A/N: I owe everyone a huge apology. A lot of things in my life have changed, and I didn't deal with some things quite so well in my time away from you all. I've been trying to write this same chapter for over a year now, and tonight I finally got at least some sort of motivation. There's a few things I want to say, and I'm going to take this time to say it.

The first thing I'm going to tell you is that this story will soon be coming to an end. Unless the plan in my head changes, you won't see more than twelve chapters, possibly less. I've been wanting to branch out into some other projects on here, mostly slash-fiction based in Kingdom Hearts or a more light-hearted Ben 10 fic. If anyone has suggestions for genres, themes, or even particular pairings or series to write for, you can send me a message here.

Now, here's the second thing I want to tell all of you. Thank you. Even up til this past month, people are still reading this story and posting reviews, and it really does mean a lot to me. Honestly, it's thanks to all of you that I finally finished this chapter, and I know I can finish this for you guys if you continue to have patience like you always have. Thank you, really.

Finally, you should know that I'm quite exhausted, and it's almost 4:30 in the morning here, so I want you to keep this in mind a a final note: have a little faith in me. I know this chapter is going to throw a lot of you off, but I promise, the ending will be worth it, and we're slowly getting one step closer. Just give it a chance, even if it isn't what you were expecting. Please, enjoy.

All my love, guys.

-Noah


I woke up at noon and heard no word from Kevin. I didn't receive any texts while I ate a slice of cold pizza from the fridge. There weren't any missed calls or voicemails from him when I got out of the shower. My heart raced as I imagined him walking in on me, wet and naked, alone in my room. He never came to ravage me as I got dressed. I was only disturbed by the fact that I was disappointed he wasn't there. This love stuff is complicated and…well…weird.

He said he'd come over, so I didn't feel like I should call him. I dozed off for a nap somewhere along the way and woke up at seven. There was still no word from Kevin. Maybe yesterday had been too much? I thought he liked it, and not much really went on. He could have gotten cold feet, or...

'Maybe you scared him away.' The cold, shrill voice scratched away at the inside of my head, sending a dizzying chill through my body. No, Kevin wouldn't abandon me. 'He hasn't called because he won't call.' The voice was like razor blades slicing through nubile flesh, coated in thick, sticky, black blood dripping down. My stomach turned as I choked back fear and sickness.

"I-Is he really not going to call?" I shook my head and groaned. It wasn't going to be like this. He said he'd be here, and he will be here. And if he doesn't show up tonight, then he'll be back tomorrow with a good excuse. He wouldn't abandon me…I-I know he wouldn't.

The clock read 2:18 a.m. by the time I'd cried myself to sleep. I woke up after a restless reprieve feeling empty and hollow. Every sound that reached my ears was muffled by the voices filling my senses with grotesque cackles of victory. I trudged along to the mirror and saw that my face was red, cracked and raw from rubbing my eyes and the tears away. My whole body was heated and my clothes stuck to my pale skin from sweating as I slept.

I was miserable, tired, and groggy. I checked my phone and saw that I had a few missed calls from Kevin, but no messages. What was going on with him? I tried to call him, but I kept getting his voicemail. Either his phone was off, or maybe he was avoiding me.

I'd done something wrong, hadn't I? I must have offended him somehow. At first, I'd harbored a timid, awkward warmth for him, and it grew into something nicer, something more solid, a feeling I could hold on to. Thinking about the way I felt for Kevin, how much we had been through together, even the way our relationship had evolved in such a short time…it made me feel like I might actually be worth something.

I felt stupid for lusting over him. I had wanted for too much, even coveted his body, and for that sin I was suffering. Why did I try to change things when I was happy just to be around him?

'He's gone…soon, you will be, too,' the shadows cooed, echoes of discord pulsing and jolting at the inside of my stomach. Panicked footsteps thudded on the floor as I found myself gagging and retching while I knelt over the toilet, semi-salty tears draining from my eyes down my face. Why did I feel this way? The crack of my head against the cold bathroom tile couldn't have made me feel any more disoriented than I already was. I thought I remembered trying to call Kevin again, but was that a dream?

High above the world, I stood on a platform of gray rock, a stony spire suspended in the murky blackness. The shrill screeching of violent winds chilled my bones and left my skin covered in goosebumps. It was like being trapped in a stormcloud, all alone in the hollow shell of a world.

"Hello?" Nobody answered my call. "Is anyone there?" I tried to yell. The wind didn't seem to carry my voice anywhere but my own ears. I felt something different and turned to face ahead of me, a puddle of black ooze seeping up from the stone ahead of me. It was fast and terrible, shadows moving and rising up from the ground around me.

"W-What's going on?" I couldn't hear anything over the wind, not their horrible cackling, not the sound of my own heart thrashing within my chest, nothing. I wanted to run, but I was frozen and stiff, terror and cold set in to trap me in my place. I didn't even have the will to struggle, not in the face of so much hopelessness. If I left, what would I go back to? Disappointment and sadness?

The shadows cut and sliced over me, bloodless wounds adorning my torso, cuts and scrapes deepening to gashes as they smirked. The voice rang, for the first time in a long time, in my head. It was his voice, cruel and commanding, absolutely unforgiving as he took possession of me, a pathetic, slumping boy who was too terrified of life, so much so that he would surrender to death at the first chance.

The shadows bowed to him as his lip curled over his teeth, the boy sneering at me. Everything seemed to flicker, blades of grass soft beneath my broken body as I chanced a glance up. My eyes widened in surprise, then softened to fear. "I-It's….you…" I whispered, barely able to breathe. Blood was sticky on my chest, my clothes ripped to shreds. The pain was searing, and my memory was...well, fuzzy at best.

"How…?" I asked, my ears burning as nausea ran through me in torrential waves. Holding a large knife, dripping with my own blood, he gave a maniacal grin. Cash stared down at me as he laughed, his boot firmly planted on my chest. I begged my lungs for just one single breath.

"I knew you'd miss me."