Disclaimer: See first chapter.

Chapter 10: A Chapter Finished

"Then all is right in this world," was Bos's final words as they both faded away. Where he once stood, a white rose lay on the sand. Where Phobos once was, a black rose lay in the sand.

The sand storm that Cornelia Hale had whipped up at the beginning of the battle dissipated with particles of sand still floating around in the air. Queen Elyon, who was trying to help Cornelia the Guardian of Earth heal Hay Lin, felt her brother's essence disappear. She gasped, and looked back toward the other side of the battlefield where she had last seen him. Her brother was gone. "Bos!" she screamed, her eyes closing, tears escaping, and falling down her cheeks.

Irma Lair the Guardian of Water, stood from her perch next to Hay Lin to seek him out. Bos was nowhere to be seen and neither was Phobos. "What happened?" she asked. The fear already in her eyes over Hay Lin, quickly turning to panic. Her panicked eyes briefly fell on the fallen Will Vandom, young Will, and Caleb. No. She fell to her knees in shock. We lost . . . He beat us.

"He's gone," Queen Elyon replied heartbroken. "I cannot feel his life force anymore." She retracted her hands to her side. "Hay Lin is gone as well." She bowed her head, her arms moving on their own accord to hug herself. Her tears still escaped her closed eyelids. They fell to mix in with the sand on the ground to create small mud puddles.

"I can do this," Cornelia said in determination but her voice breaking. "She will come back." Her eyes were closed in concentration, green energy shinning around her hands.

"No, she's gone," Queen Elyon replied, her head still bowed. "I can't sense Will either." Cornelia looked up at her, blue eyes wide and brimming with tears of grief. Her tears spilled down her cheeks.

"Hay Lin," Matt Olsen and Lei Lin whispered in grief. The two orbs hovered over the scene, their flickering in and out signaling their grief.

"No!" Taranee Cook shouted tearfully.

The Meridian Royal Guard looked on in sadness. Aldarn hurried to be by the Queen's side and Julian hurried to his son Caleb.

Young Will looked around watching the aftermath in shock. Tears ran out of her eyes in what seemed like never ending streams. This was not what she thought she would see when she was thrown into the future. If she had foreseen all this pain in misery, she never would have agreed to be a Guardian in the first place. It wasn't fair. "It wasn't supposed to end like this."

"Will go back to the castle," Caleb commanded softly. "You should not be here." She turned back to him. He had to be devastated but he still found enough gumption to order her about. The Will he had been trying so hard to protect was gone . . . .

"He destroyed the staff . . . I saw it," she whispered. "Why aren't they alive?"

"Go back to the castle, Will," he repeated.

An old man, unseen by them all, unemotionally watched the scene. His heavy robes were the color of the skies. "It is undone." He waved his right arm over the scene. He could have fixed things the very moment that the staff was destroyed, but he wanted the mortals to feel the consequences of using the staff so none would be tempted to use it again. Matt and Lei turned back to their human forms. Younger Will disappeared as her older self opened her eyes. She coughed and a black ooze dislodged from her throat. She spit the disgusting stuff out and wiped the remnants of the ooze away. Someone was holding her and she looked up and found herself looking up into Caleb's eyes.

"Will," he whispered.

"Hi," she said confused. He hugged her tightly. "Where am I?"

"Meridian," he replied, clinging to her for dear life.

"How did I get here?" she asked softly. "The last thing I remember is jumping off the bridge."

"Remind me to kill you for that later," he muttered, his lips resting upon her brow. "Will's alive!" His voice was muffled against her forehead.

"Hay Lin is not," Julian said softly, startling both Will and Caleb. They looked up at him in shocked grief. Caleb stood. Julian and he helped Will to her feet.

Hay Lin was not in Meridian anymore. She had left her physical body and now stood in a place of pure white. She wore a white robe trimmed in gold, instead of her Guardian uniform. "Oh crap, I died," she said unhappily.

"Only my sweet granddaughter would sum death up quite so elegantly." Hay Lin turned and came face-to-face with her grandmother, Yan Lin. "Hello, Dear." Hay Lin ran into her open arms.

"What are you doing here?" Hay Lin asked softly. The two stepped a part.

"Saying good bye to you," Yan Lin replied.

"So this is really the end for me?" Hay Lin asked sadly.

"It is a new beginning for you," Yan Lin replied. Her voice soft. "You have been given a second chance at life."

"Yay!" Hay Lin hooted happily. A sudden awful thought stopped her victory dance. "Then why are we saying good bye?" she asked softly.

"I miss your Grandfather and my friends," Yan Lin whispered. "I shall reunite with them very soon."

"Grandma," Hay Lin said her eyes filling with unshed tears. You have been given a second chance at life. "No . . . you should be the one giving a second chance."

"I have lived my life to the fullest and I have no regrets," Yan Lin said, embracing her granddaughter. "You should not have any either. I made this choice freely because it is not your time. I watched you grow up to become a beautiful independent young woman and a very capable Guardian that I am very proud of. I shall watch over you from here."

Hay Lin held on to her tightly. "I'll miss you so much."

"I will always be with you," Yan Lin whispered. "Take care of the other guardians for me."

"I love you."

"I love you too," she said softly. "Send your cousin my love. I am counting on you and Cornelia keeping him in line now that I cannot." Hay Lin faded away out of her arms. She felt no remorse in given up her life in exchange for Hay Lin's, but she would miss her family greatly. She smiled sadly, until she felt two familiar strong hands grab her shoulders. "Hello, you," she said softly. Happiness engulfed her.

"Do not be sad. You will always be with them. As I was always with you."

Hay Lin opened her eyes, gasping for breath loudly. She looked around at her startled teary eyed friends. "What is the matter?" she asked unhappily. She was ready to start bawling too.

"Hay Lin!" She was smothered into a huge group hug.

