Calling Nick Divine by Firefly

1. Chapter 1 - Voices by Firefly

2. Chapter 2 - Details, details! by Firefly

3. Chapter 3 - Nick Divine by Firefly

Chapter 1 - Voices by Firefly
Chapter One: Voices

“Hey, Nick! Where ya going?”

Nick cringed at the sound of Brian’s voice. He’d really been hoping to sneak out undetected tonight. And of all people to catch him, of course it had to be Brian.

The US leg of the Unbreakable tour had been a daunting one for Nick, and most of that was due to Backstreet’s only daddy. Brian often forgot that, technically, he was only responsible for Baylee, and that Nick was in fact, capable of living his own life – or at least that’s how it felt to Nick.

“We’re in Atlantic City, man, and Becca – ” Nick smiled at the scantily clad woman on his right and gave her waist a tight squeeze. “It is Becca, right?” The blonde smiled back, and when she nodded Nick turned his smirk back to Brian. “ – Becca says she knows the scene.”

“My father owns the Tropicana,” the woman stated proudly. “I’ve got the presidential suite. We’re going to see how much trouble we can get into in one night.”

Nick cringed again. It was true he’d said those exact words to the girl not more than ten minutes ago, but that was not something he was planning on sharing Backstreet’s newest Kevin.


“Relax, Brian,” Nick replied through gritted teeth, before Brian could spit out whatever lame warning he had in his mind. “We have the whole day off tomorrow. We’re just going to have a little fun, blow off some steam…” Nick smirked at the girl again and in a lower tone added, “Or maybe work up a sweat.”

“Nick I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” Brian smiled apologetically to the woman Nick was now kissing on the neck. “No offense.”

“None taken,” she giggled, swatting Nick’s hands away as they reached for her backside. “Later,” she hissed to Nick. “Let’s go dancing first.”

Nick shrugged helplessly to Brian and began to head toward the arena’s exit. “Nick, wait.”

I think you should wait, Nick.

Nick stopped dead in his tracks. He looked around, but the only people there were Brian and the beautiful Becca. He shook off the strange feeling, but he’d paused long enough for Brian to get another word in. “I was thinking maybe you should just come back to our hotel tonight. I’ll ditch Leighanne and we can have a Pro Madden tournament or something.”

You love video games, Nick. Take his offer.

Nick flinched. That time he knew he’d heard it. He looked around again, but he didn’t know why he bothered. He knew who’s voice it was, and it’s not like he was going to see himself standing behind him.

Brian and Becca were both staring curiously, confused by the odd behavior he was displaying, but Nick didn’t want to admit his momentary laps in sanity, so he ignored the voice. “You want to blow off your family to play video games with me all night?” he repeated incredulously.

Brian shrugged. “Sure. I’ll even spring for the pizza.”

You know you want to. When’s the last time Brian wanted to hang out just the two of you?

This time Nick whirled around trying to catch whoever was playing this sick joke. Again, the only thing that seemed out of the norm was his own actions.

“Are you ok?” Becca asked.

Tiny beads of sweat began to glisten on Nick’s forehead. He looked at the empty hall behind him, and then to the worried looks of Becca and Brian. He tried to shake it off again, but it was harder this time. “I think I need a drink.”

“Well then,” Becca giggled, perking up instantly. “Why don’t we go make that happen? Nothing like a good round of body shots to start the night off.”

Becca gave Nick a pout so seductive it made his body ache for her.

Don’t fall for it Nick. Paris was young, rich, and hot too.

“Ok, something really messed up is gong on here!” Nick yelled.

“Ok, forget the dancing,” Becca urged, “let’s just go back to my place and relax.”

Nick waited for a moment, listening for the sound of his own voice to continue ringing in his ears. Nothing but silence this time. “I’ve got to get out of here,” he muttered.

Fine, get out. But go with Brian, dude. Trust me.


Nick glanced at Brian, and then back to Becca, and finally back to Brian again. Finally the urge to get out of the building as quickly as possible won out. “Sorry, Bri. I made plans with the lady first. Another time, though. I promise.”

That’s what you think.

“Come on,” Nick said, tugging nervously on Becca’s hand.

