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This story is rated PG-13.
There is some language or violence that may not be appropriate for people under thirteen years of age.


Those Small Moments by CrystalNeonSummerSnow


Chapter 1: Eliminated

Alejandro's POV


I stared out the rain-streaked window and let out a pungent chortle. Another ceremony, another sorry contestant loses his chances. Yet, this elimination was different; this was the first time I switched the votes to get Noah voted off. I tried to convince Tyler and Duncan to vote for him, but their reactions were different. Tyler said he and Noah were tight and Duncan just shrugged me off and said,


" Hey, it's a cruel world. As long as that geek's not talking crap about me, you're on your own, sissy."


Sissy? Would a sissy cheat in order to give his old teammate the heave-ho? Doubt it. I smiled victoriously, but somehow when the metal door slammed shut to dwindle Noah's scream, I felt a little drop of angst down my spinal chord. Sure, it was a bold move for him to call me "an eel dipped in grease swimming in motor oil", but it's not like it was the first time he called me that...


Back in 9th grade, I had a partner for chemistry and algebra, and guess who it was? Yep, Noah. He'd always call me an eel; in fact, that was my nickname when we see each other. We'd never really fight, but tease, yes. For an example, one day durring our Costa Rica trip, I "accidentally" pushed him in the waterfall. He grinned crisply, but it was still a grin.


" Wow, for once, the eel didn't shock me." he smirked.


When I helped him up, at first we were silent. I didn't know where we were heading with this, but when his eyes closed and his head leaned towards mine, you could guess what happened next.


Now coming back to the present, Noah called me an eel not only in an annulling way, he also said it on international TV! I didn't even know what I did to make him angry, but whatever it was, I never takes insults. Still staring out the window and watching London languish into the storm clouds, I swore to myself that if I ever heard the words "eel" or "Jack the Ripper", I'd lose it.


That whole Jack the Ripper myth was a complete waste of my time; all it did was surround me with comeplete nitwits. By the time I woke up, Ezekiel's feral expression was before me. I flinched back to the wall. Chris then appeared out of the smoke and chuckled sadisticly. With one glimpse into his eyes, I knew something was going on and I didn't like it. Soon in a few hours, the nitwits came in. Tyler was trying to do a somersault, and he did, but landed on me.


" Oops, sorry Al. Somersaults aren't my best thing."


Intelligence wasn't his best thing either, I thought furiously.


Trying to keep my cool, I laughed quietly, but then grabbed Chris's shoulder blade.


" How much longer are we gonna stay here?"


" Not too long," he whispered acerbicly, " but for now, I think we should get some drama rolling."


What he held in his hand was a security tape from a few hours ago. When he popped it in, all I saw was Noah bashing me in front of Owen. My muscles were stiff for a moment, but then I turned away and ambled down the hall with my head hanging down.


With Heather being the curiouis little mink she was, she walked next to me.


" What's bothering you? You're stranger than normal." she said in a sly tone.


I didn't bother to answer her and kept moving; my pace was a little bit faster so she couldn't see a tear channeling down my cheek.


Listening to the thunder as the storms raged on described how I felt at that moment. I barely did anything to that sarcastic foot scrub and he still stabbed me in the back. I took out my notebook and wrote a poetic entry.


Never trustworthy

Only cares about himself

Always the sarcastic jerk

Heck is where he's going


It may've sounded kind of strident, but it's not like I was gonna throw petals out the window and sing Hallelujah. Who, besides Izzy, does that anyway? Before falling asleep, I thought to myself, You will pay for this, Noah...


Noah's POV


Wow, being on the third season made me experience the seven wonders of the world: manipulation, dishonesty, backstabbing, vanity, fury, impurity, and shock. What did that spell? Alejandro.


Sure, we were good friends in 9th grade, but honestly, I wished I never met him once he made his debut. Sure, his tactics were commendable, but also very cold. It takes a lot of nerve to use a girl and toss them away like gym clothing so quickly. I did know about his being the reason Bridgette and LeShawna were eliminated, but the biggest blow of all was what happened in Jamaica.


When Izzy was removed from competition cause of injury, Alejandro left a little confession that I overheard. His chuckling words buzzed in my head.


" Izzy? Getting removed from competition? Wow, convincing Chef to land on her really did turn out well. At least maybe the funeral won't be so expensive. (laughs evily)"


At that moment, my breaths got weak. Did he just say funeral? As in, a funeral where you go and pay your respects to the dead? For once, he stooped to his lowest level. When Owen told me about the news of her removal too late, I just covered my expression with my signature poker face. Inside, my organs were wearing away as we speak. That's when my feelings for Alejandro changed...


After I was eliminated, I unwittingly landed in the middle of the ocean instead of land. I was gasping for air and tried to paddle to dry land, but I wasn't strong enough to. As I was about to immerse, a fisherman pulled me onto his boat and set a course for the closest place we found: France.


Oh rapture. Back to a place I'd never visit again. I dryly thanked the man with his barnacle-encrusted voice and left. The lights of the city were conveniently dim that night. The first flashback that came to mind was that small moment I shared with Alejandro in Costa Rica.


Remembering when he pushed me down into the water and helped me back up, I still felt the bullets of water dripping down onto his likeness and then into my mouth. Losing myself in the emeralds in his eyes, I finally let loose and closed my eyes as his trembling lips touched mine.


We never told anyone about the kiss cause, well, just imagine the humiliation we'd face every day. Plus, another problem would occur if someone found out...


That'd mean we're bisexual!


Yeah, bisexual, epicene, crossed. That secret would make even me shocked. So envisaging about that and his gufawing at my best friend's pain calling it a fatality made my heart skip a few beats.


When I passed by a French resturant, I felt two strong hands pull me from behind. It was Izzy.


" Izzy! You're alive?!" I muffled with her hand covering my mouth.


She looked for anything suspicious, and whispered,


" Yes, I'm alive, but don't tell the French that. Their agencies are onto me like moss on bark, all because I broke that mummy dog."


I got out of her firm grip and laughed. She then looked at me with an arching smile and narrow slits in her eyes.


" So, what's been going on in Jamacia while I was gone?"


I then paused. She looked like as if she had known something. I told her about why she got injured and then her simper became a flaming grimace. She stuck out her finger and swore that when he's dead, she'll use his body for experimenting and sacrafice him to aliens. Brutality expected.


