Slash, drug/alcohol usage, and bad language like always.


Don't own anything, just the idea for the story.

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"I can still remember

The words and what they meant

As we etched them with our fingers

In years of white cement

The days burned into each other

Though everything seemed clear..."

~~Rise Against, Audience Of One

THE STUPID HEADACHE WOKE HIM UP. The headache and the nightmares. Pickles let out a tired groan and opened his eyes. In his right hand he held a bottle of booze, and in his left some piece of soft fabric. He held up his hand and what he saw made him close his eyes all over again. He was clutching Toki's shirt. He was holding it so tightly that his knuckles were white, and as he let the tattered, blood-stained rag fall to the ground, his hand ached with stiffness. Resting on his stomach there was a picture of the smiling Norwegian. Pickles sat up, grabbed the photo, and held it up to the rays of sunlight that streamed in from the blinds of the window. Toki smiled back at him thru the glass of the frame, his old childish, innocent blue eyes appearing to be so full of life...

How could it be that the last memory he had of the guitarist was when those pale blue eyes lost their life? Their glow?

Pickles let out a sob and threw the photograph down onto the floor. God, he missed him so much. Every day it was the same. The same hurt, the same torture, but he couldn't stay in bed all day and get drunk like he wanted. He knew that Skwisgaar, Nathan, and Murderface would be down in the dining room eating breakfast like usual. The only thing that would seem out of place at all was the empty chair where Toki had once sat.

Biting back another sob, Pickles got out of bed and dragged himself downstairs. He made his way into the dining room and sat down heavily in his chair. Skwisgaar and Nathan watched him. Nobody said anything. There was nothing to talk about, only that empty seat next to Pickles. Only that long gone voice of Toki.

"Sho...how'd everyone shleep lasht night?" Murderface ventured to ask. His lisp had gotten worse since Toki's funeral. He was now barley understandable.

"Dildos," Skwisgaar said. "It ammnest was dildos."

Everything was either 'dildos' or 'fuck you' for Skwisgaar now. He scarcely said anything else.

"Fucking horrible." Nathan said, glaring down at his plate of food. "I couldn't sleep at all. What about you, Pick-"

"Yeah, it was...y'know..."

"Uh-huh." he answered, like he understood. The only problem was that nobody knew. Nobody could begin to understand.

"Ja, dildos," Skwisgaar agreed, crossing his arms and pushing away his plate of eggs. "Fucks this. I ammnest not hungry."

Pickles swallowed as he remembered how close Toki had been to the Swede. They'd been like brothers. He remembered how Skwisgaar had cried at the Norwegian's funeral. He had tried to hide it. Everyone had tried to hide it. Even Pickles, who, everyone had known, had been Toki's boyfriend for the past year and five months...he blinked quickly, trying to hold back the tears that stinging at his eyes. Toki'd been so excited to reach that year and six month mark.

"We ams almost been together for a two years!" he would tell Pickles. "Can you believe that?"

His hands were shaking as he went to pick up his fork. He could still hear Toki's voice, still see the smile on his face. Murderface saw the drummer's sudden discomfort and asked, "Hey, Picklesh, are you thinking about—well, you know."

"Shut up," the drummer answered, his voice breaking. "I-I ain't thinkin' about...it's none of your business."

Why did Murderface have to be such a dick? He never quit, not even now. Instead he elbowed Pickles a little and began, "It wash what? A year you two'd been together for-"

"Year and five months." he said, sniffling. "Best time of my life."


Normally they didn't talk about it while eating. They never talked about it. Not even when they'd had to put the funeral together had they talked about it. Skwisgaar sighed suddenly and said, "What happens? There was just a call and—and...I still can'ts believes it..." he glanced over at Toki's empty chair and said, his deep blue eyes filling with tears, "...I still can't believes that he ammnest not going to come to breakfast..."

"Hey, look, can we just not talk about 'dat?" Pickles asked, banging his fists down on the table, making the dishes clink together. "Could we just all shut up?"

