Disclaimer: The song is the chorus of the song "Together," by MBD.
A/N: This is post-divorce! Brendan's on Caamas with Kite and Kai and that whole gang, and Marc's on Earth, doing… whatever she ever does.
Yes, together, locked in harmony…
"Marc, Baruch, you've both been called here because you're the two newest EA students." The Ellimist smiled down at them. "Baruch, you've only been here three weeks, and Marc, only two days?"
Marc nodded. "Who are you?"
The Ellimist laughed. "I'm in charge here."
Baruch rolled his eyes, but Marc didn't notice.
"Anyway," the Ellimist continued, "I just wanted to go through some of the rules we have here with you. Firstly, there is-"
"-I have a question," Marc interrupted. "Did you know about us at the beginning of the year?"
"Yes, of course."
"Then why did we come so late?"
The Ellimist laughed again, and this time, Marc actually noticed Baruch's scowl. The Ellimist launched into a description of the EA's policies concerning talented students, but neither of his students was listening. Instead, the two glared at each other.
And Marc vowed that she would always hate this boy.
To walk along the path of unity …
"Hey, Jones!" Baruch turned to face the two older boys who were closing in on him. "We really appreciated your listening skills yesterday, you little freak!"
Baruch watched them calmly, even as one shoved him up against the wall. "Telling the administration on us! You'll pay for that!" The guy pulled back his fist, preparing a heavy punch.
"Hey." Marc stepped out from the shadows.
"What do you want, freshie brat?" The boy who didn't have Baruch in a headlock advanced on her menacingly.
Marc laughed, then hardened her face. "Get off of him."
"You have GOT to be kidding. Ordering us around like that? I don't think ssss-" Suddenly, the older student doubled over, choking silently. His friend let go of Baruch and the two staggered away.
When they were gone, Baruch glared at Marc. "What'd you do that for?"
"Hello?" Marc couldn't believe she was hearing this. "I got rid of those guys for you! We freshman should stick together, right?" Despite her dislike of the other boy, she wasn't going to just let them beat Baruch up.
He didn't see things that way. "Great. Just what I need. A girl saving my skin. That's really going to stop them next time." He glared at her. "Next time, don't interfere. It's none of your business, you brat!"
She made a face, annoyed at his lack of gratitude. "Fine! Next time I'll just let them beat you up!"
"Good." He turned away, and Marc fumed silently.
As the shining stars will always be
"Crayak's out there in those bleachers somewhere!" Baruch snapped. "You may have a death wish, but I don't!"
"No, you're just a coward!" Marc hissed, looking around desperately. Crayak was gaining on them, and they had no backup at all. Trapped in the future with a powerful villain on her tail… she didn't need Baruch Jones around right now. "If you want to run, then do it, you slimy little weenie!"
"Fine." Baruch rose defiantly. "I'm going! In fact, I'm going home!"
"Don't be an idiot!" Marc grabbed him and turned him to face her. "If you do that, you'll give him a straight path to the EA. Would you give up everyone else you know to save your own skin?"
Baruch laughed. "Is that supposed to be a tough question? I always come first!"
Marc didn't know that she was going to punch him until after her fist connected and he was rubbing a bloody nose.
"That had better have been a joke," she retorted angrily. "That's it. You're going to have to come with me."
Yes, together in our hopes each day…
"For the whole summer?" Marc demanded disbelievingly. "I don't want to work with someone else!"
"We just want to see how good you are with a partner," Freckles explained patiently. "You don't want to end up with a partner who doesn't complement you next year."
"I don't need to work with anyone," Marc grumbled.
"Funny you should put it that way," Freckles smirked victoriously. "He claims the same thing."
Marc's eyes narrowed. "Wait a minute. Not-"
Baruch walked in, looking just as sullen as she. "I refuse to work with her!"
"You don't have a choice," the Ellimist spoke up. "These are your orders. If you can't obey them, you're not the type of person we want."
Marc squinted at him. "Wait a minute. You don't mean that you'll kick us out of the EA… do you?"