“Nick, please,” Brian said more urgently this time. “Look I know this is going to sound crazy, but I just have a really bad feeling right now.”

As he should.

“What? Why?" Nick was yelling now, but not at Brian.

Unfortunately Brian didn’t know that. “I don’t know,” he shrugged, redness starting to creep into his cheeks. “I just have this feeling like something bad is going to happen tonight. I really don’t think you should go out.”

Woah. Perceptive.

“Ok, what the hell is that supposed to mean?!”

“I don’t know, ok? You’re right, there’s something really weird going on. Can you just trust me this once?”

It means that if you go out with Miss October here, you’ll end up dead. And getting beat to death by a psycho ex boyfriend is not the most fun way to go. Trust me.

“Trust you?!”


Yes, trust me. Or trust you, or whatever. It’s all the same. And before you say anything, I know what you’re thinking. Great minds think alike and all that. You can’t take him. I wouldn’t be here if you could. The guy’s an ex marine turned security guard at the casino. Huge dude. Totally psycho.

Nick’s head began to spin. When leaning against the wall turned out to be not quite enough support, he slid to the floor and stuck his head between his knees.

“Nick, are you ok?” Brian asked, his concern escalating to panic.

“Uh, I don’t know what’s going on here,” Becca interrupted, “but you guys are starting to freak me out.”

“I’m fine!” Nick snapped even though he was quite sure he was anything but fine. “Just give me a minute.”

“What about that drink?” Becca whined. “Come on Nicky, let’s go. Maybe you just need a little fresh air.”

Maybe you should stay out of it!

Nick was surprised by the hostility in his voice. Well, the voice he was hearing anyway. I t sounded like him, but he had no reason to be hostel to this woman. The strange thing was, though, hearing the voice's anger, made him feel angry too. “Maybe you should go.”

“What?” Both Becca and Brian chimed together.

Wait, did I just say that, or did you?

Brian looked a little shocked, but Becca looked really insulted now. Nick wasn’t too concerned about her, though, He had too many other things on his mind at the moment. Well, one other thing, but it was sure saying a lot. “Nick, you’re not seriously buying into this shit, are you?”

“Look, you heard what I said, alright? I’ve got a fucking headache all the sudden, so maybe you should go find someone else to screw tonight.”

Dang! Way to go Nick! I knew you had it in you.


Brian stood there speechless as Becca stormed out of sight. Unfortunately for Nick, Brian was the only who managed to keep his mouth shut.

That’s right! Keep walkin’ bitch! You ain’t getting us killed this time! Ow! Damnit! OW! Ok, ok, I’m sorry. No more swearing, I get it. Put away the smiting stick already… Sorry, dude, my boss has a thing about profanity. You know, for someone so merciful, that man sure likes to inflict a lot of pain.

“Would you mind shutting the hell up for a minute?!”

Sheesh. I only saved your life. A simple thank you would have been enough.

Nick just glared in the direction the voice was coming from.

Fine, I’m shutting up.

“Um, Nick? I didn’t say anything. Are you sure you’re ok?”

Nick was startled by the sound of Brian’s voice, and blushed when realized that he was talking to himself. Literally. Talking to himself. He looked at his frightened friend for a minute, but there were was just no explanation for what was going on – at least not one that he was going to share with anyone... Ever.

He waited for a moment longer, but the voice seemed to have silenced itself at his request. With a deep sigh, Nick slowly made his way to his feet. “I’m ok,” he said when Brian reached out to help him.

Brian didn’t seem too convinced, but he didn’t argue. “I’m really sorry Nick. I don’t know what came over me, but I really did feel terrible. Thanks for staying.”

“Forget it, alright.”

“So, you really up for some pizza? I wasn’t kidding. I’ll tell Leighanne not to wait up.”

“Thanks, Brian. That sounds like fun. Really, it does. But I think maybe I should just go to bed. I don’t think I feel all that well.”

“You think you need a doctor?”

A head doctor, maybe, Nick thought. “No. Sleep ought to do it. Maybe we can hang out tomorrow, though. Day off and all that.”

“Yeah, sure. I mean I’ve got Leighanne and Baylee, but we could all do something together.”

