Wow. Took me forever to get this up. I am so sorry people. :[ This is the end, so no more waiting for my horribly late updates! For this chapter, Stay Young We The Kings. Only one song, surprisingly.

This time, we decided to walk on the sidewalk. I decided walking forwards was safer, considering how hated naturally green things seemed to be. The walk to the pier was quiet and comfortable. It wasn't an awkward silence, just…an absence of conversation. We didn't feel the need to talk, so we didn't. No awkwardness involved.

The pier was packed, even more so than before. Of course, it was the last night – everyone was rushing around, trying to make the best of what little time we had left. The lights still lit up brilliantly, and the people still had the same hum of happiness about them. I didn't see a sad face in the crowd. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Rae and I dodged being hit with two giant stuffed animals taller than the tiny twin girls carrying the toys; then ducked around someone trying to sell said stuffed animals. It was complete madness out here, and everyone loved it. But it made Raven nervous.

"There wasn't this many people last time," she said lowly. Her hand clasped on my upper arm, as if to stop me. She didn't, just walked closer to me.

"It's okay," was all I said. Instead of comforting her with words, I used one hand to slip her hand down my arm, and held it firmly with the other. Raven didn't object, only gripped my hand like she had on the first night.

Slowly, we wove in and out of random crowds of people. Plenty of couples walked along the carnival's length. We received many smiles from polite people, a few questioning glances from others. I ignored them all, walking at my own pace with Raven by my side. Her mood was downcast, and she shied away from anyone who came near us. I inwardly sighed, resisting the urge to put my arm around her and tell her it's okay again.

Finally, we made it to the ticket booth. After waiting in line for almost ten minutes with a comfortable silence about us, I bought ten tickets. That was enough for five rides.

"I figured you wouldn't want to be here too long with all of the commotion," I told my quiet companion. "Even though you can totally deal with all of this. You jut have to try." Finishing the small speech with a smile, I held out her half of the tickets.

She offered me a small reply as she took her tickets. "This is very hard for me."

"You can do it, though. You have been doing it. Even if you don't notice it, I do. On the beach, when I tripped after saying how coordinated I am – you laughed. Sure, it wasn't a gut-buster or anything, but you were giggling a little. Nothing exploded; no earthquakes. Everything was just fine. You weren't very happy at the café in the beginning – still no shattered coffee mugs or rampaging espresso machines. Riding a few rides? Piece of cake."

She grinned a little at the ending, but said nothing as she downcast her eyes.

"I believe in you. So now what's you problem? I know just what it is. You don't believe in you."

"I just don't want to take any chances."

"That's what life's about!" I threw my arms out, gesturing to the world. "We take millions of chances in our lifetimes without even knowing it! When we step outside, cross a street, get out the shower, open the door, or eat fast food! All of this could kill us, but we take those chances. Why? Because then, we are living. So just believe in yourself or give up now." I put my arms down, looking at her seriously. Her eyes were slightly wide, and I'm sure my own were wild.

Then, she started laughing. Really laughing. I was confused.

It lasted for a few minutes, her random laughing fit. Nothing detonated.

"Are you done?"


"Why were you laughing?"

"Only you would consider stepping out of the shower a potential death."

"That's not even the point!" I crossed my arms and turned my blushing face away from her. "I was trying to tell you to believe in yourself," I muttered.

"Well," Raven said in a calculated voice, "I just laughed harder than I can ever remember and no one was killed. I guess getting on a few rides won't kill them either."

"And it won't kill you, so let's go!"

Half an hour later, we were out of tickets. Two rides on the Moby Dick, one on the Ferris wheel, a go on the bumper cars, and a single ride down a giant slide left both of us breathless and ticketless. Even if the rides were short-lived, both of us were thoroughly enjoying the time. We leaned against a concession cart, soaking up the rest of the fading sun. I leaned my head back, staring at the North Star. It was barely visible, glinting through the sunlight and a painted cloud.

"How about a game?"

I think my voice surprised her, because she jumped a bit. I'd never seen Rae let her guard down so much in one night. It was impressive.

"Sure. Which one?"

"Hmmm. I debated the strength test, but decided against it. Picking ducks and hoping for a lucky number was out. That left the sharp shooter or the one where you pop balloons with darts. I chose the latter. It wasn't much of a choice really.

"That one sound okay?" I pointed to the stand closest to us, a couple already lined up and trying to pop the oxygen-filled plastic.


"Can you play?"

"I've never tried."

We strolled to the stand, which was packed with stuffed and inflated animals, both of us watching as the boy threw the last dart. It popped two balloons: one red, and one blue. The girl squealed and hugged the boy, who blushed profoundly. The balding man behind the overly stuffed counter picked up a fallen dart and retrieved the rest of them from their resting points. After the extremely happy couple was awarded a giant, inflated cartoon character, they skipped right over to the next game.

"Five for ten," the man said gruffly. I laid the money on the counter and handed five darts to Raven. Then balding man said nothing.

"I've never played." She said it as if talking to a child.

"I know." I said it with a smirk. "So play."

