Firecracker: A Decision Made

The winter night's chill permeated the air, driving Alex to pull her thick wool blanket tighter around her body. A shiver ran down her spine, whether a subconscious warning or just the product of the cold she couldn't guess. The moonlight that filtered in through the window of her brand new house was the only illumination she had. She felt lonely. This was the first night in forever that Donna had been missing from her side.

Life moved on, and doubts had faded from her mind. Mac had vanished after her battle with him in the ring, leaving her to fight her way up the ranks of the underground fighting league to become the almost undefeated champion. It was difficult with only one Zipline Bracelet remaining, but she made it anyway. Donna had said she would deal with her father, and it looked like she had placated him somehow, because no more attempts were made on Alex's life.

She pushed herself up from the bed and wrapped the blanket around her otherwise bare body as she walked toward the door. The clock said it was 3:00 in the morning... she was seventeen years old today. It was amazing thinking about it. One year ago today, she'd been a glamorous spy for the World Organization Of Human Protection. A year before that, she'd been spending most of her time crammed behind soda machines and getting noses turned up at her. The year before that, she hadn't even been living in Beverly Hills. It was amazing how quickly things changed.

She walked into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes and searching for any sign to tell her where Donna had gone. She found a small note stuck to the fridge, which she pulled off to read out loud. "Gone out Firecracker, rest up for the day while I get some things ready. Tonight, the rest of our lives will be set." She blinked and turned the small note over, but nothing more was written.

She yelped in surprise when a hand covered her mouth from behind and she was pulled up against someone's chest, being held still. She let out a muffled yell, but a familiar voice whispered in her ear. "Ssshhhh."

Alex blinked as the hand over her mouth loosened. "Sam...?" Alex turned around to see Sam in full WOOHP gear standing behind her. "Sam, what are you doing here!? I haven't seen you in so long!" Alex moved to hug her, but Sam put a hand on her chest, holding her back. Her expression was cold and hard.

"Alex... do you have any idea what you're involved with?" Sam asked her harshly.

"I know it's illegal but it's not hurting anyone..." Alex replied. "Well, except my opponents... but they signed up for it!"

"Alex, this whole setup is a moneymaking scheme of the biggest organized crime syndicate in the world! They take the entrance fees from the fighters and use them to fund global crime, including terrorism!" Sam replied. Alex blinked, staring at her.

Finally she looked away and smirked. "Even if it does, it doesn't affect me." Alex stated.

"Alex, this money goes to-" Sam began, but was cut off.

"I don't care where it goes!" Alex interrupted her a bit more forcefully than she'd intended. Sam stepped back in surprise, her eyes going wide. "Sam... this past month has been totally cleansing. I feel like I've found a place in the world, making my own way with Donna. I'm happy here Sam."

"Well the happiness is going to end one way or another." Sam replied.

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm here because the World Organization Of Human Protection is stepping in to bring the entire organization down... and everyone involved in it." Sam's eyes bore into Alex's. "They're not sparing anyone Alex."

"Wh... why are you telling me...?" Alex asked softly.

"I want you to leave, before it goes down. Nobody ever has to know you were here. You can come back home, deal with your mom, and it'll be like nothing ever happened." Sam put her hands on Alex's shoulders, squeezing. "Everyone misses you... and this has gone on long enough. Come home." Alex stared at her, her mind racing.

"I... I need time to think..." Alex replied softly. Sam nodded and pulled her hands back.

"Of course... it's going down tonight at nine o'clock sharp, at the Arena." Sam told her. Alex nodded slowly. "Please... don't be there Alex. Just go back to Beverly Hills." Sam turned to leave, walking toward the front door. Alex watched her go, pulling the bed sheet tighter around her suddenly chilled body. What was she supposed to do now?

She spent the rest of the morning getting ready for the day, sliding on a comfortable pair of blue-jeans and a white T-shirt after a nice relaxing shower. Donna returned at noon carrying with her a small parcel, which she threw on the table in front of Alex. Alex stared down at it, then looked across the table at her lover in confusion.

