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Happily Wishing on True Love's Kiss or Something: Part 3
Brad says "What?"
ocelot_l
Title: Happily Wishing on True Love's Kiss or Something
Author: ocelot_l
Characters: Cinema Snob, Spoony, Linkara, Harvey Finevoice, Nostalgia Chick, Nella, Maven of the Eventide, Paw, Margaret
Pairing: Linkara/Spoony
Summary: The day of his 18th birthday, Princess Spoony flees the celebration, and the princes hoping to woo him, and curses the world for having caused him so much suffering. After crossing paths with an eccentric seafaring crew, which includes one Prince Linkara, Spoony starts to learn that there's much more to the world than he ever could have imagined. A Disney-style tale of adventure, betrayal, and love.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Adventure, Romance, Comedy, Tragedy
Warnings: Language, Blood, Character Death, Angst, Attempted Murder
Word Count: 17,619



“The next day, the ship arrived on Awesome Island at last. The crew was all very excited because now the prince could complete his journey and unlock the full potential of his magical powers. All he needed to do was find his way through an enchanted forest, across a misty bog, and through the confusingly similar tunnels of an ancient cave. Pff, should be easy enough for a trio of spell casters, right?”

----

“Ugh… once we get you that magical upgrade, we are never coming back to this hellhole,” Captain Finevoice moaned, staring down sadly at the holes and spots of quicksand decorating his tunic. “This cost me two hundred dubloons!”

“I told you not to wear your best outfit on this trip,” Chick muttered as she tried to shake a number of twigs and brambles from her hair. “Maven, couldn’t you have plotted an easier path to the cave?”

“I’m sorry, Chick, but this was the only path accessible to us,” Maven replied. She was also covered in brambles and kept picking them off her robes as she walked.

“Come on, you two, we’re almost there!” Far up ahead stood Linkara, who was somehow the only person unaffected by the elements, and Spoony, whose clothes were a little muddy but otherwise unharmed. “I can see the entrance to the cave right here!”

“Perhaps we should allow them to venture on ahead?” Chick suggested innocently. “It might be wise to take a moment and recuperate, lest we slow down the young prince any more than we already are.”

“Good thinking,” Captain Finevoice agreed, completely missing the sinister expression that flashed across Chick’s face. “You go on ahead, Kid!” he called out to Linkara before bending down to rest his hands on his knees as he huffed and puffed. “We’ll be… right behind ya… oh sheesh… I really gotta… fix my pipe habit…”

Linkara rolled his eyes and turned back toward the cave. “Come on, Spoony, let’s get going.”

Spoony glanced back uncertainly at the others. “Are you sure you don’t want to wait for them? What if they get lost?”

“They have a map of this place, Spoony, not to mention a top of the line navigator to boot.”

“Okay, but we don’t have either of those things. Couldn’t we get lost in these tunnels on our own?”

“We could, but we won’t; not when I have this.” Linkara chanted a few words before a small, red arrow appeared floating in the air a few feet in front of him.

“What is that?” Spoony wondered, tapping a finger against the arrow. He was surprised to find that it was solid.

“It’s an arrow that will always point us toward our destination. As long as we want to reach the center of the cave, we can trust the arrow to guide us without fail.”

“Impressive,” Spoony said, and this time when Linkara smiled shyly, he smiled at him in return. “Come on, then, let’s finish this quest so you can become the most kick-ass prince in all the world!”

They set off without hesitation, scrambling through narrow passages and ducking from stalactites with glee. Weeks of running across islands of every type and swimming in the ocean had bolstered both men’s endurance enough so that when they arrived in the very heart of the cave, neither was out of breath.

This was a good thing, since the sight that befell them left both men breathless for a solid minute.

