By Ten Black Roses

"When all your wishes come true, many of your dreams will be destroyed" Marilyn Manson, Man that you fear.

If only the day could have started out better than it had ended. Having been nothing less than worthwhile and fun instead of terrible towards interest at anyone who lived to inhabit within its restricted prolongation. Life could at times mean nothing to someone when his or her mood was bad enough.

Say you knew your pet had a nearly incurable illness but sending it to the vet didn't work whether financially or deplorably. And still you would do anything to find multiple ways of keeping that pet from hitting the high note. But in Jason's case, his bond with Quincy was beyond reciprocated that to say even considering his iguana part of his family was an understatement.

Jason couldn't sleep, mainly because he didn't want to. Naturally not having to due to the circumstances he'd faced when dealing with many of his antics he'd consider fun. This time, though, his desire to sleep was wiped away by the diligence he gave himself as some sort of optional insomnia to anyone that would approve of it. He wouldn't take it if he lacked compassion, so it was sort of obligatory.

As he just lied there on his bed, Jason fruitlessly tried to drag up other ideas. It was a proven fact that distraction was the best tactic used to defeat someone if it could go against more than two. Jason's naïve disposition was what distracted him, obviously containing beyond thousands of ideas he'd enjoy conversing about.

Jason had managed to surrender and release the power of fatal tedium enough to plunge himself into a compulsory siesta, but his thoughts never failed to stray far enough to forget about Quincy. Since unlike most people, which release sympathy for others who are in a way much weaker only to disallow culpability from entering their system, Jason would give his soul for Quincy (and maybe his life for just his family and Marcus).

He soon became witness of a room, which appeared to be made of some white fabric constantly changing from a darker gray color. It reminded him more or less of a snowy day when he and his friends used to make realistic snow angels. Meaning they made them more like snowmen instead of moving their arms up and down the snow like conformists.

Jason turned his head, looking around to see if there could have been anyone else.

"This seems too real to be a dream," said Jason to himself. As he thought about it, Jason placed his hand on his chin to help him reason amongst the possibilities. Suddenly, or at least in the same seconds it took him to finish his math homework, he obtained something.

"Maybe it isn't, maybe I'm really trapped in here, prisoner of some vile extraterrestrial ambush!"

The fabric stopped changing and remained white, despite Jason's commotion on his own belief.

"AWESOME! I mean, AAAAA! Let me out of here you evil space Brigands! Or else I'll call a few acquaintances and allies I know" Yelled Jason, kicking some of the fabric to see it disappeared like a cloud if moved around enough.

Ahem, Jason?

"Don't play with me, cruddy aliens, I'm serious when I say I'll call for backup!"


"My reinforcement includes the Borg and Nero, not to mention the rest of the Romulan armada, which is enough to take you down even if you're ship were five times bigger than the freaking Deathstar!" Jason persisted; not once paying attention to a being, which was invisible except for its smudgy outline, standing right behind him.


Jason, please turn around.

"I don't care if the Deathstar originated from another franchise, it's still nothing compared to what even Khan can-"

Jason could feel a poke on his shoulder as he finally realized a spare presence was here with him. He turned around, only to feel shocked, giving him a reason to shirt-wipe his glasses, then continue in shock.

It's a shame I had to get your attention that way, and impressive when I didn't have to raise my voice.

Jason could only blink whilst noticing whoever this was measured the same height as his. Plus, the shape his outline could have been was just as identical to his own. Almost as if Jason were a vampire covered with huge yet visible specks of ashes, looking in the mirror. Which made him see it was there anyhow as the ashes kept his shape intact.

"What the heck! You know what I'm going to ask, am I right?" Said Jason with firm initiative.

The being stood there without any reaction for about five seconds, leaving Jason to feel the urge of placing his hands inside his pockets afterwards. Soon he came up with something else to say.

"Which doesn't count at that last word." He added.

Now you're coherent. You were going to ask something pertaining to your stay in this somewhat odd room to you, is that correct?

"Starting with you" Said Jason, half answering his question.

The being took a bow in his altitude and replied.

I am everything: creation, existence, everyone, anyone, and, most important, you!

"Me?" Jason asked, never minding the doubt in his system.

