Review Responses:

To Bluefox: A couple things aside from your reviews for a moment.
Can you recommend this story to The Great Red Dragon X? One reason is that he writes some of the best reviews in this section. The main reason though, is that I see him as my personal rival here, both as a writer and as a reviewer. So I would really love to see what he thinks of this work.
Second, what ever happened to 'The Armored Angels'? That was a good 'fic and you seemed to have given up on it! Was it because of what I said? Just because your idea is similar to one I have doesn't mean you should quit. I wanna' read that story dammit! Despite however it may or may not resemble something I came up with.

To Ri2: I thought that was very climactic! Just because you don't have an awesome fight sequence doesn't mean something can't be climactic. The focus of the chapter was the twisted interaction between Stitch, Lilo, and the Emperor. I personally thought that would give far more depth and drama than just a bunch of fighting.

To A. Nonymous: You're right. I didn't do that intentionally! I had that planned out from the very beginning. You might have noticed that I've been dropping hints as to that event throughout the story with Stitch's painful reactions to loud noises.

To all who asked: Yes, Emperor 626 was intent on raping Lilo. And yes, his comment about the other chosen children can be taken as implied.


Well, this is it. This is the end of the story.

I spent too damn long writing this thing and now I'm happy to move on to other projects. However, I won't be continuing with Gems of Tomorrow immediately. Instead I'm going to start working on something I've been planning on since before I even came up with the idea for The Only Thing Worse than Dying. It's a saga fic (many episodes, as in a series) of Digimon. A little background on it is as follows: it's been forty three years since the events of Tamers –season three– and the world has taken a turn for the worse. Some figure working in the shadows of a long thought dead organization is now gathering a new group of tamers from across the world, not to save humans from Digimon, but to save Digimon from humans.

After I get done with the first episode I'll get started on Gems of Tomorrow again. After that I'll trade off between the two, writing a chapter for one, and then a chapter for the other.

By the way, there's a new up and coming writer for you all to check out. His name is Deathdoesn't-matter. He's only got two stories up so far. The first one isn't very good. It's little more than a mindless gorefest. But the second one titled, 'Puppet of the Shadow' is excellent! I think of it as a masterwork of subtlety and quiet suspense. Subtlety has never been something I was good at so I find his work astounding, probably more so than most others would. But don't take this as I'm hyping the story, I assure you it is excellent!

A large circular window opened up into the darkness of the pouring rain, shooting red light out of it as bright as a searchlight into the night. Only the occasional flash of lightning would outdo this window in terms of its sheer brightness. The window opened up to a place of pure swirling red. Impenetrable white smoke formed from thin air and swirled around the edges of this window, to be sucked inside once it reached the circumference. In the distance, in the window, a small object headed forward at an incredible speed. There wouldn't be much time for any kind of observer to register what it was before it came hurtling out of that window.

The time board flew out and crashed hard against the slippery wet surface of the outcropping halfway between the winding road above and the ocean below. The Wind pounded so hard that the spray of the ocean made it the whole fifty or so feet up to that outcropping and over, soaking anything that would stand on it. The board skidded and spun around the rock, throwing all occupants off. Lilo found her head spinning and her stomach twisting from the sudden halt and being thrown through the air. She landed with a thud on her stomach, which was fortunate since any other spot would either have causes serious pain, or worse.

As soon as the world came back into focus, Lilo once again found her head dangling off the side of a cliff, looking straight down at the churning ocean below. Lilo flailed her arms about in the air as she desperately tried to find something, anything to grab hold of. It was right in front of her the entire time, the rocky ground her shoulders were resting on. As soon as she realized this, she threw herself backward with her arms and landed on her back with the rain dumping onto her face. Only now did she realize that the rain was soaking her, and the cold and wind was numbing her extremities. She didn't mind though. Unlike last time she was on this cliff, in this storm, the rain and the cold felt good. You never realize how horrible you feel until you start to feel better, and this was no exception. The rain began washing all the dirt and grime from her cuts and scrapes. They started to bleed again, and it stung, but her body no longer felt so horribly dirty and sticky. Her joints, once aching to the point of barely being able to move, were now being dulled and soothed by the icy rain pouring over her. It was a compromise Lilo was glad to give.

