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"Just Friends"


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[b][OOC: When I was in the first nation I ran, the Greater Timuridian Empire, I began writing an RP called [url=http://forums.cybernations.net/index.php?showtopic=100145&st=0&p=2672295&fromsearch=1&#entry2672295]"Just Friends"[/url], which I unfortunately never finished. Due to recent events and the possibility that I might use a character or two involved, I decided to resurrect it. Instead of gravedigging an old thread, I'm going to restart the thread as a new one. So here begins the final conclusion to "Just Friends"...][/b]

[b]Fourteen Years Ago
Kemble Street, London[/b]

Ishmael Dawkins looked at the ceiling of his loft apartment, a cozy four-room affair that sat above Kemble Street near the university. His thoughts had been racing since noon, since having ten minutes of coffee, and ten minutes of time to speak with a young woman that he had taken to. His mind had wandered very much since that coffee date, his one afternoon lecture had basically been one slow dream, he didn't remember any of it. It was all a slow blur, his eyes may have been following the movements of the professor as they paced back and forth in front of the blackboard, but his mind had been up in the clouds. His mind had gone over probably at least one hundred different scenarios since he had left class that afternoon alone, most of them ending with Robyn not accepting his invitation to dinner.

The invitation he had alluded to, was the Timuridian Republic Embassy dinner, of course he had not spilled that to Robyn, he didn't want to scare her off like he had some other girls. Although he was the son of a president, indeed, that automatically did not make him popular, one, because very few people actually knew about it, two, because he always seemed to fumble the timing of such news. His two previous interests had both been scared off by his revealing of this fact, one that was a well-kept secret, but he had revealed it to them too late, that they felt betrayed by him keeping the secret for too long, and that he preferred girls that had much more simple lives. They had two parents who were both working class, and such grandeur scared them upon learning about it in both cases.

He wasn't even sure why he had even had the courage to ask Robyn on such a date. He didn't even know her before he had bumped into her and spilled her papers everywhere, just something inside him made him want to get to know her. And with the date of the state dinner at the embassy looming, and his lacking of a date, probably contributed to his sudden burst of courage, well, maybe not courage, maybe [i]desperate forward invitation[/i], would be a better way to describe his actions. He had muddled over the possibility of her turning him down so many times, that he had become anxious for the clock to read nineteen-hundred hours. He had decided that he would call her then, so as not to interrupt her dinner, but maybe catch her before she began studying for the evening.

When the clocked ticked to nineteen hundred, he sat up, and slowly reached over and grabbed the cordless phone, and picked up the torn shred of paper that contained her crisp writing. He slowly dialed the numbers, making sure he dialed it correctly. The phone slowly rang, each ring tone seeming to take minutes before it rang again. He clenched the shred of paper in his hand, and it crumpled in his fist, which was balled up in anxiety. The sound of a phone being picked up on the other end ended his reverie, and a voice on the other end of the phone spoke, which didn't sound like Robyn, but it was another girl, "Hello?"

"Uhm, yes," stuttered Ishmael, before catching himself, and clearing his throat, "I'm uh, looking for Robyn Barker?"

"Oh, you must be Ishmael," said the voice on the other end, and he could hear a giggle being suppressed, he went crimson again, and his thoughts of Robyn strayed towards hanging up on this phone call. But not because he was embarrassed by this girl on the other end of the line, but because he wanted to call his mother and demand to know [i]why[/i] he was named [i]Ishmael[/i]. "Robyn is right here."

Ishmael heard the phone being shifted around, and the soft voice of the young woman who had taken his invitation to coffee filled the receiver, "Hello [i]Ishmael[/i]."

His face got ever more crimson, "Hello Robyn. I was uh, wondering, if you had thought about my invitation to dinner?" He wondered, at the few moments of silence on the other end, that this whole thing had been a tease, Robyn had just wanted a free coffee off him, and he was completely wasting his time, barking up the wrong tree.

Her voice seemed to get nervous, something he had yet to hear from her, although he had only known her for maybe twenty minutes of actual time, "I have thought about it."

