I'm not really sure how long I was out there, punching away and abusing the poor punching bag, but it must've been a while... When I finally stopped for a minute to catch my breath, I all but collapsed against the punching bag. Frustration bubbled up, and came out in a shout.

"Fuck!" I cursed loudly, before hitting my head on the punching bag. Man... I am just abusing this thing left and right...

Oh well. It's better this, than me doing all this to a person, like, for instance, Lydia.

I took a few deep breaths and tried to calm myself before stepping back to asses the damage. My hands were throbbing and burning, so I looked at them first. They were kinda raw and covered with blood... Whoops. I glanced back up at the punching bag, and saw blood smeared on it too.

Whatever, man. Fuck it, I don't care...

My forehead was coated in a thin layer of sweat, that was quickly began to freeze. Then I remembered just how fucking cold it was. I could see my breath and stuff. God, it must be like, twenty four, maybe twenty five degrees out here... And as awesome as tank tops are, they don't do much to protect against the cold...

Vigil whined, and I turned my attention to him. I had taken off my shirt and wrapped it around him to keep him warm (or at least, warmer), but he was still shaking pretty badly. I picked him up, and he squirmed to get as close as he could.

Damn... I feel guilty now. Vigil is still just a puppy, he can't really handle the cold. When he's an adult, yeah, he'll be able to take it, but that's the thing. He's not an adult yet, he's a freaking puppy. I completely forgot about that, and he was out here, in the bitter cold and stuff. I am just... I'm not a good person.

Yeah... this may have not been my best idea...

But at least I didn't end up punching anyone. This was the best thing I could have done, I think. The cold is good for me... helps clear my head, and helps me calm down.

Still though... Vigil, the poor guy, was and still is, freezing, and he didn't even complain or anything. I need to get the awesome fur ball inside. Like, right now. Fuck.

I got back into the house and set Vigil down on the floor before looking up to see Jack waiting for me...

Oh yay... I can already tell this is gonna suck... This is some fuckery.

"Hey Jack," I said quietly, "What's goin' on?" He shrugged.

"Oh, you know... Just hanging around, making sure you don't do anything stupid," He answered, "Which I failed... Jesus H. Christ, Wire what did you do to your hands? And what were you thinking, going outside in a fucking t-shirt and shorts? It's nineteen damn degrees outside!" Oh, is it really? I thought it was warmer... Eh, oh well. I shrugged meekly.

"Nothin'... don't worry about it." I mumbled, "I... I wasn't really thinking, I just had to get away and not hurt someone." Jack sighed and began pulling me into the living room and onto the couch.

"Sit." He ordered sternly, "Stay. I'll be right back..." Vigil scrambled up onto the couch and snuggled into my side. I tried to smile at him, but I'm pretty sure it was a grimace. Shit... I should just leave right now, really. Jack's probably getting alcohol... I feel shitty enough, I don't need to have my hands feel like they're on fire, ya know?

By the time I decided to just go and lock myself into the piano room, Jack was back with some bandages, a small towel, and not alcohol, god bless him, but Neosporin. Guess today's not gonna totally suck. Neosporin is the best stuff ever.

Jack sat down next to me and started to gently wipe the blood of my hands, and as he did that, I noticed something.

"Where is everyone?"

Jack grimaced. "Well, Alex, Sara, and Seth are talking with Martin and Lydia," He answered, "What they're talking about, I don't know... if I had to guess, it's probably something about you. I'm still not entirely sure though, I wanted to stay here and wait for you. And a good thing I did, huh? I bet you wouldn't have even thought about wrapping up your hands if I wasn't here to make you..." I shrugged.

"Yeah, probably," I confirmed before sighing and looking up at the ceiling. "Jack, I... I screwed up, I think."

Jack snorted. "What? How in the hell did you screw up, kid?" ... Is he serious?

"Well, lets see," I chuckled without humor, "I threatened Lydia with death... That might be a pretty damn-fucking... argh-it... it wasn't a good thing."

Jack rolled his eyes as he set down the towel and uncapped the Neosporin, squeezing some onto his hands and rubbing it into my raw hands. "Well, she damn-well deserved it. It really screwed you up... did you even see what your eyes looked like? It was like looking in the eyes of a dead person... They still look like it, sorta. Not as bad, but shit, you look like everyone you've ever cared about just died..." My lips twisted up with dark humor.

"Technically, I kinda did," I said dryly, "She made me relive all my nightmares, so yeah, I did just see everyone I care or cared about die, kinda sorta." Jack frowned and furrowed his eyebrow together as he gave me this look, before turning his attention to wrapping up my hands.

"Yeah, I know..." Jack murmured, glancing up at me, "You know, if you ever want to talk, I'm here, right? I can't entirely relate to you, but I can more than most people. Me, and Alex, we're here for you." I gave a small smile, a real on this time.

"Yeah... yeah, I know," I told him, "Thank you... For real, thanks Jack." Jack finished tying up the bandages, and I wiggled and flexed my fingers. The gauze stayed firm. Damn... 'Jack had done a hella good job tying up my hands. He smiled and hugged me.

"Don't mention it," He said, "You and me, we've got more in common than anyone-"

-"Which means we have to stick together and help each other." I finished. Jack's smile widened and he nodded, letting me go.

"Exactly." He confirmed, adding as I stood up, "And Wire? You weren't wrong to threaten Lydia. She should consider herself lucky she was only threatened. She deserved to get her ass kicked, doing that to you. Hell, and if you had kicked her ass, I would've joined in on the ass-kickery." I smirked.

