"But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand

There's a boy here in town says he'll love me forever

Who would have thought forever could be severed by

The sharp knife of a short life, well

I've had just enough time..."

~~The Band Perry, If I Die Young

::M E M O R Y 6::

Letting Go & Saying Goodbye

The doctors said that he was in a coma, one that had been caused when he had hit his head falling down the stairs. Pickles hadn't known what this meant, so he asked Ofdensen, who told him that it meant Toki was asleep and might not wake up again. Asleep? Asleep? It was too hard to believe that that pale, placidly lifeless face was asleep, but he couldn't begin to imagine that it was anything else. Toki would wake up. Toki had to wake up.

Pickles visited him every day all day, ignoring his other obligations to the band. The album was put on hold, because everyone wanted to see Toki. Dead-asleep Toki. Pickles would sit beside his hospital bed holding the guitarist's hand and telling him anything he could think of—song lyrics, stories, or just rambling on and on, praying to a God that he didn't believe in that Toki would come back alive again. He never did.

One day Ofdensen entered the hospital room, looking grave. He placed a hand on Pickles' shoulder and said, "It's time to make a decision."

The drummer looked up. Down his face shining trails of tears ran. He was biting his nails as he asked, "What the fuck do you mean make a decision?"

"Pickles, Toki might not...wake up."

"He—no, he's gonna wake up. Trust me."

Ofdensen lowered his eyes to the Norwegian's sleeping face and said doubtfully, "True, he could wake up, but the odds of that are-"

"Fuck the odds!" Pickles yelled, choking back tears. "He's gonna wake up!"

A ways away Skwisgaar, Nathan, and Murderface sat, all looking down at the floor. Sometimes they would get up and try to talk Toki out of his coma, but it never did any good. Now they all were pale, their eyes shining brightly with tears. As Pickles screamed, Skwisgaar rose to his feet and said, "Fucks this, just lets it go, Pickle."

He glared over at him. "What?"

"It ammnest been three fuckings weeks and he still haves not showed us one sign that he still heres. Maybe we should just-"

"I'm not gonna let him go!"

"Think about it,"Ofdensen said. "Think about what Toki would want."

"He wouldn't want us to just forget about him!" Pickles protested. "He wouldn't want to d...d..." he couldn't even say the stupid word.

Toki and dying just didn't fit in the same thought process together. Toki couldn't die; it was impossible. He was full of too much life, too many wishes and childlike innocence. Pickles couldn't imagine seeing him expressionless and cold, his beautiful eyes closed and lightness. Without life or being, his soul lost and gone to wherever it is people went when they died. The mere thought made the drummer begin to sob. He looked back over to Toki and bit his lip. For the first time he realized just what Ofdensen was talking about.

Toki really did look purely and simply dead, his body unmoving, his face pale and dull. A bandage was wrapped around the place where he had split his head open and sometimes a little dark stain of blood could be seen thru it. The drummer could remember what he had done once he had found Toki lying at the bottom of those stairs. He had hurried to his side and seen the blood and the open wound that revealed the cracked white of Toki's skull and perhaps the gushing matter what was his brain...thinking about it made him gag. The doctors said his skull had been cracked, that his brain had swelled up because of his injuries and been pressed to the top of his skull. It was a thought that made Pickles feel numb and shake his head. He couldn't let him go. He couldn't let Toki die.

He squeezed the guitarist's hand and whispered, "Wake up for me, Toki, wake up." Nothing. He felt sick as he said, "C'mon, you're mine, you're my sun. Don't you remember 'dat? Don't you remember..." When I said I hated you? He thought, sobbing.

"I don't hate you, Toki, I love you so much...wake up, wake up..."

Ofdensen cleared his throat and said, his voice oddly thick, "Pickles maybe we should-"

The drummer looked up, his eyes red from all his sobbing. What he saw surprised him. For the first time since he had known him, Ofdensen, the finely suited manager of Dethklok, the most cool and precise man in the world, was crying. "Pickles, please, just let him go."

But he couldn't. Instead he turned back to where Toki lay, got down on his knees next to the bed, and pressed his cheek against the Norwegian's, whispering in his ear, "Sun outside, sun inside. Sun in the heart, sun in the mind. Sun, only sun. Remember 'dat? Huh?" he closed his eyes and begged, "You gotta remember it. Wake up, please, Toki, please. Don't leave me here. Please come back to me. I love you."

Ofdensen grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet. "It's time to let him go."