The pause before her response elicited one from Ishmael, thinking that the line had gone dead after almost ten seconds of silence, "I am sorry, I uh, shouldn't have asked, you're probably right, it was a little forw-."

"No no no, its alright, I have a proposition for you, [i]Ishmael[/i]," she said, cutting him off, her voice more confident. "You say you're a good poker player, I'm not too shabby at card myself, if you can go for nine hands, and win the majority of them, you can take me to dinner."

"And if," he started, nervously, before taking a breath and continuing, "And if you win?"

"Then I get to decide whether I go or not, Mr. Dawkins," she responded.

"Sounds like I got a fair chance either way," he replied, feeling a little more confident now that she had brought cards into the mix.

"Even if you do win though, I still can choose to not show up," she shot back, in the same confident manner, albeit sounding playful.

"When are you free to play this game of high stakes?" he asked, feeling more comfortable talking to her.

"Tomorrow night, twenty-hundred, my place, I live at twelve, Elvaston Place," she responded quickly.

"I'll be there."

"Better bring your A-Game, [i]Sham[/i]."

"I will."

Edited by TheShammySocialist
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[b]Timuridian National Military Hospital
2103 Hours, Local Time[/b]

"I didn't know the Amir made house calls," croaked out Robyn Barker, forcing a weak smile, as Sham Timur sat down next to the bed, wearing a face mask and scrubs.

"I'd rather be catching up with an old friend, then be getting my ear talked off by big time oil executives," responded Sham, his voice muffled behind the mask.

"How did you know?"

"I'm the leader of a country, I think I would know when an anthrax attack occurs."

"How did you know it was me?"

"How many Robyn Barkers are out there that specialize in bioweapons defense?" responded Sham.

"You didn't have to come."

"But I did."

"Yes you did," she replied, her eyes looking at him sadly. "How long?"

"The doctors are doing everything-."

"Sham," Robyn cut in, repeating her question. "How long?"

He sighed, looking at her, "Two days."

She swallowed heavily, and noting the suit underneath the scrubs with a weak smile, "Look at you, just as well-dressed as you usually were."

"Some things never change."

"No they don't. You shouldn't have to be here, Sham, you got a country to run," replied Robyn, looking at him.

"I have an old friend to watch over."

"You shouldn't have to watch this."

"Yes, I do."

"You weren't the one that walked out on what we had," she replied, her eyes were glistening a little, and he saw a soft tear run down her cheek, as she looked at him sadly.

"I'm still here aren't I?"

"You never came looking for me."

"Its what you wanted," he said, looking at her seriously. "You didn't want to continue what we had, you made that decision, I respected it. That being said, I'm not leaving [i]you[/i], here, and now."

"There was a lot more to it then that," she croaked, quietly, a few more tears running down her cheeks as she looked up at him.

His hand reached for hers, and he looked at her, before saying in an even voice, "Tell me."

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[b]Fourteen Years Previous
12 Elvaston Place

Either it was just not Ishmael's night, Robyn's roommate had stacked the deck in the former's favor, or he was just plain distracted. He was now down by a hand, Robyn had managed to win four out of their seven, and either he had to win this next round, or he'd be probably going to the state dinner alone. Robyn had been pleasant enough, playfully teasing him when he lost a hand, and bemoaning his luck equally playful when he won a hand. Robyn's roommate, a freckled, flaming red-headed Londoner by the name of Annie, whom he had spoken to on the phone the night before, was dealing for them, and she did so with an even mood, much different from the giggly facade he had heard the night before.

He looked down at the cards he had in the hand in front of him now, he had managed to sweep up two jacks, one from hearts, the other of diamonds, but the rest of his hand was trash, a six of clubs, a two of diamonds, and a nine of spades. He looked up at Robyn, who had been studying his face for the entire hand, she had a look in her eyes that glinted, it was almost predatory. It was rather unsettling to Ishmael as he took the three cards out of his hand, and put them down, and slid them over to Annie. He returned Robyn's look with a stoic face, she just smiled as she slid two cards to Annie. Annie quietly slipped the cards to them, the rustling of the cards the only sound in the room, except for the sounds of London drifting in through the open portico door.