“Sure. Call you in the morning.”

The two said goodnight rather awkwardly, and then Nick headed to his hotel room – stopping at the drugstore on the way for a bottle of Advil. The voice had stopped, but the feeling of being crazy was still in the front of his mind, making his head throb. There was so much wrong with what just went down, that Nick decided the best thing to do was pretend it didn’t really happen. He chalked it up to the daunting stress of tour life, and welcomed the view of the back of his eyelids.
Chapter 2 - Details, details! by Firefly
Chapter 2: Details, Details…

Nick woke up with a pounding headache, but he’d had so many hangovers in the last two weeks that it would have felt strange to wake up to a room that wasn’t spinning. Drinking yourself into a coma at night, and then countering it with Aspirin and Red Bull in order to get through a rugged performance isn’t exactly the best way to live life, but then, Nick never really did know what was best for him. All he knew is that two weeks ago he’d had a mental breakdown because of the stress this tour had provided, and staying sedated seemed to be as good a way as any to keep from losing all sanity until he could get home and relax. Thank the lord tonight was the last show of the Unbreakable tour.

One last show…

It was this though that finally pulled Nick from his bed, and with a groan he headed straight for the painkillers in his bag. As he kicked them back, he was surprised by how much louder the pounding in his head was now that he was standing – so loud he could hear it echoing in the room around him and not just in his head. It wasn’t until the sound was accompanied by a booming, “Nick?” that he realized the pounding was someone at the door.

“God, Brian, I’m up!” he roared, his self-imposed surrogate mother not helping his foul mood any. “Don’t get your freakin’ panties in a bunch, I’m not gonna be late!”

“No, Nick! You’ve got to see this! Open up!”

With curiosity beating out his annoyance, Nick opened the door to his room just a crack. “See what?”

“It’s a story about that girl in Atlantic City, the one you were going to go out with that night. She ended up in the hospital!”

Nick shuddered at the mention of that night, but before Brian could say another word, he threw the door open and snatched the paper from Brian’s hand. “Something really weird is going on again,” Brian murmured as Nick stared at the picture of the battered girl on the front page – definitely the same girl. “This morning I opened my door looking for today’s paper, and instead I found this. It’s an Atlantic City paper from the morning after our show.”

“How’d it get to your hotel room?”

“I don’t know, Nick, but just read the article! That girl did find someone else to go out with that night, and the guy ended up dead.”

“Beat to death by a crazy ex-marine turned security guard?” Nick breathed, his eyes glossing over as he realized it had all been real.

“How did you know?” Brian asked a little spooked.

“Her ex-boyfriend,” Nick muttered, ignoring Brian’s question.

Nick and Brian were silent for a few minutes, both a little scared, and yet strangely relieved at the same time. “Nick.” Brian broke the silence with a whisper. “That could have been you.”

“It was me.”


The concern in Brian’s voice snapped Nick from his trance. “Sorry, Bri. I didn’t mean it was me,” he lied quickly. “I meant it should have been. If it weren’t for…” Nick’s voice trailed off as he remembered the very lucid conversation he’d had with himself. “I should be dead.”

“Don’t say that, ok? You made the right choice. You should be right where you are, getting ready for one last show, just like the rest of us, not dead.”

Nick was still quiet. He disagreed with his band mate. He hadn’t made the right choice, and if it weren’t for that crazy voice, he wouldn’t have made the right choice. He should be dead. “No, you shouldn’t be,” Brian repeated himself, able to read the expression on Nick’s face. “Maybe you should be a little less hung over, but you shouldn’t be dead.”

Brian could tell that Nick was really upset – surprisingly upset – over this, and he hated to see him suffering. It had been years since Brian and Nick were close, but even though Nick seemed to believe otherwise, Brian still loved his friend. “You ok?” he asked resting his hand softly on Nick’s shoulder.

“I’m fine,” Nick answered, shrugging Brian’s hand off him. “I need to get ready. I’ll see you at sound check, ok?”