"Go on Firecracker, open it." Donna said with an eager grin. Alex pulled open the small bit of wrapping paper and opened the box. She pulled out a leather full-body suit that looked like her painted WOOHP uniform, but was made of a far smoother and shiny material, and was carefully colored with professional-looking firework designs in various places.

"Wow... this is wonderful." Alex smiled back, turning the suit around to see a firework explosion engulfing the entire back, almost seeming to glitter in the sunlight. "I love it! Thank you so much!" Alex walked around the table and engulfed Donna in a tight embrace, leaning her cheek against her shoulder.

"Yeah well, I thought it was time you looked the part of the best of the best." Donna spoke into her ear, patting her back with both hands. When Alex didn't move away her voice grew curious and a bit worried. "Alex...? Are you okay girl?"

"Y... yeah." Alex nodded and pulled away from her, giving her a comforting grin. "I'm fine. I'm gonna go try it on right now." Donna nodded, and Alex turned to head into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. She leaned against the door, her mind racing again. If she left, she wouldn't be able to tell Donna or she could spoil everything WOOHP was trying to do. Sam and Clover would hate her... but she couldn't abandon Donna...

With a sigh she slid her clothes off and slipped into the new leather Firecracker uniform. It felt like it was made specifically for her, fitting over her body almost like a second skin. She left the bathroom a moment later, doing a small twirl for Donna in the living room.

"Whoa. If you wanted to knock people dead you'll definitely do it in that." Donna smirked. Alex blushed slightly and smiled.

"Thanks..." Alex said with a grin lighting up her features. "Your note said something was going on tonight...?"

"Right, something big. The fight that will set us up for life." Donna said. "See, there's a fighter out of Russia coming into town for his vacation... I've managed to get him in the ring with you. I'm talkin' big time here girl, bigger than anything yet. When you beat him, the prize will be more than either of our lives are worth."

"Don't you mean IF I beat him?" Alex asked nervously.

"No, I don't." Donna slung one arm around her shoulders, leaning against her. Her smile was genuine as she stared at Alex, her face only inches away. Alex smiled back. "Come on, let's hit the town and celebrate the finish of our fighting journey, and say hello to our new lives away from the world." She pulled Alex toward the door, a spring in her step that Alex hadn't seen often.

Alex let Donna pull her around town, celebrating their imminent freedom. How ironic. Alex knew if they went to the fight to gain that freedom, they would be captured by WOOHP. But if they didn't, they could find another way to make money. Yet that would require Alex to tell Donna the full truth, and she didn't want to betray Sam.

The day wore on, with the sun gliding toward the horizon with no sign of an answer. Donna partied pretty hard, with food and a bit of wine. She didn't get drunk though, she remained upright and focused... just 'adding a silver lining to everything' as she'd put it. The watch on Donna's wrist ticked onward, draining away the time Alex had left to reach a decision.

"Come on, you've been quiet all day Firecracker." Donna said suddenly as they drove along toward the hotel they'd stayed in upon arriving in Las Vegas. "Tell me what the problem is." Alex glanced at her, then down at the clock on the dashboard. It was 8:35.

"I can't..." Alex replied softly. She thought her voice was lost to the rushing wind around the convertible, but Donna looked over at her, then pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road. She turned off the ignition and looked over at Alex seriously, her violet eyes boring into Alex's. Alex stared back, gulping, but not backing down.

"We have to trust each other Alex. We can't start turning on each other, when that happens we'll start trying to stab each other in the back. Especially with so much cash involved. Trust me on that." Donna stared at her. "I like you Firecracker... but I've seen what large amounts of money can do to people."

"What happened?" Alex asked. Donna turned back to the road and started the car again, taking off toward the hotel. She was silent for a moment until she started talking.

