Nathan Explosion had never been a very talkative man. He never wasted words on something he felt they didn't need to be wasted on. So of course, no one was surprised when breakfast at Mordhaus passed by as silently as usual, disrupted by the ocasional "Dildo's-face!" from Skwisgaar or "Ah t'ink Ah'm haigh 'gaen, gaiz!" from Pickles. Ofdensen was gone in his office, doing paperwork on some fine Nathan had refused to pay after he'd been caught speeding, pulled over, and given a ticket- again. "ROBOT!", Nathan barked so loudly, Toki jumped and cut his hand with his butter knife. The Norwegian fell into a whine-fest and sulked, nursing his bleeding hand with coca cola. "You's a dick, Naten's.", he almost sobbed. Nathan, who was more than used to this by now, ignored him. His DethPhone rang. The vocalist (A/N: he's not really much of a singer, is he?) picked up the heavy device, punched in the answer button and groveled into the reciever,"Yeah?"
..."Oh, hey, Robot."
..."Yes you are."
..."Uh... He's here playing with his insulin shots... Yeah, I'll tell him so. I'll tell him to go up to your office."
..."Yeah, bye, Robot."
..."Yes, you're a f*riff*ing robot."
..."YES YOU ARE!"
..."Yeah, whatever. Bye."
Nathan hung up and threw his phone on the table in exasperation. "Toki, Robot wants you in his office.", he growled and headed for the kitchen to see if they still had usable cereal. Lucky Charms... Frosty Flakes... And Froot Loops. He just grabbed the Lucky Charms and stomped back to the dining room. Pickles was telling Skwisgaar a joke and the Swede wasn't laughing, as he didn't understand half or more of it. "Hey.", Nathan interrupted him in an attempt to easy the mood a little. "Hi, Naten's.", Skwisgaar yawned and stretched in his chair. "Hey, Nate.", Pickles almost beamed at him. Nathan ignored the happy drummer and poured himself a bowl of cereal. "What did Robot want?", he groveled at Toki, who chuckled and shook his head. "Go asks de managers-man you's self, lazy ass."
"Look, Toki, don't talk to me like that, alright?", Nathan snarled and came to the table, banging his bowl on the polished glass surface extra loud to emphasize his annoyance at the guitarist. He sat down and started wolfing down the Lucky Charms- until Murderface noticed what exactly it was that Nathan was eating. "Scho, you're eating Lucky Charmsch.", the bassist growled, spitting everywhere. "Yeah, so?! Oh, I get it.", Nathan muttered and snapped,"At least I don't eat dick-shaped sandwiches!" A baffled Murderface started stabbing the table in distress. "Yeah, but Lucky Charmsch have pink marschmallowsch."
"SO WHAT!"
Everyone fell silent. "Look, let's just eat.", Pickles suggested after several minutes, earing himself a death glare from the vocalist. "We already ARE eating, Pickles", he grunted and set his bowl aside. "I'm not hungry..."
"Ah, Naten's, you ams not hungries, ja?", Skwisgaar teased. Nathan ignored him and went to sloppily washing his bowl out with just enough water to coat the inside. "Eh, Nate, da's not haow yer s'pposed ta clean deeshes...", Pickles advised the Yaneemango carefully. Nathan glowered sat him and growled,"Fine, you do it, then!", eyes blazing. Pickles snatched the bowl from him and washed it out- this time for real. "Ah cean cook, too, dood.", he grinned and set the boel into the drying rack.
"That's... Gay.", Nathan replied intelligently and stomped off to find Toki. Pickles laughed and headed to his room after deciding that today was a crack kind of day. So they were occupied- Nathan with finding Toki, Pickles with getting as high as he physically could. Halfway to his room, though, he heard a high-pitched scream and then a few punches thrown, a roar of pain, and more screaming. Gahd, what was happening? The drummer crept to the end of the hallway, terrified of being the next victim. Then he saw it. Nathan and Toki, brawling on-stage in the moshpit, Toki's jaw broken and Nathan's shirt drenched in blood. A stick was jutting from the ground, sharp enough to impale a person, but blunt enough to be hellishly painful. Nathan realized too late what Toki was planning. The last thing he heard was his own scream before he was impaled.

A klokateer bent over the man, examining his injuries with a practiced eye. Blood flowed freely from his chest wound, staining his navy blue shirt black and the flawlessly white sheets crimson. A low growl of pain ripped out of his throat. The klokateer turned and noted in a cool, mocking voice,"Ah, you are awake then, Lord Explosion?", a smirk behind his mask. Nathan ignored him and tried to sit up- before issuing a long howl of "FUUUUUUCK!". He doubled over, face contorted in pain, and clawed at his stomach in an attempt to make the pain go away. "Oh fuck, it hurts...", Nathan growled through gritted teeth. The klokateer gave him such a cool smirk that Nathan wanted to punch him. Hard. But he contained himself. A swathe of blood pooled in his throat and out of his mouth, resulting with ten-minute coughing fit. The klokateer simply walked out the door and left it fully ajar. "NATE!", a familiar voice screamed and Pickles rushed into the room, panic in his features. "Dood, what heapened?!", he almost cried and ran to the vocalist's bedside. "Gahd, ye look terrible!"