Ishmael picked up the three cards one by one, the first two he picked up did nothing for him, the eight of clubs, and king of diamonds. However, when he picked up the third card, he found himself staring at the jack of clubs, and he sighed inwardly. He looked across at Robyn again, giving her an even look, as she looked at him, he said, "Call."

"Pair of kings," said Robyn, as she set her cards down, she had been close to a straight, which would have easily destroyed the trio of jacks Ishmael now held. "Let's see what you got, [i]Sham[/i]."

"Trio of jacks," he said, with a small smile, as he set down his cards, looking across at her.

"Dead heat, ladies and gentlemen," said Annie, to the imaginary crowd, as she gathered up the cards and began shuffling them.

"Final hand, give me something good, darling," said Robyn, smiling at Annie, and looking over at Sham with a grin. She picked up the bottle of lager next to her, and took a sip from it, and giving Sham an almost predatory stare. Of course she had learned over the course of the game why Sham had earned that very nickname, his poker face had yet to be cracked.

As Annie finished sliding out the five cards to both adversaries, she smiled evenly, and sat back in her chair to watch the final hand be played out before her. Sham picked up his cards one by one, getting a pair of twos, one of clubs, one of spades, the ace of spades, the five of diamonds, and the jack of clubs. Not the best of positions, he had a pair, but most of their hands had been decided by pairs, all of them higher then a pair of twos. Only one hand had been determined by a solitary high-card, he looked at his cards, not breaking his face, and handing over four cards to Annie, leaving him with only the ace of spades. He was taking a chance by doing this, and Robyn smiled at him, as she slid over three cards to be exchanged. Annie dealt out four cards to Sham, and three to Robyn, and they both picked them up one by one, Robyn just grinning widely.

Sham didn't like his newer options either, he had gained two fives, of clubs and diamonds, plus the king of diamonds, and the two of diamonds. He looked up at Robyn, looking at him, she nodded, "Call."

"Two fives."

Robyn just grinned at him, as she laid down three cards in succession, the queen of spades, the queen of clubs, and then setting down the queen of hearts, slowly looking at Sham.

"I should get in on your little card groups' games, I might be able to win some rent money," she said, triumphantly looking at Sham, as Annie collected the cards, and excused herself to tend to some dishes in the sink.

"So, I guess the ball is in your court, Miss Barker," said Ishmael, looking at her with a warm smile, as she stood up, grabbing her bottle of lager, and walking out onto the portico. Sham took this as a signal to follow her to the privacy of the porch, away from the roving ears of Annie, who had been looking at them with a grin on her face.

They stood on the portico overlooking Elvaston Place, not speaking for at least a full minute before she turned to him, "Why do you [i]really[/i] want to take me out to dinner, Sham?"

He gulped, here is where he faltered; providing explanations, "It was a shot in the dark I guess, that and my culture dictates you-."

She gave him a look, and interrupted him, "What is the [i]real[/i] reason."

Sham just looked at her, "You're a beautiful girl... and you're a pistol, you're smart. What else would a I want?"

"So I'm a pretty face, I tickle your fancy by livening up your life with wisecracks, and you think I might do your homework for you," she said, with a grin, as she sipped her lager slowly.

"Well, no, I mean-," he started, seeing the look she gave him, before realizing that she was jostling him again.

"I also have a formal function to go to, and I would be honored to have you go as my date for the evening."

"Ah, so the [i]real[/i] reason finally comes out."

"That isn't the real reason," he said, firmly, looking her in the eye.

She stared back at him for a moment, and sighing softly, "You're an interesting guy, Sham, and I appreciate your honesty with me. One date with you couldn't hurt, could it?"

"Unless I bore you to death."

"Ah, a little bit of a crack in that stalwart self-confidence, I see," she giggled, before continuing, "No, I doubt that. When is this dinner?"

