(Wo)man in Motion
By The Steel Angel

Authors Notes - A short, kinda dark fic from me. I know those are rare, right? Anyways, it's Animorphs. And it takes place in the last arc of the series, precicely right after Jake reveals his end-all plan to Rachel. Those of you who know the series, know what I'm talking about. There's some angsty femmeslash in here, for all those who like that kinda thing. So, without further adieu, onward!

As I made my way back to my cabin, a sense of awe washed over me. What was this feeling? Complacency? Finality? Knowing that finally, we were going to win this fucking war? It really didn't matter what the feeling was. I couldn't be bothered by it. I had things to prepare for.

I understood Jake's decision. I supported it. He was the leader. The tough calls fell on his shoulders, and he had to make them. He'd chosen me. He was using me, and I didn't care. I knew it had to be done. How far removed my feelings were, from that moment two years ago when I'd snapped upon realizing that Jake was using me during the David episode. I cared about it then. I didn't now.

Our differences had been moved to the side. It didn't matter, that I really didn't like Jake anymore. As a cousin, as a friend, or even as a person. He was the kind of person now, whom if I saw stranded on the side of the road with no water, I wouldn't stop. But this was different. This was WAR. And Jake's plan might get us the victory. A plan, that included my presumable death.

It seemed kind of unfair, really. Here I'd been on the front lines, just like Marco, Cassie, Tobias, Ax, and Jake... and I wasn't going to live to see the end of the war. It made me think that Marco's irony Gods really did exist. I shook my head. All these thoughts were useless now. Jake's plan was valid... and it was the only thing we had. I had to go along with it.

I walked back into my cabin. It was late night, around eleven. My mother and sisters were asleep already. Looking at them, I bit my bottom lip. It must be a living hell for them. I'd ripped them away from their lives... thrown them into the middle of this war. Was I a bad person for trying to protect them? It made me sick to my stomach... I couldn't even face them right now.

I walked back out of the cabin. The air was crisp and chilly, as one would expect from the high elevation of the Hork-bajir valley. It made me shiver in the black leotard that I was wearing. My morphing suit. It was calm in the valley... but you could feel that something big was approaching. Kind of like that sudden lull you feel right before an Earthquake, or the serenity of the eye of a hurricane or a tornado.

The conversation I'd had with Jake only an hour earlier was playing back in my mind. We'd shown no emotion to each other. It was almost as if both of us were each other's enemies. We went over Jake's plan. I offered my criticism. Jake re-worked the plan, adding in some of my requests. We finalized it in no more than twenty minutes... then we'd looked at each other.

"You know this will probably mean." He'd said, looking into my eyes without emotion.

"I know." I'd responded coldly. "And history will forgive you for it. Granted there is a history after tomorrow." I'd said, standing up. We'd been in Jake's cabin. He had one all to himself, since we'd been unable to save his parents.

"But I won't forgive myself." He said, standing up as well. I looked at him. "Do you know, what a leader struggles with the most? It isn't knowing that a decision he makes could end up getting one of his soldiers killed. No, that's just the nature of war. The hardest thing... is not knowing how it will all turn out. If the sacrifices of someone you love will be in vain." He'd said.

"It has to be done, Jake. Even if you tell me not to go now, I'll still go." I'd told him.

"I know you will. That's why I picked you. Even if my conscience attacks me, I know you'll still carry out the plan." He said.

"You have a conscience?" I'd asked. He'd looked away from me.

"There are only three people who have the ability to kill Tom. I can do it. You can do it. And Ax can do it. Ax is needed on board the pool ship... and Cassie stopped me before. And I can't give out orders if I'm on another ship." He said. I snorted.

"So you want me because I'm ruthless." I'd said.

"Yes." He said honestly. And then, something strange happened. He'd blinked a couple of times, and two tears, one from each eye, fell down his cheeks. It was as if every emotional fiber in Jake's body had been squeezed into those two small tears. "I love you, Rachel. I always have and I always will." He told me.

