Disclaimer: I WISH! Animorphs belonged to me. But nooooooooo… KA had to go off and get them all to herself.
A/N: Well guys, it's been almost a year. And now it's finished. sigh I hope you like it, no! I hope you LOVE! it. Mmmhm. So, this is the end of A Distorted Reality. I don't know what story I'm going to now, a few one shots maybe. I've got some ideas for The Party- maybe I'll go there? Perhaps. It was so much fun writing this and I hope you guys have just as much fun reading it. Thank you for spending your precious time to read and review. I couldn't have written this completely without you!
I looked down and was surprised to find that I was holding Cassie's hand- the old Cassie. She was the girl I had known and loved before the war, before everything happened to turn ourselves ruthless and unpredictable. No matter how you looked at it- in the end us Animorphs we're all the same. What the hell was I thinking? These weren't my friends. No matter how similar they looked, they just weren't part of the Animorphs.
Something was the matter. Something was wrong.
And I knew the reason why.
"Ellimist!" He was there, he was watching. This was some sort of test, a game he was playing yet again with Crayak. I was so tired of this, so freaking tired of his shit. I was perfectly happy with the fact that I was going to die trying to save Ax. That's my job, as a genuine certified superhero. "Ellimist! Damnit Ellimist, show yourself or I'm coming up to whatever dimension you're hiding in these days and ripping that pruned beard off you myself." I saw the others wince. I suppose I was being a little harsh so I added, "Please."
A sudden pop, a little tiny bit of smoke- he's Ellimist, he has to make an appearance- and a purple, shriveled old man appeared in front of Marco. He shrieked and backed up into Rachel, who caught him on an impulse.
He ended up on the floor three seconds later.
"He touched me! The squirt touched me. Ew. I smell like him now. Did you even take a shower this morning Marco?" Rachel jumped up and ran to Cassie and wiped her sleeve.
Marco took on a dreamy look. "I'm never washing this arm again."
I ignored them both, though for a bit it felt like before… before.
He was exactly as I remembered him to be- old, wrinkly and purple. I glared at him, hard. He had taken everything- everyone- away from me. He knew my outcome, our outcome. Who was he to throw me in here where I was stuck in the beginning of a war I had already won?
Ok fine. I didn't know what I was doing but I lunged at him. I was angry. Hell, I had a right. He was the reason for all of this. He said it himself in that poof and he was standing right in front of me twirling that beard like I had just asked him down here for a spot of tea. If I had tea- it would've ended up in his face. Instead, I pounced on him. It didn't really faze him, he held out his hand and I was suspended in the air.
"Jake, you're only causing a commotion." His voice remained calm and he set me down. My fists kept clenched and I'm pretty sure that vein was popping out of my neck like it was about to burst. I felt him release me. He knew I wasn't going to try again. "Now then, let's talk."
He sat down on thin air. I remained standing. The room and the people disappeared. It was a clear room, white- pure. It didn't fit.
I ignored the change; I wanted to know why this was. I needed to know.
"What did you do?" My voice came out harsh and threatening. It was all that I had been feeling growing inside me since I first woke up in that hospital bed.
He threw his arms up into the air dramatically. "I saved you Jake."
"Did you really want to die?"
"Yes," I hissed, "I wanted to die saving someone. I wanted to die knowing that I had done everything I ever could to save this stupid planet. I was seventeen and I wanted to die. I didn't care. Rachel was gone. Tom was gone. Cassie was gone… everyone. It was the one thing I could do to forgive myself for everything."
He inhaled deeply and folded his hands. He looked like one of the many therapists I had secretly seen during the days after the world. None of them could help me, none of them knew how. None of them knew the entire story, all the pain and all of my decisions that had left me in turmoil.
But the Ellimist knew. He knew all.
And here he was, sitting with his arms crossed, his short legs dangling delicately back and forth. For a minute, aside from the beard and the purple color, he looked like a little kid, the kind of kid I used to be before the construction site.
I hated that kid now.
"Cassie is not gone Jake." He remained still, barely making a noise.
Silently, a figure slipped into Ellimist's chamber. I didn't notice her until she was making her way towards me. I ran towards her and she caught me. I buried my face into her hair. She smelled like home. As I hugged her, tears rolled down my cheeks. God- I missed her.
She was home.
I never admitted it to myself, but leaving her alone crying on the hill in the forest was the worse thing I've ever done. She was every bit of me. How could I have ever let her go?
We collapsed onto the floor, I couldn't tell if she was crying- I was sobbing too hard. I loved her. I knew that, I've always known that but somehow, I loved her even more. I kissed her. I kissed her cheeks, her forehead, her nose, her neck, her shoulder. I wanted to touch her everywhere and yet nowhere- I was afraid she would disappear.