"Next Saturday, nineteen-hundred hours, I can pick you up here about thirty minutes earlier."

"Sounds like a plan, Sham."

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Elvaston Place

The Rolls Royce Phantom slowly pulled up to 12 Elvaston Place a week after a lost card game had still left Ishmael Dawkins feeling like he had won every hand that night. The luxury cars' engine purred as it pulled up to the curb, and a doorman, sitting in the front passenger seat, got out quickly. He would quickly open the rear door for Ishmael Dawkins, dressed in a suit, his hair slick with gel, his well-kept dress shoes reflecting the dimming light in the stratos above. He slowly adjusted his suit jacket, before nervously ascending the stairs to the front of the apartment building, and ringing the small bell to Robyn's apartment, hearing the buzzer ring somewhere above.

Like earlier that week, Ishmael had a flutter in his stomach, wondering if this was all one big joke, that Robyn was leading him on to torment him for wronging her not so long ago. Maybe she would not answer the bell, or maybe she would, but apologize after second thoughts. He rocked back on his heels nervously, looking up and down the street. He would whirl his head around quickly when he heard the lock click on the door, and his breath seemed to stop. Miss Robyn Barker had opted to stick to her word, and seemed to nervously peek out of the door, like a young bird peeking out of the nest for the first time before flight. She was wearing a light powder-blue dress that accentuated her curves, the hem of the dress was conservative but not overly so, stopping just above her knees.

"Sorry for the wait," she said, very quietly, as she slowly walked out to meet Sham with a nervous but warm smile.

Sham was awestruck, and stuttered out a reply, "Its uh, its no problem, Robyn." He waved his hand to accentuate his quick comment, gently offering his hand to her gloved hand, which she took, continuing to smile at him.

"I didn't know you owned a Rolls," she said, with a cocked eyebrow, turning her attention to their mode of transportation.

"Well, I don't, its a, uh, its a car provided by the embassy," he said, looking at her, and nodding.

"You're taking me to a embassy function?" she said, turning back to him, looking at him incredulously.

"I'm sorry, I [i]did[/i] say it was a formal function," he said, with a reassuring smile.

"Yes, but really Sham? There's formal functions, and then there is, well, [i]formal[/i] functions."

"If anything, Robyn, you'll be just as nervous as me," he said, with a shrug and a reassuring face.

She looked at him for a moment, "You are full of surprises, [i]Ishmael[/i] Dawkins."

He blushed at her using his full name again, and then said, while offering his hand again, "Well, shall we?"

"We shall," she nodded, wrapping her gloved hand around his arm, and walking with him to the car.

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  • 2 weeks later...

[b]Timuridian National Military Hospital
1139 Hours, Local Time
Day Two[/b]

"I was surprised when I found out who you were," croaked out Robyn, recalling the night so long ago.

"I know," replied Sham, still holding her hand after they recounted that night. "I still feel bad not telling you earlier, before we went, none of my friends knew who I was."

"It was a pleasant surprise," she responded, with a weak smile as she looked up at him. "You do know you would have had an easier time with women if everyone [i]did[/i] know when you were at school."

"It was for my protection, but-," he started, looking at her with his soft blue eyes. "But if people did know, who could I trust to be a genuine friend?"

"Which is why I understand why you didn't tell me before we got there, or later on I did," she nodded, her voice a weak croak. "Looking back at it all, I guess you could say I was flattered that you liked me, you could have had anyone, but you went after a nerdy bookworm."

"A beautiful nerdy bookworm," he added, his face creasing into a smile under the mask. "That was a smartass on top of it all."

"I can't help it," she responded in a whisper, her face cracking into a weak smile.

"My grandfather spoke of you often," replied Sham, "I think he took a liking to you that night, he was happy to see his grandson enjoying himself."

Robyn remained quiet, as she looked at him, her breathing was slightly labored, the anthrax was attacking her lungs, and she just managed a weak smile as she looked at him. Reaching up to weakly touch his face with the palm of her hands, continuing to beam at him. A new flow of tears emerged from the corners of her eyes as he mentioned his grandfather, Sham reached down to dab at the tears with a handkerchief as she wept quietly.