"What was that? 'Ass-kickery', eh?" I teased, "That sounds like something I would say..." Jack chuckled and ruffled my hair. I huffed and lightly pushed his shoulder.

"Not cool bro." I told him before standing up with a yawn, "Yo, I'm kinda gonna go into the Piano Room. You need help or anything?"

He shook his head. "Nah, I think we're good. You go play your little piano, I'll call you if something comes up." As I nodded and walked back to the room, I couldn't help but feel a little relieved. These past few days have... well, let's be a bit honest here; these past few days have kinda sucked. Mucho bad news, and fuckin' emotions and shit. I swear man, the gods just love to do their best to fuck with me...

But whatever man, it's just whatever. I closed the door and locked the door behind me before sitting on the piano bench, with Vigil curling up at my feet. I held my fingers over the piano, ready to play whatever came to mind, but nothing really came. And it annoyed me. It's not something that happens often. Guess maybe it's because I'm still a little down...

I need to fix that. I don't like being down. It sucks. But what the hell do I do? Shit... I slammed my head on the keys, filling the room with loud, broken chords. Vigil jumped and yelped, and I mumbled a small apology. He gave me a growl of annoyance that ended with a whine, and curled back up around my feet. I reached down and absently scratched his back, trying to think of what I do to get out of the dumps.

Usually, someone'll come and drag me out of my slump, whether I want them to or not; or I'll just sit around and wait it out, hoping I'll feel better soon... But that probably isn't going to work... Or if it does, it's gonna be a while. A long while. Far too long of a while... So yeah, not gonna work...

Well... there is this one thing I used to do... Not for me, understand, but I did it for Jason. He got scared a lot at night, when most of the Steel Guns would get drunk or high or whatever else they did. Not that I can really blame him, he was only a kid. With shit being thrown around, screaming, curses, random fist fights, and the occasional stray bullet shot, it was probably pretty fuckin' scary for him. So he would find me, and I would -don't fucking laugh- I would sing to him. Don't laugh, I know it's lame, but hell, it worked. He'd always want me to sing the same song. Your Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. It's an alright song, I guess. The only reason I sang it was because I heard it on the radio and it had been the only thing that had come to mind, and he hadn't wanted me to sing any other song since.

But yeah, he liked it. It always worked for him, maybe it'll work for me. It's worth a shot, I guess. I'm not really good at singing, I think. My voice is a bit lower than some girl's voices, and a little rough, a little scratchy; but hell, I really put feeling into it on the rare occasions that I do sing. Jason was the only one who liked my voice; but he was also the only one who ever heard it... Maybe this is stupid. Yeah, it is, really stupid. I shouldn't do this...

But you know what -I'm the only person here, no one's gonna hear it, the walls in this room are sound-proof. I even know the chords for the song, and changed them to something a bit more fun for me to play. What's the worst that could happen? It could not work, but shit, I'm not gonna know if it will or won't if I don't try it. I'm doin' it, right now, before I chicken out.

I began playing the chords and took a deep breath. I got this, bro... I GOT THIS.

When I see your smile,

Tears run down my face I can't replace

And now that I'm strong, I have figured out

How this world runs cold and it breaks through my soul

And I know, I'll find deep inside me, I can be the one.

I paused for a few seconds to see if I felt any different. And holy shit... It's kinda sorta almost working. Well, hell, let's keep goin'! Kinda feel weird though... like I'm being watched... Nah, I always feel like that when I sing in here, even if the house is empty. It's probably just Vigil, he likes to watch me when I sing.

I will never let you fall

I'll stand up with you forever

I'll be there for you through it all,

Even if saving you sends me to heaven.

It's okay. It's okay. It's okay.

Seasons are changing, and waves are crashing,

And stars are falling all for us.

Days grow longer and nights grow shorter.

I can show you I'll be the one.

Seriously now... that being watched feeling is getting stronger. Vigil needs to chill out with the staring. But whatever man, I'm on a fuckin' roll, I'll tell him when I stop.

I will never let you fall

I'll stand up with you forever

I'll be there for you through it all,

Even if saving you sends me to heaven

Because you're my, you're my, my,

My true love, my whole heart,

Please don't throw that away

Because I am here, for you

Please don't walk away and please tell me you'll stay!

Use me as you will

Pull my strings just for a thrill

And I know I'll be okay,

Though my skies are turning gray...

I had to stop and laugh. I glanced down at Vigil and grinned.

"Oh, the absurdity of it all, what am I doin', singing?" I chuckled, reaching down and rubbing his ear, "Okay- this is ridonkulous. I feel better, now I need to stop singing man, it just isn't my thing, am I right?" I looked down and saw him staring past me. What the- what is he lookin' at?

I felt a hand grip my shoulder, and I yelped, cursed, jumped back, and tried to lash back all at the same time, then fell to the floor. It probably looked pretty fuckin' hilarious, but it still kinda hurt. My leg was throbbing. Stupid-ass stitches... And I could've sworn I locked the door, who in the hell was that? Am I goin' crazy? Already?

"Wire! Wire, I am so sorry, are you alright?" Oh. Seth. Of course. Who else would it fuckin' b-

Wait, wait, wait... Seth? What? I looked up, and lo and behold, it was Seth.

