Author's Note: Wow okay that was a really long hiatus but YAY. New Chapter. Wahhhh it's almost over. One more chapter and then it's time to write Nightmares and Daydreams! I'm super excited for it. I'm so grateful for everyone who's stuck by and waited, and especially to one konasmitchell because she's my best friend and this wouldn't have gotten done without her. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy, and please review because your words make my writing better!

Looking out onto the rolling waves, one Trevor Bucket sat perched atop his surf board as the waves rolled underneath him. He didn't know why he was out here; just the motion of walking down the steps to the beach had been painful enough for him. He hadn't talked to Skinner in nearly two months, and now that Christmas Vacation was in full effect, Bucket knew he wouldn't be hearing from him any time soon. At school he'd made a point to avoid talking to him, he always had somewhere else to be at lunch, and he started riding the bus home or getting rides from his other friends. Anything he could do to avoid Skinner, he did, and the blond had gotten the picture and stopped trying to make contact. Instead, he hung out with Melissa all the time. Even if Bucket didn't want to pay them any mind, he never failed to turn a corner and see them holding hands or making out or casually groping each other in the halls. The brunet teen couldn't help but hate this girl with every fiber of his being, projecting the blame he had originally placed on himself back onto her once more.

But here, alone, with nothing but the sound of the ocean around him, he had no one to blame but himself. It was a never ending spiral of hate and depression, making him want to move away or even just go to sleep and never wake up. His dreams were just nightmares, really. The manifestation of all the blame and guilt he went through every day, turning the brunet teen into an insomniac to try to escape the images. He was tired. He was tired of this feeling, he was tired of what was going on. He just wanted to go back in time to when things weren't so hard, to when he didn't have these feelings for his friend. It was just that it would be a long, long time to go back because of how long those feelings had been there, barely hidden by his infatuation with Kelly.

Thunder rolled in the distance, still a couple miles off shore. Without even a second thought, the teen adjusted himself on the board and began paddling out further. He needed something. Something that would consume his attention for even a few minutes. He needed the perfect wave, and he saw it coming. He paddled out farther, waiting for the wave to roll in. Bigger and bigger, cresting white at the top as it finally broke. Bucket turned his board around and began paddling back when he could hear the wave coming. All he wanted to do was forget. As the wave picked him up, he climbed up and balanced on his board, arms out to create a sort of equilibrium on the moving surface. It was moving, moving, too fast for him to keep up. He was losing control fast, and a shocking sense of déjà vu hit him hard. Or was it the wave crashing down on him, pulling him under the water and refusing to let him go? All he wanted to do was forget, and yet all he could think about as the world turned black was how surfing without his surfing buddy was the second stupidest thing he'd ever done in his life.


Laying in a dark room, two bodies moved together on a small bed noiselessly. The two twisted and turned, locked in a close embrace. After a few minutes, they parted, one panting heavily and the other giggling breathlessly. "What about your parents?" a male voice said, leaning down to pepper kisses along the jaw of the body beneath him. She sighed a bit and ran her fingers over his bare shoulder lightly, down his bicep and forearm before moving back up the same path again.

"They won't come up here."

"Are you-"

"Marshall. Honey." Her words were accented by some form of movement that caused the blond above her to groan. "I'm sure they won't come up here and interrupt us." If nothing else did first. Karma was usually Skinner's friend so he wasn't concerned. He flipped them over in the bed so she was on top of him, groaning just a bit when the movement created a friction he had come to enjoy over the years. The girl above him giggled, drawing the sheet over her head and ducking lower, her hands going for his belt buckle. She let out a louder giggle, hand rubbing him through the fabric of his shorts. "Is that a vibrator in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" Stupid, but cute, the blond mused. Until actual vibrating happened in his pants and he sat up quickly. He couldn't remember leaving his cellphone in his pocket, but it was vibrating in a very uncomfortable place. The only thing to stop it was to remove the device and see who was bothering him on his vacation.

"Hang on." He said, pulling out his cellphone and illuminating the dark room. His hair was mussed and his forehead was slightly sticky. The brunet girl looked him over hungrily, ducking back down and going for his pants again. He didn't stop her, looking through the text message he'd just received. Taking a minute to fully absorb what was said, he frowned heavily and began to move away from her. "Wait, stop." He said, re-reading what was being displayed on his phone screen. The girl groaned with frustration and stopped for now. "It's Bucket's mom … he's in the hospital. He had an accident."