Lilo lay there on the hard rock ground letting the ice cold water rush passed her, her eyes closed to keep it out. Not only her physical pain and discomfort, but it was as if the horrible things Emperor 626 had done, and was about to do to her was also being washed away by this rain. For the first time in a long time, Lilo let her body relax, and all her muscles let go of their tension.

Lilo tilted her head back in an especially heavy breath, unaware of what might happen if she did. The ice cold water flowed down her nose and stung the inside of her head. Lilo immediately turned over and blew as hard as she could out of her nose until she was out of breath, and then did so again with her next breath.

Lilo looked over to her side to see Stitch sitting upright and staring off into the black horizon. He looked no better. His hands were all badly burned, his chest was also burned, but far more lightly. Large patches of his hair were either burned down to a short length, or burned off entirely, exposing the pale skin beneath, patches of which were bright red, as if horribly sunburnt. It was a bit strange, Stitch too seemed to be enjoying the ice cold rain. He sat and breathed heavily while looking off into the horizon with squinted eyes. It was strange considering Stitch aversion to water, but considering the circumstances, it must feel just as good for him as it did for her. Indeed, she could see the water running off him was darker than the water hitting him, and such freezing cold rocks and rain would feel great on his body covered with those burns.

Lilo Scooted over and leaned against Stitch, her head on his shoulder. Stitch didn't react except to close his eyes and yawn.

"It's over Stitch." Lilo said.

Stitch gave no acknowledgment of what he heard, except to wrap both his left arms around her shoulder.

"All we have to do now is sit and wait." Lilo continued. "We wait here and do nothing, then we go back home, and none of this will have ever happened."

"Oh but it will happen."

Lilo turned to Stitch, it sounded Like him, but Stitch stared back at her with his eyes wide, and shook his head at her.

"Emperor 626." Lilo whispered, her face just as in shock as his own.

Both Lilo and Stitch stood up and turned around.

There he was. He was standing on the back of the time board, on top of Jumba's engine with his gold rings and tattered red robe and all four of his arms folded. Emperor 626 had the look of someone who'd just won the lottery, but neither Stitch nor Lilo could fathom why.

"What? How?" Lilo screamed at no one in particular.

"Emperor grab time board!" Stitch shouted at Lilo directly.

"More specifically, I clung to the bottom so you wouldn't see me." Emperor 626 corrected. "Smacked my head pretty damn good on the rock when we finally came out."

Emperor 626 unfolded his arms and dropped off the engine. As he walked forward, both Stitch and Lilo walked back. Lilo faltered as she almost walked right off the cliff, until Stitch grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her back.

"I have to thank you for bringing me back." The emperor continued. "Now that I'm here, and I'm guessing it's about a year before I was supposed to show up, not only do I now get a head start on everyone else, but I can also establish my empire all over again without repeating the mistakes I made the first time."

Emperor 626, now a foot away from Lilo and Stitch, who were back up against the edge of the cliff, thrust his face right into Stitch's, stopping only an inch away. Stitch jumped startled, and almost lost his balance, falling over off the cliff until Lilo grabbed both his right arms and pulled him back.

They came to seeing the emperor giggling to himself. But his face snapped back into direness as soon as he saw they were looking at him.

"Mistakes like that nice trick you pulled with the tweeter in my gallery. I'll be sure to avoid that little weakness this time around."

"You're not going to get another time around!" Lilo yelled.

"Feboogo!" Stitch yelled as well, as he jumped toward the emperor and tackled him to the ground.

Stitch and Emperor 626 rolled about in the rain, on the rock, not paying attention to where they were going, each only trying to pin the other beneath him. They rolled straight into a large rock, which for just a split second came between them. Emperor 626 took advantage of this by reaching his arms around the rock, and pushing Stitch's face straight into it, smashing it into fragments that went flying about. Pebbles sprayed against Lilo, who had to shield her eyes from them with her arm.