Gems, jewels, and shards of colorful rock which were virtually unknown to humankind, and put the gems mined by Spoony’s family to shame, formed intricately patterned mosaics across every visible surface of the cavern. Against the furthest wall stood an enormous golden waterfall, shining more brightly than the sun, but sounding as soft as a gentle rain shower. As the water fell, it landed in a large pool which covered most of the floor, although silver slabs of stone protruded past the surface every so often. These stones formed a path which led to a pure white platform in the center of the pool where a single white column stood.

“There,” Linkara whispered when he was finally able to speak. “That’s where I need to go.”

Without warning he jumped, leaping nimbly from stone to stone. Spoony wanted to follow after him, but it was as if a force was whispering for him to be still. This was Linkara’s quest, after all, so he should be the only one to complete the final leg.

Though he couldn’t follow, Spoony could and did watch, each successful jump causing a firework of excitement to burst inside his stomach. By the time Linkara reached the white platform Spoony was aching to burst out into a round of applause and wild cheers, but he managed to restrain himself and continued only to watch.

Linkara cautiously approached the column and reached toward its flat top, where Spoony could barely see a pinprick of light. The moment Linkara’s fingers closed around it, the light expanded into a blinding flash that filled the entire cave.

“Gah, you fool!” Spoony cried, rubbing desperately at his watering eyes. He was certain that Linkara had just walked into some terrible trap which had probably blinded and maimed them both. Seconds later the light vanished, and Spoony found his sight and health were still in perfect condition, but he couldn’t be certain that the same was true for Linkara. Concerned, he looked back to the platform, and felt his heart sink when it appeared that Linkara had vanished. “What? No, that can’t be-Linkara? Linkara!”

“It’s alright, Spoony, I’m here.” A warm hand touched Spoony’s shoulder. Spoony whirled around and punched Linkara on the arm. “Ow! What was that for?”

“To make sure you were real!” Spoony snapped before he wrapped his arms around Linkara and hugged him tightly. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again or I’ll do more than punch you!”

Linkara smiled and hugged him back. “I’m sorry. I promise I won’t ever scare you again. Honestly, I was pretty scared myself for a moment.”

“What the fuck happened?” Spoony pulled back then and realized that Linkara’s brown tunic had turned white. He also noticed a revolver holstered to Linkara’s thigh which had definitely not been there before.

“Once I touched that light, I was transported to another place,” Linkara explained. “I went to the realm of spirits and proved myself a capable master of magic. Once I was found worthy, the limiters to my power were removed. Gods, it was incredible, Spoony. I’ve never felt like that before, like I was capable of achieving anything.”

“I’ve always thought you were capable of that,” Spoony replied, very pleased with the blush this left on Linkara’s face. “Okay, so the spirits expanded your mind and power. Were they also the ones to give you that sweet gun?”

“Huh?” Linkara looked down at his leg before laughing. “Right, how could I have forgotten? This is my new partner, Margaret. She’s a spirit who’s willing to work with me so that we can protect both of our realms. Isn’t that cool, Spoony? Isn’t it awesome to be able to use magic alongside an actual spirit? Why are you suddenly glaring at me like that?”

“I’m not glaring,” Spoony quickly said, trying to relax his expression, which resulted in him looking constipated. “I’m just confused because you never said shit about finding a partner on this journey.”

“I honestly didn’t know that would happen. I was told I possessed the first soul in centuries which was compatible with a spirit.” Linkara tilted his head then. “Are you… jealous, Spoony?”

“No!” Spoony crossed his arms and looked away. Linkara bit down on his lip to keep from laughing.

“Would it make you feel any better to know that Margaret is a preteen girl?”

“,,, maybe a little.” Spoony glanced back at Linkara, eyes wide with uncertainty. “Is that really what she is?”

“Yep. Apparently a preteen girl is literally my perfect soulmate.”

“Well I could have told you that.”

“Shut up.”

As they shared another smile, Spoony naturally started to relaxed “So, now that you’ve gotten these snazzy new clothes and gun/spirit child partner, does that mean your journey is done?”