That's right, but if it fills your train with ample comfort within the arts of rationality, feel welcome to call me by my candid name: "Truth".

Now Jason couldn't help but taking a pause. He would love to care about why just one person that calls itself truth would claim to be practically nothing that he hadn't seen already. Had he not sooner or later realized all of this was more or less a dream. Nothing more, nothing less than the answer to one true question he'd wanted to ask all this time.

"Okay, "TRUTH", just so I don't freak out, please tell me what's going on" Jason asked, firmly and earnestly not trying to feel dumb.

"I think you already know" Replied Truth.

One of Jason's eyebrows escalated in his uncertainty.

"I don't think I said it right, what do you want?" Asserted Jason.

To his frustration, the next image, which became visible upon what he saw in Truth's appearance, was an enormous grin. Not enough to say it was scary, but still quite disturbing.

"I think it's what YOU want that matters here, Or else why am I here?" Truth replied.

Clearly Jason didn't have to look it to know he was beginning to feel annoyed upon taking Truth's somewhat loutish games, especially when accompanied by his nasty tone.

"What I want?" Asked Jason.

Truth's smile dissolved. Needless to say it hadn't done much alteration towards his ego.

"I recently heard an iguana of yours is on the verge of extinction, just like its predecessors".

The kid would know he felt beyond shaken. Knowing he'd appear weak if he didn't, Jason reacted quickly within his reprisal.

"You…you know!"

"Can't deny what's already factual, Jason" Replied Truth, in spite of knowing that wasn't a question he was retorting towards.

"You know what? I'm finished wondering about you, this room, me in it and whether it's a dream or if I'm really supposed to defend myself with Star Trek references! What do you want with me and Quincy?" Asked Jason, sufficiently impatient, even when the capability to hide his anxiety wasn't there.

"If you don't want me to eat around it, fine, here's what I'm offering: Your pet iguana is about to die, right?" Asked Truth.

A desire planted itself within Jason to turn his head. A desire by the way he had no choice but to ignore if he was going to let this all but pass.

"How would you have guessed? He's just sick for all I know" Jason pluckily responded.

That similarly wicked smile that had perturbed Jason before was back. He had a hunch Truth was about to prove him wrong soon.

"You're right" Replied Truth.

"Really?" Jason replied, now confused, if almost relieved.

"Yeah" Began Truth before finishing.

"He's just sick for all YOU know"

For the first time since they were both present with each other, Jason released a mortified glare. Having assumed Truth was not in any way like him, even humans laughed when they deduce something that decadent, probably because the fun hadn't even commenced in his state of affairs.

"Were you trying to hide behind unawareness of what I've been lecturing you since our conversation began? I am everything! You assume it's impossible, and by adopting that idea you'd be making a mistake. Just believe me, because you know nothing."

Jason knew Truth didn't even know how angry he was as of then. All he wanted was to flush all of this out of certainty. But if he did, Jason would be blind without even knowing it. Only Truth knew it quite well but couldn't stop fear from taking his free yet naïve will away from him.

His options were limited, leaving him to realize perhaps in his core, he was as Truth had imagined him from the get go: immeasurably desperate. Quincy's illness was completely unrelated with however sick he had been before. Who was he to know (or even presume) if Quincy was going to survive or not?

This being claiming it's literally "Truth" was cheaply offering him a way out of his worries. Jason seldom paid attention in non-math related class, but one fact he managed to keep was the biggest risk is not taking one. And the fact there are no wrong answers in a test that you studied enough for. Plus, there was this other fact he couldn't remember pretty well even though he knew could profoundly relate to this situation, but that was out of the question redundant to waste seconds trying to figure out right now.

"Sigh, I don't want Quincy to die, never. I'll do whatever it needs to keep him alive, anything! Even streak!" Said Jason.

Truth's smile had disappeared once more. Meaning he was ready to express a sort of offer for Jason to go along with, one not very complicated in authenticity. That or he did not find that last exclamation very amusing.

"Okay, let's work hard on making this short so you don't have to mourn too much, then. You don't want your pet to leave yet, I can grasp your intention of willing to take it far enough for sacrifice." Began Truth.

"It only comes down to wishing what you want, that simple"

Jason didn't even move, as long as it meant trying to go along with this opportunity he was given. Truth only noticed implicitly as he continued.