"I did not expect what happened after the embassy though," he said, his voice barely above a whisper, recalling a certain set of events to transpire at his own apartment later that evening.

"I don't think either of us did," croaked Robyn in response, tears continuing to stream out of her eyes.

Sham dutifully continued to dab at the tears with a handkerchief, as she shook her head, "I don't regret what happened, nor should you."

"I don't regret what happened at all, the next three months were some of the best moments of my life, before, during, and since," replied Sham, smiling sadly as he took her hand gently. He sighed quietly, and looked at her, putting forth a statement he had wanted to do for fourteen years, "I want to know why."

"You deserve to know, its something that never sat well with me since it happened," she croaked, the tears flowing more freely now, her emotions pent up.

"Why did you not tell me then?"

"Because I swore not to tell you, it broke my heart, but I couldn't, I made a promise, and I can't break a promise. But now, you deserve to know now, we felt it couldn't be said then."


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[b]Elvaston Place

The buzzer ringing downstairs had come at a bad time, Robyn Barker was trying to frantically wash her mouth out, she had spent the better part of the last five minutes bent over the toilet. She was feeling light-headed and miserable that morning, despite it being a Sunday morning, she had not even gone out the night previous with Sham, she had spent a quiet evening watching television with him, before he went to continue writing a challenging essay for his economics class. As she dabbed the corners of her mouth with a towel, she quickly made her way over to the buzzer-receiving microphone on her apartment wall. Her roommate, Annie, was out of town for the weekend, and she wasn't expecting any visitors, but nonetheless, she answered the buzzer.

"Who is it?" asked Robyn, looking at her disheveled appearance in a nearby mirror, hoping this call would be a delivery of some sort.

"Khalil Timur," came the response, causing Robyn to gasp slightly. He continued, "I would like to speak with you, Miss Barker."

Robyn thought for a moment, before responding, "Give me a second, Mr. Timur."

She hit the door-release mechanism, throwing on a bathrobe quickly over her pajamas, and taking a sip of her tea she had been nursing over the last hour, hoping that the tea would help her stomach stabilize itself. She quickly tried to brush out her hair, before bunching it up into a ponytail, as a knock came at the door. She walked to the door, looking through the peephole, and sure enough, the former Amir of Timuridia stood outside, along with what looked like an aide. She cleared her throat, before opening the door with a pleasant and questioning smile, "Good morning, Mr. Timur."

He nodded, "Good morning, Miss Barker, if I may, I would like to talk to you," responded the older gentlemen, his soft eyes affixing her with a gaze that was slightly unnerving.

"Is this about Sham? Is he okay? Did something happen?" she quickly fired off, looking a little worried before he held up his hand and shook it side to side.

"No no no, my dear, nothing like that, may I come in?" he asked.

She nodded, not saying anything, opening the door wider, allowing Khalil to enter the room, he had motioned for his aide to stay outside, and she watched him as he stepped inside and looked around. She quietly closed the door, and turned to the former monarch, and said quietly, "I apologize that my apartment is a mess."

"It has the quality of looking like its lived in," nodded Khalil, politely, his attitude seemingly uncaring about the appearance of their meeting venue.

"Would you like some tea?"

"Very much so," he replied.

Robyn scurried to the kitchenette and began pouring a cup of tea for the older man, quickly settling a teabag in the cup, she shakily brought the tea out to him. While she was in the kitchenette, Khalil had made himself comfortable in an easy chair in the living room. He settled into the chair, and nodded thankfully as Robyn handed him the cup of tea, before she retrieved her own cup, and nervously settled herself into a chair across from him.

"I apologize, I know my appearance might seem strange on a Sunday, or even at all," nodded Khalil, apologetically, as he sipped the tea slowly.

"Its not a problem, Mr. Timur," said Robyn, waving off his apologies politely, though still nervous as to why Sham's grandfather had come here.