Throughout the season, all I did was stay on the sidelines and watch the Latino destroy others' chances. You would not believe the face I had when he lost in the finals. Just when I thought my nightmare abolished, then I got an invite to Heather's celebration in Costa Rica.


I stopped by to see the waterfalls until... he showed up.

Chapter 2: Pushed Over the Edge

Alejandro's POV


" What are you doing here?" I hissed in a narrow intonation.


He just looked a me with a raised eyebrow and turned his back to me. A scowl bulked across my face.


" Why did you embarrass me on international---"


" Stuff a pineapple in it."


Enraged, I slammed him against the teeming rocks. If he though that sarcasm would get him out of the fight, he had another thing coming.


" Answer me!"


He just kept his head turned and his eyes shut. At that point, I clamped my fist tightly and rose it above his squinted face.


" Why would you care about what I said? Why would you care about anything?"


" I care about people."


" You didn't care about Izzy." he susurrated in a cursed vocal.


My fist then started shaking and slowly decreased back down to my hips. He knew. I should've guessed it. He knew about what I said about Izzy's injuries. He was able to get out of my firm grip and run back with his friends.


Looking at the blood on the rocks rinse away from the frantic rush of water, I dared myself to look from behind. Heather was behind me....


Cheers.


" Oh, I'm sorry. Was I interrupting something? A little man-on-man action?"


I gritted my teeth. No way was I gonna let that cute little backstabber know about Noah and me.


I shook my head without looking at her elusive leer.


" Why am I not convinced?"


" Noah and I hate each other.... Wait, what gave you the courage to ask what's going on with me?"


She stood silent, but if I heard her anger, it would've probably been screaming.


" I hate you so much!" she barked as I heard her stripper heels splash away; without looking, I knew I could feel the tint of Noah's carlet.


Noah's POV


I barely had the strength to talk, let alone breathe. Facing Alejandro was like jumping into a pit of broken glass and safety pins the size of my IQ number. The more I refused to talk to him, the angrier he got. Yet, when I said " Stuff a pineapple in it," he finally was pushed over the edge. He grabbed my shoulders and slammed me against the boulders. The pain of the water sinking into my bloody back - which was as scrawny as could be - still lingered when I left.


The way Alejandro's words thundered into my ears disheartened me.


" Why would you care about what I said? Why would you care about anything?"


That was the sharpest I could say. But looking at the expression on his face when I brang up Izzy somehow made the pain increase more. Getting out of his grip, I ran back with Izzy and Eva with my drops of red solicitude tainting the puddles.


Izzy looked at me with concern.


" Noah? You look bad."


I rolled my eyes.


" You get in a fight?" Eva canvassed.


" Well, kinda..."


Before I could say more, I collapsed in her broad arms and then onto the ground.


The blustering of feet came briskly; the panting was deep but quieter than the running.


" Noah! Are you alright?" Katie and Sadie asked in unison.


I took a breath to answer, but soon my vision faded away.


Alejandro's POV


Hearing about Noah's collapse after our fight put me in a state of fear. I was the reason; the reason he was even surrounded by the scent of antibiotics. The minute I set foot in the hospital, everyone glared at me; Izzy's was the harshest.


" How dare you?! Bad enough you have your name engraved in a steak knife, but you could've killed Noah!"


" But it's not like he didn't have it coming!"


My hand crashed onto my mouth. Did I really just say that?


Eva and Izzy mounted their fists and were ready to take action, but then Noah's yell prevented the attack.


" Send him in. Don't touch him."


I raced into his room like Atalanta. If I didn't, I'd get kicked in the golden apples.


Turning to Noah's vanishing gaze, I looked down at my feet.


" Noah, I-I'm-I-I'm really---"


He then showed a subsiding smile and sighed kindly,


" It's okay. In fact, I forgave you for coming here; takes a lot of bavery for a person like you to see me after that fight."


I laughed.


With his head settled on the pillow, his smile turned sober. His eyes slowly arced back at me and said,


" At least a little good came today..."


Noah's POV


I wasn't mad at Alejandro... completely. He didn't really mean for it to happen. Yet, that wasn't the thing that was the biggest blow.


Gwen came by to visit once I regained consciousness. She looked at me in sympathy, but in a despondent way, there wasn't a smile on her face.


" Hi, Noah."


I nodded.


" Well, at least the service here is great."


Usually, humor's a good medicine, but at that time, humor wasn't really the subject. She leaned in closely and whispered sorrowfully,


" Do you remember Jack the Ripper?"


At that moment, everything changed.


Soon, when Alejandro came in and sort of apologized, my heart sank into my metarterioles. I may be a little hard-hearted, but I'm a terrible liar; I couldn't even keep the secret about my sister's surprise party 8 years ago. When my spherical stigmas of chocolate landed on the Latino's face, I swore to myself he expected trouble.


The minute I said " At least a little good came today...", my gut told me that his life would end.

Chapter 3: Sudden Death

Alejandro's POV


Uh oh. That's all I said under my breath. Uh oh.


Noah tapped his fingers on the isabelline white sheets and sighed. He didn't defy to speak, but all I heard him murmur was "Jack the Ripper".


My heart began to die. He just said Jack the Ripper, that murderous old hag that was half man, half phantom. Noah took a deep breath and quickly blurted out,


" He killed Heather!"


I fell out of my seat in anguish. Heather was SLAUGHTERED?! By JACK THE RIPPER!? I begged Noah about what happened, where was she.


He said woefully that Heather was enjoying the rest of her party while everyone was worrying about him. When she was teasing LeShawna, the homegirl took a few steps back as the shine of the dagger appeared. In the blink of an eye, Heather was killed; destroyed without even warning.


I drove down to Frost Cementary and dreadfully teared up at the inscription: Isabelle Amanda "Heather" Malone: 1992 - 2010


My eyes flooded with tragic cascades of saline; my now-growing hair was emblemly congealed with the ice creeping up on me. I turned to head back to my Maserati, but my knees collapsed by the gnarled tree and its hovering branches. I had finally broken down.


Not soon after, I heard to footsteps of a pair of tiny Converse.


I had a feeling about who it was.


Noah's POV


I regreted more than usual that night.