"But if we don'ts talks about it, then we're never gonna get bett-"

"It's never gonna get better!" he yelled, letting his head fall into his hands. "Don't you get it? It's never gonna get better, 'cause now Toki's dead!"

Everyone in the room inhaled sharply, as if they'd been personally wounded by Pickles' words. Finally Nathan said, "Pickles, are you-"

"No, I'm nat alright and I'm not ever gonna be okay!" he said, wiping his eyes. Murderface rose from his chair and hurried out of the room, trying not to let anyone see the tears that were rolling down his cheeks.

"Picklesh, you're an idiot. It'sh all your fault!" he said before going out.

Once he had gone there was a heavy pause before the door opened again. This time Ofdensen entered, looking grave. He didn't meet Pickles' gaze as he said, staring down at the floor, "Guys, I understand that things have been...turbulent lately since the passing of-"

"What about it?" Nathan cut in, resting his head on his hand.

"Just—I know it's hard, but Toki wouldn't want...he wouldn't..." Ofdensen sighed and finally forced himself to say with much difficulty, "...he wouldn't want you guys to just sit here for the rest of your lives and cry over him, so keeping that in mind I'd like for us to begin considering his replacement for the-"

"No," Pickles said thickly, tears rolling down his face in steady, slow streams. "No, we ain't gonna replace him."

Ofdensen nodded, once again, like he was someone who understood what the drummer felt. "I can see how you are still grieving. Toki was a wonderful person and we should keep him in our thoughts, but-"

"Fuck you!" the drummer said, throwing his fork down to the floor. "I...I fuckin' hate this! I hate you and I hate this bullshit!"

"Pickles, please, I understand what you're feeling, but-"

"No you don't! Nobody does!"

"Please!" Ofdensen snapped. "Please try to control yourself! Look here, your old rhythm guitarist, Mayer Hamilton, has gotten in touch with us and agreed to sign a six-month contract. Understand that it would be nothing but a trial, nothing permanent, but-"

"I just think that we need more time," Nathan said, watching as Pickles laid his head down in his arms. "Tell him that we'll think about it, though."

Ofdensen nodded and went silently out of the room, his hands behind his back. Once he was gone, Pickles let out a little, "Fuck this," and raised his head. He peered down at his plate of eggs and then over at Toki's unoccupied chair. "I...the chair," he said, trying to bite back his tears. "It's empty now."

"Ja," Skwisgaar said sorrowfully.

Nathan nodded then said, his low, harsh voice nothing more than a mere whisper, "God, I fucking miss that kid..."

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Pickles walked back up to his room, holding another bottle of booze. As he opened the door, he sniffled and remembered how beautiful Toki had been. He'd never realized how much he held the band together. It was sort of pitiful, really, how you didn't realize some things until it was over and done with.

The drummer slammed his door, shut and locked it, then went into his bathroom and turned on the hot water. After taking a sip of alcohol he began to remember. He remembered what it had been like. He'd been with Toki when it happened—when he di—he couldn't even think about it. It was still so impossible, imagining Toki dead. Remembering how dead and lifeless his eyes had looked, how pale he had been, how the blood had pooled around him and dripped in little streams from his mouth, staining his perfect skin.

It hadn't been peaceful or painless, Pickles was sure. The Norwegian had hid his pain for him, tried very hard to. As Pickles climbed into the hot, steaming bathwater with his clothes on, he drank down some more booze. Next to his heart he clutched a picture of Toki, and as he lowered himself into the water, he began crying all over again.

There had been so much blood...

...Toki had cried, said he didn't want to leave him...

...said he didn't want to die, but he did anyway. Why? If he had wanted to stay alive, why had he left Pickles?

The drummer closed his eyes and began to think back to it. Sometimes it helped to remember the last date he and Toki had gone on. It had been almost a month ago.

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"Pickle, I wants to go out tonight," Toki said, grabbing the bottle of vodka Pickles was holding and taking a sip from it.

"Where you wanna go?"

