Well, this is it. The end, finally. Eye of the Storm has officially been finished. Kinda sad, really, since I'll miss writing Willow's inner thoughts and rants and portraying how often her life can mess up. In fact, I'll just miss Willow. Luckily for me there's always Twilight Friday, another beyblade fic I've just started. Even if Willow isn't the main character in that one, at least she'll be there!
Anyway, my thanks to Truble, for being a great mate, and everyone out there who's stayed fans of this fic, even with my lazy updating. Especially Rising Pheonix, Fairysky and Cascading Iris. You guys rock!
So, here you go. The epilogue!
Disclaimer: Dudes, seriously, if I owned Kai and Johnny and Tala and Max, I WOULD NOT BE HERE!
Eye of the Storm
Epilogue: Never Give Up
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Urgh…wha?Beep. Beep. Be—
Hmm. Better. No more noise.
"OWW!" I yelled, as my back collided with the floor, eyes flying open, "FUCK!"
I took a second to allow the little Tweety birds flying around my head to disappear, and then glared up at the grinning face of my boyfriend. He was looking over the edge of the bed, looking very smug and amused.
"Wanker!" I groaned, sitting up.
It was the same thing practically every morning. I swear my back is going to die eventually. Johnny can't keep pushing me off the bed just to wake me up! I don't care if I'm impossible to wake up, damnit!
"You know, one day you'll wake up when the alarm rings, and then you won't end up on the floor, flat on your back." Johnny said, climbing out of bed in his full naked glory. I'm telling you, it's one of the best sights on this Earth, and I get to see it almost every morning! Hehe!
Anyway, I was still mad at him for pushing me off the bed— again! —so I stuck out my leg and efficiently tripped him up. Unfortunately I didn't count on him falling on me, so ended up on my back again, head thumping against the carpeted floor.
"Owww." We groaned simultaneously.
"That was your fault." Johnny grumbled.
"Humph." I grumbled back.
It took all of two seconds to realise the compromising position we were in. Suddenly, there was a lecherous grin on my redheaded boyfriend's face.
"Hey. Hey. We have things to do you know! Places to be—hmm!" I was cut off by his lips landing on mine, engaging me in a passionate kiss.
Ah, who am I kidding? There's always time for a morning—
"Oh GOD! My eyes! MY EYES!" screamed a female voice from somewhere above us and to the right. With a groan, we separated and looked towards to door, only to find it slightly ajar and a familiar figure rushing off down the corridor.
Honestly, Mirror Chang has quite possibly got the worst timing ever. Since me and her have shared this two bedroom flat, she has walked in on me and Johnny more times then I can count.
I rolled my eyes, yawning and stretching under Johnny's naked, warm flesh.
"Better get up then…" Johnny sighed, doing exactly that. I watched lazily as he pulled on his boxers, then a pair of jeans before heading towards the bathroom.
I rolled over, getting dressed in a pair of black jeans and a red tank top. Once I was decently covered, I made my way to the kitchen, where Mirror was grumpily eating her cereal and Kai was rifling through several cardboard boxes in an attempt to find a bowl.
"Morning all." I said cheerfully.
"Have you ever heard of the invention called the lock?" my flatmate shot back at me, cherry eyes narrowed.
"Oh, come on, you just forget to knock all the time." I replied, thanking Kai as he handed me a bowl. "Anyway, it's the last time that's ever gonna happen."
"Oh yeah…" Mirror agreed, pouring another load of cereal into her now empty bowl.
We've lived in this little flat since we started attending New York University, which was three years ago. Johnny and Kai were attending Harvard for two of those years, which meant we only saw them on the weekends, but the last year, since they've graduated, they've been practically living with us. Not to mention all our mates keep dropping in and crashing here. Big size issue.
So, now that we've graduated last month (me with degrees in English and History, and Mi with degrees in Film Studies and Fashion), we're finally moving out. Johnny has an amazing apartment in the centre of New York all ready for the two of us, and Kai has a gorgeous house not that far from us.
Best of all, we'll still be near Kara and Max's house, and Tala and Holly's flat, not that they're ever there. Where are they now? Peru? Aren't they coming back soon?
Eh, who knows.
"When are the trucks getting here?" Mi asked through a yawn.