"Stop it." I commanded. "Leaders don't cry." I sounded so firm. So in control. But then I felt a few tears fall down my cheeks. It burned my face internally, to know that I was crying. I cursed myself.

Both of us just stood there in silence for ten minutes. Salt stains had streaked both of our cheeks. Our eyes were red. But still, we didn't say anything to each other. We didn't have to. Jake knew me better than anyone else at this point. More than my mother, my sisters, Cassie... or even myself. It came with the job, I guess. He had to know exactly how I'd react in any given situation, even before I knew what I'd do. That's what made him a leader.

My job? Well, my job was to be the perfect warrior. Cold, ruthless... uninhibited by any and all emotions but anger. Someone had to be the idiot, right? I wasn't good at anything but an all out attack. Planning? Go to Marco. Servaillance? Ask Tobias. Ingenuity? Ax is your boy. Frontal attack? That's me, Rachel Berenson.

The air was cold. It was a stark contrast to the way I was feeling inside. The blood that pumped through my veins felt like it was being fed through a furnace. All the mixed emotions of this fucking war were melding together in my mind. Adrenaline was surging through my body, knowing that my final mission was only hours away. I wouldn't even get to say goodbye mto anyone but Jake. Not Marco, Ax, Toby... my mom... sisters... Cassie. Not even Tobias. No... they all had to be in the dark about this until we sprung the trap.

"What're you doing up?" A familiar voice said. I looked over my shoulder. Cassie was standing about ten feet away from me. It was dark, but I could still see her clearly. Her bright purple and green leotard made her easy to spot. She was short, much shorter than I was. She was around five foot two, while I was about five eleven. God knows how we became best friends. If you looked at each of us seperately, we were polar opposites.

But Cassie and I had been through hell together. I trusted her with my life. Moreso than anyone else in the group.

Unfortunately, she happened to be the last person I wanted to see at the moment. See, Cassie has this strange, innate ability to read people. She's like a morality judge. She can tell what people are feeling and thinking, much like how Jake mhas an uncanny ability to spot out a person's strengths and weaknesses.

Right now, I didn't want anyone to know what I was thinking. Cassie could potentially ruin the whole plan... just by loving us. "I could ask you the same thing." I said, averting my eyes from hers, pretending to be staring up at the stars. She walked over to stand next to me, looking up at the sky as well.

"I don't sleep much these days," She said softly. I understood. Cassie had been kind of an outsider for the past couple of weeks... during our last mission, Jake finally had Tom cornered. Jake had been in Tiger morph, and Tom had taken the blue box. Jake was left with no option but to take the box back by force. Cassie had stopped him, for fear of Jake losing his soul. Now the Yeerks had the morphing cube, and the situation looked as hopeless as ever.

Jake had stopped talking to her all together. Honestly, I don't blame him. Cassie had given away the only advantage we had over the Yeerks. She may have just dealt us a death blow. Marco sided with Jake, I presumed. They were best friends. Ax took Jake's side as well. Tobias? Who knew?

"Beautifu l, aren't they?" She asked.

"Hm?" I questioned, looking over at her.

"The stars... you can see them so well from the valley floor... no light pollution." She whispered. "I'd forgotten how beautiful the night sky is."

"Beautiful? There are a hundred thousand space wars going on all over the galaxy... you call that beautiful?" I said, looking over at her. She had been staring at my face the whole time. Reading my voice... facial expressions...tone... no doubt.

"What's wrong, Rachel?" She asked simply.

"What's wrong? What's wrong! We're in a war for our lives, Cassie! What else COULD go wrong!" I demanded, losing control of the pitch of my voice. Cassie just stared at me. She wasn't intimidated by my reactin, nor did I expect her to be. "The war is escilating, Cassie... if we're going to make our move, we have to do it now. Before it's too late." I said more calmly. I sat down on the grass. She waited for a few minutes, but then sat down next to me. She put one of her hands on mine.