He shrugged. "I don't knows. Some place nice. We've been together a longs time, so maybe we should go-"

"I know where I wanna take you," Pickles said, giving Toki a little kiss. They were both laying together in bed. Next to Toki there was his guitar. He'd been practicing on it, learning the songs to the album they'd start recording tomorrow, but somehow they'd both gotten wrapped up in each other.

"Where you wants to take me?"

"To the beach, so we can have sex..."

Toki laughed and brushed his lips against the drummer's neck. "We's can do that right here, though. Right nows! Let's dos it, come on! Right now." he climbed on top of Pickles, began kissing him like crazy. The drummer had to work to get a word in.

"Look, chill out! We'll do it—at the beach. C'mon, let's go! Let's go to the beach."

"Pickle, we don'ts even live nears the beach."

He shrugged. "So what? We'll go on a road trip. It'll be fuckin' awesome and when we get to the beach, we'll fuck anywhere you want."

Toki rolled his eyes. "But it ams too late to gos out right now! It's one in the mornings!"

"But we're both still wide awake."

"Who ams going to drive?"

"I'll do it," Pickles said, getting to his feet and pulling Toki up with him. This was an insane idea, a stupid one, but nothing was really too out there if he was with the Norwegian. "I can drive."

"But you haves been drinking."

"Not 'dat much."

Toki thought about it for a moment then smiled. "Okays, ja! Let's go!" he followed Pickles out the room, he resting his head on the drummer's shoulder. "Loves you, Pickle." he whipsered.

"Yeah, love you to."

He and Toki got on the Dethcycle, both talking and joking. They bought nothing more than a couple of towels before riding off. The beach wasn't that far away from the Mordhaus, only about an hour. When they arrived Toki jumped off the cycle and stripped down to his underwear. He hurried into the water and waited for Pickles. Once the drummer was in his underwear as well, he went in after the Norwegian and fell into his arms, kissing and hugging him in the tropical ocean current.

"Thanks for drivings," Toki said, leaning forward and giving him a kiss. He let Pickles wrap his arms around his waist.

"No problem."

The ocean waved around them gently, the sound of the surf making them forget everything around them. Even ask Toki dived down in the water and let out a yelp, all Pickles could think about was making love to him...then the Norwegian came back up to the surface of the water, coughing and gagging and yelling.

"Ows, ows, something pinched me, Pickle! Look!" he held up a long bunch of his hair. A crab hung on to it, its claw pinching hard to Toki's long, brown curtain of hair. "Gets it off! We ain't gots none of these things in Norway!"

Pickles rolled his eyes and swam up to him. "Alright, alright, just chill out." he grabbed the crab and tried to yank it off. When he did Toki let out a curse.

"Ows! You ams hurting me!" and he lunged toward Pickles, waving the crab at him. "Gets it off!"

The drummer backed away quickly, holding out his hands. "Hey, get 'dat thing away from me!" he splashed, trying to make Toki keep the thing safley away from him. "Fuck aff! I hate those things!"

"You ams scared of him?" he asked, grinning. Before the drummer could answer, he was chasing Pickles, laughing.

"Get it away! Fuck you!"

"Comes on, I'm just havings fun!"

He suddenly stopped stumbling thru the thick froth of the ocean and turned to face Toki, glaring at him. "Just havin' fun, huh? You think chasin' me with dangerous fish attached to your fuckin' head is fun?"

He thought about it for a moment then nodded. "Ja, pretty funs to me."

"Uh-huh. Well I like 'dis kinda fun." he reached forward and yanked the crab—along with a few strands of Toki's hair—away and threw it back into the ocean. Toki screamed and clutched his head, frowning.

"Fuck! That hurts!"

"I pulled too hard?"


"That ain't the only hard thing you'll be getting tonight, Toki," he said quietly, once again trying to turn things back into the romantic evening he wanted. "C'mon, let's go up and dry off, 'kay?"

"You just don't wants me to chase you with any more stuffs, huh?"

"Not stuff that pinches, no."

Toki grinned and kissed him deeply. He pulled away and brushed his hand across Pickles' cheek affectionately. "You haves nice eyes," he observed. "I likes them. They're the most nicest things I ever seen in the worlds, you know."