"You told me that we were two of your most promising students ever earlier today!" Baruch protested.
"Let's see if you are." Their teacher left the room.
Freckles smiled at the two. "Now, your mission is to unite the world of Setsu Kagan…"
Together in the prayers He hears us say…
"I don't think that we should begin this mission by storming into the war," Baruch said cautiously.
Marc laughed derisively. "Once a coward, always a coward, eh Baruch?"
Baruch flushed, and their guide squirmed uncomfortably. "Miss Marc…"
"No," Baruch said suddenly, straightening. He turned to Marc. "I know you're remembering me as the bully magnet who was willing to risk everything to save his own skin. And you're right. That's exactly how I was two years ago. And you're still the rash, judgmental, and spoiled power-being you were two years ago." Marc opened her mouth to protest, but Baruch held up a hand. "You haven't changed. But I have, Marc. And you'll never understand or admit that I've beaten you at anything, even maturity! But I have, and if you won't acknowledge that…" He turned to their guide. "You say that the Sets and Kaga respect children. Which more- male or female?"
"Well…" the guide looked panicked. "I suppose males, but-"
"Good." Baruch smiled at Marc. "I guess I'm in charge, then. And I say we gather more intelligence first."
Marc glared back at him, knowing that he had won and hating it, but she was secretly amazed. Baruch was right. He had changed.
Then our many words become one page
"So, how does it feel to finally graduate?" Freckles smiled at her two favorite students. They smiled back.
"Actually," Baruch said ruefully, "I feel kind of defeated. No matter how hard I tried, Marc still graduated at the top of the class, and I only came in second." He smiled at Marc, who nodded grudgingly.
"Well, if it's any comfort, you would've been first in any other class," the Ellimist smiled.
Baruch shrugged good-naturedly. "I'd still feel second."
Freckles regarded the two of them seriously. "So. The two most promising children ever to graduate from this school are both on their way to two very difficult and very different occupation. Marc-" Marc nodded slowly. "-You'll be building onto a world you've built yourself, and the road will not be smooth, my child."
"I don't expect it to be," Marc agreed softly.
"And Baruch-" Baruch's eyes showed a gleam of fear. "You'll be working in a terrible time in your world's past, in a time of mass genocide where you'll long to die just to end the pain. Are you sure you can handle this?"
"I have to," Baruch whispered, and Marc turned to stare upon hearing the note of panic in his voice. "I just have to."
"I understand." Freckles put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "But never worry. Your paths will cross again,. I'm sure of it." Marc and Baruch exchanged dubious glances. Was that supposed to be comforting?
Freckles saw that and laughed. "You may not get along now, but I foresee a future more promising for the two of you than one of mutual dislike."
"Huh?" Marc asked intelligently.
Freckles put her second hand on Marc's shoulder. "From this day forward, consider yourselves betrothed."
"What?" Marc struggled to say something, but no words came. All she could do was stare at her teacher with rising horror. What did she mean!
But Baruch seemed to take it seriously, so Marc did, too. Until she finally forgot all about it…
So many sparks become one page…
"D#$ you, Freckles," Marc whispered, throwing a random fireball at a nearby tree. "How could you? How could you have just promised away my heart to him, 1700 years ago?"
"And how? How I could I have let her do it?"
She stared out at the stars, trying to force his face out of her dreams. But he still watched her accusingly, watched her, as though demanding, how could you have just given me up?
"I didn't give you up," Marc told the face. "Avda tricked me… she was working for Violet…"
You trusted her more than me?
"Never! You weren't sure if you had really done it, too!"
Did you stop loving me because Avda lied about me?
Have you stopped loving me?
"Brendan…" she struggled to use his taken name, then gave up. "Baruch… I can't love you anymore…"
Then you have stopped loving me?
"I have to," she whispered to the mirage. It stared at her solemnly. "No," she admitted. "Never. I never could give you up… because I love you… but this is goodbye…"
(And I know that I am lying...)