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About this City Journal

From the 2008 Trixie Winner of The Best Use of Added Graphics in a CJ and CJ Gore Master comes a story of one group of strangers, brought together by one fateful accident. Follow their lives...

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Porter

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Theme Song: Girl Anachronism- Dresden Dolls

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From: Inspector Mochimoto Nagasaki, MPD, Tokyo, Japan

RE: The Lipstick Killer- Possible Matches

Attn: Dec. Nick Clayton

Detective, it is my opinion that this suspect may be the one you are looking for. I’ve encountered her work before, and she is quite the piece of work. I’ve attached the case file Interpol has available on her.

The information in the report is for office use only. Please do not make any copies of this file.

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Internal Background File Summary

Interpol Case: JAO/ASM-149-12A

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Suspect:  Rin Kazuki

DOB: 17 May 1988

Appearance: 164cm; 41kg; Blonde, Blue

Rin Kazuki was born at Keio University Hospital in Tokyo, Japan on May 17, 1988. The half Japanese, half French only child of business tycoons first allegedly toyed with murder at the age of 8. It was at that age that she is suspected to have killed her babysitter in a case that to this day still baffles police.

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Described as one of the bloodiest murders seen, Kazuki was found covered in the older girl’s blood, playing a large butcher’s knife and smiling as police investigators questioned her about the incident. Some parts were found of the victims body thrown into the family’s kitchen food disposal, while many other body parts remained unfound, leaving the cause of death unknown. However, due to a large bribe and the promise of intense psychotherapy, she was not prosecuted.

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At 15, she discovered the world of fashion and modeling. It was at the 2005 Paris Fashion Show that she made her second killing using a Swiss army knife and her bare hands.

Below is part of the transcript of the conversation she had with psychiatrists once being extradited and admitted to the Toshima Tokyo Metropolitan Hospital:

Dr Kobayashi: Now beginning interview with patient 441879, Rin Kazuki. Patient has shown signs of psychotic breakdown and is being held for observation to determine frame of mind after assaulting and killing an acquaintance in Paris. Rin, my name is Doctor Kobayashi and I’ll be interviewing you today. To start off, can you tell us what happened on the night you attacked and murdered that girl?

Kazuki: She stole something of mine and she needed to pay.

Dr Kobayashi: Can you explain to us further?

Kazuki: My precious Prada bag. She stole one of my Prada bags. So I stole her kidneys. What’s so bad about what I did? She deserved it. It’s not my fault she couldn’t stand a little blood loss.

Dr Kobayashi: Don’t you think that was a little unnecessary?

Kazuki: So I overreacted a little.

Dr Kobayashi: You….. Overreacted?

Kazuki: Well, I could have done worse to her. My first instinct was to slice her skin off and make her a new purse out of the remains, but I didn’t have the time for that.

Dr Kobayashi: And….. Um…..

Kazuki: But I wish I had done the purse idea, though. Oh well. Maybe I’ll make some new friends here to play with.

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After being in Toshima for 3 years, she murdered almost 15 doctors, nurses, and staff and mutilating a fellow male patient and escaped from the hospital’s psychiatric ward. Looking for a job to better hone her skills, Kazuki turned to the world of professional killing.

By 22, she was ranked as one of the top female assassins in the world. Credited with the bloodiest murder of a political official, she developed a unique calling card of leaving chaos in her wake, and cutting pieces off of her victims and keeping them as tokens.

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Now 24, agencies believe she be in the city of Timbervale, Missouri. Make note that she tends to take “attractive” male victims similar to age, and has been known to torture them for her own amusement. She is also extremely capable with firearms, knifes, and explosives and should be considered armed and extremely dangerous at all times.

-END REPORT-

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Rubbing his eyes, Detective Nick Clayton moved his mouse cursor to the print button and listened as the small printer next to his screen churned away. Another late night at the office, he thought to himself, reaching for his coffee cup and taking a drink, only to find a couple of drops.

“Great…. I’m out of my caffeine fix,” he muttered, peering at the bottom of the now empty cup before setting it back down. “And I bet nobody refilled the pot in the break room.”

Turning away from the computer, Nick stood up and stretched he back and arms, yawning as he looked around. Yeah, with everyone here tonight, I bet whatever coffee there is probably burnt to a crisp. Might as well brew a new batch, he resigned, and slowly made his way to the break room, taking the newly printed report with him.

Entering the room, the smell of burnt coffee hit his nostrils. Yup, just like I thought, burning coffee. I could drink instant but… yeah, might as well drink septic tank fluid…

 Snorting with disgust, he grimaced as he took the pot of mud-like coffee and tossed it in the small metal sink, and began his search of a clean coffee pot, finally finding one in the empty cupboard under the sink, annoyingly filled with small Splenda packets, tiny red straws, and for some unknown reason, salt.

Refilling the coffee grinds and water, he started the pot, and taking a seat at the small folding table in the room, let his mind wander as he looked down at the report in front of him.

Why the hell does she look so familiar, his mind raced as he began tapping his foot on the floor. I know I’ve met her somewhere before, and I swear it wasn’t that long ago. Come to think of it, the last couple of months have been a continuous round of déjà vu. Sniffing the air, he noticed the smell of the burnt coffee slowly being replaced with that of the newly brewed. Let’s see… it must have started back at that car accident in the winter. There was that kid in the car and the one on the bus. And that pregnant blonde woman that save the kid on the bus. I knew who she is, but for the life of me, I just can’t put the name to the face!

Hearing the beep coming from the coffee maker, he got up and poured the fresh, steaming coffee into the mug. Replacing the pot, he grabbed his cup and brought it to his lips, taking a deep sniff before taking a sip.

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Turning around, he leaned back and let his mind wonder again as he continued to drink.

Maybe I remember them from a different case? Let’s see… what case would there have been a blonde woman and two boys. There’s the Riverside case back when I joined the force! Little blonde kid gets molested and held hostage by the abusive father. Wait…. No… the blonde mother was murdered.

 Resigned, he sighed and sat his, yet again, empty cup back on the counter and began filling it up again as his partner entered the small room.

“YO! Clayton! You made more java!” the man called out, drifting quickly to the small counter.

“No thanks to the rest of you lazy bums in this department… I swear Maes, every time I come in here, there isn’t any damned coffee! And the next time I come in to find someone left a pot of molten steroid mud, I’m going to find them and chop their ba…” Nick ranted, pointing at the charred glass pot sitting abandoned in the sink.

“Yeah yeah… we become eunuchs and the like. You need to relax man, and lay off the Joe… your too jumpy!” Maes Hidetaka laughed, shaking his head as he poured himself a cup. “Anyways, anything come up from that email you sent on Interpol?”

“Ugh, nothing except this crackpot theory from a guy in Japan. He thinks it’s some Japanese supermodel turned world class assassin. Crazy, huh?” he replied, thrusting the papers into his friend’s arms.

“Eh, hot girl, but I think I’ll look at it later. It looks like we have to bring some more rookies up to speed that Internal sent up to help us before we can get out of here. Want to watch the game on DVR at my place after we get out of here? My sweet little Arisa made some stir fry for dinner…” answered Hidetaka, handing back the report as he made his way back to the doorway.

“Yeah, but we better grab some takeout on the way to your house. You wife can’t cook to save her life,” said Nick, smirking as he followed the man out of the room.

Sighing, he walked across the office and stepped into the now filled conference room. Nodding at the man in standing front of the room, he took his seat and sat down his cup of coffee.

“Ok people. I know all of you would like to go home, but the mayor wants this sick freak caught. I’ll have Detective Hidetaka go over the case. Detective?” the man explained waving his hand at Maes.

“Let’s see…. This week marked the discovery of the seventeenth victim of the Lipstick Killer. As you all know, all the victims have been male, 18 to 27, and all generally known to be some of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Their reports from the ME have shown trace amounts of Euphoria in their bloodstreams and the same characteristic lipstick on their lips. And they all have signs of sexual activity but there hasn’t been any DNA evidence of the killer found on their bodies. All the victims go missing Friday night from various nightclubs in the downtown district, and are found in various places across the city Monday morning.”