Nick was surprised when he didn’t feel like yelling at Brian anymore. Brian always asking him if he was ok, was one of the things that annoyed him the most, but for some reason, this time, it had been comforting to hear. The concern in Brian’s face suddenly looked a little more sincere and less bossy. And for a brief moment, Brian almost felt like his friend again.

It was hard not to think back on that night and how Brian had tried so hard to get him to stay back. Trying to save his life without even knowing it. Trying, but not succeeding, because Nick knew he wouldn’t have listened if had been just him there that night. The thought made Nick feel a ton of guilt and remorse all the sudden for the relationship the two men had let slide over the years.

The feeling wasn’t enough to give him hope that things between them could ever go back to the way they once had been, but it was enough to stop him before he walked out the door. “Brian?” his voice was meek, almost shy.

“What’s up?”

“How did you know?” Nick tried again after receiving a look of confusion. “That night, how did you know I shouldn’t go?”

There was silence again for a minute as the reality of what happened – or, what could have happened – hit them again. “I don’t know,” Brian whispered in a voice almost as small as Nick’s had been. “I just felt it.”

Nick nodded again, with a look that clearly showed he was ready to be left alone for a while. Brian shut the door hesitantly, but without another word. Once he was gone Nick headed back to bed, shuddering as he glimpsed at the paper Brian had left on the desk. “What the hell is going on…” he mumbled as he closed his eyes, more than ready to blow off his last show.

Actually, it’s more like, “what in God’s name?” Hell’s got nothing to do with it, lucky for you.

Nick’s heart skipped a few beats, but he ignored the voice, trying to convince himself he hadn’t heard it. It was just his mind playing tricks. He was just upset because of the article in the paper, that’s all. And he was hung over. In fact, he’d had so much to drink last night, that maybe he was still drunk. It was just the alcohol, not him losing his mind.

Nick rolled over on the bed with a groan, and pulled a pillow over his head.

I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You’ll fall back to sleep and miss sound check. Everyone will be super ticked. You don’t want to end the tour on such a bad note.

“FUCK!” Nick screamed, unable to deny that the voice was there.

Nick sat furious, but his rage disappeared at the sight before him. He was showered and dressed, and looked a lot less hung over, but it was definitely himself he was staring at – not a reflection in a mirror, but himself, a physical person. And it was giving him his own trademark grin. I’m baaaaaaaack! it chimed. Did you miss me?

There were so many thoughts running through Nick’s mind, and so many feelings, but one stood out above everything else. “Impossible.”

Improbable. But, as you can see, it’s not quite impossible.


That’s kind of complicated.

“Try me.”

Trust me, dude, you won’t get it. I didn’t, and I am you. I had the big guy himself trying to explain it, but there were equations and molecular biology involved.

“Even still, even if you are real, you should be dead then.”

But you saved us remember? Nice going, by the way, you earned me major brownie points for that.

“I saved me,” Nick corrected. “You died. And if you were my ghost, sent back in time to keep me from dying, then you would have evaporated or something when I didn’t die. Space-time continuum? You’ve seen Back To The Future as much as I have. It’s impossible.”

Nick was confused by the look his imaginary self was giving him. Creepy. It said and then laughed. I mean I know we have the same brain and all, but I asked God the same thing. Used the same words and everything.


It shrugged. The big guy pulled some strings.

“He what?”

What can I say? I’m Nick carter, baby. Everybody wants a piece of me. Even God, so it would seem. He said he wanted to keep me around.

“How can he do that?”

He’s God… He can do whatever he wants.

“But it’s not physically possible!”

Details, details...

Nick was not about to accept “details, details,” as an explanation for the impossible, and judging from the smirk on imaginary Nick’s face, he’d not accepted that response either.

Molecular biology, remember? Ghost Nick laughed on cue. See, I’m not your dead ghost. Yeah, technically, the first time it was your dead ghost, and that poor sucker did disappear just as soon as you got back to your hotel room and passed out.

“Then who the hell are you? Are you a new ghost? Am I about to get myself killed again or something?”

No, you’re safe. It’s a little different this time. Technically I’m you, not your ghost, but you.

“What do you mean?”

I’m real. Just as real as you or anyone on this planet. See, watch.

“Ow!” Nick yelped when the not-ghost pinched him. “What the hell, dude?”