Stitch came back up with his teeth clenched and a small trickle of pink blood running down the side of his lip. He wasted no time in tackling Emperor 626 once again, and again they rolled around the ground not caring to pay attention to where they were going.

Lilo ran to the back of the cliff. If she stood where she was, than the fight would surely knock her off. Stitch and the emperor rolled right passed her and she could only watch. Again, it was Emperor 626 that got the upper hand, pinning Stitch against the ground. Emperor 626 grabbed Stitch by the fur on his sternum, pulled him up, and than punched him right in the muzzle, back down to the rock ground that shattered on impact with his head. The emperor grabbed him again, and hit him back down again, five times in all. Stitch was now disoriented and had blood running out of both nostrils as he saw Emperor 626 extend the claws on all four of his hands and thrust them right at his face. Stitch caught the emperor's arms by the wrists less than an inch away from them digging into his eyes. He desperately tried to push the emperor's arms back.

Lilo ran off to grab another, even bigger rock. This time she would smash it down on the emperor with her own hands. Lilo hobbled about barely able to lift the thing, until at last she was right behind Stitch and Emperor 626's power struggle. Heaving and straining every muscle in her arms, shoulders and back, Lilo lifted the rock above her head.

Emperor 626 took only a moment to turn his head to see what was behind him. He let go of all pressure against Stitch, and Stitch's pushed threw him backwards right into Lilo. They both tumbled into the face of the cliff behind them.

The impact had knocked the wind out of Lilo, and would eventually result in a large bruise on her back. Emperor 626 got up and shook his head clear. He looked forward and found that rock that Lilo was going to pound him with. He jumped or the rock and picked it up in one hand. Emperor 626 slowly walked toward Lilo, stood above her scowling, water running off his face like a faucet.

Lilo couldn't see a thing. From the darkness and her blurred vision, only a fuzz was perceptible in front of her, until lightning flashed. Lilo saw blurry and spinning doubles, but it was still quite clear. Emperor 626 was standing above her, holding that same rock in his hand, ready to bring it down on her.

He was about to, but then he dropped it. Stitch had jumped onto the emperor's back, covering his eyes with his top hands and choking his with his bottom hands. Emperor 626 staggered about and spun around making horrible noises as he tried in vane to scream through the grasp on his throat. The emperor's arms found their way to Stitch's, and he dug his claws into Stitch's flesh. Through the pain, Stitch continued his grip over the emperor's eyes and neck. Emperor 626 continued to hobble about, eventually reaching the edge of the cliff. About to turn back, the rocks gave way beneath the emperor's feet, sending both him and Stitch careening down the cliff side toward the boiling ocean below.

Stitch had to let go. Panic stricken, he scratched repeatedly at the cliff, hoping desperately to get a claw into to rock, but the rocks kept giving way and tumbling down the cliff.

At last, there was an area of solid rock, Stitch thrust his hand into it as hard as he could, and bolted himself to the cliff side with only one hand.

There was still something strange. It felt like there was a weight strapped to his ankle. Stitch looked down. Emperor 626 was also being held aloft by one hand, clenched to a tuft of fur on Stitch's ankle. The emperor looked down at the ocean below, and then back up at Stitch. Stitch extended the claws on his lower hand.

Emperor 626 scowled at Stitch, his ears drooped down against his body, and shook his head. Stitch smiled, and nodded his.

With one swipe of his paw, Stitch cut the tuft of fur from his ankle, leaving the emperor to fall screaming into the ocean below, clinging to that tuft of fur the whole time. Emperor 626 hit the water with the force of a head on collision. He hysterically tried to paddle his way back up to the surface with his arms, but it was no use, he kept sinking. At long last, Emperor 626 let out a scream of rage, muffled by the water, in turn letting out his last breath. His arms and legs began to slow down, as did his heart. After no longer being able to take it, Emperor 626 took a deep breath. His lungs filled with water, and he sank into the sea, down until there was nothing but darkness.

Stitch stared down at the ocean for some time now. He had seen the emperor go down, he had seen bubbles come up. Emperor 626 was dead. He could now never touch Hawaii, he could never touch his family, and he could never touch Lilo. There was nothing left to do now except for a word of solace for the newly departed.