Propping his head on his hand, Nick watched as his friend paused to take another sip of coffee before continuing.

“That’s where the similarities end. Each victim has been mutilated, but the means of how that happens seems to be different in each case. However, we do seem to see a pattern developing. Our killer seems to be repeating the type of mutilation every six killings, but they still seem to be getting more gruesome with each progressive murder. We also think there may be a connection between the murders and the Hilton murder at Tricomm, but at this point it’s looking like a dead end. Well, other than that, I’ll be sending you each a copy of the cases by email tomorrow morning. Unless you have anything to add Boss or any of you have a question, I’d say let’s get out of here,” explained Maes, looking around the room as he finished.

Standing up with the rest of the room, Nick joined his friend as they gathered their coats and walked towards the elevator, absentmindedly leaving his report on the table.

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Extra Pictures-

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Porter
 
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Theme Song: Leave Out All the Rest- Linkin Park

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“Hi….” Lukas croaked out, looking at the strange dark haired man looking down at him, apparently speechless for some strange reason.

Looking around, he began taking in the sight before him. Yellow walls, with rainbow borders and some teddy bears dancing around; Cute and fluffy!he thought to himself smiling as the man standing near him burst out into tears.

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“Why are you crying?” he asked, a frown spreading across his face as he tried to reach up his arm to touch the mystery man in front of him. Something about the man struck him as familiar, but for the life of him, he couldn’t put a name to the face. As he tried to sit up, he grimaced and he felt a sharp pain in his stomach.

“Hold on…” the man said, as he rushed out of the room, leaving Lukas by himself.

Huh… he’s acting weird. He doesn’t normally act like that…  Lukas considered to himself, confused about how he knew about the actions of someone he’d decided he’d never met. Noticing the IV in his arm and began picking at it. Huh, I must be in a hospital… he mused, his thoughts continuing as he noticed the giant cast running up his other arm and stopping at his chest, and that must be part of the reason.

Startled, his attention suddenly turned to the fleet of hospital staff running into the room followed by the man. He watched as one of them made his way right next his bed and kneeled over him with a pen light in his hand.

“Lukas, my name is Dr. Baum,” the man began, clicking on the light and shining it into his eyes as he continued, “We need to do a few tests. You’ve been in a coma for quite a while and you’ve had all of us worried. I need to you to follow this light with your eyes first, ok?”

“Um, ok…” Lukas trailed off, looking at the doctor and he looked around at all the people before a wave of panic began to spread over him.

“What happened? Where’s my brother? What are all you people doing in here?” Lukas began to yell, the wave of panic finally taking hold. Trying to get up, he suddenly found himself being held down by several of the people that had entered the room.

Suddenly, the man with dark hair rushed to his side and grabbed his hand.

“Lukas, just calm down…” the man began to softly say to him, rubbing his arm, “ Your brother is downstairs in the cafeteria getting food. Just calm down and let the doctor…”

Cutting him off, Lukas began to scream and cry.

“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER ANYTHING?! HELP! PLEASE, SOMEONE!!!”

“Somebody, grab me 4mg of Atavan and 25mg of Thorazine!” Dr. Baum called out as the man with dark hair froze and stared at him.

Still flailing, he watched as someone injected the clear liquid brought to him. Suddenly feeling drowsy, he stared in confusion at the man crying next to his bed as he quickly drifted asleep.

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“During the accident Lukas, you sustained some pretty major injuries,” the doctor continued as he continued to try and blink away the drowsiness that the drugs were still giving him.

Looking over, he watched his brother and the strange man chatting quietly out in the hall.

“Lukas, I really need you to try and pay attention…” the doctor sighed out, drawing his attention back to the x-ray on the computer in front of him. Nodding, he turned his head back to Dr. Baum. “As I was saying, besides your shoulder, scapula, and humerus being broken and having a perforated abdomen, you suffered serious head trauma. We can see from the CT of your skull here that you suffered some severe swelling in the temporal region here, and some slight swelling here in the amygdale and hippocampus. However, with the lack of blood you didn’t have near as much swelling as a typical trauma such as this. Also, the cold temperatures outside that day acted as a form of therapeutic hypothermia, further…”

“And all this means?” Lukas asked, quickly getting bored as the doctor droned along. Shifting in the bed, he winced as he felt the stitches along his stomach pulled slightly.

“Essentially, you had some brain damage from the crash. Honestly, we aren’t sure how much damage there is, but you definitely are suffering from severe memory loss. From what your psychological evaluation is showing, it looks like you’re suffering from mixed amnesia, as well as source amnesia and regarding your inability to remember some of the people in your life, a minor form of dissociative fugue.” Dr Baum explained, as Lukas tried to wrap his head around what he was being told.

“But will I remember anything?” Lukas asked, frustrated.

“We’re hopeful that most of the trauma is temporary, but you’ll most likely not remember anything that happened during and before the accident that day. The worst case scenario here is that you won’t be able to remember anything that you’ve lost. The good news is, however, that you seem to have almost all your cognitive skills, and there doesn’t seem to be any damage to your brain other than your memory loss,” replied the doctor, slowly walking to the door, “That’s about it. I’m going to go talk to everyone and explain where we plan on going from here.”

Lying back on the bed, Lukas nodded and closed his eyes. Turning his attention to the door, he strained his ears to listen to them outside.

“Well, I told him everything I told you both and he seems to be taking it well…” Lukas could hear the doctor explain to his brother and that man.

“Doctor, where do we go from here? Will he be able to come home?” he could hear Sebastian ask, the worry  clear in his younger brother’s voice.

“Honestly, I don’t really see why he can’t go home in a couple of days. Everything we can do has already been done, and now we just have to wait until he gets his memory back. Honestly, the best place for him to do that is to be around things he might remember. So, I’m going to put in his charts that unless we find something that requires his stay to be longer, that he be released into to your care. I take it you have made arrangements with where he will be staying?” he heard the doctor reply.

“I’ve taken care of it. He and his brother will be moving in with me at my house. I’ve already made arrangements to have their things moved into my home out at Heatherwood, and I can promise that he’ll be taking it slow if and when you clear him to come back to work…” confusion spread across Lukas’ face as he heard the last bit from that strange man. Why was it he knew that what the guy was doing was so out of character? Why was it he didn’t know the man’s name and how was it he knew him, but had no memory of ever meeting him?

Defeated at his own questions, he continued to listen.

“Why doesn’t he remember me? Or what happened?”

“Honestly, we have no idea. The brain is a strange organ. It does weird things to protect itself. Sometimes it blocks out certain things while under extreme stress. Other times, just one little wrench is thrown in and the whole machine goes out of whack. I just don’t have a good answer for you,” he heard the doctor answer.

“Well, if you both don’t have any other questions I’m going to call it a night. Brian, Sebastian, if either one of you have any questions, just ask the nurses to page me. I’ll let them know you both will be staying here tonight with him.” With the doctor’s parting words, Lukas heard him turn around at the door and walk away.

So his name is Brian… Lukas thought to himself in his half awake state, as he heard his brother and the man settling back into the room quietly.

Finally succumbing to the remains of the sedatives in his system, Lukas relaxed and slowly drifted to sleep, barely registering it when felt a warm hand enclose his.

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Extras:

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~Click on picture above for high resolution background~ 

Porter

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Theme Song: Carolina Liar- Show Me What I'm Looking For

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Brian hadn’t noticed the medics. Not when they opened the car, not when they tried to talk to him. He couldn’t see them through his tears, couldn’t hear them through his pleading for Lukas to wake up. His body was so cold, so numb, that he didn’t feel the hands touch him and when they started to gently pull him away and out of the car, Brian weakly fought them.

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It was no use.

They won, in the end, and all he could do was watch in dismay from where they’d sat him as they worked to extract Lukas from the wreckage with some sort of saw. His body trembled and every breath seemed to come with less air than he needed.

Someone was speaking to him, but he didn’t listen. He couldn’t. All he could do was hope with everything that he had that his stupidity hadn’t cost him the ultimate price. Someone stood in front of him and started speaking, but Brian absently pushed himself up with one leg and looked past the person; unable to take his eyes off of Lukas.