“This journey is done,” Linkara corrected as he set his gun back into its holster. “But there are many more journeys ahead of me and I’m ready to face every one of them. Although, before I leave on my next adventure, there’s something I… I want to ask you.” Linkara turned to Spoony and extended his hand toward him. “Spoony, will you-”

“Help! Someone help us!”

Both boys turned toward the tunnel, where the echoes of a scream had been carried from far away.

“That was Maven!”

“Come on, let’s go!”

Linkara repeated the spell from earlier and quickly ran in the direction the arrow pointed, Spoony following right on his heels. In no time at all, they made their way through the twisted, narrow passages of the cave before arriving in another open area, although this space was filled not with wonder and serenity, but horror and cacophony.

Thick, slimy vines the size of pythons sprouted from every crack found in the ground, walls, and ceiling of the stone chamber, lashing out like whips at any being that dared to move. Many were coated in a shiny red substance which had also been splattered along the walls and ground. The ground also happened to be where Maven and Madam Chick could be found huddled together, both covered in nicks and cuts but neither seeming seriously injured. For some reason a massive number of stalactites were hovering over their heads, apparently ready to drop at a moment’s notice.

“Are you alright?” Linkara called, lifting one foot in preparation to step toward the women.

“Freeze, Kid!” On the far side of the chamber stood Captain Finevoice, who sported several deeper cuts on his arms and face, not to mention a moderately severe gash on his left shoulder which was slowly oozing blood. He had both arms held high in the air, one aimed in the direction of Chick and Maven, while the other had been wrapped in vines and pulled behind his back.

“Harvey!” Linkara’s face paled but he resisted the urge to rush right over to the older man’s side. “Are you okay?”

“Fresh as a daisy, Kid,” the captain quipped. “But I’m gonna need you and the princess to hang back and keep still for now unless you’d like that situation to change. If you hadn’t guessed, this place is a might bit booby-trapped.”

“What happened to you?” Spoony asked, moving his lips as little as possible.

“We just took a wrong turn on the way to finding you and got ourselves into a bit of a jam.”

“A little bit?” Spoony murmured in disbelief.

“Madam Chick, are you okay?” Linkara turned toward the elven women in alarm. “Are you too injured to use your magic?”

“I’m afraid my wand was destroyed by an errant vine,” Chick replied in a despondent tone. “I noticed the stalactites about to fall upon poor Maven and I leapt forward to save her, but it was to no avail. It’s only thanks to the captain’s shield spell that we haven’t been skewered like pieces of meat.”

“N-no sweat,” Captain Finevoice replied, although several drops of sweat were currently dotting his forehead.

“Don’t worry, we’re going to get you out of here.” Linkara turned to Spoony. “I need you to sneak out of here as quickly as you can-”

“Fuck that! I’m not leaving you to save my own ass!” Spoony glanced around the cave and spotted a broken stalactite on the ground. “Go and help them out of here-I’ll be the distraction!”

Linkara smiled gratefully at Spoony. “Let’s do this!”

Chick’s eyes narrowed when Spoony began swinging the broken piece of rock through the air, batting away every attacking vine as if he were swatting flies. Linkara had already taken over the duty of producing the shield spell which protected her from the falling spikes and had almost arrived at the captain’s side. She had to act quickly before her whole plan was ruined, so she whispered a few quick words.

At once, a wall of purple flames rose up in front of Linkara’s path, stopping him dead in his tracks. His eyes widened in horror as memories of a day from long ago flooded his mind and his breathing grew panicked.

“No-no… No!”

“Kid! Snap out of it!” Captain Finevoice cried as several vines finally sensed the prince’s presence and darted at him all at once.

“Linkara!” Spoony’s heart stopped when he realized there was no way for Linkara to dodge and he reached out helplessly toward him.