"How are you and Ishmael doing?" asked Khalil, as he settled his teacup in his lap, and looked down at the contents.

"We have a close relationship, I think he enjoys the companionship, he seemed rather, well, rather lonely when I first met him," said Robyn, hesitant to talk to much about their relationship.

"Quite, Ishmael seemed to be struggling with outcast-type mentality, that is until you came along," smiled Khalil, thoughtfully, his eyes not on his.

"It might not be any of my business, Mr. Timur-," started Robyn.

"Please, Robyn, call me Khalil," nodded Khalil, interrupting her politely.

"Well, it might not be any of my business, [i]Khalil[/i], but I'm not sure where this conversation is going," said Robyn, correcting herself.

"I think you know why I came here," said Khalil, affixing her with a stare that was a harder then the soft looks he had been giving her earlier.

"I do not."

"I know why you are sick in the mornings, why you seem to be eating more..." started Khalil, watching her face begin to turn slightly crimson.

"I don't know what you're talking abou-," started Robyn, her voice cracking when he held up his hand.

"You have nothing to apologize for, Miss Barker, you do not have to hide what is happening, I [i]know[/i] about it."

"How?" she whispered slightly.

"I may not lead the Timuridian Republic anymore, but I still have access to its intelligence service," he said, quietly.

Robyn started to stand up, "You were spying on me!?" She stopped when he held up his hand, and she sat back in her seat.

"It is only for Sham's protection, and your own, but I put two and two together when you visited that clinic," said Khalil, looking apologetic at her. He looked at her hard again, "Have you told him yet?"

Her voice was barely audible, as she whispered out, "No."

"Are you going to keep it?" asked Khalil, his voice lowering to a whisper as well.

"I planned on it."

"I need you to make me a promise," he said, very quietly, as if someone could hear them. When she didn't respond, only looked at him, he continued, "Sham cannot know, if you want to have this child, you need to leave his side."

"What!?" she exclaimed.

"Robyn, my grandson is going places, I might need him for something that is very important to my country, his country, his father, his rule is corrupt, he won't last, and it is going to tear the country to pieces. If I do not find a way to get Sham into power in the Timuridian Republic, my country will collapse. If you have this child, he will not want to leave your side, you are going one direction, he is going another. What could come of his service to his country and his people will exceed even personal connections, me, his parents, his friends..."

"His significant other," breathed out Robyn.

Khalil just nodded, "Miss Barker, he is the son of Amirs, the ancestor of Tamerlane, his people will need him soon."

"If I do this, I'll break his heart."

"You'll harden him for the task that will come, this issue is above your relationship, it is above everything in his life right now."

"You're asking me to break his heart."

"I'm asking you to make a sacrifice that could end up saving lives."

"And what about me?"

"I will ensure that you and your child are cared for, everything will be provided from my own pocket."

"I don't want your money."

"I know that, you want to have him, because you love him. But if you do love him, you'll make this decision so that he can serve a country that he loves, that he grew up in, that he can ensure the stability of."

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  • 2 weeks later...

[b]Timuridian National Military Hospital
2043 Hours, Local Time
Day Three[/b]

"I never forgave myself," croaked Robyn, looking up at Sham through tear-filled eyes. "I can't forgive myself for what I did, I don't expect you to forgive me either," she continued, weakly, she was visibly sweating, and her condition was worsening. Her heart rate was increasing, and she was having a hard time breathing.

"I forgive you Robyn," said Sham, looking at her sadly, holding her hand in his gloved hand. He looked up as Desh Philippi, head of Bioweapons Defense Research entered the room with a nurse, and looked at Sham. Sham stood up, and addressed the duo, "Yes?"

"Excuse me, your highness, might I have a word with you?"

"Of course," nodded Sham, patting Robyn's hand. "I will be right back."

She just nodded, as he exited into the hallway with Desh, he gave a half-hearted smile at Sham, but his demeanor was grave, as Sham quietly shut the door to Robyn's room. The nurse stayed in the room with Robyn, bowing her head as the Amir passed by her into the hallway.