"It's ok Jake. It's ok, everything's going to be all right," her voice.
I hugged her harder. It truly was her.
"I thought you were dead… all of you. I had to…," her tone was strained, "I had to identify them, the bodies. You were dead and I couldn't… I didn't want…" I kissed her harder and she sunk inside me. "I miss you," she said.
"I need you," I countered.
Something was wrong.
I stood up, still gripping her hand. One squeeze and I dropped it.
I took on the old, familiar Fearless leader stance. I was calm, cool- nothing could stop me. I looked the Ellimist straight in the eye and to my surprise, he smiled.
"What are you doing with me Ellimist? Why is she here?" He didn't even blink.
"I need your help."
Cassie came up behind me, and stood next to me. We were shoulder to shoulder and for just a second we were the Animorphs, defiant and staring the enemy straight in the eye.
"I've already played your game."
"You humans… so quick to make decisions. My game will never end. Crayak will continue to attempt to fill the universe with evil. I'm offering you a job of sorts."
"I'm not your pawn Ellimist. I have done my duty. I don't even know what that was back there!"
He smiled a slow, sad smile. "That is what I refer to as another reality."
"A reality?" Cassie this time, I could see she was skeptical too.
"Life exists as an ocean. It started as a small drop, separating slowly. Each drop has the same base, the same beginnings, but one small happening or occurrence changes the course of this reality. The reality of your world and the reality of the world you were just in are very similar- one occurrence has altered the course, the wrong children were giving the morphing power. They are so similar… you're two parallel sets; the little changes have gone on so subtly. They had to be similar, that was the idea when I threw them together, and I was basing every group of every droplet off of you Animorphs. It was a game I was too lazy to foresee the outcome, too indolent to see that I was putting the wrong people together- the wrong personalities. You six were marvels- the winning pieces in a game that seemed impossible. But these six… will not be so lucky."
"What does have to do with Jake?" Cassie asked. Her fingers slid up my arm, gripping my shoulder. She knew- she already knew…
"These six are going to die in vain. There's no way that they can win. There's no leadership… no technique. They need a fearless leader. They need-"
"They need a Jake."
I felt Cassie's fingernails gripping into my shoulder. I felt her next to me, her presence. She was my past. I wanted her to be my future.
"Jake…" Her voice was low, calm and soothing. Tears were seeping into her eyes and she couldn't look at me.
She was right, I knew she was right. It wasn't fair. I had spent three years of my teenage life fighting these things. Not again.
"You have to." So much agony, so much pain was present inside her.
She turned her head to me and stared into me. "You have to."
I nodded. I didn't want it to be true. I couldn't.
The others weren't the Animorphs. They were a few random kids that just happened to walk into a construction site. They had some of our qualities, but they weren't us.
"Jake, you're the superhero that comes around once in a lifetime."
Despite myself I felt a smile. I was a superhero.
I sure as hell didn't feel like a superhero and I didn't want to save them. I had had enough of the fighting.
Ellimist dissolved a wall of the room, it showed the other reality's "Animorphs" lounging around. These were kids, preteens. Was it really right for me to leave them on their own? Could I live knowing that I could've saved them, could've rescued another reality but I didn't because I was too tired? A million thoughts went through my head and I kept coming back to the fact that I would lose Cassie.
It wouldn't be the same.
It would never be the same.
But I was Jake, the fearless leader… the once in a lifetime superhero. I didn't have a choice.
I kissed Cassie once more, savoring her taste.
Ellimist smiled and with a snap of his fingers everything I had ever known was gone, reassembled into a sketchy future with brand new people, a brand new future and brand new "Animorphs".
I stepped into my own personal distorted reality.
Korean Pearl- Never give up, never surrender.
Yamachanis myman- A year is soon… don't you think?
AngelMorph- I hope all your questions were answered.
DH- I hate Ax. :-P Thanks for all your help, because you have helped me more than you know!
Lotrfreek- Aw! I know, lately I've been looking but all the fics out now are Mary Sues or other Animorphs. I don't really like them. So if you find one, than let me know.
Tcq/animefan- Nope. What's Mindwarp?
Katie janeway- blushes Thank you. That's an awesome review. It made my heart flutter.
Dark Ice Dragon- I did go back in time! Mmmhm. It's because Ax didn't really fit in with everything except for showing how his story was the same. Yup.
Tcq/animefan- Yea, I know. I just didn't really think Cassie would know the word Centaur. :-D
Zero- Um… hehe? It's up now!