"In an hour." Kai replied, as I poured some cereal into my bowl.
"Maaaan, that's soon." Mirror groaned.
"Suck it up, hun, yesterday you couldn't wait to get away from me." I grinned, only to receive a face full of left over milk.
I stared blankly at the boxes before me. It was old stuff, things I hadn't touched in years. Stuff from school, really, my high school years all packed into boxes and left to collect dust in the attic of my brother's house. It wouldn't fit in Mirror and mine's old two bedroom apartment.
In fact, it was pretty cramped as it was.
I crouched down next to the nearest one and opened it slowly. Dust billowed into my face, causing me to cough and wave my hand to blow the particles away. Dust sucks. That's all I have to say.
I looked inside, and almost instantly I felt my eyes water. It was my American school years. Pictures upon pictures of the old gang. I flicked through them, smiling fondly at the pictures of Sky and me, my arm around her tiny waist, hers around my shoulders, both of us grinning at the camera like we had just shared a private joke.
And there was one with Danny giving me a piggyback. Hannah and Mya, one of my few friends from back then. Danny, his older brother Chris and our mate Brooklyn.
And then, right at the bottom of that pile, was an old Polaroid picture of Jamie and me. We were happily kissing, arms wound around each other, the sunset in the background. I had once treasured that Polaroid, never letting go of it until we broke up.
Jamie was still in a coma. The chances of him waking up were low, since his brain activity would keep decreasing with the amount of time he lay comatose. But I couldn't give up hope, not ever. I've stopped Mr and Mrs Hearn pulling the plug on him plenty of times, and I've never regretted it.
Because you just don't give up on Jamie. In the end, he always pulls through.
See, here's the thing. I love Jamie, and I always will. There's some part of me that will always belong to him. But my heart? It stays with Johnny. Because no matter what happens, I think I'll always be in love with Johnny McGregor.
I winced. That was my niece's voice, screaming up the ladder. I guess she's just woken up from her nap.
I slipped the Polaroid into my pocket, and then looked over the edge of the hole in the floor, spotting the small, three year old blonde grinning back up at me with large auburn eyes.
"Yo, kiddo," I replied, "How was your nap, huh?"
"I dreamed of paint!" she said happily, "And that I painted Uncle Fred's room pink!"
I laughed uproariously at that one.
My niece, my little shining star, is called Lily Serenity Tate. She also happens to be the most mischievous, smartest little three year old I have ever known. She's a complete genius!
Honestly, all she ever does though is pull pranks. It's bloody hilarious of course, and Fred and Nick do everything in their power to encourage her (much to Kara's annoyance), but sometimes, like when she accidentally-on-purpose dyed Sky's hair a permanent bubblegum pink, I have to tell her off.
Which is no fun, since she can pull off the puppy eye thing much better than Ruby ever could.
Luckily, Sky managed to restyle her bubblegum pink hair, so now it looks pretty cool. Except that it totally clashes with Nick's red hair.
By the way, those two are still going on strong. I mean, okay, they have their spats. In fact, they're constantly having spats, but really, they go so well together when they aren't arguing.
And apparently the make up sex is the best bit.
Which I really didn't wanna know, but, hey, whatever. I kinda have to agree for whenever me and Johnny argue.
Which is fairly often, considering his temper. It's improved… A LOT… but there are still times where it gets the better of him. Fortunately, those times don't come very often.
"Auntie Willow, whatcha doin'?" Lily asked.
"Getting all my old stuff. Wanna come help?"
"Yeah!" she replied enthusiastically.
I climbed down the ladder, since Lily wasn't allowed to climb it by herself, and swooped her into my arms. We managed to get up the ladder without incident. Which is a bloody miracle, when it comes to Lily and me.
I pulled another box towards me, and leaned away as I opened it, learning first time around about the dust clouds that rose upwards. Once such dust clouds had disappeared, I looked inside. It was only old books, school things I didn't really need. I reached for the next box, and it proved fruitless as well.
But the next one just made me want to sob my heart out.
There were pictures again, as well as odd bits and bobs. It from high school, from when I was seventeen and just before all the pain and angst had started.