"What the fuck?" I asked, surprised, "What are you doin' here? I thought I was never gonna see you again..." Seth gave me a wry smile and cocked his head to the side before helping me back up onto the piano bench. I reached out and poked his cheek, just to make sure I wasn't crazy. Because really, that's getting to be a pretty big concern. Especially recently...

Seth grabbed my hand as I was pulling my hand away, and started to check out my gauze-covered hand. Dots of blood were soaking through, but it wasn't really a big deal.

"Why did you assume I was not coming back?" Huh?

"Uh... what now?" I asked.

He rolled his eyes and started tracing some of the scars on my hand with his fingers. "Why did you think I would not come back?" Oh! Oh... oh...

"Right, uh, well..." I said slowly, "I wasn't exactly in the most... optimistic mood, ya dig? And uh... how long have you been in the room...?" Seth smirked, and I felt dread bubble in my stomach as my face suddenly felt a few degrees too warm.

"Long enough..." Oh shit... Okay, it's cool, don't jump to conclusion, maybe he's only saying that...? It's cool, it's all good.

"What did you hear?" I asked cautiously.

He shrugged. "More than you probably wished for me to. You should sing more, you know. You are quite good..." Okay, no, it's not all good, shit! I scowled and grabbed the collar of his shirt as I tried to stop blushing.

"If you tell anyone about this," I threatened, "I will... I'll... I don't know what I'm gonna do, but you're not gonna mother-fucking like it! Not a word of this to anyone!" Seth chuckled and raised his arms in defeat.

"If that is what you want." He said softly.

"You better freakin' believe that's what I want." I muttered, only half-playing. I leaned back and rubbed my face under my glasses. Argh, I hate blushing.

"You know, when you blush, you look... What do you call it? 'Friggin' cute'...?" I dropped my hands and deadpanned at him, my eye twitching. God, why is murder illegal? It shouldn't be...

Heh, naw, I'm playing, I'd never purposely hurt him, but still. Seriously, he's an ass. And I don't appreciate being called cute. I'm not cute! I was a gang member for fucks sake! I've got scars on my scars, and shadows under my eyes, and callouses, and stuff.

"Say that again, watch what happens. I dare you." I told him. Seth smiled and leaned closer.

"When you blush, you look-" I didn't let him finish. I tackled him. But he seemed to be expecting it, so we rolled around on the floor for a while before I managed to get him down. I held his arms to the floor with my knees and smirked down at him.

"I warned you." I reminded him, leaning down and messing up his hair as he narrowed his eyes playfully.

He got this mischievous look on his face, and then phased one of his arms through my leg. That weird, pin-prick feeling ran up my leg, and then the bastard leaned up and kissed me. I was so surprised, he turned me over so that he was on top. I gaped at him and didn't even try to turn us back over.

"You stole my move." I said in disbelief, "Dude! That's my move! Mine! You can't do that!" He smiled.

"Says who?" Oh no he didn't...

"Says who? I says, that's who." I said before bucking up. When he threw his arms out to keep his face from meeting the floor, I used momentum to toss him to his side and rolled on top of him. Instead of trying to pin him down, this time I just kinda sat there, because we both knew that I was gonna get back on top. Might take a while, but I will. I've got skills bro.

I lightly flicked his nose. "So... it's all good? I can still see you and Sara, right? This isn't gonna be the last time I see you? 'Cause... I don't want it to be..." Seth nodded as he sat up, and I slid into his lap.

"Everything is fine." He assured me.

"Are you sure?" I pressed, "Everything? I find that really hard to believe, sorry. But really? Nothing's wrong? At all? You sure? 'Cause people tell me 'everything's fine' all the time, and you know what? Everything always ends up not fine." Seth chuckled.

"Don't you trust me?" He asked. I raised an eyebrow. I should punch him for asking that...

"Dude, that's... that's a damn insult right there," I told him, "If I didn't, we probably wouldn't be here. Stupid question... Of course I fuckin' trust you."

"Then trust me when I tell you that everything is fine," He said with a growing smile, "Actually... It is more than fine; everything is great." I couldn't help but grin. His smile is hella infectious...

"Oh, so it's great now?" I asked, "Why, what happened? Do tell." Seth beamed and brushed his fingers over my cheek.

"Nothing, I just... My parents," He explained, almost giddily, "They approve of you." I raised an eyebrow.

"What, really?" I asked. When he nodded, I stopped to think for a few seconds before shrugging, "Okay. That's cool, I guess. I didn't really care if they did or not, but you did, so uh... yeah." He chuckled and nodded.

"I know you did not care, yet you still tried. Thank you..." Seth told me, "For both that, and for not harming my mother. I know that she hurt you and that she deserved anything you would have inflicted on her, but-"

"She's still your mom." I finished. "Yeah, I get it, I really do... Sometimes, I wanna beat the living shit out of Bear, he pisses me off so much, but I don't... No matter what he does, he's still the one who really raised me once my dad died, and I would never hurt him or let anyone hurt him..." I sighed before adding, "But still, if I see her anytime soon, I am beating her ass. I'm sorry, but that whole 'not hurting her' thing was a one time thing, and it was only because of you and Sara."

He nodded and shifted a bit uncomfortably. Not that I could blame him, really... Talking about beating up a person's mother probably isn't exactly the most easy-going and comfortable topic for people... Damn, now that I think about it, Seth really is something else. And I mean that in the best way possible. Most people would get kind of defensive and angry if I were to say something like that.

"I know," He assured me quietly, "You will not be seeing her anytime soon... And I know it will not mean much, but my mother wanted you to know that she apologizes, and that if you are ever able to forgive her, she would like to meet with you again and start over." I laughed without humor and slowly shook my head.