"Meega Nala Queesta…" Stitch whispered to himself, and he hawked a loogie into the ocean below him.

Stitch swung his body around and thrust his other three hands into the sides of the cliff. He began his slow and careful climb back to the top.

Lilo was curled up and shivering against the corner of the cliff, trying to use it was a shield from the rain. What once the cold and the rain felt good on her, now it getting to her. The cold was starting new aches of its own and her nose was running and she was starting to get light headed. But through it all, she managed to see a hand reach up from off the edge of the cliff, and pry a small, blue furred creature with four arms, a pair of antennae, and quills extending from his back up onto the outcropping of rock. This creature walked over two her with a tired and heavy stride.

Lilo pushed herself against the cliff.

"Are you Stitch?" She cried out.

"Ih! Is Stitch." She heard back from the creature.

"Prove it!"

Prove it? How was he going to do that? Stitch searched his mind for the answer, but out of the blue the answer came to him without needing to be looked for.

"Ohana means family." Stitch said. "And family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten."

The familiar phrase only Stitch would know. Lilo stood up and threw herself at him, landing in his arms and burying her head in his chest. Stitch held Lilo against him as tight as he thought he could without hurting her. Despite the freezing cold, the pain, the numbness, and the wetness, this was the most content either of them had been for the past month.

"What about Emperor 626?" Lio whispered.

"Emperor is dead." Stitch answered. "Is all over now."

Hearing those words, a flood of emotion was unleashed in Lilo. Knowing nothing else to do with it, she burst out crying. They stood there like that for what had to be ten minutes, cold, wet, numb, aching, near delirious, and happier than either of them had been in a long time.

Stitch parted his eyes just a bit. He saw something in the distance. It was something on the road, a light of some kind. Stitch loosened his grip on Lilo as he focused on that distant speck.

"What is it Stitch?" Lilo asked.

"Parents." Stitch answered.

Stitch looked straight into Lilo's eyes. "Does Lilo want to… see them… one more time?"

Lilo nodded her head.

Stitch walked over to the cliff face, Lilo climbed on his back, and they both began ascending the cliff.

A deafeningly close flash of lightning sliced right through the base of a palm tree growing out of the cliff and hanging over the road. The tree fell down onto the road blocking it.

The apex of the super-cell was passing over Kauai that very night. It stormed so hard you couldn't see ten feet in front of you, except when a flash of lightning illuminated the scenery for only a split second.

A winding road built into its winding cliff face was at the center of the storm's pounding. And out of either desperation, or sheer idiocy, someone was driving down that very road.

A beat up old wooden station wagon turned the bend and came into view. Its high beams on and its wipers at full blast.

Inside the car one could barely hear Elvis' All Shook Up playing over the sound of the storm outside.

In the driver's seat was the skinny, middle aged Eric Pelkai pretending to be in his twenties. His hair was clearly dyed and spiked up, you could tell just from the bit that stuck out of his sideways black baseball cap with the phrase 'Vietnam Vet' sowed into the front in bright yellow. His typical goldenrod Hawaiian shirt was halfway unbuttoned and a pair of expensive shades hung loosely from the first joined button at the bottom of his chest. Looking further down would reveal he wore frayed jean shorts with an empty buck knife holster strapped to his belt.

Eric leaned toward the windshield intently with both hands gripping the steering wheel tightly.

In the front passenger's seat sat a middle aged Keala Pelekai who was clearly much more modest. She wore a sleeveless, blue button up shirt and jeans, and had her hair back in a ponytail. More than that there was really not much to say about her.

She stared intently at a book of roadmaps she was pressing against the dashboard. She turned the book on its side and brought her face in for a closer look.

In the back seat, with her nose in a gameboy, was a very familiar little girl in a red mumu dotted with yellow flowers.

"I can't see anything in this storm!" Eric finally spoke up.

Eric lifted one hand off the steering wheel to rub a small gold statue of a fat Elvis sitting in the lotus position as if her were the Buddha.

"Please be watchin' ova' us now." Eric said as he took his hand off the Elvis Buddha and back to the steering wheel.

