A/N: Ah...the last chapter. So sad, so sad. I may write another story after this, following the storyline, you know, but it won't be for awhile. It's finals week...and if I plan on passing any of my classes, I have to get started on my stuff.
Getting into the Pearson estate hadn't been incredibly hard for Josie and Corrine. They entered through the side, Josie clutching onto Corrine's hands, after forcing the lock. With the security system running haywire, no alarm was set off. They entered tentatively, ears strained for any noise that would suggest they weren't alone. There was nothing.
"We're in," Corrine whispered into the small radio she held in her hand.
"Good," Marshall replied, "Now make your way to the library…it's up the stairs…"
"I know where it is," Josie snapped, and Corrine quickly hushed her.
"Thanks, Marshall," Corrine mumbled into the walkie-talkie before lowering it and clutching tighter to Josie. She could just barely make out details of the room, and everything was covered in a green hue.
Josie's eyes, however, were on the ceiling. She was entranced by the glowing white that the bulbs produced. She licked her lips and started forward, feeling in front of her for any obstructions, even though Corrine guided her carefully. She found her way to the stairs with ease and began slowly up them.
They paused, when they heard voices down the hallway, squeezing each other's hands and trying to muffle the sound of their own breathing and pounding hearts.
"…don't care what the malfunction is," Victor was shouting, "Fix it! You incompetent…"
"Let's keep moving," Josie whispered to Corrine, "It sound like they're walking away from us, anyways." Corrine nodded, though Josie couldn't see her, and they continued up the stairs, Josie following the bright light. She traced her hand along the wall, feeling over doors and counting each one until she came to the fifth one and stopped. "This is the library."
Corrine raised the radio to her mouth, "We're there."
"Alright…great. Um…now…there's one room in Victor's office, that I told Lucas to check out. To the back, on the far right." Josie rolled her eyes.
"That's a closet," she muttered angrily.
"It is?" Marshall mused, "It's not marked on the blueprints as one…weird…"
"Tick tock, Marshall," Josie hissed.
"Okay, okay," Marshall grumbled, "There's one…"
Corrine clicked the radio off suddenly, staring fearfully down the corridor. Josie turned to her in confusion.
"Flashlights, Josie," she whispered, "Someone's coming." She opened the library door behind her and they stumbled backwards into it, rushing through and dragging Josie with her behind a couch. They covered their mouths as their breathing was heavy, and watched with wide eyes. The flashlight shined into the room.
"It's all clear here," a man called brusquely over his shoulder.
"That's weird…I could have sworn I saw something down here…a green glow…"
"Mr. Pearson runs a really secretive lab," the man returned to his companion, "Who knows what strange sci-fi crap he's got around his house…let's go…"
The girls listened as the two men made their way down the stairs. They counted to twenty before Corrine turned the radio back on.
"…you should go there first but I don't think that…" Marshall was still saying, he stopped, "What is it? You sound…well…is everything alright? What's going on?"
"Nothing," Corrine gave a quiet nervous chuckle, "I missed that last part. Where are we going now?"
"You should really pay attention, Corrine. You need to get in and out of there as fast as possible. Now, go down the hall, to the left. You turn right at the next corner," Marshall started over, "There should be somewhere around five doors down there. They're all unmarked on the blueprints. For god's sake, be careful."
"Thanks, Marshall," Corrine muttered peevishly. She took hold of Josie's hand again, asking her, "You got that?"
"Yeah. Let's go."
They started out the door again, walking slowly through the dark. Josie trailing her hand along the wall. They turned the corner and stared at the multiple doors.
"Now what?" Corrine whispered. Josie took a deep breath, let it out in a great, exasperated whoosh. Her eyes flickered about the hall, though she could only make out the lights overhead. She paused suddenly.
"I see…numbers," she mumbled. Corrine furrowed her brow.
"Numbers…little green numbers…this way…" she trekked forward, hand held out in front of her until her fingers jabbed into the glowing keypad. Corrine came up beside her.
"A number pad," she exclaimed, looking over her shoulder at the other doors, "It's the only one that has it…this must be it." She jiggled the doorknob and heard rustling inside and the muffled slamming of metal against metal. She leaned against it, calling in as loud a voice as she dared, "Lucas? Vaughn? Are you in there?"
There was silence inside the room, and all the girls could hear was their own breathing and the beating of their hearts.
"Lucas," Josie cried happily and Corrine quickly hushed her, "You guys okay?"
"Yeah…we're fine. We're just…stuck," Vaughn answered, "Can you get us out of here?"
"We're working on it," Corrine answered quietly. She lifted the radio up, "We found them, Marshall. They're in a room, the door is locked and I don't see a keyhole. There's just this…number pad."