Pickles felt his face grow red. All he could think to say was, "Thanks, Toki. Yours are nice too, I guess..."

The Norwegian laughed and rested his head on the drummer's shoulder. "You ams really cute when you don't knows what to say. I loves you."

"Love you to."

"We're gonna be together forevers?"

"However long you can put up with me."

Toki smiled his wonderful, innocent smile and kissed him, put his arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer. "That ams good; I can put up with yous forever."

They both just stood there, their feet buried in the sand of the ocean, holding each other until Pickles decided that it was time. He lead Toki back up to the shore and looked around, a brow arched. There was nothing in the white sand of the shore other than their clothes, which were scattered over by the Deathcycle.

"Hey, I thought you said you put the towels right here." he said, pointing to a spot on the shore.

"I dids, but that was before...oh shits..." he looked around, then out to the ocean. "I thinks the ocean ate them."

"What the fuck do you mean the ocean ate 'dem?" and suddenly he understood. Letting out a loud curse, Pickles kicked a bunch of wet sand at the Norwegian and said, "Gad, do you really mean 'dat you didn't think about the tide?"

"I didn't think it would comes up this high!"

"Aw, fuck. Toki..."

"I'ms sorry."

He sighed and said, "It's fine. I'm sorry I kicked sand at you."

He shrugged and answered sheepishly, "That ams fine."

"Well it's okay, I guess. We'll just go home and take a nice, long, hot shower..." his voice trailed off. So what if it was nearly three in the morning? There was never a bad time for a shower with Toki...

"You sure you cans drive home? 'Cause I coulds do it."

"Toki, you still ain't even got your license back yet."

They both remembered the brief time that Toki and Skwisgaar had spent in Driver's Ed trying to get their privilege to drive back. After neither of them had been able to drive so much as an inch, their licenses had been revoked, and they hadn't bothered to get them back yet. That's what made Toki lower his head and say, "Ja, I knows. I just don't wants something bad to happen."

Pickles smiled over at him and as he went to retrieve his pants from over by the Dethcycle, he said, "Look, it's fine. Trust me. I wouldn't do it if I thought it could hurt you. Here." he threw Toki his shirt. "Get dressed so we can go."

"Wes gonna dos it when we gets home?"

"Sure, if you still want to."

The Norwegian turned a little red as he admitted, "I always wants to dos it with you, Pickle."

The drummer grinned as he pulled on his shirt and went to start up the cycle. He didn't say anything as he started it up and climbed on. Toki got on right behind him and wrapped his arms around the drummer's waist. Pickles pulled off the shore and back onto the road, loving the feeling of Toki's head resting on his shoulder. In a few minutes the Norwegian was asleep, and the drummer was imagining what the sex would be like when they got home. He took his eyes off the road for a second and didn't realize it as the cycle began drifting off a little too much to the right; within seconds the cycle had veered off the road. He panicked, let out a gasp, and jerked it hard to the left.

That was his first mistake.

The cycle's tires squealed as he over corrected it and sent it up in the air tumbling. In a second Toki was ripped away from him, the Dethcycle was in pieces, and Pickles was on the road, curled up in a ball. He opened his eyes when he heard the sound of crunching metal. He couldn't move, couldn't breathe as he watched Toki fall hard on the road a ways away from him and land in a pile of broken, piercing glass. Pickles wanted to scream, he wanted to cry. What the fuck had just happened? He had only messed up for two seconds and now Toki was hurt.

Without thinking, he got up and stumbled over to him. His leg hurt and he couldn't move or feel his arm, but he didn't care. All that mattered was Toki. His shoes crunched over huge shards of metal and shattered glass. From the Norwegian's shirt sharp pieces of the twinkling glass protruded, sticky with blood. Pickles felt his whole body grow numb. This was bad. This was very bad. As he knelt next to Toki, he saw that the guitarist was staring up at him, his pale blue eyes wide.

"P-Pickle, what-"

"I fucked up," he whispered, brushing some of the Norwegian's matted hair out of his face.