"Don't scare us like that anymore," Lei Lin declared frowning.

"How?" Queen Elyon asked speechless.

"Someone we all love gave up her life for mine." Grandma I will miss you.

As they hurried to the scene Will, Julian, and Caleb smiled in relief as Hay Lin was smothered by the others. "Welcome back Lin," Caleb said.

"Did we save Will?" Hay Lin asked, her arms still wrapped around Matt. She looked at Will closely to see if she was okay.

"We saved Will," Will replied smiling brightly. The girls soon swarmed in on her for hugs. "I don't remember what happened but it must have been intense."

"Hey, where did Mini-Will go?" Hay Lin asked breaking from the hug to look for the other Will.

"She disappeared just as Will revived," Caleb replied. "I hope that she was sent back to her time."

"Will being alive suggest that wherever she is, she is okay," Taranee replied tears still openly falling down her cheeks.

"She's home," Queen Elyon confirmed softly. She was relived that both Will and Hay Lin were safe, but the loss of her brother was a bitter wound. She briefly glanced at Irma, whose usually smirking face was devoid of color and emotion. She then turned toward her army. "We have won the day! Aldarn give me an account of the injured and then I will heal the more severely injured here."

"Yes my Queen," Aldarn said. His eyes betrayed his sorrow for her. He knew how much she cared for Bos. Irma cared for him also. He watched her approach Irma and then he turned to his men to quickly do the queen's bidding.

"Did he tell you that he was planning this?" Queen Elyon asked softly.

"No," Irma replied, her face devoid of emotion. "He knew not to tell me because I would've used the tricks of my trade to talk him out of it."

"He did not tell me either," she replied.

"I am so sorry you guys," Taranee said softly. "I know this is hard and little consolation but Bos did what he was created to do."

"How would you know that?" Queen Elyon demanded, tearfully.

"I have been reading your brother's book collection. The one that you forbid me to read. I read about the staff and it's power. 'The powers that be' balanced the use of the staff by creating one who would be able to wield the staff once the bond was made. The being was given his own free will and life. He could choose to walk away. He could choose to walk in the power of darkness. He could choose to break the bond. A deed that only he could accomplish because we all know that Phobos, the original contract holder, was not going to do it."

"That means that Bos chose to save us all," Queen Elyon said softly. "He didn't have to, but that was the kind of person that he was." Her tears fell. "If only Phobos was . . ." She broke off her sentence before the others could hear her true thoughts . . . Like him from the start.

"So much for my happy ending," Irma whispered. She walked to where she last saw Bos. The comic relief is just that the comic relief. Happy endings are only reserved for everyone else in the story. Her eyes found the white rose in the sand. She picked it up. "Bos."

Queen Elyon grabbed the black rose. She crushed it in her hands not carrying that the thorns of the stem tore into her flesh. The pain was only a mild physical representation of what Phobos put her through.

In the present, the barrier that surrounded the stunned young teens dissipated. They were in Caleb's room and could not remember how they got there and could not account for a lot of missing time.

Will woke up at the bridge with Blunk staring down at her. "You made it back!" he said cheering.

"You stink and what am I doing out here?" I should be somewhere else . . . but where? Tears were falling down her cheeks but she did not remember why. She was resting on what looked like Caleb's jacket and wearing a shirt she did not recognize. She stood clutching the jacket in her hands. She tried to wipe away the tears with her arm.

She remembered the ridiculous curfew her mother gave her and after saying goodbye to a way to hyper Blunk, she headed quickly for home. Her mother was not there. Will knew that she would be in a lot of trouble once her mother arrived. I am so grounded.

She gave in to tears again. The source of her tears were still a mystery to her.

In the future, after having a meeting with Queen Elyon the Guardians headed back to Earth . . . .

"Where were you?" Tears filled Hay Lin's eyes as she faced off with her parents. They had just presented her with the news that Yan Lin had passed away. She wished she could tell them that she already knew and that Yan Lin traded her life for hers but she could not.

"I was carrying on Grandmother's legacy," she replied honestly. It was a generic answer that Yan Lin usually gave for Hay Lin when she had to leave on Guardian business. "She said that I had to continue it even if she was not here to guide me anymore. I am sorry I wasn't here for you but I am now."

"Hay Lin," Chen Lin said capturing his daughter in a tight hug. Joan Lin wrapped her arms around them both, her tears falling freely.

"She will always watch over us," Hay Lin said softly. "And we will watch out for each other and Lei." Her cousin was sitting in Yan Lin's room, holding her hand. He would miss her as about as much as her family and she. Hay Lin would have to mend the relationship between Lei and her father. Lei did a great job of happily earning her father's hate upon his arrival to Heatherfield.

"When did you become so insightful?" Chen Lin asked, seeing a quality of Yan Lin in Hay Lin that he had never noticed before.

Will could not believe that Yan Lin was gone. She had hoped that she would get to speak to her one last time before the older guardian died but that was not to be. For some reason, Will felt a peace about the situation that she did not understand. Maybe it was the fact that Yan Lin had happily traded her life for Hay Lin's. She obviously had no regrets and for someone to sacrifice their life for someone that they loved was truly inspiring.

Will decided that was the way she wanted to go when death decided to have her in it's sights.

Apparently, death had set its sights on her earlier that day but she had beat it. Thanks in part to her younger self, the Heart, Matt, Lei, Blunk, Caleb, and the Guardians both past and present. She did not understand why she could not remember all the events that happened earlier that day, but it was slowly starting to come back to her.

The waiting room they were camped in had run out of coffee so she and Caleb were on a mission to get drinks for the others. They had left their devastated friends huddled together in grief at the back of the spacious room.

They found coffee in the waiting room that had the hospital chapel attached to it. Will started to fix the drinks the way she knew her friends liked and Caleb just wondered around aimlessly. After a few moments, he stopped pacing. "It feels like I lost my mom," he muttered. "We had been expecting it for days now but . . . I just . . . it's hard."