"All you need to understand is the side affects there are within this opportunity once you make it real" Said Truth.

Jason was never the type to unwind how precariously he thought of it all before charging forward. Meaning his attention span frequently took his ability to think-before-acting quite fairly. It would have vividly done so, until Jason could notice how Truth's face became close on smiling, slightly blurry by any chance of view.

Jason got himself stuck in a brief state of déjà-vu in spite of the appealing diversity it packed. He could barely recall, since it'd be self-deceit to say he actually remembered, the short story he read once known as "The monkey's paw". Apart from the son dying and the highly theoretical assumption, mainly for Jason, he returned as a zombie, a moral of something that was along the line of "be careful what you wish for" lingered.

"Before I make my wish, can I just say something?" Asked Jason. Just then, he now remembered fairly well what that other message had been.

"Yes" Replied Truth, having chosen twice due to his partial smile fading.

Jason could not say he was skeptical, even though he sure as beans was. Nothing was more possible than feeling positive at one moment then choice-petrified within the next. Even while the knowledge of Quincy's life at stake couldn't be grasped any better.

"After I make this wish, none of me, my family, my friends, my family's friends will be affected, right?"

Truth, as Jason now noticed, could float. He moved to his left without any part of his body to be in motion.

"If you need me to take account of that once I am in the middle of granting your request, it can be done." Replied Truth.

Jason bit his finger as he now let relief envelop him to turn him an idealist towards the situation. This meaning he could allow the ecstatic him to take over during the reply as well.

"That's right! All I wish is for my iguana to heal without managing to hurt or even affect anyone that is my family, my friends, or even the friends of my family, is that clear?" Jason assented.

Jason was smiling, even though Truth didn't seem to reach the same level of enthusiasm Jason wasn't even forfeiting effort to reach. At least not until he briskly tilted his head upward as if it were asleep seconds ago then yelled at by someone who could break windows with their voice.

Truth then smiled, as if it had just found a rat-hole big enough to squeeze torture through.

"You know, you're iguana, Quincy, I think he's part of a species that doesn't live very long, at least you know that." Proclaimed truth as it hovered back to its initial point.

Jason was not smiling anymore, even though he was only confused.

"Can you repeat that…or I don't understand" He managed to respond with.

"I'm not beating around any bush, all I'm trying to say is you should either decline your wish, make another, OOooorrr just wake up, it's almost morning anyway, though I can never tell the difference between dawn and Twilight, just as I think some humans can be owls if they try hard enough"

If there was a word Jason could define this moment with, it was awkward, since he didn't know if there was one which equaled ten times said one, so he was stranded without any options. But the major point was he didn't get Truth's drollery, and he also didn't want to become irritated, which was what Truth succeeded in right now.

"I'm unsure where you're going with the owl stuff, AND I DEFINITELY DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING WITH MY FARE-SQUARE WISH!!!" Yelled Jason, as he was angry.

"No need to release your demons, My wish was to make a frank proposal to compromise your decision before you make that wish" Replied Truth graciously.

"YOUR WISH?!" Yelled Jason.

"I'M NOT GOING TO COMPROMISE WITH ANYTHING!! MY WISH IS MY WISH! Or do you want me to rephrase?" shouted Jason. Suddenly, Truth chose to leave his smile behind as a serious gesture.

"Like you mortals enjoy to say, go for it." Replied Truth. In which Jason lowers his disconcert face without missing his perception on Truth as though he were trying to reply "With pleasure".

"I wish…my iguana…would live without killing me, my family, my friends…AND MY FAMILY'S FRIENDS!"

Jason had to stop for breath for a minute's worth. It felt like he was in some metal band that had just finished screaming the bridge of one of the loudest songs. He couldn't admit this would have been any easier unless it meant gulping the fear down without sparing hesitancy.

After the panting ceased, Jason could see Truth was still there, nearly unaffected by Jason's quarrel to gain a hearing, especially from him.

"Oh well, even the brightest youth can never give in to common sense!" Began Truth in jest for his unfathomable amusement.

"To make it happen, I'll need you to turn around"

Jason remained standing in order to unwind all the fury for about six seconds before turning around. At least he no longer noticed Truth's presence when his lively grin came back.

