Disclaimer: Yes! We got one! The Cars characters belong to Pixar and Disney. Stone Knight is mine. No touchy! I also created Seth, Josephine McQueen, Henry McQueen, Jeff McQueen, Jordan McQueen, Dakoda Knight, Ripper Knight, Ebony Talon, Julia Carson and Sumara Knight. The NASCAR people are copyright of themselves, including references of Junior, Gordon, Jarrett, Burton, Martin, Wallace and a few others to name a few. I don't own them (Kinda wish I did) their real and very talented racers that I just love. Don't sue me! I have no money anyway!

Also if by some chance you like the character Stone, he has his very own story out there. Read more about our favorite grumpy old truck in "Let Freedom Ring" and the sequel "Already There". A work in progress that will eventually span a complete set of seven stories. Happy reading!

Notes: This one's a little longer than the others. Mostly because it's the final. Yay! We get to find out what happens! Also note, to stay tuned for a possible sequel. Yay! We love um! Thanks to everyone who left reviews and kept on me to finish this! Love you guys! And without further hold up, Rock on!

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"So... Ebony... Ready for your little challenge?"

Seth's voice caused Ebony to jump a bit, hard frown shot in his direction. "You... Arrogant... Egotistical... Horrible little cockroach!" She growled at him, her little outburst only bringing a quiet smirk from Seth. "You had every intention of bringing me out to this place!"

"Well what do you know... The last time I was this close to victory I was pond scum... Seems I'm coming up in the organic food chain." He mused, slight smirk crossing his grill.

"Go to hell." Ebony shot back. "I'm not racing here. You know damn well how dangerous it is."

Seth only rolled his eyes in response to that. "Once again... Already been there. And if you won't race... We can always call this off and head home... You know home? Where we agreed you would be going? Backing out of a challenge is bad form after all. Now my dear if you will?" He offered her a somewhat confident smile and turned his attention to Sheriff. "Care to lay down the law Sheriff?" He questioned, drawing a soft growl from the old police car.

"Be glad to... No cheating from you." He stated flatly to Seth. Seth only raised an eye ridge, pulling a heavy sigh from Sheriff as he went on. "Keep it clean you two. No pushin' or nudgin'... This ain't a NASCAR race... Keep the road rage to a minimum." He put in, a slight sigh given.

Seth shrugged and silently moved to his mark. Ebony took a moment to glare at the black Mustang before silently rolling up to the starting line. "Lady and... Death... Start your engines." That gained an odd look from the both of them.

"Oh... Sorry." He muttered, backing up to park next to Lightning and Henry. He had forgotten for a moment he was dealing with Death and a long since dead Viper. Telling them to start their engines was a little redundant. The two glared at each other for a moment, silently waiting for their mark.

Sheriff gave the signal for them to go with a sharp screech from his siren. The screech of tires and the brewing of a storm was the only sound that would cut the air as the two rocketed forward into the night...

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Dr. Henson offered a quiet smile as he silently pulled into the waiting room, the entire group looking up at him hopefully as he parked. He hated meetings like these. In this case though it was necessary...

"Who's the next of kin?" He questioned, bringing a slow nod from Joe. "I'm his mother..." She offered, nervously shifting her weight from her right side to the left.

"Then you need to come with me." He offered, a light dip of his grill given. Joe nodded slowly, a light nudge given to Doc's side. "Come with me?" She questioned, pulling a nod from him. It made sense to her. Doc was Lightning's friend and from what she knew of him a doctor himself. He could explain the things to her she didn't quite understand.

From Doc's experience he knew this wasn't a good thing... He had spent most of his professional life in a small town. He had gone to Radiator Springs fairly soon after earning his medical degree... That had been his first real job, working for the town doctor as he was getting ready to retire. He had taken over the practice after Dr. Lawson's retirement... However he had interned at larger hospitals... Particularly a very large one in Las Vegas. Things where a bit more personal in smaller clinics... But that didn't mean he didn't know what Dr. Henson was up to.

They where about to be given bad news... Larger hospitals attempted to make it more personal by pulling the 'head' of the family or next of kin aside and explaining everything to them, then leaving it up to that vehicle to let the rest of the waiting family know.

The pair followed Dr. Henson down the hall, silently moving into another room on that same floor. It wasn't an office. Simply a quiet space. Something that was needed on the CCU wing.

Dr. Henson silently parked near a window overlooking the parking lot, Joe and Doc taking a place not far from him.

"What's all this about Doctor?" Doc questioned, one eye ridge raising a bit.

"Well... As you know Lightning has been in a coma for a few days now..."

They both nodded, that information obvious enough...

"He's been on full life support most of that time... I know this is a difficult time... But despite our efforts there has been absolutely no change in Lightning's progress. It might be time to look at other options..." He offered gently, a sad look given.

"What other options?" Joe, questioned, a puzzled glance shot in Doc's direction.

"They want to take him off of life support..." Doc muttered, drawing a sad nod from Dr. Henson.

"They what?" Joe demanded, glaring at the Doctor. "He's only twenty one and you want to let him die just like that?" She almost yelled, drawing a slight wince from Doc.

"Ma'am we won't do anything without your consent... I'm only saying that it's an option at this point. He's in what we call a lasting coma-"

"I don't care young man!" Joe snapped, putting herself into gear, engine roaring to life. "You save my boy, or it will be your engine." She yelled, throwing herself into reverse and rolling back out of the room.

The doctor blinked, an apologetic glance given to Doc, which gained only a shrug. "I'll talk to her. But we do not wish to pull him from life support." Doc stated, making it clear they where not ready to give up yet. He understood that the doctor had to think this way... But that didn't mean he was ready to. He quickly headed out into the hall, catching sight of Joe's rear fender turning around a corner before he took off after her. He managed to track her down in the court yard. The car was pacing back and forth, angry with the world in general.

"Joe, he didn't mean anything by that." Doc reasoned a slight sigh muttered. "He's a doctor. He has to tell you everything that he knows. He also has to explain all of the options because he can't do anything without the consent of the patient or the family and since Lightning isn't able to speak for himself we have to."

Joe paused for a moment, a slow nod given to that. "He's only twenty one..." She muttered.

"I know..." Doc offered, silently parking beside her. Well technically he hadn't known... He had thought Lightning was older than that for some reason... Still, he had known he was young.

"Is he going to be alright?" Joe questioned, leveling a steady gaze on Doc.

Doc couldn't answer that... He wanted to say he would, but when it all came down to it, he really couldn't.

Joe only offered a nod to that, silently heading off once more towards the waiting room.

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Sally quickly glanced up as Joe returned to the waiting room, Doc a few seconds behind her. At Stone's curious gaze Joe only whimpered and silently pressed her bumper against his side. The massive truck sighed and offered a nuzzle of comfort in response.

