A/N: RANDOM INSPIRATION IS RANDOM

Sitting in urgent care, I had a...very...strange bout of inspiration hit me. Because...ya know. I was in the hospital so the mood was kinda somber, haha.

A tale of tragedy for my dear AzngirlLH. Because we agree that angst is beautiful ~

Enjoy. And shed a tear or two....or don't. JUST DISAPPOINT ME.

/glare


By this point, it had become nothing more than routine; Something that everyone had come to expect.

He carried a green messenger bag for when it happened. For when fate took a turn for the worse for his orange-clad companion. For when they were walking together down a trail of shadows and broken, uneven breathes in the cold winter air. When the silence was comforting as it misted between the two of them, interrupted only for the occasional small talk or the coughs escaping their lungs from the crisp wind invading their throats.

It was so routine, to see them walking this way. Blissfully unaware of events around them. Nothing more than two best friends making their way towards some unspoken of destination, because they knew they wouldn't get there on the first round. They knew that something would stop them before they were able to reach their target.

Their silence quickly erupted by the roar of a speeding truck and the sickening sound of bones crushing in the frigid winter day. A loud squeal was heard before it was followed by a soft thud from atop the layer of snow lining the walkway.

Then everything would stop.

The boy with the bag would sigh gently, kneeling down next to his fallen comrade and watching as the snow surrounding them became stained crimson. He would stare blankly for moments on end, his hand resting upon the broken shoulder of the other before backing up slowly and sitting across from the body in a snowdrift. His knees would curl up into his chest and his hand would blindly fumble with the clasps of his bag. The bag's cover would be peeled back and he would reach inside, still staring at his friend as his slender, pale hand wrapped around a scarlet apple and gingerly pulled it out.

He would raise it to his lips, taking a slow, meaningful bite of the juicy fruit, the tangy liquid dribbling just slightly down his chin.

Chew twenty times; swallow; repeat.

It was typical to do anymore. Ten good minutes later he would be left with nothing more than the browned, symmetrical shape of the core in his hand. By then, he would watch the little parts on the outside of his companion beginning to stitch themselves back together.

Flesh would crawl towards adjacent skin, lapping over each other in a complicated dance as they worked. Missing skin soon grew over anew, the trails of blood seeping down his arms abruptly coming to a stop. Blue eyes would flutter open as his heart began anew. He would take a large breath, raising his head from the sopping puddle underneath him and looking up, finding his redheaded friend sitting patiently with the apple core still held in his grasp.

Not a word would pass between them as they both slowly rose to their feet. Green and azure eyes locked briefly before the boy with the bag would throw the core into the grass for animals to pick at and they would continue on route to their destination.

Upon a cold, bleak December afternoon as the boys walked, their routine silence was broken by a soft muttering. The tall blonde looked down on his fellow walker and cocked his head.

"What?"

The redhead slowly raised his eyes up to meet those of the other's. "Would you wait for me?" he said quietly, his emerald eyes burning with intensity behind their everlasting soft tone.

"Sure, where are you going?"

He shook his head lightly and they came to a stop in the middle of the sidewalk. The blonde ran his fingers through his hair nonchalantly, cringing as he ran through a mess of blood still lingering in the golden locks. The smaller boy took a deep breath, fiddling with the side of the canvas tote.

"I...I always wait," he explained. "Kenny...would you wait for me?"

He shook his head slowly. "I...I don't follow yo-"

He was interrupted by the shorter male standing up on his toes, running his fingers through the blood-drenched hair before settling back down, staring at his digits intently before looking back up at Kenny. "I wait," he repeated, showing him the ruby covering his fingerprints. "Would you wait for me?"

Kenny blinked, taken aback by his sudden question. "Kyle...I..." he shook his head. "You're not..."

"One day I'll die," he said simply. "And...and I don't know if I'll come back like you do," he bit his lip, rubbing his stained fingertips together. "I have to know. Would you wait?"

The blonde stared at him for a long while before shaking his head and turning away from him. He could hear the redhead calling after him, but paid no mind as his shoes slowly picked up pace, slamming against the concrete and the ice with increasing plods.

Everything kicked into high gear.

He ran past the row of houses, staring down on him with their clear, lifeless eyes as he sped away from him. He could feel their accusing glares for what he had done, but felt little regret for leaving as he had. His feet continued pounding against the pavement in a steady beat, matching the speeding thumping of his renewed heart.

Something wasn't right. Something about those words...it felt so out of place. So against everything they had stood for.

He sprinted down the walk until he came upon his own house, shoving the door open and pushing his way in. He breezed past his parents sprawled out on the couch with beer bottles grasped tightly in their hands, their eyes flickering deadly along with the television. He made way down the hall into his room and quickly shut his door behind him, leaning his forehead against it and taking a deep, cleansing breath, trying to slow the erratic beating of his poor heart.