"I know that... but that doesn't explain why you're acting scared right now." She said. She'd found it. After all the covering I had done, she'd still spotlighted the fact that I was afraid. Afraid of what I was going to do. Afraid of the Yeerks. Afraid, to die. I didn't say anything for a few minutes. Then, when I finally did speak, it came out in a whisper.

"I'm going with Tom... on the Blade Ship." I whispered, nearly inaudibly.

"...Rachel..." She said, beginning to protest.

"Enough, Cassie... my mind is made up. Jake and I worked out everything. I'm leaving first thing in the morning." I said, looking over at her. "Tom can't be allowed to go through with his plan. This is our only option, Cassie." I said.

"Rachel... he's your cousin..." She said weakly.

"No he isn't. Maybe my cousin Tom is still alive in there somewhere, but that thing is a Yeerk. Better dead than a controller. Tom knows that. Jake knows that. You know that." I told her. Her hand was still on mine. She closed her hand around mine, squeezing it lightly.

"Rachel, you're volunteering for a suicide mission." She said, trying to change my mind.

"One life in exchange for the freedom of the entire human race? Wouldn't you make that trade?" I asked. Cassie threw her arms around me, wrapping me up in a tight hug. I blinked, a little surprised.

"No... " She said, burying her face in my shoulder. "Not if it's your life I have to trade... we don't even know if this stupid plan is going to work... and if it doesn't, we'll be one Animorph less." She said. I could hear her beginning to sniffle. She was going to sob.

"Cassie... if this plan doesn't work, it won't matter how many Animorphs we have. If this plan doesn't work, then Earth loses." I said grimly.

"Don't be so pessimistic. There's always an alternative." Cassie said surely. I scoffed, pulling away from her grasp.

"The alternative, is to be destroyed. If this plan fails, then all of us are going to either die or be enslaved. All of you will be on the Pool Ship, and I'll be on the Blade Ship. There's no escape for any of us if we fail." I said. Cassie didn't say anything for a few moments. She knew I was right.

"You're not going to change your mind," She said simply. It wasn't a question. She knew that I was determined to go through with it. She knew that she couldn't change my mind one way or the other. Like I said, she could read my feelings like a book. I remained silent. I didn't have to say anything. "Poor Jake..." She whispered.

"Poor Jake?" I repeated, not quite sure if she'd said what I thought she had just said.

"He's going to send his own cousin on a suicide mission to kill his brother... he's going to lose his soul," She whispered. I rolled my eyes.

"Jake's making the smart call that'll win us the war. Besides, it isn't like he's ordering me to go. I volunteered." I said.

"Yes... but you've already lost your soul." She said. The air instantly grew colder around me, though the wind slowed to a dead stop. The adrenaline was leaving me... had she really just said that? My blood felt cold... my veins, like icicles. I suddenly found it hard to breathe. My temporary rush was fading. "You've already come to the conclusion that we can't win without someone dying..." She said. Even though it was dark, I knew she was crying.

"Cassie..." I said, taking a deep breath. The air felt like syrup, It was hard to keep my breath. What was it? Fear? Anxiety? Anger? "This is a war that we have to win... no matter what the cost... you know that." I said, moving back close to her. I slung an arm around her shoulders.

"It isn't fair..." She said, her voice cracking. I could see her breath in the cold. "We were supposed to graduate together... go to college together... flirt with boys together..." She whispered. I chuckled. "When one of us gets married, the other is supposed to be the maid of honor... you're supposed to drag me out kicking and screaming when you want to go wedding shopping... and you're supposed to knock me senseless when I show up to my own wedding wearing overalls." She said.

"I don't have to die, Cassie... there can only be so many controllers on the Blade Ship, plus Tom. I can take them." I said, adding a bit of confidence into my voice, for Cassie's sake. "Who cares if they're morph-capable or not? Nothing can go through me when I'm in Grizzly morph."

