CHAPTER 9: SURRENDER

Tick, tock, tick, tock. Pickles let out a loud, bored sigh as he peered up and observed the clock above the door of the detention room. The hands barley seemed to move at all as he stared emptily up at them. All he could think about was getting the hell out of that room and being able to talk to Toki again. He laid his head down on his desk and closed his eyes, tried to make time pass by faster. It didn't help at all. He sat up straight and began rapping his fingers on his desk nervously—he'd never been good at keeping still in one place for very long, not even when he'd been at home. He had to move and run around or he felt like he might die. Distractedly he looked over and saw Toki staring at him, fidgeting excitedly, trying to contain his pent-in energy. I know, Pickles thought, giving him a little smile, I want out too, dude.

The teacher who was looking after them put down the book he'd been reading for the past few hours and glanced over a the clock. To their surprise he got up, picked up his jacket, and walked over to the door. "Just go, it's been long enough. Be in here tomorrow on time."

Pickles arched a brow and asked skeptically, "You're lettin' us leave early?"

He nodded and motioned to the door. "Yeah, and hurry up before I-"

Toki was already out the door by then, and Pickles was quickly following. He caught up to the Norwegian and took his hand as they walked thru the halls. "Whadda wanna do first?"

He shrugged. "I don'ts know. Can't we just-"

"Run around outside? Yeah, sure." Pickles cut him off then started hurrying thru the winding halls until they reached the fresh, crisp outside. Toki arched a brow.

"I never saids I wanted to-"

"Yeah you did."

"Buts-"

"Shut up and run."

He shrugged, indicating just how confused he was about all of this, but in the end he decided that he felt like expelling a little of his energy too, so he followed Pickles into the forest and they, for some odd reason or another, began playing hide-and-seek. They ran around jumping over fallen tree limbs and branches, crunching over dead leaves, and shouting for about two hours before Pickles finally managed to catch up to Toki. "I gat you." he panted, pulling him close.

The Norwegian just grinned and agreed, "Ja, you sures do."

Once they'd worn themselves down enough, they both walked slowly back up to their room. "You knows," Toki commented as he laid down on the bed, "this ams kind of funny—it ams like we're living together."

"We are living together, idiot." Pickles said, throwing his book sack down in a corner.

"Nos, I means that it's almost like we're married or somethings."

He turned red. "Oh yeah, you would like that, right?"

The Norwegian shrugged. Clearly he wanted to say yes, but his timidness prevented him from doing so, and the only thing he could say to answer was, "Maybes..."

"Well here-" Pickles went over to his suitcase and dug out the last bottle of whiskey that Gunther had brought for him. He threw it over to Toki and said graciously, "If we're married now, you can have the first drink." he'd never let anyone have the first sip out of a fresh bottle before, but now he didn't care. He just watched as his room mate cautiously unscrewed the cap and stared into the glass bottle.

"Does it taste goods?"

He laughed. "Nah, it's disgusting, but it makes you feel good."

"Oh. Okays, then." he gulped down no more than two sips before throwing the bottle to the side. Pickles rushed to recover it and save the remaining alcohol. Toki began gagging and choking, shuddering in disgust at what had just slipped down his throat.

Pickles took several bold, large sips before capping it and placing it on the table beside the bed. "S'good, huh?"

Toki's allowed a look of utter disgust to come across his face. "No, it ams not good! There ams no way that that stuff can be goods for you, Pickle. I don't think that you should drink it any mores."

He laughed openly at this and reached over; he ran a hand thru Toki's long hair and said, "S'nat bad for you, it's great...c'mere." he pulled the Norwegian close to him and wrapped his arms around the other boy's waist. He let his eyes close for a moment before letting out a blissful sigh. I love you.

"I...you shouldn't drink sos much."

His eyes popped open and he gave the other boy an inquisitive look. "What?"

Toki's eyes shifted; he was pale, shaky, and oddly enough he seemed to be genuinely terrified. "People aren't good when they drink—they hurts me."