He turned and made way to the torn mattress atop his worn carpeting, sticking his hands behind his head and leaning back, staring intently at the ceiling. The tiles, stained yellow, rested comfortably in his gaze as he grit his teeth together anxiously.

Kyle was playing with the rules, he was trying to imagine a life different from what they had...

Kenny didn't want that.

He was the one who died. He was the one who got hurt. Kyle was just supposed to wait. To be there for him right before he went and right after he opened his eyes again. But reversing that...was unnatural. It had become who they were, what everyone saw when they saw the two of them together.

Nothing but a loop. A safe, reliable loop that had played throughout nearly their entire time together. To think of it being any different didn't sit right in Kenny's stomach. To think that such a thing could happen between them; that the balance between the delicate dance between the two of them could be interrupted in such a way...it just wasn't right.

He sighed, turning over onto his side and curling into himself lightly, staring at his fist balled up in front of his face.

Would he wait?

He didn't know.

Kyle had never died...when he did, that might be it. He'd be one of the billions upon billions to just...go. Kenny didn't know when his own time would be, but he knew it wasn't going to be over for a long, long time.

Kyle though, he could just leave him for eternity. But he couldn't possibly wait for so long. Kyle had his routine down to a T when it came to Kenny's own inevitable demises. But how could he place himself into his own plan like that when he had never experienced death outside his own? How could Kyle expect him to just sit in the snow and stare until he miraculously arose from his void state?

After all, Kyle was human. Kenny wasn't sure of what he was, but he knew full well that Kyle was nothing more than just another human; controlled by the puppeteers that the world called fate, stepping slowly with a purpose: to die.

Kenny's fate was to live. Again and again. But Kyle was destined to leave. A hard truth for Kenny to accept as tears rolled down his cheek and off his nose, shivering violently within his heavy down parka. The wheels were turning, answers were wanted.

Answers that Kenny couldn't for the life of him figure out just what would happen. He had lived as he had, he had died as he had. He wanted Kyle to live to see him die; it was just the order in which they thrived. To imagine much else...was too much to ask for such a simple boy with such a simple life.

---


The next morning was nothing short of somber for the blonde as he made his way towards the school, a certain element missing from beside of him. As he heard the predicted truck squealing its way towards him, he came to a stop in the middle of the walk, holding his arms out and preparing for it to smack into his back. It did so at full force, his spine practically flying through his torso as he arched backwards and shouted angrily.

He landed with a solid thud on the ice before everything started fading to black. The gracious numbness washed over him before he closed his eyes and drew a final breath, his mouth parting slightly as death overtook him.

MInute upon minute of blackness passed before he could finally reopen his dazzling azure eyes to the light. His senses fell back into place and he heard a gentle crunching in the distance. He moaned, looking over to see Kyle standing in front of him, thirty feet away with an apple core tight in his hand.

Kyle looked at him for a moment before tossing the core aside and turning on his heel, starting back along the walkway without so much as another glance at the blonde. Kenny blinked after him, slowly getting to his feet and watching as Kyle faded into the distance. He let out a long winded, shaking sigh before continuing on his way, following behind the redhead at a far-too lengthened distance.

He felt the cold. He had become so used to the air surrounding them being nothing but light and warm despite the frigid temperatures. But now, now he was exposed to everything. He was exposed to the real world; how things tended to go hypothetical in the heat of the moment and flip perspectives over onto their backs. How different it was to break from the habitual and try to make it on your own.

He was exposed to how lonely he was. Even in death, he'd always had someone beside him. But now, even as he walked the Earth, there was no one. No one but the curiosity he saw lingering in Kyle's green gaze before he had turned away.

He just wanted to know if he would come back. He had no interest in actually waiting for him anymore. He was no longer concerned, but amused by Kenny's constant issues, using it as a game. A game of irony and seeming-betrayal.

Kenny's heart sunk, but he continued plodding after the small boy, his gaze fixated on the broken ice he stepped on, listening to the gentle cracking under his feet with shaded-over blue iris'.

Broken.

Everything just seemed shattered.

And all because of a hypothetical. All because of curiosity's sake.


---

And so it drove on; Kenny walking to school by himself only to die and awake to the sight of Kyle staring down on him before twirling and walking away; not another word ever uttered.

It drove on until a frigid morn in February when Kenny just stopped. He froze dead in his tracks and turned, looking to see Kyle on the move behind him, staring at the ground in silence. He raised his now despondent green eyes into Kenny's and sighed. He shook his head slowly before moving to step around the blonde, not allowing more than six inches to come between them as he walked purposely past him. Kenny watched him as he broke away and continued down the sidewalk, his breath falling short and his shoulders slumping in disappointment.