“I’ve gotcha!” Unleashing a roar of pain, Captain Finevoice yanked his arm from the vines’ grip and leapt through the wall of flames as if they weren’t even there. He pushed Linkara backwards, knocking him to the ground, before shielding him with his own body. The vines were undeterred and pierced the captain’s torso one after another.

“NO!” Linkara opened his mouth and unleashed a scream loud enough to shatter glassware and eardrums, which caused his entire body to glow with a bright white light. He had tapped into the core of his rage and fear, allowing him to unleash a powerful shockwave of energy that swept over every inch of the cave. Instantly the vines, flames, and hovering rocks were vaporized into mist, rendering the once perilous cavern harmless, but Linkara didn’t notice any of this.

“Harvey...” The captain weakly pushed himself up using his hands and offered a shaky, distorted smile, as blood dripped from the corners of his mouth. It was nothing compared to the gaping wound in the man’s chest, which was leaking blood at an alarming rate. Linkara stared at the wound as if in a daze and lifted one hand to pat it, as if that might do the trick and stop the flow.

“I don’t think… that’s gonna work, Kid… but I like… your spirit…”

“No, no, this can’t be happening.” Linkara gripped the red-stained tunic desperately and snapped out of his stupor. “I-I can do something, Harvey, I can heal you. J-just get me my book and I can heal you, I know I can!”

“Kid, you know… that’s not happening.” Captain Finevoice let out a wet cough that left his chin mottled with blood. “Healing spells… you haven’t practiced enough… not for stuff like this…”

“I know the spell! I can cast it, I swear I can!” Linkara’s eyes were growing ever wider while his voice started to shake.

“It’s… too powerful… my injuries… aren’t just scratches… you’d need at least… two spell casters for… it to work…”

Linkara turned to Chick desperately. “You can help me! Madam Chick p-please help me!”

“Without my wand, I’m useless,” Chick replied softly as she lowered her head in shame.

Linkara’s entire body started to shake and his eyes grew wet. “No… no, this c-can’t be happening…”

“Hey, now… what are these tears?” Captain Finevoice gently chided. He used what remained of his strength to brush a finger along Linkara’s cheeks, leaving red streaks in its wake. “I want my… last memory… to be of you smiling… Kid.”

“Harvey, no, please,” Linkara begged as the tears continued to pour down his face. “You c-can’t leave me, p-please don’t leave me…”

“I’ll never… leave you, Kid. I’ll be here… in your heart, j-just like you… were always in m-mine.” Captain Finevoice’s voice began to break as well. “You’ve been s-so brave and so s-strong… you’ve gone through too much for a k-kid… you’ve seen enough to make you cry a river… and I hope… I hope I was able to make your life j-just a little better… I just wanted to… bring the sparkle b-back to your eyes… even one time…”

“I couldn’t have gone on without you,” Linkara sobbed. “I l-love you, Harvey!”

Captain Finevoice smiled and closed his eyes. “Love you, too… you’re gonna be amazing… my precious boy…”

As his body fell limp, Linkara hugged Harvey tightly and sobbed quietly for quite some time.

----

“That night, the prince, the princess, and the heart-broken crew assembled on the deck of Captain Finevoice’s ship to wish him one final farewell.”

----

Spoony watched silently as the crew of the Swing, Baby stood in reverence around their captain. His body had been wrapped in a mainsail which had been sewn closed around him, two anchors having been attached to his head and legs. Many were crying or hugging each other for comfort, though Linkara, who stood at the bow of the ship, did neither, instead choosing to stare dully into space. He hadn’t said a word to anyone after the captain’s death and Spoony hadn’t felt right approaching him yet.

“We are gathered here tonight to pay our last respects to a fine man.” Paw’s voice suddenly broke the silence. “If anyone wishes to recount a memory of the late Captain Finevoice, please speak now.”

“I’ll never forget when he hired me,” Nella said in between dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. “He took a bite of the cake I’d made for him, turned green, and then asked if I were a master poisoner. I’ve never met anyone kinder!” She buried her face in her hands while Paw patted her shoulder consolingly.