See. I’m a person. An exact replica of you. God took your genetic make-up and basically made a photocopy.

You mean you’re like a clone? God cloned me?

Yeah, cool huh? I even have all of the memories you had up until the point I was created.

“Which was?”

The night you didn't die.

“Then where have you been these last few weeks?”

Training. I’m a certified guardian angel now. I even get the cool powers.

“You’re my guardian angel?”

Well, guess I’m not an angel really, because I have a body. - You know, we’re going to have to come up with a new name for me, something cool, because I’m kind of an experiment, but if I do a good job, God said he might start making more like me. I’d bet since I’m the first he’d let us decide on the name - But yeah, to answer your question, I was assigned to help you, just like the guardian angels.

Nick’s mind had abandoned the struggle to deny what was happening – this was too real. He could see him, and hear him, and even feel him. There was no doubt that this was really happening. Nick was relieved to discover that he wasn’t going crazy, but a new thought was now plaguing his mind. “Why do I need a guardian… whatever you are? You said I wasn’t going to die again.”

Well, because you’re a screw up, Nick. Big time.

“What the fuck?”

Hey! You think it’s bad hearing it from me, you didn’t have to get it from the big guy. Talk about a guilt trip, that guy knows exactly what you’re thinking. He knows how to hit below the belt.

“Well if I’m such a screw up, why would he send me to fix it?”

Because you don’t listen to anyone but yourself. I guess he’s been trying to assign guardian angels to us for years but we keep blowing them off.


Beats me. I blew them off too remember? But when he couldn’t get you to listen to angels, he tried to use Brian. Remember that night, how Brian was trying to get you to stay? Well the first time he wasn’t quite enough, so after you dies, God tried one last attempt. He was so excited that he finally got through to you, that he created me and now here I am. Dude, we’re going to have some fun. I’m telling you, I’ve got a pretty sweet gig here… Ow, OW! I KNOW! No misusing power! For the greater good, I GET IT!

Nick watched curiously as his other self seemed to be having a conversation with someone other than him. He looked crazy, but then, Nick thought, look who’s talking…

Sorry about that. I do have some rules. He looked up at the ceiling with a scowl and grumbled, which I haven’t forgotten! He then turned his excitement back to Nick. But trust me, we’re so going to have some fun with this. Like that newspaper on Brian’s doorstep!

“That was you?”

You should have seen the look on his face! Seriously, we can really have some fun here, and hopefully we’ll be able to fix your life in the process.

Nick couldn’t believe he was about to agree to this insane plan – that that he thought he had any choice – but he had to admit, he was curious. And Nick made a good point, they really could have some fun with it. “Fine,” he said with a sigh, accepting this new reality, “what are you saving me from this time?”

Us, Guardian Nick shrugged with a grin. Yourself.
Chapter 3 - Nick Divine by Firefly
Author's Notes:
Thanks, to those who have reviewed this story so far, especially Rose. It really means a lot. There's a lot of dialog in this story, and two Nicks, so if it reads really confusing, please let me know where you got confused, so I can try to make it clearer in the future.
Chapter Three: Nick Divine

Nick stood in the mirror with a satisfied look on his face. His eyes were still red, but the coffee and hot shower had done wonders for his appearance. Probably no one would even notice he was hung over today. “So what now?”

What do you mean?

“I mean, am I just stuck with you all the time now, like an annoying relative that shows up needing a place to crash for the night and ends up staying for weeks…” Nick glanced at the other reflection in the mirror and frowned when he realized that even though they shared the same DNA, Ghost Nick still looked better than him. Maybe people would notice. “Do I really look this bad all the time?”

Yeah, dude. You feel like crap too. You just don’t realize it cause you never actually feel good.

“Huh.” Nick continued to analyze the differences between him and his angel self who was apparently in a lot better shape. “I kind of look like shit, don’t I?”

Don’t worry. We’ll get you looking every bit as beautiful as me in no time.

“Which reminds me of my first question. Are you the stray dog I found on my doorstep and now have to adopt, or what?”

That’s between you and the boss-man. I’m here until you have your life in order, and your life isn’t in order until he says it is.