"But I won't-"

"Ja you wills. Everyone does eventually." he made a move to pull away from the redhead, but was caught and pulled closer into a strong embrace.

"I'm not gonna ever hurt you, I swear."

"Then stops drinking."

He hesitated for a moment before admitting, "I can't. It's in my blood now, I need it...you wouldn't understand."

"No, maybe I wouldn't." he said, attempting to squirm out of the hug. "But I don't likes it. I-"

"Stap trying to get away from me, Gad damn it!" Pickles yelled suddenly, grabbing hold of Toki's skinny wrists. He held them as tightly as he could and made the Norwegian crawl back over to him.

Tears shined in his pale eyes as he asked meekly, "You ams hurting me."

"I'm barley even touching-"

"You ams hurting me!" he was sobbing now and trembling so badly that Pickles lost all of his anger. He released the other boy from his death grip and backed away a little.

"I didn't mean-"

"Nobody ever means it," he sobbed hopelessly, "but it always happens anyways...why does it happens?"

Then suddenly a new kind of understanding came upon Pickles then. This wasn't about him, it was about someone—something else. Toki wasn't telling him something important. This made him feel cold inside, almost numb. He had thought that the Norwegian was the open one in the relationship, that he'd trusted him enough to tell him anything and everything, but clearly there were some things that he was holding back. He didn't know quite where to go from here—although Pickles wanted desperately to help Toki, he was afraid to try to touch him again or even sit near him. Clearly the thought of any kind of human contact petrified him, so the redhead just sat there on the bed, watching him cry. He felt himself tear up as a feeling of hopelessness entered his heart. He couldn't help Toki—the one time the Norwegian really needed him, and he could do nothing about it, absolutely nothing.

"Dude, I—I'm sorry. I don't think this is about me, but-"

"It ams about you, don't you gets it?" Toki cried, hugging his knees to his chest. "Everything ams about you!"

"What are you talkin' about?" when no answer came, only more tears, Pickles plucked up his courage and scooted a little closer to Toki. He took his hand and said gently, "Are you okay?"

"N-No."

"What's wrong?"

"Everything."

"Maybe I could fix it for you?"

Toki sniffled and shook his head. "No, nobodys can fix it."

Pickles frowned at this response and insisted, "But I'd really like to help you fix it, dude."

"I—you can'ts."

"Why nat? How bad could the problem be, anyway?"

He was trembling, his voice breaking as he whispered, "It ams really bad, because the problem ams me." once those words had left his mouth, everything else seemed to flood out at once. In an instant he was crying and repeating, "I ams the problem—I said I loved you, I lets you help me, I didn't let you fucks me...it ams my fault."

"Is that what this is about, sex?"

"No, I—I hates it."

"What?" Pickles asked gently, slipping an arm over Toki's shoulder.

"Me."

He was so stricken by this comment, that all he could think to do was shake his head and say over and over again, "Nah you're not, you're n-"

"I-I wants to gos home." Toki said, wiping his tears away. "I wants to just gos home and let my dad kills me."

"But-"

"I would deserve it, anyways." Something inside of Pickles snapped and he shook Toki hard, made him let out a terrified gasp. "Pickle, what ams-"

"Don't ever say that in front of me; never. There's nothing that you could ever do to deserve to die, do you understand?" he'd never felt so powerless in his whole life, and as the Norwegian gave him a sad smile, he felt himself losing all hope.

"You don't get it. You'll never gets it...everything he said to me, everything he did..." he let out a frustrated sigh and admitted, "I can't forgets it. He ams really bad to me, Pickle."

"Who, your dad?"

He didn't answer this question, but instead continued his own thought. "And I knows that it ams almost the end of summer, and that means that you'll have to gos home, and I don't think I'm ready for that...we haven't even—everyone I love leaves. Maybe it ams me. Maybe I'm not meant to be with anyones..."

"Hey, dude," Pickles said, nudging him lightly, trying desperately to get his attention, "I'm not gonna go anywhere, I swear."

"Yeah you ams."