When Alejandro ran out of the room, I noticed a picture of the queen bee fell out of his side pocket. The only love Heather would ever have... And as usual, it didn't last.


I played on my Inspiron the DVD version of Heather's unreleased confessional scenes. One was the most important.


" Wow, this game is brutal. I had lost a million, but thank God my parents struck it big while I was gone. Noah and Alejandro are so gullible. Sure, the camera saw me destroy Alejandro, but you should've seen what I did to Noah."


I shut down my laptop. I remembered it perfectly.


I was in a teetering relationship with Heather before World Tour, and it began to take its toll once Alejandro came into the picture. After I found out the truth about Izzy's wounds, I somehow weeped about the news to her....


A stupid mistake.


She then told me to stand up for myself and slam him. I didn't get the big result, but she then shot a suspicious smile and winked.


" You'll see."


Now I got the result too late: she was trying to get me voted off.


So what she did to Alejandro in Hawaii is nothing compared to what she did to me.


Looking out the window, I felt like the Latin lover was in trouble, so I gathered ny leftover potency and ran to Frost Cementary. In the shadows, I heard a tall, miserable figure cry to the sky. I rubbed my hands together and approached him. Seeing how his body was at its weakest, I knelt down to his face tattooed with tear lines.


" Hello again..."


He looked up at me and opened his mouth slightly to talk. Faintly, he said,


" I can't believe this. I felt like I found love and now I lost... again."


Letting out a few auxilirant breaths, I shed a light tear. He does have a few deep, romantic moments, but seeing him in a poetic, morbid state of pure misery was the most gut-wrenching. I whispered in a loving yet subtle tone,


" Heather just wasn't the one, but I know how it feels to love and lose."


He turned his head and had an expressionless face on. A few shivers came, but otherwise he was frozen; frozen in a limbo-hearted state. I veered my head toward his ear and told him about what Heather did to me. Once I finished, he hugged me close and finally cracked a small smile.


When we looked at each other for a moment, the flashbacks came around the corner........

Chapter 4: Remember When...?

Alejandro's POV


The first thought that came to mind was Broadway.


After our team lost the challenge, I just stopped by the park and watch people pack the streets.


" You definetely did a good job in the challenge today."


" Hardy-har-har." Noah radiated


All we really did was watch the helicopters fly in the sky and people crowd surf to get a decent hot dog. Then, I made another teasing comment.


" It's so strange that whenever you fall asleep, something bad happens."


He just nodded. I had a feeling that he was thinking of a certain event in the Awake-a-Thon.


" I'm still suprised you remembered that incident."


" Don't be so hyporcitical about it, jerk." he laughed in a playful tone.


After a gentle nudge or two, we were then silent. The know-it-all awkwardly tapped his fingers on the bench. He decided to head back to the plane.


Okay, that was really awkward, I thought timidly.


Yet, I heard him mutter something. If I had to guess what he said, he muttered,


" At least that person I was dreaming about was you."


Noah's POV


I'm glad he heard that.


I didn't really care for people who'd tease me for the incident, but for people who knew why. As abnormal as it seems, I was somehow connected to Alejandro.


Yet, that wasn't the only chance encounter.


After the absconding around like idiots in France, I found a ticket to a dance theater lying around. I was kinda reluctant; watching people practically naked with body paint all over there bodies was pretty disgusting.


Then again, I guess it could also be less tabooed if the paint isn't faded.


While standing in the crowd, I saw someone run into the alley behind the building.


Maybe it's just a dancer who's late, I thought curiously.


When the show began, a man appeared with glowing flourescent flame red paint all over his chest and preformed a dance so provocative, pole dancing and Burlesque were a thing of the past; he was like Rudolf Nureyev with paint all over him. Yet, the flexibility, the gallance, all too familiar...


Alejandro, of course.


After the show, when his paint was washed away and he put his clothes back on, I saw him backstage; good thing a backstage pass was clipped to the ticket. His face was anything but annoyed to see me.


" Impressive dancing, Baryshnikov."


" I guess I can't fool you."


" Everyone knows you're extremely flexible. Not hard to notice."


With his impressive showing off, I just watched his splits and yoga poses in anticipation. After his handstand, he shot a beastly smile at me. He didn't do anything but smile.


" See you tomorrow?"


" Yeah, see you tomorrow."


When I traipsed off the stage and out into the cold rain, guess which girl appeared outside?


Heather.


She didn't say anything sharp at the moment, but the sharpest thing she could give me was a glare.


" Hey, Heather."


" Don't 'Hey, Heather' me!" she finally screamed at me. I looked away from the coquelicot chargin spreading all around her Asian expression.


" How could you? You promised me that you'd never talk to that boy again."


" I never promised to anything. Besides, I wasn't pulling anything."


" Don't play Coy, Noah. I saw the whole thing backstage and if you dare get anywhere near that guy again, you'll wish you never met me."


At that point, I finally put my foot down.


" Well, at least I was being subtle. What'd you think I was gonna say? Hey Alejandro, you melt the ink out of my book? That's stupid."


" Well, if you think that Ale-dork-face is so much better than me, then why don't you just hang out with him instead; you don't have a girlfriend, anyway."


Her emaciated body vanished in the rain.


Alejandro's POV


Heather was sneaky, yes. Beautiful, yes. But envious for my lust, even past yes.


In Jamaica, before I enraged my friend, Noah and I met again on the beach while the Telethon was roaring with money. Noticing his doleful gaze when I wrestled him into the salt water-cleansed sand, I lifted his remorseful face towards me.


" What's wrong, amigo?"


" It's nothing, Al. Really, it's nothing."


For once, I didn't tremble when he called me "Al". I looked at him with an unsure smirk.


" Nothing, huh? Then at least crack a smile."


When his eyes opened more at me and he breathed in an ambivalent way, I knew he was gonna tell.


He told me about Heather and her dumping him unjustly. Seeing the particles of sand flow into his sepia locks, I then felt something overpower me; it made me feel like I couldn't take it anymore; almost like it was.... love.


Yeah, laugh all you want; laugh about the fact that I was in love with the same gender, but somehow, it felt like we shared a heartstring.