A familiar squeal was heard in the background and he stood still, his hands buried into the pockets of his orange parka as he awaited impact. He closed his eyes slowly, feeling a swift breeze passed by him, making his hair fly. He shot his eyes open, seeing the car swerve onto the sidewalk just behind the redhead in front of him.

His heart lurched as he tried to break into a run just before hearing the all-too-familiar sound of collision. He watched as Kyle flew up over the car and landed on the sidewalk in a crumpled mess.

Everything stopped.

He stood, his legs frozen as the car hurried away and blood started dripping from Kyle's mouth.

Death was so different from this end of the spectrum.

He finally broke into action, pulling out his phone and dialing 911 in haste. He rambled off the information before slowly moving over towards the broken redhead. He slipped the phone back into his pocket and knelt down beside him, placing his hand on his shoulder with care.

His ears perked as he heard a soft groan and a raspy breath escape through his blood-spattered lips. "Kyle..." he whispered, pushing back some of his hair and staring at him intently for moments on end, doing nothing more than muttering his name repeatedly, listening to each breath and watching each drop of blood with glistening eyes.

Before he knew it, he was being pulled away, his vision invaded by an array of blinding, flashing lights. He felt the world shattering around him as Kyle's limp form was taken from him. As Kyle became him.

He got to his feet and watched as the lights and the sirens drove off, leaving him standing in the snow stained crimson; standing in the result of change.

---


Hours passed before he made it to the hospital; continually knocked off his feet as he had ran, falling unconscious before waking up to silence and realizing that this was reality now; this was not an illusion of differentiation.

He made it to the pasty, white building, stepping through and feeling a chill pass through him. These people were him. The sick, the dying...he had been like them all so many times in the past.

But to see it playing out in front of his misty eyes...was almost too much. He headed up to the reception and muttered information. The woman smiled and pointed, he nodded and followed her gesture, trying desperately to ignore the sounds emitting from every which way.

Pain, illness, suffering.

Too close to home; too far from routine.

He stepped quickly up to a door, identical to all the others but with an ominous presence to the blonde. He gulped, pushing it open and quickly stepping inside, shutting it and finally ridding himself of the sounds surrounding him. He raised his eyes up to find a bed in the middle of the room, a figure clad in white with fiery, ember hair residing in the middle of the stiff blankets.

Kenny gulped, stepping closer, listening to the heart monitor giving off a steady pulse, watching the blood dripping down the IV into the arm of his red-haired companion. He pulled a chair up close to the bed, staring at his casts and mangled form with a tightening in his stomach.

He had changed it all.

A simple answer would have sufficed, leaving them to continue their comforting, quiet walks side-by-side with no reason to shift.

But he just couldn't do it.

Habit had gotten the best of him; Reality had never shown it's colors. It wasn't all black and white as he had thought. It couldn't always just be him in trouble, it couldn't always be Kyle sitting patiently in the snow...

But it didn't have to be like this. That car was made to hit Kenny and he knew it all too well. Messing with things the way he did...it gave him this.

His life was already set in stone: Live, die, live die.

Kyle wasn't so fortunate; fate was against him the whole time. But he was willing to try to become part of the routine for Kenny's sake. So he wasn't alone.

So neither of them were.

Kenny placed an elbow on the edge of Kyle's bed, placing his eyes into his palm and letting out heavy sobs. He sniffled miserably, the burning in his eyes unfamiliar to him, the lurching feeling of his heart almost too heavy to bear.

His ears perked at voices from outside the door. He turned slightly towards it, the word 'coma' ringing through his ears and making his stomach drop.

'Not certain...'

Kenny shook his head and stopped listening to the man rambling from outside the room. He looked down at the broken redhead and listened instead to the steady pumping of his heart monitor.

His eyes fell away and through his tears he saw Kyle's green bag placed on the floor propped up against the bed. He looked up at Kyle before blindly reaching down and fumbling with the clasps on the tote. He peeled back the cover and stuck his hand in, his fingers colliding with a piece of solid comfort.

He pulled it out gingerly, letting his gaze drop to the bag full of the red fruits and biting his lip as he curled his knees up into his chest atop the chair. His eyes flickered back up to the boy, his hair still stained with blood. Kenny took a deep breath, falling into a comfortable silence with the reassuring beeps of the monitor filling the void as he lightly bit down on the apple.

Chew twenty times; swallow; repeat.


A/N: I am relatively pleased with this.

Tragedy has never been my strong suit ~_~

Thanks for R&Ring!