“I-I didn’t know the captain for long,” Maven spoke up, looking even more pale than usual that evening, “but he seemed like a good man and I’m sure he will be missed by many.”

Chick displayed a very brief look of disapproval before she stepped forward and put on her most somber of expressions. “I had the pleasure of knowing and working with the captain for many years. Although he was never able to best me when it came to magic, he was a master of humbleness, humility, and humor. May his soul now rest without interruption.” 

Spoony frowned once Chick had finished. “She could have done much better than that,” he muttered.

“Princess Spoony! Do you have something you wish to say about the captain?”

Spoony flinched at the question before blushing when he realized all eyes were now on him. “Oh, uh, yes I would. Well, I didn’t know Captain Finevoice very long either, but I’m always going to be grateful for the time I was able to spend with him. He showed me kindness when I didn’t deserve it, and friendship when I didn’t want it. Thanks to the captain, I feel like I’ve grown as a person and found some things I didn’t even know I was looking for…” Spoony glanced over at Linkara, who still seemed to be ignoring the proceedings. “But, this isn’t about me. It’s about Captain Finevoice and all the lives he’s touched. May the gods grant him the peace he so richly deserves.”

“Here here!”

Spoony hoped that Linkara would also take this chance to say something about the man he had cared for so deeply, but the prince remained stone-faced and silent. Eventually the ceremony was completed and the crew carried the weighted mainsail to the railing before pushing it overboard. Spoony stared into the deep blue waters, watching the captain slowly sink until he was no longer visible.

“He be resting in the depths of Davy Jones’ locker now,” Paw said, his eyes also focused upon the waves. “Deep down below, where the mermaids dwell and the sea serpents fear to tread. I know he’ll rest easy there.”

Slowly the members of the crew left the deck, returning to their duties or retiring for a bit of sleep. Spoony remained on the deck for a while longer until he realized that Linkara had vanished. Feeling uneasy, Spoony headed to the prince’s cabin and knocked hesitantly on the door.

“Linkara? Are you in there?” Silence. “It’s just me. I know you’re probably wiped out from today, but I was just wondering… maybe you’d like to talk?”

“Not tonight,” a thoroughly exhausted voice responded. “Please, Spoony… just not tonight.”

“That’s fine,” Spoony was quick to reassure him. “I’ll leave you alone now, but if you do want to talk, or… whatever, just know that I’m here.”

It sounded like a terribly awkward offer even to Spoony, so he wasn’t surprised when Linkara failed to respond.  Just a little saddened.

---

“For days, the prince secluded himself in his cabin, not wishing to see or speak with anyone. The crew respected his wishes and left him in peace, but the princess, who was not used to worrying about anyone but himself, found this to be a maddening experience. On the fifth day without word from the prince, the princess was about ready to break down his door, but thankfully this wasn’t a necessary action at all.”

----

Spoony sighed in agitation. Here he was, admiring a beautiful sunset over the ocean from the comfort of a very luxurious bed, but he was unable to enjoy a moment of it. His thoughts constantly drifted to Linkara and whether he was doing well. Nella had assured Spoony that Linkara was eating the meals left at his door, but no one had actually seen him for days, so there was no way to be certain. Spoony wished he knew what he should do, but he’d never actually lost anyone important to him, so he had trouble understanding how to deal with grief.

“Damn it,” Spoony sighed, rubbing the back of his hand over his eyes. “Isn’t there anyone who can help right now? Hey, asshole narrator,” he asked while glancing upwards, “how about you?”

“Normally I’d tell you to fuck off, but since I’m in a good mood, I’ll help you out. Check the main deck.”

Spoony’s eyebrows rose. “Are you serious? If you’re fucking with me, then I will find a way to enact revenge on you.”

“Pff, as if I’m afraid of you. Just get your ass out there, will you?”