Doc quietly took his place beside Sally again, silently settling the waiting room falling to a brief silence. "They want to take him off life support." Doc finally offered, answering the unspoken question. Mater whimpered, the aging truck silently tucking himself back behind Flo and Ramone...

"But... Their not going to right?" Sally whispered, drawing a nod from Joe.

"Not my boy they won't." She stated simply. Stone winced and offered another nudge, heavy sigh muttered.

"It hasn't been that much time..." Jordan muttered, drawing a surprised glance from all of them. From the time he had come there, he had possibly said a total of two words. For a while Sally had questioned his ability to speak, though it seemed he did break down and utter a few words to his family every now and again.

"Sometimes-" Whatever Stone had been about to say he abruptly cut off, seeming to remember Joe's presence. He fell silent, settling down on his shocks for the time.

"Someone needs to call Uncle Ripper." Jordan offered, a slight nod drawn from Stone. At a silent gesture Jordan got to his tires, moving out of the room to make the call. Ripper had once more managed to get Dakoda to leave the hospital, taking Sumara with him. Soon after Luigi and Guido had headed for the hotel, Fillmore eventually had headed out himself, and Sheriff...

Where was Sheriff? Sally frowned as she glanced around the room, for the first time noticing that the aging police car seemed to have left.

"Doc, did Sheriff go back to the hotel?" She questioned, drawing a slight frown from him. Doc glanced around the room and gave a slow shake of his grill. "If he did, he didn't say anything about it." He mused, a slight shrug given.

"Then where is he?"

"You know... I'm not really sure."

Sally nodded and silently got to her tires. "I'm gonna go look for him then..."

"Found him once in the chapel. Check there." Doc advised, a nod offered from Sally.

She idly wandered through the halls, deep in thought as she drove. She could almost laugh now about her and Lightning's first meeting. She had hated him... To her he was a royal pain in the fender those days... Had wished nothing more than him to finish his work and get out of her life.

However, now... She felt she had found a best friend in him. He was amazingly easy to talk to. That wasn't something she had thought would be accomplished in the beginnings of their relationship.

She took a moment to glance into the court yard, that the first place she came across. An old truck sat parked at the end of the garden, attempting to juggle an oxygen mask and a cigarette... Well that was an interesting combination. What was suppose to save him, and cancer on a stick. Sally sighed and shrugged, silently moving on down the hall.

It surprised her a little how close she had become to the stock car in such a short amount of time. People like him where the reason she had left California... Something about him she supposed... She gave a rugged sigh, the memory of what was happening causing tears to sting her eyes.

"Enough of this..." She muttered to herself, silently pulling into the chapel and glancing around. It was quiet... But for the lone form of the Sheriff, steady breathing suggesting he was asleep. She smiled and silently snuck up behind him, giving his side a light nudge as she sometimes did when she found him sleeping behind the billboard.

Despite his frequent naps, he was a surprisingly light sleeper. Normally when she nudged him he would jolt awake and whip around, ready to take on whoever was there. Now however... Nothing.

"Sheriff?" She questioned, a bit of worry creeping into her thoughts. She gave him a good nudge, hard enough that she almost moved his sleeping form. Still nothing...

"Sheriff!" She called, this time quite a bit louder. That... Was unlike him. She was now really worried as Sheriff didn't even twitch as she smacked his side hard with one tire. Nothing...

She frowned and quickly left the chapel to find Doc...

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Dallas Texas 1956

The door was locked... Anyone else would have probebly turned away. Figured that who lived inside didn't want to be disturbed. Taylor sighed heavily, glancing around the well kept front yard, out to the street. A young truck was playing in the opposite yard, playfully nudging a ball around in the grass. So peaceful...

Taylor sighed heavily and turned back to his friends front door, grill pressed into the heavy wood. With a solid hit, the door popped open, breaking the lock. He moved into the darkness, eyes narrowing as he attempted to adjust. Mark hadn't shown up for work... No one expected him to really. Taylor had reported in the night before that he wouldn't. But the Sheriff attempted to call him, and offer his condolence... No one had answered. Taylor was elected to see about his friend...

He had been in Mark's house a hundred times before. He was always so amazed at how warm it always felt. Like walking into a home... Now... It seemed cold. Dark and a somehow un welcoming place.

He silently searched the living room... He had been there. He could tell that. But nothing now. He moved into the kitchen, a heavy sigh leaving him at the sight that greeted him. Destruction... Everything that could be thrown, had been. One unfortunate cabinet had been literally torn from the wall. A sizeable hole in the wall, suggested Mark had apparently decided the world in general was his enemy...

"Mark?" He called out, only silence greeting him. Mark gave a soft grunt where he was parked on the other side of the room, quietly staring out the window as if that would give him some form of answers.

"Mark... Are you alright?" Taylor prodded, even though he knew that was possibly the stupidest question someone could possibly ask...

"There's some papers on the counter... I want you to take them back to the Sheriff..." He muttered softly, once more moving. He was going through a few papers... Putting things into a box.

"Mark?" Taylor questioned again, glancing at the papers and frowning... His resignation sat on top...

"I'm leaving... There's nothing left for me here." Mark offered, bringing a flinch from Taylor.

"Mark, slow down a moment. We need to discuss this..."

Mark glanced up at him and only smiled. "There's nothing to discuss... I'm already gone..."

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The storm that had been brewing was at full blast now... Ebony squinted against the pounding rain as she flew around the turns of Dead Man's pass. At her right a cliff towered above her. At her left it dropped off a good hundred and fifty feet. This... was suicide. When she was alive she had thought herself to be immortal she supposed. She had been absolutely certain nothing could harm her. So certain she had taken some young punk up on a challenge in her off time...

Some Corvette who had been attempting to impress her. The storm had blown in, but still... She had been unafraid. Even when the roads became as slick as glass as they where now... The Corvette had hurried up beside her and attempted to call the race off when it started raining. But Ebony would have known of it. She had something to prove... She had driven faster and harder... It had been a bridge that claimed her life... A mud slide had taken out the center. She hadn't known that. She had seen it... But the slick roads refused for her to break and she had skidded off and down the cliffs. Now... Her life was hanging in the balance again.

Could she die again? She wasn't entirely sure. She supposed it was irony in a way. She was racing death itself... She had to win back her life maybe... By not dying in the first place.

The only sound cutting through the night sky was the rain... She had found it odd at first... How her engine no longer ran. Now it was simply accepted...

There was another difference... She had left the Corvette in the dust. She thought he may have even given up when the rain really started... Seth... Was right behind her. She was ahead... But not by much. She could feel his presence on her fender... The thought that if she braked hard, he would probably be sitting on her back fender brought a momentary amount of amusement. However, it didn't last long.

Seth shifted to the side and moved up beside her, edging up close enough that she thought for a moment he just might pass her.

