Chapter 47 – Skinned Knees are Easier to Fix Than Broken Hearts

Boone sat in his apartment late one night, and he let his mind gently drift to thoughts of childhood, home, and the sister he had always loved too much.

He remembered the family portrait Sabrina had forced them to take. The photograph still hung over the stairwell, and it was still dull and stiff, like it was when it was taken, that afternoon when Sabrina had herded him, Adam and Shannon into the professional photographer's studio. She had forced Boone to wear patent leather shoes that clicked when he walked but were three sizes too small – they itched and compressed and shot arrows of pain throughout his legs. Why did he still remember those shoes so well?

He thought about how different things were now. Gone were the days they used to spend hours wasting time, pleasantly ignoring the feelings that made the space between them. He hadn't talked to her like that in about a year now, and though she was beginning to gently float away – wasn't that what Boone had been wishing for? Now that her disappearance from his life was a distinct possibility, now he wanted to get her back. You always want what you can't have, he remembered the words he'd heard so many times.

Boone had a sour taste in his mouth, one he'd had since the fateful night last summer when they'd gotten so close to being one together. The taste was raw and mildewed and needed to be fed, but there was nothing he could do to feed it. And he was so tired.

Boone had met Shannon when he was ten, and she was eight. Boone had fallen in love with Shannon the first time he saw her smile. Somehow, when he'd met her, he had known that this little girl would be responsible for something huge – but never something this huge. She'd been embroidered into his skin since the day they'd met. Perhaps he'd let them rot, but they'd still leave gnarled scars on his arms. And they were too deeply embedded to remove.

You are sick, he told himself. The words had lost their significance years ago. They meant nothing anymore.

The ring of his cell phone interrupted his thoughts. He looked at the screen. What? No, it couldn't be. Just answer it, he told himself, and before he could change his mind he did.

"Hello?" He forced. It was probably the hardest word he'd ever said.

"Hello," an equally awkward voice responded. But it was Shannon's voice, and the memories flooded back. He needed to hang up, and he needed to do it now. Don't be a coward. He stayed on the line. "Anna said, um, Anna said that you were unhappy." Her voice sounded weak, but sure.

"Anna wasn't supposed to say that."

"Are you angry?" Shannon asked him gently, but they both knew that it wasn't about Anna telling Shannon what he had told her in confidence.

"No…" he said slowly. "I guess I'm just confused." His voice strengthened.

"I'm sorry about what happened. I'm sorry," she sounded like she was near tears.

"What happened to us?" He asked as calmly as he could muster. This felt so tragic.

"I guess it just hit me what was going to happen. I mean, that sounds stupid. But, there were suddenly all these implications that I thought about. I hadn't been thinking about it, and then all of the sudden I did." She sniffed.

"Yeah, well, maybe you should of thought of those sooner."

"I know. I'm so sorry. I really couldn't have had a worse reaction."

"It's okay," he found himself tender, babying her again. There was a silence.



"Can we be friends again?"

"Of course," he replied. "Anything you want, Shan." He meant it a little too much.

"But we can't let anything happen, ever again."

"I know." He meant to say this in a definite voice, but it came off more as hollow and bitten. She didn't seem to detect this.

"I mean, we were just messing around, right? It was just a phase," She ventured.

"Yeah, of course." He scoffed and bit back words he'd been trying to say for years. "Of course."

"Okay," Shannon sounded relieved. "I'm glad we worked this out."

"Yeah, me too. Great," he said too heartily. God, it was amazing to hear her voice again. "So what's going on? How's your life?"

"Um, it's good," she said slowly.

"How's ballet?"

"It's really good! I'm actually teaching a class."

"Really? That's awesome, Shannon, it really is," he told her.

"It's just a few sections of beginning ballet, and I get a stipend."

"Good," he said.

"It's not much, but it's something." Another pause.

"How's Sabrina?" Boone asked wearily.

"She sucks," Shannon said with so much vehemence Boone laughed a little. "She hates me."

"She doesn't hate you, she's just an idiot."

"Have you talked to her lately?" Shannon asked.

"I try to as little as possible."

