Author's Note: Firstly, I'd like to say congratulations to all of you who have read this far. I hope that you enjoyed reading this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it. Its sequel, "Unreality", can be found in my author's profile if you're interested. Peace out!
Jack Merridew, former school whore . . . that is, until the day he was reunited with his childhood nemesis, Ralph Macpherson. The latter brought a deep change into his life and he was more than willing to give up everything he had for the other teen, if only to receive but one more kiss from those lovely lips.
Jack hardly remember anything else from that day, just that he had become a different person at the drop of a button (?). However, he did remember the consequences of his actions. Not only did he receive detention until the end of the school year, his mother had also grounded him for a month upon hearing what he did. She dwindled his original sentence of three months, only because she decided that his detention seemed like punishment enough . . . er, almost.
That night (of the very same day that he pulled his "stupid stunt"), Jack had a pleasant dream. He dreamt that he and Ralph were back on the island. Only, they were alone and the same age they were now, not like it was back then. In the background, he saw Ray (that is to say, Simon) watching them with a smile on his face . . .
'You see, Jack,' he said. 'Things could have been really different for you and Ralph, if only you two found the courage to face your destiny.' He turned to walk away. The weird part was that he was standing at the very edge of a cliff!
'Where are you going?' Jack asked, worried for the other's safety.
'Away,' Simon replied shortly. 'I am no longer needed. My work here is done.'
'Work?' Ralph asked.
'Yes. You two have found something you'd never even thought to look for in each other, let alone find.'
'And what might that be?' Jack asked.
'Love.' Having said that, Simon stepped off of the cliff and disappeared from view.
However, Jack did not worry for him, for he knew that Simon had not fallen. He had simply returned to wherever it was he came from.
'Jack,' Ralph said, bringing his mind back to their present situation.
'I lost you once before . . . I don't want to lose you again, Jack.'
'Honestly, Ralph, I can't promise you that you won't lose me. Fate works in strange ways. In the short run, it might actually happen. But I can say this—in the long run, we'll be together forever. You are the other half of my heart and I could never be complete without you.'
And then . . .
He woke up. Dazedly, Jack blinked the sleep from his eyes before he realized what had woken him. A fist was gently knocking on his window, careful not to awaken the other members of his household. Rubbing his eyes tiredly, Jack made his way to the window and slid it open.
'Wha—?' He stopped in mid-sentence when he realized who it was. 'Ralph, what are you doing here?'
Rather, what happened? From his appearance, Jack could tell that there was something wrong. Ralph's eyes were quite red and swollen, as if he had recently cried. Further signs of his anxiety were his clenched fists and quivering lips.
'I have to move again,' he said. 'We've hardly been here for a week and already my dad says we have to move!'
'Wait,' Jack said. 'I'll be right out.' He hastily pulled on a pair of jeans over his boxer shorts before hurrying to meet Ralph outside. The night wind bit into his bare chest as he made his way to the side of the house, where Ralph was waiting. Upon seeing the distressed teen, he ran over and embraced Ralph tightly.
'Oh, Jack, I don't want to leave.'
'Shh, love . . . When did your dad say you had to go?'
'Three days! That's hardly even enough time to pack!'
'And why do you have to go?'
'Because the deal he was working on just crashed and he needs to do some damage control in France. He doesn't want to leave mom and I behind, so we have to go, too!' Ralph cried out hysterically.
'Shh . . .' Jack soothed, gently brushing his lover's hair. 'Shh . . . Things will work out, you'll see.'
'How can they work out if we're not together?' Ralph asked. 'My dad is just being selfish. He doesn't care about how we feel about moving all the time.'
'But he cares a great deal for you,' Jack pointed out. 'Otherwise he would just leave you behind. Maybe he's just not very good at showing it.'
'I don't care, Jack. I don't want to go!' Ralph said tearfully.
'Listen, Ralph, listen to me!' Jack said harshly, startling the other out of his tears. 'No matter how much distance there is between us or how much time passes, I'll wait for you. I love you, Ralph, and I'll always wait for you.'
'You're good to me, Jack, but I don't want to make you do this.'
'You're not "making" me do anything. I volunteered to.'
'But won't it depress you?'
'Of course, but I would be more depressed if you don't return.' He placed a chaste kiss on Ralph lips. 'Just promise me you'll return, Ralph. Promise me!'
'I . . . I promise.'
'But the promise alone isn't good enough, Ralph.'
'It . . . It isn't?'
'You have to mean what you say. If you love me, you'll mean your promise. Despite what your father, your mother, or anyone else says, you will come back to me, right?' The barest hint of a plea was evident in Jack's tone.
'I promise,' Ralph tearfully responded as he tightened his hold on his lover. 'I promise.'