"Hmmmmm.", was all Nathan could sum up in his state. He tried sit up, only to find himself roughly pushed back by the drummer. "Dood, yer gonna hert yersilf like dat.". Pickles admonished and sighed. "Why deed Toki doo dat?"
"We had a fight. I, uh, told him to stop eating candy before he went all berserk on us all. So he shoved me onto the stick.", Nathan summed it up, a strangely bright glare in his eyes. He looked sick, Pickles thought. Not like cool sick. He looked ill. "Dood, are ye owkey?", the Irishman asked in a worried tone. Nathan looked back up at him, their eyes meeting for two seconds, emerald on pine, then the Floridian turned away and growled,"Why do you care, Pickles?"
"Dunno, ye look sick."
"No, I'm just hurt, dude.", Nathan snapped and took a corner of the covers in his fist, clenching it until his knuckles turned white. Pickles gave him an affectionate shove at the shoulder and sighed,"Dood, Charlie wan's te talk to ye."
"Fine", Nathan muttered and nestled back into his pillows, exhausted, waiting for Pickles to leave. When it became clear tgat the redhead didn't want to go, Nathan muttered tiredly,"Go away!" before passing out from exhaustion. Pickles bent over him slowly- yes, the vocalist really was asleep. And, damn, he looked so much better than when he was awake. After this, Pickles certainly wasn't going to leave.

"PICKLES, WHAT THE FUCK?!", Nathan roared after waking up to find the drummer in his bed, snuggled against his chest, looking like the world's happiest man. "Eh?!", a terrified Pickles whined and recoiled sheepishly from Nathan, who was *thisclose* to screaming at loud as he could for the redhead to leave. "Dood, ah'm sahrry!", he almost sobbed. "Ah wus watchin' ye sleep, an' den I fell asleep here, dunno whai, den ah woke up 'ere, da's ahl!"
"I don't believe you.", Nathan snarled menacingly. "Dood, pleese, Ah dunno!"
"Exactly, Pickles, that's my point."
"Wha's dat?"
"You focus on me KNOWING stuff too much, dick-brain."
"Ah don' git eet."
"I can't explain it."
"Nah, I wanna knoaw, pleese?"
"NO!"
"Fain", Pickles ended and turned away.
"What the- oh my God, are you actually CRYING?!", Nathan gasped. A slight nod and a whimper from Pickles was all the answer he needed. "Aw, man, that's... Brutal..."
"Will YOU rijictid mee, so i's YER faoult!"
"Yeah, I... I'm sorry, alright?"
Pickles didn't answer to that. Nathan in turn felt so bad about this, he actually invited the drummer to sit next to him. "Look, I don't really take lightly, to, uh, that kinda stuff, okay? I'm sorry I yelled at you and made you cry, dude.", he said almost gently, his voice resulting as a Mark-Greenway-took-a-lighted-match-and-tossed-it-down-his-throat kind of voice, but still, Pickles was just happy to hear him say that he was sorry. It was better than nothing for now. So he just sat there silently, until the *perfect* idea overcame him. He could go to a bar! And get drunk, and forget all this shit! Of course! Pickles smiled proudly at his new wonderful idea and got up fron the frontman's bed. "Ah'm off.", he chirped cheerfully, only to be dragged back by the scruff of his neck. "Where do you think you're going, dildo?", Nathan snapped coldly. Pickles gave him an uncomprehensive look that signalled he wanted to LEAVE. Now. "Ah wanna goaw dreenk, dood, Ah cean't keep rimimberin' haow ye yelled a' me 'n' stuff, ye knoaw?", he tried to explain. Nathan still didn't let go. "I want a drink too.", he growled and finally let go. "I wanna get as sloppy as I can. So fucking sloppy, I start to see Lucky Charms floating through the air. I wanna get *drunk*, Pickles."
Pickles gave a nervous gulp and shook his head. "Dood, yer naht een eny cendishin te dreenk rait naow.", he muttered worriedly. Nathan gave an exhasperated sigh and snarled,"Fine, then. But I want you to keep me company, at least. I'm fucking sick of being alone all the time."
"Eh... da's oawkey.", Pickles replied carefully and went to the door. Nathan nodded and fell back into his pillows, waiting for sleep to overtake him and give him sweet dreams of tearing his grandfather to shreds, and his mother, and Anja and Molly... With a final contented smile, he fell asleep.

"Dood, Ah'm beack.", a familiar dream interrupted his nightmare of being shoved into a pit of sticks. Nathan almost screamed bloody murder at the shock, but as it was, he consented to a quick yell and doubled over, panting and swearing. "You scared me, you dick!", he roared at Pickles, who started laughing. Nathan got furious. "You're being a real dildo right now, you know that?! I just had a fucking nightmare, okay, that's nothing to laugh at!", he snapped. Pickles only laughed more and finally ended with a short gasp of "Dooood, yer fenny"- right before Nathan punched him in the face. He gasped as the dull, throbbing pain of being face fisted set in, making every inch of his cheek feel like he'd set it to fire. "Dood,.wha' de feck?!", he almost cried. Nathan glared at him and growled, "You don't laugh if people are having nightmares, asshole.", his voice still rather husky from the initial fear. Pickles frowned and shook his head with a long "Dooooood" acompanying it. "Ah'm sahrry, oawkey, dood? Nate'n?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just don't laugh at me anymore when I'm scared."