Though it seemed he was actually having trouble keeping up. Seemed even Death had his speed limits. She wasn't sure if he did when she took this up... He gunned it for a moment, a high pitched whine coming from him as his tires squealed against the slick asphalt. He managed to pass her, coming in close to the cliffs at her left as he shot past her, driving hard into the curve. She quickly noticed something important in that little maneuver... Anyone who knew street racing would have attempted to overcome her on the right... Choosing to go with the bend of the road and to the inside. For all his fast talk, and his sporty form... Seth wasn't a racer.

She smiled to herself at that revelation and charged on. She shot towards the inside, hugging the wall as she made her way up the mountain. She managed to pass him again and leave him once more barely holding onto the pace at her flank.

The whine of their tires against the pavement was drown into the raging storm. Ebony's tires hit a deep puddle of water, briefly sending her swerving almost into Seth, though she managed to pull herself out of it, instead sending a wave of water washing over Seth's hood.

He coughed and was forced to drop back, momentarily slowing down to pull himself back together again. That only irritated him more than he had been, the black mustang launching himself back into the race in a second.

They had gone a half a mile so far, but the twists and turns made it seem much longer... It was coming... Very soon she would be coming up onto it. She cringed a bit as up ahead the hulking form of the bridge began emerging from the darkness like a huge animal ready to pounce. Maybe she could jump it...

Her mind raced as fast as she was when something occurred to her... This was suicide... Which was exactly what he wanted. He wanted her to drive hard... To drive so hard she couldn't possibly win... He wanted her to be unable to beat death... To parish in the same way that she had so that there could be no more argument on weather or not she should be dead or alive...

She hit her brakes hard, skidding to a stop. Her tires touched the bridge, the pavement slick but she was far enough back that she could stop before the gaping opening, leading to a fall that would hold only certain death...

The drop was hundreds of feet down onto a rocky river bed... She hadn't survived it before... Now she was smart enough to avoid it.

The world around her suddenly became much darker as the light hazed out, giving her the feeling of falling even though she knew she was still...

The race was over.

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"I'm afraid I'm not entirely sure what to tell you." Doctor Henson admitted, an apologetic smile offered. "We've gone over your friend with a fine toothed comb. There is no medical reason for him to be in, what can only be described as an almost comatose state, but the fact remains he will not wake up."

Doc nodded slowly, a deep frown crossing his grill. "Is there anything you might have missed?"

Henson gave a shake of his grill, soft sigh given. "For a car his age, he is in surprisingly good health. We've gone over everything. His engin's good... Carburetor, fans, fuel system... We've been over everything. There is absolutely nothing wrong. He's in good health."

"Well that's comforting to know... But then why is he still asleep?" Doc mused, gaining a shrug from Doctor Henson.

Doc glanced over at his sleeping friend, a frown crossing his grill. They had put Sheriff in a normal room. There was no need for ICU but most of the patients on this hall where at least somewhat able to be woken up.

"The only thing I can think of is a CAT scan... We'll be running one of those within' the hour. His mental activity is extremely high... Along the lines of someone who's actually awake... This is honestly beyond anything I've ever seen before. He's entirely unresponsive to outside stimuli. We've tried everything. He's unresponsive. He didn't even flinch from pain, something that we normally at least get a twitch from... Some of the head doctors are wanting to bring interns in here... They've never seen anything like it. Does he have any sleeping disorder that you know of?"

"No..." Doc offered with a shake of his grill. "He's normally a very light sleeper."

"Well then I've got nothing..."

"Thank you Doctor." Henson smiled and nodded, silently making his way out of the room, leaving Sally and Doc alone with Sheriff.

"Doc?" Sally questioned, though Doc could only shrug.

"I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this one either... The only thing I can think of... Is that he told me of something earlier. But I don't see how that would cause this sudden... Sleep."

Sally gave a puzzled look, but Doc only shook his grill a heavy sigh given. "I don't know Sally."

Sally nodded and sighed heavily, watching Sheriff's sleeping form for a moment. He looked peaceful... He always grouchy over every little thing. But in sleep his hardened features evened out, and for a time at least he actually appeared at some form of peace.

"Come on Sally. We'll be in the way when the doctor's come back." Doc offered, urging her out of the room. She nodded a bit, silently passing a couple nurses going in as she followed Doc out.

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Jeff McQueen idly wandered around the halls, not even bothering to look where he was going. First his son, then one of the Radiator Springs people... He didn't have to be a genius to figure out what was happening...

This was his fault somehow... Maybe he shouldn't have dodged death in the first place... It was flat out luck he had managed it the first time. But now... He wasn't sure it was so lucky...

"Death!" He yelled out suddenly, drawing a few odd looks from passing nurses. He sighed and stepped out into the court yard, turning his attention up to the sky.

"Get down here you coward!" He yelled, though unsurprisingly nothing happened.

"Preoccupied..." A feminine voice floated through the air, the soft scent of spring seeming to float with it.

"Well tell him Jeff wants to speak with him."

"Occupied..." The voice floated down again, drawing a growl from Jeff.

"Easy for you to say. Who is this anyway? His secretary?"

The voice wasn't answering anymore. Jeff growled and silently left the court yard, heading for the chapel. That coward was around somewhere. Seth was going to get an ear full when he found him...

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Rain... It was beating down on her steadily. That was possibly the first thing that really came back into reality. She was also parked at the starting line again. Sheriff and Lightning offered her puzzled looks, both wanting to know just what the hell was going on. Henry... Seemed to already know...

"I'm surprised Ebony." Seth's voice caused her to flinch, the Viper slowly turning to face him. "I expected a lot of things from you. You where a fairly dirty racer back in the day I hear. Was never afraid to rub paint. Wasn't to sure if I would win this one or not. But I never in my wildest dreams though that you... Ebony Talon... Would quit."

"I didn't quit." She snapped, turning on him with a slight smirk. "Hey Lightning, who wins a race?"

"The first car to cross the finish line." Lightning responded, glancing at the Sheriff with a slight shrug. He shrugged in response, attention once more drawn to the two sports cars.

"And if no one finishes the race then there really can't be a winner, can there?"

Lightning paused for a moment and smiled. "No, their can't."

"So if there's no winner, then there's also no loser. But there can't be a winner or a loser in this case because neither one of us can finish the race!" Ebony pointed out, a slow smile crossing her grill.

Seth frowned, gaze narrowing on her for a moment. "Think so eh?"

Ebony smiled and swept one tire out towards the road. "If you think you can get across that bridge... Be my guest. But it's a long way down. I would watch that first step if I where you. It's a killer."

Seth let out a rumbling growl, his gaze casting towards the road. He stared down it a long while, seeming to be attempting to work out anything he could use. She was right... He had hoped that in her state she would have panicked and attempted to take the bridge... But it seemed she had grown a few brain cells in the process...