"No I'm—"

"Pickle, the truth ams that you're going to leaves me," Toki insisted, pulling away from the redhead. "just like everyones else, and you will forgets about me as soon as you ams back in America. I'll never forgets about you, though..." his voice trailed off and he looked sad as he whispered, "You don't belong with me, you belongs in America, not here."

"But-"

"I've been thinkings about it a lot latleys." Toki confessed, meeting the emerald gaze of the other teenager. "And I reallys can't stands it, so I don't think that we should be together anymores."

"No." Pickles said firmly, shaking his head. "You're nat gonna try to dump me because you're scared of what might happen. That's bullshit."

"When you leave, then-"

"Is that all this is about? Dude, I'm not gonna leave, not ever." he pulled Toki close to him, embraced him like he'd never done before. To his astonishment, Toki actually melted into the hug. Though he was able to calm the Norwegian down that night, he couldn't help but begin to think about the reality of the situation. Summer was almost over, and he knew very well that he couldn't stay in Norway forever, no matter how much he might want to. Soon, perhaps any day now, his parents would be calling on him to return back to Wisconsin, where he belonged.

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The sky was stunning, full of endless, amazingly feathered clouds. Pickles smiled to himself as he peered out of the window of their room; he could see much of the school. It shined in the early morning sunlight like nothing else he'd ever seen before, and the courtyard full of benches where he and Toki spent much of their time was overgrown with dewy grass. Pickles opened the window and let the fresh air roll into the stuffy, cramped room. A bell sounded out, echoed across the grounds, and below hundreds of teenagers much like himself began switching classes and taking lunch breaks.

"What ams you doing?" Toki inquired, walking up the window and glancing out of it. Clearly he saw nothing impressive. "Close the window; it ams getting chilly."

"S'real nice here." Pickles commented as he latched up the window. "I just may never leave."

This made the Norwegian say moodily, "Shuts up." he walked back over to the bed they shared, picked up a book, and began to read it. Pickles watched him do this, watched as Toki's lips moved to form the words silently, watched as his nimble fingers turned page after page. Without quite knowing what he was doing, he strode over, placed a hand on Toki's cheek, and leaned down to kiss him. He kissed him deeply and longingly, not holding anything back, and this made the Norwegian turn bright red and lay down his book.

Pickles smiled down at him and said boldly, "I'm not gonna forget that—your taste." he'd meant to think this, but of course this didn't work out very well.

Toki smiled and looped his arms around the redhead's neck; he pulled him down, closer to his face, and whispered, "No you won't, because you ams not leaving, remembers?"

"Yeah." he agreed, standing up straighter. He wandered back over to the window and, very silently, began to cry. Tears slipped down his face in steady streams and he wiped them away, but more kept flowing. Only two weeks of his summer vacation remained.

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With only two days of his summer vacation left to spare, Pickles attempted to discover as much as he could about his Toki. In return, he told the Norwegian everything about himself, from his childhood to his brother, and even about how he and Gunther had been romantically involved. Nothing was too trivial or unimportant. They also spent a fair amount of time just playing around—games of tag, hide-and-seek, and I-Spy were only a few ways in which Pickles relived his lost and forgotten childhood. It was odd, but something about Toki awakened the good in him; it was a good that he'd discarded back when he was young. Now, as he watched Toki slip into his AC/DC shirt, he couldn't help but to throw a pillow at him and grin.

"Get your ass over here."

"Nos." he said firmly, throwing the pillow right back. "I won'ts."

"Yeah," he insisted, opening up his arms wide. "you will." In an instant Toki had launched himself into Pickles' arms. Just before he could really get comfortable, however, the redhead threw him away and onto the floor. Within a matter of seconds they were wrestling, wrecking the room, and throwing each other to the ground.

"I'm gonna kill you." Pickles hissed as he pinned Toki to the ground. The Norwegian pushed him away roughly and forced him against the wall.

"No, 'cause you ams not going to win."

"I'm nat?" he kissed Toki before unceremoniously pushing him onto the bed. They were both panting, sweating, wanting something that they weren't sure it was time to have.