You have no idea.

“Bite me, asshole. My life’s not so bad.”

That’s what you think. You didn’t have to watch it on fast-forward with God giving the MST commentary for you. It’s kind of like the looking like crap thing. You just don’t realize how messed up you are, cause you’ve never had it together.

Nick looked himself over again, and hadn’t realized that his head was pounding until he realized his hand had been rubbing his temples through this whole conversation. He really did look and feel like one giant perma-hangover. And if Ghost Nick was right about that, then he couldn’t be too far off about his life being shit either. “Fuck,” he said again, this time with a really big sigh.

Relax, Nicky, you’ve got me now. We’re gonna fix it. And I’m telling you, we could have some fun.

“Right.” Nick wasn’t nearly as optimistic. “Send a screw up to fix a screw up. Makes perfect sense. And what the fuck is with you calling me Nicky? You know how much I hate that!”

Yeah, but it’s kind of hard not to, I totally understand why the guys do it all the time now.

“Fine, Nicky. How do you like it?”

Well I’ve got to call you something. We can’t both be Nick; it’s too confusing.

“I already thought of that. You’re Ghost Nick.”

Ghost-Nick? That’s pretty Lame-Nick.

“You can always stick with Nicky.”

But I’m not even a ghost!

“Whatever, you’re Ghost Nick until we think of a name for whatever it is you are.”

Fine, I’ll be Ghost Nick, for now, if you get moving. We can’t be late to sound check my first day on the job. That’s not going to inspire a whole lot of confidence with the big guy.

“Sound check, right.” Nick had been so caught up in this insanity, that he’d almost forgotten the real world still existed, and that he was a part of it. He grabbed his room key and then held the door open for Ghost Nick. “After you.” He shut the door behind him and then paused after only a step. “Wait a sec. How is this going to work? We can’t just show up to sound check as the fucking Doublemint Twins.”

Don’t worry. No one can see me.

“I can sure as hell see you.”

That’s cause I’m letting you see me.


Hello? Ghost Nick said sarcastically, and pointed at himself. Guardian Angel? Divine powers? I can show myself to, or hide from whoever I want.

“First of all,” Nick said, matching the sarcasm, and pointing his finger at Ghost Nick, “Guardian Poser. And second of all, so not fair that you get super powers. I wish I could hide from whoever I wanted.”

That comment spawned a discussion about comic books and which was better, DC or Marvel, and since Nick was excited to finally have someone to talk comics with for once, not to mention they shared the same opinion on basically everything, Nick’s spirits had been lifted quite a bit by the time he reached the venue. He was even starting to like the idea of having himself around. That is, until they reached craft services.

Nick walked up to the buffet table with his eyes set on a can of Redbull. “Breakfast of champions,” he laughed as he popped open the can.

Ghost Nick smiled at the comment, but snapped his fingers as Nick put the can to his lips, and turned the energy drink into something a little healthier. He burst into a fit of laughter when Nick nearly spit the surprise drink out through his nose.

“What is this shit?” Nick yelled when he was through coughing.

V8 Juice – the real breakfast of champions. Drink up Nick, it’s good for you.

“What the fuck?”

No more Redbull. It's nasty stuff. I met a guy in angel training who got cancer from it. Seriously. Drink the vegetables.

“I have a hangover, dude! I need the boost.”

Ghost Nick sighed and snapped his fingers again. Better?

Suddenly Nick’s headache was gone, and he felt as if he’d just had the best night’s sleep of his life. “Whoa,” he laughed, his mood escalating to great. “Thanks.”

Welcome, but no more freebies. From now on, it’s less alcohol and caffeine, and more fruits and vegetables.

“And this is supposed to make my life better?” Nick grumbled, but Ghost Nick noticed that he still finished off his juice and grabbed a banana.

Once Nick had a banana and some cottage cheese in his stomach, he was actually feeling a lot less grumpy, and decided to open his mind a little. “Ok,” he said, “so this saving me from myself thing, how do we do that? What’s so wrong with me anyway?”

Ghost Nick threw an arm over Nick’s shoulder and dragged him away from the buffet table when he reached for a pastry. The big guy has a whole list.