“Yeah, fine, I’m going,” Spoony grumbled, only half-believing that anyone useful would be waiting for him. To his shock, Linkara was there in the flesh, standing before Madam Chick, who was holding his spell book and looking rather surprised.

“Young prince, I’m afraid I don’t understand. Why are you relinquishing this to me?”

“I won’t be needing it anymore,” Linkara replied gravely. “I’m giving up magic.”

“But why? You have shown yourself to possess great talent.”

Linkara shook his head. “I was fooling myself, and you too it seems. I’m not talented or smart. I’m not anything. Not worthy of magic or power or a kingdom…” He glanced at her again. “That’s the other thing I wanted to ask of you. I know it’s a huge task, but would you be willing to become the ruler of Comicronia in my place?”

“What?” Chick asked, while Spoony asked himself the same thing, unable to believe what he’d just heard.

“I’m unfit to lead a camping trip, let alone a nation,” Linkara answered in a dry, bitter tone. “I have proven to be weak and useless when in a crisis, so why should I be allowed to rule? Because I was born a prince? Well, I’m relinquishing that title too. As of right now, there is no royal family of Comicronia, so don’t let that stop you from taking charge.”

“I am flattered that you trust me enough to fill your shoes, but why would I be any better a ruler than you?” Chick wondered.

“Frankly anyone would be a better ruler than me, but there isn’t anyone out there like you, Madam Chick. I remember everything you’ve done for the kingdom: how you’ve used your magic to help the crops grow, solved all sorts of problems for the citizens, and defended the kingdom from enemies. I’ll never forget how you bravely protected the people during that terrible fire… how you protected me and Harvey…”

Linkara started to choke up, so he turned his head until he could calm himself. Chick gently rested a hand on his shoulder.

“I will always remember your encouraging words, young pr-uh, young Linkara,” she corrected, looking a bit too happy at the moment. “Thank you for entrusting me with the kingdom of Comicronia. I promise to rule it to the best of my abilities.”

Linkara nodded, relieved that everything had gone so well. He said goodbye to Chick and started to walk back to his cabin, but stopped when Spoony jumped into his path.

“Linkara, what the hell was that?”

“Were you eavesdropping on me?”

“Uh, duh! I couldn’t help it once I heard what you were saying.” Spoony gripped Linkara’s shoulders and stared into his eyes. “Are you out of your mind right now? How can you even think about abandoning magic or your kingdom?”

Linkara shook Spoony off and tried to walk around him. “Because it’s the right thing to do. My people-those people deserve to be left in the best possible hands.”

Spoony quickly side-stepped him and moved so that he was directly ahead of Linkara again. “The best possible hands are these!” he cried as he clasped Linkara’s hands within his own. Linkara’s jaw hardened and he quickly pulled away.

“These hands? The hands that couldn’t save Harvey? That couldn’t cast a powerful enough healing spell or stop him from bleeding to death? These hands that… that murdered him? These are the hands you trust, Spoony?”

“That wasn’t your fault!” Spoony insisted, his eyes still boring into Linkara’s. “It was a fucking terrible accident, Linkara, not murder! Harvey would be appalled if heard you talking like that!”

“Don’t talk about Harvey like you knew him!” Linkara snapped. Spoony recoiled slightly, which gave Linkara the chance he needed to hurry away, but he quickly snapped back to his senses and sped forward.

“I’m sorry for hurting you, but you have to listen to me,” he said, grabbing Linkara by the shoulder and spinning him around.

“Look, I’m not trying to piss you off, but I’m not going to let you say that. You shouldn’t even be thinking shit like that, Linkara. You’re a good, kind, brave, strong man-you are the exact opposite of a killer!”


“Fine, I’m not a killer. Can I go now?”

Spoony growled in frustration. “So what, that’s it? You’re just going to abandon your title, abandon your people, and run away from the world?”

Linkara growled in response. “Yeah, that’s right!”