Seeing that we were a lips distance away, I closed my eyes and let myself fall loose. Noah was frozen for a moment, but it seemed that I poisoned him with my desire and in return, started kissing me back. The only problem was the footsteps of stripper heels in the sand....


Noah's POV


It felt kinda strange kissing Alejandro back then, mostly because of hearing Heather's taciturn pace in the beige cinders, but somehow the kiss was... venomous in the process, resulting in my enjoyment.


Now that explained why Heather seeked revenge against me; we were both unaware that she saw the whole thing.


Coming back to the present, coming back to Alejandro's longing gaze at me, I wiped away a few tears of my own and abetted him back up. He looked at me and let out a relaxed moan.


Awkward, yet delightful at the same time.


" Umm, Noah? Can you please not tell anyone about my breakdown?"


" I won't."


" Well, uhh, see you tomorrow."


" Yeah. See you tomorrow... Alejandro."


Finally, I could be relaxed enough to say his name.

Chapter 5: Danger Comes Slowly

Alejandro's POV


Soon, danger lurked around. It came slowly, but danger always comes in the slowest way -- that's what makes it dangerous.


One day, while Noah and I were relaxing in the park, something in my heart and lungs was telling me an omen would come around the corner. Feeling Noah's sleeping head on my shoulder and the branch repeatedly taping my now-grown-back Latin locks was able to present leisure.


Alas, a gut feeling cannot be ignored.


With the breeze lulling me to sleep, I felt someone --- or something --- rush behind the trees. I peeked one eye open and saw oblivious nothing. Falling asleep, the rushing got louder and stronger.


Peligro? Peligro, mi bota, I thought.


It always felt good to relate back to my Spanish blood.


As the sun began to set, it was time to head home. Noah soon woke up the same time I did. When we were heading down the road home, a huge screeching noise erupted in the air.


Sounded like human screams......


Noah's POV


For once, I could be able to fall asleep without anyone or anything turning it into an episode. For once, a moment of bliss was present, but not for long.


Once I heard something rush past us, I knew something was wrong. Yet, with Alejandro by my side, I felt protected.


In a dream, I was standing on a dark thunderstorm cloud and an apocalyptic figure was writhing slowly. Then golden visionaries of all my friends appeared and began screaming.


In a flash, they disappeared; all but one. Alejandro's visionary was present. I stepped closer to him and looked feelingly into his eyes. He pulled me in tight and whispered something that completely put me in a state of anxiety.


" Estas en peligro...."


Estas en peligro?


My trilingualism consists of three languages: English, French, and Spanish. So, Estas en peligro means one thing and one thing only...


You're in danger.


With that said, then the figure rose his dagger and almost made his move, until I felt a nudge at my shoulder.


" Noah? Noah? Noah, wake up."


My eyes banged open and then a sigh of relief came out of my mouth.


Yet soon, when I heard the familiar screams in the air, I ran to the source.


That's when the journey began...


Alejandro's POV


My hand trembled as I read the note,


Cowardly mortals,

I have kidnapped your equally frightened mortal friends. If you dare go forth and conquer fear, you have only till the last sunset of May to find me. Location shall stay classified, but maybe the screams of your peers will give you a hint. The tip of my dagger will be shining for your blood, mortals.


Jack the Ripper


Cheers. We had to save our friends from Jack the Hag. Setting the letter down, I sat down as the typing of Noah's Dell Inspiron and the rapid heart beats were the music of the moment.


" How's the research going, Noah?"


" Pretty bad. Jack's lair is unlocated."


Great. Unlocated. May was in 2 months and it wouldn't even take us one month to find him.


See, Noah constructed a ship for us to sail away on, but then when we read about the location, then Bing tried to come in handy. Noah got out of his seat and said in a proud tone,


" Don't worry, Alejandro. We're gonna save our friends no matter the case. Come on, we've got packing to do."


In a way, I was a bit confused. Noah's never been this brave and fearless before...


Noah's POV


Honestly, I was never totally great at being a leader, but even though I don't show it, my friends were everythnig to me, and I wasn't going to let some Danny Phantom wannabe get in the way of saving them.


Saving. A new word in my world.


Research on Bing may've showed Jack's lair as unlocated, but I have a good memory. There have been multiple reports of sightings of Jack the Ripper on a mystical island that has been remembered for its massive amounts of landforms. At least there was a little ray of hope.


When we got near the port, the same sailor that rescued me before looked at me in admonishment.


" Remember, whenever something dares to kill you, stand up to them by asking for it. Trust me, it works almost every time," he growled.


That could come in handy.

Chapter 6: Dawned On

Alejandro's POV


The days dawned on.


It felt like an eternity at sea, but it's only been one month, so we were running out of time.


Every time the sunset painted the sea, that same question shadowed my faith in Noah: Was there something terrible coming along the way?


This is usually the rule of adventure: if you've been living in accord for a month, something bad will happen soon. Protection would shatter and life would drown in the sea; dissolved with the salty illuminous crystals. Feeling my hand sink into the water a few times made my conviviality stay for a while. Still, the question abided in my head throughout my "bliss".


Hence, in most adventures chastity will be lost; there was no such word as immortality, no such word as surviving, just survival.


Suprisingly, Noah always remained at the wheel unfatigued and centralized; it was OOC, but very laudable.


Durring the second sunset of May, I went inside the boat to turn in.


I would've asked Noah to come in, but he was on a mission.


Soon as the scattered jewels in the sky eclipsed the celestial orb, a brusque gale of wind clobbered the slowly debased ship. It couldn't have been happening. Not there, not now. Another gust knocked me out of the futon-sheeted bed. With heavy dowfalls of hail blazing into my hair, one word came to mind: Noah...


I ran up the stairs to find Noah, and yes I did find him, but he was on the ground with blood voiding from his forehead. He was still awake, but weak.


I tried to sail away from the storm, but then a giant whirlpool was ahead too.


I panicked at the moment. I didn't know what to do, but then something came to me: the rocks over near that island.


I grabbed Noah's arm and was getting ready to jump. Finally awake, he said anxiously,


" What about the ship? The journey?"


" I'd rather have you than the ship, now come on!"


With one big leap, we landed unconsciously on the rocks as the night shined calmfully on us. The only thing that woke me was the sound of rushing feet.


