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          Alex froze when the thumps coming from the other solitary spelled the horrible message. 

'What makes you think I'm Zee?' 

          Alex yelped and dropped the grate, scrambling backwards in the absolute darkness until he felt the comforting presence of the walls.  No. The thought raced in his mind as the terrible realization fell. Zee. 
          He choked on a sob, a filthy hand cupping his mouth. What's the use? No one can hear me anyway. But the boy was in shock, no controversial thoughts would make him put that hand away. Alex could hear his heart failing him. It felt like a dead weight in his chest, even if it still beat slowly. His fragile skin was suddenly damp, and he realized he was crying. Crying, somehow, filled the void he felt in his soul. Zee was gone. And there was nothing he could do about it.
          No thoughts of Simon could cheer him up now. Nothing could, in fact. He had lost his two best friends to this place, this place beneath Hell, this place that even the devil was afraid to enter!
          It was only when he heard a faint echo on the dark walls of the solitary that he realized he had screamed that. His throat ached, and his eyes, that were used to not seeing a thing, were filled with tears. His shoulders jumped as he hiccuped, hugging his knees tight. He felt lost. For the first time, Alex Sawyer didn't have the strength to go on anymore. He choked on his tears, swallowing shakily. Why did it matter now? He had no one to escape with, and even if Simon came back for him, would he make it outside? Would he find the strength to go on leaving behind Donovan and Zee? He didn't think so.
         Moving his arms to the side as he wiped shakily his tears, he felt the familiar sensation of a cold metal. The scalpel. Alex turned to look at it, even if he couldn't really see. An idea that seemed so absurd before, of cutting his wrists to escape the hell of existing didn't seem so absurd now. His ears were buzzing and his head spinning, a storm inside that screamed 'Don't do it' but also urged him on. There was nothing left to live for anyway. 
He picked the scalpel up.
         He couldn't see in that maddening dark but he guessed it'd hurt more if he saw what he had done. The first cut made him shout, in pain and tears be spilled. It was like an infinite line of thin needles being inserted into your wrist at the same time, by unexperienced nurses. It stung more than it hurt, but it was still bad. He could feel a warm flow down his arm, soaking his worn-out Furnace uniform. His hand shook. 
        "Alex." A known voice whispered from the darkness. Alex turned desperately to see the owner, to see him. He couldn't in the start, because it was just a dim light in the corner of that hole. He swallowed hard, putting the scalpel in the shaky hand. The light became stronger as he did so. 
        "You dumbass." The voice said now, calmer, clearer, the light taking form of a strong dark-skinned boy, with short cornrow braids. Alex couldn't help himself but laugh, in extreme relief. Or maybe extreme madness. But just that presence, his presence made everything better. "Escaping like this? I thought you were better than that, Sawyer."
        "I knew you'd come for me." Alex whispered, feeling every time more tired and weak, limbs becoming jelly as the warm flow of his wrist was unstopping. "I knew you would."
        Donovan -the hallucination; or perhaps the ghost?- smiled softly and crouched by Alex. Just seeing his features once again, like this, normal, not like a monster, was a relief for Alex. The blonde shakily brought the unharmed hand up and caressed his cheek - oh. Oh. He could feel him. He could feel his warm skin once more. Alex gasp, unable to believe it, as the older boy just smiled.
       "I can touch you again! I can...." Alex's voice was just a wheeze now, his frantic struggle to speak loud going in vain. Donovan laughed quietly and put a hand up, caressing Alex's cheek. 
       "I can touch you too." The dark-skinned boy said, the smile on his lips gentle. He leaned and kissed Alex's forehead. "Although I imagined it would take few more years. I was rooting for you Alex. Zee was also rooting--"
       "They took Zee." Alex choked out, hand sliding from Donovan's face. Donovan stopped smiling, eyes displaying concern.
       "I see. I'm sorry kid." He said softly, hand still caressing Alex's face. Alex leaned into the touch desperately, starved for affection ever since they took him away in the Penitenciary. "But you're dying now. It will all be better." He reassured, smiling once again. 
       Alex smiled too, and took the shaky hand to the other arm. One quick movement, that hurt on both arms, and it was done, both wrists bleeding out. Alex gritted his teeth through the pain, the tears slipping from his shut eyes easily. Donovan wiped them away gently. The younger boy felt weaker and weaker, the hole, instead of darker, was receiving light. So much light that he needed. And most of it came from behind Donovan, who smiled at him. 
       "I'm here with you. And I'll be here to guide you. Let go, idiot." He coaxed softly, with a friendly smile. "Let go, Alex." 
And Alex did. He let it go completely feeling a dead weight leave his shoulders. Suddenly, he opened his eyes and everything was still the same, but his arms didn't hurt nor his hand was shaky. He gazed at them and saw them with light as well. He eyed Donovan, surprised, but the other boy just grinned.
       "Welcome to death." He said rather cheerfully as he stood up and offered a hand. Alex took it, tentatively, and stood. Being with Donovan eased away all his worries. He smiled at him. 
        "What now?" Alex asked, a bit unsure. Was it possible to leave Furnace, even dead?
        "Now" Said Donovan, getting close to him, two fingers seizing the blonde's chin to tip it up. "I can kiss you again." He smirked and in a second their lips were together again, Alex relaxing and drinking all he could from it, touch-starved he was. It wasn't a deep kiss, only a soft, sweet one, like the ones Donovan gave him in their cell at night, just a long meeting of lips, both barely moving.
        It lasted little, which made Alex whine, but Donovan snickered and slapped the back of his neck.
       "Don't be such a wuss. Come on." He offered the hand again as Alex rubbed his neck. The petite boy took his hand without a second thought and Donovan grinned.
       "Let's get the hell out of here."