Across Toki's face there were deep gashes and a little blood was beginning to leak from his mouth. He coughed and let out a pained scream. Gripping his stomach, he asked, "What happens?"

"We wrecked." Pickles answered, kissing his forehead. "don't worry, I can call someone. I can-"

"Pickle, it hurts."

"Huh? What h-hurts." he was shaking all over, watching as Toki's blue eyes flitted up the starry sky. "Toki, you're okay, right? You're not really hurt bad, right?"

"Everything hurts..."

"God, I'm sorry, I didn't mean...it was an accident, y'know. I'd never hurt you on purpose," Pickles said, reaching for Toki's hand. "Look, just hang out for a minute. I can call-"

Toki coughed a little and his lips became stained with blood. Even as he spoke, his teeth were turned a deep, sparkling red. Pickles' worry shifted into a horrible panic as he put one arm under the Norwegian's back and a hand behind his head. He tried to lift him up, away from the damage of the cycle, but couldn't. "We gotta get you up off the road. We gotta-"

"Puts me down! It hurts!"

Pickles gently laid him back one road, back on top of the millions of sparkling shards of glass and bloodied metal that littered the pavement. "Toki, I'm not gonna leave you out here in the middle of the fuckin' street. What if something bad happens?"

Tears were leaking from Toki's eyes as he tried to wipe his mouth with a shaking hand. "It ams no big deal, Pickle. You gots to trust me...don'ts be sad. I'm sorrys, but-"

"Sad about what?" he asked, holding back tears. "Look, I don't have anything to be sad about and you don't have anything to be sorry for."

"I...I..." his face was pale, his whole body shaking as he said, "I don't wants to die."

Pickles went to kiss him again, went to hold his face in his hands, but the Norwegian was so cold. As his lips met Toki's, all he could taste was blood; when he pulled away, he had the redness smeared across his lips. "Toki, look, you shouldn't be scared, 'cause I'm here and nothing bad's gonna happen to you now. I promise."

"You always saids you would protects me..."

"I am!"

"You said we would always be together..."

He began sobbing. "We are! I swear to God we are!"

Toki closed his eyes. "Then why I feels like this? Like I ams dying? What did I dos wrong?"

"You didn't do nothing wrong," Pickles said, pulling his phone out of his pocket. "Look, I can call the fuckin' ambulance or whatever and 'dey can-" Toki reached out and grabbed his hand. When he took it and squeezed it, Pickles saw more sticky blood smeared on his skin. He tried not to sob as he said, "Toki, you're gonna be okay, alright? You're gonna...you don't deserve this, God, you really don't. You know I would trade places with you, right? You know 'dat? I'd take a fuckin' bullet for you."

"Ja, I knows."

"Good, that's all I want you to know, 'cause I love you. I really, really do..."

This couldn't be it; this couldn't be the last time he'd ever get to see Toki alive, but with each passing second it was beginning to seem just like that. Pickles sat down next to the guitarist, gently picked his head up and laid it in his lap. Then, only when Toki was resting on him, did he begin to run his fingers thru his hair.

"Pickle, I don'ts gets it. Ams I dying?"

"No," he said, shaking his head. "You're not." Pickles looked down and watched as blood flowed from a wound in Toki's stomach. His shirt was ripped, revealing a horrible wound by his ribs. It was so deep that it exposed glistening flesh and white bone. Letting a tear fall onto the blood-stained pavement, he whispered, "You're okay. I just fucked up. I'm the one who should get punished..."

"I know I'm nots dying 'cause I know you wouldn't lets me die, right?" he asked, his pale blue eyes halfway closed. " 'Cause you loves me and...and I..." his voice trailed off and for a while he was silent. Then, as his face twisted in pain, he asked quietly, "You cans kiss me, please?"


"Please kiss m-me. I loves you so much."

Pickles leaned down and kissed him. He kissed him long and deeply, and when he pulled away all the life had gone from Toki's face and his body was motionless, no longer struggling for breath. He was dead.