Will stepped away from pouring mounds of sugar into Irma's cup of coffee and shuffled over to him. She wrapped her arms around him from behind. "I feel the same way." He placed both of his hands over hers. "But she sacrificed her life for Hay Lin's and that makes me want to celebrate her life and who she was over mourning."

"I am going to miss her," he said sounding broken. This was the Caleb that rarely showed himself. Their roles were now reversed.

"I know and so will I."

The day had been a piggy back ride on a giant troll of emotion for him. Anticipation for the battle ahead. Excitement over the return of Will. Surprise seeing her stumble out of the airport in what seemed like a life or death sprint. Fear that he would not catch her before whatever she was running from got her to hurt herself. Unbelief when he saw her run to the middle of the old bridge and without hesitation vault over the railing; fearlessly jumping in after her. Shock after colliding with Will's younger self, plunging in the water below, and then realizing . . . she was her younger self. Grief was the emotion that almost won the day but Will and Hay Lin coming back to life gave him relief from the pain.

Will and Caleb stayed like that for a few moments. They had their eyes closed with Will's head resting against his back. Then she pulled away so she could go finish making the drinks but he turned and caught her right arm. She stopped, turned, and looked at him surprised. "You're back for good . . . right?"

"Yes." She was tired of running from her problems. It obviously was not working, if they could so easily be used to manipulate her into trying to kill herself. "I apologize for using my grandmother's illness as a crutch to run away from you."

"You admit it," he said. His green eyes searching hers for any type of deception. He would fine none.

"Freely," she replied.

Caleb released her but then grabbed her shoulders looking like he wanted to shake some sense into her. She saw that his eyes turned from grief to anger. "Why didn't you tell me about your grandmother until after you had left?" His angry green eyes collided with her calm cinnamon colored ones. In her honest opinion, he had every right to be pissed.

The very day Caleb thought they had become a couple—a person would assume that after they spent the better part of a night making out with said offender—Will had waited until he left for Meridian, packed her bags, bought a plane ticket, waited for hours, and then boarded it and left Heatherfield.

It wasn't a move that Will just came up with out of the blue, her father had sent her a letter requesting she spend some time with his real mother before she passed away. The letter had arrived a couple of weeks before she made her sudden decision to leave.

"I was scared and I also used Cornelia as an excuse." Might as well get it all out in the open.

Was scared? Did that mean she wasn't afraid anymore? "What were you afraid of?"

"The pain that I felt when my mom died . . . I never wanted to feel that way again. I distanced myself from the other guardians but you showed up at my doorstep and some how I let myself become dependent upon you. Your almost dying was my wakeup call." She closed her eyes. "I just did not want to care about someone so much and then they die and leave me behind. It feels horrible."

With the passing of Yan Lin, Caleb could relate to her feelings but that did not mean he agreed with her actions. "How do you think you just up and leaving made me feel?" he asked. "I love you, I really do, but I refuse to stand on the sidelines because you are too afraid of being hurt." She shocked him and even herself a little when she stepped calmly forward, stood on her tip toes and kissed him briefly on the lips.

"Believe me . . . you're in the game," she replied smiling up at him. She gently pulled her arm out of his grasp and then went back to fixing the coffee.

He stood there to stunned to move at first. "Thanks for letting me know," he muttered lamely. "What changed?"

"I changed," she replied slowly. "I think it happened during my time in the past or during the time that I spent merged with my younger self." She wished she could remember. She made a mental note to ask Elyon to help her to do so when the time presented itself.

Elyon Brown stood in front of the Heatherfield Hospital with a very heavy heart. The majority of the people of Earth did not know of her status as a Queen of Meridian or that the place even existed at all. She had left her crown behind and dawned a little white sun dress. She wanted to come back to Earth with the guardians but many of her people were hurt during the battle. She had to heal them and stay the fears of others.

Phobos was finally gone but even in death he managed to rob her of joy. Bos deserved to live his own life and not be destroyed with his evil half. It wasn't fair.

Elyon was devastated and she knew Irma had to feel the same way. Bos had been a shadow to everyone but Irma and she. I hate you Phobos. I hate you. No one could ever guess that such deep emotions churned inside of the cute little blonde. She looked as if her only care in the world was imaginary zit control. She finally walked inside the hospital with her head held high.

She felt his presence the moment she stepped inside the hospital. The doors closed behind her as her eyes widened in surprise. It cannot be. She walked toward the elevators her whole being focused on the presence she felt. She did not even notice the looks the people in the first floor waiting room gave her.

After pressing the button, she waited patiently for the elevator; her being still focused on his. The elevator opened and she walked inside as if in a trance. She pressed the button to the highest floor and then the doors closed behind her. Usually she would be clinging to the railing for her dear life but fear never crossed her mind as she headed for his location.

The doors finally opened and then she walked slowly to her destination. It was not visiting hours in the particular branch of the hospital she was in but the staff let her pass with little or no interference; the almost ethereal glow surrounding her giving them pause. To them she looked like an angel. His room was at the end of the very long hall. He was laying in a hospital bed, hooked to machines. He looked like an angel as he slept. Thank goodness.

In the present . . . .

"Who is that?" Hay Lin asked almost scaring Caleb to death. She had this weird habit of popping up almost out of nowhere. She was referring to some pictures he had drawn. They were all of the same pretty lady with long hair. For some reason the lady was familiar to Hay Lin.

"I don't know," Caleb replied. "Every since earlier today I have been seeing this girl in my head," he replied dropping his pencil to scratch his head. He was not surprised when Hay Lin jumped on his back so she could hang over his shoulder to study the picture he was working on more closely.

"It looks like Will's mom," she declared thoughtfully. "She is really pretty."

"Really?" Caleb asked surprised. He never officially met Will's mother before. He studied the drawing carefully.