Hesitantly, she threw the first dart. It stuck, but didn't pop anything. The second fell, and she tried harder. Darts three, four, and five all popped a balloon. Two red and a yellow. Raven stepped back, motioning for me to take a turn.

Aiming for the biggest balloon – a green one at the top – I threw my first dart. It hit perfectly. The second only stuck. My third dart felt a little off, but it popped orange two balloons like the guy before. Four hit a purple one. Then came my last dart, I threw it carefully, trying to hit two green balloons leaning on one another. It missed, landing right above them.

Beside me, Raven smirked. "I guess the world does hate naturally green things."

I stuck my tongue out at her childishly, only to earn an eye roll. The balding man before us interrupted out fun by grunting, "You've won a prize from the second shelf."

Once more, I stepped aside for Raven to take over. "Pick one," I told her.

"You did better than me," she argued.

"It's your first time, so pick a prize." Ignoring the slight frown still on her face, I pointed to the second shelf. "Anything from up there."

Raven glanced over the prizes sitting on the second shelf. Everything close to good was a stuffed animal – unless you were into collecting license plates from every state. Her eyes roamed over everything, thoughtfully studying her choices. Finally, she seemed to have decided which one she wanted. Amethyst orbs locked on it, and before I could pick it out she asked the man to get it for her.

Down from the shelf, the balding carnie pulled a green sea turtle. It's stomach was about the size of my hand when I spread it out, and its head seemed a bit too small. But I know why she picked this one, and I had to agree. It fit into out evening perfectly.

I grinned at her, watching as she held the turtle carefully. "I like your choice of prizes tonight, Rae."

"Sometimes, I hear, we are of the same kind. Maybe that's why."

My smile grew larger at her words, and practically covered my face as she reached for my hand again. "Maybe."

We were going the same way we came, back to the concession cart.

"You wanna get a soda or something, Rae?" She nearly wrinkled her nose, and I laughed. "Right. A water, then?" This time she nodded, accepting that carnivals don't carry herbal tea.

Raven and I walked around the cart, and I was surprised to find only a man getting lemonade. I was grateful for the short line.

After scanning the menu, I told the blonde man inside I wanted two bottled waters and a funnel cake. Two or three minutes later, I handed Raven one of the waters, took the other for myself, and balanced the fresh funnel cake on one hand. We resumed out spots leaning against the cart, quiet for a few seconds.

"What's that?"

"Huh?" I looked at 'Rachel', completely confused.

"What is that? In your hand?"

"A funnel cake?"

She raised her brows at me, waiting for further explanation.

"Are you telling me you've never had a funnel cake?" Her face answered my question without changing. "Here, take a bite!"


"You have to tear a piece off. Make sure it's coated nicely, though," I added, referring to the powdered sugar that covered the fried dough. When Raven still looked uncertain, I sat my water on the tire cover of the concession stand. "Watch." Holding the plate firmly, I took my thumb and forefinger and pinched a bit of the fried dough. Keeping the plate still, I pulled it off and popped it in my mouth. "Very easy."

I held the plate out to her, wiggling my eyebrows. Rae rolled her eyes, but I figured she was secretly amused.

Cautiously, she reached out and did the same thing I did. Only it took her other hand to keep the funnel cake still. I stopped myself from laughing at how difficult she made it look. Rae probably would not be happy if I laughed at her.

While we munched on the funnel cake – which Raven wouldn't eat a lot of due to not adoring sugar – the music started. First, it was a few songs I knew but didn't really care for – just stuff from the last decade. It wasn't until the fourth or fifth song I recognized one that I really liked. The drums started it out, followed by the guitar. No one waited long to hear the voice – usually the song's main instrument. Sadly, I didn't realize what it was until the chorus.

We're only here for one night,
Scream it like you mean it.
One more time,
We'll tear down the building.
[Come on, come one!]
Sing along whoa~
{Come on, come!]
Stay young~.

I grinned, realizing how appropriate this song was for tonight. I knew, somewhere in my mind, this wasn't playing just to describe my evening. Tons of other young couples roamed the pier, especially considering how dark it was getting. Nevertheless, part of me believed – just for a moment – that We the Kings sang for only us.

Listening closely to the song, I grinned. It was a very good song, and it fit tonight.

If I were with any girl but Raven, I might have asked her to dance in front of everyone at that very moment in time. If it were anyone but Rae, she might have said yes. We might have ended the night with a lot of laughing and maybe a promise of doing this often.

But, I figured, if it were any girl but Rae, I wouldn't feel this comfortable. I would not have this much fun. And I certainly wouldn't want to do this very often.

Tonight, I had Raven as a companion. With the way she held my hand after finishing the funnel cake and how she opened up so willingly, I had to wonder if that's all we would be in the end. Part of me was eager to see just what would happen, but a lot of me thought living in this moment – with the music and lights, fading as we made out way home – was perfect enough.

Hmm. I'm quite happy with how it ended – seeing as though I never really thought of the ending for this story. Short but nice, I think. :] Thanks for reading. Review if you will.