Chapter Nine: Finally Free

This Feeling

Inside me

Finally found my love

I've finally broke free

No longer

Torn in two

Learned about my life by living through you

Dream Theater-Finally Free

Friday morning rolled around quicker than anyone expected and the whole school was buzzing with anticipation. Finals had passed and the end of the year dance approached with each passing second. For the last week people had been rushing around like mad trying to find dates, plan the evening's events while still trying to concentrate on the last week of school. Needless to say, many of the teachers became annoyed with the distraction the dance caused, one teacher going so far as to threaten to fail the next student who asked someone to the dance in her class.

But for Nicholas and Emily, Friday stood for more than a simple dance. It marked the end of months of mental, physical and emotional unrest culminating in the most exhausting and bizarre weekend either of them had ever had. Neither of them could wait for the week to be over.

Will and Lyra seemed to sense the end as well because they actually let Nicholas and Emily get some undisturbed sleep in time for finals. Their dreams were now more concerned with the details of their past lives than their emotional angst. Emily learned that Will became a successful researcher and doctor at the university who was uncannily good at diagnosing illness. He had to cover that fact by deliberately making mistakes in medical school so as not to draw undue attention. Lyra on the other hand had become a successful author, turning her knack for making up stories and lies into a very profitable living selling millions of books worldwide. These pleasant images of their past lives proved a soothing contrast to the angst riddled fantasies that had made life miserable for them for the past few months

Their anticipation had a contagious effect on their fellow classmates. Everybody somehow knew that something special was bound to happen Friday night. They weren't sure how they knew or even what was going to happen but just as sure as they knew that ice was cold and fire was hot they knew that Friday night's dance was going to be something so much more than just a dance.


Finally Friday afternoon found Nicholas glancing at the clock above the teacher's desk frequently. He had finished his final and was now anxiously waiting for the bell to parole them from their prison of academic standards for the three months of the year that every student waits all year for. Unfortunately the clock seemed to be playing evil clocky games wit the students of Mr. Malloy's fourth period history class by dragging the second hand like it was made of solid lead. Thirty six pairs of eyes sat eyes glued to the clock and thirty six brains willed the clock to go faster with all their combined might.

"Well it seems like everyone has handed in their tests." Mr. Malloy said standing up and facing the class. "In the last few minutes we have together I would like to stress the importance of the History of the World in…"

BRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGGG!!!

A collective cheer cut Mr. Malloy off as thirty students rushed the door like the room they were in was going to suddenly blow up. Mr. Malloy tried to remind them that he dismissed them and not the bell but it was clear that no one was listening.

"What was one of the lasting legacies of the Roman Empire?" Nicholas asked Emily as they walked down the school halls. "I got the calendar, institutions of Christianity and…?"

"Modern forms of government and architecture." Emily Replied

"…so I take it they weren't credited with inventing the wheel."

"No, that was the cavemen."

…Damn!"

They continued discussing their various finals until they reached the crossroads that lay between their houses. They bade each other goodbye and agreed to meet each other at the garden at eight.

As she walked home, Emily thoughts turned to the last week's events. In seven days she had moved to a new house, changed schools, made a new friend and FINALLY discovered the meaning behind her reoccurring dreams. If someone had told her about reincarnation and destiny a week ago, she would have smiled politely and calmly called the loony bin. Now she was beginning to wonder whether or not she was insane herself. What was she doing? How was visiting a park and sitting on a bench supposed to exorcise the spirits of two angsty teens and their talking animal friends doomed by worlds of separation and lifetimes of strife? The thought that their plan wasn't going to work and that she was going to be stuck with a slightly emo teenage boy for the rest of her life was unbearable.

Emily put the thought out of her mind as she unlocked her front door. If all her hopes were riding on a lousy horror movie cliché, she had to believe in it as much as she could. Their sad, silly little plan needed all the help and encouragement it could get…


Three hours later Nicholas was standing at the entrance to the Botanic Gardens dressed in a blue short sleeved dress shirt and kakis waiting for Emily to appear. The school had rented the garden for the affair as it was a perfect location for the end of school/ start of summer dance. The party had spread out over almost ten square acres filled with students of all grades from a few freshmen splashing in the pond to the seniors enjoying their last taste of school. For Nicholas and his junior friends, this was the beginning of the end. As their days as juniors wound down the reality of the rest of their lives approached with alarming speed. The dance represented the end of their childhood and the entrance into the adult world. A part of Nicholas was sorry to see it go. Seeing both of his parents' lives sucked into their careers made Nicholas apprehensive about taking the plunge into maturity.