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He let out a start and awoke from his nap in the tub. The water splashed off the side of the white porcelain and onto the floor. Pickles was cold now, freezing. As he hauled himself out of the tub and drained the water, he was trembling. His pounding headache was back, and the inside of his mouth tasted like disgusting alcohol.

He frowned, went over to the sink, and poured himself a cup of water. After he drank it, he went back into his bedroom and peered out the window. On the sill there was Toki's old shirt. He smiled, picked it up, and sniffed it. It still held the Norwegian's scent, one that wasn't like any candy—which he had loved—or any of the soda that he had used to drink. It was just totally and wonderfully his scent. The scent that Pickles loved most in the world. He smelled it again. Behind Toki's pleasant smell there was still another odor, one that had much faded since the time that the drummer had received the tattered rag.

It was the smell of sex. Pickles teared up and rubbed the fabric. He really had had the best time of his life with Toki, and now...what now? He didn't know, couldn't begin to know. Everything inside him just hurt, screamed for some kind of pain killer. No matter how much he drank and how many drugs he did, he couldn't never numb himself to that kind of pain, though.

Letting out a sigh, Pickles opened up his window and peered down at the grounds of the Mordhaus. He'd been asleep for a long time. The sun was sitting merrily in the center of the sky. In a few hours it would be dinner, and after that he could go see Toki. He wasn't buried far away, and Pickels didn't like going in the daytime. Klokateers and Skwisgaar, Nathan, and Murderface always watched him from the windows of the Mordhaus when he did this. It made him feel pathetic. He managed to give a little smile now at the thought of Toki's grave.

"I'm coming," he whispered, pressing his face into the fabric of the shirt. "Hold on."

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Dinner was a dismal affair. Everyone ate in silence, not daring to say a word. When it was over they all said goodnight and went up to bed. After about an hour of sitting in his room and drinking, Pickles went downstairs and outside. He walked for a ways until he came upon the marble headstone. There were all kinds of fresh flowers covering the tombstone, but Pickles didn't remember putting any of them there on his visit last night.

It was no mystery that they were all paying their respects night after night. Usually after Pickles managed to rip himself away from Toki's grave, Skwisgaar snuck out, then Nathan and finally Murderface. They all knew each other did this, but never talked about it. The knowledge that they were all sharing one another's pain was too much.

That's why as Pickles knelt down next to the tombstone, he didn't push the flowers aside. Instead he leaned against the cold stone and began to openly weep. He cried until he didn't have any tears left to shed, and only then did he pull away and say thickly, "Why the fuck did you leave us, Toki? Huh? You really think we can manage on our own? Why the fuck did you have to make me say g-goodbye?"

"It ammnest not goodbye if you are visiting hims every night."

Pickles looked up and was surprised to see Skwisgaar standing a ways away from him, smoking a cigarette. "What the hell are you doin' here?"

He threw his cigarette down in the grass, stomped it out, and went up to Pickles. The moonlight revealed the shining tears that were making their way down the Swede's bony cheeks as he sat down next to the drummer and sniffled. "It ammnest my time."

"But I always come out fir-"

"I just really wants extra time tonights."

"This is ridiculous. Why can't we just all cry if we wanna cry?" Pickles asked. "Why do we all gotta hold it in and save it for our time with him?"

" 'Cause you ain't wants to talks about it and I'm tired of holdings it in!" Skwisgaar yelled, letting out a little sob. "I'm so sicks of 'dis! I want to be with him, but you...you..." he broke down right there, his head falling into his hands, his blond hair a mess. He leaned heavily against Pickles and didn't pull away as the drummer draped an arm over his skinny shoulders.

"I...I just don't knows why...how did he—dids it hurt?"

Pickles looked down at him. "What?"

"Did it hurts him to die?"

He bit his lip and finally answered, "No, not for a second."

It was undoubtably the worst lie he'd ever told in his life.

Skwisgaar wiped his eyes. "Whys did it happen to him? And here yous are, walkings around with nothing but a stupids busted leg and broken arms when it's done, and Toki ammnest in the fucking ground! I don't understands it! I would've rather gone than hims! He was likes my fucking brother, the only person I had in the stupids, dildos world!"