Suddenly, Skinner couldn't stop his heart from racing. The thought of his best friend – yes, best friend. Though they weren't talking, he would still do anything for the other teen – being in the hospital was something his mind couldn't get around. He didn't know what to do, but he knew he had to get to Bucket. Reaching above his head, he flicked on the lamp and began searching for his shirt, knowing it had been discarded somewhere in the bed. Melissa watched him, her frown getting deeper and deeper as he dressed himself and gathered his things. "Where are you going, babe?" she asked, reaching out to take his hand as he walked by. Skinner turned to her, brow creased and teeth nibbling at his bottom lip. Looking at her now, the fact that her jean skirt was hiked up around her middle and her bra was still on but unhooked did nothing to make him want to stay any more.

"I have to back. Bucket needs me."

"No, I need you. If Bucket's in the hospital, he'll still be there in an hour." She smiled coyly then, shrugging her shoulders and letting her bra straps fall from their perch. Skinner only stared, watching the scene unfold and slowly realizing that she did almost nothing for him. After the split second of shock at her actions, his mind refocused on gathering his things and getting out the door. Melissa made a small squeaking noise, getting up off the bed and coming up behind him. She put her arms around Skinner's slender waist and held him close, obviously fake sobs shaking her body as she pressed her bare chest against his clothed back. "Skinner, please. Don't leave me here like this." She sounded sincere, but she was the furthest thing from his mind. Bucket needed him, needed his support. He'd been somewhat of a terrible friend since Melissa expressed interest in him, he knew that now. Bucket was dependant on him, everyone said it was true.

"Get off." Skinner said, pushing the girl away and picking up his backpack, walking out the door. As he fished his keys out of his bag, he passed the living room of the spacious cottage Melissa's family had rented for the winter holiday where her parents were sitting. He backtracked, turning to face them and hefting his bag on his shoulder. "Thank you for letting me stay here. I gotta go home though. Something came up, and … well, bye." He smiled a bit at Melissa's mother and stepfather and then left the cottage, racing down the stairs and towards his station wagon. It was a long two and a half hour drive back to Pacific Bluffs and it was already getting dark. As he sat in the driver's seat and started the engine, Skinner pulled out his phone and texted back to Bucket's mom:

B there in 2hrs. ty for telling me.

He planned without hesitation to practically break every speed limit on his way there. He just really needed to get to Bucket. "God, why haven't they invented teleporter pods yet? Stupid economy." He said harshly, shifting the car into gear and backing out of the driveway.


Five hours later, Skinner was sitting at Bucket's bedside, still absorbing the extent of his injuries and letting it sink into his brain. When he'd arrived, Bucket's mom was alone in the room reading a book and had said her son was getting another test done, some kind of scan of his Jurassic area. No that wasn't right … Skinner couldn't remember. He was no good with big words like that. Anyways, here he sat, waiting for Bucket to wake up again. They'd seen each other once already, but the brunet had been in so much pain that they gave him medicine that knocked him out quickly. The test must have been tough on him. All he knew, that he could understand, were cracked ribs and a broken leg. That was about six weeks in a hospital bed and another three at home on strict bed rest. After that, he didn't know. He'd stopped listening to the doctor explain the planned courses of action to Bucket's mom. Instead he'd put his hand in his friend's, feeling the cold fingers and wanting to warm them up. Bucket hated having cold hands, and hospitals were drafty.

"Marshall, honey?" a voice said behind him, and the blond turned. His own grandmother was standing there with Bucket's mom, looking at him with sympathetic eyes. He hesitated, looking back at Bucket before letting go of his hand and going over to his grandmother. "I just came to check on you." She said, taking his hands in hers and smiling. "I knew you'd be here as soon as I heard what happened. You just do what you need to do here, don't worry about me."

"Gammy …" Skinner said, holding her hands a bit tighter. He knew she'd been sick lately, getting up in her years and having it catch up to her. He'd totally forgotten, though, to check in with her as soon as he got back into town. She patted his cheek and smiled, letting go of him and turning away. Bucket's mom went with her to walk her down to her car, leaving the two alone. Skinner sighed softly, watching after his grandmother until she turned a corner at the end of the hall, and then went back to Bucket's bedside to find him awake and watching. "Bucket! You're awake." He climbed cautiously up on the bed, smiling when the brunet put his hand on his knee.