Ebony grinned and gave a somewhat lazy stretch. "Check mate Seth. I win."

Seth snarled and backed up a bit. He didn't like it... Didn't like it at all... But he didn't have much of a choice. She had him... The air around them seemed to freeze, the darkness seeming to thicken. All at once the rain stopped, the darkness overtaking them...

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Some Highway 1956

"Did you ever see a dream walking? Well, I did.

Did you ever hear a dream talking? Well, I did.

Did you have a dream thrill you With "Will you be mine?"

Oh, it's so grand, and it's too, too divine!

Did you ever see a dream dancing? Well, I di-"

The singer's voice abruptly cut off as Mark clicked off the radio. Silence fell over him as the only sound now came from the steady hum of his engine. Another storm had been brewing... He could hear the thunder, see the clouds rolling in like a threatening wave... But what had threatened to become a storm had faded out to a clear July night. It was cold... He found that a little strange in July... But ignored it...

He had come this way once before... On vacation... Julia had made it a point to change lanes every three miles just to drive him nutty. They had laughed at everything, stopped at every tourist trap... There had been no silence... Only happy laughter. Now... The silence was deafening. He couldn't hear through it...

Everything he owned was packed in a box, tucked away and strapped to his trunk. Everything else he had walked away from. He had no time for it...

He wasn't entirely sure what he was going to do... Or even where he was going to go... After everything that happened... There was simply nothing left for him Dallas.

He couldn't breath... That problem seemed to be plaguing him since he left Dallas. It was like he was suffocating... He had felt it once before... His first time out on his own as a rookie cop... He had driven up on an armed robbery in progress. Been forced to talk to suspect down... He had felt it then. That feeling of suffocating... Edging panic... The feeling that any moment he would just... Drive... He had to drive... Had to run away. Part of the reason he had packed up and left... Left his entire life behind. Friends... Coworkers... No family... He didn't have any family. Another reason it was so easy.

He wasn't sure how long he stayed on that old road. He was dimly aware of crossing a state line... Maybe two... He was even more dimly aware of changing high ways. An attempt to move away from familiar territory. He supposed the memories of traveling with Julia had become to painful. He had to get off of familiar territory and roads.

He stopped a few times for fuel... He remembered that. It was late the next afternoon when the sting started. A dull ache through his engine. He ignored it... The pain of losing Julia had finally stopped... It had become a dull... Numb feeling of shock...

It was edging on evening when the pain started becoming truly intense. He gave a soft hiss of pain, smoke beginning to pour out from under him, his engine turning from a soft, healthy hum to an roar of pain.

The sun was beginning to set once more beneath the distant landscape when his engine began to cough, slowly dying. He slowed to a stop, engine desperately trying to turn over again before he gave it up. He wasn't going anywhere. He sighed heavily, eyes closing for a moment. The brief wet sting he forced back. He wasn't going to lose it... He had held it together...

The sound of an engine cutting through the air startled him a bit. He opened his eyes again, focusing in the dim lighting. Headlights cut through the darkness... After a moment he recognized the flash of a patrol car's lights, the red light cutting through the evening.

He sighed heavily, the pain becoming a bit to much for him... He closed his eyes, falling to a deep slumber...

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Light... Bright light... It was a shock after being in the wind and the rain... Now the world around him was dry... He was somewhat comfortable he supposed... But it was way to bright...

Sheriff's eyes slowly adjusted to the light, a soft groan pulling from him as he glanced around. A hospital room? What the hell happened?

The room was simple, as most hospital rooms where. Morning light flickered in through a window... Had he been out that long?

On one side of the room a hulking form sat, that after a moment of his vision clearing he recognized as Sarge. The Jeep sat with a book opened in front of him though he was dozing quietly.

"Sarge?" He questioned, wondering for a moment if he had dreamed the events of the past few days.

Sarge snatched awake, glancing around with a puzzled expression for a moment before offering Sheriff a smile. "You're awake!"

"Of course I am... What happened?"

"We don't know. Sally found you in the chapel. You had us worried sick. We haven't been able to wake you up all ni- Hey where are you going?" He called as Sheriff abruptly got to his tires.

"The chapel. I have to see how this one turns out." He commented, gaining a puzzled look from Sarge.

"How what turns out? Sheriff! You've been out for the day, get back in here and get back to..." He faded off, realizing Sheriff wasn't listening to him in the least, a roll of his eyes given. "Why do I bother... Hey Doc!" He called, not about to go chasing Sheriff around the hospital.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sheriff tracked them down again, right where he thought they would be. Seth and Ebony where engaged in what could only be called a screaming match.

Or rather Ebony screamed at Seth, he kept that same calm, 'I couldn't give a flying rat's ass' attitude that he tended to keep which coincidently drove Ebony absolutely nuts.

"You're just trying to avoid the point! I outsmarted you!"

Seth only shrugged, seeming to have collected himself a bit in the meantime. "All you did was duck out of a race. This challenge isn't over Ebony. Weather you like it or not, I am taking you and a McQueen back with me and there's nothing you can do about it."

"But I won!" Ebony yelled, drawing a smirk from Seth.

"Actually you didn't. Like you said, neither of us won and neither of us lost. Therefore there can be no winner and no loser. So we're right back at the beginning again."

Ebony growled and turned away from him, storming to the other side of the chapel. "You are impossible!" She yelled, drawing a chuckle from Seth. "Well I thought so." Seth offered in response a light stretch on his tires given.

"Sheriff?" Doc's voice brought them all to silence as Sheriff turned to his old friend, a somewhat sheepish smile given.

"You should be resting..." Doc offered, though silently glanced around the room for a moment. "What's going on with you?" He questioned, seeming more than a little worried for him.

"It's a long story Doc... And you're going to think I'm nuts..."

Doc sighed heavily, rolling a bit closer. "You have the hospital staff in a tizzy... You should be back in your room."

"I'm not leaving." Sheriff stated firmly, drawing a nod from Doc.

Doc was silent for a long moment, silently studying the surrounding room. Sheriff sighed heavily, slight wince given as Ebony went back to her yelling at Seth.

Doc was oblivious to the argument he had walked in on. Though he did seem to pick up something was off. Though that could have very well been the fact that it was freezing cold in the chapel where it wasn't just outside the door...

"Sheriff... Is someone other than us here?" Doc questioned, after a time for the first time offering that he truly did believe Sheriff when he told him of his ability. Sheriff gave a slight smile and nodded. "Lightning... His grandfather, Henry... Ebony... And... Well Death is here to."

"Death..." Doc seemed a bit set off at that for a moment but as always the ageing vehicle took it in stride.

"Very loud argument going on believe it or not..." Sheriff explained, slight sigh given.