“A whole fucking list?”

Trust me, you don’t want to hear it. But basically, it comes down to making better choices. Everything from what you eat, to how you treat your friends, to who you date.

“You’re not going to fucking ground me from the sex too!”

Oh, and that’s another thing. We have to work on the language. No more swearing.

“Jesus, you sound like my mother!”

Nick felt a serge of pain rip quickly through his body as if he he’d been wearing a shock collar and just stepped over the fence. “Ow!” he yelled angrily “What the-”

Ghost Nick cut him off before he could use the F word again. And definitely no taking the lord’s name in vain. God’s kind of sensitive to that one. Nick glared at his new enforcer, but Ghost Nick shrugged defensively. Hey man, I’m having trouble with that one too. Stings, doesn’t it?

“It sucks dude! That’s what is does. No more drinking, no more junk food. No more sex??? If that’s heaven I’d rather go to hell.”

When Ghost Nick laughed, Nick got angry again. “How is it that you’re ok with this anyway? Are you basically me? Shouldn’t you be pissed about this too?”

Dying changes a man.

“You didn’t die.”

Ghost Nick frowned, Nick had him there. I was judged, though, he eventually defended himself. Met my maker and all that. But even more than that, we aren’t exactly the same, because I’ve been touched by the finger of God. I’m still physically human, but I’m also divine. It feels kind of weird. Like God’s version of Xanax. Divinity mellows you out a lot, and it makes you see things a little differently. But don’t worry too much Nick; it won’t be so bad, you’ll see.

“Easy for you to say, Mr. Divine,” Nick grumbled and then stomped out of the room hoping for two seconds of peace, yelling as he left, “Divine my ass!”

When Nick stormed out of the room and into the hallway, he plowed into Howie, knocking the smaller man clean on his butt. “Hey, Nick!” Howie greeted, somewhat startled.

“Sorry, D.” Nick reached out a hand and helped Howie to his feet.

“Everything ok?” Howie asked glancing into the empty room Nick just came barreling out of. “I heard you yelling.”

“Oh! No, I was just talking to myse-” Nick panicked for a moment and then corrected himself. “My friend.”

Howie raised a brow, questioning Nick’s lie as much as his odd behavior. “What friend?” he asked glancing into the empty room Nick had just stormed out of.

Nick searched for an answer, but could think of nothing. There was no one around, and in all the craziness of his morning, he’d walked out the door without his cell phone. He opened his mouth to snap at Howie to mind his own fucking business, but before he got the words out he felt a sudden bulge in his pocket. With a breath of relief he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and waved it factiously in Howie’s face.

“Ok,” Howie said, throwing his hands up to surrender his scrutiny. He watched his band mate with curiosity, and then laughed again. “Was it a woman?”

Nick wished it was a woman. “No.”

“Was it Brian?” Howie giggled.

“No!” Nick snapped becoming more annoyed than he already was. “It was just…”

My friend, Nick.

“My friend, Nick.” Nick repeated automatically.

“Nick?” Howie repeated, confused. “I didn’t know you knew another Nick. Nick who?”

The Divine, Ghost Nick snickered.

“The Divine?” Nick repeated dryly.

“Nick… The Divine?” Howie questioned, now looking at Nick as if he were completely insane.

“Bastard!” Nick hissed.

“Your friend’s name is Nick the divine bastard?”

Nick glared at the nuisance who looked just like him, angry as hell to see the amused look on his face, and then pulled himself together. “My friend’s name is Nick… Divine,” He explained to Howie, trying his best to look and sound sane. “And he is a bastard. That’s what I was trying to say.”

“Nicky, are you sure you’re feeling ok?”

“Doth mine eyes deceive me?” Brian teased, interrupting Howie and Nick and throwing his arm over Nick’s shoulder. “Nicky is on time for once?”

This morning had been too crazy, and too frustrating, and Nick could no longer take it. “Fuck off, Brian!” he roared and then stomped off to have a cigarette.

Shit! Nick Divine hissed when he realized just how upset he’d made his little charge. OW! Ok, I’m sorry! No swearing, I know. Ow! Ok, I know, I know. I’m going to fix it.

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