Jason may have felt beyond peeved off at the moment, and he may not have even trusted this dream, but he could never imagine anything better. As long as this was at last about to go underway, there wasn't purpose to continue worrying any longer.

"Enjoy your wish," said Truth, as the entire room slowly grew darker until Jason would notice it was completely black with Truth fading out with it.

Or not.

Upon the entire view Jason would capture, it remained completely dark. To his surprise, he even felt lighter for some reason. Now everything seemed as though in a snail's pace was making Jason regain earthly conscience.

Soon enough it was all up to Jason for him to escape this world of vague white inverted to represent obscurity. All he had to do was realize this was all here because his eyes were closed.

Jason opened them to see where he was. It would only remain blurry as long as his glasses were far from reach.

"Whoa, that did feel too real to have been dreaming!" Said Jason Looking around his room. His closet, Drawers, chair, desk, and most of all, Star Trek paraphernalia were visible. Not one speck of cloudy shade or clue towards Truth's presence.

"Which means"

Jason left his bed to walk over to his iguana's cage. Quincy was quietly sleeping, meaning Jason wasn't sure if he was any better until Jason picked him up and laid him on top of his head for a while.

"Hey Quince, feel any better?" He asked, sitting back on the bed.

The iguana opened its eyes. Jason could see Quincy wasn't in any pain anymore once he noticed the way Quincy licked him. During the time Quincy was sick, he hadn't made any gesticulations even when Jason had picked him up.

Jason almost believed not even the medicine was doing much good the more Quincy remained that way. Overall, Jason imagined how hopeless it appeared during Quincy's ill days.

"I'll take that as a yes" Added Jason, happy for the first time in a week.

"So Steve, any chance of asking Abraham if he's finished his part of the science assignment Mrs. Simbron gave us? It's not like bad luck will come if he DOESN'T have it by this Sunday without telling us!" Said Peter, on the phone.

Most Fridays were easy for Peter to handle within impounds of schoolwork, when it wasn't a group assignment. Usually, he didn't have to share his grades with anyone when he worked alone, which for some odd reason satisfied him more than when he did it in teamwork since his grades were higher then.

Perhaps it was because of the regret a few of his classmates had faced when they knew their report cards would be something to frown upon even if Peter got near them. Now Peter had traveled a rigid road just to change his self-esteem. For someone like him, Peter had been too successful in switching paths from the easily bewildered guy to a faithfully responsible young adult.

At least that's what his classmates (and maybe siblings) once believed.

"How about this? I'll go over to his house right now! If he's at least half done with it, I'll stay and help. But if he hasn't even started on the damned thing, we'll have to do this on our own, and then we'll try to gain permission in order to leave him out of anymore group projects, all right?" Peter finished with uptight inflexibility.

Ten seconds later, Jason comes down from his room, with Quincy lying on top of his head as usual. He walks into the living room to see Peter had just finished talking on the phone and was currently chatting with his father about a few things.

Jason wanted to share the good news with Peter, so he waited.

"Hey Jason, how's Quincy?" asked Roger, after he finished talking.

"Better actually. I guess it was only a matter of time for him to heal" Replied Jason cheerfully.

"Oh, well good!"

As his Dad walked out of the room, Peter proceeded by storing all his school belongings inside his bag. Peter reacted as if nobody else seemed to exist within his surroundings. Or at least that's what Jason was allowed to assume out of pure acuity.

"Hey Peter, guess who's not sick anymore!" Jason said as he held up Quincy from his head to further demonstrate.

Peter tried to avoid acting any close to selfish by quickly looking at Jason and then at Quincy.

"Oh that's great! He's still alive, hurrah for him! Bye Jason!" Peter said in a brisk tone before walking out the living room.

Jason was glad to see Peter was at least courteous enough to focus on him and Quincy when effortlessly saying that, as much as it almost lacked brotherly concern.

"Where you going?" Jason asked.

"To Steve's, if all is and goes well, might not even take longer than short!" Replied Peter as he closed the door on his way out once he was finished.

Jason stood there until Peter's footsteps were no longer audible. It was at that moment that allowed him to react towards the "what if" kinds of thoughts. Thanks to his form of insensitive defiance, There wouldn't have been a kind way of belief that Jason was actually thinking when he actually thought Quincy was more important than family.

