Ender had been dreading this day. Out of all the people who had left him, Ender didn't want to see Alai leave him, too. Petra had left with Dink, Bean with Crazy Tom, and Hot Soup left with Colonel Graff. The last one to go after the Third Invasion - an unfair war in Ender's mind - was his best friend Alai. He had known Alai for years now, five in fact, and he had loved every single day of them.

Alai walked up to Ender before he boarded his flight back to Earth. A million emotions were going through Ender's mind - including lo…. No,Ender thought, that'swrong.Somethinginspacemademeweird.Lackofchoice,that'sit. "Ho, Ender," Alai greeted.

Coming back from his la-la-land, Andrew stuttered the reply of: "H-Ho, Al-lai."

Alai patted his friend on the back. "What's got your flash suit in a bunch? We may never see each other again, but we're still friends. Or is it that you're gunna miss me?"

Ender felt his face go warm. "A bit," he admitted. Then, not realizing his mouth was still moving, he added hopefully, "Are you going to miss me, too?"

Alai blinked in shock before warming up and saying that yes, he would indeed miss Ender. How could he not? They had been together for five years; it would be impossibly to notmiss each other. Alai thought it was going to be homesickness all over again.

The pilot of the starship called for everyone who was boarding to board. This was it - the last time Ender and Alai would ever see each other. "Salaam, Ender," Alai whispered into his friend's ear like he had done so many years ago. Slowly, Alai started walking away from Ender, wanting the moment to last - and not really wanting to say good-bye to his pal.

Ender thought quickly. He could either keep living a lie, or be true to himself. Maybe it was space madness, but Ender didn't care. His hand shot out to grab Alai's arm. He just had to tell him. "Alai," Ender started, addressing the other boy, "I have to let you know. I don't know when, I don't know how, and I frankly don't care. I don't see my reason, I don't see how this was possible, and I don't see how this is correct. It could possibly be wrong and I could be burned at the stake for all I care. But Alai, I love you. I really do - and not like a friend, I love you more then that. Please, Alai, accept my feelings."

Again, Alai blinked in shock. Ender… loved him? He loved him? Like… more then a friend? Did… did Alai love him back? Did he? How did he feel about Ender?

A yell for everyone who was getting on board to get on board stole Alai from his thoughts. He glanced at the pilot then back at Ender. "Salam, Ender." With that, Ender never saw Alai again…

… but not before Alai gave him a kiss.