The person moved out of his line of sight and a moment later a blanket was placed gently over his shoulders. Someone was speaking to him again; something about him needed to sit and about shock, but it was faint. 

Lukas. 

He had to be with Lukas.

He had to make sure that Lukas would be alright...

Tears welled up in his eyes and he whispered, “This is all my fault... If only…”

“Sir,” the voice said again and he felt someone try to lead him away. “Come with me. You need to be treated.”

Brian shook his head and when he blinked, the tears that had gathered in his eyes escaped and trickled down his chilly cheeks. “I can’t,” he gasped, not able to get enough air to speak. “I have to make sure...”

“We’re taking care of him. Please, come with me. You’ve sustained some major injuries as well and you’re in shock. We need to treat you.” There was a pause, then a shouted, “Jackson, grab Davings and get a stretcher over here.” It meant something, Brian was sure, but it meant nothing to him. 

Suddenly, the saw stopped and there were shouts for morphine because Lukas was awake. Brian tried to stand, tried to go to him, but was pushed back into place; the same voice telling him that they were bringing a stretcher for him and that his passenger would be okay.

Brian shook his head vaguely as he watched the other medics with Lukas. The teen was starting to scream now, and Brian tried to get up again but he cried out as a sharp pain flared in his knee and spread through his leg. More tears came, though not from the pain. No, the pain was nothing. It was for Lukas, and because he couldn’t get to him. He’d done this, and now he couldn’t even try to help...

“Just a small prick, now,” he heard before a small pain bit at his uninjured arm. Brian looked over in time to see a needle being pulled out, and then he felt hands grab him and move him to lie on something.

“Luke...” Brian whispered before something was placed over his nose and mouth, supplying him with more air. He closed his eyes and felt warm liquid run down his face from his eyes as he begged silently for Lukas to be okay.

 

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Brian opened his eyes and stared up through the darkness at the ceiling. The first thing he noticed was that he was warm—hot, in fact, as if someone had put a whole bundle of blankets on him.

The next thing he noticed was something strapped over his nose and mouth. Some sort of oxygen mask? He tried to lift a hand, planning to take it off, but his left arm wouldn’t move, and his right seemed heavy...

He blinked as he realized that he did indeed have several blankets on him. That explained it... but... He looked around again. Where was Lukas? Was he alright? Fear pricked at his heart, and panic started to set in. He had to know. He had to find out.

Slowly, Brian started moving his right arm up in an effort to get out of bed, when the door opened and the room was flooded with light from the hall. A woman, a nurse by the look of her uniform, walked in and messed with a few of the buttons and tubes before looking down at him. She jumped slightly in surprise when she realized he was awake.

Pressing a hand to her chest, the nurse took a deep breath to calm herself before saying, “You scared the living daylights out of me, you know that?” Brian shrugged a little to show that he hadn’t meant to. She shook her head, reached over, and took the oxygen mask off. “How you feeling, honey?” she asked with a slight Southern accent.

“Don’t know,” he answered weakly. “I’m guessing not so great if I’m here?” To this she merely laughed and asked him whether he felt any discomfort.

The woman, Sarah Thornberry, was pleasant enough as she relieved him of a few of the blankets and checked his vitals. She’d also gotten him water for which he couldn’t have been more grateful for.

He quickly learned that he’d come away from the accident with a broken arm, a dislocated knee, and some cuts and bruises. He’d broken his arm near the elbow joint, and shattered the bone in his wrist. Apparently, he’d need surgery on it, but it wasn’t anything that would keep him in the hospital any longer than his other injuries.

Unfortunately, each time he asked about Lukas, the nurse quickly changed the subject, telling him ‘not to worry his pretty little head about it’. Finally, Brian reached over with his good hand and held her arm. He gazed steadily into her eyes and whispered, “Please... I have to know... Please understand...”

He swallowed, not sure how to make her see that he couldn’t go on without at least knowing. Not taking her eyes from his, she reached over and put her hand over the one he’d used to grab her with. 

“Alright,” she said finally. “I don’t know much, but I know they got that boy into surgery as soon as he got here. That was yesterday. I know he’s been in a couple times, but... I’m sorry, I just don’t know more. He’s in good hands though with Dr. Baum.”

He felt tired and exhausted, but he used what strength he had to squeeze her arm. “Find out for me, please... I can’t live without knowing. ” That last part just slipped out. He hadn’t meant to say it, he didn’t want her to know how desperate he was, but it was true. He needed to know. All he could think of was that Lukas was dead, or alive but in a state that he’d never fully recover... 

For a moment she simply looked at him, then her expression softened. “I see,” she said quietly and gave him a small smile. “I understand. I’ll do what I can for you.” 

Brian slowly let go of her arm, and she placed it on the bed. With her assurances, he closed his eyes and let himself drift back to sleep.

 
It’s been almost three months since that day, Brian reflected, stepping out of the shiny metal interior of the elevator and into the brightly lit hallways of the hospital. Brian’s first few days after the accident were spent mostly sleeping or being examined by doctors. He’d gone into surgery for his wrist and though they were sure it would heal up alright, the doctors said that he’d probably have problems with it for the rest of his life.

For now his left arm was in a cast, and his left knee had a brace around it. He would have to use a crutch while it healed, but only time would tell if it would heal properly or if he’d need some sort of corrective surgery for that as well.

The small cuts on his forehead had healed up nicely. He’d been lucky that he hadn’t sustained any major injuries to his head. Although his injuries were bad, it was the effects of going into shock that had kept him in the hospital for so long.

He’d had visitors, of course. His co-workers had come, both to offer condolences and to try cheering him up. And he’d had a half-hearted scolding from Sebastian, but he could tell he was more worried than angry.

And then, of course, there was Lukas. 

When Brian reached the nurses’ station, he leaned heavily against the counter. He’d stopped at the flower shop on his way, buying a bouquet of red roses, and carried them in between his body and his cast. Now he set it on the counter to alleviate some pressure while he waited. His knee ached and he was almost out of breath from the exertion. His armpit throbbed from the crutch and he thought that those pain killers sounded very nice at the moment.

The nurse on duty was on the phone giving Brian a chance to look around while he waited. He hadn’t known initially where they’d taken Lukas, and had needed to inquire about it. When he found out they’d sent him here and Brian almost felt amused.

Almost.

If it were a different situation, perhaps he would, but right now...

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Entering the room, he noticed as the younger blonde turned around and smiled at him and grabbed the flowers and promptly grabbing a vase.

Sighing, Brian slumped into the chair next to the bed and watched as Sebastian made his way expertly around the room.
“So, any improvements?” he asked warily, watching as Sebastian finished tending to the flowers and leaned against the counter.
“Well, they said his EEG is still inconclusive, and that he’s going to need another surgery to help correct the fracture in his shoulder. The neurologist said though that he’s responding to external stimuli and that it’s really promising…” the boy replied, a smile moving warily across his face, “How about you?”
“Well,” he started, until he was interrupted by the sound of Sebastian’s stomach rumbling from across the room.
“You didn’t eat yet, did you?” he asked, looking at the teen as a blush spread across the boy’s face. Shaking his head, he reached into his back pocket and tossed his wallet to him.
“Here, go get whatever you want. I’ll keep an eye on him for a while…” he said, smiling as he held up his hand before the teen could reply, “And don’t worry. I’ll be fine by myself. Go eat. Now.”
Smiling, he watched Sebastian walk out the door, and make his way towards the elevator.
Getting back up, he shuffled over to the bed, looking down on the bed.
“Hi. I… I know you probably can’t hear me. But… well… I wanted to come by and see how you are doing and tell you what has happened since, well… you know. Um… first they decided to take away my license, no big surprise there. They also blamed the accident on ice on the road, so that kind of helped take some of the blame away from me… not that I deserve it. The board went ahead and made Gaston the interim CEO while I’m off on a sabbatical and medical leave. Apparently they’re really mad at me because I hired that Hilton guy. The guy tried to go postal and kill Gaston. Go figure, not that I blame the kid, that guy is just a really big bastard. They let him hire his own assistant and, big shocker; he hired this blonde bimbo supermodel named Rin something. She’s kind of freaky. Well… that’s all that’s really happened….” He trailed off, his voice cracking as he held off tears and looked away.
Taking a deep breath, he ran his hand through Lukas’ hair, and wiped his own face with his other hand before continuing.
“Lukas, I’m just so sorry. If…. If only I hadn’t been a jerk to you. This is my fault. If only you’d just wake up. Just wake up so I can tell you I…”
“…. smell like Band-aids…” the blonde murmured, groaning as he opened his eyes opened slightly.