"That's good," Marshall told her, "I think you need a password…a code of some kind to punch in the pad to unlock the door."
"You think?" Josie muttered sarcastically, "But what's the password?"
"I…have no idea," Marshall admitted.
"Thanks anyways, Marshall," Josie told him. They looked back to the door, "You guys, we need a password to open this thing."
"Yeah, I figured," Lucas responded, "We don't know what it is."
Josie frowned, punching a few different number combinations in, before slamming her hand against it, "Damn," she spat.
"Here, let me," Corrine said, stepping forward. She began with all ones, then all ones save for a two, then all ones save for a three, continuing like that. Josie frowned at her, placing her hands on her hips.
"That could take years," she growled.
"Do you have any better ideas?" Corrine replied angrily. They froze when there was whir of electricity and the lights flashed back on, "Oh no," Corrine murmured.
"What's going on?" Josie, Lucas, and Vaughn all questioned in almost unison.
"They've got the lights on, I'm guessing they broke through the firewall and have the system in working order again," Corrine quickly explained, "Which means it's only a matter of seconds until they come here! We need a password and we need it quick!"
"Wait," Lucas cried, "Some people usually use the same password…or variations of the same password for everything. It's easier for them to remember. And usually they connect passwords with something…like with number passwords, they'd use a date that's special to them…"
"Try the date of the Pearadyne explosion," Corrine told Josie. Josie punched the number in.
"Nothing," Josie cursed.
"Try…" Lucas started but Vaughn cut him off.
"Six, one, six, six, one."
Josie and Corrine exchanged looks before quickly punching it in. There was a click and Corrine pushed the door open. The boys stood eagerly inside.
"Let's get out of here," Corrine told them. They rushed down the hall and paused at the opening, hearing voices.
"Victor's on his way," Lucas growled softly, "This is not good."
"Stay here, guys," Vaughn said.
"What are you going to do?" Josie asked in concern, but Vaughn had stepped out, approaching the oncoming men. They all came to a stop.
"Hey dad," he called and Victor looked down at his son.
"Vaughn, I don't have time right now…"
"I was just wondering what happened," Vaughn said, "I was looking for something…I think one of the maids put my homework with your stuff…anyways, all of a sudden all of the lights went out and…"
"Are you telling me you triggered the alarm?" Victor questioned, teetering on the edge of anger and relief. Vaughn slowly nodded.
"I'm sorry, dad. I wasn't sure if it was me or what…"
Victor closed his eyes, looking ready to burst. The others watched in fear for their friend. And then Victor smiled, placing a heavy hand on his son's shoulder.
"That's quite alright, Vaughn. Accidents happen. I will speak with the help about where to put things and what not to touch," Victor assured him, "Meanwhile, I think you should get to work on your homework. I have things to see to in the lab."
"Alright, dad. Later…and goodnight."
He watched as his father and the guards turned, leaving the hallway, before letting his breath out. Slowly, his three companions joined him. Josie was blinking her eyes, narrowing them somewhat, and shaking her head.
"That was close," Lucas sighed, "Let's get back to the school."
"My sight's coming back," Josie mumbled, rubbing at her eyes.
"That's good," Vaughn said distractedly, glaring somewhat at Lucas.
They left the estate in silence, quickly making their way back to the science lab. They found Marshall and Professor Z waiting anxiously.
"I see your eyes are getting back to normal, girls," Professor Z noted, before turning to Lucas, "And you…"
"I made a mistake, Z," Lucas admitted sheepishly, "I'm sorry…I took a huge risk that I know I shouldn't have. But I had to do it. I had to see that file."
"What if you'd been caught?" Josie demanded haughtily, "Have you any idea what could have happened? You didn't just put yourself at risk, you put all of us at risk! You put Vaughn at risk!"
"Like you haven't done the same thing," Lucas replied angrily, but it was Vaughn's turn to reel on him.
"You used me," Vaughn roared, and the other's fell silent, "That was your intention all along. You lied to me to get into my dad's house so that you could see his files, didn't you? I don't get it, Lucas. Why didn't you just ask me?"
"Because…" Lucas stammered, lowering his eyes, "Because…I didn't think you would help me." Vaughn stared long and hard at him before growling under his breath.
"When are you ever going to lay off me, Lucas?" Vaughn yelled, "Instead you make me feel like an idiot and an outsider! Am I never going to be good enough?" He turned on his heel, storming from the room, and Josie turned on Lucas.
"I don't believe you," she hissed, "Why do you always have to treat him like the enemy?" She shook her head, starting towards the door after Vaughn.
