Note: This story is not going to be in perfect chronological order, and it will come up soon how Brandon originally became addicted to heroin. For this story, Brandon is sixteen and it's 1993/94-ish when it starts. Heroin use nearly tripled from the early to mid-90s, with the rise of it's popularity around that

Fallon was starting to feel tired. It was one in the morning. She looked at the kid who'd identified himself at some point as Brandon. He must have been so much more sleepy than she was now the heroin was finally wearing off.

It had been a few hours since she'd approached him, but Fallon didn't regret it yet. She felt ill, although that was probably from the taste of fingernail in her mouth. She couldn't stop biting them. It wasn't something she normally did, but when a person is overly shaky, anybody would have done the same thing.

It was so weird watching him on his buzz. Fallon was completely sober, like she always was. She'd never been around somebody while they were on anything much harder than alcohol.

They couldn't stay in such an open area with Brandon on such a rush. He could carry on a conversation, but he was nodding out occasionally and was obviously experiencing everything like a really good dream that made your stomach turn, but it felt good. Like a roller coaster.

They had left the concert and headed out to an empty, dark and dimly lit park a few blocks down from the venue. Holding his back to make sure he didn't fall over into a momentary sleep, Fallon still had no idea what to say. After they'd sat together in the bar as long as they had, she had no idea what they'd talked about anymore. They walked slowly and quietly the entire time.

Sitting down at an ivygrown park bench and sitting Brandon next to her, Fallon asked, "How come you were all alone in there?"

Yawning, Brandon smiled. "I've got nobody to shoot up with. And it's dangerous alone."

"Yeah, but it's real safe in groups." She remarked sarcastically, making herself comfortable on the bench by tucking her knees in front of her.

"It's safer." Brandon snorted, offended by her attitude. The rush was wearing off, and all the pain and all the shit was returning to his brain.

He already wanted more. He didn't feel liked he needed it yet, there was no withdrawal yet... but all the reality came swimming back into him.

"What's so bad in your life that you need to shoot up alone anyway?" Fallon questioned.

"Everything. Nothing." Rubbing his forehead as hard as could, Brandon tried to figure it out himself. "Everything hurts compared to when nothing does."

Rubbing his nose and breathing at a regular pace again, Brandon almost wanted to break down. Just as it felt like the smack had worn off, it wore off more and the pain got worse. "My turn to ask questions. How come you sat there with me at the concert and dragged me out here?"

Fallon exhaled. "Because you were being stupid. Smart people die in the corner of bars by acting stupid."

"You know, it was nice of you and all... But I'm not quitting. So if you're on some sort of church mission, you can put the check on your sheet of paper and get out of here."

"Organized religion is a scam." Fallon could tell looking at Brandon how much more real he had suddenly become in the few previous minutes. His eyes looked more natural, and so much more wounded and honest. "Anyway, I've got this think called a conscience. Believe me, if you hadn't already taken it I'd have chewed you out. But you looked so blissfully ignorant... So much like my brother used to look every time he took a hit."

"Did he quit?"

"He always said he was going to." Fallon almost laughed at the memory, but she felt more pain than humor. "But it killed him first. He overdosed on coke two years ago."

"Sorry about that..."

Fallon nodded, "He did it to himself though. He never did it around me. He told me about it, but I thought he was kidding around... When he died, that's when I decided to became straight edge... He killed himself, but he saved me, y'know?"

Brandon shook his head. "But smack isn't going to kill me. I can handle it. I can handle myself..."

Fallon almost laughed but her words can out angry, "Can you? God, I just spent my night making sure nothing happened to you, a completely fuckin' stranger, and you're going to tell me you can handle it? You could have gotten in a car. You could have overdosed. You think anybody is gonna notice or care next time?"

Brandon sighed, "Maybe I don't want anybody to come over and use me to pretend their brother is still alive. I don't even do coke. Find another charity case. I like the way it makes me feel. So leave me the fuck alone..."

Trying to calm herself, but unable to do so and still flaming with anger, Fallon stood up from her seated position and grabbed the side of the bench. "What, you think you're the only one who likes to feel good? Fuck that. You just can't admit you're killing yourself."

Brandon realized then that the smack had completely worn off. He was on his own again, completely. "Stop hounding me. You've got your way of life, let me have mine."

Fallon raised an eyebrow, her anger fading. "You sure that's what you want?"

Nodding, Brandon stood up with Fallon. Yanking back his right foot, he slammed it, from the bottom, right into the old metal holds of the bench. "I said I want you to let me live."

"Am I supposed to let you die, then?" Fallon asked, trying to tug at any part of Brandon that might have wanted to kick the habit.

"I'm not gonna die. If I do, that's my fuckin' business. It was real nice of you to help me out tonight, but I don't want to listen to you preach. I don't want to hear you make me feel bad 'cause your brother couldn't handle himself. You could get the fuck out of here. I can drive now. I am fine."

Fallon angrily turned around and had to hold her words under her tongue so she wasn't horrifically rude, "When I read about you in the paper, I'm remember you said that." Fallon didn't want to, but she stormed off, leaving Brandon alone and sober in the middle of an empty park.