"Dood, yoo wer acschellee sceared?!"
"Yeah, so? I get scared too, you know..."
"Seems kinda weerd if ye eask mee."
"It's only natural, Pickles."
"Neh, Ah dunno."
"That's not my problem."
An awkward silence followed. Finally, Pickles took a bottle of wine from indide his backpack and opened it before handing it to the younger man, wbo gratefully accepted it and took a long swig. "Where did you get this shit?", he growled and set the bottle back on the floor, nice and tidy where it belonged. "Ah stoale eet frem de Klahketiers", Pickles replied simply. Wow. From the Klokateers. Amazing, no one had ever stolen from them and escaped alive. "That's pretty metal..."
"Yah, dood."
"Hmmmmm... are you still gonna get sloppy?"
"Yeah, 'coarse Ah eam, dood! Wat'd ye t'ink, eaneeweys?"
"I dunno. Nothing really."
"Owkey, so le's gi' drunk."
"Fine for me."
Pickles gave him the bottle and watched as the frontman took a delicate sip of the spicy dry wine. A small smile spread over his face as he tasted it; it was excellent, unlike any he'd ever had. "This is delicious!", he growled and gave the bottle back to the redhead. Pickles took a swig from the bottle, not even bothering to taste it anymore, only drinking it for the pleasure of getting sloppy. "Yeah, dis is sum good sheet."
Nathan ignored him, waiting for his turn to have the bottle again. "Uh... Your lip's bleeding.", he noticed suddenly. Surprised, Pickles let off and got up to check his reflection in a mirror. Nathan was right, he WAS bleeding. Pretty heavily actually. He took a paper towel from the dispenser, pressed it to his lip to staunch the bleeding, and went back to Nathan. No, he was going back to the BOOZE. Not Nathan. The booze.
As the drummer opened the door, he was greeted by a sight that made his blood turn to ice. Nathan, lying in bed, half-naked, blood flowing freely from his chest wound again, eyes torn wide open in shock. He was disconnected from his army of machines, the IV he'd gotten blood transfusions with, his ECG, the pull-cable with which he could alert doctors if something happened- All gone. Pickles almost screamed and raced to his bedside in shock, wondering if he was doing the right thing when he scrabbled his DeyhPhone out of his pocket. "CHARLIE!", the Irishman cried. *"Yes, Pickles?"* "NATEN'S DEAD!"
*"No, Pickles, I'm sure you're mistaken on that point. Why should he be dead?"*
"NO, JES' COME AHPSTEERS, DOOD!"
*"Okay, I'll be right there."*
"NOOOOO, COME NAOW, DOOSHBEAG!"
Pickles threw his phone on the floor and fell to his knees at the vocalist's bedside. "Nate'n. Nate, pleese, don' die naow, nah' naow, PLEESE!", he cried and burried his face against the younger man's broad chest. He could still feel Nathan breathing. So... carefully, he rested the side of his head on the Yaneemango's chest. His heart was beating, but barely. Crap, crap, crap. Where was Charlie when you needed him?! "CHARLIE!", Pickles screamed at the top of his lungs. Ofdensen sauntered into the room calmly, a passive expression on his face. Then he saw Nathan. Nathan Explosion. Lying on a bed, half naked, his entire body stiff and trembling, blood pouring out of his chest wound, disconnected from his medical support troop, struggling to breathe, obviously very close to death. Immediately, Charles took up the IV cable and stabbed the needle into the younger man's jugular. Shit, where was this going?! It didn't matter, only so long as Nathan stayed alive. Not that he... cared. Not like that. He just had too much paperwork at his desk to worry about finding a new frontman for Dethklok. Yes, that must be it. The paperwork. Not Nathan. The paperwork. Charles took his cell phone and tapped in 911 slowly, unsure wether this was one of Nathan's tricks again. A middle-aged doctor with a very heavy German accent answered. "Hello, doctor Affenschmidt heer, vot cen Ai doo for yoo, Sör?"
"Hello, this is Charles Ofdensen. I'm calling from Mordhaus. One of the boys seems to be seriously hurt. Nathan. He... he has a big chest wound. It's bleeding quite heavily, actually."
"Ah, ja, Mista Ofdennsenn Sör, I vill komm rait nau, ollrait?"
"Please, Dr. Affenschmidt."

*LATER AT ST. EN'S*
"Oh Gott, das ist ja Nathan Explosion!", Affenschmidt gasped. (Charles made a mental note to never hire a foreign doctor again.)
"Er sieht wirklich übel zugerichtet aus*.", Affenschmidt remarked cooly.
A clueless Ofdensen turned to Skwisgaar, knowing that the Swede most likely understood German as well. And he did.
"De doctors sayinks dat Naten's amnest in der really's bad states, and, is betters if we leavinks him alone now, he amnest needinks der rests.", the Swede translated nonchalantly and added,"He amnest der havinks terribles Englishs."
"Well, Skwisgaar, your English isn't really any better...", the CFO muttered carefully and turned back to Affenschmidt. The doctor shook his head and sniffed. "Wir müssen Herrn Explosion in Ruhe lassen, bitte*."
"Ja, är du dum? Naturligtvis han behöver sin vila, din idiot!**", Skwisgaar snapped. Affenschmidt gasped and growled, "Haben Sie mich gerade allen Ernstes einen IDIOT gennant, Skwigelf*?!"
