Gosh, I'm SOOOOO sorry this took so long, but between school, football, homework, dragon boat, and, for five weeks, a dislocated shoulder, oh, and the obvious writers block, I've had neither the time nor the motivation to write. But, I finally sat down and promised myself to finish this chapter, which I hope you'll all be happy with.

Now, review replies

RealityBreakGirl: O wow, that's scary. I didn't even know what it meant. Well, we learn something new everyday. Well, I'm gonna go ahead and be lazy and say, if you want to know what it has to do with comics, read Elfangor87's review. And you know what? I didn't get any green jello TT And you know what else?...yea…I dunno either. Thanks for reviewing!

Kate Maxwell: Thanks for the ideas…Not really sure if I used them or not. (looks confused) Oh well, thanks for reviewing!

Trecebo: Thanks, I'm glad you liked how it was portrayed. I think your going to like how this chapter turns out. Thanks for reviewing!

Elfangor87: Woooow…You know more about it than I do. Then again, I don't read the Question comics. And, if you re-read the part about it in the last chapter, you'll see that he puts it over his bandages. I don't feel like dealing with infection . There's too much going on already. Well, thanks for reviewing!

Goddess of Twilight: ( Nervous laugh) Um…soon…right…sorry about that. --'. Your wish is my command (you'll see what I'm talking about later….I think…) I think you'll like this chapter. Thanks for the review!

Chapter 23-Tears from Heaven

Virgil alternated between poking at his mashed potatoes and looking at Richie across the table. Occasionally, he took a bite of the all too familiar food, but between the now lost appeal of it and his new found knowledge of his best friend, he really wasn't in the mood for eating. He didn't know what to do. Of course his parents had a right to know, but what good would it do Richie to have it come out so suddenly? He'd simply find something new. No, there had to be a different way. A way to show Richie that this wasn't doing anyone any good.

"So, Richie, do you wanna go catch a movie or something tomorrow?" Virgil asked, trying desperately to start a conversation.

Richie, for his part, seemed to take the hint and looked up from his own meal. "Uh, well.." He looked at his parents, both of whose faces were shining with hope. "Yea, ok." That having been said, he went back to munching on his scraps of food.

Virgil twirled his straw in his milkshake as he waited for Richie to say something. They sat at a smile diner, having decided the night before that they didn't want to draw any attention by going to a more public place, like Burger Fool. He noticed that he'd been doing that a lot lately; messing with his food. Neither had known what to say, and now both had a quickly warming milkshake in front of them, both of which had only gotten a few sips out of them. Sighing, Virgil left his straw alone and looked at Richie, who was still busy swirling his own shake.

"It wasn't your fault."

Without hesitation, the reply came. "Sure it was, you're just saying that to make me feel better."

"Why would I say something that wasn't true?" Virgil was determined to convince his friend that this was in no way his fault; he had been hoping that his second near death experience had been enough to push him out of this self-hatred, but apparently it had only fueled the fire.

This time he didn't have a ready answer. It sounded like a trick question. "You want me to stop cutting."

"Of course I do. You're hurting yourself." No reply. "Richie, you…"

"Can we go somewhere else?" Virgil was slightly taken aback; he wasn't sure of his friend's motives, but anything that would make Richie more comfortable was fine with him. The two teens quietly emptied out their pockets to pay the bill, leaving the two practically untouched shakes, before leaving the diner.

Richie pushed Virgil down the street, the two keeping a somewhat comfortable silence. Virgil was busy thinking, yet again, on how to talk to Richie, and convince him once and for all that this wasn't his fault. Then realization struck. He didn't have to. He just had to convince him to get help. There was no way that he could convince Richie; they were too close, and any help could be easily dismissed. But a professional; an outsider, could surely get through to the distraught teen. Someone who would understand more, and know how to take control of the situation. Grinning slightly, Virgil relaxed a little more into his chair, content with allowing Richie to guide him to where-ever it was that he wanted to go.

He was surprised when he found himself being pushed into a small park. It was nearly empty, with only a few couples walking near the pond and an old lady feeding pigeons. Virgil vaguely recognized this park as the place he and Richie had first met, but decided to brush it off as a simple coincidence.

Richie finally stopped near a huge tree; the same one the two used to climb around on when they were younger, and which had been the direct cause of a broken arm and leg. Looking up, Virgil let loose a grin.

"I think we've fallen off this tree more times then we've been thrown by super villains." He couldn't help but notice the tiny grin that seemed to magically appear on Richie's face, although just as suddenly as it had come, it was gone.

Richie sat down in the grass and leaned against the tree trunk. "It was never supposed to go this far." He sighed, and Virgil was surprised that he'd admit that. "It was only supposed to be a few cuts to…to make sure that I paid you back somehow."

Virgil hesitantly maneuvered himself out of his wheelchair with the use of his powers. Once he was sitting next to Richie, he put a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder. "Richie, you saved my life, I'm here now."

Another sigh. "I took too long."

Virgil shook his head. "That doesn't matter now. What matters is that we're both here."

"I lost you."

Virgil, for the first time, noticed that in general, Richie wouldn't look at him. Grabbing the other teen's face, he forced Richie to meet his gaze. "Look at me." Richie tried to squirm out of Virgil's grasp, but to no avail. You simply can't beat determination. "I'm here. You didn't lose me. You saved me."

"You stopped breathing." Richie was avoiding his eyes, making sure to look at the grass.

"You brought me back." Virgil jerked his hand slightly to keep Richie focused on him.

"I wouldn't have had to if…"

"If you hadn't been there I would have died!" The sudden anger in Virgil's voice shocked Richie into looking into his friend's eyes.


"Richie, don't you think they would have shot me anyway?" His voice quieted. He was no longer planning. The real emotions needed to come out here and now.

"No…they…they...wouldn't…" Richie looked lost and uncertain. Would they have shot him? Would his presence have made any difference? Then a sudden thought of his own struck him. "Why didn't you stop the bullet?"

Virgil was taken aback by the question. It was something he himself had thought about in the countless hours he had spent alone in his hospital bed. "I was scared." Virgil's hand dropped from his friend's face, knowing now that he was paying attention. "I didn't react fast enough. Don't you get it Rich? You couldn't have done anything differently. You couldn't learn something that you practically never heard of, and it's not like you could have stepped in front of the bullet. Sure, you weren't fast enough, but what would have happened if you weren't there?"

Richie thought about this, but Virgil answered for him. "I would have died. Those robbers would have shot me and kept on trying to crack the password. Who knows how long that would have taken them?" Virgil paused. "You have to stop blaming yourself. You're my best friend, and right now, you're scaring me. You're hurting yourself Richie, and I'm scared that you're not going to stop. I'm scared that you won't stop until you kill yourself. Is that what you want? You want to die because of me? Then it would be my fault. It would be my fault that you'd died." Virgil sighed, not sure what else to say. He looked at his friend, pleading him to provide some sort of answer.

Richie's eyes grew wide, conveying millions of emotions at once. He was so lost, so scared. Tears welled up and he choked back a sob. "I…" He slumped forward into Virgil's arms. "Help me, please." Richie pleaded, his tears rolling down his cheeks and onto Virgil's shoulder. Virgil grabbed onto his best friend, holding him to reassure him that he was there, and would stay there; he wasn't going anywhere.

"I'm right here Rich. I'm going to help you through this, I promise."

Well then, it might be a little rushed, but honestly, what more could I possibly delay with? Arn't you all just amazed at just how many corny titles I can come up with? Golly gee wilickers, I should have 'Holy cutting and going to a therapist Batman!'. lol. Well, as always, reviews are appriciated! D