Oh guys... I'm really sorry. This is really short. I'm sorry. ;_; The next one will be at least 2,000 words, I swear. It better be. And thank you all for the wonderful reviews, they made me so happy. And all the adds and everything. Sorry again.


Chapter 3

The dogs walked calmly at my sides, occasionally sniffing at the grass along the sidewalk. The weather was warm, and the sun felt good against my back as the dogs pressed forward. Blackie held the lead, as he always did, and Berlitz zigzagged at his side, almost tangling their leashes together in a knot. As always, Aster was trailing behind, occasionally looking back at me with a smile in his eyes, waddling forward. He had lost some weight in the last few years, and looked healthy again, but he wasn't in as much shape as his brothers. When Feliciano was around, he would feed him scraps off the table with his delicate fingers, but once he left, Aster was put on a strict diet, with exercise, to keep him from getting fat and lazy, like he was prone to be with Feliciano…

I shook my head, looking beyond the dogs at the cobblestones in front of them. I had to stop thinking about him like this. Too many things had happened… too much had affected us for anything to every work the same again. In the back of my head, the illogical part of me lingered on the thought of walking straight to his house and telling him how I felt, and pulling him into my arms. I could just barely feel the softness of him, fitting perfectly in my arms. Then reason kicked in. I realized that that couldn't happen; that my own pride would get in the way of any feeling that overcame me. I was stuck in this middle ground forever.

My mind mulled over one instance and that one instance only. It was the only thing that kept me from accepting him with open arms when he helped me during the years my brother was gone. He had switched sides. Why would he do that? Inwardly, I scoffed. The real question would be why wouldn't he do that? Blackie stopped at the lead, and I bumped into Aster bringing me back to Berlin. He had stopped in front of a park, the benches were spaced equally apart, and there was a winding path between. I stared at the benches, my hand loosening around the leashes. Feliciano's soft hand in mine, warm with sweat. His smile soft, gingerly caressing my palm with his thumb as he sheepishly stared up at me. That smile, I missed that smile so much.

The dogs shuffled, waiting for me to continue walking. I pulled them back, wanting to leave, want to turn around, wanting to run home, but I did it calmly. At first the dogs resisted, but eventually they complied. As they walked ahead of me, Aster looked back at me, almost like he knew what was going through my mind. I shook my head, steering us in the direction of home.

Having reached the house, I unhooked the dog's leashes, and allowed them to run inside. I took of my shoes, and walked inside, turning to stare back at the place mat. Shoes… I learned to take them off from Kiku, my old friend. Where could he be now? Had it really been so long since I've seen him?

Easing into the room, Gilbert called out, "West, you got a phone call today; you'll never guess who it was!" He slid over, slamming into me and laughing.

Grinning like a child, he spoke with a sing-song voice. "Feliciano called," he smirked widely, looking over at me, "Haven't heard from him in a while, huh?"

Advancing toward him, I glared harshly, "That's some kind of joke right? You're kidding me. That isn't funny."

Mumbling incoherently, he faltered back, shaking his head. "I'm serious!" he wailed, "Feliciano called, I told him you were walking the dogs! Don't kill the messenger!"

Even though I wanted to hit him, because not only would it make me feel better, it would be fun, I decided against it. What I needed was more like a cold shower. "I'm going to shower." I said blatantly, walking to the stairwell.

"W-what about Feliciano? Aren't you going to call him back?" He questioned, eying the back of my head.

From the top of the stairs, I yelled back a no, stepping into the bathroom. Why would he call now, all of a sudden? I rolled my eyes, thinking how he would describe such a thing like this as fate; right when I started to miss him, he would call. But I didn't miss him, I reminded myself. What I missed was… what did I miss?

The shower pressure was low, but it didn't matter. It was hot enough where I didn't care, as long as I could feel it. My mind ran too fast, and I couldn't comprehend half of the things it thought. He called me. That was the main thought, and I tried to push it back as much as I could.

When I went to bed that night, I heard the phone ring again. I pretended to be asleep, because I knew who it was. But, I couldn't sleep that night. Unlike the night before, instead of dreams of Feliciano, I was cursed with dreams of smoke and a horrid smell filling up my lungs.


A/N: Read the first letter of paragraphs 4-10.