And there was me and Hols, standing there in the middle, surrounded by all our friends. Tala. Kai. Johnny. Mirror. Kara. Max. Destiny. Mariam. Mariah. Fred. Nick. Ray. Michael. Enrique. Ozuma.
"Auntie, are you okay?" Lily asked worriedly.
See, genius or what?
"Look, Lilykins." I said softly, showing her the photo, "Who d'you recognise?"
"Mommy!" she said happily, pointing to Kara, "And Daddy!" she then said, pointing to Max, "And Auntie Willow and Auntie Holly, and Aunties Blue and Mimi, and Uncles Kai, Freddie, Nickie, Johnny and Tala!"
I gave a laugh at Lily's nicknames. At least she only called me Auntie Willow, or sometimes Sandy, whenever Sky was around.
I pulled out another picture. It was of me, Sky and Jamie, all chilled out at the lake.
"Auntie Sandy and Auntie Blue!" Lily said happily, "And Uncle Jamie!"
It was funny. The tears spilled over at that point.
Because even though Lily had never really met Jamie, had never talked to him, she adored him. She loved him for saving her parents' lives, something she understood, even at her age. She loved him because I told her constantly about him, about what he was like.
Jamie was, in all essentials, like an unmoving big brother that she always looked up to.
Kara almost had named Jamie godfather, but she had sighed and had instead told me that he would be a second godfather as soon as he woke up, but until then someone else would take on the role.
She shocked us all with her choice.
Yes, I kid you not.
Kara Hiwatari-Tate has officially gone totally bonkers.
But Fred did the job well enough, even if he totally lacked in disciplinary skills. He loved Lily like his own niece, and did his own fair amount of babysitting and spoiling. Fred would make a great father one day, I'm sure of it.
"Auntie Willow, when is Uncle Jamie going to wake up?"
I looked down at my niece.
"I don't know, honey."
"Oi, oi! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" I yelled as Tala and Holly walked towards us, suitcases in tow. Tala grinned in response, giving me a playful punch on the shoulder followed by a hug.
"Happy birthday Tala!" Fred and Nick chorused, both slapping him on the back simultaneously. I was surprised they could still do that, even though they had long stopped spending so much time together.
"How was Peru?" I asked my sister, giving her a hug. She had blossomed amazingly over the years, and if she was gorgeous back then, she was simply stunning now.
"Amazing!" she replied, grinning, "D'you know the family that hired me? Honestly, they live in such cramped conditions; I don't know how they managed. Anyway, me and Tala pooled together some money and bought them a nice little villa not far from where they were originally!"
See, my sister is this up and coming lawyer now. She's brilliant at what she does, and gets hired all over the world by both the rich and poor. Her services depend on how much you earn, so anyone can afford her. She's sweet like that.
Of course, it means a lot of rich people get a damned good lawyer without having to spend as much money, but still giving Holly a very nice cheque at the end of it all.
The gist of it? Between Holly's job and Tala's inheritance AND job, they're sodding rich. So occasionally they give things to the poor.
"Did you win the case?" I asked.
What was I expecting anyway, a NO?
Ha. Yeah, right.
"That's good. Catch some sun?"
Stupid question. She's about as bronzed as a bronze statue.
"Yeah. Not much though. I'm still pretty light."
I looked at her, all brown looking, and looked at my arm, which was only slightly tanned. I was better off than Fred and Nick at any rate, they're about as pale as a ghost. Well, anyway, Holly was tanned. Period.
"How about you? How was the whole moving process? Sorry I couldn't help out, I would've loved to see that apartment Johnny set up for you. I bet it's gorgeous, knowing him. Nothing but the best for his Lils, huh?"
I grinned sheepishly.
"It is gorgeous." I lowered my voice as we left the airport, Fred and Nick effectively keeping Tala's attention, "We're having a surprise birthday party for Tala there, sort of doubling it as a home warming thing as well. Everyone's gonna be there."
"Awesome," She grinned. "Are Kara and Max gonna be there?"
"Yeah. Don't worry, Jools is gonna be watching over Lily. You know, since she can't mix alcohol with her medication?"
Julie Raines, a.k.a, Jools, is Fred's two-year girlfriend. I met her at university in my English class, and my God this girl is talented. And smart. Of course, when I first introduced her to Fred, she thought he was an immature idiot, and he thought she was frigid swot who didn't know the meaning of fun. So they hated each other, really.