"My dad ran the business for years before he fell in love. They married, had a couple kids... then things went south. Of course, if they divorced, she'd get half his assets..." Donna trailed off, leaving Alex to fill in the blanks. He'd killed her... Donna's father had killed her mother to keep from having to pay. That explained the hatred she saw in Donna's eyes any time they talked about her dad.

"Here we are." Donna pulled up beside the hotel and climbed out of the convertible, with Alex beside her. They walked inside and toward the tunnel that led to the Arena. Alex glanced at Donna's watch. 8:46. It was almost time. WOOHP was always punctual, they would probably break in the second 9:00 rolled around. Time was running out.

Tick tick tick. 8:53.

The ticking of Donna's watch almost seemed as loud as their footsteps as they traveled down the tunnel. Branching hallways and passages led in different direction, through which various others traveled back and forth. Alex's mind raced, bolstered by the deafening rhythmic ticking from Donna's wrist. Time was running out. The window was closing.

8:57. They emerged from the tunnel into the Arena, where a massive bear of a man who did, in fact, look like a bear with all the hair on his chest was standing in the ring as the announcer spoke. "And his opponent, you all know her, you all love her! Firecracker!" The crowd burst into a deafening roar, whooping and hollering with all their might.

8:58. Alex stared at the ring, listening to the hollering crowd. None of them knew. She felt a hand grip her shoulder, so she looked over at Donna. Her violet eyes were staring into Alex's worriedly. "Are you sure you're okay Firecracker?" Alex blinked and looked at the ring again, then turned her gaze up toward the large domed ceiling.

8:59. She could see the sparks of WOOHP gadgets burrowing through the ceiling. She would've never known what they were if she weren't familiar with the equipment they were using. They were coming... now... time to choose... be captured or run away? So she grabbed Donna's wrist tightly and turned to run back out through the tunnel.

"Alex!?" Donna exclaimed in surprise. "What are you do-" She stopped when the hollers of excitement behind them turned to screams of surprise and fear. Alex pulled Donna toward the hotel, but she skidded to a stop hen she saw six WOOHP agents standing guard by the exit. Alex stepped backward, pushing Donna back, but one of the agents saw her.

"Hey, you, freeze!" Several of them rushed down the tunnel toward the girls.

"Run!" Alex whirled and shoved Donna along toward another passage, charging down it at full speed. Donna began to lag behind, but Alex grabbed her wrist and pulled her along. The sound of the WOOHP agents' footsteps and yells for them to stop came from down the tunnel behind them, but Alex didn't look back.

They turned down another passage, but stopped when they saw another exit well covered by WOOHP agents. Alex skidded to a stop and turned around, but the agents behind them had already cut off any means of escape. Donna looked back and forth between them, growling.

"Alright. Bring it on." Donna put up her fists as the guards closed in around them. Alex raised her arm as well, her back to Donna's with her Zipline Bracelet held up in front of her. The guards simply raised their weapons, laser rifles with enough power to either stun them or put holes through them both, depending on their setting.

"Turn yourselves in ladies. You have until the count of three." One of the guards in front of Alex stated coolly. "One. Two." The guards all cocked their weapons, the energy charging in their barrels warningly. Alex slowly put her hands up, standing up straight.

Suddenly she dropped to one knee and shot her Zipline forward. Donna took her cue and threw herself to the ground as the Zipline plunged into the Earthy ceiling over the guards near the exit. As quickly as it fired, Alex yanked it back, ripping a large chunk out of the rock and destabilizing the tunnel's support. The guards didn't have time to look up before the rocks began falling to the ground around them with a deafening rumble, magnified by the empty tunnel.

Alex whirled in time for the stunned guards behind them to open fire. Both girls ran to the sides to avoid it, and Donna let out a howl as she charged forward. Her fist slammed into one guard's cheek, sending him flying against the wall with a thud. Another guard slammed the butt of his gun into her stomach however, doubling her over.

Alex jumped over Donna and kicked the offending guard in the face, laying him out on the floor. When she landed she whirled, the Zipline Bracelet lashing out randomly for the third and final guard. She didn't see what it did at first. It didn't seem like it touched him. Suddenly a trickle of blood leaked from his throat and he fell to his back, limp as a noodle.