"Ja, det gjorde jag**!", Skwisgaar roared back. "Han är min vän, och jag vet vad han behöver, är det klart**?" "SIE ARSCHGESICHT!*"
"PISSER!**"
"G-MILF-SCHLAMPE!*"
That was too much for Skwisgaar. He tackled the doctor to the ground and punched him in the face a couple times to get rid of his frustration. Of course, being a doctor, Affenschmidt knew how to bend, flex and turn without being injured, and he also knew where to hit. He dealt Skwisgaar a blow that left the Swede howling in pain, one that was far worse than a vicious kick to the crotch; he punched the blonde in the small of his back, right over his lower pelvic spinal line, an act that could easily make Skwisgaar go completely lame-and the meeting center for your nerves. Ofdensen cringed slightly but otherwise ignored the scene cooly. He didn't want to be a part of this. Not if he could help it. Oh well... what could he do? Nothing, really, except to watch for Murderface's dagger in the furniture (and future replacement bills). So... a day like no other. He had nothing to do, not even his trusty paperwork. "Hey doods, haow's et gowen'?", Pickles suddenly chirped from the doorway. Affenschmidt screamed in terror and dashed off to his beloved pet capuzin monkeys that were waiting in their cages for Daddy. (So much for his name, huh?)
A beep sounded. Another followed suit. A rapid procession of high-pitched bleeps, like the 2000 htz or less kind you get to hear when you're getting a hearing test.
Doctors rushed into the room and burst into Nathan's quarters, yelling orders and slamming the door behind them. Pickles looked close to tears. "Charlie?", he asked in a small voice.
"Yes, Pickles?"
"What's heappenen'? Wha's wrahng wid Nate? 's hee owkey?"
Charlie pinched the bridge of his nose and huffed a sigh. It was never easy to tell someone that their best friend was possibly dying.
"Pickles...", he began, then stopped. He was at a complete loss for words. "I don't know how to bring this to you, ah, painlessly, but... Nathan may be dying, Pickles. Is, ah, something wrong?"
"O' COURSE DERE'S SUMT'IN' WRAHNG!", Pickles howled and collapsed on the couch in a fit of tears and puking and whining. "MAH FRIND'S DAIIN', YA MUDDERDOOSHBEAG!"
A doctor came out and took Ofdensen aside. From the panicked looks the CFO gave and the occasional shakes of his head, Pickles gathered that the unspeakable had happened. No! No, please no! Nathan couldn't be dead! "Cean ah goaw ta heem?", the redhead sobbed weakly and looked at Charlie for support. Charles felt his heart cringe. God, why was it always him who had to do the bad things liks these?!
"I guess so...", he finally consented sadly.
Pickles knocked on Nathan's bedroom door and waited for two seconds before barging in carelessly. He closed the door behind him and went to sit beside the unconcious frontman. Nathan's torso was exposed, revealing his impressive chest wound (and his not-so-impressive beer gut). It was could see muscle. Pickles cringed slightly and muttered, "Nate?"
Of course he got no answer. Nathan merely twitched slightly and fell back to oblivion. Okay, so he'd wait. Pickles sat there and watched the Yaneemango silently. How long he sat there for, he didn't know. But he enjoyed it. And he wanted to stay.
Nathan convulsed again. Startled, the redhead pushed him back into the matress, not wanting the younger man to injure himself. "Stop that, you dick!", the dark-haired behemoth snarled and pushed Pickles' hand off his shoulder. Oh holy mother of Christ, he was awake! Pickles almost fell into his arms, sobbing, but then he decided it was too gay. And it really wasn't worth two hundred pounds of body weight plus another five thousand pounds of pressure issued by a punch concentrated on the fragile bone component around his eyes. So he merely let out a happy shriek of "YER ALAIV!".
"Of course I'm alive, dildo."
"Bu' yoo wer DEDD! YOO WER DEDD, DOOSHBEAG!"
"Pickles, I wasn't dead, you dildo, now stop it and calm down."
"Ah thaht yoo wer dedd. 'n Ah gaht sceered."
"Pickles, you sound like a fag."
"Soaw, mudderdooshbeag, wha's wrahng wid mee w'rryin' 'bout mah freend?", the drummer snapped.
"Doodily, I'm okay.", Nathan almost whispered and lowered his head sadly. He knew that even if he HADN'T almost died, he'd terrified Pickles to death. He generally didn't care, but this... no! This was exactly the same! What was he thinking?! It was the same. The same. Nothing else, just... nothing. Nathan shook his head vahuely and growled,"I'm fine, Pickles, stop worrying."
"Ah'm fain Pickles, stahp w'rryin'."
Stop it, doodily."
"Stahp eet, doodilee."
"Come ON, Red, quit it."
"Cahm AHN, Tahnto,quid eet."
"Pickles, I mean it."
"Pickles, ah meen eet."
"Dildo."
"Deeldow."
"WILL YOU SHUT UP?!"
"WEEL YOU SHAHT AHP?!"
Nathan decided to ignore him and merely laid back again. "How'd ya git hirt?"
"Well... while you were gone, cleaning the blood and shit out of your face, I tried to get up to take a piss. But my wound opened back up, so... yeah, whatever. It was brutal."
"Dood..."
"What?"