"No. I'm sorry Sunshine, but that's not happening anytime soon. In a few years maybe, at the very least. I'm not a very forgiving person," I reminded him dryly. "To try something like that would be pushing your luck off a cliff and into a raging sea..." Seth gave a small smile.

"I understand, it's alright. You have every right to say so." He assured me before tilting my head up and lightly brushing his lips against mine. That tingle ran up my back and I let out a shaky breath as I shuddered. I couldn't help but smile a little, because damnit, it felt good.

"Sunshine, You feel that too, right?" I asked, "The tingly thing?" He nodded as I stood up, then pulled him up. He feels it too? Is... is it a bad thing?

"No, it is not a bad thing." He said, answering my thoughts. Oh. Okay... that's good. Because I was starting to kinda like it, and if it happened to be a bad thing, then I definitely shouldn't have. But it's not, so I think I'm good. Cool.

"Alright then, awesome," I chuckled, "Let's get to gettin' then, yeah?" We started to walk towards the door, but then I had a thought, and grabbed Seth's arm, pulling him back.

Seth started to asked why I had pulled him back, but I cut him off by kissing him. It wasn't like a tongue-on-tongue kiss or anything, but it was still quite a bit more than a quick little peck on the lips. When I pulled away, I grinned at the pink-faced Seth, who smiled back.

"Sorry, sorry," I apologized, even though I really wasn't. "I couldn't help it... I swear, one of these days, I am just gonna sex you up, goddamn..." Seth's face exploded with red, and I laughed.

I am good. That was still just a joke, though...

... Mostly.


So, apparently, everyone had set up the decorations while I was in the Piano Room, the fuckers. I had wanted to help, but I guess it was too late now. Damnit...

BAM!

Vigil and I both jumped up about three feet off the couch and yelped. I fell on the floor, and Vigil only just barely kept from following me down. Everyone tried not to laugh.

"Ow! Goddamnit!" I yelled, "The fuck was that?"

"It's Christmas in Hollywood, Santa's back up in the hood, so meet me under the mistletoe, let's fu-uck!" I closed my eyes and groaned in annoyance. Oh lordy...

"Bear! Is that really appropriate?" I called. I heard Bear's husky laugh.

"You know it!" I rolled my eyes and picked myself up off the ground. Bear was wearing red camouflaged fatigues, black combat boots, and a white wife-beater under a red zip-up hoodie. And, of course, topped it all off with a classic Santa hat, a grey backpack that was slung over his shoulder, with a lit cigar in his mouth. All in all, he was like a younger, more muscular, and more bad-ass Santa without a beard.

I tried to be a little annoyed at Bear, but I just couldn't. The bastard was just too damn happy, it was coming off him in waves, I swear. It was infectious, and I couldn't help but smile. I walked around the couch and was engulfed in Bear's huge arms.

"Christmas, woo!" Bear cheered. I laughed and reached up, rubbing the top of his head like he was a huge dog.

"Sup bro! Merry Christmas and all that. Why didn't you come sooner, you fucker?" I chuckled as he set me down, "And what's in the bag?"

Bear started to answer, but then trailed off when he noticed Alex glaring daggers at him. "What'd I do?" He asked meekly. Alex huffed.

"Bear..." Alex said with warning in her voice, "Cigar. Inside." Oh. Oh, I know what it is.

I reached up and took the cigar out of his mouth. "No smoking in the house," I reminded him playfully, "That is a no-no! Bad Bear!" Bear groaned in disappointment and took back the cigar before rubbing it out on the leg of his pants, then shoving the remains of it into his pocket. I raised an eyebrow. "Thaaat's not very clean or sanitary..."

Bear pointedly ignored me and stared at the boxes under the Christmas tree. "You didn't open your presents yet!" He said, surprised, "Are you sick? That's always the first thing you do on Christmas!" I shrugged and lightly punched his tree trunk-sized bicep.

"Only if I happen to have presents to open," I corrected, before adding, "But yeah, I know. You're right... I was a bit preoccupied this morning. Just couldn't find the time." Yup. I was too busy getting all my memories sucked out of me and reliving everything. And then mutilating my poor hands. But, uh... Bear don't need to know that. I'm better now, and it's all good.

"Well, ya do now, so get to it!" Bear urged excitedly, "And open mine first!" I chuckled as he pushed me towards the tree.

"Alright, alright, chill!" I told him, "I will! Just let me go upstairs and get my stuff and hand 'em out first, ya nutter." He groaned in disappointment, but picked up Vigil and let me go upstairs. I heard Bear, Jack, Alex, Sara, and Seth start up some small talk as I hobbled up the stairs as fast as I could.

I couldn't help but get excited and grin to myself stupidly as I stumbled into my room and kneeled down to the foot of the bed, pulling out two rawhide bones and three boxes that were around six inches around, and wrapped in paper that I decorated myself. I had painted the silhouette of a city in front of a dark blue sky, and the windows were lit, as well as the occasional star that brightened up the sky. Alex's was easy to figure out how to decorate too; I just painted the nigh sky. I had even taken the time to make all the stars in the right places. All the constellations were there, as well as some shooting stars. Bear's was a little harder to figure out; but I got it in the end. Bear loves video games. If it weren't for him, I probably would have never gotten into them. Mario, some Pokemon, Master Chief from Halo, a Hunter and a Smoker from Left for Dead, Kratos for God of War, and quite a few others ranging from a zombie horde, to thugs, to aliens, all chased each other around the wrapping paper. There's more, but I really went all out on this one, and there's just too much stuff to name, and I'm too lazy.

