**WARNINGS**

Drugs, alcohol, profanity slash. If you don't like it, don't read it.

**DISCLAIMER**

No, I don't own any characters, but the idea for the story is mine.

Reviews are love.

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"Never say die
Leave me alone in the night
Keep me away from the light
Razorblade cuts the line
Never say never say die..."
Never say Die, by the 69 Eyes

Pickles was a simple man. He didn't require much, just a little booze and that was it. He didn't think that he had any attachment to anything or anyone in the world, and despite the fact that he possessed everything that he could wish for, he didn't love any of it. He didn't love anything, actually. There were the Klokateers, so humble and macabre in their black hoods, hoods that hid in secrecy the scars they'd received from years of demeaning and dangerous work...

There were the usual extravagant meals, the likes of which included delicacies that weren't found on the average dinner table: almas caviar, steak, lobster, and for the Scandinavian pallet crumb cakes topped with all sorts of delicious, rich berries or creamy streusel...

Then, of course, there were the fan girls, the big-breasted dolls that he verbally abused and detested, but loved to fuck. They were lacy little girls, some as young as fourteen, and they were essentially the same stupid, horny little freaks wrapped up in similar packages, the only differences between them being what they looked like...even this, though, had few variances. Blond, brunette, white, black, Asian, Spanish, French, German—yes, he loved Germans—and, on rare occasions, Australian tanned beauties straight from the dusty, dry Outback.

Life for Pickles was just an endless string of disappointment. He couldn't complete rehab, he couldn't get himself into a committed relationship, and he couldn't be happy with anything about himself. Often enough life bored him to the point where he'd actually begin hurting himself; during boring parties he'd find a fork or any kind of sharp thing and hold it casually, but when nobody was looking he'd stab it into his palm, making sure to draw blood. He'd slice his lip open with his teeth and suck the blood out during those boring meetings about the band. While Ofdensen talked his damn mouth off and everyone else fell into a bored, senseless stupor, he would sit there and indulge in his own liquid life. There were times, though, when someone else would come along and grab his attention. Toki was one of these people.

Pickles never realized how he felt about the guitarist until one day when he began drinking. Often when he was drunk truths emerged from his subconscious and made themselves clear; it was then that he realized that he actually loved the Norwegian. "Toki," he said soon after realizing his feelings for the other man, "I...I..."

But he couldn't do it. Instead he ended up drowning in his own fear of rejection, but there was something else that he did have the courage to do. After all, Toki's lips appeared to be so sweet, so alluring...he leaned forward and, with an amazing amount of passion, kissed the guitarist. For an instant the Norwegian was taken aback by this, but gradually he began to understand. He pushed Pickles away, wiped his mouth off on his hand, and exclaimed, "You ams sick!" and just like that, Pickles was left back where he'd been so many days of his life—alone and feeling nothing but hatred towards himself.

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He couldn't let go, couldn't forget just how delicious the Norwegian had tasted. In the end he regretted nothing, only the fact that he hadn't pushed Toki up against the wall and fucked him right there. Maybe this did make him sick, but Pickles didn't care. He wished with everything in him that he wasn't in love with another man, but that couldn't be fixed, so he supposed that he'd have to learn to accept it. Time passed, as did the memory of that fateful kiss, until one boring meeting came along.

Pickles had tried to forget about Toki, but couldn't. Now he sat in his seat, listing to Ofdensen ramble on about how much money they were making, wishing for a way out. Distractedly, he grabbed a rubber band that had been lying in the middle of the table and slipped it around his wrist. He began popping it against his skin, trying to drown out everything around him with pain. It worked for a while, and soon the meeting was over. Everyone got up to leave at once, except Toki. He turned and met the drummer's gaze, a look of concern on his face.

"I saw what you were doings with that thing." he said, rising out of his seat and walking over towards the redhead. Pickles just smiled to himself and flicked the rubber band once again, not even grimacing when it left a red mark on his wrist.

"What, 'dis?" he inquired, indicating the band. "I wasn't doin' nothin', just being bored like you."

"You were hurtings yourselfs." Toki insisted, reaching out to try to claim the rubber band. Pickles caught his wrist and held it in a death grip. The Norwegian's face reddened. "What ams you doing? Lets me go!"

"Nah, I don't think I will." but at the look on Toki's face, he had to release him. Once that was done he rose up out of his chair, took the rubber band off of his now swollen wrist, handed it to the Norwegian, and said, "Have fun with it."

"Pickle, we needs to talk." the guitarist insisted, catching the drummer by his arm and pulling him back. He arched a pierced brow.

"About what, dude?"

"Abouts..." his voice trailed off and he let out a troubled sigh. "Pickle," he finally said, "do you remembers that day when you kissed me?"

"Yeah, what about it?"

"It was just because you were drunks, right?"

He thought for a moment, shrugged, and said loftily, "Yeah, sure, whatever." this only seemed to confuse the guitarist more.

He asked, clinging to Pickles, "Please just tells me that it was! I've been worryings about it alots lately..."

"Worryin'?" he laughed. "What do you mean worrying, dude?"

"Abouts, you know, if I'ms gay or not."

"Oh." Pickles nodded in understanding and lightly patted the other man's shoulder. "Listen, don't worry. It didn't mean anything, honest. I wouldn't have done it if I wasn't so drunk, so-"

"But what ifs I would've wanted you to dos it?" he asked sweetly. The drummer felt his face growing red, and he took a step away from the other man. What was he doing? This wasn't right in any way.

He swallowed and said, staring intently at the floor, "You didn't, it was an accident and that's all there is too it." Toki took a step nearer the drummer and leaned very close to him, shaking his head.