"You let go of my hand. Of course I woke up." Bucket said hoarsely, closing his eyes again and shifting his shoulders back into the pillow. He groaned though, opening his eyes and staring up at the ceiling. Skinner smiled, a bit relieved at his friend's comment. "Breathing hurts." The brunet said, moving his eyes onto his blond friend. He watched as Skinner's brow creased and his eyes dart to the call button briefly before settling back on him.

"I know, Buck. I - … I'm so sorry you're hurting. I came as soon as your mom texted me. I was – " he chuckled a bit, looking down at the hand on his knee and placing his own hand over it, rubbing his thumb over the back of the brunet's wrist. For some reason, he could feel himself about to cry. "I was about to make it with Melissa, but I left her … half naked in her room because I needed to get here. I knew you needed me … I'm so sorry about all of this, Bucket. I wasn't thinking about us at all." Skinner closed his eyes, lifting his free hand to wipe at his eyes.

"It's not your fault, Skinner. I just don't like change, but I should have gotten over it and let you be happy." Bucket said, turning his hand in Skinner's so he could actually hold on to it. The blond leaned forward, hovering over the other and pressing their foreheads together. His eyes were still closed and he was shaking his head a bit.

"I was miserable without you. I mean … she doesn't even like tacos. How can I like someone who doesn't like tacos?" Skinner said, fighting back his tears and a laugh at his own ridiculousness. Bucket reached up with his free hand, the hand with the IV taped to it, and put it on his friend's shoulder with his thumb trailing small circles on the skin of his neck.

"I like tacos." The brunet said, smiling a little bit. His eyes closed now, enjoying the feel of Skinner over him. The pain he felt couldn't let that happy feeling he had win though, and again he shifted and groaned in pain, trying to find comfort. Skinner pulled away, eyes opening to watch over his brunet friend with a worried expression. Bucket's hand went to the railing of the bed, trying to pull himself over a little more or something. Anything to be more comfortable. Skinner's eyebrows creased again, his lips pulling tight in thought as Bucket struggled with his positioning. As soon as the brunet teen stopped squirming, the blond leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his forehead. Bucket stilled immediately, dark eyes widening and focusing in on the blond who hovered about him. There were still tears in Skinner's eyes as they locked gazes. Bucket raised a hand to wipe at the tears, both smiling now. "Don't leave again, Skinner."

"Never." Skinner shook his head. "Never again." He wiped the hair from Bucket's eyes, ignoring the way his heart was beating in his chest. It was beating faster than it ever had before, but he supposed it was just because he was so happy that Bucket had forgiven him. "Bucket, I –" Skinner took a deep breath, leaning forward a bit more until their foreheads rested together again. Bucket's eyes closed, though he still squirmed a bit. The pain medicine must have been wearing off. Skinner felt like he had to do something. "Bucket, I … really want to kiss you right now." He couldn't explain it, the need to do something rising in him and it was the only thing that came to mind for some reason. Bucket tensed a bit, the hand on the railing tightening its grip for a second before releasing and going to Skinner's neck.

"Do it." He said, fighting another sound of discomfort. "It might distract me from the pain." He was hoping, but he also really wanted it. The fact that Skinner wanted to do it was enough of a shock that he was past caring. The pain in his side wouldn't let him care. It was enough of a reminder of what he wanted to forget, and now that what he wanted was right in front of him, there was nothing more he wanted than to take it. Skinner nodded, swallowing hard and taking a deep breath. He was nervous. Still, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Bucket's, delighting in the way the brunet's hand tightened and pulled him down more. He pressed a little harder, but still was cautious about how much he did. He didn't want to accidentally hurt his friend. Friend? What did a kiss mean? He didn't even know what this meant for him.

Someone cleared their throat behind them, causing Skinner to pull away and look to see who was watching them. It was Bucket's mom, smiling with a faint blush on her cheeks, and behind her a nurse who was probably here to give Bucket more pain medicine. Skinner felt his own cheeks heat up a bit, looking back at Bucket with a small smile. "Did it work? 'Cause your next distraction is here." Bucket laughed a little, as much as he could without causing too much pain, and nodded. Skinner went to stand, but Bucket grabbed his hand and held it. His emotions switched fast at the fear of his friend leaving again, for however long. "It's okay. I'm just going to go get tacos for when you wake up again. No big deal. I'll be back before you know it." Skinner gave Bucket's hand a reassuring squeeze, smiling as well.

Whatever the kiss meant, he was ready for it.