Noah's POV


Look, I'm no naturalborn leader, but I'm not a follower either. That "Jack the Ripper" wasn't even a state of matter, as in he doesn't matter. If he wanted to play hard ball, I'd play hard ball.


I never stopped at anything. That was the most focused I had ever been. Yet, inside, I was still thinking about that wretched dream I had....


A maudlin state of mind cocooned in imaginary ecstasy to cover the pain, that was my definition of dream. Only this time, the cocoon broke. The black-composed butterfly that flew out was Alejandro's haunting words: Estas en peligro.


I was lucky that he woke me up before the ghost in my dream could strike. Real or not, that dagger had my name inscripted in the lustrous silver. In a dark, misgiving meaning, that dream, or should I say nightmare, was like a look at my future. And my future was telling me one thing: I was going to die.


Never mind that, Noah, I thought sternly, I still have a mission to complete.


One night after the second sunset, my eyes finally began to droop. Sailing for one month with no one talking and everything whisted, something bad was bound to happen.


With a huge gale of wind, I fell to the floor with the red vital leaking out of me forehead, feeling faint. All I really saw was the rushing of Alejandro's patent leather boots. Yet then I felt a tug on my arm. Alejandro was going to jump off the ship with me!


I asked about the ship, but he loudly replied,


" I'd rather have you than the ship, now come on!"


With one jump, we fell unconsious.

Chapter 7: The Nymphs of Nocturno

Alejandro's POV


The rushing of feet wasn't Jack, thankfully, but it was someone sure-footed; someone clever and quick.


It was a woman.


She knelt down to me with a huge beam on her mocha-skinned face. She stared mostly at the burns on my body and the blood staining Noah's face. She let out a shrill outcry that summoned more seductresses. A few giggles here and there and they finally dragged us to their huts made of straw and leaves. A woman dressed in gold and brilliant allotropes presented us with a bowl of water.


" Welcome to Nocturno, an island of paradise. I am Callidusia, the head nymph."


Nymphs? A kind of female I could never turn down.


Callidusia and her other female friends walked bewitchingly around us and let out more simpering giggles. Feeling a few pet lovingly on my neck, I was already settled.


The leader then showed us the wonders of the island.


" The island of Nocturno is like nature's Heaven. Everything blooms, no such conflict fires, and everyone sympathizes."


She ran gleefully around the valley to give the example of nature's Heaven. Every step she took, I swore a new seed of efflorescence emerged. She was a flowering little lady; a very alluring nymph. I felt like I was falling in love again, but it was harder than the way I was falling for Noah.


The daisies' petals were strewn in Callidusia's golden orange hair. Her demigodess-like benevolence was amazing in her own way.


" Well, that was relaxing. Now, onto the rest."


She then showed us of other landform wonders -- caverns, rivers, waterfalls, beaches, and valcanoes.


Nocturno sounded like the most paradisal island you'd ever want to be on. At least, I thought so....


Noah's POV


Unsure was what I was.


Those nymphs may've felt like glorious souls, but I felt different about all of the island. Fertility was trying to lure me, but I didn't follow. I was craftier than that.


When Callidusia's colleagues welcomed into their tribe, I just tried to relax and play along with it all.


Durring our stay on the island, she introduced us to their festivities.


" What our tribe likes to do is write and recite poetry, and our most favorite poet, Avi, shall begin tonight's poetry."


" Tonight, I'll begin with a hiaku.

Rejoiced with friends pure

The siblings of my rapture

Rejoiced with glory"


After the cheering subsided, Alejandro's name was called out next.


Of course they'd pick him. Alejandro was a prodigy; he was like the perfect person. He was flexible, he could speak in any language, play any instrument, and most importantly, write poetry.


" Alejandro? Do you have a hiaku for us?" Avi asked with glitter in her eyes.


He stood up and winked to make the ladies swoon.


" Loneliness is sin

Somber and solitude fade

As long as there's love"


The cheering was louder than it ever was before. I just rolled my eyes.


Unsure was what I was.


Alejandro's POV


Soon the weeks pasted and I was in luxury. I felt like I was at home, finally. The nymphs were seductive, but Callidusia was the most attractive out of them all.


Yet, one night, Callidusia took me into the valley and flaunted her glistening paragoned belt around her waist more.


" Alejandro, I've known you for a while, and somehow, I feel connected to you."


I didn't know what to say; I was spellbounded to the ember of lust in her baby blue eyes that was trying to enchant me. She then stripped off her silken robe showing her chest bone. Yet, then before anything else could fall to the ground, she fell instead with a bow sticking out of her back. I turned around and saw only Noah.


You wouldn't believe the fury that was brewing in my nerves.


He quickly ran away, but I was able to grapple him to the ground.


" What do you want already?" he reviled in a beleaguer style.


" Okay, I've met a lot of jealous people over the years, but you take the cake."


He then shook his head in confusion and pushed me off.


" Jealous? I've been trying to warn you all this time and you ignored me. These women aren't who they seem to be."


" Well, you aren't who you seem to be. You killed Callidusia!"


" What? Do you see any weapons around here?"


" Oh, and a poisoned arrow just magically appeared out of nowhere. That's believable."


Angry, Noah took a few steps back and cursed under his breath,


" Fine, I'll leave. Enjoy the rest of your hell, eel."


I then ran back to the huts to inform about their leader's death, but it didn't look like the nymphs; it looked like female warriors. Then, one stood up and said,


" Tonight, we avenge Callidusia and destroy the man responsible."


Yeah, I thought to myself, Noah deserves his last.


" What about Noah and Alejandro?" one warrior pointed out. " We can't lie to them forever."


" I'm afraid they'll have to be sacraficed. We're not nymphs, we're warriors, and with me, Avi, as your new leader, what they won't know won't hurt them."


I took a step back, but ungainly tripped over a tree root. As all eyes landed on me, I was sure I was dead, until I felt two lanky hands pull me into the caverns.


Noah....


Noah's POV


Yes, I was impassioned and enraged by Alejandro's confrontation and cursed at him, but I bet you're wondering why I saved him. Well, a friend helped.


As I walked away from Alejandro, the closest place for shelter were the caverns. The last sunset was a week away, so I had to get serious. But then I saw handprints on the walls that were scented with the result of an unexpected slaughtering. Then an aged, disfigured, yet altruistic woman approached me.