"She thinks you're living this really bad lifestyle. She thinks you're into like sex, drugs and rock and roll, and shit," she laughed. "She thinks you're in like a metal band and have groupies."

"What?" They both laughed about this. He'd forgotten how pure her laugh was. "Oh my god, what the fuck, that's crazy… groupies."

"I know, right?" She giggled. Boone smiled to himself for a moment, and they sat in comfortable silence for a moment. He wanted to stay on the line forever. All of the hazy sleepiness he'd felt in the past months seemed to disappear. He was suddenly energized – he wanted to stand up and start getting things done. He stood up fitfully, when he realized, bluntly, that she was his drug. He sat back in his chair, breathing slowly. "Are you okay?" She asked.

"I'm fine. I have to go, sorry. Ben is yelling at me about leaving my cereal out," he lied. For someone he was in love with, he certainly lied to her a lot.

The day before his last final, Boone got another call.

Boone had answered the phone, hoping it might be Shannon. It wasn't.

"Hello, Boone," said the terse, cold voice of his mother, Sabrina Carlyle.

"Hi, Mom," he bit back a laugh. Maybe she was calling to ask him more about his metal band.

"Boone, I have something very important to tell you." Her voice sounded lower than usual – she sounded strange.

"Okay…" he said. "What is it?"

"Adam, well… Adam died."

Boone took a moment to comprehend these two words. "What?" He sat down. "What? Are you serious?"

"Would I be joking," Sabrina asked, but she phrased it like a statement.

"Oh my god," Boone sighed. "Oh my fucking god. What happened?"

Sabrina didn't even reprimand Boone for his language. "He was hit by a car. He didn't suffer."

Boone was shocked, almost disgusted, by Sabrina's composure. It was her husband! And he was dead. Adam had never played a large role in Boone's life, but he had a feeling that now that he was dead, he would play a more significant part. He didn't know why. He just felt it.

Sabrina sighed. "We-we're having a wake on Sunday. You'll come," she said crisply. "Right?" She added, a bit quieter.

"Of course, Mom," he told her. "How's Shannon dealing?"

"I don't know. She hasn't left her room," Sabrina reverted back to her cold self.

"Has she eaten?" Boone demanded.

"No, I let her starve! What kind of person do you think I am, Boone?"

"Sorry, I didn't mean it that way."

"It's fine."

"I can't believe this," Boone said.

"He went fast. There wasn't any pain."

"Well, I'll get a flight tomorrow," he sighed. "And then, I'll be there."

"You'll be here." She repeated. They hung up soon after, and no tears were shed by either party. The formality of the matter shocked Boone, but he couldn't seem to muster much emotion for the actual situation.

The next few days and the flight passed in a haze. What he remembered most vividly was when he saw her, standing by her father's grave at the wake. Her blonde hair lay wavy and long over her thin shoulders. She wore a black dress that made her look thin and young, but still beautiful. She wore little makeup, and her eyes were dull from tears, but she was still a vision. It had been hard to imagine her in his mind for so long, and now she was so familiar yet so foreign, he almost felt like he was in a completely different world than her.

"Boone!" Her voice rang out. It took him a moment to realize she was speaking to him.

"Hey. I'm so sorry, Shannon," he said, and held her close to him for a long time. She seemed to ease into the hug, but they got used to each other's bodies quickly. He realized right then and right there that they needed each other, and neither of them could live without the other. It occurred to him that nothing would ever mean this much. All this living, he did it for her.

She was an ache of longing that festered inside of him constantly. Boone hoped that one day they would be together, but he only knew one thing:

He'd never let her go.

Oh my gosh, you guys, I finished! It's done! Wow! I hope it turned out well, it really wasn't meant to become this long, but it did, and thank you for everyone's support! I'm actually pretty proud of this story, and I'm actually going to edit it so that it is about my own characters, so maybe I can do something else with it. This whole story actually ended up being about 100,000 words, the length of a long novel! Anyway, even though Shannon and Boone are dead on the show, and this is probably my last fanfiction, I hope that you enjoyed the little fantasy backstory I created for them. Please review! I'm interested in your thoughts!