He almost figured it would have been wrong to draw a fact out of nowhere like an image of him surviving without anyone Quincy at his side. It was fun for a juvenile who had a lot of imagination like him, in spite of his letdown to really lure himself into that kind of guilt.

Cause unfortunately, Quincy's return was what was supposed to cease from manufacturing any more worries within his skull. It's like he always said to the teacher as one of his many attempts to disprove his or her point: If you don't know what you got until it's gone, then by the time you have it back, you forget.

So much imagination he'd be determined in putting to good use instead of his own use. What was he supposed to do? He was a kid. As long as he was young, there were and infinite amount of ways to enjoy oneself, even if Jason had to contravene with the list of what was safe for someone of his age.

"Hey Quincy, I have an idea! Now that you're feeling a lot better, what do you say we give Paige a reason to wake up early?" Asked Jason cunningly of what his point of orientation would soon pay him with result.

Jason was on his way to the stairs when the phone's timbre caught him at the last step. He figured he'd let someone else answer it so when they would ask why he wasn't available, Jason would apply the same fib of "was in the bathroom" like he used to.

But his new happy tenure proved laudable to defeat even laziness itself after he chose to pick up the phone. Not after laying Quincy down on the sofa as he also sat beside him.

"Hello, Fox residence, Jason Fox speaking" Said Jason, fairly excited to have put it that way for what he could have supposed was the first time ever.

Jason continued to sit there, with the same smile he probably had on every March 29th, a day before April Fools. Simply waiting for someone to reply.

As of a few seconds, the only sound detectable to the phone's receiver was the almost vagrant sound of a woman's sniveling. Just enough to make Jason's smile flip, not enough to steal his poise, if at least keep him from succumbing his soul towards apathy.

"Hello? Is everything all right?" Jason asked.

The sound of downcast stuttering was trying really hard to become cohesive enough to hear. It was at an eventual time by which Jason at long last found some words under that pushy faltering.

"Is…Peter there?"

Jason wondered still who this could possibly be. He had eavesdropped on his family's conversations with friends far enough to at least know the names of even the salespeople or the amateurs that either frequently kept getting the wrong number or just simply forgot the person who once lived in this house moved decades ago.

This person's voice was definitely new, especially the first who was actually looking for Peter when he was not around.

"I'm sorry, who is this? M'am, can you at least tell me who you are?" Asked Jason; afraid he might've failed at chivalry upon that last phrase.

It became exactly like it had begun. Except within a few seconds after this pause of wrangle, Jason could for the most part hear a few words softly articulated.

" Let me…I should tell…you're not cut…this"

"I'm the one…tell…can do it!"

"…Anyone else?..Bad enough with us…"

A whole argument-like conversation only enough to mistake for whispers barely strong enough to be considered audible was what Jason would reach. By now, he began wondering if anyone like Paige, Mom or Dad would barge into the living room and ask him something about his clutch on the line.

In spite of the strength given out of the blotch inside this incessant muttering, Jason knew this was serious. More than serious if it meant someone was crying while at the same time trying to talk on the phone.

Jason couldn't hear anyone talking to him for almost a minute. It was a good idea to reconsider quitting though when a man's voice finally came on the phone.


The spatial gap he had dragged himself into thanks to the wait had reduced how psyched he was for this conversation. Jason was half sure he might screw up if he didn't listen carefully, or at least recognize every word his ears were about to be given.

"Um, hi, this is Jason, who's this?" Asked Jason, incapable of a solid resolve anymore.

"Good evening, Jason, are you by any chance related to Peter Fox?" Asked the man's voice.

Judging by the way he asked, Jason could almost suspect this could be some sort of kidnapper who is either calling the victim's family or about to place a threat on him or something as scary as that.

"Why? What do you want with my brother? Who are you?" Stipulated Jason, almost about to let aggression take it from there.

"Sigh, look, we're not robbers or anything like that. We're Denise's parents, okay?"

By now, Jason wasn't on any verge of dread like he thought he'd reach. He remembered who she was quite well: Peter's girlfriend.

"Girlfriend?" Jason spontaneously thought, before continuing the conversation.