Alex blinked in shock. She hadn't intended to kill him... just stop him. But it didn't look like he was breathing anymore...

Donna grabbed her arm. "Come on, we've gotta find another way out!" She yanked Alex behind her as she marched down the tunnel. Alex shook her head, her breath coming heavy and long. She'd killed him without even thinking... almost like an instinct. But the thing that scared her more than that... after all this time of fighting and living with adrenaline in her body... she didn't really care that she'd killed him.

"Hold it!" Donna shoved her back roughly against the wall, peeking around a corner of the tunnel. "Four guards... how many do you think you can take?" She waited in silence for a minute before looking back at Alex. "Hey, Alex. You with me?"

"Huh? Y... yeah..." Alex nodded. The sounds of screams and gunfire could be heard from further down the tunnel, emanating from the Arena where it seemed a massive battle was brewing. "Sorry... just a little distracted I guess." She whispered apologetically.

"Well focus. Now on the count of three, we go. One... two..." Donna pushed herself closer to the corner, taking a deep breath. "Three!" She charged around the corner with a furious yell. Alex followed right behind her, running at her side. They both skidded to a stop at the end of the hallway when they realized that the guards were already on the ground.

"What the...!?" Donna exclaimed. Alex blinked and looked up. She spotted a flash of silver crawling through the window behind a desk. It looked like a silver sphere.

"Mac!" Alex ran to the window and pushed it open.

"Alex, wait up!" Donna followed behind her. Alex crawled out of the small hotel, located in a different slums from the one they'd stayed at before. She scaled up the fire escape, where she heard the tiny pitter patter of metal feet scraping across the steel structure. She reached the roof and jumped over the side to a crouch, looking around. Mac was standing on the edge of the roof, letting the silver ball crawl up the back of his coat to his shoulder.

"I'm glad to see that you made it Alex. A lot of people won't." Mac said. Donna pulled herself up over the side of the roof to stand at Alex's side, grabbing her shoulder protectively. Alex looked at her, then shrugged her off lightly and walked up behind the man.

"How do you know my real name?" Alex asked. Mac looked at her in surprise. "The only name I've given anyone here is Firecracker... you can't know my name's Alex unless you know me from before."

"Brilliant deduction... and here I thought you were the stupid one of the three." Mac replied. Donna glared at him suspiciously and pulled Alex away from him.

"Thanks for the rescue, but whatever is going on here, and whoever you are, we're not sticking around for it." Donna said venomously.

"You don't know what's going on? Alex didn't tell you?" Mac turned around, smirking at them bemusedly. "Interesting..." He chuckled. Alex stared at him. Something was very, very familiar. Something tickled the back of her mind... a realization begging to be made, but not bubbling to the surface quite yet.

"Come on Alex. Let's get outta here. They could look for us up here any time." Donna turned to pull Alex toward the fire escape again. Alex let herself be guided, trying to pull the realization out of her mind.

"Just that he used to be a scientist." "But he was fired from his job. Nobody ever agrees on why. Some say he wanted to use his machines for evil. Some say he was wrongfully terminated because the company was evil." "Whatever the reason, it's obvious he was damn good at his job." Mac... she'd heard that name used before...

Alex stopped and gasped suddenly. "Tim Scam!" She whirled quickly, but found that the mysterious machinist had already disappeared. Fired from his job... incredible scientist, knew Alex... knew WOOHP was coming... he couldn't be anyone else. But how did he get here? Wasn't he supposed to be in prison? And he had such a reputation... he couldn't possibly have that if he'd been in a WOOHP cell as long as Jerry said.

"Who?" Donna asked. Alex looked at her, then out across the roof again.

"N... nothing... let's go..." Alex shook her head and turned to follow Donna down the fire escape. They reached the street and turned to leave the hotel calmly, as if they were out for a nighttime stroll. They weren't being specifically hunted, and nobody who'd seen them was in a position to catch them. They were free to leave with impunity.