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Porter

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Theme Song: Stalker- Louis XIV

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“… Approximately 1.2 million are still without power as the severe winter storm that swept through the Central Plains region continues to make its way across the Northeast and Tennessee Valley areas. The storm has dumped as much as 3 feet of snow and up to 2 inches of ice in Maine and New York, and has so far accounted for nearly 27 deaths.

As for the weather here in the Timbervale Metropolitan area, the highs are expected to reach around 29 today, and we’re still seeing a few isolated flurries across the city as the last of the storm makes its way through the region. We’ll have your full forecast in 20. Let’s now go to Jean with the traffic. Jean?
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Well, it’s going to be slow going throughout the city today as the DOT finishes clearing the streets. As for accidents and congestion in the city, expect slow going on the I-627 Expressway as a non-injury 3 car pileup  on the Murphy Bridge has traffic down to 1 lane going north, as well as some slow going in along US-81 as construction crews are working to repair a burst water main near the Federal Parkway. We’ll make sure to keep you informed as other traffic issues develop. Back to you guys in the news room.

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We have breaking news coming  in to the station as we go live to Marcy Lee on scene at a major accident downtown at Central Plaza and North Federal Parkway. Marcy, what can you tell us?

Well Katie, I’m here on scene where a massive 15 car pile has literally shut down the east downtown area. It looks like a Metrolink bus was also involved in the crash and is laying on its side, and the bus also appears to have hit a pedestrian while involved in the accident. And we’ve also gotten unconfirmed reports that Tricomm CEO Brian Handover was involved in the crash.
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We have here James Goldstein, an MBA here at the one of the buildings overlooking the scene, who witnessed the events. Mr. Gordon, what happened?

Well, can I give my boo a shout out? Hey Alexis, I love you for real girl! And a huge wassup out to my boys up in Aspen, C-Ooooo! You dogs be crazy up on them slopes! 970 fo’ life! Wooh!
Um… ok… anyways sir, what was it that you witnessed?
Well, I was standing here waiting for a taxi and that real pimped out black car there ran the light, crossed the lane and hit that minivan there head on. It flipped in the air all crazy like and crashed into that blue car there. Then that red car got rear-ended by that green SUV, which almost hit a girl getting ready to cross the street. Then that bus there hit a guy, like wham yo, trying I think to like help out the people in the accident and s…
Sir, you can’t say that on the air…
Aight…. Well anyways, then the bus got t-boned by that semi and I don’t really remember what happened after that. I just got on my cell and called 911 and got some co-workers to come help those people there.
Marcy, are there any reports on how many people were injured from the accident?
Well, Gary, the police so far haven’t given any official numbers, but on scene witnesses told us that there were anywhere from 35-49 people pulled from the bus wreckage and at least another 20 people from various vehicles. Police have shut down the Federal Parkway bridge and a 1 mile section of Riverside Avenue as they continue to clear the area, and are diverting traffic to the 15th St and Pine Road bridges. We’ll try and get more information to you all in the news room as we get it. Back to you Katie.
Also breaking news in to the station are gunshots heard from the Tricomm building. We’ll get you more information on it after a short commercial break…”
---
Turning her attention away from the television, Rin Kazuki set her cup of coffee and bagel down as she looked back down to the cell phone as another message from her employer.
Picking up the phone, she pressed the accept button and read the message on the screen.

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Sighing, she tossed the phone back onto the table and resumed eating her breakfast.
“Doesn’t he realize just who I am?” she mumbled to herself, grabbing a pen from the cup on the table and writing out her plan on the legal pad in front of her.
“You don’t threaten a world class assassin, nor do you underestimate her. Oh, Rin make sure to take care of the little hiccup in the plan. Granted, it will take a couple of months of planning, but I will get it done. And as for the loose ends, I can take care of them as well. And, hell, I’ll even slice Gaston in the end too, since he’s been so rude.”
“And for the cute blonde boy in the car,” she continued musing to herself, “… he is going to be Rin’s little bonus in the end. Such a fine specimen and Rin really does need a new toy to play with. She just doesn’t know how I go through them so fast!”

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Extra

 

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Theme Song: Why Did We Fire That Gun?- Waldeck

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“…Regenra can be known to cause low blood pressure, fever, vomiting, and serious skin reactions, along with bleeding issues at the site of injection. All medicines have benefits and risks, and there may be other options, so consult your doctor. Regenra: It’s time to live to its fullest. NexGenics, A Tricell Company.

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What do you say to exceptional handling and first class safety features? To truly advanced technology and a rich interior design? What do you say to the lowest cost, and only fully electric car in its class?  To winner of five different awards from JD Power?  Say hello to the future. Introducing the new Quantum QX1000e. We’re thinking at the speed of Quantum.

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Catch Governor Palin and Secretary of State Clinton face off at the third presidential debate, tonight during the continued coverage of Election 2012, here on CNN.

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…Welcome back to the news room here at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Markets are opening high today with trends up in every market today as the communications sector sees yet another acquisition by Tricomm of the Windsor Park owned Interlink Communications. After FCC and government regulators gave the final approval to the Timbervale company, markets have continued their upward climb. 

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Also making headlines, the technology sector has seen a boost with the merger as Tricomm has officially announced the release of the much anticipated Evo 2, produced in an unheard of venture between Apple and Samsung. Release of the phone is expected to be this week, after finalization of the two companies’ merger.

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Also making headlines in the tech sector….”

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As Carmine turned his attention away from the small flat panel in the break room, he focused back on the tray in front of him, stirring the creamer into the coffee as his mind drifted back to the troubling conversation he had overheard his boss having to some man on the phone the evening before…

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“… Good. And so how did you set it up? Ah, good. You did after all come highly recommended. And did you set the car up exactly as I wanted? And it’s in the correct spot?” Duceppe Gaston asked to the person on the phone, looking out the window, the ever present evil smirk on his face.

“Um sir, I have some, uh, papers from the CEO for you to sign if you aren’t too terribly busy?” asked Carmine in a whisper, the fear of the man easily heard in his voice as he poked his head in the door.

“Hilton, you continue to prove your stupidity to me every chance you get, don’t you?” Gaston snapped, turning his angry glare to the blonde, “If you ever interrupt me on a phone call ever again, you damn imbecile, I will personally see to it that you suffer for it. And trust me, I will MAKE you suffer. Am I clear? And where the hell is my lunch? I ordered it 5 minutes ago. How about you get off your lazy ass and do what I tell you?”

Knowing better than to reply, Carmine slipped back out the door, forgetting to completely close the door. Trying to calm down before he made his way to the cafeteria for the man’s lunch, he stood still, breathing deep as Gaston’s voice carried out the door.

“Oh, that was just the bumbling idiot that they hired to be my assistant. I’d fire him and replace him with some proper eye candy, but then I’d have the board on my case. So you can guarantee that it will be done exactly as planned then? Good. I’ll send the other half as soon as I see the proof myself. I expect you to send me photo proof of it, understood? Goodbye then.”

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Taking his coffee mug with him, he walked over to his desk, surprised to see that the desk across from his was empty of the young blonde that usually occupied it. Didn’t Lukas usually arrive before him, he wondered as he sat down, logging into the computer in front of him and checking the mail that needed to be sorted as the sun slowly started to peek through the flurries of snow slowly covering the city.

Personally, he was slightly envious of the kid. The kid really was a looker, and it was slightly unfair that he got the nicer guy to work for.

