Hey everybody! Well, sadly, this is the last chapter of BFF?
Irma: YAY::throws party:
Ahem. Anyway, as I was saying, this is the final chapter in this installment. There will be a sequel, and possibly a third installment to make for a trilogy. Thanks to topazchick08, scottgrub, JayxKay, harryrulesmyworld, Sokai, & my bestest friend Elementalflame lol (see her review of chapter 16) for the great reviews! So you think Irma's gonna die, huh? Well, read on & find out! By the way, NO I DON'T OWN WITCH FOR THE 17TH TIME! (that was the disclaimer, everybody)
The guardians crash landed into the halls of Candracar only seconds after the Heart had whisked them away from wherever they'd been, but for the sworn protectors of the universe, so strong they could stare down evil and not flinch once, it was all they could do to keep from breaking as they held the bleeding body of their fallen teammate, crimson smearing their hands as they tried to look away, only finding themselves hypnotized by the sickening hold the reality of the situation had on their senses.
Will, leader that she'd become, bit her lip and bore it, soft brown eyes offering comfort where they could. Taranee held onto Hay Lin, her eyes mirroring the pain of the Asian girl's, choking down whimpers and praying silently to whoever would hear her. And Cornelia…Cornelia just stood still, absorbing the sight before her. Shock had jogged her memories into gear, streams of words from countless fights exploded in her thoughts, fireworks of the past leading to thinking about just how desolate the future would become if that pulse she had felt earlier faded into nothing…
After it seemed like an eternity had passed and it was time to retire from guardianship, the girls landed on the glossy transparent floors the graced the ethereal fortress of Candracar. Will scrambled off the floor and took off through the hallways for Oracle's usual hangout, the other trailing behind under the weight of Irma. Thinning trickles of the water guardian's fading life stained the fortress's perfection, tainting goodness with despair.
There was a flash of red as Will bolted through the open archway of the Oracle's meditation area, panting and calling forth the Heart, for the room was…empty. Will was thoroughly confused. The Oracle always knew when they were coming. The guy see freaking everything for God's sake. Either his almighty powers of the universe were out of whack, or…or he didn't want to see them…didn't want to help them. Will shook the thought from her mind as the others gathered around her. She had to be strong. She was leader, and she had to make sure Irma lived through this, it was her responsibility…and that was exactly what scared our favorite fearless redhead.
"ORACLE!" she bellowed at the top of her lungs, desperation choking her strangled cry. The other four guardians stepped up to her side, still carrying Irma between them. "ORACLE!" she shouted more desperately when he didn't make an appearance, nervously glancing from Irma's limp form to the vaulted ceilings of Candracar. "ORAC–"
"You called, guardian?"
The Oracle stepped out from behind a beautiful vaulted pillar, facing the group and glancing upon each in turn, his eyes at last falling upon the lifeless body held between them. His face was filled with understanding, but he made no move, simply stood there with a serene little smile on his face, hiding the stab of pain it really caused him to see a guardian become so fallen.
"Oracle," Will said, and his eyes traveled up to meet her wavering gaze. "Can…can you save her?" The last words were caught up in a whisper, and the Oracle's lips pressed into a thin line at her request.
"I'm sorry, guardians, but it is not my place."
Hay Lin let out a strangled, guilt-ridden sob at these words, and a bright red blush climbed up into Will's face as she curled her hands into fists, looking like she was going to blow a gasket. "She fell to save her friend! She fell to end a horrible fight so that the elements could be set right again! She fell for CANDRACAR, for US! And she's going to die for us if you don't help her! Can't you see that?"
Cornelia reached out and touched her fingers to Irma's wrist. She could still feel a beat, but…it wouldn't be long now. She tried to think of why the Oracle wouldn't help them if he knew Irma still had a chance. I'm sorry, guardians, but it is not my place. His words rang in her head, her mind, ever analytical, trying to place some sort of hidden meaning beneath them. It is not my place… it is not my place…
Her eyes widened with delight as everything clicked into place. "Will," she said, laying a gentle hand on the redhead's shoulder. "It's not that he won't help us…it's that he can't."
The Oracle smiled at this. Will looked from Cornelia back to the Oracle. "Then what can we do?" she whispered, fear quite evident in her tone.