"Yeah she looks like some exotic princess of a faraway land that I cannot pronounce," Hay Lin declared. "Will looks like her too. The red hair and the boyish clothes kind of throws it off. Will is just as pretty as she is."

"Why would I be drawing Will's mom?" Caleb asked confused. "I don't know her."

"You tell me buddy," Hay Lin replied solemnly. "You tell me." Caleb rolled his eyes heavenward.

In the future . . . .

"Oh, I wish I could be in there with him." Cornelia groaned in frustration. "He is surrounded by enemies." Cornelia was referring to Lei Lin. Hay Lin's parents definitely did not like him and his prodigal mother had shown up as well. She pretty much threw Lei out of as speeding car when he first came to Heatherfield so there was no love lost there. There were other family members of the Lin's there but none knew Lei and what they heard about him from Hay Lin's parents had to be awful.

"You are lucky you get a chance to be in the building," Caleb muttered. "Matt is stuck out in the parking lot." Matt was not the ideal guy that the Lin's had in mind for Hay Lin.

"That does not compute in my brain," Taranee muttered. She had an arm wrapped protectively around Irma. "They let her date Eric."

"She was twelve," Will said, her head resting on Caleb's shoulder. "Who in their right mind would think a relationship you start when you are twelve would be serious enough to last into adulthood?"

"Only the kiddies within the relationship and their geeky little friends and classmates," Irma muttered, causing everyone to look at her in surprise. She had not spoken much after having a massive panic attack over the losses of Bos and Mrs. Lin.

"Mr. and Mrs Lin realize that Hay Lin's relationship with Matt has a chance to last. Hay Lin is older, wiser, and does not hang on their every word like it is the gospel anymore," Cornelia said. "To them Matt is the enemy in more ways than one."

"Mrs. Lin was content with the pair and only wanted Hay Lin to be happy," Caleb muttered.

"I am going to miss her," Irma muttered tears in her eyes. Her friends had already cried and even Caleb had shed a few tears. It made her feel awful that she was the one that would start a new round of waterworks.

Will hid her tears in Caleb's shoulder. Irma had taken a double hit today and she mourned for her friend. Things never seemed to end right for Irma. He wrapped her tighter into his embrace.

"We all are," Cornelia replied grabbing Irma's hand. "We are officially alone in the world." They knew she was referring to their status as Guardians. All the members of C.H.K.Y.N. were now gone.

"She taught us well," Taranee replied softly. "It'll be really . . . really difficult but we can handle it." We have to.

The door to their waiting room burst open. Elyon Brown stepped in. Her friends were mercifully the only ones inside. "It's a miracle," she said happily. She studied their startled faces. "Bos he's here . . . he's alive!"

Irma stood in shock it barely registering in her mind that she pulled Cornelia and Taranee up with her. "Elyon," Irma said slowly.

"I felt his presence as soon as I entered the doors of the hospital," Elyon explained happiness radiating from her. "I'll take you to him." Irma just stood staring at her. She was to stunned to move.

"Snap out of it Irma!" Cornelia commanded snapping the fingers of her free hand in her friend's face. Her other hand was still holding on to Irma's.

"Bos is here and he is alive," Taranee repeated looking at her friend in concern.

"Irma . . . go!" Will commanded. "We'll be here when you return."

"Right," Irma replied slowly snapping out of her trance.

"Go!" Her friends commanded her. Before she could follow the command, a fed up Cornelia dragged her to the door. As Irma followed Elyon out of the room, Cornelia decided against using her foot to propel the girl out of the room faster.

"Thank goodness," Cornelia said briefly resting the back of her head against the door after it closed. "Irma was seriously starting to scare me." She walked gracefully back to her seat. Irma's panic attack had scared them all. It came out of no where in the middle of the meeting they had with the queen in her castle before coming back to Heatherfield.

"That was a side of her that I personally don't want to see again," Taranee replied. "She was supposed to be trying to make us feel better over this situation."

"She loves him," Will said. "Obviously more so than I realized." When Will was living with her grandmother, Irma had called her more than a few times to talk about her prince.

"If only Yan Lin would have lived . . . then this day would be perfect," Taranee said softly. Her words sobered the group.

Matt entered the waiting room, centering everyone's attention upon him. He looked resolved but also very tired. "Hey," he said with a little wave.

"Matt," Will, Caleb, and Taranee said surprised.

"Are you crazy?" Cornelia voiced what they were all thinking. They had all gone through considerable lengths to conceal the seriousness of the relationship between Matt and Hay Lin from her dad. It was not yet the time to spring this one on him. "We have a plan . . . get out so we can follow it!"

"Everything has changed now," Matt replied.

Cornelia rushed to get in his personal space. He found the tall blonde rather intimidating. "Yes everything has changed for us . . . our group. To Mr. Lin you will still be the snake in the garden that he does not trust. A snake who would use his mother's death to try to weasel his way into his good graces." Matt looked conflicted.

Will silently watched the two. Leave it to Corni to dive into the worse case scenario and grab it by the horns. The problem was she was probably right. If the Lins saw Matt here he would so be busted. "This path will make things more difficult," she said slowly. "Are you ready to walk it?"

The question being posed by her was definitely ironic. When Matt and Hay Lin's tentative relationship first started, his lingering feelings for Will were their biggest obstacle. They had overcome that and now their biggest obstacle was Hay Lin's parents. It was ironic because the old obstacle was prepping Matt to be certain about facing the new one.

"If you are not . . . leave now because if you hurt Hay Lin because you aren't . . . you and I will have a serious problem," Caleb muttered.

"That goes double from me," Taranee said folding her arms. "Are you ready to tough out being treated like scum because of your career choice and because you are not a certain race?" As a musician Matt was used to being pretty much worshiped by everyone. It was obvious to them all he would not get the same treatment in the Lin household.