Huh…. and for that matter, wasn’t the company head supposed to be here as well? Carmine continued to wonder to himself, his attention turning to the small icon on his desktop flashing to notify him of an urgent memo.

Opening up the file, he scanned through it, his eyebrows rising as he realized what its contents said. Terrible loss of the CEO in a car wreck, deepest sympathy from the new interim head of the company? Merger expected to be rescheduled for this afternoon instead of this morning?

“What the hell? The merger isn’t until this afternoon!” Carmine blurted out under his breath, bewilderment playing across his face, “That can’t be right. Someone must be playing a joke. This is just nuts! Even the time code is wrong…”

The shock continued to set in as he finally looked at the letter head and signature on the memo. His attention turned to the muffled sounds coming from the office behind. Getting up, he turned and walked into the office behind him, startled to see that his boss was yelling into the phone with his back turned to him.

“I don’t care. We had an agreement. I told you that I wanted that bastard Handover dead, not his little street ----- of an assistant. No. I don’t care what you have to do; you are going to take care of the problem. You listen here, I don’t care if you have to shoot him yourself, but you ARE going to make sure he is dead. Don’t give me that crap; I’m not paying you for doing a half ----- job! Don’t you call me back until it’s done!” Gaston screamed, slamming the phone into its cradle.

Swallowing, Carmine slowly started backing out of the office, reaching for the door knob behind him as the man in front of him began speaking in a low voice.

“So, I guess you didn’t get the hint when I told you to never interrupt me when I’m in a phone call. I swear, good help really is so hard to find.” Gaston said, reaching out the table against the glass window in front of him.

“You’re a monster. And I’m going to the cops with what I have.” Carmine said out loud, his voice gaining an edge on the discovery of what the man in front of him was doing.

“Ah my dear, dear Carmine, you truly underestimate how much smarter I am than you. You really think I wouldn’t have a plan on how to deal with any problem that arose?” Gaston said, giving a sickly smile as turned around, bringing his hands behind his back. 

“You know what, you don’t scare me. I know you’re going to go to jail for a long time. And if I could give YOU a word of advice, don’t drop the soap,” Carmine retorted, his cheeks flushing as his voice quickly gained volume, turning to walk out of the room.

Hearing a loud clicking noise, Carmine froze as his mind quickly processed what made that sound.

“Well let me give you a word of advice too. As my father always told me, all is fair in corporate warfare…” the man said flatly, pointing the gun at the blonds’ back, “Oh, and never, ever, turn your back on a man when he has a gun pointed at your back.”

Gulping, Carmine could feel his face draining of its blood.

“You won’t get away with this...” he began, as Gaston pulled the trigger, sending out a loud bang in the office. Sending blood across the carpeted floor, Carmine slumped to his knees in agony as the bullet ripped its way through him and out his chest.

Walking over to him, Gaston began to laugh as he bent down placed a second gun in Carmine’s hand, as the blonde struggled to breathe, blood gurgling out of his chest.

“Oh yes I will…” he replied, as he kicked Carmine fully to the floor as he stood up before he continued, “In fact, I’m going to make sure you help with my alibi.” 

“And if you could do just one more thing for me before I terminate your employment? Give our former employer my regards…” he said, smiling as he emptied his clip into the back of his former assistant, dropping his cell phone into a puddle of the man’s blood.

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Theme Song: I Will Remember You- Sarah McLachlan

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“…listening to KYPY 93.5, Timbervale’s number 1 hit music station. The time is now 6:30, and it’s time to take a look at the weather and traffic…”

Letting out a groan, Sebastian cracked open his eyes and glared contemptuously at the radio. Reaching over, he slammed his hand on the snooze button and flopping his head onto the pillow, stared at the ceiling.

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“Hey! You home Lukas?” he yelled out loud, calling out in the direction of his brother’s room, across the hall from the two bedroom apartment he lived with his brother in. Answered by the piercing silence, he sighed out loud.

Seriously? At Brian’s house again?, he thought to himself as he lay in his bed, trying to wake himself up so he could get ready for the day ahead. It wasn’t that he didn’t think his brother shouldn’t stay the night over at his house. Heck, even HE liked the guy, granted not on the level his brother did. He was truly glad for everything the man done for his brother. And that his brother finally was smiling.

Throwing his comforter off, he sat up and set his feet on the cold, hardwood floor, wincing at the bitterness it brought. He stood up, and slowly trudged his way to the bathroom, grabbing a towel from a small closet along the way.

Flicking on the light in the bathroom, he blinked at the stark whiteness of the tile and made his way to the shower, turning it to the right temperature, and after removing his clothes, stepped under the steaming water. He again let his mind wander as the hot water beat down on his head.

It’s already been eight years, he reflected to himself, reaching for the shampoo. Eight years since their mother died and that man had essentially committed suicide. He’d only been 8 at the time, his brother only 13. His brother, the amazing older brother that he was, had stood in his place, protecting him. He could still remember it like it was yesterday.

He could hear his brother’s pained, muted whimper in the next room through the wall. It really was just like any other night. Their mother was at work yet again, leaving them in the care of that vile bastard that insisted he and brother call him daddy. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that his brother had finally told him of the abuse, but he had always known that what the man was doing to his brother was wrong. There was never a chance to tell their mother about it, not with the man constantly being there watching them.

That night was different though. Unknown to them at the time, their mother had gotten a promotion, and got a chance to come home for the night so she could get ready for working on the day shift. Sebastian hadn’t even known his mother was there until he heard the scream coming from her as she entered his brother’s room and walked in to check on Lukas.

He remembered how she screamed at him, telling him that she was going to get him put in jail forever. Her trying to tell his brother that everything would be ok. Grabbing the bar of soap, Sebastian and began washing his face as his mind continued to wander. 

The worst part was that he could remember how the man’s laugh was so cold. He knew she couldn’t have known was that the bastard had a gun. A gun Sebastian learned many years later was used to keep Lukas from talking. He could feel the explosion of the gunshot going through his body even in the other room, the one that killed his mother and caused the neighbors to call the police.

The bastard had ended up holding his brother hostage for hours in the small house Sebastian being pulled to safety and comforted by the police that day. Eventually, they entered the house, and the man decided to have a shootout with the police, ending his life as the officers filled his body with bullets.

Snapping his attention back to the present, Lukas noticed the water slowly turning cold and shut off the water. Stepping out, he grabbed the towel and began drying himself.

They were in the foster system for three horrible years, so lucky to never be separated. It was sick irony, how such a horrible system was still better than the secret torture his brother had endured. And how his brother, the day of his 18th birthday pulled them from the system and lived on their own.

Walking back into his room, Sebastian turned on the TV, letting the sound of the anchor people’s voices drone on in the background as he dressed. Grabbing his cell phone and bag, he pulled his bedroom door behind him and made his way towards the front door of the apartment.

Locking the door, he made his way down the stair and out to the front of the building. Waving to their neighbor as she walked past him into the building, he walked over to the bus stop and sat on the bench.

He remembered the day his brother started prostitution. He was 11 at the time, Lukas 18. They had run out of money, and his brother sacrificed himself yet again, telling him that it would be the only way that they could pay the bills.  He’d stayed up so many nights, sitting alone in the small apartment that his brother barely was able to afford, all the while putting Sebastian through the best school in the city. He’d always worried that his brother would be taken away from him forever, be it physically or mentally.

Stepping onto the bus, he took a seat and looked down at his phone, sending a text to his brother to remind that he would meet at Lukas’ work since school was out for the holiday. Finishing the text, he closed the phone, and stuffing it back into his pocket, he let his mind wander yet again.

It was two years before his brother met Brain and was, in everyone’s opinion, saved by him. It had been a normal night for Lukas until he was picked up by Brian. He’d never gotten the details out of Lukas, but Sebastian couldn’t have been happier with what happened after that night.

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 It had shocked him at first that someone as rich and powerful as Brian would actually take pity on his brother, but before Sebastian knew it, his brother was off the street, had a job as the man’s personal assistant, and  holding a relationship. He was finally seeing his brother truly happy.