"Doc?" The voice caught them all off guard once more, Jeff McQueen making his way into the chapel. "You need any help..." He stopped short, surprise crossing his features.

Seth smirked and offered a soft chuckle. "Well it seems it's just become a party." With that the chapel doors, abruptly swung closed as firmly bolted as any physical lock could perform...

Sheriff gave a hard swallow and shook his grill slowly. Alright this wasn't a good thing...

"Sheriff?" Doc's voice was questioning, unable to see what he should have possibly been afraid of...

"Doc... They can't stand the living. Just remember that and you'll be fine..." Sheriff offered slowly, silently glancing around the room.

Jeff gave a low growl, his gaze catching everything that happened. When he came back to the living... Part of him hadn't come back at all... He could see the dead and hear them just fine where he hadn't been able to before. That normally disturbed him. Now it was just giving him something to be angry about.

Seth quietly eyed Jeff for a long moment, the stock car storming up to the old mustang. "Problem McQueen?"

Jeff growled softly, eyes narrowing at the vehicle. "You know damn well what the problem is..."

"Life for a life McQueen. You brought it on yourself." Seth offered with a smug little smirk.

"I didn't think you would take it out on my son's life Seth!" Seth only offered a slight smirk, amusement crossing his features. "Really should have thought ahead McQueen. After all who else did you think I was going to take it out on? It's not as if your name can ever show up on my lists again. Something that we're still attempting to figure out. Do you even realize just how much paperwork you caused?"

"Sounds to me like someone upstairs screwed up." Sheriff offered, gaining a somewhat flat look from Seth.

"Sheriff?" Doc questioned, gaining a slight sigh from Sheriff. "It's a very long story Doc..." Sheriff muttered and seemed to think on it for a moment.

"Well I'm game to hear it." Doc offered, silently attempting to keep track of the rather one sided conversation.

"Now's kinda not the time..." Sheriff muttered as the argument once more began to heat up.

Doc blinked slowly, seeming to be attempting to focus a bit. Sheriff gave a grunt as Lightning joined into the argument, apparently something spurring him into telling Death just what he thought of him. Not the brightest of moves...

"Alright Doc... You know that feeling you get sometimes late at night? Like someone's watching you? Usually, there is someone. Everyone has a sixth sense. You just have to tap into it."

Doc nodded slowly, slight frown crossing his grill. Possibly the sudden boost in spirit activity in such a small place... There could have been a thousand different theories... But somehow things where coming into focus. "Lightning?" He questioned, a bit startled to this revelation of sorts. "Sheriff who are these people?"

Sheriff blinked, a startled look shot in Doc's direction. Seth growled softly, slight grunt given. "Is there anyone in this flippin' hospital who can't see me?" He yelled, an angry stomp of one tire given.

"Oh, is someone frustrated?" Ebony almost cooed. "Wouldn't want that, now would we?"

"Do you ever shut up?" Seth challenged, drawing a slight smirk from Ebony.

"No, not really. Not when it concerns you Dead boy."

Seth snarled, gaze narrowing on the black Viper. "Don't call me that!"

"Oh! Touchy are we?"

Ebony snarled and suddenly charged at Seth. "Not as touchy as you're gonna be!" She snapped, stopping short as Henry pulled between the two.

"You two knock it off. Yer like youngin's squabblin ' over the last cookie..."

Ebony growled, but did at least back off. "He started it." She stated, attempting to defend herself.

"Well I'm finishing it. Seth you should know better. You're Death for God's sake..." Henry snapped, sending Ebony back skittering behind Lightning.

Seth opened his mouth to snap something in response when an outside source finally cut into the little disagreement.

"Alright that's enough out of everyone!" Doc yelled, glaring at the gathered group. That gained the attention of the entire gathered group, including both the living and the dead...

"Alright... Now I don't really care who did what. What the hell's going on here?"

The chorus of voices he couldn't possibly keep up with, brought out another barked out order for silence.

"One at a time... Sheriff, you start."

"Alright... Well to tell you the truth I really don't know. Lightning's in a coma... So he's hanging around in Limbo... Seth wants to take him to the next life, but Lightning don't wanna go..."

"Not my time." Lightning cut in.

"Is to." Seth shot back, though otherwise wasn't quite brave enough to argue the point.

"As I was saying" Sheriff pointed out, a slight glare cut in the direction of Lightning and Seth. "Henry, is Lightning's Grandfather, and Ebony is... Well Ebony is just Ebony."

"Actually I'm a con artist." Ebony offered, slight smirk given.

"Whatever. Jeff ties into this somehow but I honestly don't know how."

"I can answer that." Jeff cut in, still glaring at Seth. "I was killed ten years ago in a race... Seth came... I managed to outsmart him and get back to the living world and he's still pissed about it."

"You're not suppose to be able to come back Jeff!" Seth yelled, drawing a chuckle from Ebony.

"Oh he's just pissed because he's the only Death ever to screw up. Every one else's records are flawless."

"Alright... Well considering all of that, why can I suddenly see them?" Doc questioned, drawing a shrug from Sheriff.

"Well why do people in these haunted buildings claim to see spirits? Because either A, the spirit wants you to see them, or B, there is an extremely high point of spiritual activity in the area."

"So which is it?"

"Well since Seth controls the first a bit in this case... I would go with the second which means... Oh no..." Sheriff gave a flinch, seeming to remember something he probably would have rather not remembered.

"What oh no?" Doc questioned, giving his old friend a somewhat suspicious gaze.

"Well... Sometimes a high plane of spiritual activity can be jump started by something coming through that's having a bit of a difficult time getting through... Sort of a restless spirit that's already crossed over. Usually comes up as what could be described as hearing voices..."

"I've heard voices..." Lightning suddenly put in, coming up beside Doc. The old racer gave a slight flinch at the cold feeling though otherwise simply seemed interested in this turn of events.

"What kind of voices?" Seth demanded, appearing in front of them almost as quickly as fading mist.

"Female I think..." Lightning offered, slight frown crossing his grill.

Seth growled, backing up a bit, eyes narrowing. "Why that little... Sticking her grill into places it doesn't belong that's what it is..."

Lightning shot Ebony and Henry a puzzled look, the both of them only able to offer a slight shrug. Normally they at least had some idea what Seth was ranting about... Now though they had no idea..."

"This is a mad house..." Doc muttered, only drawing a nod of agreement from Henry.

"Oh, I'll give you mad house..." Seth muttered, the Mustang seeming suddenly furious with something or other...

"You know... Because of the tasks involved it is very common for Death to go entirely insane... They where having a problem with that a few centuries ago... Apparently Death would get a little to power hungry." Ebony mused, gaining a somewhat flat look from Seth.

The Mustang growled, now circling the room, full attention turned to the air around him. "I know you're here... Come out before I drag you out..."