"I am ready," he replied honestly. Cornelia snorted in disbelief. "I am." His voice was firm.

"Just do not come crying to me with you are treated like crap . . . Superstar," she said rolling her eyes heavenward. She turned and glided back to her seat.

Matt was thankful that Will was back. Cornelia had taken lead of the group and ruled with a tough love iron fist. Caleb maybe would have given his threat but the question that Will asked would not have been broached if she were gone. "Welcome back Will," he said softly.

"That is one thing we agree on," Cornelia replied. "I am tired of leading around these freeloaders who take up every bit of my emotional energy." Matt knew he was at the top of the freeloader list. Caleb was probably on that list too. All of them were on the list; even Will who wasn't even around.

"I should have come back sooner but I have been settling my grandmother's estate and I was happily using that as an excuse to not come back here."

Cornelia looked at her in surprise. "Okay, where is the cowardly lion hiding and why has he felt the need to pass his badge of courage around to my friends without informing me first?" she wondered in disbelief.

"That is an Irma line if I have ever heard one," Taranee declared almost amused. "I noticed that you two are a little more cozy." She directed this statement to Will and Caleb. "Do you have something you wish to share with the group?"

"I kind of ran away before this could be said officially," Will said ashamed. "Caleb and I are together."

"Finally," Taranee, Cornelia, and Matt said.

"Will what was with the slander in reference of me?" Cornelia asked. "I do not treat guys I have previously dated as my old trinkets. They do not belong to me so they can do whatever they want. I want all my friends to be happy. I do not care how that is achieved. Well . . . as long as it does not have anything to do with turning all Darth Vader on us or something."

"I am sorry," Will replied honestly.

"All is forgiven," Cornelia said slowly. "It better not occur again though."

"You must admit that fourteen-year-old you would have flipped out if one of us would have even thought of dating Caleb or one of your exes," Will said her eyes sparkling.

"Duh, I was spoiled rotten," Cornelia replied an amusement.

Still is, Matt thought bitterly.

The atmosphere of the waiting room drastically changed again, when Hay Lin and Lei Lin entered it. The friends were immediately out of their seats and creating a protective barrier around them. Both Lin's welcomed the attention but were shocked to see Matt in the waiting room.

"Matt," Hay Lin whispered breathlessly. She was wrapped protectively in his arms. His presence meant that he was now ready to face her parents with her. The reason that she had not told them about her relationship with Matt sooner was because he was the one holding back. He knew that her relationship with her family would change because of him and did not want that to happen. He wanted them to get to know him first. He even took a part-time job in the Silver Dragon to achieve this goal. His plan never took root because her father spent most of the time in his office rather than out in the actual restaurant.

She really needed Matt by her side.

"Are you off your rocker?" Lei Lin asked him looking at him over Cornelia's blonde head. She was clinging to him trying to offer her strength and support. "You are not supposed to be here."

"Our plan has changed," Matt muttered. "This is exactly where I am supposed to be." Figures Lei would pose the same question that his girl friend had demanded of him earlier.

"You and Hay Lin won't be the only ones affected by this decision if Uncle sees you," Lei Lin said. "Hay Lin's friendship with the other Guardians will be called into question by her parents. They expect me to help Hay rebel but not them."

All their friends with the exception of Will, who was out of town, had aided with helping the pair see each other without the knowledge of Hay Lin's parents. Lei Lin knew that his Uncle Chin would wonder how Matt and Hay Lin could be so close and had not spent much time together. He would then realize that she had to be spending more time with Matt than he was led to believe. Then he would work in the equation that the times that Hay Lin was supposed to be studying with Taranee, shopping with Cornelia, or doing something random with one of her friends; she was really with Matt.

"I know and thank you all," Matt said sincerely. "He was going to realize you guys helped us out anyway. Might as well be sooner rather than later."

"Where's Irma?" Hay Lin asked concerned. She had studied the group from her haven in Matt's arms and noticed Irma missing.

Elyon was standing outside of her brother's room calmly explaining to the nurses her and Irma's relationship to Bos. Of course she could not tell them everything but she did reveal that the hospital's John Doe was her brother Phobos and he was supposed to be visiting their family after studying abroad for years. When he had been a no show, her family had assumed he decided to stay in Europe.

She explained Irma's presence simply by saying that Phobos and Irma had a long distance relationship that she had created by playing matchmaker.

She walked in the room a few minutes later to find Irma sitting in a chair near the bed, clutching Bos's hand. "This body had been here for over a month," Elyon said softly. "Almost to the very moment that Bos and Phobos disappeared, it started to react."

"But if whoever this is has been here over a month . . . it can't be Bos," Irma said looking at her confused.

"I believe it was only a body without a soul . . . a shell," Elyon said slowly. "Now his soul is inside it."

"But how can you know for sure that it is Bos and not Phobos?" Irma asked. "No offense but . . . Phobos excels at fooling you."

"Every since I realized exactly how evil Phobos was, I always got this weird intense feeling of foreboding every time I am in his presence. It is like the feeling is alive and I would know that monster from our Bos any day of the week."

"If you are right and this is Bos, should we assume that Phobos has made other accommodations like this too?" Irma asked. "They are the same being even if Bos is the mentally balanced one."

"We have to be on the look out for him," Elyon said her face darkening.

"Why isn't he awake?" Irma asked softly. "If what you say is true, he should be awake."

"Let us see," Elyon said. She walked over to the chair Irma was sitting in and grabbed her hand. She then put her other hand on her brother's shoulder. "Irma, clear your mind and just let go."

Two souls were locked in a long, fierce battle to gain sole ownership over a body. To gain ownership of this ultimate prize, one soul would have to walk through the gate of Destiny to retrieve it. When the victor finally stood in the end, his opponent was finally broken. "How is it that you can defeat me? You are a coward! I am power! You are a peon! I am a god!"