Eric continued, "How far away's Kokaua again?"

Keala looked up from her book toward Eric. "We should be thea' any minute now." She told him. "We might've already passed it without knowing."

"Damn…" Eric whispered to himself.

He then turned his head back toward the little girl in the back seat.

"Hey Lilo? When we get to Nani's I want you to put away that game and spend as much time as ya' can wit'er. We're not gonna' see her for four yea's when she's in college at Honolulu."

Lilo paused the game and looked up. "But you said we'd spend every summer there so we could."


In reaction to Keala's scream, Eric whipped his head around just soon enough to see a downed palm tree a few feet away from the windshield. It was too late to react.

The wagon smashed into the tree just above the level of the windshield. The hood had been scraped right off the car and now lay in pieces on the road. Everything in the front half of the cab from just above the windshield was scrunched up like an accordion. Amazingly, there was almost no damage to the back half.

Lilo slowly came to. Surrounded by blurry double images of people she'd never seen before. She was laying down. She tried to get up but couldn't move. There were canvas straps holding her down and a brace around her neck.

The storm had calmed and the downpour had turned into a light sprinkle.

The minutes passed as Lilo's vision slowly got better. She could now make out the people around her. They were all paramedics. Why was she surrounded by paramedics? Out of the corner of her eye Lilo could make out what looked to be emergency beds covered by bulging sheets. The front half of the sheets were covered in blood, and blood dripped down from the beds onto the road. Those weren't just sheets, there were people under them, dead people.

Lilo could finally hear straight, and listened to what two paramedics near the beds were saying.

"Eric and Keala Pelekai, according to thea' wallets"

"Who's the girl?"

"Thea' daughter I'm guessin'. We still dunno' her name."

"So… gimme' da gory details."

"Well, they crashed into da tree you know already. Just above da windshield. Front half of da cab was totaled. Thea' faces were bashed right in ya know. They both died in less then half a second."

"Mom? … Dad…?" Lilo whispered to herself.

The paramedics continued their conversation. "This really freaks me out I'm gonna go off for a smoke."

Lilo followed as best she could as the paramedic walked by her, over to the edge of the road.

She watched as the paramedic lit up a cigarette and began smoking it. And then a flash of lightning caused him to pause and stare off in the distance.The flash had illuminated the silhouette of a person on a not too distant ledge overlooking the gruesome scene.

Watching the whole scene from that ledge was another, slightly older, and far more beaten up Lilo. Stitch lay down on the ground on his stomach right next to her. It was now only sprinkling, and it was getting warmer.

This was what had to be done. Lilo knew this now not only in fact, but in spirit as well. She knew neither she nor Stitch could interfere with what was happening, the death of her parents. She was staring right it, for the third time in her life, and she was just watching as an outsider. She saw the paramedics walking about, some stopping to examine the gurneys with the red stains on them. Those were her mother and father, now nothing more than red stains on sheets draped over gurneys. But that was the way it had to be, and Lilo accepted that. So then why did she insist on seeing this once again?

Stitch lifted himself up to a sitting position and looked over at Lilo. He saw something incredible. Her hands were clenched tight, and she was pouring out tears, but… she was smiling. She was smiling? She had just willingly watched her mother and father die before her very eyes. How could she be smiling?

The answer came in a few words Lilo whispered just then.

"Bye mom. Bye dad."

That was it. Stitch remembered what Lilo had said before. All she ever truly wanted was to say goodbye to them. It seemed now she had finally gotten that opportunity, and she didn't hesitate to take it. Though how badly she must've been feeling at that moment, Stitch couldn't even try to understand and he knew it, she had gotten to say goodbye, and that was just enough to force a smile out of her face, and one of the most genuine smiles Stitch had ever seen.

"Come on Lilo." Stitch whispered. "Let's go home."

Lilo turned toward Stitch and nodded. "Yeah Stitch. Let's go home."

Lilo climbed again onto Stitch's back, and they both started to descend the cliff back to that outcropping where Jumba's time board was waiting for them.

