Losing Everything
By The Steel Angel

Authors Notes - Call this a "Mid-Epic Break" fic. Working on "Space Jam" day in and day out can get a bit tiring, so I thought I'd take a little break, and write a short little one-shot fluffy fic between one of my favorite characters, and one of my least favorite characters. WARNING! M/M Slash ahead! Jake/Tobias Fluffiness ahead!

Satisfaction is probably the most important emotion that a Red Tailed Hawk can feel. Satisfaction means that you've made the kill. Staved off an opposing hawk for your territory. Satisfaction for a hawk, means that you'll live well and safely for another day. Another night.

Humans take the feeling of satisfaction for granted. I've realized this, after the last.... how many years was it? Four? Five? More? Less? It's hard to keep track of time when you live in a secluded meadow, miles away from anything remotely human.

The only humans that came this far into the wild were animal researchers. I didn't mind them usually, when they kept their distance, at least. Occasionally I saw papparazzi's snapping pictures of different birds, including myself, for their stupid coverstories on "The Sixth Animorph is finally spotted!" or "The secret life of the elusive Tobias!". It didn't bother me. I was a hawk now, after all. I'd left the human world behind once the war was over.... there was nothing left for me in humanity anyways.

My human side was too filled with dark emotions because of that stupid war. It had cost me so much.... My mother.... my Father.... Some of my closest friends. It had even cost me my humanity, on the first mission we'd ever gone on. And, more than anything, it had cost me Rachel.

What I wouldn't give to have that one moment back.... that moment before we'd boarded the Pool Ship. If only I had known then what I knew now. I could have called Jake's homicidal, selfish bluff. His fucking insurance policy. Who the hell was he to throw away the life of his cousin..... the girl that I loved.... so foolishly?

That last image of Rachel was eternally burned into my memory. Of her, lying helplessly on the cold steel of the Blade Ship, with the Polar Bear, a controller in morph, almost straddling her chest. I love you, I'd said. And I had seen her mouth the words "I love you too" silently, before the Polar drove its claws through her chest, ending the life of the most important person in the world to me.

The desire to back to my friends still plagued me to this day. I had the power. I had the ability. With my morphing power, my ability to become human again, I could live out my life as a celebrity. As a human, living in stardom. But without Rachel.... all of that fame and fortune was worthless to me.

It wasn't as if I'd completely shut myself out from my former life. I kept in touch, with a few people. Cassie, to name one. She came out to my meadow every so often, maybe once every two months or so. She'd bring McDonalds, or Burger King, or Wendys, or something fast food related, and I'd morph to human, to breifly re-experience the wonderfully human sense of taste.
We'd talk for a few hours. She'd tell me about what was going on in politics, sports, all the stuff that now seemed alien to me. She'd bring me a few books to read. Reading was one of the few human traits that I didn't want to give up. Escaping into a world of fantasy just by looking at a few printed words on a piece of paper. Reading for me was almost.... magical.

I don't know what it was about Cassie. We were both similar in a lot of ways. We both loved animals. She was kind, gentle, and understanding. She was trustworthy. We'd both lost someone close to us because of Jake's recklessness. Though I seemed to hold a grudge better than she did. She had the ability to do the one thing that I never could. She could forgive Jake for what he had done. I wanted to.... but I couldn't. I couldn't forgive him for taking Rachel away from me. Maybe Cassie was just a better person than I was.

She kept me informed on how the others were doing. Marco seemed to be living the life of the Rich and Famous, like he'd always wanted to do. I guess I was happy for him. Marco and I were never the closest members of the group, but I had a certain respect for him that couldn't be erased.

Ax had gone back to the Andalite Homeworld, and was now a respected Andalite Prince in the millitary. He'd been in charge of linking the human and Andalite race together, in a sense. He'd been the first Andalite to eat a cinnamon bun at the newly minted Cinnabon on the Andalite Homeworld. I guess I would have liked to see Ax. Not just because he was my uncle, but because during the war, we lived in the forrest together. We'd grown closer than most best friends do. He had called me his shorm, which I guess was like an Andalite Version of a best friend.

Cassie didn't mention Jake much on her visits, and that was understandable. Apparently, the relationship that her and Jake shared during the war, which to the rest of us seemed unbreakable, had deteriorated over the past months of peacetime. Cassie had a new boyfriend, which surprised me, to say the least. I'd always thought that Cassie and Jake had loved each other more than life itself, but I guess that with time, even the people that you think you know, can change.

We didn't talk about Rachel either. It was just a topic that neither one of us wanted to bring up, even two years after her death. In my mind, at least, the wound was still fresh in my mind like it had all happened yesterday. Cassie probably knew this.... that's why she was Cassie. We had both lost something invaluble in Rachel, and nothing we could do or say, would bring her back.

