It was a somber procession that marched from inland to the shore, as befit the occasion; a funeral of one of their own. An ironic twist of fate had lead to their current circumstances. After surviving the virus and its second wave and the Technos under both Ram and Mega and the City-cleansing new virus, Jay succumbed to a more innocuous appearing threat. He contracted a particularly virulent bout of pneumonia not long after the boat ran aground on this island paradise. Of course, at the moment, no one noticed the island's picturesque qualities as even Ram's head bowed in respect as Salene said a few words over the body.

The body. It felt so alien to refer to Jay that way, but that was what he was now. No longer the strong, handsome man that more than one had fallen for, but rather a thin emaciated husk—a mere shell of all that he had been. After Salene finished the prayer, Amber haltingly made her way through a tearful eulogy, showing how much she had cared for her deceased lover. Then it was over, the only things left were personal goodbyes and the lighting of the pyre. One by one, they bent over the raft, paying their last respects, some final contacts closer than others; in this case, each of his former lovers. No one noted that one of them had removed something from the body, one item from his sparse collection of personal effects to be burned with him. So they set him ablaze as they had done in the past for another warrior, and sent his body out to sea.

It seemed like it had taken forever to get what she had sought ever since they had sent Jay on his funereal voyage: some time alone. For some reason, Amber had turned to her instead of her bosom chum when she needed someone's shoulder to cry on about Jay. Maybe Amber had finally realized that Trudy had never really gotten over Jay and mourned him just as deeply Amber did. Whereas, Ebony had fully moved on, being very deeply involved with Slade.

Whatever the reason, Ebony was glad to finally get some time to herself. Now she look at what she had pilfered from Jay's body, what looked like a journal. Finding a concealed palm and sitting beneath it, she opened the book and began to read. She read all about Jay and Ved's childhood, the passing of their parents, joining up with the Technos, the lot. It was all dull and uninteresting and she flicked through, trying to find the pages that dealt with her relationship with Jay. She realized she had overshot when she caught glimpses of Jay cursing at Ram and Mega for releasing another virus and that was slightly amusing, but she quickly flipped backwards, stopping when she saw a large angry looking 'Why?' scratched into a page, followed by pages of writing. She stopped to read, curious.

Why, dammit, why did I have to remember? If only I didn't know now what I didn't know then, then maybe life would be a little easier to deal with It's all because of Amber, with her constant pushing. I could have done without remembering that either. Pushing me to be the man she needs, to be the father of her child, to lead at her side. Does she ever think that maybe I don't want all that? I thought I did once, but it all seemed so much simpler then. All I wanted was a better world with schools and hospitals and my greatest concern was keeping my reckless brother out of trouble. What I would not give for those relatively carefree days.

Instead, I've got all these people looking to me to be an answer. Don't they know that I don't even know the question? Perhaps I never did. And if Amber had left well enough alone, I wouldn't have to worry about it. But I do, and I'm sick of it. I'm tired of Trudy's sad eyes, trying and failing miserably to pretend that she's okay with Amber and me; her eyes not quite able to back the lie her quivering lips told. Another regret there I could have done without recalling.

I'm not what they want me to be, I'm not! I'm no hero, I'm no answer, I'm just me. The same guy who Ram ran circles around, the same guy who trusted Mega. The same guy who kissed Amber when I was still with Ebony. I know who I am and I'm not who they want me to be and but for a few clicks on a keyboard I could have missed all of this, I could have forgotten the seeking eyes and the doubts and the fears and all of it.

And the children. They both expected me to be the male role model in their lives. Me, who couldn't even be a guide to Ved, my own flesh and blood. Ved. God, I miss him so much. He was a wiseass, and a pain in the butt, but he was my brother and I loved him—love him. But dammit, I would have given up the memory of him to have this pain go away. I would give up just about anything to make this pain go away.

They say ignorance is bliss; well it's more than true in my case. So much I could have done without remembering. Those kids strung up in Ram's lab, Cloe, Pride, Mouse. They would all still be here if we had not come. More regrets. It seems that's all I have now, pain and regret. And loss. So many gone, that I could have not missed.

Dammit! Just like I could have missed Amber calling me for something else. Can't she do anything alone?

The entry ended there, obviously Amber had called Jay away from his journal, and he hadnever continued. Ebony wiped away the tears that had streamed down her face. She had no idea Jay had ever felt this way. She had swiped the journal hoping to find tidbits like that Amber snored or something about herself. She had not expected this conflicted side to the seemingly confident man she had known. She felt bad now, he had deserved more than what she had done. She made a decision.

She rose and using a stick, began to dig a hole. When the stick broke, she used her bare hands, scooping out the sandy earth until she had a good enough depth. Then she threw in the journal and refilled the hole, finally dragging leaves and branches over it to conceal its location. Jay's thoughts would die with him, forever hidden and never to be revealed by her.