Summary: An alternate ending to the book "The City of Ember." AU One-shot Lina/Doon

-()-()-()-This New World-()-()-()-

Lina and Doon watched as the shirt-wrapped note sailed down into Ember. She held her breath, as if waiting for all of Ember to erupt into spontaneous hurrahs as the note touched the ground. But nothing happened. As a few seconds passed the bright lights of Ember died out…maybe for good. She and Doon backed out of the little cave as tears silently welled up in her eyes. She thought of all the hundreds of people down in Ember, all of them waiting for utter disaster.

'So Doon and I…we might be the only ones who make it out of Ember, alive?' thought Lina, but at thinking this she jumped up, for she had forgotten about Poppy!

"Poppy? Poppy?" Lina cried frantically. But Doon shushed her and pointed to a small silent lump on the ground. It was Poppy, fast asleep, her chest heaving up and down methodically. Lina placed a hand over her heart and sighed. She walked over to one of the nearby large plants and slid down its hard, brown base. Doon walked over and sat down next to her, leaning up against its curved side, too.

"What if no one even lives here…what if they're all gone?" Lina said meekly, wishing beyond hope that her thought wasn't true.

"Well…at least some life lives here. We saw that…thing, remember?" Doon said, referring to the live creature that they had encountered earlier. Lina nodded, she would remember that thing forever, even if she never saw it again.
The silence was eerie, just her and Doon and little Poppy asleep a few feet away.

"What will the people be like…if there are any?" Lina wondered aloud.

"I don't know…but I hope they're like you." Doon said, almost mumbling the last part.

"What?" Lina asked, turning her head to her right so she could see him better.

"Oh, nothing." Doon said, avoiding eye contact. Lina had always been like a dream to Doon back in Ember. She had seemed so carefree and light as a feather…he had only seen her real self the past week when she had shown him the 'Instructions.' He liked the real her…almost too much. He tried to focus on various things, but her image always invaded his mind, always. He often wondered if what he felt could be described as love...or not.

Lina gazed up at the lantern in the sky.

'So the sky isn't blue like in my drawings…but at least it has a nice light.' Lina thought, but she drew away from her thinking when she felt Doon's hand accidentally brush her arm. She cursed herself for letting she and Doon stop being friends so long ago.

'Though I'm sure that's all he wants to be…friends.' Lina thought sadly. She had envied Lizzie when she heard her friend had a boyfriend…even if it had been that dreadful Looper. Doon looked over at where he had brushed Lina's arm.

"Sorry…" he apologized trivially.

"Sorry?" Lina asked, wondering what he could be sorry for. Doon shook his head, mentally kicking himself.

"Nothing…nothing." he said as Lina stared at him strangely.

"Doon…are you OK?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.

"Yes…yes, I'm fine." he replied monotonously.

"Uh-huh." Lina replied sarcastically. She crawled over to him and sat in front of him and squinted her eyes, studying him closely.
Doon's heart jumped, in a flash her face had become inches away from his.

"Oh I see the problem." she said with a smile and brushed a strand of his shaggy hair out of his face.

"There." she said triumphantly still sitting on her knees in front of him. Doon began to think about what Lina had said, what if there really were no people around? What if they were going to die soon for lack of food and water?

Doon sighed. It was just them…and Poppy. If he told her he had feelings for her, what would it matter? The thought of dying and not telling her made him cringe. Couldn't they use the remaining time they had together? Doon swallowed his fear, he needed to tell her before it was too late.

"Lina, you know how I said I was sorry?" Doon asked the dark-haired girl in front of him. Lina nodded, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion.

"Well, this is why." he said, leaning in kissing her softly on the lips. Doon pulled away quickly, studying her face for signs. She was looking down, her eyelids covering her eyes. He gulped, perhaps he had been wrong in doing anything drastic. He could hear his father's voice,
'Hasty actions lead to unintended consequences.' What if Lina never spoke to him again? Just then, Lina's head rose up, a smile tugging at her lips.

"Well, Doon, then I'm really sorry." she said leaning in and pressing her lips to his, but not quickly pulling away as he had. She lingered there, slowly wrapping her arms around his neck. Doon was very surprised, he had been sure she had been upset…not planning to kiss him back! After a minute or so, they both pulled away and Lina laid her head on Doon's shoulder.

"I never thought you wanted anything more." Lina said softly.

"What?" Doon asked, confused.

"I mean, I never thought I was good enough…I'm not half as smart as you. If it wasn't for you I'd still be in Ember." she said as he wrapped his arms around her.

"Lina…if it wasn't for you I'd still be in Ember. You were the one who found the 'Instructions' and believed they were important when no one else would." he said, stroking her hair.

"I guess…" she trailed.

"We can make this new world our own, it already has many more things than Ember could ever offer." Doon said. Just then, Lina noticed something orange and pink rising behind them.

"Doon look!" she cried, reaching her left hand out to point at the new colors. Doon looked behind him, and seeing how amazing it was scooted around the large plant so they were both facing the rising colors.

"Oh they're so beautiful…" Lina said softly watching the bright pastel colors dance on the horizon. Just then, a globe of light began to rise. Slowly but surely, it continued it's way upwards until the full globe shone low on the horizon. The colors slowly faded into one solid color, a pale sky blue. Lina gasped,
"It's it's just like in my picture." she murmured with a smile. Just then, Poppy stirred.

"Poppy, come look!" Lina cried to her younger sister. Poppy toddled over to Lina's arms as Lina reached a hand up and pointed to colorful sky.

"Bloo!" Poppy said cheerfully. Doon and Lina leaned in to kiss but before their lips met, Lina said,

"You know, Doon, I think we're going to like this new world…I think we're going to like it a lot."