"How the Hell did this happen?" Donna mused darkly to herself. "Security's so tight these days... and such a big force. This wasn't local enforcement breaking up an illegal fight... something else is going on here. I know it." Donna stated. Alex stopped walking, looking at her.

"Donna... you're right." Alex said. Donna stopped walking and looked back at her in confusion. "The organization is being broken up..."

"What!?" Donna exclaimed. "Wh... why!? How!? How would you know!?" She demanded. Alex looked down at the street. She couldn't lie to her... not to her... not after all she'd done...

"I worked for them..." Alex said softly. She didn't look up, keeping her eyes planted on the pavement. "I worked for the World Organization Of Human Protection... the people breaking up the organization now..."

"Wh... what?" Donna stared at her incredulously. Her eyes narrowed slowly, as her fists clenched at her sides. "Was this all a setup? Were you using me to get into the organization!?" Donna screamed.

"No!" Alex shouted back desperately. "I never used you, I had nothing to do with this!"

"Then how did you know it was gonna happen!?" Donna shouted back.

"Because Sam came to the house earlier and told me!" Alex replied. "I didn't want it to happen, but I couldn't stop it!"

"You could've told me! I could've warned everyone and this could've all been avoided! Alex, if they're going after everyone that includes... my dad..." Donna trailed off, glaring at her. Alex stared back, her head down and her arms clenched nervously behind her back. "I have to go find him..."

"I thought you hated him..." Alex said softly.

"I do. But he's still my dad. And I'll be damned if I'm letting him go down because I trusted the wrong person." Donna spat venomously. Alex winced as though physically struck, not moving to follow as Donna turned to jog down the street away from her. Alex sank to her knees, her shoulders slumping. She'd tried so hard not to hurt anybody, make them mad at her...

"Life is so damn tough isn't it?" A familiar male voice asked. Alex looked back to see Mac standing in the middle of the street, one of his silver orb-spiders still standing on his shoulder, glinting brightly in the moonlight.

"I don't wanna talk to you... Tim..." Alex smirked.

"Come on now, just because we've scuffled in the past doesn't mean I'm not helping you now." Tim Scam walked up to her and knelt down in front of her with one knee on the street. "We're the same, you and I."

"What are you talking about?" Alex asked.

"WOOHP. It's such a... limiting place. 'You can't build that, it's too dangerous.' 'You can't use it that way, it's unethical.' Bah, it's enough to drive any scientist to villainy. And apparently, it's enough to drive a spy to villainy too." He smiled slightly. Alex stared up at him, blinking slowly. "You left for the same reason they kicked me out... you couldn't take leading such a... futile life."

"So you really are Tim Scam..." Alex looked him up and down. "You look... different..."

"You didn't expect me to walk around looking like I did before did you? WOOHP's keeping a lookout for me, I'm not that stupid." Tim told her.

"And the 'you' that's in jail?"

"Someone I hired, using the same holographic technology that powers some of your gadgets." He replied. Alex blinked, and Tim nudged her companionably in the side. "Just because I'M out of WOOHP, doesn't mean all my friends are. Got any more questions for me?"

Alex sighed and looked down at the street. "No... knowing anything else won't help me anyway. My life here's over."

"Only if you let it be." Tim told her. Alex didn't respond, so he continued. "Are you going to stop fighting now? Letting your girl run off on her own into a situation you know she can't win by herself? Sam and Clover are going after the big guy, Alex, and Donna is walking right into the war zone."

"Why do you care what I do or don't do now?" Alex asked, looking up at him. "Me and Donna don't matter to you." She stated.

"Come on... just because I'm a villain bent on revenge doesn't mean I don't care." Tim smirked and pushed himself up to his full height. "Donna is probably at her father's mansion north-east of here by now... time is running out." He turned to walk away from her, sticking his hands in his pockets. "It's time for one more choice Alex. Abandon the life YOU chose, and go back home. Or keep fighting against all odds for the happiness you found."