" I'm suprised to see that you're still alive." she cackled in a bewildered fashion.


I joined the laughing, but mine was quieter and uncertain. She then gave me a plate of shrimp cooked over her fire.


" It's impressive that you knew about those women all along."


" I had a feeling they were warriors. I didn't know how I found out, but I had a feeling," I droned.


She then stood up and said,


" They only took you in was cause of your face."


That's it. The blood on my face was mistaken for warrior paint.


" How did you---"


" I've been watching the victims come in and out for a while."


" Well, if I was taken in cause of the blood on my face, why did they take in Alejandro?"


" I'd probably say for the burns on his body, but I bet those liars thought of him as a good eschew for them."


" Okay, hold on here," I said in a more louder tone, " how do you know so much about those women if you spent all your time in here?"


She then bit her chapped, rough-hewn lips and threw more firewood in.


" I was once a warrior, a warrior that didn't know about what the rest did to the newcomers. One night, I saw a male newcomer named Nicholas come into this cavern, right here, with Callidusia. I was in love with him and they promised something great would happen to him. When I entered, the room was covered in blood. I was devastated; the victims don't just leave, those anti-heros kill them. Use them as sacrafice without even seeing the value in them. I felt so lied to and broken, I killed one of the warriors as revenge and escaped their wrath. I've been roaming around the island in hiding ever since."


The oblivious frown on my face became more puzzled. The adversity that that poor, ugly woman faced was very moving. I asked of her name, but she just replied,


" I am named lots of things, but you can call me Mariah."


Something then sparked in her mind. She pushed me out of the cavern and said,


" Go! Go! Find your lover! He's in great danger!"


With that, I set off onto my feet and saved Alejandro.


When I dragged him back to the caverns, she sat on the rocks while I gave her an astonished look.


" That was amazing! How'd you know that they were gonna kill him?"


" I am of great wisdom and great heart, Noah."


After a few pants, I then told her about our journey to save our friends. She looked into the fire and nodded her head.

Chapter 8: Along the Riverside

Alejandro's POV


Looking into the lady's eyes, I knew something bad was gonna happen. She had a distraught gloom on her wrinkled face and muttered to herself for a moment.


" If you are to leave this island, you must complete 3 tasks. The first one will take place along the riverside. Follow me."


She took her handmade cane and guided us down to Ballist River.


That river was connected to a fall line which was also connected to a waterfall. Even if the rushing mass of liquid didn't kill you, the rocks at the bottom would.


" Across the river is a garden of hydrangeas. The guards aren't like cyclopses that you hear in mythology class, but these guards are two strong warriors who will stop at nothing to protect the sacred poisonous plant. Your first task is to cross the river without falling into the water and convince the soldiers to give you the flowers."


Then in the blink of an eye, she disappeared.


I tried climbing up a forest tree and jumping of the elongate branches, but then disaster almost struck. A male deer struck the tree with its racking set of antlers. With anohter jab in the tree, I was hanging by my jacket, ripping thread by thread.


I still wouldn't give up.


I climbed up on top of the brach and teased the deer, and with another deep jab, my plan worked. The deer's antlers were stuck in the tree.


Ahh, my old moments of vanitant glory.


Noah's POV


I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with Alejandro's skill of outsmarting that deer, but I had a trick up my sleeve, too.


After the deer succumbed from overwork, two hearty, moronic soldiers adorned with metal armor stood still. I rolled my eyes and laughed under my breath. Child's play. If I could make a bully at my school cry just because I made fun of his shoes, then that was, to me, too easy.


" So, protecting the poison?" I said calmly.


" That's right. The Malions want these flowers, but they'll have to get through us, first; them and any other sucker."


The Malions? That's their women tribe name? Honestly, they were Latin-obsessed.


I then lowered my cynical brows and said,


" But if we get a few of those hydrangeas, then we can put it in the... Malions' feast and your enemies will be no more."


They looked at each other with enthralled eyes and opened the stale grey gates. Like I said, moronic. They actually though that we would kill those Amazon applicants; if they were smart, they'd know that Mariah would want those flowers.


As we ran away back into the caverns, the deformed lady came out of the fog clapping her hands.


" Very good, but the second task might require a little thinking."


" What?" Alejandro just asked.


All she did was force this special plant juice down our throats.


" It has a required taste; it will bring help by your side."


She then closed her eyes and took deep, focused breaths. At that point, a huge flash of lightning appears and the minute I woke up, Alejandro was gone.

Chapter 9: An Oracle Conscience

Alejandro's POV


I then began to panic.


I stumbled around the rocks in the cavern, looking for Noah. Anon, Mariah arose from the vapor of the fire.


" Did you cause this to happen?!"


She tapped her ornated French-tips together and said,


" Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, you and Noah still had to be seperated. Anyway, this task requires stamina and strength. This oracle will say a riddle about treasure hidden throughout the caverns. You have to answer it by searching. Amelia, take it from here."


The oracle named Amelia had jet black hair and her eyes closed. She waved her hands mistically around the fire and said,


" I see a treasure misplaced. If you want it, find it."


A riddle? Hmm, treasure misplaced. Well, Callidusia once said a pearl was hidden, so maybe that's what the oracle said: a pearl or gem or something was hidden.


Crawling into the caverns, all that was around was the stalactites, stalagmites, and crystals adorning the rock walls and hiding the blood of the lady's deceased lover.


Lover, just like my missing one....


I started searching harder for any gems, but then the oracle appeared in a transparent form. She waved her hands around again and said,


" I see not the gem you're looking for, but the gem you're thinking of."


What? That's all that came to mind. What? Her riddles started to confuse me a little. I wasn't thinking of gem, just Noah. At first, I had no idea what she was saying. She might've just done that to throw me off track, but then she clapped her hands and the crystals took the shape of the hollow parallelism of him.


Ahh, a hint.


I grazed my hand across the gem and cried.


" Oh Noah, even if it takes me a while to find you along with the treasure, I hope you can hear me say... I miss you."


All I had to say, but in my head, another I something you was created in my head; a little something called....


I love you.


Noah's POV


Whatever that oracle said, without Alejandro, I had to work harder.


Searching through the caves, I hummed to myself a little song that was oh-too familiar.


" You can see my heart

Beating..."