"Yoo need a feckin' shahwer."
"Then get the fuck out of here."
"No."
Nathan gave him an I-just-saw-Kthulu-eat-your-cat-by-the-way-kind of look. "Pickles."
"Ah wunneh stey. "
"Fine, but you stay out of the shower room, alright?"
"Da's fain wid mee."
Nathan took a clean pair of boxers and jeans from his bed and went slowly to the bathroom. "Okay, Pickles, this door doesn't have a key. You better stay OUT."

Pickles curled up on Nathan's bed for various reasons; he was tired, he was still a little hungover from yesterday, he wanted to sleep in peace... He couldn't determine which of these reasons was the most important, anyway Nathan found him like this, lying on his bed, like a squirrel or a fox wrapping its tail around itself to protect itself against the wind.
Admittedly Pickles also liked the scent of Nathan's sheets, if you got past the intial stench of blood, sweat and booze, that is. "WHAT THE FUCK, PICKLES!", Nathan roared and stomped towards the drummer menacingly. "GET OUT OF HERE!"
Pickles shot up, surprised, and let out a small squeak when he saw Nathan coming towards him, hands clenched into fists, pine-green eyes blazing like the pits of fucking Hell, ready to beat him to a goddamn PULP. The redhead recoiled instinctively and almost cried,"Nate, ah'm sahrree! Ah wus taired!"
"That doesn't fucking give you the right to do whatever the fuck you want, Pickles."
"Hrmpf."
"Well then, be a dick, Pickles, seriously!"
"You big mudderdooshbeag!"
"Look at you, Pickles, I mean, if anyone here is being a douchebag-", Nathan started, only to be interrupted harshly.
"-Is yoo.", Pickles growled and crossed his arms over his chest. "First ye git hirt laik deat, den ye stay heer ahl feckin' dey, an' den ye git mead eat mee!"
"Pickles... What the fuck do you want me to say?!"
"Jest... Jeezis, jes' dat yer sahrry!"
"No."
"An' whai, if ah mey eask?"
"I can't. I just can't."
"Dooshbeag."
"Same to you, doodily."
"Wha'evr ye sey."
"Just shut up."
"Bu' ah don' wanna! Ah'm gonna keep tahkin'! Ah weel!"
"Alright, I get it, dildo! You wanna keep talking!"
"Deamn rait ah doo."
"ALRIGHT; FINE THEN! Just be a dick!"
"Yer da dick."
"Whatever. Dildo."
Pickles got up to get a fresh bottle of absinth from the fridge, cracked it open, and took a swig. "Good sheet.", he commented simply and set the bottle back down on the floor like he always did. Nathan glowered at him and snapped,"Why are you drinking booze NOW, you dick?!"
"Cuz ah cean eez whai.", Pickles replied nonchalantly and demonstratively took another drought of booze. "M-hm, dis iz sum good stahff heer, ye wan' sum o' it?"
"Yeah, I... uh, I guess I would, yeah.", Nathan replied slowly and fixed a longing gaze on the absinth. Pickles handed him the bottle with a cheerful chirp of "Heer, dood!"; he himself was already too drunk to figure that the younger man shouldn't be drinking in his state. So Nathan took the absinth, drank a sip- and spit it right back out. It burned like all the fires of Hell in his throat. Brutal. He grunted in pain, but still, he took the booze up readily and took more sips. "Oh crap, this stuff is awful!", he growled and put the bottle back on the floor; not quite where Pickles had placed it before, but close enough. (Meaning about five feet off.)
Nathan snarled softly. Crap. That was some strong stuff. He read the label: 77,8 % was pure alcohol. He remembered Pickles telling him about lightweights who got drunk from a shot of vodka, and right now, Nathan honestly wished he were a lightweight. The absinth stung in his throat, his head was spinning, and the hallucinogenic effects (it was original wormwood absinth off the black market) were already kicking in. He could've sworn he had just seen a unicorn dancing on a Lucky Charms rainbow marshmallow, or that orange turtle over there! "Uh... there's 'n 'range terdl o'er there, dood'ly.", he slurred and laughed. "Hey, Nate, caht it aut, plees.", Pickles said gently and added,"Ah don' wan' ye hertin' yasilf, owkey?"
"I'm.. oh, haha, the Tooth Fairy, oh my God, Pickles, there's the Tooth Fairy!"
"Eh, yeah, no, Nate, yer jus' helloosinaytin', owkey? Dood, stahp dreenkin! Plees, ah don' wanna see ye hert agaen, ye dooshbeag!"
Nathan tried to stand up and promptly fell right back on his ass. "This sucks.", he snapped angrily and leaned against an imaginary wall for support. Of course he fell again. Pickles rolled his eyes in annoyance, but when he saw that Nathan was in genuine distress, he reached out a hand to help the vocalist up. "Ye've gahtta stahp."
"Okay.", Nathan replied coldly and swayed dangerously. "I'm ti'ed, dood'lyyyyy.", he slurred, dragging 'doodily' out very long.
"Owkey, so whut doo ye wan' MEE ta doo?",Pickles snapped and glared at him. Nathan, who was beginning to sober up again, yawned and snuggled into the heavy, warm blanket, desperately trying to keep warm in the middle of an October night with an open room wndow, and with no shirt on. "I'm cold.", he finally admitted. Pickles forced himself not to smile. Nathan's legs were covered, but his torso was completely free. Of course he was cold, that douchebag!
