"No . . . No, Chloe I can't make this choice!"
"No, Max." Chloe grabbed her by the shoulders, making Max look her in the eye. "You're the only one who can!"
Max sat with her back to the bathroom stall, crying silently, knowing there was nothing she could do. She had to sacrifice Chloe. It was just like Chloe's dad, and Rachel . . . they were meant to die, and to keep that from happening to Chloe disrupted time and space too much. She couldn't sacrifice Arcadia Bay. She couldn't kill her best friend's mother, her friends, an entire town, just to save her best friend.
Chloe would never respect her for that.
She had to stop it. All of it. Now.
The bathroom door, opened, and Max crumbled, hearing Nathan's voice as he pumped himself up in the mirror. Any second now, Chloe's going to come through that door, and . . .
The blue butterfly landed on her knee. It seemed to stare at her. I have to suffer through this? Why? Why was I given powers if I couldn't save Chloe anyway? What was the point? Did the cosmos decide, 'We're gonna teach Max Caulfield a lesson in morality and time and space' and give me powers just to screw with my head? I'm a photographer! I'm never going into science! I would never have screwed with time or space without . . . without . . .
She stared at the blue butterfly, who was still looking at her, calmly. It seemed to be saying, I've done all I can do. The choice is yours.
Choice . . . what choice? What choice do I HAVE?! I can't save Chloe, I can't destroy Arcadia, I'm nobody, a nothing! I'm just an every day freak-o!
"Where did you get that?" Chloe's voice reached a panic level, and Max knew Nathan had pushed a gun against her.
"NOBODY tells me what to do!" Nathan was shouting.
The butterfly flew off her knee.
Come on, come on, isn't there anything I can do? Anything? I'll reverse time over and over again until I get something right! She stood and peeked around the stall at the other two. Wait . . . It's the beginning. I haven't rewound time yet. What if I . . . save Chloe without reversing time? There's no way! I didn't have enough time before, I had to reverse time twice to save her. I have to do something different this time.
Her mind went back to the very beginning. She remembered the hammer underneath the mop bucket. The butterfly landed on its handle and flexed its wings. I get it, Max thought. The reason I got the powers. The reason you . . . gave them to me. These experiences have changed me so much, so time is already altered, even though I haven't reversed time and I won't start now, but . . . Like Chloe said, I'm not so chicken shit anymore, and without these powers, I would never be brave enough to do—
Max leapt from behind the stall. This time I've only got one chance. "HEY!"
Nathan was startled, and he looked behind just in time to catch a hammer to the face. The gun went off, the bullet barely missing Chloe and ricocheting off the wall instead. Nathan backed away, cursing, holding a hand to his head.
Chloe stared at her in disbelief. "Max?"
Nathan fought to re-cock the gun, and he aimed it at Max. "You dumb BITCH!"
This time Chloe stepped in, grabbing Nathan's arms and fighting with him.
Max ran toward them. "NO! Chloe, get away!"
Nathan shoved Chloe against the wall. "I'm gonna kill you!"
"Bite me!" Chloe growled through gritted teeth.
Max grabbed Nathan's arms from behind. The gun barrel kept getting closer and closer to Chloe's head. No . . . No!
BANG! Max screamed, Chloe screamed—
The bathroom door opened and suddenly everyone was shoved to the ground. Max heard David's voice as he wrestled the gun from Nathan's hands and handcuffed him. No . . . No, this can't be happening! Tell me this isn't how it's supposed to be. It isn't fair! She scrambled to her hands and knees and looked for Chloe.
Max looked at the sea, the beautiful sun that reflected off it, no storm in sight. She knew she'd made the right choice. It was strange, but she felt peaceful. With her help and information from Nathan, Jefferson's hideout was crashed and Jefferson would be spending the rest of his life in prison. Nathan, for his part, would finally be getting the mental help he needed, for which Max was glad.
There was a sudden chill in the air. Chloe . . . I should get going. It's almost time.
Arcadia Bay Cemetery was beautiful. Several Blackwell students were attending the funeral out of respect, including Kate, who was still alive. Max had successfully helped her, and that and Jefferson's downfall had helped her to regain confidence in herself and her standing. Multiple students came to her defense as well, even Victoria. Oh, Victoria was furious. That girl had found a purpose in life, and it was to fight against monsters like Jefferson. No longer was she a shy little flower just following in the footsteps of her gallery-owning family—no, she had finally begun her journey to being herself. Max had to admit, it was looking pretty great for Victoria.