Finally Toki pulled Pickles down on top of him and whispered in his ear, "I thinks that I'm ready for you nows." he confessed, his cheeks blushing. His voice was so absolute that it left no room for any sort of compromise. Pickles just grinned broadly and settled himself.

"You think so, huh?"

"When do you haves to leave?"

A fair question. "Soon, but it doesn't matter. You don't have to do it just 'cause I'm-"

"I know I don't haves to do it—that ams why I want it so fuckings bad."

Just the way he said that—that ams why I want it so fuckings bad—made Pickles grow hot. He laughed and leaned forward. "You want it? Fine, I'll give it to you, baby." he kissed him again, snaked his tongue between the other boy's sweet lips, and tasted the warmth of his mouth. Toki moaned and let his guard down enough for Pickles to slip a hand up under his shirt. "Take it off for me." he requested.

He hesitated, appeared to be unsure of himself, and so Pickles removed the thing for him then took off his own. He settled down and began ravaging the Norwegian's body—kissing, biting, and feeling. Warm skin against fingertips, so smooth and young...flawless, so pale and hot. Toki was on fire, he was begging for it as Pickles slowly began slipping out of his jeans. "Are you hard yet?" he wondered aloud, running a careful hand up the Norwegian's clothed thigh.

Toki just bit his lower lip and replied meekly, "Ja."

Pickles smiled and backed away slightly. They both knew what should be done here—this was a major decision for Toki, and so he had to be the one to completely give into his lust. That's why Pickles sat back and watched as the other teenager took off his pants and underwear. Pickles did the same then pulled Toki into his lap. "Come'mere." he held him in his arms, hugged him close, and kissed him again and again. "You," he whispered against the Norwegian's neck, "you're mine—my virgin."

"Pickle, ams you going to hurt me?"

"Nope."

"What if you dos?"

He thought for a moment then laughed softly. "What, you think I don't know what I'm doin'? I mean, I've never done it with another guy before, but how complicated could it be?" he wondered as his hands slipped down and found Toki's ass. "I just lay you down and-"

Toki cut him off with a kiss then sank down and took Pickles' cock into his hands. He stroked it like he'd done weeks before, only now he held nothing back. His naked body seemed to glow as he took it into his mouth; his hand found his own erection and began rubbing it. Pickles sat back and let him work, let him suck him down into his throat. Please began to rise up inside of him like a maddening spirit waiting to break free. Slowly, he thrust his hips foreword, encouraging more of himself down the other teenager's throat. He bit his lip and then pulled himself away. This was too much too fast. He had to pace things. At the pleased look on Toki's face, he leaned over and kissed him.

"You make me so fuckin' hard."

"Now whats?" he asked, his voice breaking with the anticipation of what was to come.

Pickles gave him a small smile and said kindly, "Lay back for me." Gingerly he placed a hand on Toki's shoulder and guided him back until he was finally laying down. The Norwegian's whole body was tense. He let out a fearful gasp as Pickles' hand traveled down his stomach. "You gotta relax for me. Can you do that?"

He nodded and shut his eyes. "Ja, I can. I'm sorrys, I-"

"What are you apologizing for?"

A pause then, "I-I don't knows."

Pickles continued exploring lower and lower until he was able to take Toki's stiff cock into his hands. The Norwegian looked at him in surprise, but the redhead silenced his concerns and inquiries by running his thumb over the head. It was then that a question came to his mind. "How long have you wanted me to fuck you?"

Toki laughed and said, "Since forevers...I wanted to hates you for beating me up all the times, but—God, what ams you doing to me?"

Pickles had lowered his head and taken the Norwegian's hard dick into his mouth. In a moment he pulled away and began pushing Toki's legs open. He tensed up again, and so Pickles stopped and frowned at him. "You gotta trust me, okay?"

No, Toki thought, not okay. He'd never trusted anyone his whole life besides his father, and that hadn't turned out well at all. Now, though, as he watched Pickles smile down at him, he couldn't help but to feel a kind of redemption. If anyone from his prior life—from before he'd met Pickles—could see him now, they wouldn't know who he was anymore. Gradually he felt something inside of him give way, and he became thoroughly relaxed under the redhead's longing gaze. I love him, so it's okay...he won't hurt me...