"The police officer that was with Robyn in the basement just passed," said Desh, quietly, looking at Sham with a grave stare.

"How long will it be?" asked Sham, putting his hands in his pockets, and affixing Desh with an even stare.

"Probably another hour? Maybe less? There is something else."

"That is?"

"The next of kin, her son, Aden, he's thirteen years old, he's here with a Social Services agent," said Desh, checking his clipboard.


"He's been asking to see his mother, he's in the waiting lounge right down the hallway, he's been very ups-," started Desh, only to be interrupted by an alarm sounding, and the duo turning to look into the room. Robyn had begun convulsing, and the nurse was beckoning Desh into the room. Doctor Ergov came bolting down the hall, with a trio of nurses in tow, running for the room. Sham and Desh quickly entered the room, and Desh began trying to listening to her breathing, as Robyn convulsed, making a choking sound. Her eyes were affixed on Sham, and tears were flowing freely out of her eyes, as she gasped for breath.

"She's going into cardiac arrest, her lungs are shutting down," shouted Desh, as one nurse tried to put a breathing bag over Robyn's mouth, while another tried to coach her to relax. Sham watched helplessly, his eyes watering as he kept eye contact with her, the life slowly draining from her eyes, she gasped and struggled. Sham took her hand, and she made a choking sound, his hand hurting as she squeezed his tightly.

"I'm right here Robyn, I promise that he'll be cared for, our boy will grow up with a father," said Sham, looking at her desperately. "I promise that I will raise him, away from palaces and grandeur, I promise, you hear me!"

Robyn nodded her head desperately, as she continued to choke, the life quickly draining from her, and her grip on his hand slowly loosening, Sham kept a firm grip on her hand. Tears flowed out of his eyes in torrents as he watched the eyes of the one he had loved, and had never stopped loving, slowly lose the brightness they once had. The heart monitor began to make one long whine, as her heart slowly shut down, he eyes still open and lifeless, staring at him, they still appeared sad, and one final tear flowed out of her eyes. Desh looked at Sham, as he slowly pushed Robyn's eyelids closed.

"You weren't just friends were you?"

Sham looked over at Desh, and shook his head, and he stepped out of the room, burying his face in his hands as he sat down in a chair outside the room. His thoughts of her clogged his mind, and a thought coursed through his mind, why did she have to die? Why here, and why now? He looked down the hallway of the hospital as he tried to stop his mind from reeling from the loss, and remembered the promise he had made, he slowly stood up and began to walk down the hallway.

He passed a nurses station, some commenting on the presence of the Amir, he paid them no attention, as he saw the waiting lounge, and saw a woman sitting with a young light brown-haired, blue eyed teenager. The woman was dressed officially with a nametag that read Social Services, and she stood when she saw the Amir approach. She bowed quickly, the young teenager looking up at him as he approached.

"May I have a moment?" asked Sham, to the Social Services agent.

The young teenager looked up at Sham curiously, then looked at the Social Services agent, who looked down at him, "How about it Aden, do you mind if I go get us some water?"

He shook his head, and whispered, "No." He looked up at Sham somewhat nervously, as the Amir sat down next to the boy whose resemblance was striking to his own. As the social services agent took her leave, the young boy continued staring at Sham, before finally saying in a nervous voice, "You're the King. Sham Timur."

"That's right, what is your name?"

"Aden. Aden Barker, do you know my mom?" he asked, quietly. "Can I see her? Is she okay?"

"Yes, Aden, I know your mother, she was a good friend of mine," said Sham, dodging the last questions.

"Don't treat me like I'm a preschooler, I'm thirteen," said Aden, giving Sham a knowing look, his face turning worried.

"Your mother is in a better place, Aden."

"She's- she's dead?" whispered Aden, his young face a mixture of growing confusion and grief. He croaked out, "Why are you telling me this? Why? I thought doctors do this."

"If I take you to see her, can I start from the beginning?"

"I guess, only if you promise."

"A promise is a promise, Aden, and I keep my promises, always."

Edited by TheShammySocialist
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