"You crippled yourself when you decided to only to use the powers of darkness. Darkness eventually bows down to light and love. I realize now that those two elements are my power and they are limitless."

"I hate you," the defeated soul said making a face. "You and that awful creature that my parents spawned who actually has the nerve to call itself my sister!" If that awful little witch was my sister, she would willingly give up her life to make me more powerful!

"You were never worth the fear I wasted on you."

"You will learn to fear me again. Darkness always finds the light."

"I will be waiting."

"Bos!" The two souls heard the voices calling out from somewhere behind the gate.

"Irma . . . Elyon."

"Bitch . . . Witch."

The gate opened and the soul of light was swept swiftly inside, eagerly wanting to reunite with the physical embodiments of his power; love and light.

The wounded soul of darkness retreated already plotting his escape. He was created to snuff out light. He was created to prove that love could also fall to darkness. It was only a matter of time.

His icy blue eyes opened up just when Irma and Elyon were about to give up trying to reach him. His eyes watched them as they cried with happiness. "You come here . . . often?" he asked, his voice hoarse. It was the exact same question Irma posed to him the first time he encountered her; causing Elyon to giggle.

"Welcome back," Irma said. Her trademark smirk finally reappeared back on her face.

In the present . . . .

The rest of the day went by slowly. Taranee found herself in possession of a letter that was a mystery in itself. It was written by Will to Mrs. Lin. It made reference to things that Taranee neither remembered nor understood. A couple of sentences did stand out though. Will stressing that she would not jump off the Old Williams bridge again and that she was going there to see if she could find clues that would send her back to her home . . . in the future.

In the future, Taranee thought shocked. She would have to grill the others on this subject. Something monumental happened today and for some reason no one remembered it. They all had a time lapse that lasted too long for her comfort. It all had to be connected. Taranee stuck the letter inside her journal to make sure she never lost it. Before doing that she made multiple copies of it.

"Will I gave you a curfew and I expected you to keep it," Susan Vandom said angrily. She glared down at her daughter with her arms folded elegantly under her breasts. "You cannot keep disobeying me. I am the parent. You are the daughter. I know that you think that automatically makes me the enemy but I only have your best interest at heart."

"I am sorry," Will said honestly. "For some reason time got away from me." Not only time but apparently my clothes as well. She still didn't know where the shirt she woke up in came from. It wasn't hers and so wasn't a part of the random ensemble that she wore to school.

"Time got away with you," Susan repeated. "You should have come straight home from school. You don't have the grades to have the luxury to be somewhere where time can just fly by without you realizing it."

"I knew that I would be late by a couple of minutes but this truly was unintentionally," Will replied. "Please accept my apology. This was so not purposely done."

"You are grounded."


"Why am I the only one angry?" Susan asked. "You are supposed to be being difficult." She leaned forward over the coffee table and cupped her hand around Will's forehead to judge if she had a fever.

"I don't have it in me today," Will replied softly.

Susan studied her closely as her arm retracted back to her side. There was something off about Will. "Did something happen to you that I should know about?" Susan asked in concern. No one touched her kid. Even if said kid was going through a rotten stage.

No Mom, except for the fact that I am missing time from my day that I can't remember and used that time to change clothes and cry like a baby. Will could not get over the fact that she awoke crying. She wasn't one to go crying at random so something traumatic happened to her earlier today. But what was it? This was not something that she could discuss with her mom because it most likely had to do with her being the leader of W.I.T.C.H. In situations such as these Will wished she had normal problems like normal teenagers so she could discuss this with her mother.

"Will," Susan said slowly. She could tell that something had happened to her daughter. She wanted to know what is was so she could help her fix it.

"I am fine Mom," Will said softly. "Nothing sinister happened to me . . ." That I know of . . . . Susan looked as if she did not believe her. It was hard convincing her mother of something she wasn't so convinced of herself. "Mom I-I am fine . . . really."

That stupid wall that Will had built around herself effectively kept Susan in the pin that Will had placed her in. Will was lying to her. "Sometimes I think moving here was a mistake. We have this huge crevice between us that I don't know how to cross and it wasn't there before we moved here." You won't let me cross.

"It wasn't a mistake Mom," Will said quickly. "I am happy here. Today was just kind of . . . disturbing." She closed her eyes and made a face. ". . . But I am sure whatever happened turned alright in the end."

"Will . . . that is little consolation to me," Susan said in disbelief. "I can tell that something traumatic happened to you today and things working out in the end does little to curve my rising panic. Talk to me. Tell me what happened?"

"You know that feeling you get when you feel like someone is walking over your grave?" Will asked. "That was the feeling I had but for some reason I don't feel that way anymore. I guess it is because I am at home and you are at home . . . and now we are both safe." Her words held some truth to them.

"A feeling . . ." Susan looked at her skeptically.

"I felt like something was going to happen to one of us today and I have been feeling this way every since I awoke this morning. I am sorry I was late. I went to the old bridge to clear my thoughts and time got away from me."

Susan moved from her chair to sit down beside her daughter and wrapped her arm around her thin shoulders. "To tell you the truth, I had the same feelings of foreboding," she admitted. "That is why I went out in search of you."

"Isn't that weird?" Will asked. "That we both had this feeling that something awful would happen to the other?"

"I don't know," Susan replied honestly. "We're both fine."

"I don't want anything to happen to you Mom," Will said softly. "I know that it seems like that I don't care about you or your rules but I do . . . and I would just fall apart if something happened to you." Her voice broke and her eyes started to fill with tears. She fought them back.

"Same here," Susan said. "I can't promise that I will be here forever. I am mortal, after all . . . But as long as I am here you can count on me to have your back no matter what. I will always love you Will."

Her words brought an inner peace to Will that she did not understand. "Ditto," Will replied softly. "Does that mean I am not grounded?"