I paused for a moment before reaching back down and pulling out two more -plain- boxes. I had been planning on giving them to Sara and Seth if I ever saw them again (But to be honest, I hadn't planned on seeing them so soon, if ever again.) and well... here they are. Even better, and definitely more convenient, they just got here on Christmas.

I held the bones in one hand, and balanced the boxes in my arms as I carefully made my way downstairs. When Jack saw all the boxes in my arms, his eyebrows raised in surprise.

"Woah... I thought you were just gonna give us cards or something," Jack confessed sheepishly before throwing his arms up to catch, and avoid a box to the face, "When did you even get gifts?" I shrugged before handing everyone else theirs, then tossing a bone to Junkyard and then Vigil as Alex, Jack, and Bear carefully unwrapped the boxes.

"Sorry about no wrapping on your guys' gifts," I apologized to Seth and Sara, "Those were for if ever saw you guys again, and I wasn't expecting to see you two so soon..." Sara looked up from the box and smiled at me.

"I am honestly surprised you had anything for us. Wrapping doesn't matter anyways," She assured me, "It's the thought that counts." I nodded and stood by a little nervously as they opened the boxes.

Jack let out a loud, surprised curse as he pulled the small, hand-carved, wooden statue of a bull. "Holy shit!" I made a face and my shoulders slouched forward. Aw man...

"You don't like it...?" I asked meekly. Jack snorted as Alex gasped, having pulled away the colored paper and seeing what was in the box.

"Shut up! Don't like it? Are you kidding? It's awesome!" He exclaimed, grinning at me.

I perked up, pleasantly surprised. "Oh, I, uh... really? That's great! Fan-fucking-tastic!" Alex beamed as she pulled out a similar statue, only it was a rearing horse instead of a bull about to charge.

"Where did you get these? They're bad-ass!" Bear exclaimed as he pulled out a (no duh) bear statue standing on it's hind legs and roaring. I grinned and rubbed my neck at the compliment.

"I... I sorta, kinda..." Man, I don't really wanna say it and risk getting all... bashful and shit. I can just say I bought them, instead of telling them I carved-

-"You carved these yourself!" Sara exclaimed. Shit. Right... Sara reads minds. Whoops. I shrugged and continued to smile and rub my neck sheepishly as my cheeks burned a little. I try not to blush, really I do, but sometimes I just can't help it.

"Yeah, yeah I did." I admitted, stepping a little closer to the back of the couch and looking at Sara's little bust of Junkyard, and Seth's cheetah statue, "I know, I have no life. But hey, having no life pays off, eh? I put a lot of time into those, and they turned okay, didn't they?" Bear laughed and wrapped his arm around my shoulder.

"Some things never change," He chuckled, "You're still that shy, humble little girl I knew way back... Now, go and open your presents. Mine first! It's the best! Actually-wait, no, open it last! Save the best for last!" I rolled my eyes as I grabbed the two boxes under the tree, which, by the way, are two more than I've usually gotten in the past few years on Christmas. Another reason I was so excited for this Christmas.

Of course, I've gotta give Bear a little credit. He technically did always get me something for Christmas, I was just never able to get them until a month or two later. Jae always had the Steel Guns pull their biggest heists around Christmas, which, to be honest, is actually pretty smart. I never took part in them, of course, but around that time, all the transport was either gone, or the guy who drove me to Bear's place, Khail, was too smashed to take me. Khail was one of the few decent guys in that gang. He had a fondness of alcohol, though, and when he was drunk, he was a blubbering, sobbing mess. I could never figure out the entire reason he was sobbing, all I could figure out that he was crying over some girl named Elizabeth. But when he wasn't drunk, he was a pretty nice guy. He had an alcohol addiction, but still nice.

What am I doing? God... just reminiscing all over the place, geeze... I need to stop and open my presents. Yeesh.

I ripped open the first one from Jack and Alex, looked inside, then grinned.

"Holy shit," I said slowly, "Is that what I think it is?" I pulled out the curved, six inch knife and casually slipped my pinkie into the ring at the bottom of the handle before spinning it around and catching it. My grin grew as Jack laughed.

"You know it is!"

"Aw hell, this is sexy!" I exclaimed happily, spinning the curved blade on my palm before popping it up and grabbing it by the handle, "It is just a piece of sex, oh my god! This is sweet! Thank you!"

Jack started to say something, but Bear cut in. "Okay, okay, now open mine!" I rolled my eyes, but smiled as I picked up the box. It was kinda narrow, but long... That sounded kind of sexual...

Where was I? Right, the box... There wasn't any wrapper on it, it was really just a plain box. From the look on Bear's face, it must be like the holy grail or something.

I used my new knife to cut open the box, to see bubble wrap, and lots of it. At first, for whatever reason, I thought that was it. That was my present, just the bubble wrap. And... I was okay with that. It really doesn't take much to please me...

After a few seconds passed, and I had taken some bubble wrap and started popping it, Bear something and slapped his forehead in exasperation.

"As awesome as bubble wrap is," He sighed, "That isn't your gift. Look in the bubble wrap."Oh... That kinda makes a little sense.

Ignoring the snickers from Jack and Alex, I moved away the bubble wrap, and my jaw just about hit the floor.