"You know Seth... A nice long vacation could do wonders..." Ebony suggested, slight frown crossing her grill.

"You really don't ever shut up do you?" Seth challenged, though still wasn't paying her any real attention. "Hey you!" He called out, to no one in particular. "You can't hide from me you little minx I promise you, that you can't hide!"

"Seth... There's no one here..." Ebony offered softly as if attempting to comfort someone. Seth, this time, flatly ignored her...

"Damn it would you get-"

"No need to curse... Clean up your language..." That soft voice again. Floating in and out with the wind itself, those same soothing tones.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Seth demanded, speaking to the disembodied voice as if it where someone standing right in front of him. "You know as well as I do, you're not suppose to make contact."

"I'm not suppose to make contact, so long as I don't need to. You're screwing up."

"Oh, don't give me that." Seth snapped, slight growl given. "You're about as difficult to shut up as the Viper... And would it kill you, for just a few moments for you not to stick your grill where it doesn't belong?"

"I beg your pardon?" The voice raised a bit in volume, going from that soft whispering tone to, a very loud and very angry female voice. "I'll have you know I never get involved unless I have to and for your information I've been attempting to help you out! All this in an attempt to cover your little screw ups and for your information I also have a message for you!"

Lightning frowned, turning a bit to shoot a questioning gaze at the others. Ebony and Henry could only offer a puzzled shrug. Doc, quietly shook his grill and Sheriff... Had simply gone deathly quiet and if at all possible a few shades pale...

A bright pinpoint of light seemed to appear from nowhere, at first about the size and brightness of a Christmas tree light. A light blue in hue that seemed to grow and separate, a large form materializing out of the light.

"Do you cutting out the theatrics and just giving me the damn message so you can leave?" Seth growled, narrowing his eyes at the one who stepped from the light.

She offered a smile, form painfully familiar... A deep blue with angel's wings artfully curling across her fender and door panels...

"Julia..." The soft whisper came from Sheriff, briefly drawing Doc's attention.

"Don't think you would be so excited to hear it if you knew what it was." She offered, a pleasant smile crossing her grill. "Word from on high... Somebody's in trouble." She sang, a chipper little tune held up to that.

Seth growled and gave a hard shake of his grill. "The creator needs to understand that Rome wasn't built in a day! I'm doing the best I can with what I have and if he-" A clap of thunder sounded so loudly it rattled the windows. Seth winced, sinking down a bit on his shocks in response.

"Guess that means he was listening." Julia commented with a light shrug. "The council's also a little pissed off at you right now. They said you took a perfectly simple assignment and just had to make it more difficult than it had to be. All this was suppose to be was a little near death experience and you just had to turn it into some kind of vengeance kick."

"This is not a vengeance kick Julia! You can not feel sorry for every single mortal that's stupid enough to screw up and wind up dead!" Seth yelled, drawing a slight smirk from Julia.

"Of course you wouldn't know Seth. See this is why, when they place someone in charge of Death it should be someone who was once mortal. Not a demon wanna be." Julia snipped, pulling another growl from Seth. Another clap of thunder cut off any retaliation Seth might have had...

"The council is very upset with you Seth. They said something about you being fired." She offered, slight chuckle given. Seth froze, a slight wince given. He pulled back a bit, that thought seeming to almost frighten him.

"Now, as for the rest of you." She stated, turning her attention back to the group of the living and the dead. She paused for a moment, smile crossing her grill and made her way to the group. She paused at Sheriff, briefly nuzzling at his side. "I can't even tell you how much I've missed you..." She muttered, a smile crossing her grill.

Sheriff was quiet for a long moment, before a slow smile crossed his grill. "God I've missed you..."

"Missed you more." Julia argued, soft chuckle given. Sheriff only smiled, a slight choke given. That little argument was painfully familiar, for the time only drawing a slow nod from him.

"I'll be back." She promised with a smile, turning her attention to those who where... For the moment at least dead...

"As for the lot of you... Henry..."

Henry rolled his eyes, slight smirk given. "I know, I know. I'll be in Purgatory for a month for this."

"Well, maybe not a whole month. After Seth went a little and started manipulating people like chess pawns they figured stepping in wasn't such a bad idea. So you're in trouble, but I think their willing to forget it if you cooperate from here on out."

"I'm all about cooperating." Henry offered with a chuckle, slight shrug given. Julia grinned and nodded, turning her attention to Jeff. "You... No one's entirely sure what to make of you anymore." She offered, somewhat thoughtful expression crossing her features.

Jeff offered a slight sigh, settling back on his shocks and seeming to be waiting for the worst.

"You've kinda screwed up in your life... Fix it. You know what you need to do. And be careful because you know there are no more exits for you..." She offered, drawing a quick nod from Jeff.

She moved, on regarding Ebony for a moment. "You... Need to come with me. You know that. But don't be afraid." She offered, a smile crossing her grill. Ebony swallowed hard, but nodded as Julia cast a gaze at Lightning. "You... I think you've been through enough."

With that simple statement Sheriff, Jeff and Doc where suddenly left alone in the room, the three of them quietly wondering of maybe... That had all been a dream...

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

A haze... It was everywhere... Like a heavy fog that came with storms... He had thought he was dreaming for a time... But everything seemed so... Surreal... As if there was something he needed to do...

He gave a soft groan, forcing his eyes open. The white wash of sterile walls hurt his eyes a bit. He was forced to close them again... The steady hum and beep of machines around him was the first thing he was truly aware of. What the hell was going on?

He felt someone close by... Hovering for a moment before the presence was suddenly gone... Within' moments it was back again, though it seemed to have brought friends...

Friends that prodded at him, and seemed to be very interested with his engine...

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Doc silently made his way into the waiting room, Jeff following, a very quiet Sheriff right behind him... He was still reeling from all this... Sheriff he possibly could have gotten information out of but his old friend he had a feeling didn't need any more memories stirred up than already had been.

Doc also supposed he really could have insisted that Sheriff go back to his room.. In fact a few of the hospital doctors had already tried that. Sheriff simply shrugged it off and signed himself out, claiming he was simply over tired.

Sheriff paused at the door, gaining an odd look from those gathered. For once in his life the patrol car seemed... far away.

"Sheriff are you sure you're alright?" Sally questioned, that only briefly drawing him from his absent expression. It was the door hitting him across the fender that finally seemed to snap him out of it. He muttered a startled yelp and jumped forward and out of the way.

Doctor Henson, offered a slight nod, a mix of apology and surprise... "Sorry about that... I have a bit of good news. Lightning is awake."

The shocked silence for a moment was all that greeted him, before a soft murmur of relief was offered.

"He's very groggy at the moment... I wouldn't expect to much from him. But you can start going back to see him one at a time if you wish."