Nicholas's thoughts were disturbed by the person he had been waiting for appear in front of him wearing a light blue summer dress that matched Nicholas's shirt.

"Wow," he said dumbstruck "You look…."

"Yeah?" Emily asked after a few seconds of silence

"Uhhh….y-you look…"

"Well jeez don't get all mushy on me…" Emily said playfully before grabbing his arm and pulling him into the garden.

The party was in full swing by the time they made their way to the dance floor. After making the rounds talking to their friends they hit the floor for a few songs. Nicholas found out that Emily was an uncannily good dancer and after several songs it was apparent that he couldn't keep up with her. He finally got a break when the DJ who had been pumping non stop trance music finally relented and pulled out "Purple Rain" (AN: For those of you unaware of the song (I.E LIVING UNDER A ROCK OR UNDER FOURTEEN) it's an eight minute R&B Slow Jam. Oh yeah…) Nicholas happily wrapped his arms around Emily's waist to relax for about eight minutes.

"What's the matter? Can't keep up?" Emily whispered in his ear

"No. You're mum must have been a DDR machine!"

They swayed softly to the sounds of the music and with the occasional summer breeze until the song ended on a wicked solo. The music rapidly shifted into a severely fast rock beat and Nicholas hurriedly suggested they get punch.


Around midnight, they slipped away from the crowd and off to the bench in the middle of the park. The quickly hopped the fence and dashed across the bridge until they reached the infamous piece of lawn décor that had dominated their lives for so long.

They sat each on one side of the bench, Nicholas sitting where Lyra sat and Emily where Will spent every Mid-Summer's day until he died. They sat in silence, waiting…

One minute passed

Two Minutes

Three…

Fifteen minutes later, nothing happened.

"I don't get it, what's wrong?" Nicholas asked. "We did what you wanted now go!" he sighed, standing up and moving towards the pond

Emily fidgeted joining Nicholas on the shore. "Maybe there's no way out for them. Maybe they're stuck like this until…we die."

"Yeah…maybe"

"But at least we can talk to each other about this. I mean no one else will understand."

Nicholas looked at Emily, her hair framed by the silver light of the full moon. She was the only good thing that came out of this whole ordeal and if he was stuck with Lyra and that God-awful rat-weasel-ferret for the rest of his life then he was glad to know that there was someone out there who actually understood him.

Emily looked over at Nicholas. He was the only good thing she could take away from this whole ordeal and if she was stuck with the most depressing man-child in the world then there was no one she would have rather been stuck with than Nicholas.

Almost at the same time they looked at each other. Instead of feeling embarrassed or shy, they both new what they felt.

"Emily" Nicholas said

"Nicholas." She replied, hoping for and fearing his next words.

"I know we just met a week ago and this may seem really sudden but I…I feel like I've known you all my life." He said sheepishly

"Well, in a way, you have." Emily smiled

He leaned in closer. "I don't want rush into things just yet…"

"No we wouldn't want that…" she replied moving in as well

"I just think that if we take the time and…" Closer

"See how it goes…" Closer

"Then maybe…" Closer

"We"

"Could"

Whatever Nicholas would have said next isn't important because Emily cut him off by pressing her lips against his. He slowly kissed back wrapping his arms around the girl who had become his best friend.

They broke off, staring into each other's eyes "Wow" Emily said dreamily

"Woah." Nicholas said, eyeing Emily who appeared to be glowing. He looked shocked as bits of gold dust came out of her hair tips and swirled in the air. He reached up to touch his own hair only to shake a cloud of dust loose from his curly locks.