"No way... Are you fo' shizzle...?" I breathed. Bear beamed.

"Yup. I am totes fo' shizzle."

Jack sat up a little and tried to see what was in the box. "What? What is it?"

Seth and Sara sat up now too, their curiosity being peaked, and asked me what it was as well, but I ignored them and shared a look with Bear.

"She or he?" I asked. Bear chuckled.

"He."

I nodded and looked back down into the box, "Yeah, I kinda figured. It looked like a he... What's his name?"

"Seriously, what is he?" Alex cut in. Bear and I continued to ignore her.

"Hostilius." Bear answered. I gave a chuckle that bordered on being manic.

"I love him." I breathed, reaching down and running a finger down the leather before looking back up at Bear and grinning.

Bear grinned back. "I knew you would."

"What-or who- is he?" Jack asked impatiently. I grabbed the handle and pulled Hostilius out of his sheath as I lifted up the Roman sword to show off. The pommel was shaped like an eagle, and a running wolf pack was carefully carved into the cross-guard. The blade of the sword curved into a point and shone brightly in the light. The edges of the blade was lighter and fashioned into looking like frost, or fire, was crawling to the center of the blade. All in all, it was abso-fucking-lutely sexy.

"He is Hostilius. My gladius. And he is painfully sexy... Argh, nergasm..." I picked up the box and tossed it to Bear. "Hold this out for me please..."

When he did, I swung my sword through the cardboard. It stayed intact for about half second, then slid to the floor.

"I am a god!" I laughed, a bit maniacally, "I'm a fuckin' god! A sexy god with a sexy gladius! Whoo!" After a few minutes of swinging Hostilius around, I slid the sword back into leather sheathe and tossed the strap over my shoulder as Bear fumbled in his backpack for something.

When he pulled out a small box, I cocked my head to the side. "What's that?"

Bear tossed it over to me. "Read it and find out. It's for you." I turned the box around in my hands until I got to the front. The first thing I noticed was a centurion's helmet, then I read the words to myself out loud.

"Trojan: Her pleasure Latex Cond-AHHH!" I quickly threw the box out of my hands, not caring where it went, and held my hands out like I had just touched a pile of crap. "DUDE! WHAT THE BUNCH OF BALLS? What, WHY?" Bear smiled sheepishly, and I noticed Seth reaching down to grab the condoms. My palm slapped to my face and I groaned.

Oh fuckin' fuckery... How high do you think the chances of Seth and Sara knowing what condoms do, are?

Yeah... I don't think they chances are very high either...

"What are condoms?" This time, both of my hands met my face. Jack and Alex stumbled to answer as Bear watched on with amusement.

Why can't Jack just be blunt? I mean really, he's probably just making things all confusing for them. And judging from the looks on Sara and Seth's face, my assumptions were correct... I sighed before speaking up. "They're things that go on your penis."

Everyone turned to stare at me, and I shrugged under their stares before continuing. "You put them on before sex so the girl doesn't get pregnant. Or so you don't transfer... diseases and stuff." Seth's eye twitched, and the box fell out of his hands before he kicked the box off to the side, shuddering in disgust.

Bear made a worried noise. "Look, I want you guys to be safe when you have se-"

"WE'RE NOT GONNA HAVE SEX!" I paused moment and glanced back at Seth before adding quietly, "Until we're at least eighteen... Other stuff, maybe, but not sex." Seth's face darkened, and I bit back laughter before wiggling my eyes suggestively. His face got even redder, and Bear and I snickered to ourselves.

You know what...? I think I figured it out. The god(s), karma, mystical forces, or whatever the hell they are, they do like to fuck with me... But they always find some way to make it up to me later on, for putting up with their crap...

I think... I think I can dig it.

Bear pulled out a photo album and beamed. "So, who wants to look at Wire's baby pictures and when she was growing up?" I glared down Bear. No. Hell no, he is not showing everyone my baby pictures. No one probably wants to see them anyways...

"I would like to see them." I turned and glared sharply at Seth. Damn him...

"No. No you wouldn't." I corrected stiffly. As Seth smirked at me, Alex and Jack spoke up.

"Actually, Wire, he does. And so do I." Jack told me, biting back a laugh. I lifted my middle finger to him.

"I'd like to see too." Alex added. I turned to her and stared her down. No one is seeing them!

Sara smiled at Bear. "I would like to see as well." God. Damnit.


-The Next Morning-

My eyes opened, only to be shut again, quickly, hissing is pain.

"Fuck, it's bright..." I groaned. Whatever I was laying my head on shifted, and the blinding light left, and I forced my eyes open again as I lifted my head a bit to look around.

"Is that better?" I grimaced and let my head fall back down as a massive head ache hit me.

"Goddamnit, you don't need to yell." I croaked, stopping to give a few dry and rather painful coughs. The surface I was laying on moved again, and I heard the quiet tinkle of ice hitting ice. I looked up, and saw a glass of water in my face, and a hand holding a white pill.

"Swallow this and drink." Ugh... gods, I feel awful... My throat feels like a desert. You don't need to tell me twice. I reached up with a shaky hand and grabbed the pill before swallowing it dry, and then the water. I sat up, with help, and gulped down half of the glass before it was pulled away. I whined and reached for it feebly, before giving up. I rubbed my eyes then looked up, meeting two very familiar, light blue eyes that reminded me of ice. I fell against the owner of said eyes and winced as another wave of pain assaulted my head.