"Weren't you listening, Will? The Oracle said it was not his place to heal her, so…" Cornelia let her voice trail, and the color visibly began to return to Will's panic-stricken, pale complexion.
"So whose place is it?" Taranee questioned, struggling to support Irma and comfort Hay Lin all at once.
Hay Lin broke away from Taranee's shoulder, kneeling down so that she was level with Irma's pale face. She knew she had to do something, she knew it was her place to do what the Oracle was speaking of, even if he wouldn't say it. The trouble was, how could she save her best friend from something as big as death? Sure, the two had often caught the other when they'd fallen, but those had been the days where they used ice cream to heal romance trouble, for God's sake. She sighed, rapidly thinking of her powers. She could try to pump some oxygen into Irma's lungs, but she seemed to be breathing just fine…
She thought back to the memories, the story that had played out right before her very eyes even though it had occurred centuries ago. "How do you heal a heart that can't beat anymore?" she asked the Oracle, still facing away from him.
"The same way you make a broken dream come true."
Hay Lin spun around. "Will, give me the Heart."
"Don't ask questions, just do it!"
So Will called the Heart forth and handed it over to Hay Lin. She stood before Irma, holding the Heart level between them, and in a brilliant flash of pink, the two were in the past, living that fateful day through the dragon's eyes, the essence of Candracar making up for Irma's lack of power, intertwining itself instead with Hay Lin's to get them there. It all played out as they had been shown, but now, as Hay Lin drowned with the black dragon, the red paused at the surface, plunged back into its element, and grasped its friend claw, fingers intertwining as water helped air back to salvation. As the black dragon gasped for air, he caught the wink of the red dragon as he flew for the emperor's palace. And the rest was history…
…history that changed little but the fate of a young girl, a girl that gave a lurching shudder as her eyes cracked open and the fortress of Candracar came into view. Hay Lin dropped the Heart and threw her arms around the newly awake Irma Lair's neck as she struggled to stand up. The other three gasped as their eyes landed upon hers, grey with a sadness they hoped they would never have to know. Irma let herself lean on Hay Lin as she turned to the Oracle, smiling in spite of the crushing force of her teammates' tearful group hug. 'I thought time travel wasn't allowed here," she said, her voice still faint.
"Think of it as helping out some good friends," the Oracle said.
"But how was it possible?" Cornelia asked, ever the skeptic and the first to break away from the group.
"The answer to your question is the same as the one you've been given as to how are your powers possible: destiny." When no one seemed to get it, the Oracle plowed on. "Why do you think Mrs. Lin left that part of the story out when she told Hay Lin? It was because you would have changed it through this, altered the course of history as we know it."
The guardians nodded in understanding, but there was still something nagging at the back of Will's mind. "Oracle…her eyes…what…?" She let her question trail off, leaving the Oracle to fill in the blanks himself.
The Oracle sighed and looked Will straight in the eye. "In order to save the both of them from being destroyed, I'm afraid Irma relinquished her post as a guardian of Candracar, giving up her power over water."
Hay Lin's hand flew to her mouth. So that's why this happened…her eyes showed the world the essence of her element…and now it's gone…
Irma just nodded acceptingly, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. Hay Lin put her arm around her shoulder. "Irma," she whispered so only she could hear. "I am so sorry."
Irma looked up and gave her friend one of her signature smirks. "Hey, it's not your fault."
"How can you say tha–"
Irma put a finger to Hay Lin's lips. "Like I just did," she said.
"Will she ever be able to get her powers back?" Will asked, and the Oracle could see hope dancing in her eyes. He hated to make it die, but maybe they would find some happiness in the option…
"There is a chance," he began, and all five pairs of eyes brightened on the spot. "Since Irma willingly gave her powers up, she must willingly work to get them back…through a test."
Irma, crumbling under confusion though she was, still managed to ask the question her endower was waiting for. "What do I need to do?"
"Irma Lair, in order to reclaim your post as the guardian of water, you must…"
THE END! WOW it feels so good to be done! Sorry to leave you guys hanging like that, but that's how I envisioned the ending. 90 reviews & I'll post the sequel & not before! C'mon guys, it's only four reviews! I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who reviewed this story. YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME::hands out cookies to reviewers: Now hit that magic GO button!