"Stop trying to humor me!" She snapped. I blinked. She'd seen through my mask again. "You know that if you go, the chances of you surviving or less than slim, and not much better than none." She said. I nodded. "...There are so many things we'll never get to do together... I'll never get to see you and Tobias get married," She said. I laughed.

"Yeah well, I wouldn't marry a bird anyway. I don't think that's legal in the greater United States yet. And knowing him, he isn't gonna be changing back to human anytime soon." I said. "Besides... you'll still have Jake when this is all said and done." I reminded her.

"Jake hasn't spoken to me since... the incident." She said depressedly. "And if you go through with this mission... I don't think I'll ever get the boy that I love back." She looked up at me. "Trading you for Jake doesn't make me happy, Rachel... no one can replace you. We've been best friends since I can remember." She said.

"Since we were six months old." I said.

"... I love you, Rachel." Cassie whispered to me.

"I love ya too." I said, smiling for the first time in a while.

We didn't say anything for a long time after that. It must have been an hour and a half, maybe two. We just sat there, with my arm wrapped around her, staring up at the stars. We didn't have to talk. We knew each other well enough, that not talking was just as important as talking.

"Rachel..." She said, breaking the long silence. I looked over at her. "Have you ever... you know... done anything... with Tobias?" She asked. I smirked, and shook my head.

"Of course not. Every time we're alone together, and things start moving in the right direction... he has to demorph. Watching your boyfriend turn into a hawk is kind of a mood killer." I commented, earning a slight giggle from Cassie. "What about you and Jake?" I asked.

"No..." She said with a blush. "We almost did once... but both of us just turned into stammering little kids. It was pretty embarrassing." She said softly. I smirked.

"Sounds like Jake to me. Saving the world? Sure. Life and Death decisions? Piece of cake. Sex? No way in hell." I said with a laugh. Cassie giggled softly, but then stopped. I felt her put one of her hands on my cheek, turning my face to look at her. I raised an eyebrow. "Cassie?" I asked. She didn't given a verbal response, instead, she leaned in, and pressed her lips against mine. I was too stunned to react. She pulled back after a moment. "...W...wow," I stammered.

"Are you okay?" She asked tenderly.

"Y...yeah... but... why?" I asked, staring into her eyes. I saw her shrug lightly.

"If you're right... then tomorrow might be our last day as free beings... or our last day alive... I don't want to take the risk of never feeling physical pleasure..." She said.
"But... me?" I asked.

"What, you think I should ask Marco?" She countered.

"...Okay, me." I said. Not a very hard decision there.

"...I love you, Rachel... I've spent my whole life with you... there's no one I trust more. No one I'd trust more, to be gentle... delicate..." She whispered. My head was spinning? What do I do? I felt my hand move... and fall to rest on Cassie's thigh. Was I saying yes?

I leaned in, and kissed her this time. Her lips were soft, warm, inviting... they felt like velvet, pressed against my own. We turned our heads, allowing us to deepen the kiss. Her tongue slid out from her lips, and gently pressed against mine. I opened my mouth slightly, as a reflex. She slid her tongue past my lips, gently running the tip back and forth on the inside of my upper lip.

My hands made their way to Cassie's shoulders, and I started to gently rub them, down her slender arms, and then back up to the shoulders again, all the time holding the kiss, and even gently sucking on Cassie's tongue, earning a soft giggle from her. I broke the kiss after a few minutes, pulling back to stare at her eyes. I could see them clearly, even in the night sky... they were practically beaming. I slide my hands to Cassie's chest, two fingers sliding up and down the cleft between her breasts softly.

"Rachel..." She breathed rasply. I smiled, and reached around behind her, unzipping the leotard and pulling it down to her waist, which left her bare from the waist up. I locked my eyes on her breasts. They were small, but not miniscule. About the size of oranges. I brought both hands up, and cuppled each breast, feeling her nipples harden against my palms. Her breasts were firm, and the color of mocha.

