the prologue.

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

- Winston Churchill

august twelfth two thousand seven.

"I'm gunna miss you, man," Cody Martin told his twin brother, Zack, sincerely as he zipped up his stuffed suitcase with a swift movement.

Zack rolled his eyes, "Yeah right. You'll be having too much fricking fun with the fricking band to worry about missing your fricking sick brother."

"Please," Cody retorted, turning and facing him, "I'm going to be stuck in a hot tour bus for two weeks. It's not going to be any fun at all."

Zack rolled his eyes again, "You need a serious reality check if you think it's not going to be fun to be right on stage with the band with the music blasting and your heart pounding and-"

"Fun for you," Cody but in, "I haven't finished my summer reading list yet and I have tons of stuff to do around here to get ready for school. I don't even know why I agreed to go on this stupid trip."

"Because you want to see Dad. You haven't seen him in what, like eight months, and you get to spend two weeks with him, while I'm stuck here in this fricking boring hotel by myself – no Mom does not count."

Cody smiled sympathetically, "Yeah I guess you're right. I mean it is gunna be cool to see him, and maybe it'll be fun."

Zack nodded.

"Still gunna miss you."

Zack shook his head as he snatched a pillow off the bed and flung it his brother.

"Mom-mom I can't breathe," Cody choked out as his mother hugged him hard, much harder than any human being should be hugged.

"Sorry," Carey said with a smile as she released her youngest son and he re-filled his lungs with air. She stared at him for a few minutes before lunging in to hug him again.

"Mom, it's only two weeks."

Carey nodded as she released him again, a smile on her face, "Yeah, and before you know it, you'll be back here and getting ready to start hi-high school."

Carey's voice shook slightly at the last two words and she blinked back tears.

Cody rolled his eyes.

Kurt laughed slightly, "C'mon Cody. We've gotta get rockin' and a rollin'."

Cody nodded and grabbed his bag from the floor, "Bye Mom," He said with a smile.

Carey waved as the two started to exit the hotel into the pouring down rain, hoods held securely over heads.

Cody turned abruptly, "Oh Mom, would you tell Zack I said bye?"

"I thought you two did that already."

Cody shrugged.

She laughed, "Yes, yes I'll tell him, now go."

Cody laughed as well and turned and rushed out the door after his father.

"So, you excited?" Kurt asked his son, after the pair had been driving in almost silence for five minutes.

Cody nodded from the backseat, "Yeah. Where are we going anyway?"

Kurt grinned, glad to be making conversation, "Well. First we're gunna meet up with the tour bus in Cambridge and I'll return this rental. And then the band's gunna do a few shows here and there in Massachusetts and in between we'll be able to do all that fun stuff I told you about on the phone."

Cody grinned, "Sounds like fun."

And it really did.

"Damnit!" Kurt yelled, shattering the silence that had fallen over the two yet again. Cody jumped, startled, cringing slightly.

"What's uhh what's wrong?"

Kurt turned to look at his son, clearly flustered, "This rain's getting too thick. I can't see anything."

Cody felt his heart rate pick up, "Wha-what do you mean too thick?"

Kurt pointed out the windshield, "That's what I mean."

Cody gripped the edge of the seat with both hands. You couldn't make out much of anything outside. The rain was pouring down in sheets and covering everything. The only things, perhaps, that you could see were the bright street lights, but even those were blurred by the water.

The car splashed through a puddle, spraying even more water up on the sides of the car.

Kurt leaned forward in his seat, both hands gripped tightly on the wheel.

Cody shut his eyes, "Oh God. God if we get through this I swear I'll never ever do anything bad or stupid and I'll always wear my seatbelt and I'll never let Zack swear or anything and I'll never pull a prank as long as I live. And I'll uhh I'll…do whatever anyone tells me to do, unless it's some stupid obscene thing that you wouldn't approve of cause that's going against doing something bad or stupid which I already said I wouldn't do and…"

Cody's eyes flew open just in time to spot two large yellow circles of light coming at them; coming at them fast.

"DAD!" Cody screamed, "Dad, move!"

The car didn't move.

Cody screamed again.

There was an ear-splitting grinding of metal against metal.

And then the world swirled to black.