"No . . . you're still grounded." Will faked a groan and Susan smiled. "You know you would not have to spend so much time studying and or grounded for skipping studying if you had a tutor to help you understand math so your grades would improve."

"I don't have time for a tutor," Will said horrified. Officially earning a dry look from her mother.

"Your friend Taranee would make an excellent tutor. I think you should ask her and I will pay her for her troubles."

Will looked startled at the suggestion. How embarrassing is it to have to get a tutor? I might as well stamp Dumbass on my forehead. Will begin to think of the positive side. Having Taranee as a tutor would get her mom off her back about spending every second studying to raise her grades. If Taranee could not teach her, learning math was a lost cause. Also having Taranee as a tutor would be a lot better than having a non-Guardian as a tutor. "Maybe I will."

"Good," Susan said sighing. Will didn't exactly agree but she did not flat out refuse, which was a good thing. "A young woman who looked just like you gave me the suggestion."

"And where did you meet this goddess of a person?" Will asked teasingly. In her opinion, she and anybody who looked like her was the furthest thing from a goddess that one could get. Her mother was the goddess.

Susan laughed softly. "Near the Silver Dragon. I was there in search of you." She closed her eyes, imagining the girl that reminded her so much of her daughter. "It was like getting a glance into your future and you were perfect."

"I have to meet this girl," Will said seriously.

"I think she might work at the Silver Dragon," Susan said slowly. "She had on one of those hostess outfits from there."

"So . . . you see future me as a . . . hostess?" Will asked teasingly.

"Future hostess beats seeing you as a future juvenile delinquent," Susan replied wickedly.

"Mom!" Will exclaimed rolling her eyes heavenward.

In the future . . . .

Will made a detour inside the cemetery on the way home. She heard Caleb's footsteps behind her as she made her way to her mother's grave. It was dark out but she did not let the thought of ghost and ghouls scare her. Night was the best time to come here to avoid others. She had not spoken with her mother in a long time and she needed to do that. When her mother had first been taken from her, she spent a lot of hours here conversing with her. Something that she failed to do when Susan was alive.

Now Susan knew about The Guardians and everything else that was important to Will.

She planned to buy a huge headstone with the money she had inherited from her grandmother. The one that marked her mother's grave was too small. She wanted it to stand out so people would notice and maybe want to know more about the beautiful mother who had died so young.

When she finally got to her destination, she was pleased to see fresh red and pink roses on the grave. She wondered which one of the Guardians placed them there. "Hi Mom."

Caleb leaned against a particularly huge headstone, with his eyes closed and his arms folded. He listened to Will as she filled her mother in on her life since she left. This had been a ritual of theirs. One that Caleb had missed.

After Will had left, he had actually started coming here himself. Hay Lin and he tended to Susan's grave and brought flowers. They had picked red and pink roses because both colors represented Will. Hay Lin stayed just long enough to arrange the flowers and then rushed off to be with Matt after saying a few words.

At first, it seemed odd talking to a grave, but then Caleb found it therapeutic. He always felt a peace like Susan was really there listening to him rant about her daughter and agreeing with his every word.

"I had such a feeling of inner peace after I woke up from my little adventure today," Will said. "Elyon said it is because I gained strengths from my younger self that I had lost and she said that younger . . . me gained strengths from me. I have no idea what strength that she could possible have gained from me . . . ."

You're stronger than you realize Will, Caleb thought. He waited until Will finished her visit and approached him before saying, "I kept her company while you were gone. Hay Lin came with me. She brought roses. She wasn't alone while you were gone so you don't have to feel guilty about that."

Her brown eyes opened in astonishment. "Thank you Caleb but you guys didn't have to go through the trouble," she said. She looked beautiful in the white hostess Qipao that had been provided to her from the past.

"I wanted to," he replied. "Some one had to fill her in on your antics since you could not."

"What would I do without you?"

"I don't know," he replied looking at her from between half-closed lids. "Maybe jump off a bridge and unknowingly opening a portal into the past. Oh yeah, and effectively traumatizing me, yourself, Blunk, and the other Guardians forever."

A laugh escaped her surprised lips. "Traumatizing?" She asked the laugh contradicting the offended tone she was trying to accomplish. "Elyon did a memory binding spell. You guys should not have remembered anything to be traumatized."

"I cannot speak for the others but you . . . as you are now . . . I have been drawing you for years . . . your form haunted me and only after Queen Elyon told us about the memory binding in the meeting earlier today, that I started to put it all together." Elyon had just enough power to bind their memories but not enough to completely erase them.

"You are trying to tell me that you remembered me even though one of the most powerful queens in the universe used a spell to prevent that from happening?" she asked with one red eyebrow raised skeptically.

"You'd be surprised what a teenage boy would remember if he saw someone he really liked."

"I guess Elyon didn't anticipate you ogling the goodies and also be spellbound by them so she did not realize she had to make a spell that took that into account." He laughed loudly. "That laugh . . . I really missed you."

"I missed you too," he replied. This was a typical conversation between the two. Their conversations could start out serious, get completely ridiculous, and then go back to seriousness. "When I awake up tomorrow are you going to still be in Heatherfield?"

"Maybe Meridian," she replied smiling.

"I'm serious," he muttered.

"The only way that you can get me away from Heatherfield is if I have the option of packing you and our friends in my suitcase to take with me."

He stepped forward closing the space between them. To his relief, she did not back away. His arms dropped to her shoulders, his fingers linking behind her head. She met him halfway, standing on her tiptoes, their lips met softly. Will melted into his embrace, wrapping her arms around his waist. It seemed as if the whole world disappeared and only they existed.

This embrace lasted too long for Thomas Vandom's taste. His daughter's sanity was really called into question with him. He told her to come back to Heatherfield but to keep a very low profile. He had even told her to spend most of her time in Meridian and if she had to comeback to Heatherfield to watch her back. She obviously had a different idea from him about what keeping a low profile meant.