Another murmur of relief, Joe quietly offering a heart felt thank you to the Doctor before he silently nodded and headed back out again.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"Let go of me!" Ebony set back fully on the shadows that held her. She had cooperated until they had popped up in judgement hall. Then she seemed to have realized she was about to face judgement... A judgement she was sure wasn't going to end well...

The halls towered above her, massive arches of such beauty that some of the worlds greatest painters could not have foreseen such wonderful art in their wildest dreams... The great cathedrals of Europe looked like out houses compared to the hall of judgement... However Ebony wasn't to intent on taking in the view at the moment... Few who where going where she was going ever would be.

Finally she was pushed into a great room, the council nowhere to be seen. She yelped as she was pushed to her seat, the viper setting back on her shocks and attempting to pull away, though she was now bound by heavy tendrils of shadows...

"No!" She yelped, a pleading gaze cast to the air around her. "Please don't do this..." She wasn't above begging now... Once she would have been to proud but not now...

"Ebony Talon... Born Elizabeth O'Connor." The voices seemed to come from all around her... They spoke as one. Disembodied and all powerful. The council...

"Please..." Ebony pleaded, tears trailing across her hood. "Not this..."

"In life... Your lessons have been few." The voices went on, not a moment's thought headed to her pleas.

"I've learned them now, please..."

"You have lived a life that drew off of others." They went on.

"No one ever really got hurt that didn't in some way deserve it... Drug dealers! That's what they where!" Ebony insisted, attempting to pull free of her current fate.

"You have been dishonest in your life. You have swindled and manipulated your fellow car."

"You can't tell me that some of them didn't deserve it." She argued, attempting to see a face of any of them...

"There is no one here who would speak for you. Who would speak for you?"

"I would." Julia's voice rang out from behind Ebony, the Viper giving a slight jump at the sound.

"Speak and be heard." The council stated simply, signaling her to go on.

"She may not have learned anything in life, but in death she has. She did not have to help the stock car. She could have avoided the situation and remained safe from Seth. She did not have to suddenly refuse Seth's deal. It would have worked out better for her if she hadn't. Her life she has wasted, but she has learned in her death." Julia insisted, the vehicle standing before the council as she had done so many times before.

The council was quiet for a long time, the silence almost deafening through the great halls.

"Very well..." The response was quiet and unexpected. "She will be given another chance."

Ebony blinked, the sudden shift making her a bit ill. A haze faded in, seeming to take her with it. She didn't even get to ask what second chance she was going to be offered... She was already gone.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"Lightning?"

Lightning forced an eye open, quietly gazing around the room. The one by one rule that the doctor had set in place had quickly crashed and burned apparently.

"Hey kid." Doc offered, keeping his voice down low. Though the lowered voice quickly went out the window, a sobbing woman, suddenly nuzzling against his side.

"Ma?" He questioned, his voice a soft whisper.

"Hey Stickers." Lightning smiled a bit at the familiar voice, as Sally nuzzled against his other side.

"Kid?" Sheriff offered a slight smile, light nod offered to the stock car. "What do you remember?" He whispered, as if that was questionable.

Lightning paused for a moment, puzzled expression crossing his features. "I was racing... Did I win Doc?"

Doc chuckled softly and gave a slight shake of his grill. "You where close... There's always next year kid. Anything else?"

"No..." Lightning whispered, a slight blink given as he attempted to focus on those around him. "Uncle Stone?" He questioned, the truck only smiling and offering the stock car a light nudge.

Lightning's gaze settled on Jeff, a clearly puzzled expression offered, no clue as to who this was... However it didn't last long, the stock car slipping back into a deep slumber...

Despite the amazing turn of events... Things seemed to have finally wound down...

What started as strangers where now family, only the voice of a very loud nurse managing to pry them out of the room and down the hall.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Radiator Springs 1956

"Angel, earth angle... Will you be mine...My darling dear love you all the time... I'm just a fool, a fool in love with you..."

He hated that song... He really did. Someone was singing it... He growled and forced open an eye, a good looking young show car the first sight he was met with. She was setting down a tray, a can of strong smelling oil among a few other things she had brought in. It took him a moment to figure out why he was looking down at her... He was on a lift. Not particularly high up but high up enough...

"Who- Where am I?" He questioned, cutting himself off in favor of a question with a bit more... Urgency.

The car jumped a bit, before a bright smile was offered. "Radiator Springs honey. My name's Flo." She offered with a light chuckle, pulling a smile from Mark.

"Glad to see you up. People have been taking bets as to who you are."

Mark chuckled, for a moment pausing. He had left his old life behind... He supposed he wasn't ready to look back on it just yet. "Deputy Jason Carson." He offered, giving her his middle name.

"A deputy? Really?" Flo offered, a smile given as she let the lift down so that Mark was once more on flat ground. "Bet Sheriff McDuffy would offer you a job." She commented with a chuckle, silently offering him the can of oil. Mark smiled and nodded gratefully as he took it, the car then offering him fuel.

"Honey child, you put this whole town in a stir, you know that?"

"Sorry..." Mark offered, not entirely sure how he had done that.

"Nothin' to be sorry for. This is the slow season. We see a lot of people during the summer, but this time of year, it's quieter than... Well something quiet." Flow explained with a soft laugh. "You're lucky though. If the Sheriff hadn't found you, no tellin' how long you would have sat out there on that highway."

Mark nodded a bit, slight grunt given. "Offer him my thanks then... What happened anyway?"

"Well Doctor Murray says you had a slow leak in your radiator. Eventually it just flat out blew... He fixed it for ya." She offered with a smile. "Come on over to the café, and we'll get you goin' again." She offered, rolling out of the clinic and leaving Mark to stagger out after her. He managed to stagger out to the café, Flo quickly setting him up and moving off to tend to her other customers.

"Hey there!" Mark was startled by the baby blue tow truck that pulled up beside him, the somewhat goofy looking truck offering a friendly smile that put him at ease in a moment. "So you're the car everyone's been talking about. My name's Mater."

"Mater?" Mark questioned, slight chuckle given.

"Yeah, ya know like Tuh Mater... But without the Tuh." He explained, a grin crossing his grill.

Mark laughed, for the first time in several days, a smile crossing his grill. "I'm Deputy Jason Carson." He explained, slight chuckle given.

"Deputy eh?" The voice startled him a bit, the patrol car twisting around to face the town's Sheriff. An ageing patrol car with steel gray eyes. "From where?"

"Well... I suppose not really a Deputy anymore... Just use to the title." Mark offered with a shrug. "I'm from Texas... Needed a change of pace..." He muttered, leaving certain events out.

The Sheriff nodded a bit, frown crossing his grill. "I'm impressed boy. Ya look me in the eye when I'm talkin' to ya... I pride myself in bein' a judge of character ya know."

Mark nodded slowly to that, slight wince given.

"Got a job?"