"Aw, Nate...", the Wisconsinite sighed and shook his head. "Ya theenk ye cean cuver yersilf ahp?"
"Uh... lemme try... no."
"Owkey, but ah'm oanlee dooin' dis cuz yer soaw slahppy, ah hoap ye knoaw deat?"
"M-hm, just... please just do it."
"Kay. Dere, ahl dun.", Pickles muttered and went to the door. "Ah'm gunna goaw nau, owkey? Jes'... cahll mee win ye need sum'tin, yeh?"
"Yeah...", Nathan replied tiredly and tried desperately to stay awake. Pickles opened the door and added mischievously,"Ye cean heave da absinth."
Nathan rolled his eyes in annoyance and fell asleep immediately, completely unconscious and oblivious.
-"Oh mai gahd are you eat'n FRINCHTOAWST?!", Pickles howled and dove for the dinner table in an attempt to snag a bite of his second-favourite snack. Skwisgaar rolled his eyes and handed him a frenchtoast stick and a little plate slathered in maple syrup. "Da, here you goes, Pickle, is der frenchs-toasts, hopes you likes it, ja?", the Swede babbled and thumped the plate on the Wisconsinite's place without even bothering that he got syrup all over a magazine Toki was reading.
"Yeh, t'eanks, Skwisgahr."
"Welcome, Pickle."
"Eh... gaiz, Ah wuz in de hahspital wid Nate 'n dey say 'e's dyin', so... yeh..."
All three of them were shocked, in fact, Murderface screamed loudly,"BUT THAT'SCH IMPOSCHIBBLE, PICKLESCH!" and Toki shot orange juice out of his nose. "Doods, ah'm sahrry, 's jes... da dahcters niver lai, leas' Charlie tol' mee deat..."
"But if he ams dyings, why is he nots visits-kinks us?!", Toki whined confusedly and spilled hot coffee all over himself. He howled and stomped off to find A) a new shirt and B) a place to cry. Skwisgaar snickered and took to lazily fingering his guitar. "Stupids Toki.", he sighed and set his coffee mug down with a high-pitched klink. Pickles lowered his head sadly. and sighed. "Doods, whadya wanna doo? Ah dun wanna run araud t'inkn' 'bout Nate all day, ye know?", he almost whined. Murderface laughed coldly and snarled obnoxiously,"Well, Picklesch, if you wanna be gay with Nathan that'sch fine wisch me!"
"Shut up, ye dooshbeag!", Pickles screamed. He tackled Murderface down and pounded his fists into the bassist's face. Murderface grunted in pain and toppled over the back of his seat. "Serv's ye rait, mudderdooshbeager.", Pickles growled and punched him again. Murderface howled somewhat exxageratedly as Pickles' fist came into contact with his face, but Pickles didn't care. He had repaid the fat bastard, that was enough. A very formal-looking man in a navy blue tuxedo came out and inquired in a very worried voice,"Is Pickles here? Pickles the Drummer?"
"Da's mee, whai?", Pickles replied, instinctively scared that he was in trouble for something. The man shook his head sadly and announced in a cold, sinister voice,"Sir, I have bad news for you. Dr. Affenschmidt has just given me notice that Nathan Explosion recently has fallen into a seemingly permanent coma."
Pickles was so shocked, he couldn't even scream. "Nate's in a... coma?",.he whispered and gulped,"Wha' heappened? WHY DIDN'T YE MUDDERDOOSHBEAGERS TAKE CEAR O' 'IM?!"
"Pickles, we did all that was in our power. I'm very sorry, but it couldn't be avoided.", the man replied in a voice that sounded as though he were anything BUT sorry. Pickles sobbed and turned away from him. "Ah wanna see 'im. Naow.", he snapped.
The man led him into Nathan's room. The redhead burst in. Nate was lying there, looking so peaceful... too peaceful. He'd lost weight during his stay in St. En's, he was even paler than usual, and if Pickles was reading his ECG correctly, he wasn't in the very best state at the moment. "Hey, Nate... 's mee, Pickles, ye knoaw?", he asked weakly, knowing full well that he wasn't going to get an answer but still hoping deep down that Nathan was still alive, that he'd suddenly sit up and yell at Pickles for barging in at random, and then they'd laugh it off like in the old days. Pickles wiped a tear from his face, and suddenly he was sobbing uncontrollably at Nathan's bedside.

Of course it was all over the news, and it was bigger than Jimi Hendrix' death on TV. People were reporting it everywhere, they wanted interviews, they wanted numbers, they wanted to have stories. Murderface was only too eager to give them their stories; starved for attention as he was, you may as well have asked him to rebuild the Twin Towers or to climb the Mt. Everrest in a pair of tighty whities and he would have gotten less famous than he was now.
He told one reporter that Nathan ha had an overdose on drugs;he told another that the vocalist had been attacked by the yardwolves, even that a stagelight had fallen on him during their last concert;in short, most of his stories weren't very believable. And those who did believe him often said he must be a very individual person if he'd seen all this happen. Murderface was proud of it, but pride always comes with prejudice. Soon enough, he started fearing that Nathan might come out of his coma and destroy his precious newfound fame. And soon, Murderface was discussed even more than a certain Nathan Explosion.