"My head hurts," I whimpered as hands rubbed small circles into my back, "This feels too familiar... Seth, am I hung over?"

"I'm afraid so... Do you need anything?" I need a lot of things... I need my headache to go away, preferably forever. I need my stitched up leg to stop twitching. I need the world to stop spinning. But he probably means something he can actually do, so uh... more water would be nice, I guess.

"Water...?" I asked, my voice cracking. He lightly pushed me away and handed me the glass. He started to tell me to drink slowly, but I ignored him and finished the glass before he could finish talking. Seth rolled his eyes and pulled the glass out of my hands.

"You need to take better care of yourself..." He scolded lightly. I snorted and let myself fall back down. This boy... I would be amused if my head didn't hurt so damned much.

I heard Seth chuckle as he laid back down, and I raised an eyebrow. "Laughing at my misery, eh?" I asked, half serious, half playing. He shook his head and kissed my forehead. When he was pulling away, I noticed something.

"Of course no-"

"Wait a fuck." I cut in, putting on hand over his mouth with one hand, and rubbing my eyes with the other, to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

I put my hand on his chest. And that was just it... It was his chest. No shirt or anything. What the fuck...? Should I... be worried? I think I should... I looked down and breathed a sigh of relief.

We both still have our pants on... Awesome. And I've still got a tank top on. Bonus points! This is great... now all I need is for my head to stop throbbing and pulsing and shit, and I'll be good to go...

Then I noticed something else.

"Seth... you have a hickey..." I said slowly, reaching up and running my fingers over the purplish-red, quarter sized mark on his neck. Did I do that? I think I did... The only other possibilities are that Sara gave it to him; and that choice is scratched out because she's his sister, or that Alex did it; but then that's also scratched out because she's way older and dating Jack. Or Seth could have went and bought a whore, but... that seems a little unlikely.

"Yes, uh... You um..." He paused to clear his throat before continuing unsurely, "Bear and I got you in your room, and as soon as Bear left, you uh..." He trailed off, and his face turned pink.

"Yeah, I got it. You don't need to finish that sentence." I told him. He nodded gratefully, and his face gradually went back to its normal color. I waited a few minutes before back to my neck and raised an eyebrow. "So do I, uh... do I have one too?" Seth's face turned pink again, and he gave me a guilty look.

"Yes... I apologize. I got caught up in the moment, and it just... happened. I tried to stop you at first, but... you, I um... You were very... convincing, while intoxicated. But I swear, that is all that had happened. I would never take advantage of you." His face got darker. My eye twitched and I let out a frustrated curse.

"I-I sincerely apologize, I had gotten caught up in the moment, and-"

"Dude, shut up." I groaned, slapping my palm to forehead. "You think I'm mad because you gave me a hickey? Hell no... and even if I was, I couldn't yell at you for it, 'cause I gave you one too. I'm pissed that I don't fucking remember any of it!" I gave an exasperated sigh. "I, and you, shit! Of all the things I'd want to remember, that would be it. And I don't. Nuts!" Seth looked like he was trying to be sympathetic or something, but he was failing... And also just barely holding back laughter.

Argh... What do I remember...? I gotta think... what was the last thing I did last night?

~flashback~

I stumbled into the kitchen, still chuckling from a joke that was told a few moments ago, hearing laughter from the living room become muffled. My quiet laughter was cut off from a small fit of coughing. When I was done coughing, I reached for my throat and grimaced. Damn... I need a drink. My throat is dry as fuck. Agh...

I looked around the kitchen, and grinned when I caught sight of a pitcher filled with a red liquid. I walked closer and smelled it. Kinda smells like cranberry juice, and a few other fruits that I can't really pick out. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Jack and Alex had some of this stuff in a crystal glass before they left Sara, Seth, Bear and I to go upstairs to do I-don't-want-to-know what. They might not want me to drink it...

What the hell, let's drink some. If they really hadn't wanted me to drink any, they would have put it back, or at least put a piece of paper over the to of the pitcher with 'This isn't for you, Wire' written on it, or something. Lets drink some.

So I got a pretty big glass (I was thirsty) and filled it up, then took a sip. It tingled my throat a little bit as it went down, but I figured it was just from my throat being dry, so to fix that, I chugged the whole thing down. It tasted pretty good, maybe just needed a little honey, and it burned more intensely after I swallowed the last of it. I coughed and gagged a bit, then grabbed the counter as the world shifted.

So... this is where I kinda got stupid. I still thought I was just dehydrated or something. But see, that wasn't the case... It wasn't that I was dehydrated, it was the drink. The drink was mixed with Vodka. And to be honest, I should have known it. I've drunken alcohol before, out of curiosity, when I was still with the Steel Guns in that damned warehouse. It was easy to sneak out of the hands of the smashed dude that was passed out into a heap in the doorway. And to be honest, it wasn't really all that good. But I still finished the rest of the bottle... And I regretted it so much the next morning...

But, uh, that's besides the point. The point is, the drink was alcohol. And I could've, and should've, recognized it. But I didn't. Maybe I just couldn't handle alcohol as good as I thought I could, or I was still a little drained from the mind invasion from Lydia, or maybe I'm just thick. But no matter. I didn't realize it, so I refilled the (big-as-hell) glass, and finished another glass. Then filled it again, though only half way this time, and took sips out of it as I stumbled back into the living room.