Alex stared after him, still on her knees in the street. There was no hope of saving Donna and her father now. The place had to be swarming with WOOHP agents, including Sam and Clover. With all her training and fighting skills, it was one against at least two dozen. A hopeless scenario with zero percent chance of victory on her part.

She stood up and took off into a run toward the mansion, not thinking about the odds anymore. They didn't matter, this wasn't about victory. This wasn't about saving anyone, and it wasn't about making anybody like her. It was just about doing what she wanted to do.

She reached the large mansion several minutes later, coming to a stop outside of the lush grass yard that led up to it. Black limousines and suited agents filled the front yard, and it was obvious that even more were inside the building. Alex clenched her fists and walked out onto the lawn, drawing the attention of several WOOHP agents.

"Hey, you can't come on this property right now." One of the agents informed her. Alex lashed out with one arm, the Zipline flashing silver in the pale moonlight as it whipped across his chest. The agent stumbled back into one of the limousines with a heavy thud.

"Hey! Stop!" the other agents raised their weapons, but Alex lunged for the already wounded agent and shoved him aside to the grass, whipping the door open and diving in before the gunfire erupted around her. She extended her Zipline and plunged the tip into the ignition. The engine caught and started with a furious roar.

Bullets glanced off the deceptively defenseless looking bulletproof limo in small showers of sparks. Alex slammed her foot down on the gas, sending the vehicle hurtling across the grass toward the mansion. Agents dove out of the way quickly, while others tried in vain to stop her with a hail of bullets. The limo plunged through the mansion's front door, skidding to a stop just before slamming into the staircase beyond.

Alex lurched out of the vehicle and bolted up the stairs, diving behind the rail to avoid the hail of bullets that erupted from the front door. She scrambled on all fours across the walkway toward one of the second floor doors, rolling forward to her back and kicking it open so she could roll inside and raise her zipline.

"Empty..." She growled. She could hear the bootsteps of the WOOHP agents coming up the stairs after her. There wasn't time to find another door, so she charged for the open window and dove through it, sailing out into the night sky. She quickly fired her zipline at the corner of the wall. It caught and halted her descent, sending her swinging in that direction back toward the building in an arc.

She brought her legs up in front of her as she hurtled toward a closed window on the side of the building. Her boots shattered it, sending her hurtling through into the room beyond. The glass shards bit into her leather bodysuit and skin alike, with the pain amplifying when she hit the floor and rolled up against the door. She was shaking slightly as she pushed herself up, cut up and a bit bloody from the glass shards.

"Ugh... Spider-Man makes it look so easy..." Alex brushed the glass shards off of her suit as she stood up straight. She heard footsteps outside the door she was standing beside, with voices coming through under the cracks.

"I told you, I'm not tellin' you anything." Donna's voice stated. "So you can just kiss my ass prissy."

"Listen you brute, we're going to find her tonight! I swear if you did something to her..." Clover's voice answered. Alex stepped away from the door, dropping into a slight crouch.

"I don't know. For all I know she went back home to kiss your ass." Donna snarled. Alex charged toward the door and leapt through the air, slamming one foot into it. The door exploded outward in a shower of splinters, slamming into the far wall with a massive thud. Alex landed in a crouch, looking around for any sign of the speakers. Donna was standing beside the doorway, staring in surprise, but Clover was nowhere to be seen.

"Alex...? What're you doing here?" Donna asked. "Are you saving me?"

"I'm not here for you..." Alex stood up, staring at her. "I'm here for me... because I want to be with you." Donna stared at her, then smirked and nodded, though she seemed pretty happy with that response.

"Fair enough."

"Where's Clover? I know I heard her out here." Alex asked.

Donna jerked her thumb toward the remains of the door. Now that she looked carefully, she could see Clover's red suit underneath the splinter shards. "Enough about that though, we've got to find my dad. If they get him out of here, I might never see him again." Donna stated.