It certainly wasn't making out in a graveyard with a guy who looked like he could kill her with one punch. Many enemies could be hiding in the darkness waiting to attack her. Teenagers and their stupid hormones. He had the good sense—his daughter inherited her mother's evil temper—to wait until after they finished their little graveyard show before saying, "If I were an enemy I could have killed you and so many horrible ways by now."

He stepped from the shadows into the light of the full moon. "Dad," Will said turning to look at him in embarrassment.

"I told you to do one simple thing," Thomas said rolling his eyes heavenward. He ran a hand through his slightly graying red hair.

"Forgive me for being so bold as to think that you had already neutralized the situation," Will said softly. "Or is all those stories grandma told me about her Double-O-Seven son grossly overrated?"

Thomas smirked. "It is pretty much neutralized," he admitted.

What in the Hell is going on? Caleb thought watching the scene confused. Will's Dad wasn't intimidating to him but what was being revealed about their relationship sure was.

"I knew it," Will declared smiling.

"What's going on?" Caleb asked before Thomas Vandom could preen over this unknown achievement some more.

"Daddy . . . this is Caleb," Will confirmed, pointing him out over her shoulder with her thumb. "Caleb . . . Daddy."

"Nice to meet you," Caleb said cocking his head in greeting and Thomas did the same, "but that did not answer my question."

"I told you my grandmother left me her entire estate in her will," Will replied. "Someone—who was supposed to be family—put a hit on me to erase me from the equation so they can get the inheritance. Dad has captured the hitman he sent and hopefully he has enough evidence to put my stupid half-uncle in prison for a long time."

In Caleb's opinion, Will's family sounded a lot like the mob that a lot of movies were about. "He tried to have you killed?" he asked alarmed.

"It's taken care of," Will said shrugging the whole disturbing situation off as if it were nothing.

"Not exactly," Thomas said hesitantly.

"What does that mean?" Caleb asked before Will could.

"One fell off my radar," Thomas replied slowly. "He arrived here before I did and I have not been able to locate him. The other is already in custody." Will looked back at Caleb solemnly.

"What does he look like?" Caleb asked quickly. He didn't remember observing anyone nefarious watching Will or following them but the fact of the matter was, Will's dad had sneaked up on them pretty easily so his power's of observation must have been lacking on this occasion. Thomas Vandom went on to explain what the man looked like. Caleb and Will listened closely. One feature stuck out to Caleb afterwards. "A patch covering his right eye?"

"You have seen him?" Thomas asked.

"Blunk and I threw him in the dungeon before I left to pick Will up at the airport," Caleb said smirking. Will laughed in amused relief.

"The dungeon?" Thomas asked skeptically.

"Our basement," Will replied. She realized what she said and quickly recovered, "as in you and I Daddy."

"Right," Thomas said dryily. Teenagers think they are so damn smart and adults are complete dumbasses. Sounds like he would be moving to Heatherfield very soon. "You are telling me that you secured Patch?" he asked Caleb.

"He was sneaking around the house so I tracked him and then bashed him over the head with a pan I was about to make breakfast with. Then Blunk and I dragged him in the dungeon and tied him up." Thomas grinned in amusement. Will walked back to Caleb's side and hugged him.

I better not underestimate him, Thomas thought watching Will smile up at her frying pan warrior. Not that he did underestimate Caleb but he sure as Hell did not expect him to be able to take down a hitman with ease. "Lets go home then so I collect Patch."

"Blunk is there," Caleb whispered in warning to Will.

"He knows about the Guardians," Will explained. "He knows everything including Blunk." She did not tell him her secret. Thomas found it all out by himself.

"Weird stuff," Thomas declared simply. Will and Caleb turned and started toward the exit of the cemetery. "I'll catch up to you two."

"Okay," Will replied. They watched him approach Susan's grave and then slowly headed for the exit. "That's my dad."

"That's your dad," he agreed. "Do I have to give him my room?"

"Oh, he's going to take your room," Will replied. "You can take my room and I have dibs on the couch. Which means I control the television."

"That doesn't sound fair."

"It's not," she agreed smiling. They walked in a comfortable silence for a few minutes. "I don't know if I have said this to you directly but . . . I love you too. I know I left you hanging on that front as well." The arm draped carelessly around her shoulder pulled her closer to him. "You gave me the will to live when I was lost and I will always be grateful to you for that."

"I already knew," Caleb replied. "It wasn't easy waiting for you to finally admit it though." They soon heard her father's footsteps swiftly catching up to them.

With the death of Yan Lin, the Guardians would look to her to be a guiding light as well as a effective leader. Evil wasn't going to wait for her to sort our her problems. If she did not sort them out herself their enemies would use them to conquer her Guardians. Phobos proved that today. She would run no more.

A new chapter had begun in Will's life and she would meet it head on. Will wasn't alone in the world, she had the love of her friends, her father, Caleb and that love was strong enough to fight off fear, evil, and demons of the past. Being afraid to be loved and being a afraid of being loved in return was her main enemy in the chapter she had closed, but she now considered that enemy conquered.

Will wrapped her free hand around The Heart and squeezed it. She knew that it creating the red portal saved her life. Thanks to a weird trip into the past—courtesy of the heart—her future looked bright indeed.

Author's Notes: Thank you for reading this story. I apologize for it taking so long for me to finish it. I would have finished earlier this year if I hadn't lost my computer. I am still mourning it. I purchased it with my own money and had it for many years. It took a couple of months for it to be replaced.

I loosely followed season 2. I had lost interest in W.I.T.C.H. This story fits more with season one's timeline.

I actually finished this chapter two weeks ago but only got the time to edit it this weekend. I am in the middle of my externship and it takes a lot of my time. I only have time to write on Thursday-Sunday.

Sokai, did you notice my small nod to The Royal Guardian? People who have not read that story read it now.