"Oh, um, hello? What brings this unprecedented call?" Asked Jason, again with the certainty towards losing touch on classiness.

"It's like I asked earlier, are you Peter Fox's brother?" Asked Mr. Russo.

"I suppose so, why?" Replied Jason.

"It's nothing personal or involving, we only need to talk with your older brother, Peter, is there any way of reaching him?

Jason wasn't sure what he was to do in something like this. Telling them his brother was somewhere else was not only vindictive for someone who presumably just faced a tragedy of agonizing proportions it was also customarily broad. Jason had changed, for better or worst, he was willing to find a way to get Peter on the telephone.

"Hold that second! I'll get him to speak, just don't move!" Jason replied before putting the telephone down, grabbing hold of Quincy and heading for his room.

"Abe, you know this is a whole polysaccharides model made entirely out of clay! You're really up to the challenge then?" Asked Peter, reading a textbook from Abraham's table.

"No use worrying, Pete, don't you remember whose the best stop motion animator in the school? Preferably called claymation, I can show you the trophy for my five minute short I entered in the art fair once" Replied Abraham, almost benevolently.

"Abe, it's not that I don't trust you, or doubt you're skill. It's just this is Biology we're talking about, not frame-by-frame animation. You're bound to get bored with anything that has to do with placing the right cell structure to simply finding every right component from Carbohydrates to lipids. At least tell me when you're half done if you need any help"

"Come on, Peter what's so different about claymation and this crappy project we'll undoubtedly Ace thanks to our perseverance?" Begged Abraham comically.

Peter raised an eyebrow while he scowled with the other before replying.

"Do you consider claymation crappy?"

"Okay, point taken on that landing… but here's another thing: By having me do this, I give you and Steve not only a part of both our grades off our backs, but… wait for it…A BREAK! Don't you want that?"

"Abe, do I look that vulnerable to you?" Peter began.

"I don't know if there's even a better way of putting this, but nothing is easy as we want it to be. I was able to learn that after realizing how painfully lackluster everything is the more you look for a reward without working too hard. It may not sound like common sense, but it's true, everything has a price."

"Apparently, when people say you can buy happiness, they're only talking about the materials you want, otherwise when it comes to surviving socially elegant and in health, it means you need to buy happiness. When something is that good, do we really want to dedicate our effort into the journey just for something anyone can buy with the kind of money you can win in the lottery?"

Abraham could only sit there quietly until he knew Peter had finished speaking and was now willing to pass the torch onto him. Yet like a movie based on a novel, he was unable to express all the most chaste details of his repudiation and instead replaced them with unrelated facts.

"Listen, Peter, I could honestly care less about the values of moral living enough to admit I just want to pass this stupid subject. If you really trust me on my actual potential, you'd have more space to continue with other crap we have for school. And besides, it's like I said, I actually enjoy this, which is the opposite of worrying, okay? Just let me take this under control and you can worry about other things" Replied Abraham.

"Other things?" Asked Peter within a tentative conjecture.

"Dude, it's not like we have enough time to procrastinate. Don't you want to… well maybe, chill out for once? Or at least take a break like I mentioned earlier. Better yet, you may think going with the flow is easy for an overachiever like yourself, but believe me, it's change that actually makes up the flow"

Apparently, Peter wasn't the only one with the power to create mind games. In fact, Abraham proved to him if he could do it, so could ten year olds.

"Can you repeat that in English, please?" Peter asked.

"In English?" asked Abraham.

"You know, in a non-metaphorical language so I get it! Apart from change making up the flow, what kind of change are you implying?" adjoined Peter.

It was there when Abraham's phone started to ditty long enough for someone to snap their fingers and pick it up simultaneously. Even though Peter found it uncalled for the moment Abraham did both.

"Hello?" Said Abraham, holding the phone.

Abraham didn't talk that much. Peter would have ignored this fact had he not looked closely at his expression alter sufficiently for him to look like he were as perplexed as Peter was.

Mostly when Abraham held the phone out near Peter while mouthing out the words "for you".

Peter may have looked and even more felt baffled from the simple gesture. As weird as it seemed, Peter just took hold of the phone in a way that made him feel like he were in a standard detective novel. He wouldn't hear anyone speak, unless he was perhaps the first. With a calm and, to some extent, solemn voice he commenced the conversation.