Two clouds of swirling gold Dust had collected on the bench as if drawn by some magnetic pull. They were hazy at first but at they swirled faster and faster, two shapes became clear. A young man with a stubborn look about him and a feisty girl with tawny blonde hair, each holding a different animal appeared out of thin air. The boy and girl were locked in a fierce kiss.

"Will" the girl said.

"Lyra" Will replied.

The two doomed lovers were together again.

"Wait, WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?!?!? HOW DID YOU GET OUT AND WHY DIDN"T YOU DO IT BEFORE?!?!?!?!" Nicholas fumed earning a giggle from Emily

"I guess it was just the right combination of the right circumstances" Lyra said from her spot in Will's arms "I guess falling in love in the Botanic Garden after a long and tumultuous journey created a mirror of our own experiences."

"We were so close to this world that we just popped out." Will finished, smiling for the first time in a long time. Pan and Kirjava were also very happy, rolling and playing on the ground as their humans embraced.

"P-P-POPPED OUT?!?!! LIKE A BLOODY POP-TART?!?!"

"So what now?" Emily asked, putting a hand on Nicholas's shoulder to calm him down

"Well we'll be going in a few seconds." Will said, already beginning to break apart into little dust particles

"We only have enough power to maintain our states for a little longer." Lyra said

"But before we go, we have someone we'd like you to meet." Kirjava said, her small cat body almost gone.

"Look behind you!" Pan said as he fully turned to Dust.

The four separate entities came together, swirling and twisting until they became one big cloud. The cloud lingered for a few moments before shooting up into the sky. As Nicholas and Emily's eyes traveled upward they saw the cloud grow brighter and brighter before dimming and forming a small star at the tip of Polaris, the Northern Star.

"They're gone." Emily said almost sadly

"Yeah," Nicholas said wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "They're gone

"Yeah, but they left you something to remember them by!" a voice called out.

As Emily and Nicholas turned they saw that the voice came from a large multicolored cat, identical to Kirjava except for the fact that he was obviously male. And beside him was…

"You have got to be kidding me…" Nicholas said, looking at his daemon, an exact replica of Pan, but female.

"So I hear tell that you've got a problem with pine martens…" she said eyeing him shiftily

They all shared a hearty laugh as Nicholas blushed mumbling something about how "God hated him…"

"Hey I think we still have time for one more dance." Emily said pulling an anxious Nicholas back in the direction of the party, their new daemons in tow.


As they arrived the DJ was making last announcements. "Okay everyone we got one more song to play for you tonight so we're ending it with a request. This song is dedicated to the school's new couple Nicholas and Emily!" The crowd cheered even earning a few wolf whistles. "This song is from Will, Lyra, Kir, and Pan Who Hates You. This song is called The Spirit Carries On"

Nicholas and Emily slowly wrapped their arms around each other as the song began to play

Where did we come from?
Why are we here?
Where do we go when we die?
What lies beyond
And what lay before?
Is anything certain in life?

They say, life is too short,
The here and the now
And youre only given one shot
But could there be more,
Have I lived before,
Or could this be all that weve got?

If I die tomorrow
Id be allright
Because I believe
That after were gone
The spirit carries on

I used to be frightened of dying
I used to think death was the end
But that was before
Im not scared anymore
I know that my soul will transcend

I may never find all the answers
I may never understand why
I may never prove
What I know to be true
But I know that I still have to try

If I die tomorrow
Id be all right
Because I believe
That after were gone
The spirit carries on

Move on, be brave
Don't weep at my grave
Because I am no longer here
But please never let
Your memory of me disappear

Safe in the light that surrounds me
Free of the fear and the pain
My questioning mind
Has helped me to find
The meaning in my life again
Victorias real
I finally feel
At peace with the girl in my dreams
And now that Im here
Its perfectly clear
I found out what all of this means

If I die tomorrow
Id be allright
Because I believe
That after were gone
The spirit carries on

The song ended and everyone broke into applause. Everyone except Nicholas and Emily who lingered in each other's arms for just a little longer…

AN: FINALLY! I had to lock my self in my room with the books and the album until I felt inspired again. Thanks to everybody who liked this fic and read this after THREE MONTHS!!!! Peace!!!!

Dotmw!