That was our main anthem; Russian Roulette by Rihanna. The intense texture of how love can be a dangerous game, well, what other song would there be?


As my song continued on, I looked at the moon shining on me and sighed. I searched throughout the caverns dilapidated with rocks and crystals, but no gem.


Soon, a cellophanic chassis appeared and arranged the ornamental brilliants in thte stone walls in a familiar pattern.


Alejandro....


The flickering of the crystals resembling the agleaming vanity; something that was sometimes immoral, but lusty at the same time. I looked down at the floor and gathered my strength, at least enough to keep a tear from forming. The female patted my back and presented the juice Mariah gave us earlier. What did the drink had do with it, you ask? Well, I suddenly realized it was conscience juice.


Conscience juice, a special potion made of hydragea petals and the poison is enveloped by aloe; a potion that summons "a conscience" to guide you through a difficult situation. Well, my conscience wasn't the oracle, it was the female with flowing orange fringes and wilted vines wrapped around her arms, legs, and lavender silk dress. She kneed down to my attrited sulk and whispered lightly,


" You know him? Usually, people wouldn't tear up about someone unless they miss them."


I shook my head and whispered back was,


" It's complicated, but Alejandro and I are kind of...."


" Romanticly involved? Well, do you ever conside him as... a gem?"


My eyes opened. She pulled out a trim box and tapped her cream white fingers on top.


" You should probably hear this." she persuaded.


The only voice I heard then was the Hispanic's cry.


" (grazes his hand across the gems) Oh Noah, even if it takes me a while to find you along with the treasure, I hope you can hear me say... I miss you."


I finally yielded a tear down my tan cheeks. A black orb of regret entered each iris; I felt like I'd never let go of the box.


The words I miss you rang in my head throughout my controlled, yet serious weeps. Did he really mean that? He really did care about me? I whispered in the box,


" I miss you, too, Alejandro."


Alejandro's POV


Soon as my hands turned charcoal black, I fell to my knees.


Whatever gem that lady was talking about, it'd take 17 miners to find whatever she was blabbering on about.. at least I thought that.


I had been searching for 5 days throughout the caverns and the last sunset was only two days away. Without Noah, I was honestly weak.


Wow, after all these years I finally found my Achilles' heel: love. He was like a male version of Audrey Hepburn: has a comeplete rich lifestyle and yet still keeps his quiet, laid-back state in tact. How amazing for such a cynic.


When Mariah hung her wrinkled head above me, she cackled,


" So? What gem did you find?"


" Mariah, I honestly found no gem, but was thinking of one. Noah. He's the only gem I can think of."


She patted my back and said sweetly that time,


" Congradulations, Alejandro, you accomplished the 2nd task."


She continued her prasing once she saw the confusion in my eyes.


" This task was to purify your vanity and show how much love can control you. And I think there's another person behind me that feels the same way."


I turned around and there, glowing with the daytime sky behind him, was Noah himself.


I quickly embraced him and let my true colors show.


" Noah! Oh, thank God I found you! I'm so sorry about Callidusia."


" Oh, it's alright; I got past Lady Godiva, but I'm really happy that I found you. I really missed you."


Mariah them lit a fire and sat down with a more staid look and said under her breath,


" Enjoy your love while it lasts."


Noah's POV


After our embracing, we then sat around the fire and got the information of our final task. She lifted her head and said,


" Your final task will be what you came here for."


I paused. I knew what she was talking about. She then told the tale about Jack the Ripper.


" Jack the Ripper, half human, half phantom, whos voice was blocked by the screams of his victims. The shine on the tip of his dagger can sometimes show the reflection of his next victim. His story was actually very tragic. His mother was killed my her husband and people unfairly destroyed his rep by saying he was a serial rapist. Having had enough of his suffering, he killed his father and the queen pea that started the rumors. Ever since, he just kept killing; even when he died at 110 of a heart disease, his spirit made him invincible."


Sure, we'd probably be happy cause we made it, but there was only one problem -- with the sun setting behind us, that means we had only one day left to save our friends.


We sat up, thanked Mariah for the info, and set off.


We searched continuously; not even stopping for water. No one has ever destroyed JR and especially not in one day. The only time we rested was at nightfall.


As I fell asleep, with a little vision, I think I saw Alejandro gazing at my sleeping form and smiling.


It wasn't a myth that he was in love with me, but somehow, I felt like I loved him back.


But since I've never shown a "softer side", I was honestly too chicken-hearted to tell him.


When he whispered, " Goodnight." into my ears, a spark of electricity flew down my spine. I could've responded, but I remained asleep.


But it wasn't long till disaster came around the corner.

Chapter 10: Good Luck

Alejandro's POV


Soon, our slumber was aborted as an arrow struck a tree behind us.


The Malions arrived with Mariah in a headlock.


" The eneimes are spotted, Avi." a young warrior assured.


Avi came with her spear and glared at us.


" They're in cahoots with the traitor, and I bet they're also in cahoots with Jack the Ripper. Who else could plan such a murder to our dear friend?"


Jack the Ripper killed Callidusia? Now, the hag was asking for it. Mariah looked down at an arrow lying on the ground, picked it up, and before I knew it, Avi fainted from the sharp slash.


" Go on! You're running out of time!" Mariah cried out.


As we ran away, the rushing of feet came quickly; both Jack and the Malions.


Noah saw a taser on the ground with the initial D on it. D? That had to mean Duncan, unless DJ's gone bad.


" I'll be right back." he said with his teeth fiercely gritted together.


I latched onto his wrist and shook my head.


" You're not going there all by yourself. He'll most likely kill you."


" Well, what choice do we have? If we both try to kill him together, then the Malions will kill us for him. You're strong enough to hold them off with your charm, and I'll be able to prove to my friends that I do care."


We stared at each other for a moment, and then I just pecked his cheek and said,


" Good luck, Noah."


As he disappeared in the morning mist, I took my shirt off to make the ladies dote and fawn. It worked, but Avi's sister, Lace, wasn't impressed.


" Why should I be attracted to someone who's in cahoots with the traitor that killed my sister?"


" Cause I had nothing to do with it. Mariah's also innocent, so just let her go."


She lowered her eyes and growled at me. Soon, the ladies snapped out of it and proceeded with the revolution.