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Noticing the pregnant woman entering the slowly filling bus, Sebastian stood up and motioned for the woman to take his seat. Smiling at him, he blushed and grabbed the metal bar above him, bracing himself as the bus began moving forward again.

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Letting out a yawn, he let his attention drift to the giant glass windows of the bus, looking outside as they began to turn onto an old, metal bridge, the snow finally began to break. As the bus finished crossing the bridge, turned his view to the front of the bus right as a young man began to cross the street in front of them. He yelled out to the driver, but to no avail as bus ran over him, blood splattering the now cracked windshield.

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Feeling the bus lurch and begin to sway on its side, Sebastian let out a gasp, and finally lost his grip on the bar. To his left, a semi slammed into the side of the bus, sending shards of glass across the cabin. Trying to scream out, Sebastian felt himself flying through the air, and cringed in agony as his head smashed into one of the metal bars, making him see stars and feel a warm, wet trickle of blood running down his neck. As he blacked out from the pain, he vaguely could hear the screams as the bus finally flipped over.

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Theme Song: Brick- Ben Folds Five

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“…. Health officials are urging everyone to get a flu shot this year due to the extreme nature and unusually cold weather this year.

…. In other news, the highly anticipated Tricomm and Interlink merger is set to take place later today. The ill-fated Windsor Park based company, Interlink Communications, is expected to be bought out by the Timbervale telecommunications giant Tricomm Wireless for an estimated $42 billion. Tricomm CEO, Brian Handover declined comment.

Now let’s go to Katie in the Weather Center…. Katie, what can we expect for the morning commute?

Well Tom, it looks like the overnight snow will be slowing down in most parts of the metro area with the clouds breaking up in many areas, but don’t expect it to get any warmer today with yet another cold front moving in from the north…”

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Looking away from the small panel near the train car’s door as the train began to move again, he turned his attention back to the girl sitting next to him.

“So, seriously! You have to tell me!” she continued, the pleasure bubbling into her chipper voice, “When are you going to do it?”

Sliding his hand into his left coat pocket and feeling the small ring box, Andrew turned to his little sister Jenna with a smile creeping on his face.

“Now just why would I tell you? You are the worst at keeping a secret and if I tell you, I’d have to take your precious phone away,” he replied, poking her in the forehead and getting a disgruntled sigh from the much younger girl next to him.

“You’re just chicken.  A REAAAAAL man would have gone and proposed to the girl they’ve been dating for the last 3 years ages ago!” she replied, pushing him on his shoulder as the train began to start slowing down and a loud ding permeated across the nearly empty car.

“Next station: Riverside Expressway and Central Plaza. Estimated arrival to station in 35 seconds. Left doors opening.”

As the train’s breaks began their squealing protest, he grabbed the metal bar above his head and yelled out to his traveling companion. “If you really must know…. I’m going to propose to her tonight at Starlight Tower after work…. Going for the whole ring in the champagne bit and everything! Very classy! I’ll even make sure the waiter gets some pictures for us!”

“Oh my god! That is so romantic! I’m so jealous!” Jenna yelled her reply as the gleaming station slid past the windows of the rapidly slowing car. With a jolt the train stopped and the doors opened, allowing the cold wet outside air to enter the train, chilling both as they made their way to the door.

“So how about you?” he asked, stepping out onto the lightly populated platform, automatically turning towards the escalator upward. “Mom said that your friend April set you up with some guy from your school.  Tell me about him…”

“Well….” She said, looking down at her feet and began blushing, “Daddy only let me go on one date with him, but Sebby…. I mean Sebastian is actually kind of cute. A little nerdy, but still…”

“Aw…” he cooed, tilting his head side and making a face at her, “My wittle sister has a cwush!”

“And your little sister is going to kick you in the groin if you don’t stop with the baby voice,” she growled, and upon stepping off the escalator, got a evil smile on her face, made her way to the coffee counter near the entrance of the station, “You’re going to make it up to me by buying me coffee and a bagel.”

“Am I now?” he called out to her, making his way towards her.

“Yep, unless you want me to text Mom while you’re at the hospital and tell her every little detail about you getting engaged tonight,” she continued, pressing the buttons on the order screen and then waiting for her older brother to swipe his credit card in the machine, “Which can easily be arranged while I’m in class.”

“Black-mailer!” he shot at her, entering in his order and waving the thin plastic card over the reader.

“You know I prefer the word extortionist,” she shot back, smirking as she brought the promptly dispensed bagel to her mouth.

Grabbing their drinks they made their way outside and walked up to the crosswalk outside the doors. Pressing the button, the stood in the cold morning air and began to eat their breakfast.

“So why are you going into work so early today?” she finally asked, breaking the silence between them.

“Well, they are planning on shutting down half the ER later today and are going to hand off the overflow to the free clinic,” he replied, beginning to walk across the intersection at the changing of the light, “And I’m in charge there today.”

“Oh…” she replied, cupping her hands around the warm cup against the chilled air.

“Why do you….” He began looking around to her as he noticed the black car flying towards her, its driver turned in the seat and apparently yelling at the smaller passenger.

“Jesus!” he yelled, pulling her as quick as he could out of its way to him, getting scalded as the coffee she was hold began to pour down the front of his jacket and scrub bottoms.

With his younger sister gasping, he raised his fist and began to shake it at the offending car and scream profanities at it. Looking back to his sister he noticed she was visibly shaking.

“Are you ok?” he said looking her over and checking for signs of injury.

“Yeah…” she answered shakily, finally unclenching his arms as her attention was suddenly drawn to the large crashing noise coming from the direction of the car.

“Oh my god…” Andrew gasped out, looking at the horrific scene unfolding before their eyes and began to take a few steps toward the accident.

“Andrew…” Jenna began, trying to reach out for her older brother as she heard the screeching of the tires on something large coming their way.

“Dear god, we need to go help them Jen...” he began as the large gleaming bus hit him before her eyes.

“Andrew!” she yelled out to him, barely flinching at the specks of blood hitting her skin and the sound of the bus that had just hit her brother wildly fishtailed and began to flip over, and other vehicles began to impact it.

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“OH GOD! ANDREW!!!! ANDREW! SOMEONE HELP!” she continued screaming as the world around her erupted in a cascade of broken glass and protesting metal.

-end of chapter 2-

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“You’re doing a fabulous job at telling yourself things to make you feel better,” continued Brian unabated. “Keep going. Tell yourself what a bastard I am, and how of course Sebastian would never stay away from you. He’s just too busy to talk to you. Being too busy for your own brother makes a whole lot of sense to me too.”

Lukas had just sat his bum back on the seat, when Brian slammed his foot down hard on the gas, throwing him backwards. The car jumped ahead. Lukas' eyes flickered outside and widened in horror. A pedestrian was currently crossing the street! Tightening his hold on the back of the seat, he braced his still throbbing arm on the dash. Brian jerked the steering wheel hard and the car swerved around the frightened citizen.

“But go ahead. Pound me for being a heartless bastard. Because, like you said, you have control over yourself.”

“Hey!” Lukas looked out the back of the car, trying to see if the person was alright or not. The man shook his fist at their speeding car and seemed to be shouting at them. He couldn't blame him, he felt like doing the same. But only if he was out of the car and not moving. “Watch what you’re doing!” he admonished.

His heart was in his throat. Adrenaline pumped through his system at how close they had come to running someone down. Brian was really pissed... and he had never seen him lose his temper this bad before. He was used to the calm, teasing side of Brian...not this. Maybe a little vein popping or a little cursing… but this?

“And, Lukas...” The icy tone of Brian's voice dragged his eyes away from the rear of the car over to Brian's face. He was staring so intently at him; it made him forget that they had almost hit someone. “Don't fault me for never saying something you've never said to me,” Brian said.

The flat emotionless stare from Brian sent shivers down his spine. The eyes that he loved to look into no longer held that sparkle anymore, and that made him feel remorse. It wasn't like Brian gave him any signals that he was feeling like that about him. Why should he be the one to put himself on a limb like that? He wasn't even sure what love was between a couple. How was he supposed to know if what he felt was really love or just some unknown, unnamed emotion. Was all this really his fault? Did he really cause all this? He couldn't believe it.