The next few minutes seemed to pass by impossibly fast, and soon Pickles was inside of him. Toki accepted him boldly, never faltering or backing out. It was too late for all of that childish stuff now, because now he wasn't a kid anymore. Now he wasn't that same old child he'd been back at his house, fixing breakfast for his ungrateful cousins, hiding in his room, crying, waiting for his father to beat him...no, he wasn't like that anymore. Now he was an adult, or at least he felt like one then, as Pickles thrust into him and moaned.

He watched the other boy with his blue, pure eyes full of affection. It wasn't lust or desire—though this was intermingled within his pale eyes—but more of an unchecked admiration towards the other boy that filled his being at that point. Toki couldn't believe that anyone could be so wonderful to him, so understanding and gentle. For the first time in his life he felt like a person, not just a mere waste of flesh and blood. Without warning he began to cry. It was as though then, right as Pickles leaned down and whispered to him, "I love you." that every pain and heartache that he'd felt in his whole life filled him—he began trembling, struggling to retain his emotions.

He was in ecstasy, he was in agony, and perhaps above all, he was in love.

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Pickles watched Toki sleep; it was early the next morning and he knew what he had to do. He'd gotten the call from his parents yesterday. He knew that today was the day he had to leave. Although he had a nearly overwhelming urge to awaken the Norwegian and make love to him again, he resisted it and rolled out of bed. He grabbed some old clothes and walked silently into the bathroom. He knew that Toki deserved better than this, and a horrible guilt filled his heart as he turned on the shower and grabbed a towel. The Norwegian should have someone better, someone that didn't live hundreds of miles and a whole world away. Pickles swallowed down his sadness and climbed into the steaming shower.

He had to get ready as soon as he could so he could catch his plane and go home. Would he tell Toki goodbye? No. It would be too hard for him. He'd cry, he'd fall apart, he'd-

"Pickle, why ams you taking a shower so early? It's only six in the mornings."

The redhead sighed and peered around the shower curtain. Toki was standing in the middle of the small bathroom in nothing but his AC/DC shirt. His hair was incredibly messy and untamed; Pickles felt like pulling him into the shower and ripping off that damn shirt. He'd fuck him again, and then...go home? "I...well I-"

"I was just wonderings, 'cause I know that you ams gonna wanna get breakfast, sos-"

"Nah, I think I'll skip it today." Pickles said, giving him a gentle smile. Toki arched a brow.

"But whats abouts detention? We haves to go, and you always gets angry when you're hungry."

"I don't think that'll be a problem."

"Buts-"

"I don't think I'll be eating breakfast here anymore." he said, giving Toki a nod of affirmation. Yeah, he communicated silently, that's right—I gotta go. All at once the Norwegian's eyes had filled with a horrible understanding, and in an instant he was sobbing. "Toki," Pickles tried to explain as the steaming water of the shower washed over him, "listen, it isn't my choice. I would stay here forever with you if I could, but-"

"Please don'ts go! This ams not fair!" he cried, jumping into the shower with the redhead. He wrapped his arms around Pickles and pulled him into an impossibly tight hug. "I loves you so much...you can't leave!"

"I have to, dude. I'm sorry, but it isn't my choice."

"I'll never sees you again!"

"You think I don't know 'dat?" he asked quietly, kissing the top of his head. "I can't even think about it—what it's gonna be like to wake up and just nat have you next to me no more. It's gonna be Hell."

For some reason he ran out of things to say, despite the fact that he had about a million thoughts brewing in his brain. All he could think to do was hold Toki close, let the water rush over the both of them, and begin to cry too. "I'll be fine," he whispered in his love's ear, cradling him like he was the most prized thing in the world, "and you'll be fine, too..."

And this, he knew, was a lie.