"Jason!" Yelled Paige.

It was ten at night and Paige was still trying to understand the seventh problem out of the trigonometry homework given to her. She wanted to test out how successful it would be if she were to actually finish first and enjoy the rest of her weekend.

And as usual, some of the problems involving graphing ellipses were more than she could and to her misfortune wanted to handle. All that was left was hope disguised as her little brother, Jason, to give her some form of clue if it could help.

"Yes?" Asked Jason once he came into her room. More serious if it permitted him to feel anything unrelated to happiness by now.

"What's the equation for a vertical parabola again?"

"Um, it was (x-h)2 =4t(y-k)2, or not" Replied Jason, tapping his lower lip.

"What? You mean you don't remember? Or are you're not sure?" Asked Paige.

"I haven't exactly learned the stuff yet, it's only for fun until I catch on knowing it's actually essential!"

"Well okay, thanks anyways" Replied Paige.

"No prob."

Jason was on his way out of Paige's room. A doubt entered his mind during the smallest second of his journey back. The way Jason would believe everything could have been as perfect as it seems would provoke that doubt until it was answered. Seeing he was next to his sister at the moment, he hadn't anything to lose. Emphasizing him of course.

"Paige, I want to ask you something, but is it cool if I ask you?" Said Jason.

Paige placed her pencil down before giving Jason her full attention.


Not even Jason knew why he was doing this himself, but he took a deep breath, as he was about to ask his sister this question. Better cynical than overconfident, no wonder most people ended up happier when they thought that way. That is if luck wasn't always on their side as truth could have been.

"Girlfriend and friend, they're the same, right?"

Paige's eyes broadened a bit.

"Umm…what are you talking about?" Asked Paige.

"I'm trying to say if they're the same thing"

"Sigh" Said Paige before carrying on with an honest explanation.

"Girlfriend, Jason, is only kind of like a friend. In the sense of being much, much more! Even though it's got the words "girl" and "friend" attached to each other, that doesn't make it self-explanatory by all means, No! In fact, friends are people who are less close to one another than boy-slash-girl-friends. Didn't you ever think of it whenever you hear someone "just be friends" after they break up? It means they've stopped being a couple. Also meaning they don't want to be much, much more… anymore"

"So to make this sense, they're completely different words" Replied Jason.

"That's right, or else they'd be the same word just so it'd be easier"

It sounded much more clear to Jason now. He was about to thank Paige for it, until an epiphany chose the perfect time to interrupt him. Which suggested inconvenience from the moment Jason thought he would be happy to get that idea out of his brain.

Now it was as though he were a puppet of inquisitiveness that had just found the remaining numbers of a sudoku on mortal level.

"Jason? Are you awake if not okay?" Asked Paige, snapping her fingers in front of her brother.

From what she saw, Jason was not staring into space, but basically gone into it. Otherwise he'd be on planet earth right then instead of somewhere like Alpha Centauri, on board the Defiant or any other fictitious location.

Paige found this somewhat annoying, like the numerous times Jason had tried to communicate with her telepathically. He'd give him a chance for helping her with math AND trusting in her ingenuity whilst he was in a puzzle, though.

Jason, however, was almost finished with the psychological math of his past actions. His face slowly melted to appall as he placed the last piece of his mortification puzzle.

Cause after that, he had finally landed.


Was Paige finally used to Jason's utter weirdness after all these months? No, especially when she saw how fast he headed out of her room as if he had finally discovered he forgot to feed Quincy, or for the least bit something just as important.

"Oh well, all is forgiven, I guess" Said Paige, before picking up her pencil again.

As Jason ran downstairs, so much was beginning to trouble him about the likelihood of Peter's reaction if he were to have been told the whole story. The very story which would destroy Peter's insides or at least make it seem like it were ten times worse.

There he saw them, the two phones intertwined together as if the were forming a doughnut sliced in half then separated. Jason had managed to make it all work out in order for Peter to have been able to speak to the same people who were looking for him.

Now he just wanted to see if they were still talking.

Unfortunately, when Jason had arrived and stopped only a yard and a half away from the two phones, what could be heard were extensive beeping noises from both phones. He came close enough to grab them in order to fully verify.