Alex stared at Clover's unconscious form under the splintered wood for a moment more before nodding and turning back to Donna. "Right... lead the way!" Alex said. Donna turned to run down the hall, with Alex following right behind her. They moved cautiously, looking down hallways before turning and carefully avoiding the searching WOOHP agents.

Donna led her up to the third floor, which was smaller than the others, but still a good size. They moved up to a room right in the middle of the mansion. Inside they could hear low, whispering voices. They couldn't make out what they were saying, but there was no doubt from their tone what they were there to do. Donna's dad was in custody already.

Alex gripped the door handle and raised the fist with the Zipline Bracelet in front of her. She waited until one of the whisperers was in the middle of a sentence before throwing the door open and lashing out with the Zipline. It whipped across one agent's back, sending him to the floor as Alex whirled and whipped it across a second agent.

A boot step behind her made Alex whirl with one more lash, bringing the line down vertically. But a hand intercepted it, and the line wrapped around a somewhat dainty green-gloved palm. Sam gripped the end of the line and held tight, despite the blood now dripping from her hand. The two girls stared at each other, tethered together by the Zipline.

"Alex..." Sam muttered. It was one word, but it carried every possible emotion one could feel. Confusion, anger, disappointment... resignation. "I guess I already know what you'll say if I ask what you're doing."

"I have to do what I have to do Sammy. I can't be happy any other way." Alex replied apologetically. "I'm sorry... but I have to do it."

"And you know what I have to do." Sam yanked on the line, pulling Alex suddenly forward off balance. Sam slammed the flat of her palm into Alex's face, knocking her to the floor with a heavy thud. Alex tried to roll away, but Sam still held into the Zipline, holding her close as she buried the heel of her boot in Alex's side.

"Aaaagh!" Alex cried out in pain as the heel dug into her flesh. She bit her lower lip and suddenly wrapped her arm around Sam's leg, since it was held up by the Zipline that held them together. She yanked down on it, drawing the razor-thin line across Sam's thigh. Sam yelped in pain and let up on the pressure, allowing Alex to yank her off balance.

Sam fell forward, landing on Alex's stomach in a straddling position. Alex pulled her head back and gripped the Zipline between both hands, wrapping it over Sam's throat before she stopped to see what she was doing. The razor-thin wire was biting into Sam's neck, but not enough to draw blood... yet. Alex pulled the wire tight, holding Sam's head against her chest.

Sam gurgled and gasped for air, reaching up to try to get her fingers between the wire and the sensitive flesh of her throat. Alex stared down at her, watching her. The redhead's eyes were closed, and her breath was coming in quick, pained gasps. Just slightly more pressure, or a quick yank would end it. She might be able to escape with Donna... if she killed Sam.

"Alex, what're you waiting for?" Donna asked. "We've gotta get moving. Someone will be up looking for us any second now!" Alex stared down at Sam, not moving for several minutes. Slowly she let her grip on the wire loosen, pulling it back. It left a deep red welt across Sam's throat as she gasped in air greedily, reaching up to rub her neck.

Alex pushed Sam off of her and climbed to her feet, letting the Zipline draw back into her bracelet. Sam stayed on her hands and knees on the ground, gulping air through wounded windpipes with her forehead touching the floor. "I'm sorry Sam... goodbye." Alex turned to leave, taking Donna's hand to pull her out of the room behind her.

Suddenly her foot stuck to the floor, and she was unable to move it. Looking down, she saw the bottom half of her legs coated in a thick layer of ice. "What...!?" Alex looked back to see Sam holding a bottle of Liquid-Nitrogen Breathspray out in front of her.

"Hey! I can't move!" Donna exclaimed, trying in vain to move her legs. Alex watched Sam rise to her feet, holding her throat with one hand while the other held the breathspray at the ready.