The paramedic dropped the cigarette from his lips and stared at ledge for several more minutes until he felt a hand on his shoulder.

He jumped and turned around to find another paramedic looking back at him."You okay?" The second paramedic asked.

The first paramedic turned back toward the ledge. "There was someone there. There on that ledge. He was lookin' at us."

Both paramedics turned toward the ledge and looked out for another minute. A flash of lightning once again illuminated the ledge, but this time there was no silhouette.

"There ain't nothin' thea' man." The second paramedic said. "I think this scene's gettin' to ya head."

The paramedics turned around and began to walk back toward the accident when they heard a cry.

"Who was he? What did he do to mom and dad?"

They both turned around and saw Lilo staring up at them with her face bright red.

"Ah crap! She's awake!" Was all Lilo heard as she felt a hot sting on the back of her hand, and the lights went out.

A familiar bright red window opened onto a sunny afternoon street. A few seconds later, a surfboard with a red stripe and a bizarre looking engine mounted on the back came flying out. The board landed in the street side ditch, its impact cushioned by all the weeds that grew there. The board slowed to a gentle halt and Lilo and Stitch got off.

Stitch dragged the board up to the street and they both looked out. A young couple was walking down the street. They were walking down the street in the middle of the day! They were wearing bluejeans! One of them had a blue, flowery Hawaiian shirt on while the other wore a green t-shirt with pictures of characters from some popular Saturday morning cartoon! They both walked around in flipflops!

Lilo and Stitch both walked out into the street. Their eyes started to water in the sheer relief and joy at what they saw. They saw houses with the blinds and windows open. Sometimes even the doors were open. Sometimes, there were even people out on their front porches. They were doing absolutely nothing but enjoying doing nothing. They seemed to have no fear.

A car passed by, slowing to turn around Lilo and Stitch, and then speeding back up once it had passed. Both Stitch and Lilo kept their eyes on that car. It was small. More than that though, it wasn't gray. It was a light sea blue with a cheap glitter finish. What was the logo? A silver oval surrounding a silver cross formed of two rings seen from the side. It was a Toyota Echo! It was a Japanese foreign car being driven down the streets of Hawaii, and no one seemed to give it a second thought.

There was some guy pulling a cart down the sidewalk. A couple of kids ran up to him and offered him money in exchange for shaved ice. There was a shaved ice vendor wandering down the sidewalk. He was serving children. What's more, he was accepting green money, United States money, one dollar bills with George Washington on the front.

There was one lady on her front porch watering a bunch of hanging potting plants while singing herself some stupid ragtime ditty about having lost her socks and getting sore feet from her shoes. But what was truly extraordinary is that the song wasn't sung in English, but in Hawaiian. Everybody who walked by heard her singing to herself in Hawaiian, but no one gave her a second, glance, or even a first one for that matter.

Lilo began to walk up the driveway to her house. Stitch followed carrying Jumba's time board on his head, balancing it with his hands. She reached the big dirt driveway in front of her house. She looked up. It really was her house! There was a metal pillar jutting up from behind it, holding a large dome on top. That dome was her room.

Lilo looked into the space below he living room. That was her sister's jeep, and right next to it was her dune buggy.

Stitch set down the time board and walked up next to Lilo. They both stared at those two cheap, run down looking vehicles beneath the house as if they were the most incredible things in the world.

Lilo turned to Stitch.

"Go get a blaster Stitch." Lilo said.

"Gabba?" Stitch asked.

Lilo motioned her head. Stitch followed the motion toward the time board laying in the middle of their driveway. Stitch immediately understood what she meant, and began running off toward Jumba's ship. But shortly he stood up with a pain in his back and knees, and was forced to walk the rest of the way.

Lilo watched Stitch walk away with his hand pressed against his back until something turned her attention back to her house.

"Lilo I got you pi…zza."

Lilo turned to see Nani. It wasn't any Nani though. She had long hair. She was wearing her skimpy blue tank top and her tan slacks. Her face was unscathed, no Scar, no look of perpetual hate and despair.

Nani dropped the slice of pizza in her hand.

"Oh my god Lilo! What happened!" Nani screamed out and ran toward Lilo.

