Heard this song on the radio the other day, and thus this story beckoned to be written. Those inner voices are beginning to take over... If you've never heard this song, I suggest you do yourself a MAJOR favor and get it. Kansas - Dust in the Wind

Hints at unrequited m/m love, easily ignored if it's not your thing.

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Marin2x1

Dust in the Wind...

[lyrics]

A mere five hours afterwards, I find myself atop a sand dune far away from the town. Can't bring myself to stay around them all. Especially not Millie, who has, by now, ceased crying. Tears still burn my eyes and cause my throat to clench up painfully, though they have yet to fall. I won't let them fall. I can't...

My red coat, so symbolic of everything I once thought myself to believe in, billows around me like a great cloak in the cruel wind of early evening. The last sun beginning to fall behind the horizon to my left, I inhale a shaky breath as deep as battered, tight lungs will allow. In front of me is the town, yet I close my eyes against it, ignoring the lights that are now beginning to glow in the steadily approaching darkness.

For a moment, as my lids fall, I think I can hear his voice one last time. I almost imagine that I can see his face. I nearly feel him sitting next to me. And then, when I open my eyes, everything that I was certain I had only imagined is gone. The sun is still setting to the left, the town's lights are still burning in front of me, and all around is nothing but dust and sand, slowly swirling in irregular patterns due to the breeze. It hits my back, now and again. My face, even. It stings my eyes. Yet, I ignore it.

[I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone]

Thoughts travel through my mind then, as I stare blankly at the horizon in the direction of the sunset. Questions plague me, such as 'why' and 'how.' I refuse to allow myself the answers. Should I cave in, I could end up blaming myself. He wouldn't want that. Instead, I decide to remember things. I remember when I first met him, when he first departed, and then all of the meetings and partings that were to follow. Most of all, though, I remember the thoughts I'd had of what could have been. The dreams, the what-if's the soft, unspoken pleas that I refused to ever whisper or say aloud. Curious, really, that I feel no fear when it comes to concepts such as death, yet the very thought of admitting certain feelings can make me shiver in fear.

[All my dreams, pass before my eyes, a curiosity]

I shake my head then, finding it pointless to continue on this train of thought. None of it really matters anymore, does it? All of the dreams and wants should be gone, now that he is. There's nothing more to dream of and want. They're not important anymore.

Right...?

[Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind]

It's the same as it's always been. You meet people, you get close to them, and then they're gone. That seems to be the course that has been predestined for me. All of the fleeting moments and passing memories that will soon fade to non-existant within the confines of my mind. It's like torture, really, every time someone leaves me. I have to quietly sit through the pain caused, and then feel it time and time again.

For some reason, though, this time is different. Was he more important to me? Was he special in some way, to stand out above all the rest? Did he represent all of the could-have-beens that have ever existed in my life? Yes. Virtuous 'til the end, really. He chose to give his life to save another, and all because of me and my ideals. He'd been around me too long. It's my fault.

I won't let myself forget him.

[Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea]

Others may forget, but I won't. Meryl and Milly, they'll eventually die. Everyone that ever knew him will eventually die. It's the perpetual existance of man, to live and die, and have those that swore to remember die as well. Almost makes me question the meaning of existance, itself. I would, too, were I in less of a state of shock.

Placing my hand on my cheek, I imagine that it is his, just so that I can grant myself the feeling of him once more. Just so that I can close my eyes and for a moment smell the consistent smell of cigarettes and gunpowder. Everything we do seems to be pointless when we're gone. Would it have made any difference to anyone if he had never been born?

I wouldn't have had to go through the pain of losing him. Yet, I wouldn't have gone through the joys of knowing him...

[All we do, crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see]

I open my eyes, then. Reaching down to the ground, I pick up a handful of sand. Studying it like never before, I realize then that the world is made of nothing more than millions and millions of tiny grains of sand; all of them similar, yet none the same. Some are larger, some are smaller. All different shapes and sizes, all different colors. Some of the grains sparkle more, catching the barest hint of the light coming from the fading sun. Some of them are dull, even black. Which was Nicholas? Did he sparkle like some of the rare, tiny granules in my hand?

Holding the sand up, I slowly open my hand, watching as the breeze picks up every grain of dust and carries it off slightly as it falls. I guess that's all they are, really. Nothing more than dust; no real meaning, no point of existance. They're simply here because they're here. No point in questioning the rightful existance of a species and the meaning behind every state of living. No reason pothering over the mundane. Once the sand leaves my hand, it's impossible to find it again. There's no way to distinguish one grain from the other. They're gone...

[Dust in the wind, All we are is dust in the wind]

I sigh, leaning forward and burying my face in my knees, wrapping my arms about my legs. I almost wish I could go with him. Almost wish I didn't have to stay here. Why do I have to live so long?

No... he wouldn't like that. Wouldn't like me wanting to die just because he's gone. Wouldn't want me curling in on myself and giving up like this. I can't do it. I know I'm not immortal. It may be years, hundreds of years even, before I see him again but I'm sure I will. If there is any kind of a God, the God that he believed in so much, please let me see him again. Nothing lasts forever. I can't live forever, either. I'm not immortal... I'm not.

[Don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky]

Pointless to wonder if things had been different, what would have happened. Had I not so mindlessly attempted to instill my beliefs in him, would he be alive? Pointless. If it hadn't happened today, it would have happened another day. No one lives forever. From millionaires to homeless drunks, they all perish and slip away from this life. Sad, really. Depressing, almost.

[It slips away, all your money won't another minute buy]

If I weren't so determined to be strong about this, I would probably break down, but... there is so much more to do. So many things left unfinished. Now, though... now there's not much left to live for. Not much left to care about. It's time to finish this for good. If I lose my life fighting, then so be it. I'm not going to do something crazy and end my own life. She wouldn't like it. Instead, I'm going to hold my life as less valuable and really put it on the line. Put all my cards on the table, as they say, and finish this for good.

Everyone dies. It's just a matter of how. How will I die? Would I rather wither away slowly or go out fighting? A large part of my life has been based around battles. I think it's only suitable that I go out as such. So, I'm standing up. I'm brushing off all of the sand that has gathered on my clothing. I'm heading back to town and getting ready to end this.

But I won't cry...

[Dust in the wind, All we are is dust in the wind]