"I know. I loved him to, but-"

"You know, whenever you two first gots together, I tried to make him meet girls and stuffs."

Pickles nodded and said bitterly, "Yeah, I remember 'dat. Every other day you were sending topless strippers to our room and tryin' to get him to fuck them."

"Ja, but it wasn't cause of what yous think. It was because I was scareds—I fucks with some guys before, and people never looks at you the same after. They treat you differently and I just didn't want hims to...he and you—both of yous together...it would've hurt him too much," Skwisgaar tried to explain. "Don'ts you understand?"

The drummer sighed. "You just wanted him to be happy, huh?"

"But he loves you, didn't he?" the Swede asked in a painful whisper. "He loves you so fuckings much. You could sees it, you know, whenever he looks at you. I could sees it in his eyes the first time he mets you. It was like he thought you was the best person ever."

"I'm sorry," Pickles said, choking back his tears. "Maybe if we wouldn't have been together he wouldn't have-"

"No, don't says that. Don't regret anything, Pickle. You made him so happy. He used to tells me stories about you. Just funny things you two dos together, and I could tell that hims was the happiest he ever beens in his life." Skwisgaar said, running his hands thru his long, golden hair. "He was sos happy. You two was so goods together...good for each other..."

"Thanks, Skwisgaar. Nobody's ever told me 'dat before." he said, squeezing the Swede's shoulder comfortingly. "He made me happy to. I never thought I'd have to say goodbye so soon."

He felt horrible, like he wanted to lay right there and die, but he knew he couldn't. Other people needed him right now. Skwisgaar needed him. Nathan need him. Hell, even Murderface needed him. He had to be the strong one, now. Toki had been strong enough to know when to leave, to know that it was his time and there was no use in fighting it, but now Pickles had to be strong. He had to tell them all that it was okay, what Toki's last words were...they wanted to know, and he had a responsibility to tell them. He had to be strong. For Toki, because the Norwegian hadn't fallen in love with him because he was weak. He loved Pickles because he was bold and confident and fearless.

Taking a deep breath Pickles said, "Yeah, he—um...he really was ready to, you know...go."

"What yous mean?"

"I mean he understood what dying meant. He knew 'dat it was his time and he kissed me and then d-died."

Skwisgaar nodded and let his head fall on the marble of the tombstone. "Ja, I always thoughts he would gos out like 'dat. When the news founds out, remember how many riots there was?"

Pickles breathed, "Yeah, it was fuckin' insane."

"But you knows the sad part?"


" 'Dem stupids fans," he said, his blue eyes shining in the moonlight. " 'Dey never really knew him. They thinks they knews him, but he wasn't like he was on stage. He was differents."

"He was amazing," the drummer agreed, distractedly tearing the petals off a flower that laid on top of the grave.

"Ja, and no matter how much we all crys over him, he ammnest really not comings back, huh?"

"No, I guess he isn't."

"Pickle, how much it hurts you to lets him go?"

Pickles said, his voice quiet and shaking, "I...I had to fuckin' peel him off the damn road, he was so fucked up. How do you think 'dat felt?"

"I couldn't haves done it. I would have gones crazy."

"I did go a little insane, I guess."

"Ja, you've never snapped out of it, either," the Swede said, glancing over at him. "Sometimes I looks over at you and you looks so lost—gones. Then you drinks and everything good about you that Toki used to loves just melts away and you ammest totally empty. It scares the shit out of me, 'cause I thinks that every time you gos off likes that, you might not comes back."

Pickles smiled bitterly and said with some difficulty, "Yeah, I...I..."

"Just tells me this—what did he says before he went away?"

"I...he-" the drummer wiped his nose and cursed. "Aw fuck, I was praying that you wouldn't ask me 'dat, 'cause every time I think about it I break down..."

"It ammnest okay, Pickle," Skwisgaar said, giving him a little, reassuring smile. "It ammnest okay to break down."