Pickles didn't have the strength or the will to fight back. Toki was gone. He wasn't coming back, or so he thought. In his own coma-dead mind, the Norwegian was back home in the hole that his parent's used to throw him in when he was bad. There was no light, not warmth. Nobody but him and his loneliness. There were were snakes coming at him, hissing and ready to strike, but suddenly there was something else. Thru the endless layers of impenetrable consciousness that Toki's coma had brought, he heard some soft, familiar voice.

Sun outside, sun inside.

Sun in the heart,

sun in the mind,

Sun, only sun...

He shook his head and asked, his voice echoing in the pit, "Pickle?"

And he closed his pale blue eyes. There was a sudden chill, one that bit at his bones and sent tremors up his spine. Toki's teeth chattered together as he opened his eyes. He was out of that dark pit and the snakes were gone. He was back in the wild of Norway on a snowy plane, staring at a far away mountain range. The sun was just rising above the white peaks of the mountains. He swallowed and hugged himself, trying to make the harsh cold go away.

But it was to bad; so bad that all Toki could do to stay alive was to whisper, his voice trembling and weak, "Sol ute, sol inne. Sol i hjertet, sol i sinnet, sol, bare sol." He was so cold. So terribly cold. The wind bit at him, forming icicles in his long hair and eyelashes. Toki began to cry, "Where ams the warm? Where ams the sun?"

It took a moment for him to realize that he was dying. Dying of the cold. He let out a shaking breath, one that sent out a white cloud of vapor into the cool, snowy air, and fell to his knees, begging, "Please don'ts leaves me here...I'm dyings...alone."

Alone. Toki swallowed and shut his eyes tightly, trying to envision the only person who had ever made him really happy. His only love. He tried to think of Pickles. He tried to think of his kisses, the way he subtly slipped his hand into his, the way he looked before he kissed him...

The way he said 'I love you'...

...or 'I hate you'...

Toki couldn't even say a sentence. His breath was too short, coming in rasping, desperate pants. He was dying, freezing from the outside in as the snowy air bit thru him. Then he felt it. There was a break in the cold, and there was a sudden warmth. Toki managed to look up, his eyes clouded with tears, and there he was, standing above him in that snowy wasteland. The drummer helped him to his feet and hugged him tightly, in that way that Toki loved so much.

The way that made him feel as though nothing in the whole world could hurt him. The way that made him feel he was worth something. He could feel again and speak as the biting cold melted away into summer-sun bliss. "P-Pickle, what ams you doing here?"

"You gotta wake up, you gotta."

"Wakes up? I ams sleeping?"

Pickles nodded and whispered in his ear, "Yeah, Toki. You're in a coma."

He frowned. "Coma? What ams that?"

"It means you're asleep and you're not walkin' up." there was a break in his voice as he said, "You've been asleep for a long time, Toki. We think that you might not be able to come back to us."

"Comes back? But where did I gos?" He gasped. "Ams I dead?"

"No."

Toki smiled a little and snuggled up to Pickles a little more, burying his head beneath his chin. "You makes me so warm."

"Toki, look, you're about to die, but you've gotta wake up. Please, please. You've just gotta open your eyes."

The smile melted from the Norwegian's face as said, his voice full of hurt, "But you saids you hated me."

Pickles broke away and kissed like he never had before. His hands made their way to the gentle arch of the Norwegian's back and pushed their two warm bodies together, and as his lips met the guitarist's he began crying. When he broke away he kissed Toki again and again and again, like it was the last time he'd ever be able to. Each little time their lips met the drummer let out an almost pained moan. Then Toki broke away from him all together, trying very hard to contain his anger, confusion, and fear.

What was going on? What was a coma and why was he in one? Why was Pickles kissing him like this, like they'd never see each other again?

"Pickle, what ams going on?" and he distractedly fingered the ring that the drummer had given him so long ago, that beautiful black and blood-silver one. Suddenly he was sobbing, saying, "I can'ts wake up!" Pickles cast him a look of pure pain and suffering, and Toki understood it all. The drummer was kissing him because it was the last time they'd ever see each other again, because Toki was dead. He really was never coming back.

"How do Is do it? Pickle, helps me get out! Wake me up!"

"I can't! Only you can!" the drummer said, taking the guitarist's hands in his own. His green eyes flitted down to the ring and he smiled sadly. "Toki, don't let me lose you. Please come back. You've gotta wake up now or you're gonna die and there's nothing I can do about it." he looked up into the pale blue eyes of his love and said, "I don't wanna lose you."

Toki bit his lip and closed his eyes again, whispering, "I'm goings to dos it, I'm goings to wake up. I'm going to wake up...I've got to wake up...I...I..."

"Toki? Don't touch me, Ofdensen, just look! He moved his hand!"