Movement on the street in his peripheral vision caught his attention and his eyes flickered towards it. Bloody...hell! He gasped silently, his eyes widening in horror. They had drifted across the median and were headed into on-coming traffic. He griped the back of the seat in his left hand hard; he dimly noted Brian spinning around in this seat. The blue car directly in front of them blared its horn angrily at them and swerved.

Lukas was thrown into the dash as their car braked hard, his right shoulder taking most of the impact. He didn't even have time to register the pain as something broke horribly in his shoulder before the whole car began to roll. The sound of screeching, protesting metal and breaking glass became all that he knew.

The vehicle lurched violently again and he was thrown hard into the seat back as the car was once again struck. His forehead cracked hard on the back of the seat making him see stars, and gasped when he felt something slide all too easily through his back. No longer able to tumble around inside the car, he could only gasp at each movement and vibration until the car slid to a stop.

The silence and stillness was overpowering in its completeness after the noise and chaos of a few moments ago. Blinking at his lap, he watched in fascination as drops of dark red liquid dripped down his face and into his lap. They dripped one after the other making a wide shallow puddle that was slowly being absorbed into the seat. He swallowed and tried to take a breath, but the very air seemed hard to draw into his lungs.

The delicate tinkling of broken glass intrigued him and he turned his head slightly to try to better catch the sound. The slight turning of his head caused the liquid to fall into a new place, down onto the floor where the carpet soaked it up. Weariness crept up on him then, and there didn't seem to be a logical reason why he shouldn't go to sleep.

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“Luke...”

 He knew that voice. It was an important voice, but he couldn't remember why. Maybe if he saw who the voice belonged to it might make him remember better. Lukas tried to push off the seat so he could lift his head, but that small movement sent blinding white hot pain down his body, making him freeze. 

That woke him up. Why did it hurt so much? His eyes widened in alarm. After a moment a black blanket was placed in his lap, making the red liquid start a new puddle within its fabric.

“You have to stay awake, okay?”

Stay awake? Why? Something brushed against his face, and pressed into his forehead. Oh! This was a different pain, but no less important. You shouldn't touch it! He rocked his head away from the probing touch, and closed his eyes. That's better...it's better without pain. But it didn't last long. The pain was back as something wrapped around his head tight.

“Lukas!”

Lukas blinked owlishly, as his head was brought up, and he could finally see who the voice belonged too. Ah! It was Brian. That was good. Brian was good to have here. Maybe he'd find out why he hurt so much... Despite having difficulty breathing, he began to rapidly gulp for more oxygen.

“Just don't move, ok?” Brian said, stroking his cheek.

“Ugh...” he groaned in pain. “Um...” he swallowed. The what? What does Brian want from me now? He tried to lift his right hand to bat at Brian's hold on his chin, and frowned. Rolling his head down to his right shoulder, he looked at what should have been a working arm, but instead it was horribly twisted and mangled in the socket, his coat doing little to hide the wrongness of it.

“Um...” mumbled Lukas, frowning at his arm. What was he supposed to say again...? His head was once again lifted, and he blinked at Brian, confused, hoping that Brian would sort this all out for him. It was incredibly hard to think right now, so...what? Brian reached out and started stroking his hair. Hmm, he always did like that.

“Just look at me, then. Look into my eyes and stay awake okay? Help will be here soon,” Brian murmured.

Lukas could only blink tiredly at Brian. Small tremors attacked his body; each shift increasing the pain exponentially. Why would help be coming? That didn't make any sense. “B-B-Brian...” he stuttered, his teeth chattering against each other. Why was it so cold?

Brian stroked Lukas' hair for a moment before leaning in to place a kiss on his forehead. When he pulled back he stared intently into Lukas’ eyes. “That's right. I'm here, Luke. Now just stay awake...”

Yeah, Brian was here...but didn't he want to leave? It was all so confusing and jumbled up. The tremors were becoming more pronounced, and he finally knew why he hurt. He could feel it. Every twisted inch of it... “Wha-w-what...?” Looking down at his left side, he could see a jagged piece of metal protruding from his lower stomach to pierce the top of his leg.

Red gore and flesh clung to the edges. He could actually see parts of his insides clinging to the metal. It was amazing! His left hand pulled itself away from behind his back, and reached out to touch, what looked like a bit of his intestines. He wondered if it was as spongy as it really looked or was it just sort of slimy cause of the blood.

“Don't touch it,” Brian softly commanded, catching his hand before he could reach it. “Leave it there. It will bleed more if we pull it out and I'm not a doctor...” Brian gently lifted his chin once more and placed a kiss on to his forehead. “Stay with me...” Brian pleaded, kissing his forehead again. “Stay awake...”

'Stay with him'?, he thought, blinking slowly, forgetting about his discovery. Was he supposed to go somewhere? He tried to focus on Brian's face, but it swam in front of him. “Brian...you w-want me?” He did his best to focus on the face in front of him so he could better understand the answer... What was the question again?

Brian blinked rapidly before answering. “Yes, Luke. I want you, I've always wanted you... I...” Brian faltered. Sniffling he reached out and patted his cheek. “Just stay awake.”

“You're n-n-not mad?”  he stuttered, panting now. It seemed really important that he know this and quickly. It felt as though time was running out. Darkness was creeping into the edges of his vision now. Swallowing hard, his dry tongue slipped past his lips to try and moisten them. He was so thirsty.

Laying Lukas’ hand down by his side gently, Brian used the sleeve of his dress shirt to wipe his face. “I'm not mad,” said Brian, his voice wobbly. “I'm not mad, so just stay awake.”

That was good to know. If Brian was mad at him then when he went to sleep he'd be worried that he'd be sad. He really wanted Brian to be happy. Yeah, Brian should be happy. “Good...” his voice trailed off, and he finally gave in and let his eyes close.

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And some extra pictures:

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And a teaser from Chapter 2!

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Porter

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Setting his mug back down, Brian shot a hard look at him. “What? What more do you want from me? No, wait.” Brian held up his palm and closed his eyes. “I think I already asked that this morning and you said you wanted me to sleep with you.” Brian's eyes snapped open to glare at Lukas.

Lukas hiccupped, and couldn't yank his eyes away from the harsh painful glare that Brian directed his way. Brian had never looked like that at him...ever! Had he really been that ignorant towards Brian?

“Well, I did. I gave you what you wanted. I've given you everything I have to give. I’ve given you more than anyone before you and I tried to convey that to you this morning, but you simply turned it around giving me hollowly flattering words, then accusing me when I didn't do everything the way you wanted it done.”

What? What's Brian talking about?, he wondered through his tears.  

“How do you expect me to have a relationship with someone as self-centered and inconsiderate as you?” asked Brian.

Silence descended through the room; the only sound Lukas continuing distress. He hated the fact that he was sobbing this hard, and in front of Brian. He wasn't weak! He swallowed a shaky breath as that thought made him breakdown even more. He wasn't weak, but he sure was right now.

“You’re obviously ready to end this, so I’m giving you what you want,” said Brian. “I always give you what you want in the end, don’t I?” Brian paused again. “But now, I have nothing more to give you.” Brian dropped his eyes to the table in front of him. “Go. Just go. I can’t even look at you,” whispered Brian, his voice laced with unnamed pain.

“That's not...I didn't,” sobbed Lukas. When had he said that he wanted this to end? He searched franticly though his memory for anything that Brian could have mistaken for what he seemed to believe as his desire to end the relationship, but came up with nothing.

“I don't want this to be over, Brian!” he cried, taking two faltering steps towards the man seated stiffly in the kitchen. “I want you, I do! Please, Brian...I didn't mean it.” Unable to bear it any longer, he covered his face with his hand and sobbed hard into his palm. Bowing his head, he hid within his hair while is left hand worked over his stomach. The pain was back, sharp and violent, while the rest of him felt numb and tingly.

Lukas dimly heard the cell phone upstairs ringing insistently. On the third ring, Brian's chair scraped along the kitchen floor, and heard him run up the steps to answer. He couldn't stop crying, and he couldn't seem to care. He'd never been attacked like this, where someone he cared about sought to rip his very heart out. 