She knelt down in front of Lilo and put her hands on Lilo's shoulders. This was not the Lilo she saw that morning. This was not even the Lilo she saw a couple hours ago. Lilo was wearing strange gray clothes embossed with a strange and morbid looking log. She was soaking wet and cold to the touch. Her face was flushed and her eyes were red. Lilo was covered in scrapes, bruises, and some small wounds still bleeding.

Nani wrapped her arms around Lilo, breathing fast and shallow.

"My god Lilo! What happened to you?" Nani whispered.

Lilo managed to free one arm from Nani's grasp and pointed toward an object just in the center of the driveway.

"Jumba's time board?" Nani whispered.

Lilo pushed herself out of Nani's grasp.

"I tried to go back." Lilo whispered to Nani, tears just barely forming in her eyes. "I tried to go back so I could save them. I thought, if I could save them, then we could all be together again."

"Eric and Keala?" Nani asked.

Lilo nodded.

"But everything went wrong. The whole world went wrong. Stitch went wrong, even you went wrong Nani."

It was then that Lilo noticed Stitch walking up behind her carrying one of Jumba's bright yellow hand blasters. Stitch handed Lilo the blaster, and she turned back around and continued talking to Nani.

"So I had to go back again. I had to go back and let them die. I was the one on that cliff… watching them die."

Nani slowly began to shake. Her legs felt weak. But just before she fell to the ground, more words held her up.

"But it's okay now." Lilo continued. "I don't need, no, that's the wrong thing to say. I can go on just fine without them now."

"Lilo?" Nani asked. "What's that blaster for?"

Lilo didn't answer. She turned around, and pointed it at that strange engine mounted to the back of the red striped surfboard.

"Never again." Lilo whispered to herself.

Lilo pulled the trigger. A green glob shot out the barrel of her gun and hit the strange engine dead on. The engine exploded, leaving it nothing more than blackened, smoking bits scattering across the ground.

Lilo turned back around and handed the blaster to Nani.

"Pizza sounds good." Lilo said.

"Ih." Stitch added in. "Pizza good. And ice cream?"

"Sure." Nani answered. "And ice cream."

"After that, meega need long shower." Stitch added.

"And then some clean clothes." Lilo added to what Stitch had just said.

The three of them turned around and began walking back to their house.

That wasn't the end though. It would take at least a week before both Lilo and Stitch would feel good enough to do all but the most basic of tasks. Certainly things like swimming, hula class and going to the beach were out of the question for at least another week. And it wouldn't be until a month later that the two of them would be healed over completely.

Lilo's nightmares would persist for many months after that. Indeed for the first few months she couldn't sleep at all unless she was in Stitch's arms. For the rest of her life those nightmares would come back to her in occasional bouts, but most of her nights would be filed with nothing but the surreal pointlessness one would expect.

It was true, there was some part of Lilo deep inside that was forever surrounded by the horrific carnage and of war. The things she saw, felt, smelled, heard, and experienced within the Empire of the Pacific Islands would be inside her somewhere for as long as she lived.

But Lilo learned to live with it all. After the nightmares had subsided, and she began to settle back into a normal life, it wasn't long before Lilo even learned to be happy again. Though she was happy for such different reasons than she once was. She was happy because she had a roof over her head, because she had hot and cold running water, because she had clean clothes and regular supply of good food, because she had a family that truly cared about her.

It would be a bit ironic though, that it would take Lilo years to learn what might have been the single most important lesson anyone in Hawaii had ever learned. That lesson was that: the only difference between Stitch, the sweetest and most loving creature Lilo had ever known, and Emperor 626, the most sadistic, spiteful, vengeful, and barbaric thing to ever haunt her memories or her nightmares, was being shown the love of a little island girl from broken, low-income family.

But all that would be in the future, for now, as Lilo, Stitch, and Nani walked up the stairs to their house, Lilo had to get something off her chest.

"Hey Nani?" Lilo asked.

"Yeah kiddo?" Nani answered.

"You know the song 'Tequilla'?"

"From Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass?"

"I hate that song."


"Don't ask."