"Sorry Alex..." Sam croaked. "Can't let you go..." She stated. Alex nodded and put one arm around Donna's shoulders, pulling her close. Sam pressed down on the nozzle of the breathspray, coating them both in a solid sheet of ice. Their bodies froze together, cutting off their senses with the freezing cold temperatures until they lost consciousness.

Alex awoke in a solid WOOHP jail cell, with a thick plastic cell door and three plain white, unremarkable but very sturdy walls around them. She groaned and sat up, surprised to find herself wearing a solid orange uniform with a number over her chest on the left. Looking around at the cell, she spotted Donna leaning against the wall by the cell door, staring out at the guards beyond.

Donna looked at her out of the corner of her eye, but didn't say anything. Alex looked down at the cell floor, knowing she'd blown it. If she'd finished Sam... they would've gotten away scott free. Donna would hate her now... but she hadn't been able to make herself kill her best friend... former best friend.

"I'm sorry Donna... I..." Alex began softly.

"Shut up." Donna replied harshly. Alex winced, but nodded and kept her mouth shut. She was surprised to see Donna sigh and shake her head. "Look... I don't blame you for this..." Alex stared at her in surprise, but Donna continued to stare out the cell door. "This isn't the first time I've been caught... and I know you did what you could to get me out."

"But I didn't do EVERYTHING... I couldn't..." Alex replied softly.

"Yeah whatever." Donna walked over to her and sat down beside her. "You did more than I thought ya would... you proved that you weren't in on it from the beginning and... I guess that's the best I can expect. After all, we're gonna be together for a long time." She smirked.

"Rest of our lives...?" Alex asked hopefully. Donna stared back, then a slow smile spread across her face.

"Let's not jinx the future... Firecracker." She put an arm around Alex's shoulders and squeezed lightly. Alex smiled back and leaned against her shoulder, closing her eyes. Here in prison for conspiracy and various other crimes, possibly never to go free again. She didn't know what would happen to her... it could be anything. But she didn't mind... she'd chosen this... and she'd chosen Donna... so she couldn't have been happier.

The End (Ending Theme: "Somewhere I Belong" by Linkin Park)

(When this began)
I had nothing to say, and I'd get lost in the nothingness inside of me
(I was confused)
And I let it all out to find that I'm not the only person with these things in mind.
(Inside of me)
But all the vacancy the words revealed is the only real thing that I've got left to feel.
(Nothing to lose)
Just stuck, hollow and alone.
And the fault is my own.
And the fault is my own.

I want to heal.
I want to feel.
What I thought was never real.
I want to let go of the pain I've held so long.
(Erase all the pain 'til it's gone)
I want to heal.
I want to feel.
Like I'm close to something real.
I want to find something I've wanted all along.
Somewhere I belong.

And I've got nothing to say, I can't believe I didn't fall right down on my face.
(I was confused)
Looking everywhere only to find that it's not the way I had imagined it all in my mind.
(So what am I)
What do I have but negativity, 'cause I can't justify the way everyone is looking at me.
(Nothing to lose)
Nothing to gain, hollow and alone.
And the fault is my own.
And the fault is my own.

I want to heal.
I want to feel.
What I thought was never real.
I want to let go of the pain I've held so long.
(Erase all the pain 'til it's gone)
I want to heal.
I want to feel.
Like I'm close to something real.
I want to find something I've wanted all along.
Somewhere I belong.

I will never know myself until I do this on my own.
And I will never feel anything else until my wounds are healed.
I will never be anything 'til I break away from me.
I will break away.
I'll find myself today.

I want to heal.
I want to feel like I'm...
Somewhere I belong.

Suddenly sparks erupted from the wall, moving slowly across the thick plating. Alex and Donna jumped to their feet in surprise, watching the sparks become more numerous as they moved slowly in a large circle in the wall. Finally the sparks made a full circle and the wall plunged outward into a dark night sky outside of the prison. A thick circle of silver orb-shaped spiders stared at them with glowing red eyes. An invitation...

Donna and Alex exchanged glances for only a second before moving toward the spiders, walking into yet another life together.