'Good.' Tears were now forming in Jack's eyes and he vainly tried to fight them. 'You can't not leave, Ralph. Your parents would be devastated if you were left behind.'
'But what about you?'
'Don't worry about me. I've had hardships before, and I'll get through them this time like I always have. We'll just try to make the most of our time together as if is, okay?'
Their last few days together passed all too quickly, and the time soon came for Ralph to leave. He piled the rest of his possessions in their car and gazed hopefully down the street.
'Are you waiting for someone, dear?' his mother asked from the front seat.
'I don't know,' he replied, shrugging. He realized that Jack had never promised to see him off, but he expected something, even a note or something would do. 'I guess . . . I guess we can just go.' He climbed into the car and pulled the door close.
'Oh dear,' she said suddenly. 'I forgot something inside.' Then she rushed back into the house before her husband locked the door for good.
Just then, Ralph saw Jack running towards him, a small box in his hand.
'Ralph!' he called. 'Wait up!'
To Ralph, it seemed like he was torn between sadness and excitement. Said teen came up with him and breathlessly said, 'Sorry if I'm late, but my mother had to talk to me. She and my dad are getting a divorce! Great, huh?'
'That's wonderful!' Ralph said. 'I'm so happy for you.'
Jack smiled and placed the box in Ralph's hand.
'Here, this is for you. Go on—open it.'
With trembling hands, Ralph ripped the paper off the box and opened the lid. Inside lay a simple silver ring, much too small for his finger. Upon closer inspection, however, one would notice a fine inscription written on its inside, away from prying eyes.
'For Ralph,' Ralph read.
'Yes, for you,' Jack said. 'You said you gave me everything, Ralph, so now I wanted to give you something in return. I've had that ring since before I can remember. I guess it's from when I was a baby or something. It's like a symbol of who I am and everything I've been through. It's a symbol of me! I just got it inscribed last night . . . for you.'
'You're giving it to me?'
'I'm giving it to you,' Jack confirmed.
'Do you think I'm attractive?' Ralph questioned playfully.
'No, I think you're beautiful,' Jack recited.
'Am I in your heart?'
'No, you are my heart.'
'Would you cry if I walked away forever?'
'No, I would die!'
'And do you love me?'
'No, I lo—' Jack stopped in mid-sentence. 'Er . . . Yes, I love you,' he finally replied.
'Do you promise to always treat me with the respect I deserve?'
'Will you love and support me in all aspects of my life?'
'Will you wait for me to return?' Ralph asked hopefully, vaguely thinking that it sounded like they were taking matrimonial vows.
They shared a deep kiss before hastily jumping apart when Ralph's mother returned.
'Oh, Jack, dear, it's so good to see you again!' she said, pulling him into a one-armed hug. 'I'm just sorry that we didn't get to see more of you before we have to leave.'
'Well, maybe next time, Mrs. M,' he said awkwardly, swiping at the tears on his face.
'Here. Let me give you our new address. Maybe you can write to us sometime.'
'I would be glad to,' Jack replied. He patiently waited for her to write the address down on a scrap piece of paper, which she handed to him but a moment later.
'I hope we'll hear from you soon!'
Jack smiled and pocketed the slip of paper.
'Goodbye, Ralph,' Jack said, waving casually over his shoulder as he turned to leave. 'I'll write to you soon.'
'Bye, Jack,' Ralph called back, crystal tears tumbling from his eyes.
"I'll miss you," he thought sadly, but he did not voice the words aloud. He didn't want his mother to know any more than she had to.
What he didn't know was that she already did.
It wasn't until Jack was halfway down the street before he thought to read his lover's new address. In Mrs. Macpherson's neat, cursive writing, the note said:
Write to us soon!
4 Privet Drive(1)
'Blah, blah,' Jack muttered under his breath. 'Little Whinging . . . blah . . . Surrey. . .' Suddenly, something at the bottom caught his eye.
P.S. . . .
'"P.S."? Wasn't she only supposed to be giving me an address?' Jack asked himself, but there was no mistaking it.
P.S. Don't break my son's heart.
Did that mean she knew? And if she did, why didn't she ever say anything about it?
'What does it matter?' Jack inquired of no one in particular. 'I will never break Ralph's heart so long as there is still air in my lungs and love in my heart.' Sealing his promise with a smile, he slipped the note back into his pocket.
"I love him," he thought, casually kicking a pebble away. "I always will. Nothing can ever come between us."
And it was at that moment in time that a "nightmare" became a dream . . .
(1) Mini-Disclaimer: Hehe, this is Harry Potter's address . . . My sister lost our copy of the book and I don't remember the rest. Sorry!