His throat ached with his agony and the tears, more then he'd ever remembered shedding before, fell down on to his face. Maybe...he didn't want him cause he was flawed. He never did try to fix this. He opened his eyes and looked at the palm covering his face. Brian always was looking at his scars.

No. He was grasping at straws. This was too far out there. It didn't make any sense. Drawing in a shaky, meant to be calming, breath, he made himself to calm down. Tears weren't helping. He'd never said anything like what Brian seemed to think he did, he was sure. Brian was being a bastard, and as much as he hated to admit it, Brian never did something without reason.

Brian came back downstairs then, and Lukas let his right hand fall back to his side. Dressed in his uniform with his coat on, he had a roll of toilet paper in one hand. “That was the mayor on the phone. He apparently doesn't care that I'm sick,” said Brian, crossing the room to slap the roll against Lukas’ chest. “I need to go down and meet with the city council downtown and you're coming with me, so stop your sniveling and clean your face.”

Lukas meekly took hold of the roll and sniffled hard. Brian briskly walked back into the kitchen, and scooped up his mug, downing another mouth full before dumping the rest in the sink. He placed the mug on the counter. He could no longer look at Brian as he moved angrily around the kitchen, so he looked down at his feet.

“We'll need to walk over to the company garage and get a car,” Brian said. Lukas could hear him opening and closing drawers. “And drink the damnmilk,” he commanded briskly as he left the kitchen and approached the front door.

Wanting to appease Brian in some way, he sniffled around a ragged breath and went into the kitchen. He stood in front of the small glass, trying to work up the courage to down the vile stuff. With his stomach rolling, he thought he ought to do it now, and if he got sick, he was totally going to blame it on Brian. Picking up the glass, he threw the milk back, trying to not let it touch his tongue. He put the glass back and hurried out into the front room, where Brian was buttoning up his winter coat.

“Brian,” Lukas began hesitantly, his eyes firmly glued to the floor as he stopped behind Brian. He really wanted to reach out and grip the back of Brian's coat and bury his face in Brian's shoulder, but he refrained. He still felt the sting from Brian's harsh words, and couldn't bring himself to look him in the eye until he got his answer. “You're not really going to break up with me, right?” he pleaded.

Brian turned around, and snatched the toilet paper from his loose grip and ripped a few squares off. His chin was tipped upwards, and Brian rubbed the tissue across his still wet cheeks with a little more force than one would think necessary, making him grunt in displeasure. Dropping his hand, Brian turned to the door and threw it open.

“Hurry up. I'm supposed to be at Central Plaza in ten minutes, and we still need to pick up the car.”

“Brian!” badgered Lukas. Brian was not going to get out of answering him, and he had slipped into work mode, calling him by his alias. That was never a good sign. “Talk to me!” he whined. Sniffling, he closed the door behind him. “You can't shut me out!” he called towards the brisk moving man.

He was starting to get angry again. He'd been floored by the way Brian had talked to him. He hadn't been expecting it. Would never have expected something like that to come from Brian! And he was embarrassed that Brian had made him cry so hard and so easily. Brian was already half way down the street, making him have to jog to make up the difference. Now Brian was trying to run away. He wasn't even waiting for him!

“Apparently, Gooding and Phelps are unavailable to drive us,” Brian said as he came trotting up beside him.

“Brian!” Lukas pulled on his arm to make Brian turn and talk to him. Quicker then he would have thought possible for an ‘old’ guy, Brian reversed his hold and snatched his left wrist into a firm grip, dragging him off his feet.

“Brian, slow down, and answer me!” he complained, his feet catching on the sidewalk. Not wanting to end up with road burn, he had to pay attention to the ground momentarily while Brian maintained his hold on his arm.

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Brian didn't stop until they were in front of the garage, all the while dragging Lukas behind him. He opened the door with his free hand, and finally released his hold on his arm. As Brian crossed the interior, he said over his shoulder, “What exactly is it that you want me to answer?”

Lukas stepped across the threshold, and looked around. There were a few cars parked in the heated garage, all company-issue black. Straightening his jacket, he ran his fingers through the messy tangle that was his hair. His arm throbbed from where Brian had held on to him, and he rubbed at it absently.

“I want to know about us, and hear that we're not breaking up,” Lukas said, taking another step into the garage, and closing the door. “What else is there?”

Brian walked back around the back of the cars, and pulled open the door to the driver's side of his assigned vehicle. “Get in,” he ordered, and sat in the car, closing the door.

 Brian was avoiding answering him. That couldn't be a good sign. He frowned at the man through the windshield for a moment before he decided that, at least if he went, he could have it out with him and he wouldn't be able to run away anymore. Lukas stomped over to the passenger side and got in, slamming the door. Folding his left leg under him, he turned on the bench seat and glared at Brian's profile. “And?” he bit out.

“And put on your seatbelt,” Brian said, putting the car in gear.

Lukas frowned. Brian was being such a jerk! And an prick, a bastard, bloody pea-sized—his internal name calling festival was cut short when Brian jerked the car in reverse and cursed mightily under his breath before he could get the car in the correct gear and pulled out of the garage. So intent was he that he didn't even think about teasing Brian about his mistake.

Bracing the dashboard, he glared at Brian's profile, no way was he going to walk all over him! “Stop stalling and tell me the truth! Tell me you don't have feelings for me, huh! I know, you've never said that you love me!” I can't believe that I even considered telling you that I might be in love with you! thought Lukas, but there was no way he was going to say that now after all that Brian had said to him.

It was painfully obvious that Brian had so little regard for him that he thought that he could treat him however he liked. Well he wasn't going to make him cry anymore! In fact, maybe that was why he wasn't allowed to sleep over more than one night. Maybe Brian had been seeing other people as well...

“You're just looking for some toy, that you can treat however you like, without having to think about my feelings or emotions,” ranted Lukas. He griped the back of the bench seat with his left hand as Brian took a turn a little too fast, making him brace harder against the inertia. “I'm sure you've been all over the whole time, haven't you!” His voice rose as he let all his hurt and confusion come out in his attack.

“I can't believe I ever THOUGHT that I had strong emotions for you, you bastard! And you tried to use Seb against me! How the hell could you do that to me? To ME! You know how hard I've worked to right that mistake, and you causally throw it in my face!” He flicked his hand in front of his face, and threw a disgusted glare at the man behind the wheel.

Without turning, Brian said as he drove, “That’s right. I’ve never had feelings for you. I just wanted a good time. That’s why I’ve kept you around all this time. Because, we both know how difficult it is for me to find someone.”

He grit his teeth as Brian once again threw his past in his face, and his eyes narrowed even further in response. Maybe he should go out and **** anything that moved and see how Brian liked it. That would show him! It wasn't at all nice to know that someone you cared about was testing the waters elsewhere. It made him seethe. If Brian wasn't driving...

“Very brilliant deduction on your part. It just makes perfect sense that I would keep you of all people as a pet while I went out with the rest of the town,” said Brian. No longer was he the picture of calm and control, now he burned hot with vicious sarcasm. “Good job. You’re so brilliant. Now I see how you passed school.” Brian shook his head and pulled the car sharply to the left.

Lukas glanced quickly out the front of the car as Brian recklessly maneuvered the car around a large pothole in the street. Wasn't Brian a bad driver...? He was starting to get slightly worried and began to tune out what Brian was saying as he watched the road with apprehension.

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“But at least you’ve finally voiced the truth about you wanting to end this. And as for your brother,” said Brian, pausing to slam his foot on the car break. The suddenness of it caused Lukas' lower half to slide off the seat and under the dash. He pulled himself up and out, and looked up to see a street light shining red. He cast a worried glance across the car at Brian and wondered if maybe he should just jump out now before Brian did something.

-more later this week!-

And now, to some extras.....

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Timbervale International Airport: Terminal B

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I-76 Bridge w/ Gay Pride Decorations

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The Starlight Restaurant and Lounge

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Central Plaza Memorial Park

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