Pickles sat hunched at his desk, eyes bloodshot, his arms trembling from supporting his weight for three hours, his writing hand cramped painfully. He was writing a letter. To Nathan. He needed this, otherwise he'd go insane. He just needed to know that there was a possibilty that Nate would wake up again. *Dear Nate...*, he wrote. The paper was crumpled and blotched from his tears. (A/N: I'm not going to write this entire letter in Pickles' accent)*Dear Nate, I'm really sorry about all this. I know this isn't my fault, but fuck it, I can't forget it! I can't forget how the doctor came and told me that you were DEAD. I... I just can't, Nate. And dven if I could, would it do anything? Like fuck it would, Nate, and you know that. I hope you also know how good of a friend you were. The very best, you douchebag. I've never had a friend like you. You would keep me from plugging my fucking nostrils with cocaine. You'd hide the heroin shots so I didn't kill myself when I misjudged the measure because I was too cheap SVEDKA shit. You saved my ass on the streets when people wanted to beat me up for being in Snakes N Barrels, for being a sissy... And I'm fucking grateful for that, Nate, I really am. How coud I not be?! I owe you my goddamn LIFE. And... well, that gets us to the heart of the matter, it looks like. Now you're in a coma and you can't read this, but... I stil want to put it in paper and pen. I miss you. I miss palling around with you, I miss putting Explosion Sauce and beer into the amplifiers, I miss you yelling at us for not perfecting the fucking albums to your fucking sandards... Just, well, I miss you being THERE. I really want you back, Nate. Even if it's just for a day, I want the old Nathan back. I really miss you. Please wake up.

Bye, douchebag. I hope you wake up soon,
Pickles.*

He threw the pen down and collapsed over his desk, too tired and scared to do anything else at the moment. If Nate was really dead, he'd have lost his best friend, his resting pillar, his father figure for some time even. That was just unfair. He wanted Nate back. Now. And curse the powers that be if he really died here, then Pickles would have a fucking field day. He'd go completely ballistic and probably kill everything in his path, the rest of Dethklok included... He barely noticed the steely slither of the knife being pulled out of its sheath. And after that, he noticed nothing.

A stabbing, searing heat washed over him. Pickles howled as Skwisgaar poured stale vodka over his stab wound. The alcohol seemed almost to be fucking corroding his skin. "Dood, yer-gah! Wha' da feck, ah seed it heas ta bee frish vahdka, ya dooshBEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAG!"
"Sorry, I wasn'ts tryinks to hurts you, Pickle... I just amnest wantinks to makes it better, ja? So you can nots hurts while you's playinks der drumkits? Cos we isn't wantinks dat to happens, ja, Pickle?", the Swede purred cooly and poured more vodka over his back. Pickles did all in his motherdouchebagging power to not scream, but he just couldn't help it. Skwisgaar ignored him and screwed the bottle cap back on. The drummer sat limp in his chair so he could relieve his back of some pressure and take five after having three-week-old vodka that was partially Murderface's spit poured over his bare back. "Yer a dick, Skwissgahr.", he snarled. The blonde only chuckled and replied,"We don'ts havinks der rubbing alcohols here, Pickle. So sorrys, my bad.", but he sounded as if he were anything but 'so sorrys'. "Jes' eck ahff.", Pickles snapped and turned away from the guitarist. His pride stung worse than his back. A small sob left him. Damn, why was he being such a sissy right now?! Nathan had told him that sissies don't get far in life; they merely let others take over for them and do their work for then because they were such scaredy jackasses. And right now, Pickles felt like a scaredy jackass. He crumpled in his chair and lowered his head into his hands slowly, feeling weak as a motherfucker and unable to anything or anyone except for Nathan. That was just sick, plainly sick. Insane. Queer. He was being as unbrutal as a Death Metal drummer can possibly be. The readhead fished out his DethPhone from his pocket and typed in a familiar number with ytembling fingers, acting by instinct, not even really noticing whom he was calling. Aw, who gave a fuck anyways?! He just wanted somebody to talk to. Someone who'd listen to him without laughing. *"Hello, ams dat you, Pickle?"*
"Toki?!"
*"Ja, what's yous wantinks? Is five in de mornings, Pickle, we's wantinks to sleeps, you knows, gets de alcohol outs us system...*, Toki drawled tiredly and stifled a yawn.
"Yeh, Toki, bu' dis is reellee impoartent, ah sweer ta Odin er wha'iver da feck else ya beleev een, bu' dis is right feckin' impoartent ta ahll ef ahs."
*"What's de problems, Pickle?"*
"Well... de prahblim is... ya remmber deat one taim when you 'n Nate ha' yer ceatfait bout you eatin' too mahch ceandy?"
*"Ja?"*
"'n haow ya shahved 'im ahnta da stick or wha'iver da feck dat was? Well, Ah hoap ye injoyed it, ya mudderdoucher, becahz he's in a FECKIN' KOHMAH!"
*"He amnest in COMAS?! Is it diabetics coma?!"*, the Norwegian shrieked. "Who gives a feck wedder i's a diabetic kohmah er NAHT ah sweer!"
*"Pickle?"*
"Yeh?"
*"Will he bes okay?"*
"Ah... ah dunno, Toki. Ah'm sahrry."