Spoony’s eyes widened. “Wait, what? You… you’re seriously going to do that?”

Linkara turned away, his voice growing somber again. “Tomorrow. We’re arriving at a populated island where I’ll be able to find a boat of my own and leave before anyone even starts to miss me.”

“Do you really think that’s what’ll happen?” Spoony’s eyes flashed with anger but Linkara refused to look at him.

“This is for the best, Spoony. I need to get away from everything for a while. I feel like… like I’ll never be able to heal if I stay here where everything reminds me of him.”

The anger in Spoony’s eyes faded and a wave of pain washed over him. Linkara was suffering worse than he’d thought. Wasn’t there anything he could do?

“Take me with you.”

“What?” Linkara turned to him in confusion but Spoony’s mind was crystal clear now.

“Take me with you, Linkara. I’ll go wherever you want and I won’t cause any trouble for you. It’s got to be safer to travel with someone than it is to travel alone, and I’ll be able to help you pay for food and places to sleep and all that shit!”

“Spoony-” Linkara began, but Spoony cut him off with a vigorous head shake.

“Please, Linkara, don’t do this. It’s fucking awful to be alone. All my life I’ve been surrounded by people who never really gave a crap about me and I thought I was fine with that. I thought it was better not to feel connected to anyone, since people are selfish assholes who only want to use you to make their own lives better, and I thought being on my own was the best way to live. But I was lying to myself and these past few weeks I’ve spent with you and the crew have shown me how fucking deep that lie went.”

Spoony closed his eyes and his cheeks slowly started to turn red, but he continued speaking. “I’ve never wanted to be alone, Linkara. All this time I’ve been secretly wishing in the deepest parts of my heart that I’d meet someone who cared about me, someone who said nice things to me and meant them, someone who didn’t give a shit about my wealth or my family, but just liked me for me. And when I met you, I… I thought my wish had finally been answered.” Spoony opened his eyes and pulled Linkara into a gentle hug. “You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever known. You’re so sweet and good… you’re always trying to help people and do the right thing, not for any reward but because you’re just a good person. You’re the best person and I… I don’t want to be away from you, so please, Linkara… please don’t leave without me. We only have one life on this shitty planet and I… I want to spend the rest of it with you…”

Spoony’s whole body had turned red by now and he was certain his skin was so warm that Linkara would find the heat uncomfortable. To his delighted surprise, instead of pushing him away, Linkara hesitantly wrapped his arms around him.

“Thank you, Spoony,” he said, his voice low and sad. “You don’t know how much it means to hear that from you. I feel like I’ve been walking in the dark for a long time and you… you’re a beautiful light that’s trying to guide my way. When I’m with you I can almost believe the things you’re saying… I can almost believe I am good and strong… I can almost believe that I haven’t gotten everyone I love killed.”

“Linkara, no,” Spoony whimpered, tears he couldn’t contain spilling down his cheeks. “Don’t say that… you can’t believe that…”

He pulled back and gazed at Linkara, noting every shuddering intake of breath Linkara took, counting every line which belonged on the face of a much older man, and felt a pain in his chest that was indescribably awful.

“I know we only have one life,” Linkara whispered, “and that’s why I can’t let you waste yours by staying with me. I can’t watch anyone else die… I can’t lose you too.”

“But you won’t!”

“Please, Spoony. Don’t ask me to do that,” he begged. “Don’t ask me to take you with me.”

Spoony curled his hands into fists, allowing the pain and sadness swirling around inside him to transform into the much more manageable emotion of anger.

“Fine! Have it your fucking way! Go off on your own and die alone! I’m sure that’s exactly what Harvey and your parents would have wanted for you!”

Spoony slammed a hand over his mouth, instantly regretting his words and hating himself when he saw the agony flicker in Linkara’s eyes, but it was too late to undo the damage he’d caused, so Spoony did what he always did when frightened: he turned and ran without looking back.

Part 4

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