"I guess that means," Lucas spoke up and Josie slowed to a halt, "You don't want to know what the file said." She pressed her lips together, turning curiously back at him. The others looked over to him as well. "We were all under the impression that the radio wave with the designs for that prototype were mistakenly sent to the wrong person because of interference from the storm. We were partially right."
"What do you mean?" Corrine prompted.
"Well…the wave did get interference from the storm. But it wasn't knocked off course," Lucas explained, looked carefully over at Z, whose eyes widened slightly.
"You mean," Josie started, gaping, "Victor intentionally sent Z the prototype? But why?"
"So he would build it, and show it to us," Lucas explained, "Or more appropriately, you." He looked to Josie now. Her lips parted somewhat.
"Victor meant that thing for…me?" Josie gaped. She shook her head, pacing down the aisle between desks, "I don't believe it. Why would he sink so low? Does this mean he's…trying to kill me?"
"No," Lucas said firmly, and she turned back to him, "That's what I meant by interference from the storm. The designs…the equations, were all chopped up. Professor Z didn't build the prototype that Victor intended. For some reason, the one he built only reacted to me when it was supposed to react to Josie. And…it didn't have the effect it was supposed to."
"What was it supposed to do?" Marshall questioned. Lucas shook his head.
"I don't know. The file didn't mention. But I do know that Victor really wants to know what it actually did to me," Lucas elucidated, looking now to his best friend while watching Josie from the corner of his eye, "He's got a lot of things on me. He ran a lot of tests over those four days he had my body."
"When he was here, talking to Durst," Corrine spoke up, "He mentioned that he thought Lucas would suffer permanent effects from the 'incident'." Professor Z looked curiously at Lucas.
"Have you noticed anything strange about yourself since we put you back to normal?"
"No," Lucas shook his head, but his brow was drawn together from obvious worry and he was deep in concentration over something.
"That's just great. One more thing to worry about on top of the black hole, and Pearadyne. My boyfriend's freak side effects from that stupid explosion," Josie muttered. Lucas's cheeks colored at that. Corrine covered a smile and Marshall stifled a laugh.
"Did you…just…call me…your…" Lucas stuttered, peering meekly at the redhead. Josie's face flushed beet red, "Does that mean…we're a…?"
"Maybe," Josie stammered, before snapping, "But I'm still mad at you."
"We needed to see that file," Lucas argued, "You would have thought the same thing and taken the same risks to get it."
"I know that you're right," Josie said, shaking her head, "But I still don't agree with the way you manipulated Vaughn like that."
"She's right," Professor Z spoke up, "Although I know you have your reasons for not trusting him, Lucas, it still doesn't make it right for you to lie to him. Why were you so certain he wouldn't help you in the first place?"
"Because…he's not exactly thrilled about my date with Josie," Lucas confessed. He glanced at Josie, thinking about telling them about the fist fight he and Vaughn almost got into but decided against it, "So…I wasn't exactly his favorite person."
"You're not exactly his favorite person right now, either," Corrine pointed out.
"I told you we should have just asked for his help," Marshall said to Lucas. Josie put her hands on her hips, sighing and looking between the two of them.
"What am I going to do with you boys?"
"Does this mean you forgive me…sort of?" Lucas questioned carefully. Josie rolled her eyes.
"You boys need to remember, we're in this together," Professor Z announced, "We have to work together and tell each other things. No more sneaking around, no more lying, and no more fighting."
"Uh…Z…do you know how impossible that last one is?" Marshall joked.
"You can try to get along," Z told them. Lucas looked to Josie and Corrine.
"Speaking of fighting…"
"We've talked things through," Josie replied.
"We've realized we were both right," Corrine spoke up, "And we were both wrong. And…um…Lucas…I owe you an apology."
"You do?" Lucas mumbled. Corrine stepped forward to him.
"I said a lot of things that, although I didn't intend it, they hurt you. I'm sorry," she told him, "It was wrong of me to say those things, and I didn't really mean them. I guess I was really…kind of…jealous of your relationship with Josie, but I'm over it now. I'm really happy for the both of you. I acted like a total jerk, and I hope you can forgive me." Lucas's face had started turning red as she spoke and now he was fidgeting, nervously cleaning his glasses. He slipped them back on and cleared his throat, not able to meet Corrine's eyes.
"Thanks, Corrine, but I'm okay…I mean…I forgive you," he assured her, patting her shoulder a bit awkwardly, "And thank you for making me a part of that humiliating moment." The others chuckled slightly.
"So what are we going to do about Vaughn?" Marshall asked when their mirth died down, "Somebody's going to need to talk to him."
"I really think you need to talk to him, Josie," Lucas said.