*"Oh, okay, Pickle, dat fines."*
"Aw, Toki... see, kid? Remimb'r whin ah toald ya deat werryin' was ghey?"
*"Ja, I remembers, Pickle..."*
"Well... dea's naht reelee true."
*"Whats?!"*
"Dood, Toki. It's naht ghey. Ah'm really werreed rai' naow masilf."
*"Bouts what, Pickle?"*
"Bout Nate. He could dai enytaim naow, da dahcters said."
*"Oh!"*, Toki squeaked and fainted. The connection broke.

*Hey Nate.
How's it going? Well... I shouldn't really be asking you this, but I still keep imagining that you'll wake up now anytime soon. That you'll sneak into my room with all the skill of a drunk elephant and try and raid my stash. That we'll go annoy Charlie together. Something. Goddamnit, Nate, I miss you! How could I not?! I don't know what to say. I'm just too flustered and lonely right now. I wish you were awake, so you could read this. Wake up. We all miss you. We do. Murderface pretends he doesn't, but he's just dicking around.
Wake up! I can't wait to finally fucking see you again. As gay as it sounds.
I really wish you all the best,
Pickles.* Pickles laid down his pen and studied his handiwork. "Dea' should bee eenuff.", he whispered and slouched back in his chair. "Gahddamnit, Nate, wha's heappenin'?", he wondered out loud. "Wha's... wha's heappenin' ta mee?"
A gentle knock on the door interrupted his daydream. "Yeh, whaddaya doosh wan'? Ah'm kaindeh bizee heer, ye knoaw?"
"Um, Pickle, ams me, Skvisgaar..."
"Eh, yah, whaddever, jes' feckin' come 'ere... Ah don' give a feck fer naow."
"Okay, Pickle, we needs to talks, ja?"
"Whai?"
"Ah, you is sort ofs, how do you says, kinds of der... detatchs lately, you knows? Ever since Naten ams dead. Is dere an problems, Pickle? You cans talkinks to mes, you knows?"
"Nah, peass. Ah cean't tahk 'bout it,.Skwis."
"Okay, just asks me, ja? Är bra, Pickle?"
"Yeah, Ah giss. Dunno. Mmmm... eh do we 'ave enee moar booze 'n 'ere?"
"Ja, I t'inkinks, ja."
"Owkey, could ye git sum?"
"Ja, är klart, I go gets it."
"Ah'll wheyt."
"I be right backs."
Pickles leaned against the bedframe and took out his DethPhone. Maybe if he called Charles he wouldn't go completely insane _
A low, melodic hum interrupted the tenuous silence in Charles' office. Slightly annoyed, the CFO picked up his phone and asked in his politest voice,"Can I help you?"
"Charlie? Cean Ah tahk tewya? I's aboot Nate."
"Well, Pickles, I am, ah, sort of busy at the moment. What do you want?"
"Ah wunna tahk, Aih ahlriddy sid dat."
"Alright, so, what is the, ah, problem with Nathan you are experiencing?"
"He... he's bin wakin' ep fer a cupple secin's at a taim."
"So? I mean, yes, that is very profitable news, Pickles, but why is this a problem, if I may ask?"
"'e's bin tahkin' ta people only 'e cean see, Charlie. Yew knoaw wha' deat means?!"
It took several seconds for it to sink in. Charles felt himself grow hot, then cold. Yes, he definitely knew what this meant. He picked up his phone.
"Dr Affenschmidt? Come immediately."
"Sir?"
"Yes?"
"Half Ai told yoo, zee Loard Naysen eez dedd?"
Charles dropped the phone out of his hand and vomited all over his desk. Only seconds ago, Pickles had mentioned the possibilty of Nathan being dead. Now the doctor had confirmed this possibility. _
Pickles sat at his desk silently, tears streaming down his face. Nathan. Nathan was dead. And fuck him if it wasn't the most painful thing he'd ever experienced. His best friend ever was fucking dead. "Hoaly feck, Nate, whai did ye doo dis ta mee?!", he sobbed, quite aware that Nathan couldn't hear him at all. He didn't care. His best friend and, directly post-Snakes N Barrels, his saviour, was dead. Pickles crept to his bed and crawled under the cover, not even bothering to change his clothes. He curled into a little ball and took the next-best thing he could find, in this case his phone, and threw it against the wall in an attempt to lessen his grief and anger. The phone shattered with a satisfying crunch. It did nothing to help. The redhead bit his pillow and screamed into it. After several minutes of shrieking into his pillows he fell back, too exhausted to scream anymore. Once he hit the bed, Pickle burst into tears and cried until he passed out from exhaustion. _
Loud, vicious, half-screaming, half-growling vocals filled the otherwise silent room. The growling was Nathan. The screaming was Pickles. Their voices mingled perfectly, sounding like two angry gods howling out their fury at humans, like two animals back from a victorious hunt. Every rythm they sang was right, every pitch was perfect. They were meant to sing together. They belonged together on the stage. Frustrated, Pickles turned the sterio off. He couldn't bear it. He just wanted to let it go finally. At least then he wouldn't lose his mind completely. He sighed weakly, let himself fall back into bed, and fell asleep. Seconds later, a certain other man slipped into his room with a handwritten letter thar he left underneath Pickles' pillow. As silently as he'd come in, Nathan left again. The talk could wait.