Of course, they totally ended up falling in love, with me cackling in the background, on the account of setting them up in the first place.
Yes, people, I rock!
Anyway, at the moment she's had a cancer scare so she's on medication. It should turn out fine, but she can't drink at the moment, so she offered to babysit.
"How are things with Johnny?"
"Smooth as it can get." I grinned, and my sister grinned back. She looped her arm through mine.
"We have a surprisingly good life, don't you think?"
"Don't go jinxing it!"
About an hour into that party, Fred walked up to me, looking slightly intoxicated. He grinned that gorgeous grin of his, his red hair rumpled and sticking out oddly.
"Hey, Cass, hun. I'm gonna head over to Max and Kara's, gonna keep Jools company."
"Oh, right!" I replied, wriggling out of Johnny's lap, and hopping to my feet. I took Fred's hand, so I wouldn't lose him in the crowds, and led him to the front door. It wasn't that hard to find, but I wanted to say goodbye.
I hugged him, kissed him on the cheek, and slipped a muffin into his pocket, a habit I've had for a while now.
"Safe driving!" I grinned, opening the door for him.
"Cheers!" he said happily, "Say bye to everyone for me, and tell Nick he owes me a tenner!" and with that, he trotted down the hallway, pulling out the muffin and biting into it.
"Make sure Lily gets to bed early, I promised I'd take her to see Jamie tomorrow morning!" I yelled after him. After receiving a wave to show he heard, I closed the door, turning back to the party. Almost instantly, Johnny swept me off my feet, giving me a quick kiss.
"Fred left then?"
"Maaaan, only an hour. I thought he'd be here for another half hour."
I raised an eyebrow.
"Me, Tala and Kai have got a bet going as to when Fred would give up and go back to Jools. You know he doesn't like leaving her, especially with the whole recent cancer scare."
I rolled my eyes. "You guys are so nice." I said sarcastically, "So, who won then?"
I snorted. "Aww. Poor Johnny lost his money so very stupidly." I grinned at him, which was met by a playful growl and a sudden, passionate kiss.Snap!
"Brilliant!" Mirror crowed, holding up her Polaroid camera, clasping another picture in her other hand. She handed it to me, grinning brightly. It was of me and Johnny, kissing passionately, looking so bloody happy I thought it was almost impossible that it had only been taken a second ago.
"Cheers, Mi." I whispered, and slipped it into my pocket. It settled next to that old Polaroid picture of me and Jamie, taken so long ago.
"Are you alright, hun?" Mi asked worriedly, spotting the sad, nostalgic look on my face.
I forced myself to rearrange my features into a happy one. "Yeah, of course! Just thinking. Obviously someone needs to get me another double vodka and coke!"
Mirror laughed, slinging her arm around me. "Come on then, chica! LETS PARTY!"
Holly was right. Besides the whole Jamie thing, life was pretty good.
But it was about to get so much better.
It was dark, save a glowing bright light in the far distance. How long had he been running? How long had he been in the dark, reaching towards a light that never got closer?
He tried to remember something. Anything. Anything before he became stuck in this weird, dark, never-ending world. But there was nothing but a blast of pain and a pair of distraught, bright green eyes filled with tears.
He shook his head, as much as a person could shake their head in a non-physical world. Sometimes, he would catch snatches of a face along with those green eyes, but it faded almost as soon as it came. Other times, he caught something else, distant voices. They were too far away to make out the words, but all he knew that it varied. A male, a female. A child.
Then something changed.
The light, so far in the distance, pulsed, grew bigger. A voice, child-like, grew louder in his ears. He began running again, reaching out towards the light. Just a little further, he urged himself, just a little more—
He collided with the light.
Then he remembered.
And Jamie Hearn woke up.
He sat up sharply, not even wincing as his muscles protested at such sudden movements after so long of being out of it, only to find a small blonde girl falling off his lap in surprise.
"Eep!" squeaked the girl, as she landed with a thump on her butt. Jamie waited for the wails, as kids were wont to do when they fell over, but none came.
"Er…are you alright?" Jamie asked, his voice slightly hoarse from disuse. He leaned over the edge of his bed, looking at the surprised blonde.
