myself to slip again, into darkness.

~ * ~

I could feel something warm being dragged across my face. As my senses came back to me I realized that someone was shaving me. I began to rustle, and opened my eyes slowly to see my mother sitting at my bedside with a shaving kit, a container of hot water, and a cloth.

"Alex? Hunny? ..." My mother spoke sparingly, tears filling her eyes.

"Mo ... m ..." Was all I could muster.

"No Alex, don't speak. Let me get the doctor." She began to leave but instinctively I reached for her arm, I'm guessing she was expecting this, for she looked at me with such calmness and spoke.

"Alex, hunny, I know what you want to know and the answer is yes, he's alive, barely, but alive. He's in Intensive Care in a coma. He's had a little bit of brain activity but other than there hasn't been much improvement."

I'd never thought I could love my mother so much. I felt like my heart was going to burst, laughter spilling out or just a multitude of love, although the fact that he was in a coma was devastating. But as long as he was alive, that was all that mattered to me.

The next day, I was starting to be coherent enough to differentiate the days apart; I was quite excited, so much that I asked my mom if I could hold Cole's hand. She said that she'd ask for me but she wasn't making any promises, and I knew that I shouldn't be getting my hopes up, but I couldn't help but feel that this was going to be a good day.

A good period of time went by until my mother finally came back to my room with good news. The doctor told her that since I had been awake for a sufficient amount of days, that it would probably be good for not just Cole but for the both of us if we were in the same room. Kinetic Energy he said, something about a bond between bodies, he believed it could help with Cole's comatose by just feeling my energy.

"You may, but only for a moment. We don't know what will happen to his mind." That stuffy old doctor kept saying that but I knew that Cole was crazy before hand so what would be the difference.

Slowly they wheeled my bed into his room, my heart monitor began to beep quicker, I was flushing, not because I was about to grasp my fallen lover's hand, but because that damned machine was giving away how excited I was to finally be sure that he was real, and alive. It was so much; I began to get light headed, for the reason that when I took Cole's hand, his monitor began to beep quicker. He knew I was there and he knew that I hadn't given up for him. My breath had escaped me, seconds seemed to slow and Cole's hand slipped from mine.

It was all over before it had begun, I was placed back in my original spot, that few paces away from him I could here his monitor stay at the quickened pace, but slowly it returned to an even rhythm. That night I slept soundly, knowing that when I awoke I would be able to do something else with Cole. Possibly speak to him? Or just hold his hand for more than a second.

When I awoke the next day the nurse was just coming into the room. With her came another nurse carrying some gauze and other accoutrements for Cole's wounds as well as my own. The first nurse came over to me with a genuine smile, asked how I was doing; she was polite in making small conversation. Asked how we met, things like that. Another knock came at the door and I became nervous when the doctor walked in the room. I was half sitting on the bed with my arm raised as the nurse changed some bandages on the side of my ribcage.

"Great news Alex, Cole's brain activity has increased greatly since moving you into the room with him. We're very confident that he will wake up. It's just a matter of waiting for his body to finish healing."

A pronouncement could have been in progress by the amount of joy that was flowing through me, jubilant at the fact that my best friend, my lover, would not only be able to kiss me, but to be able to tell our story together, so everything that we experienced wouldn't be for nothing.

~ * Chapter 7 * ~

This new day felt different, almost better. My parents wheeled me out to the car, the doctor re-assured me that he would be on constant watch of Cole. I had recovered from my damage and knew that I could no longer stay in a bed that could be for someone else in a much worse state than I, just bruises and invisible scars inflicted me now.

It was around noon when I arrived home, my mom helped me out of the car as my dad took my luggage and opened the door for us. It was nice to be back in the house. Somewhere that was secure and familiar. My mom took me to my room and instantly I saw one of Cole's sweaters, my favorite brown one. I asked her to help me into it and with a touched nod, she began to help me, I savored the smell that still clung, breathing deeply.

That night I sat on our porch with my mom having a cup of tea. She kept looking at me with such devastated eyes. Mainly because, I was in a sort of coma myself, staring off into the distance, I couldn't stop thinking that if I had done something else, something more, Cole wouldn't be in such a predicament that he was in right now.

"I know I shouldn't blame myself," I began, "but, having healed so much quicker and, I guess, not having as many wounds or things done to my body as he did, it's killing me, that I couldn't be experiencing this thing to the full extent that he is." I tearfully blurted as I put down the tea cup, wiping away the sudden dampness around my eyes.

My mother placed her cup down and rushed over to me, placing one arm around my back, and the other clutching my head to hers.

"It's ok hunny, we'll take this one step at a time. We won't let this go without a fight, and the police will have to know who did this to you, because those bastards should be thrown in jail." Moving her head away from mine, she stared intently into my eyes.

"Alex, having to go through life feeling these things is terrible. Absolute fear for going outside by yourself after dark and being afraid that someone in the world could cause such pain and chaos towards you for the plain fact that you were gay is horrifying. People may tell you that you have a problem, a sickness, that isn't true. It's the people that can't accept you for you that have the sickness. They just don't see the beauty that you bring to the world. The happiness that emits from your smile, the unquestionable amount of integrity you have towards helping others is irrefutable. I want you to know that I love you and support you in anything that you do. This is why you and I will fight this thing right to the very end."

"Damn mom, you give a nice little speech" I squeaked as tears ran down my face.

Before my mom left for bed I gave her a hug, kiss, and told her that I was definitely thankful that I had a mother like her, and I was proud of her.

"Well, I love you and I'm proud to have a son that would rightfully give his life to save the one that he loves." With that, she kissed my forehead, picked up both of our cups, and headed inside to the kitchen.

As I sat on the porch, I pulled Cole's sweater into a sort of self hug and the sweet smell of him blew against me. It made me think of things that we had to do, speeches that I had to write, and appearances my mother and I would have to make. I also thought of Cole, he was my reason, my purpose, and I will do all in my power to not allow this to go in vain. If I can take this tragedy and use it towards helping the countless others that have to go through this, and bring those who cause such hatred down, it would almost make it worth it. It would bring a new beginning to lives that have been hushed for so long, lives that have been relentlessly told that they weren't good enough, that they deserved what was brought upon them.

This will give a new strength to those that come after us, a future generation that may have a fearless life, a proud life. So they don't have to hide, they don't have to turn and run away in fear. But can stand strong in the face of belligerence, and not be afraid.

...I am not afraid...