All they were to anyone by this point were two telephones that had remained to be hung.

Jason made a sound, which could be distinguished as a quiet gasp, similar to taking in air in a more affronted fashion than the usual need to breathe. And it became of greater guilt when Jason decided to head upstairs.


The door. Jason walked towards and opened it.

It was Peter.

He held a somewhat none expressive if also dull look. Jason didn't want to assume he was as upset as he would figure, so he reacted.

"Hey Peter! You were right!" Said Jason, having gotten to Peter's eye contact.

"So it WAS less than short! That's great! It's good to see you have a lot of free time, haven't even started on my homework yet, you know"

Jason was currently trying his best to form some sort of conversation with Peter. Even if he knew Peter was barely paying attention while instead, he looked for something inside his backpack. Jason would still not call this the silent treatment as long as he was still there.

"Well, what do you want to do now? Maybe we can rent "First Contact" or something. I heard it's good even for people who haven't heard of Star Trek in their enire lives before, but I want to be sure it stays true…to…"

Jason's words were placed off track while Peter gave him a paper that Jason read. Jason followed Peter up until the stairs, where he entered his room and slammed the door shut.

This was it. Jason just didn't want to admit he had known it all this time. Mainly because this was nothing like Jason had expected. Who knew the simple definition of even the word "guilt" would have a robust impact on someone? It affected Jason in a way that made him cease doing anything anymore. Through some form he knew it made him think it was his fault while at the same time it was not.

He read the paper again written using handwriting he could almost be too sure it was not Peter's.

Denise is gone, I'm not speaking to anyone ever again.

There it was, the last struggle between what insularity tried to pass away in order to contradict itself. Jason laid the piece of paper on the table. He could already feel the virus of Peter's misery attempt to strangle him with painful remorse.

"Oh no" Said Jason, drooping his head.

Knowing nothing else to do, he walked towards his room.

"This was because of me", said Jason as he laid his head down on his crossed arms while attempting to sway the thought off his noggin.

The thought about the mere dream he had last night, the source of fate's untimely flow upon this day's shadow. Not even allowing Quincy to roam freely across his desk would even distract him, nor slightly tickle him.

But he knew this was coming, no matter how young he was to easily underestimate the loopholes someone had to offer. If Truth was still with him, Jason would know he'd tell him no one else was to blame here. Not even Jason, as long as the physical world remained the only liable truth by people who with their eyes they could only believe.

From the few times, he had met her, however, Jason never denied the amazing feat by which showed people like Denise were an exception. Even though he was too naïve to fully comprehend the bond between her and Peter, Jason could still see how much he would have meant to Peter.

Everyone was either cursed or gifted with the advantage of looking at life as one hell of a cinematic experience. Being able to know everything from just a mere glance wasn't something everyone was grateful for. No wonder Denise seemed someone special for Peter to have known.

While she taught him everyone was the same no matter what book cover they were given, Peter really proved it to her by ignoring the simple weakness and realizing thanks to it, she could be less limited than those who thought the beauty of those could be cherished by image, instead of by memory. Now that she passed away, it was because of this from which Jason could not forgive himself. Not until Peter knew everyone else had enough sympathy to go along with him.

But even if this was a sad moment, what more did he want?

Jason's regret would never become apparent enough for even Quincy's apparition. Although he couldn't admit it right away, Quincy's wily presence was able to repair his fault the more he licked him. He still loved Quincy, even if he now considered him as important as the rest of his family.

"It's like Mom once told us" Said Jason, raising his head in order to walk out of sitting and place Quincy inside his cage while he went to bed.

"What we sacrifice for others is more important than what we achieve for ourselves"

Jason was sure this situation would relate to this. Even though he never really gave it enough thought to exclude the fallacy that might have been left out. The need for sleep was not the best pretext he wanted to use but ignorance to leave its coarse. In fact, it was denial that outlawed another quote that hadn't been used in what Jason could now understand was past.

Even the brightest youth can never give in to common sense.

I really became upset when I found out she quit appearing in the strip, so I wrote this as some kind of disproof towards Amend's decision. It's not like ancillary characters matter less than the main ones.

But oh well, it's hard I suppose.