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Toki helped Pickles pack his suitcase after that. Few things were said because everything between them was already understood. They both knew just how the other felt about them, and so they didn't want to spoil the last few precious minutes of their time together talking uselessly. Pickles cried in silence as he zipped up his suitcase. Beside him Toki stood, staring down at the floor, letting tears run down his smooth cheeks. Finally it was done, this was it. After Pickles walked out of the door, he'd never return. They'd be apart forever. Although he knew that flings like this were common and never lasted, the redhead couldn't help but think that this was so much more than that. He really loved this kid, this other boy who before he'd tried to beat to death.

Pickles blinked back tears. He met Toki's gaze and saw his own pitiful, weak reflection staring back at him. "I-I'm never gonna forget you."

"And I'm never going to forget you eithers."

"Swear?"

He nodded and reached for Pickles' hand. "Don'ts be stupid."

"I...uh...well, I love you, dude."

"Ja, I knows you do."

Gunther had been right about one thing—when Toki said 'ja', it really was irresistibly cute. Pickles smiled bitterly. He had to let this go now, this wonderfully amazing person that, in time, would forget about him and give his heart to someone else. Without shame he pulled the other boy into an embrace and kissed his forehead. "I love you so fuckin' much."

Toki's eyes flitted down to the floor as more tears began to flow. "Ja," he said, "I knows."

"Goodbye, Toki."

"Goodbye, Pickle. Good luck in wherever it ams you're going."

"Yeah," he said, walking out the door, "you too."

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7 YEARS LATER

Pickles sat around a table with four other men who, unlike him, were all watching as yet another guitarist showed them his skill. He was quite well off now, had been for the past few years. After his last band had plummeted into oblivion, he'd joined another one, one whose popularity was rising to staggering levels. There was Skiwsgaar, the blond Swede who reminded him so much of his teenage love, Toki; there was Nathan, the singer, and then Murderface. There was also a man named Ofdensen, who ensured the band's financial survival. There had been another man with them, the rhythm guitarist, but he'd quit out of a matter of pride. Now they all sat around a stupid table holding auditions for a replacement, debating on who was the least horrible.

Pickles had just about given up all home by the ninety-fifth wistful, wide-eyed guitarist, and he laid his head down on the table and tried to get some sleep. He'd gotten quite drunk the night before, and now he was regretting it. Finally, as Ofdensen excused the ninety-fifth hopeful, the end was in sight. "It would appear as if we have only one more guitarist left to see," Ofdensen said. Still Pickles didn't raise his head. He was thinking back to a summer seven years ago, when his parents had sent him away to a foreign school...

...the summer he'd met the one, true love of his life...

...then lost him.

Now he listened faintly as Skwisgaar let out a groan of something close to agony and exclaimed, "But none of them ammnest any goods! Fucks this shit, I'm dones!"

"But he's been sitting outside since yesterday—nothing to eat or drink, just waiting for us to see him, Skwisgaar." Ofdensen insisted.

Nathan sighed. "What's the idiot's name?"

A pause, then, "Well, I don't know his name exactly. It's foreign, hard to say...T—Tokyo, I think."

Murderface laughed insanely. "You think we're letting a fag like Tokyo into our band? That'sh bullshit!"

"Just please give him a chance. He'll be coming in shortly and—Pickles!" Ofdensen snapped, throwing his pen at the drummer. "Would you like to join in the conversation?"

He didn't have to think about this before he was answering, never picking up his head, "Nah, I'm good. You get to it, dude. I trust you."

He sighed and nodded. "Very well, then." there was a slight click as the door opened and a familiar scent filled the air. Pickles perked up slightly, but didn't raise up his head. It smelled like...

"Gentlemen," Ofdensen announced, "may I introduce you to-"

"Tokis," a kind and warm voice said, "Tokis Wartooth."

Slowly, so slowly, Pickles looked up and dared to meet eyes with the stranger. Was this a trick? The person that stood in front of the band was slender, had long, caramel-colored hair. He was the most beautiful person that the redhead had ever seen since that summer long ago. A slow, steady smile grew across Pickles' face as he stared at Toki, and the Norwegian just grinned right back. It was time to pick things up from where they'd left off.