Eventually everyone made it to the casket, the crying parents at the head, the priest to the side. Max saw Warren's fluffy head and made her way towards him, past him.
And stood next to Chloe. Tears flowed down the blue-haired girl's face. "I can't believe she's gone."
Max took her hand. "I'm here, Chloe . . ."
A beautiful portrait of Rachel stood by the casket. Rachel's parents cried together.
Max cried, but for a different reason. It was Rachel's funeral . . . not Chloe's. If only there'd been a way to save her as well, but . . . She squeezed Chloe's hand.
A blue butterfly fluttered from the sky and landed on the casket. Max smiled. Thank you, Rachel. Thank you for helping me save Chloe. The butterfly fluttered its wings curiously in response.
Max went back to that day, where it had all started . . .
Chloe sat with her back against the bathroom wall, her chest heaving with exertion. Her blue eyes were intense, her hand on her side.
Max choked. "Chloe!" She crawled to Chloe and grabbed the hand that was held to her side. Only then did she realize. There was no blood. "Chloe . . ." She looked up.
Chloe grinned. "Hey Max, figures I'd see you today."
Max felt tears begin to stream down her face. She threw her arms around Chloe. "It's been that kind of day."
"Whoa, Max . . . calm down. We didn't die. You're acting like you even care."
"Of COURSE I care!" Max let go and looked her in the face—and realized. This was before they'd met as adults. Chloe still thought Max had abandoned her. "You were my best friend, and maybe I was an asshole, okay? I real, real asshole, but I . . . I couldn't let him hurt you. I'd rather die!" She hugged Chloe again. "I love you, Chloe."
"Max . . ." She felt Chloe's arms wrap around her, uncertainly. Chloe was still confused, obviously, but Max knew. Max knew she would be forgiven. Max knew they would be best friends forever, just like they'd promised as kids.
David looked up from the sufficiently subdued Nathan. "CHLOE! What the HELL are you doing here?"
"Gee, step-douche, don't ask if I'm okay or nothin'," Chloe quipped back.
"Are you okay?"
David sighed visibly, which seemed to confuse Chloe even more. Max smiled. Chloe didn't know it yet, but David wasn't such a bad guy. He'd screwed up a lot, just like Max . . . but he really did care about her. About them both.
Or. Well. He WOULD care about Max as well. In the future.
Max and Chloe stood up together, and David hauled Nathan to his feet. "Thank God you're alright, both of you. And you, thank you for . . . helping."
Max shrugged. "No problem, D—I mean Mr. Madsen."
"I'll need you both in the principal's office in a few minutes. Thank God nobody got hurt. Come on, now." David put Nathan's gun in his belt and escorted the young man out of the bathroom. Nathan seemed chagrined, even ashamed.
When they left, Chloe looked at Max. "Max . . . you saved my life."
"Of course I did," Max replied.
"But after all these years . . . why? Why did you put yourself at risk like that? How did you even recognize me?"
She couldn't use her powers. She couldn't prove anything this time. "I . . . stalked you online, that's how, cheese brain! You know I was gonna contact you. I just had to get settled in, to . . . get my guts up."
"Well you did THAT alright."
"Look," said Max, because Chloe still seemed so emotionally confused. Max took her hands. "You and I were best friends. Let's just say . . . I had a horrible, horrible nightmare. You died, and I . . . I couldn't stand it. I'm sorry I ignored you for five years. I was a horrible friend. We can start over now, and I promise . . . I promise I never stopped thinking about you. I just never knew what to say."
Chloe looked away. "I guess it was pretty crazy, after Dad died. I don't . . . I don't blame you for leaving me behind."
"Forget about that! I'm here now, and we're going to hang out and take the town by storm, ok?"
Chloe chuckled a little. "Ok."
Still holding one of Chloe's hands, Max led them out of the bathroom.
A/N: I know this isn't how it ended, BUT I COULD NOT LEAVE THOSE ENDINGS THE WAY THEY WERE! AAAUGH! Both were terrible. We already had the whole "Can't save everybody, some are destined to die" idea driven home by the fact we couldn't save Chloe's Dad or Rachel. We didn't need it drilled into our heads a THIRD time-no, this time was supposed to be different. That should have been the whole point of Max getting powers! Otherwise, what WAS the point? HUFF.
. . . Okay I'm really worked up about this, hahaha! I had to write a one-shot about it. I don't know if I'll write further chapters or not, but I really love these characters.
I hope you enjoyed! Please R&R!