Once in a Lifetime

True Friends only meet once a lifetime, because after that they're never apart. Well, that's true for Steve and me anyway. Even when we are physically apart, our souls are together. Friendship does that when it's a genuine bond.

"Ghost. Where are you? Where are you Ghost!?" Steve called out in his dreams. Ghost quickly rolled over and put a hand on his friend's shoulder.

"I'm right here. It's ok, I'm right here." Ghost shuddered as pictures swam through his mind. Pictures from a year ago...most significantly the knife in Zillah's head. "Wake up, Steve."

Only a year ago. Everything had changed a year ago. Ann was killed, something Steve still cried over when he thought that Ghost was asleep. Nothing had entered their life and twisted it from ok to horrible. The bruises from that year were still visible, not on the body, but on the soul.

"Ghost?" Steve blinked as he awoke from the horrible nightmare. Ghost turned to him with his calm, patient smile... Ghost's smile. "I had the dream again." Steve sits up and takes several deep breaths. "They killed her and you. Ann was dead... then they took you too." His eyes began to water and his teeth clenched. "Dammit, why do I keep having these dreams?" Steve looks at Ghost and suddenly grab's Ghost's frail shoulders. "You must know! You always do! Tell me why I keep having them!" He shakes Ghost back and forth, trying to force away the tears.

"You still hurt." Ghost stayed calm, both pale blue eyes staring into Steve's teary eyes.

"Hell if I do. She was a bitch and cheated on me." Steve demanded. Ghost could see that, even now, Steve would still deny that he loved Ann.

"I hear you cry Steve. I can see that you hurt. Even if I didn't want to see your pain, I still would. Any normal person could." Ghost placed his hand on Steve's. He watched as Steve pulled his hands away and placed them on his face.

"I know. But it's true, she wronged me, but I fucked up. I really did." He looks up, past Ghost's silvery-pale hair, deep into his sky blue eyes. Ghost scoots toward him and wraps his thin arms around Steve's quivering body. "I should have treated her better. I could have, and I could have saved her. I could have saved her Ghost. She'd still be right here with us."

Steve wrapped his arms around Ghost's thin frame. He held him close, perhaps closer than he meant to. Suddenly, he noticed Ghost's heart beating fast, pounding on the inside of his chest.

"That's not true Steve." Ghost still sounded simplistically tranquil. His voice never quavered, his cool blue eyes never moved from Steve's face.

"It is too." He pulled away. "You just don't want it to be true." He glared at Ghost, unsure as to why. Ghost swallowed a lump in his throat then couldn't remain to be calm anymore. As if propelled by some unseen force, Ghost flew from the room and slammed the door to his room. He carefully locked the door then laid down on the bed and cried.


Ghost listened to Steve's persistent call. He heard it, but pretended not to. For once, he didn't want to see his best friend's face. A year ago, while sitting in the cemetery smoking fresh pot, Steve had told him, I love you. The pain was hard to bear. From the loss of a friend, to the enduring hope that Steve felt the love for him that Ghost felt toward Steve.

It had always been there, hidden by innocence and fear. This strange love for his best friend and when Steve said those three words, Ghost suddenly realized this. He realized that this love wasn't just friendship, but something he wished could be more. On the nights when he had nightmares and ran to Steve's side, knowing he would be greeted with compassion even if it was hidden behind the sarcastic words, Ghost loved being held by Steve. Silently, he loved it. Secretly, he wished that Steve did too.

"Ghost. I'm sorry." Steve tried again. "Please come out." His voice slowly transformed into a whisper. "I never meant to be so cold." The whisper seemed to die off. "I want to be beside you."

Ghost heard the words. Whether he was supposed to or not. His face flushed dark red. He flexed his hands, almost afraid to open the door but he stood up and leisurely walked toward it anyway.

"God dammit Ghost! I'm gonna break down this door!" Steve charged the door just as it swung open and rammed into a very surprised Ghost. They fell to the floor in a jumble. As if suddenly unable to move, they stared at each other, unsure of what to think. Ghost squirmed out from under Steve, as if fearing he would end up just as Ann had or perhaps fearing that he wouldn't.

"Sorry Steve. I-" Ghost tried to make this his fault. He tried so hard, but it just wasn't happening. Steve sat up and looked at Ghost with a look Ghost had only seen on Steve's face when he spoke of Ann. It was love. It was heartbreak. It was realization. It was everything. Ghost froze against the edge of the bed, unable to speak, move or think.

"Why didn't I realize it sooner? Ghost, why didn't you tell me?" Steve slowly crawls toward the bewildered Ghost. Ghost opens his mouth to speak but nothing came out. Steve crawls until he is inches away from Ghost's pale face. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I was afraid." Ghost replies quietly. He looks to his brightly colored room. The extravagant designs that he had tiredly placed there from day to day.

"I love you so much Ghost." Steve grabs Ghost's fragile hands. He smiles toward him lovingly.

"I love you too St-" Ghost was abruptly stopped as Steve's lips reached his. The moment was short but long, hot but cold and amazing but frightening. As Steve slowly pulled away, Ghost looked to the ground and took several deep breaths. "I didn't tell you because you wouldn't have believed me." Ghost strays from the moment. "If I'd tried to tell you that you loved me like I loved you...you would've...you would have just made fun of me or called me a stupid, psychic-weirdo hippie."

Steve looked almost saddened by Ghost's statement. He couldn't deny that it was true though. Even if Ghost had told him, Steve knew he would have denied it and told him he was just an idiot or something like that.

"But now you realize it." Ghost said sweetly as he quickly regained his peaceful composure. He hugged Steve, heart beating faster than ever, as though it would simply explode, and this time as he sat in Steve's arms, Ghost knew that Steve felt the same way. As the hug became comfortable and somehow seemed natural, Steve placed his lips on Ghost's once more. Behind closed eyelids, his eyes were smiling. Ghost was innocent and didn't know what to do, but Steve felt as though he was kissing an angel...

And perhaps he was.