"Nos," he whispered, his eyes full of passion, "I don't thinks that it was."

"Then what was it?" Pickles didn't realize it, but his hand was slowly beginning to make its way up to the guitarist's cheek; it stayed there, relishing the feeling of such smooth skin.

"I think that I may haves wanted it more if you hadn't been so drunks." he let Pickles pull him close and touch his hand. Pickles was shocked by this; it was as though everything he'd dreamed last night was happening—was this real? No, it couldn't be...it couldn't be because...because...

"I think that I loves you, Pickle."

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"Time to get up!" a voice said. Pickles cringed and pulled the covers of his bed up further. He huddled into a ball and shook his head stubbornly.

"No, I'm nat ready to get up!"

It was Ofdensen who said firmly, "Pickles, it's time to get up now. You've been asleep all day and we still have work on the alum!"

"But I-"

"If you're not up and down in the studio within ten minutes, I'll send a Klokateer up to drag you out of bed." and with that, the manager slammed the door to the room and left. Pickles let out an angry groan and sat up. He peered around his dim room. In the little bit of sunlight that streamed in from his blinds, he was just able to see an endless supply booze bottles staring back at him. He got out of bed, dressed himself, then proceeded to take the long walk downstairs. He got down there in record time, but to his surprise one person was missing. Arching a brow, Pickles asked loudly, "Hey, where's Toki?"

Everyone's faces grew pale. Skwisgaar's eyes became overly bright as he turned to Nathan and asked in a low voice, "Ammnest he serious?"

"Am I serious about what?" he looked around the room, noted his companion's faces, and felt something inside of him begin to worry. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. "Is he sick or somethin'? I mean, he's alright, isn't he?"

"I-I can'ts—Nathan, I can't deals with this right now." Skwisgaar whispered, walking out of the studio. "This ammnest toos much."

The singer nodded in understanding. A sad, grave look was on his face as he snapped at Pickles, "Don't be stupid; watch your fucking mouth."

"Yeah," Murderface agreed, trying to hide his own sorrow, "don't talk about T..." for some reason he wasn't able to say the guitarist's name. Pickles ran a hand thru his hair and sat down.

He'd been drunk and high yesterday, but what in the hell had he missed? Toki wasn't here and something was clearly amiss. Gradually a kind of cold, horrible understanding swept over him and he raised his head, his emerald eyes wide. "Guys, Toki isn't here any more, is he?"

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Everything seemed to happen so quickly—one moment the drummer was in the recording studio, the next Nathan was having a fit, throwing things around, and now Pickles found himself sitting in Ofdensen's office. He sat across from the other man, only separated by a desk, but for some reason the manager seemed miles away from him. His chair was pushed back against the wall, as far as it could go, and he was staring off into space, his head resting on his hand, his eyes red. Pickles swallowed and ventured to say, "I don't get what I did wrong. I was only askin' if he was okay."

Ofdensen said nothing for a long time then finally he shook his head and murmured brokenly, "How could you?"

"How could I what?"

"Be so thoughtless!" he whirled around in his chair to face the drummer. His sorrow had temporarily changed into a horrible, sickening rage as he cried, "How can you not remember?"

"Remember what?" Pickles yelled, feeling himself grow pale with fear. He'd never seen Ofdensen act like this. Surely things were worse than he'd ever imagined before.

Time seemed to stand still as Ofdensen said, "How can't you remember that he's dead?"

It seemed as though the drummer's brain absolutely quit working then. Toki was dead? How had this happened and why couldn't he remember anything? It took every ounce of strength in him to shake his head and respond with a meek, "N-No, he's nat...he can't be...I don't remember him—he's okay, he's just..."

"He's dead," Ofdensen repeated, wiping his glasses off on his shirt.

"No!"

"He died days ago, Pickles, and you've been asleep since yesterday morning; why can't you remember anything?"

"I...I..." he had no answer for this. All he could do was sit there and repeat mindlessly, "He's nat dead, he's nat dead..." Toki couldn't be dead, because if he was then Pickles had let him go without even telling him how he felt, how much he cared for him. How had the guitarist died, anyway? A million questions were flying around in his brain, but he didn't have the courage to let them travel past his lips. Instead of speaking he just sat there numbly as Ofdensen dug in his desk and pulled out a little bottle of pills.

He passed them over to Pickles and said, "Please, these help, they really do. I've let Nathan and Skwisgaar start taking them—Murderface still says he isn't sad. Maybe they'll help you."

The drummer peered down and attempted to read the label, but couldn't make out the words. His eyes were too blurred with tears to see much of anything. He still didn't think that this was all real, but as he rose up and hurried out of Ofdensen's office, he couldn't help but think back...what had he been doing the last time he'd been awake? Drinking, doing drugs, but what about Toki? How could he have managed to totally forget about the Norwegian's death if it really did happen? Hadn't he gone to the funeral, or had everyone just allowed him to sleep thru everything? More importantly, how did Toki die? He had been young, stupid yes, but so young...he hadn't done too many drugs or drank in excess all that much, so how could he just not be living?

Blindly Pickles had made his way out of the Mordhaus, past all of the droves of Klokateers that worked outside, and to a quiet corner of the yard. Once there he fell to his knees and finally began to sob. A few yards away, sitting erect and cold in a clearing of freshly turned earth, was a marble tombstone.

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**A/N**

This story isn't designed to play itself out perfectly and be predictable. It will be presented in short little pieces, and the ending won't be what you think it will be. I hope you enjoy this small little story, and remember that reviews are love. There's more to come.

PEACE & LOVE