I only succeeded in killing two warriors, but the rest were a lot stronger. One shot an arrow toward my leg and I collapsed from the stinging pain. They surrounded me and aimed their arrows at me. I closed my eyes and accepted fate, but then something happened. One fell dead, and then another, and another, and before everything ended for me, they all fell dead.


Mariah then appeared with her old warrior paint on her face and held a plate from the deceased warriors' last feast.


" I don't just use hydrageas for conscience juice, Alejandro."


I laughed with joy. Now I can accompany Noah on his fight.


Alas, my happiness was short-lived once I heard a familiar scream.


Noah's POV


As I climbed up the caverns with the taser in my hand and some of the leftover arrows those Titans dropped, the dark, ominous entrance was present. I took a breath and said,


" Get ready to hit the road to hell, Jack."


Soon, I saw the gang tied up in rope and tape over their mouths with rejoicing faces. I took an arrowhead and started cutting the rope gently. One injury and everything would be ruined. Yet, when I heard Jack's feet, I sped things up and they ran away.


Jack didn't say a thing as usual, but rubbed his snow white beard and grabbed his knife. I stood with my weapons and was ready to fight.


The gang ducked in the forest and watched anxiously for the fight to begin.


He slashed his knife towards me, but I quickly dodged and shot the first arrow. It got him, but not even his ectoplasmic blood oozing out of his neck made him weak.


It continued on like that, but soon when I was down to two arrows and only cut three times out of 15, he had enough. Since he was a phantom, he also had the power of the supernatural. His eyes glowed with beaming light and then it felt like a billion watts of electricity was flowing in my veins.


I let out a cry of pain from the electrocution. Soon when he was done, I fell to the ground unconscious and that's when he began butchering.

Chapter 11: Those Small Moments

Alejandro's POV


When I saw Noah being carved like a Christmas ham by that uncaring phantom, I was frozen with fear.


Never the less, I took one of the arrows and shot him. While he fell weak, I threw his knife into Ballist River.


While he was trying to find his treasure and when the gang fleed away durring the electrocuting, I knelt to the ground and started sheding tears. Noah, my one and only, was covered in his rich sanguine fluid and possibly dying. When he woke up, all he did was grasp my hand. I ran through his hair and said,


" Noah, please say something. Anything that comes to mind, say it. Just don't say goodbye."


He shakingly decreased the distance between our heads, touched my forehead with his, and said,


" Goodbye."


I then finally broke down once the worst befell on poor Noah. When Jack came back, I muttered at him,


" You evil, evil, heartless soul. Why couldn't you let my love last instead of destroying it?"


At first, he didn't say a word. He just chuckled and, for the first time, said in a high-pitched cracking voice,


" He would've left the world anyway."


At that point, a flame of fury emerged out of myself. I grabbed the taser Noah loosened and turned the power to deadly. Once I was halfway through, the killer finally began to melt into the green, tacky substance his blood was. At last, after all this time, Jack the Ripper was no more as his melted state washed away into the river.


Even though I should've felt happy and alive, instead, turning back to Noah's defunct, bloody body, I was comepletly shattered, and I wasn't the only one.


When the gang came back, they gasped at the taser being covered in ectoplasim. Duncan picked it up and laughed,


" Well, whataya know? Alejandro actually beat the heck out of that old hag. Hey Princess, check it out, the sissy actually has strength. Princess? Courtney? Hello, is anybody---?"


He didn't finish once he saw her gazing at me weeping on Noah's shoulder. Soon, everyone noticed and bowed their heads in respect; I think a few even cried a little. When I started stroking through his hair again, I winced out softly,


" I love you."


Noah's POV


I didn't really die, but somehow, the conscience juice took to the next step.


I ended up in a dark room with no one but myself.


In the blink of an eye, a colossal ray of light appeared and my conscience was before me; only this time, with wings.


" Who are you? Tinkebell's gothic sister?" I asked with a little chuckle.


She smiled at me dryly and then flew above me.


" I am not just your conscience, Noah. I am also the Angel of Death. You can call me AD if you like. Anyway, I bet on the outside you look dead, right? Wrong! Since the juice gave me the ability to be real, I can give you a second chance, if you want that chance."


I just nodded and let out a few shaky breaths.


Suddenly, a huge portal screen appeared and it showed Alejandro weeping miserably over my "lifeless" body and everyone bowing their heads and wiping away their cascades of tears.


Wow, I thought, they really do care about me.


Yet, the only one I was focused on was Alejandro. His weeping and crying was just so heart-breaking. But what he whispered to me finally fragmented my strength.


" I love you." he said sorrowfully.


I fell to my knees and said to the screen,


" Alejandro! I'm not dead! I'm not dead..."


I wish he heard me.


As I started crying, my heart started beating at an alarming rate. My love thinks I'm dead and I couldn't do anything about it. As my cries gradually subsided, I said,


" I love you, Alejandro."


AD stood behind me, patted my shoulder and back, and said,


" I think you're getting your second chance."


With the snap of her fingers, my eyes opened and saw Alejandro's mourning and still holding my hand. I closed my eyes again and grasped back. He wiped away his tears and gasped.


" Noah...?"


I reopened my eyes and said,


" I love you, too."


Everyone cheered. Life was restored again. Embracing Alejandro again made my smile return. Mariah then appeared and said,


" You have accomplished all 3 tasks, saved your friends, and learned about how love can change you forever. You are free to go home."


" Only one problem: how do we get home?" Cody pointed out.


Then, Izzy's face lit up. That usually meant either she had an idea or she's watching a horror movie parody. She rounded up the gang and said,


" Okay, I need two shovels, tree bark, some seaweed, and cloth."


Somehow, the way she used those materials to rebuild our ship was still amazing.


As we sailed away, I just stared at the sky and sighed in relief. All this time, I thought emotions were stupid and illogical and that I'd never fall in love, but now it only took those small moments to find love.


Soon, Alejandro accompanied me on the bench and smiled.


" So, I guess this means we're together?"


" You guessed correctly, mi amante." he cooed in a very loving Spanish voice.


I then turned to him and joked,


" Y'know, you're still an eel, sometimes."


" I may be, but at least I'm your eel."


Then we pressed our lips against each other's while the last sunset of May painted the sea.

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