She simply stared at him with huge auburn eyes.
"You…woke up?" she whispered.
"Guess so." Jamie replied, frowning. What in the name of seven hells was going on? Where was he? The hospital? Fair enough. But the kid…who was she?
"Uncle Jamie woke up?" she continued, clambering to her feet.
"Wowie!" she squealed, clambering back onto the bed again and throwing her arms around his neck, "Uncle Jamie woke up! Mommy said you weren't going to wake up, cos it had been too long, but we shouldn't tell Auntie, cos then she would get sad. Mommy said Auntie hadn't given up! But everyone else had. But Auntie was right, so ha, there Mommy, Auntie knows better!"
"Whoa, kiddo, slow down," Jamie said hastily, as the girl removed her arms and grinned up at him. He had to admit, she was adorable. Shoulder length blonde hair, auburn eyes he was sure he recognised from somewhere, and the cutest little grin. "What's your name?"
"Lily!" she said cheerfully.
He instantly thought of that fifteen year old who had once grinned and kissed him. Sandy Lily Tate.
"What's your full name, Lily?" he asked softly.
"Lily Serenity Tate!"
How long had he been out?
Was it long enough for her to have…a child? To get…married…?
But Lily looked nothing like her. Well, besides that cute, mischievous look, and they had some family resemblance…wait. Blonde hair. Auburn eyes. God, he was stupid. He'd only been shot to protect the one girl he knew that had auburn eyes.
Jamie sighed in relief. Thank God. He wasn't that out of it.
"Max and Kara's kid, huh?" Jamie said to Lily, who was still grinning up at him.
"Yep!" she said proudly, "That's me."
"What're you doing here all alone?" Jamie frowned.
"I'm not!" Lily replied, wriggling off the bed, "I'm here with Auntie. She just went to get something to eat."
Auntie. God, there's two people that could be. Could it…?
"Your Auntie. What's her name?" Jamie asked hoarsely.
"Auntie Willow, of course!"
And with that, she skipped out of the room. The blonde looked back and forward, before skipping happily down the corridor, stopping momentarily to wave at the nice receptionist who had handed her a sweet earlier. Finally, she spotted who she was looking for, and hurtled up to her.
"Auntie Willow!" she cried, "Uncle Jamie looks confused."
The black haired woman currently standing at a vending machine and attempting to get the coke she had paid for out of the machine, simply nodded and said "Uh huh."
"But he has pretty eyes." Lily continued.
"Hmm." Willow Tate agreed, glaring at the vending machine. After a well-aimed kick, the machine sputtered out a coke, which the green eyed woman took happily. She looked down at her niece/goddaughter. "I thought I told you to stay with Jamie, Lilykins?"
"I did, but he moved!"
Willow sighed. "Lily, he's asleep, remember? It might be a while til—"
"But he's not asleep!" Lily protested as Willow took her hand.
"Alright, so he's unconscious," Willow smiled, "Jesus, d'you have to be such a smart-ass? You're only three years old. Normal kids can just about speak a sentence at that age, not notice the different between asleep and unconscious—"
"Auntie!" Lily yelled, but to no avail. No matter, they were heading back to the room anyway.
"Must be the genes Holly got. Super human intelligence or something annoying like that." Willow continued, running a hand through her jaw length black hair.
Lily pouted, pulling on her aunt's hand to make her walk faster.
"What's your hurry, Lilykins?" The twenty one year old asked amusedly, looking down at the toddler. Lily simply let out a groan at the wise-ass type of air adults always emitted, and continued to pull of her hand. Finally, they reached the room, but Willow stopped to struggle with the particularly stubborn coke. Lily almost wanted to stomp her foot and throw a tantrum, but she knew it wouldn't help.
Finally, Lily grew impatient and simply yanked on Willow's hand, causing her to stumble forward and land against the door, which fell open. Willow just about remained on her feet, and turned to Lily.
"Lily! What on the earth was that for? You don't just—" the black haired woman stopped when Lily simply ran past her, hopping on Jamie's lap again, who was watching with slightly wide eyes.
And there was Willow Tate, in full glory.
Jamie could only stare.
Willow huffed, turning around, opening her mouth to admonish Lily, but stopped.
The coke hit the floor.
"OH MY GOD!"