Pickles' voice echoed in Toki's mind, ushering into his coma-induced delirium a disturbing dose of reality. He really was asleep. People really were saying goodbye, about to let him go. He struggled to reach out of the snowy whiteness of his mind and move his hand again. Once he did, he was rewarded with the warm, comforting touch of Pickles and more yelling.

"I swear to Gad, he's awake! Look, he just grabbed my ha-"

I've gots to speak...

"Pickles, come on now, that's enough. Don't you think we should let him rest in pea-"

It ams the only way...

"Hmmm..." was all that was able to pass from his lips, and with this he was met with nothing but silence, and for one horrible, chilling moment he feared that that was it—they had let him sink back into his lonely oblivion, but then he managed to move his lips. "Pickle?"

And his blue eyes flitted open. Above him there loomed the red-haired drummer, tears leaking freely down his cheeks. Ofdensen stood next to him, his hand on Pickles' shoulder. Once he saw that Toki was awake, his mouth fell open and he gasped, "T-Toki? You're-"

"See?" Pickles interrupted. "I told you that he was gonna wake up!" and he threw his arms around Toki's neck and began sobbing.

Ofdensen just nodded and said, still astonished, "I...I guess if you're okay, Toki?"

All he could do was say dully, his eyes aloof, "Huh? Ja..."

"I guess I'll go see about filling out the paperwork to get you out of here." and Ofdensen turned and walked out of the room, wiping his eyes on the sleeve of his suit.

Once he was gone, Toki let himself sink back into his pillows and close his eyes. There were other familiar voices, those of Skwisgaar and Nathan and Murderface, all thanking God and crying, but all he heard—all he cared to hear—was Pickles' whispered words. The drummer was kissing him like before in Toki's dream, only this time it was much warmer. Much more welcome. This time Toki wasn't confused.

It was so painfully clear that all the previous anger was gone, and Pickles was pouring out apology after apology. "Toki, I'm so fuckin' sorry, I really am. I was such a fuckin' dick. Gad, I was stupid, and you wouldn't have woken up then...well, I'm just so fuckin' sorry. I love you so much, there's no way in hell that I could ever find anything about you to hate. You're so perfect and the only person whose ever-"

"Pickle, what happened to mes?"

The drummer pulled away and brushed his hand against Toki's cheek, clearly grateful just to be able to feel him, to see the life in his eyes and expression in his face. It was such a simple thing that made him so thankful. "Toki, you fell down the stairs and hit your head really bad. You've been in a coma for the past three weeks or so."

He arched a brow. "You lets me be in coma?"

Pickles shook his head and rested his forehead against Toki's. When he spoke his breath didn't smell of alcohol or anything. "No, Gad no."

"I...I thinks I remember that nights, up to when I left your room—when you throws me out. Remember?"

"Y-Yeah, I do." his voice was full of pain and sorrow. "I hate myself for what I did to you. Gad, I was so fuckin' stupid." he spat the word out hatefully, and Toki could see that not only was he really, genuinely sorry, but that he really did detest himself for that night.

The realization made the Norwegian reach forward and wrap his arms around the drummer's shoulders. He pulled Pickles closer to him and whispered, "I don't blames you for what happens. It would've happened anyways."

"But the last thing I said to you was-"

"Please, don't ever mentions that to me agains," he interrupted. "I've thought abouts it enough in my dream." and Toki paused before asking, "You knows where I was in my coma? You knows the dream I had?"

"What'd you dream?"

"I dreams that I was in the punish-place. Remember the ones I told you about? When I was bad, my parents would make me climb down into the hole and-"

"Yeah."

Pickles was silently praying that whatever Toki was about to say, it would ultimately lead to his forgiveness towards the drummer, and to his surprise, it did. "I was alones," he said, speaking solemnly. A ways away Nathan, Skwisgaar, and Murderface were trying to hear him talk, hanging on to ever word that he said."I was totally alones for days, but I kept think of somethings, then I hear your voice. Sol ute, sol inne. Sol i hjertet, sol i sinnet, sol, bare sol...and then I was in Norways again, standing in the middle of snowstorm, lookings at the sun coming up above the mountains."

" 'Dat's real beautiful, Toki." said, wiping his nose.

"And I was freezings to death, I know it, but something happened...someone came. It was you, Pickle. 'Cause for the past few weeks, as long as I haves been sleeping, I was really thinkings of you. Every memory and thing we've ever done togethers. You kept me alive, Pickle, you. You was my sun."

Pickles grinned and closed his eyes as Toki gently wiped away his tears and delivered a quiet, welcome-back kiss on his lips. "So does 'dis mean that you forgive me?"

"Ja," he said. "I always forgives you. Jeg elsker deg."