"Me? But you're the one that used him," Josie cried.
"I know," Lucas responded, then dropping his voice even as it was to no avail as the others were listening intently, "But you're the one that didn't tell him we were going on a date." She flushed.
"Why didn't you tell him you were going on a date with Lucas?" Marshall asked.
"She didn't tell me until that night," Corrine mentioned bitterly. Josie gave her a warning look and she flashed a grin at her.
"Jeez…I didn't know I had to tell everybody. Next time I'll post a memo," Josie muttered bitterly, "I'll talk to him tomorrow." She took Lucas's hand, and tugged him towards the door, "Meanwhile, you and I have a chess game to make up for and I have a lot of scolding to do. I take the risks, remember? You come up with the crazy alien theories."
"They're not crazy," Lucas protested as they disappeared out the door. Corrine, Marshall, and Professor Z laughed together at the departing couple.
"So," Marshall started, looking at his two remaining companions, "What do you guys think of the Josie, Lucas, boyfriend, risk taking, crazy alien, dating thing?" They raised their eyebrows at him. Professor Z shook his head, starting towards the door.
"I think we should make an effort not to turn the Science Club into a gossip group," he told them, "Now I have papers I need to get started on grading. I'm sure you two have started your homework…"
"Already finished," Corrine answered with a beaming grin.
"All the T's crossed, all the I's dotted," Marshall agreed.
"You two are amazing," Z praised them, "Don't stay up too late, I'll see you in class tomorrow. Goodnight."
"Night, Z," the two chorused. They watched as their teacher left, then lowered their eyes, sheepishly peeking at each other.
"So," Marshall cleared his throat, "You're really okay now with Josie and Lucas dating?"
"Yeah…" Corrine murmured, "I guess I spent so long rooting for Josie and Vaughn I felt a little betrayed when she got with Lucas…"
"I understand," Marshall teased her, "I guess I spent so long rooting for Lucas getting Josie that I felt overwhelmingly excited when they got together." Corrine rolled her eyes, lightly slapping his arm. He smiled at her and they held onto each other's eyes for a short, silent moment. When they broke it, they lowered their faces, flustering.
"Hey…um…we do have that math test on Friday…do you maybe want to…study with me? You know Josie, queen of junk food. She has a stash up there that I know she won't mind sharing," Corrine offered, looking up through her lashes anxiously at Marshall.
"That sounds cool," Marshall mumbled. They headed out, Marshall holding the door open for Corrine. She giggled, thanking him, and he blushed considerably.
Corrine, Marshall, and Lucas waited outside the hallway the following morning. They could see downstairs as Josie talked with Vaughn. Lucas was anxiously wringing his hands. When they finally seemed to be on good terms, they headed up the stairs to join their friends.
"So…guys…everything back to normal?" Marshall questioned carefully.
"As normal as things can be here at Blake Holsey," Vaughn replied.
"Vaughn, I'm sorry I lied to you," Lucas spoke up, "I didn't mean to make you feel stupid. I just thought that…what with you being angry at me over Josie, you wouldn't really feel like helping me. It was wrong."
"No…you were right. I was pretty mad at you," Vaughn admitted, "I probably wouldn't have helped. It was probably better that you lied to me. At least you got to see the file…and now we know that thing was meant for Josie. We have to find out what that prototype was supposed to do and why my dad sent it for Josie."
They started towards their class and Lucas fell in step behind with Josie.
"Marshall got in late from you and Corrine's room," he commented.
"Yeah," she grinned, "It was the cutest thing. They'd fallen asleep snuggling on the floor."
"You don't think they…"
"Unfortunately, no," Josie muttered, "Corrine would have told me." She sighed.
"I'm getting tired waiting around for those two," Lucas muttered, taking Josie's hand, "So what did you say to Vaughn?"
"Nothing important," Josie mumbled, "I was just honest. It's good that everything's back to normal...or at least, Blake Holsey normal" She stepped up on tiptoe to peck him on the cheek as they entered their class.
Across the hall the janitor stood outside the science lab watching the Science club entering their first class of the morning. In his hands he held a trash bag with the waste from their slime experiment the day before. He smirked as the classroom door closed shut, turning down the hall and heading towards the basement.
END A/N: Ahhh...it has come to an end. I told ya'll the janitor wasn't in this story much. I only put him in this chapter because I thought it was an appropriate ending. So, what did you all think? Let me know, it's not that hard, just push that little button at the bottom of the screen and type away to your heart's desire!
Please excuse any grammatical and typing errors. Please, please, please REVIEW! I don't mean to sound like I'm begging, but I AM! I admit it, I love reviews.
Thanks for reading.