Mark gave a shake of his grill to that. No he didn't... He hadn't thought of that a week ago. Now... He was in a strange town, with strange people... A box of junk the only thing he owned and not a penny to his name... He supposed he really should have rethought that...

The Sheriff nodded slowly, deep rumbling sigh given. "Well if ya want one be at the station at eight in the morning. You can stay there if you like until you get your wheels on the ground."

And with that the grumpy old patrol car rolled out of the café, leaving a very stunned Mark behind.

"Hey he likes ya!" Mater stated, happy nudge given. "Welcome to Radiator Springs!"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Three weeks was an amazingly short amount of time when it wanted to be. At the same time it could be an amazingly long amount of time. That was how long it had taken them to get the Doctors to let Lightning out of their clutches.

Sheriff smiled a bit as Lightning hobbled his way off of Mack's trailer, having to stop every few feet to catch his breath. Sally was at his side, helping him as much as she could, carefully guiding him to Doc's clinic. That was the only way they had pried him away from Daytona. They had promised every Doctor at the hospital that he would be released strictly into Doctor Hudson's custody. That he would be living at Doc's clinic for as long as it took for him to heal.

It took Sally a good fifteen minutes to get Lightning across the street and safely into Doc's clinic. Doc quickly followed, disappearing into his office for a moment, before going around back to the clinic.

It was good to be home. Things may not be the same for a while, but at least they where home. Those who had spent weeks on end at the hospital could now curl up in their own beds where they felt safe and comfortable.

The street cleared after a few moments, the town quiet once more as the evening began to fade in. Sheriff was left alone, silently sitting under the lone traffic light. He gave a shrug, the patrol car quietly driving out to his favorite spot to patrol, the lone bill board perfect spot to hide and catch a speeder... Though also the perfect spot to hide and catch some sleep...

He parked out of sight, the ground comfortably settled where his tires always sat. He had spent years patrolling this spot... He wasn't entirely sure why he had chosen this one. Sheriff McDuffy had once had the theory that it was probably because he himself had broken down only fifty feet from that sign. The old Sheriff had suggested he was looking out for other travelers who might meet the same fate. He supposed the old patrol car was right. He had a habit of watching out for any travelers.

He was almost asleep when the hot air suddenly turned cool, a pleasant breeze fading through. He opened an eye, a pin point of light seeming to blend its way out of the shadows. He came fully awake, for a moment thinking it to be a lone headlight, though the painfully familiar features that seemed to seep out of it, cut those thoughts at the chase.

"I told you I would be back..."

Sheriff gave a soft choke but a smile crossed his grill as he quickly moved forward. "Julia..."

"I've missed you." Julia offered, pulling up next to Sheriff and quietly settling beside him so that her side pressed against him. He gave a contented sigh, silently allowing himself to slip back to those old days for a few moments, for the moment at least content...

"What happened?" He finally asked, smiling as Julia chuckled, the familiar sound music to his ears.

"The council finally calmed down. Henry was given a stern lecture about interfering with mortals and sent back to the after life, though there is talk about giving him a higher task... Seth, had been fired, which in the after life's case isn't good... Think fire and brimstone. Though after the council calmed down, they chose to give him a chance to redeem himself and placed him in a position he was a bit better suited for. Primarily hunting rogue souls, since he has such a good working relationship with the shadows. Ebony has been given a second chance and an opportunity to come to a higher good."

Sheriff chuckled, a somewhat puzzled look given. "Higher good?"

"They gave her Seth's job." Julia offered, a soft chuckle given. "They felt that maybe if they broke down the job and placed someone who had once been mortal at the main face of the position then maybe Death wouldn't go nutty. So now she works with Seth."

"I'll bet they hate that..."

"There's also talk of putting Henry in charge of keeping those two from killing each other. Well... Again... You get the idea." Julia offered with a soft chuckle.

"Now that's something that would be needed."

"Tell me about it..."

The two fell silent for a long moment, silently staring out across the valley. They had never really needed to say all that much to each other. Simply being close was enough.

It was nearly an hour before Julia quietly sighed and nuzzled against Sheriff's side. "I've got to get back..."

Sheriff nodded slowly, a quiet nudge given to her side. "You're not coming back are you?"

Julia sighed and closed her eyes, a soft whimper given. "I can't... Not in this life time... But I'll see you again."

Sheriff chuckled and nodded quietly. "I know."

Julia offered a slight smile, a kiss placed against his bumper before as quickly as she had come... She was gone just as fast.

Sheriff sighed heavily, eyes closing tightly against the sting of tears. He wasn't going to start that... Not now... He let out a ragged sigh, a smile finding its way to his grill, despite the events.

Things where somewhat back to normal. He knew Julia was alright... Those that had helped Lightning where ok... He should be grateful. He knew that...

He sighed heavily, letting his engine roar to life and silently drove home, slight smile crossing his grill as for a few moments he switched his lights on and surged forward for a moment, as if in hot pursuit... After all, even old police cars... Loved the thrill of the chase...

Epilogue

Fire... It was everywhere... Lapping at the walls and seemed to trap all ways out... He couldn't breath... Couldn't see... Where was his family? He didn't know... Had no idea...

Choking... The smoke was everywhere and he was choking...

Sheriff gave a soft yelp as he shot awake, attempting to blink the horrible images away. He glanced around the darkness of the station, as usual the little used office silent. When everyone started leaving Radiator Springs when the tourists stopped coming the station had fallen to disuse and eventually had become Sheriff's home... Very few people ever felt the need to come in any more.

He sighed heavily, attempting to shake the nightmare as he got up and moved to the small space that would have been considered a kitchen, really simply a space separate by an old desk from the space that he slept in. He grabbed a can of warm oil, quietly settling down in an attempt to shake the images, comfort fuel reality. He was just feeling the effects of falling tired again when he heard it. Soft crying... A child...

He frowned and got to his tires, moving around the station. For a moment he thought he may have left the television on, though it only took him a moment to remember he had unplugged the thing while cleaning weeks ago... And never plugged it back in. He simply never watched it enough to worry about it.

He frowned, moving back to the back of the station and stopped short. A small corvette. A child... He whimpered as he kept his steady gaze on Sheriff. "Now where did you come from?" He questioned, speaking softly and attempting not to frighten him.

The child stepped into the light, sending Sheriff quickly pulling back, a startled yelp given. Horribly burned his features marred to a near mutilated state...

"I can't find them..." The child whispered, the spiritual energy in the room shooting up by leaps.

Sheriff sighed heavily and closed his eyes, a slow shake of his grill given. "Thanks..." He muttered to anyone listening in the next life. Someone had a horrible sense of humor...

"Alright kid... Let's you and me have a chat." He offered, smile crossing his grill. The child offered a quiet smile, a slow nod given.

It was a twenty four hour job... Being a medium...

Fin