"Well, he asked me to kiss him and then he told me he loved me, and that was it. I kissed him and felt him just let go, just disappear into wherever. He just left himself, and I knew that was it. I knew he wasn't there no more."

"You means you felt him die?"

"Yeah, I was holding him."

He nodded and they both grew quiet for a while. "Pickle, you ams lying to me," Skwisgaar said finally. Then, "He really dids hurt, didn't he?"

Pickles shook his head and insisted, "No, he didn't."

f"I'm not stupids, Pickle. I saw the body. We all did. He was cut up and glass was stickings out of hims."

"Just shut up!" the drummer yelled, rising to his feet. His hands were clenched into fists and he was shaking from head to foot as he spat, "You don't know anything about how he died! You weren't there!"

"But I knows the truth!" Skwisgaar said, also getting up. He said, his eyes full of hurt, "I knows what my brother felt."

"Fine," Pickles admitted. "Yeah, I think it hurt. I think it hurt like fuck, like nothing else in the world, but you know what? He took it. He didn't feel bad for himself or nothin'. He was really good with it. He just asked me why this was happening, why he was dying. He asked me what the fuck he did to deserve a death like 'dat. Can you believe that?" he was crying again as he said, "H-He died in the street, right there, all because I made a stupid mistake. I should've been in his fucking place, but I wasn't. I wish I was, God, I really do, but I wasn't."

"What woulds you trades for it?" the Swede asked, crossing his arms. "What would you trades for hims to be alive and you to be dead, taking his place?"


He nodded. "Ja, and you knows what? I don't think he would've been able to lives without you. I don't thinks he would've had the strength to just keeps on going. You get drunks every day, drinks your brains out, but you always keep going, you know?" he paused before saying, "You knows, he would tell me things about you all the time. Stories. He really likes talking about you. Like the times you and him fucks for the first time. Ja, he told me about 'dat one mornings after breakfast."

The drummer's face grew red. He peered into the Swede's eyes and recognized the same love he had felt for Toki. Pickles swallowed before asking, "Hey, Skwisgaar? You didn't, I dunno, like him, right? You know, as in love?"

He shrugged. "Maybes I did...maybes I was startings to. He was just sos great, you know? The first times I started to feels like that, like I might loves him like you do, was when we were leaving that concert in Finland, on the bus. You was passed out drunk, so he came over to mes and just laid in my arms and went to sleep. That was it. He was..." his voice broke as he said, "...not really likes anyone else."

"Yeah," Pickles said, feeling his eyes burning with fresh tears. "He really was—is amazing."

Skwisgaar nodded in agreement. He opened his mouth like he wanted to say something, but ended up abruptly closing it again. Finally, though, he worked up the nerve to ask, "I ammnest just curious, but when you fucks him what—I mean, he...it was good?"

"Uh...that's really, really personal, Skwisgaar..."

"Ja, I knows. Look, just forgets i-"

"It was the best thing in the world," Pickles said, "And I really...I dunno how I'm gonna get up tomorrow knowin' he's not gonna be there with me. Like at the table this morning, it was almost impossible to think that he's just really not here anymore."

"We can't gives up, though. He wouldn't wants us to do 'dat, huh?"

The drummer shook his head. "Nah, he wouldn't want us to do that."

There was another long moment of horrible, sad silence before Skwisgaar was hugging Pickles. Both of them were crying now, weeping, but at least they had each other. Toki may not be there anymore, his soul may be long gone, but for now at least Dethklok—or what was left of it—had one another to console. When they broke away, they both turned to the house and began walking, making silent promises to visit Toki tomorrow, even though he really wasn't there.

Even though he was gone.

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Well that wasn't depressing at all, was it? I hope you liked the story and review it. First off, no, it wasn't misspellings when I wrote things like 'aff' instead of off, it was just Pickles' accent. I'm not sure if I actually said 'aff' in this story, but oh well. I'll mention it anyway. No, Toki won't come back—he really is dead, as hard as it is to believe. Sorry. I did cry when writing this, 'cause I love Toki. He is my hero. ^_^


Anyways, peace and love.

[in memory of Matt Herbert]