I didn't waste any time. I leaned down, and took one of her nipples into my mouth, rolling it along my tongue, and even sucking on it like a baby would suck on a bottle. I heard her gasp, then moan sharply, as both of her hands latched onto the back of my head. I kept up the gentle sucking motion, switching back and forth between nipples every so often.

I felt one of her hands trail along my upper back, up to my neck, and slowly unzip the leotard that I was wearing. "God that feels amazing..." She said in little more than a whisper. I looked up at her.

"Y'know, they say, that no one can please a woman quite like another woman." I said, releasing her nipple from my mouth. She looked back down.

"Who says that?" She asked curiously. I shrugged.

"Lesbian romance novels?" I inquired. She smirked, and then let out a laugh.

"Come on... enough teasing. If we go at this all night, you won't even be awake enough to yell at your mother in the morning." Cassie said, and slide out of the leotard completely, leaving her naked on the ground before me. I copied her actions, sliding my own leotard off, and laid down next to her, all the time looking at her face. She crawled over to me, and spread my legs apart.

I bit my bottom lip, as my very core was exposed to the cool air of the valley. It sent chills down my spine. But Cassie quickly compensated for the cold, by sliding her body against mine, like my legs were a pair of scissors and she was the paper. Our pelvises were pressed against each other... I could feel how aroused she was.

"Who's to say... that the internet isn't helpful?" She asked. I just stared at her for a moment, before grinning.

"You little minx." I said. I could see her face redden, but rather than say something to defend herself, she began to grind her pelvis against mine. The feeling was incredible. I let out a harsh moan, as streaks of pleasure wracked my body, causing my knees to turn to jello. I began to grind back against her, supporting my weight with one hand on the ground, and letting my other hand grip one of Cassie's breasts.

She did the same thing as we began to establish a gentle rhythm, her fingertips running lightly over one of my breasts. The pleasure was clouding my mind... I wasn't thinking about anything but the moment. Not of Jake, of the human race, of the Yeerks, of the mission... just of Cassie. She, was my objective right now.

As time progressed, we began to move against other with more force, until both of us were yelping in rhythmic pleasure. I bit my lip, and slid my hand down to Cassie's pelvis, and started to run my thumb over her clit gently, as our rhythms became more erratic. She groaned loudly. "Yesss..." I heard her cry.

"Mm...Cassie..." I moaned. "Almost..." I managed to say. I could feel something building inside of me. Something that felt like a hurricane, or a tornado. Something that I couldn't stop, no matter how hard I tried. Pure, raw, pleasure was flowing into my body as my moment of climax drew near...

"R...R...Rachel...RACHEL!" Cassie screamed, as she arched her back. Her body was trembling as she emmited moans of pleasure that I didn't even think Cassie was capable of making. Then it hit me, all at once. It was as if someone had ignited a fire deep inside of me. I felt hot, then cold, then hot, then cold again. I could only see white, as I felt a waterfall of pleasure crash down onto me.

"Cassiiiiiieeee!" I cried, as my body shook erratically, no longer obeying my commands. I was in a state of pure emotional bliss. It lasted only fifteen, maybe twenty seconds... but it was the most wonderful thing I'd ever felt in my life. Slowly, my vision returned to me. My limbs became mine once more, though still feeling the effects of my climax. I looked at Cassie.

She was laying on the ground, her chest rising and falling quickly. She was panting, but I could see her begin to relax. I crawled over next to her, and brushed my cheek against hers. "I love you, Cassie..." I whispered softly. She didn't say anything for a while, but then wrapped her arms around my waist.

"I love you too..." She whispered, and kissed me a final time. I kissed her back, wanting to savor the moment as long as I could... On this night... my best friend... my last night... my last kiss...