My head snapped forward. My eyes were following a shadow sliding across the ground. It had the faint outline of a bird, but it didn't look like a common seagull, or crow. I looked up, and spotted it. A falcon had invaded my territory. If I had been a human, I would have growled. But humans don't growl.I didn't want to fight this thing. I had the size and strength advantage, but this bird could make me look like I was standing still. Who wins when it's strength versus speed? I was going to find out, if all else failed. I leapt from my tree branch, flapping my wings to catch the air. It lifted me into the sky, where I slowly approached my adversary. I had the home field advantage. These were my hunting grounds.

Yeah, that's right, I'm talking to you . I said to the falcon as I approached, knowing all too well that it couldn't understand me.

So, it is you. The falcon replied.

Whagh?! I screeched, flaring my wings out in front of me. I searched the ground for any sign of any of my friends... then it hit me. How could I have been so stupid? It was the Falcon. It folded its wings back, turning it into a bullet covered with feathers, speeding toward the ground. At the last moment, it flared up, and landed on the ground almost daintily. Then, I watched with laser focus as the bird began to shift and change, morphing back to human.

He was a bit bigger than I remembered him. His hair was a big longer, his body was a bit more muscled, the way teenage boys get once they've hit the end of a growth spurt. His face was slightly stubbly, showing the fact that he hadn't shaved in a while. His eyes were exactly the same as they always were. Dark, focused, calculating..... even cold. He had the same look that he had as he stood aboard the Pool Ship and watched Rachel die.

"Hi Tobias." He said finally, looking up at me. His voice was a bit deeper than I remembered.

Jake. I said, looking down at him. He wasn't intimidated by my gaze, as I knew that he wouldn't be. I watched him sternly as he walked up to my tree, standing under it for shade.

"How've things been?" He asked.

Good times, bad times. We all do what we have to do to survive. I said. Jake didn't say anything. He just leaned back against the tree trunk, and stared out at the horizon. Well, it's been good catching up. I said, and turned, ready to fly away. He looked up.

"Wait." He said. I had every intention of flying away. But, like it had back during the war, Jake's voice commanded respect. I looked at him. "Come down here." He said. Fine, if he wanted to do this, then I was going to do it my way. I fluttered down from the tree, as my body started to shift and chance. Talons and wings were replaced by feet and arms. Feathers melted into skin. My beak softened, and turned into a fleshy, humanoid face. I was my former self.... still the body of a fourteen year old, but myself.

"What do you want, Jake?" I asked.

"I want to apologize." He said simply. I smirked.

"An apology? What, you finally came to the realization that what you did was stupid, reckless, and above all, cowardly? What the fuck do you think an apology from you means to me?" I asked. He remained calm, turning to look at my face directly.

"I'm not apologizing for what I did. If I could go back in time, I'd do the same thing over." He said. I growled, and clenched my fist. He didn't seem phased. "I wanted to apologize for not coming to find you sooner." He said. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"You son of a bitch... after all this time.... you'd sacrifice Rachel again in a heartbeat?!" I nearly screamed. He looked into my eyes with his own, cold, focused brown eyes.

"I don't expect you to understand. Nobody does. Cassie doesn't. Marco doesn't. Not even Ax understands." He said, and then looked away from me. "I made a hard call on the battlefield, when we didn't have the time, means, or options to do anything else."

"You sent your cousin to kill your own brother! And without telling anyone else!" I retorted.

"She was the only one who could do it. And we couldn't tell you, or Cassie, or Marco. Because you, by loving Rachel, couldn't have let her go through with it. And Cassie, by loving me, wouldn't have let me make the call." He said, and then in a softer tone. "It was a suicide mission, Tobias. Rachel and I knew that from the start.... she wanted to go. She would have gone, even if I had told her not to."

"That doesn't excuse a damn thing. You cost me the one woman on the planet who I loved." I shot back.

"You think I didn't lose anything?!" Jake screeched, taking me off guard. He approached me, backing me up against the tree trunk. I blinked. "I lost my cousin, and my brother. The entire reason I was involved in that stupid war was because I wanted to save my brother's life. You think it was EASY to make the call that I knew would kill either one of them, or possibly both?" He asked.

"Obviously. You made the call." I said.

"The consequence of not making the call could have resulted in us losing the war. Rachel's sacrifice liberated humanity." Jake said.

"We could have found another way to win." I said.

"You're probably right." Jake said. I blinked. "We probably could have. But I know that the call I made ended the war. I'd take that a thousand times over some plan where I don't know how it would turn out. Rachel understood." Jake said, losing some of the fire that he'd displayed only moments ago.

"All this talk is useless," I said after a few minutes. "All the talk in the world won't bring Rachel back. All it'll do, is open up old wounds."