It was the oddest thing, really. It was like the floor just kept jumping from side to side, and I was having a hell of a time trying to stay straight on it. And the glass I had, it kept hopping around in my grasp, like it was trying to escape, and the contents were swishing around in the glass, spilling onto my hand. And another thing; I couldn't stop laughing. It was the most hilarious thing, the world was spinning and moving around, and everything felt oddly... foggy. It was all psychedelic, really. I was having a ball.

I managed to get over to Seth, and grinned at him, trying to keep fits of laughter down. "Sshunshine! Dude! Hash you everrr... fuck, what'sh it, been in a fisht fight?" I busted out laughing and clutched my stomach as Seth watched me curiously, and a bit amusedly, "Pffft-it'sh... Damnit- I fergot what I wash gonna say..." I leaned against him to attempt to keep from collapsing to the ground, but it didn't really end up doing me any good. I ended up with my head in his lap, laughing giddily.

"Are you alright?" Seth asked me, fighting off smiles, "You are acting... odd." Bear reached over and pulled the cup from my glass and took a sip. He froze, and turned to me.

"Wire... how many cups of this did you drink...?" Bear asked cautiously. I found that hilarious for some reason, and giggled like a little kid.

"Three cupsh, filled to the tippy top! Pfffffft- tippy! Get it?" I fell into a fresh wave of almost hysterical laughter. I could hear bear let out an exasperated breath.

"Oh boy... Wire is not gonna have a fun time tomorrow morning..."

~End Flashback~

So, I remember pretty much nothing. Fuckery...

I glanced up at Seth, who was watching me with an amused expression, "So... other than making out, what else did I do?" He cocked his head to the side and thought for a minute before answering.

"Well... not too much," He told me, "Mainly laughing at odd things, and talking nonsense. Oh, and you sang quite a bit with Bear." He grinned before adding, "You were quite good at it, even though you were intoxicated." I scowled playfully and poked his cheek.

"Shut up." I muttered, and then a thought hit me. "Hey, uh... where's Vigil?" Seth raised an eyebrow and gestured behind me. I reached back and felt fur under my fingertips, and then a tail lightly thumping against my leg. I chuckled. "Hey buddy. How are you?" I asked. I didn't turn over, because if I did, I'd crush him.

I heard him give a small yip, then give a long yawn that ended in a whine. I smiled. "Yeah, I know, right? I'm tired too. Give me a sec, and I'll see if we can go back to sleep." I assured him, "And even if I can't, you can, so don't worry 'bout it." I looked back at Seth, silently asking if I could sleep some more, and said alien rolled his eyes as he fought off a smile.

"Yes, you can stay and sleep. I'll go get you some more water." He told me before moving to get up.

As he was just about to push himself up and off the bed, I grabbed his arm and pulled him back, not planning on letting him go any time soon. I nuzzled the crook of his neck and grinned to myself.

"Nope, you're not goin' anywhere, sorry." I informed him, "You're pale alien booty is staying right here."

Seth sighed. "Wire..."

"Seth..." I mocked good-naturedly, before adding, "Seriously, just stay here for little, please. Just until I fall asleep. Then you can squeeze out and do whatever the hell you want. You can go buy a pony for all I care, just... stay. And please don't argue, my headache's bad, and I'm not gonna be able to come up with any good comebacks..."

He was still for a few seconds, then he relaxed against me. I breathed a sigh of relief and let my eyes slide closed. I mumbled a thank you as I quickly drifted off.

But, before I did, I made damn sure to add something that I hadn't gotten around to telling him yet.

"You know... you're more fit than I thought you'd be... You're pretty hot, Sunshine."

I was out of it before he could even react. Which kind of upsets me, because his reaction was probably pretty funny...

Author's Note-

Let me start off by saying, you all have the right to curse me out for taking so long, I would most certainly deserve it. I have a few excuses for it, though. In the past... month, I think, I have been down in Georgia for a week without any internet access of any kind. I've been to court twice; once for family support, and another for a child custody case. And the latest one, a few weeks ago, my brother was talking about killing himself, so I would stay up until four AM just talking to him, and then sleep for an hour and a half, go to school, then come home and pass out, wake up around six or seven, shower, and then talk to him again. And that schedule went on for a week. I was exhausted... Still am, a little bit, but I still got this done. Woo...

Okay. You all can curse me out and insult me now c: I'll take it, 'cause I kinda deserve it. But still... my brother means more to me than this story, I'm afraid.

Alright, now that that's out of the way, let's get on with it. This is the VERY last chapter of OTRE. So no more. Zilch. Zero. I am officially done. And gotta say, this whole thing has just been amazingly fun. Every last bit of it. If I could personally thank all the people who read my lame little story, I would. All of you guys are amazing, every last one of you, fo' shizzle. It's been amazing. This was my first story, ever. I honestly didn't expect much to happen. Maybe a few people here and there would read it, but that was it. Not only are people actually reading it, but you've been reviewing, and favoriting, and all this other stuff, and actually liking it. It's just... amazing. I love all of you guys, and appreciate every one of, I swear it.

And that's about it, really :) Other than the fact it's my birthday. Well, and hour away from it, really, but who's keeping track? I am, but that's besides the point... March 24, yay! I'm old now! I really hope you guys enjoyed this chapter, it's been fun, even though it took forever. Hope you all have a fan-fucking-tastic day!

Now, I'm gonna go sleep for a day and a half :D As always, tell me if I made any kind of mistakes, and I'll get to it as soon as I can and fix it.

Thanks for reading. Peace off and bless your face. If you sneezed while reading this, bless you. Peace off.

,BlueAsh666