"You're right." Jake said, and sat down at the base of the tree. I don't know why, but I sat down too. Regardless of what I said, I still felt comfortable with Jake. Maybe it was because he was Rachel's cousin. They both exuded the same aura. An aura of confidence. Reliability. Dependability.

I started to remember my past with Jake. I used to think that he was my guardian angel. Ever since that time, way back in highschool, when he'd protected me from some bullies, when they were trying to flush my head in the toilet bowl at school. I guess I was a little bit of an annoyance to Jake after a while, since I always seemed to follow him around all the time. But it was because of that, that I was able to, unknowingly at the time, meet my father. Elfangor. It was because of Jake, that I'd been involved in the war at all.

"How are things with Cassie?" I asked, staring down at the ground, so I didn't see if he was looking at me or not.

"There hasn't been anything between Cassie and I since the war ended." He said. I lifted my head to look at him. He was looking out at the meadow, with a sad smile on his face. "I wanted there to be something.... but I guess we just lost what had brought us together....." He said with a sigh. "She's one of the few people on the planet that I have any trust in," He said.

"Who are the others?" I asked."Who do you think?" He said with a slight smirk on his face. "Cassie..... Marco..... Ax..... you...." He said. I looked back down.

"I've always trusted you, Jake... but when Rachel died.... it was like my heart was ripped out of my chest..." I said softly. I felt Jake put one of his hands on my shoulder. I looked up at him. He was smiling slightly.

"A broken heart can be repaired with time." He said. I stared at him for a few minutes. Those dark brown eyes were radiating with what they were meant to have.... compassion. Empathy. Understanding. All the characteristics that we all believed Jake had lost in the war. All the emotions.... that Rachel showed in her eyes....

"Jake..." I said almost silently, and leaned forward, pressing my lips against his in an act so foreign to me, that I couldn't even remember how to do it correctly. I just closed my eyes, enjoying the feeling of Jake's lips against mine, and opening my mouth slightly as his tongue brushed across my lips.I moved closer to him, wrapping my arms around him as the kiss deepend, and his tongue snaked its way inside my mouth, almost as if it was dancing with my own. I pressed my tongue against his experimentally. The result was almost a jolt of electricty flowing down my body.

"Jake..." I mouthed again, as we broke the kiss, breathing slightly heavier.

"Hmm...?" He asked. I didn't answer with words, as I leaned forward and resumed the kiss, removing my hands from around his back, and placing them on his chest, moving my hands in tight circles around his pectorals, which earned a slight gasp from Jake.Hes responded by putting his hands on my waist, threatening to slide his hands underneath the spandex morphing suit I was wearing, which he eventually did, grasping my arousal with one of his hands. I moaned into his mouth, but wasn't content to let it end this way. I rolled back over, so that Jake and I were side by side, shoulder to shoulder. He stared at me, and I stared back. My hand found the waistband of his bicycle shorts, and slid inside, gripping his masculinity.

"Tobias..." He said with a surprised moan.

"Don't talk." I said softly, and started moving my hand up and down. He moaned, and used his free hand to slide the shorts down his thighs, so I could see what I was doing. I kept my eyes focused on his the entire time, and used my free hand to do the same thing with my shorts. Jake began the same pumping motion that I was using, causing me to groan in sync with his repitition.
He leaned over and kissed me again deeply, our hands still moving at a quick pace. I returned the kiss, rocking my hips up slightly to match his hand movements. We groaned into each other's mouths, the vibrations only seeming to intensify the pleasures that we were both feeling. Our mouths opened, our tongues now freely sliding against each other's.I let out a long, deep groan as my body came to it's climax. It was so alien to me that I'd forgotten what it felt like.

It left me twitching slightly, but still, I kept my hand moving on Jake's manhood in front of me. A voice inside my head wanting desperately for Jake to climax.That voice was answered a few moments later, when Jake thrusted his tongue into my mouth as his orgasm passed. I squeezed him lightly, wanting to get every drop of his warm essence as I could out of him. When we had both calmed from our orgasmic bliss, we parted lips, and stared at each other. "...That was..." I began.

"Shh. Don't say anything Tobias." Jake said with a slightly smile, and leaned in, kissing me lovingly. I kissed him back, returning the same passion. "...Tobias..." he said. I looked at him questioningly. "... It's been almost two hours since you morphed..." He said. I thought about it for a few seconds.

"Jake.... can I be with you....?" I asked, staring at him.

"What, you mean like, my boyfriend?" He asked. I nodded slightly. Jake stared at me for a few seconds, perhaps searching my eyes for any insincerity. He wouldn't find any, because there wasn't any to find."...I'd like that." He said. I smiled.

"Then I'll become a human again, for you. Jake. Just like I would have done for her." I said, and kissed him. He kissed me back. We just held the kiss there, under the tree where my life as a hawk was about to end, my life life as a human was about to begin, for a second time.