Chapter 20: Not in Vain

Rose slowly opened her eyes, to find her mother looking down at her. "Mom...?" she said weakly. She tried to sit up, but her mother held her still.

"Try to take it easy." she said gently, then she pulled her daughter into a hug. "We thought we'd lost you..." Rose hugged her back.

"I thought I'd never see you again!" she said, then she looked around. "Where are the others?"

Her mother looked at her. "After Sun and Fu healed you, they went out to look for Jake." The sound of his name brought tears to Rose's eyes. She looked down at her hand; she still held his dragon talon...

"Mom..." she said, holding up the claw, "They won't find him..." Just then, Loa Shi and the others returned.

"There was no sign of him..." said Rose's father, then saw Rose. "Rose! You're awake!" He came over and hugged her, and she returned it. Then Loa Shi came up to her.

"Rose." he said gently, looking into her eyes. "Can you tell us what happened to Jake?"

Rose bowed her head; she couldn't meet his gaze. "He... tried to save me... there was this portal; I summoned it... Jake, he knocked the Dark Dragon off me; into the portal... but when he tried to get out... the Dark Dragon grabbed him! There... There was nothing I could do!" She threw her arms around the old dragon's neck; and buried her face in his scales, sobbing. He looked down at her as her words sank in.

"You- you mean he's..."

She looked up, tears streaming down her face. "I don't know... I'm sorry..." Loa Shi put his claws around her; trying to console her.

"Hush," he said soothingly, "It... It wasn't your fault, young one..."

Rose pulled away from him and looked around at the others. All of them were grief stricken. Jake's parents were trying to comfort each other. Spud and Trixie were consulting the Oracle Twins.

"Can't you guys see anything about Jake?" asked Trixie. Both girls shook their heads.

Sun was comforting Haley. "I- I can't believe he's gone..." the little dragon sobbed. Sun looked at Rose, her eyes full of sorrow.

"So... Now what'd we do?" asked 89.

"Well," said 88, "I guess we gotta find a new dragon now."

"What?!" said the others, looking at him.

"You know," he said, "Somebody's gotta do the magical protectin' 'til we find Jake."

"The Dragon Council must be told of this." said Loa Shi, "If Jake truly is gone... then a new Guardian must take his place."

"But who?" asked Sun, "Haley is still too young. Spud and Trixie will certainly want to help; but it still might not be enough."

Rose looked around at them all. "I will." she said.

"Rose?" said Loa Shi, "What do you mean?"

She looked him straight in the eyes as she said, "Jake fought to protect magical creatures. I will take up his fight. He gave his life to save mine. This is my chance to repay him."

Her parents came up to her. "Are your sure this is what you want?" her mother asked.

"What you're offering to do is a dangerous job." said her father.

Rose met their gazes firmly. "How is this anymore dangerous then what I've already been through?" She looked at Loa Shi and held Jake's talon against her heart. "Jake may be gone." she said, meeting the old dragon's gaze. "But I swear to you. I will not let his death be in vain."

As they turned to leave, no one noticed; that in the shadows of a nearby tunnel... Chang was watching...

To be continued...

Look for the sequel "Darkfire"! (Out now!) P.S. I need some ideas for what names to give Rose's parents. Thank you all for reading this and thanks for the reviews :)

p.s. again, As some of you may have heard; Disney has canceled American Dragon: Jake Long at the end of this season. Myself and other fans are doing everything we can to help save the show and bring it back for a third season, but time is running out and we need all the help we can get!

If anyone out there knows how to get in touch with Disney; please let them know about our cause, and that we'd like the show back for a third, or possibly more seasons:) Thank you readers:)

Answers to questions you've probably been asking yourself-

Q. How can Rose have the birthmark of the Huntsclan; and dragon powers, and the Huntsclan not knowing about her powers?

A. Well, why couldn't she have both? In this story, her father is a dragon; even though he doesn't have powers; and she already had the dragon-shaped birthmark that the Huntsclan were looking for.

As for the Huntsclan not knowing about her powers; from what I've heard from the show, most dragon's powers don't reveal themselves until age 13. (See episode Legend of the Dragon Tooth.) So how could the Huntsclan have known about them?

Q. Out of all the Huntsclan trainees; why on Earth did the Huntsmaster pick 88 and 89 as his new apprentices?

A. They lied on their resumes. (See episode Breakout.)

Q. Why couldn't Rose quit the Huntsclan?

A. She had no where else to go. The Huntsmaster had raised her, and she had no way to find her real family.

Q. How did Jake and his friends (and 88 and 89) still keep their memories of Rose; if Jake wished she was never in the Huntsclan; and why did Jake still have his photo of Rose, along with the dream charm she gave him?

A. This answer gave me headache, but here's what I think happened: The wishes made by the Aztec skulls are irreversible. Rose wished the Huntsclan destroyed. To save Rose's life; Jake wished that she'd never been taken by the Huntsclan.

If she was never taken, then she would have never met Jake; and thus would have never made her wish. The two wishes would have canceled each other out. But since the wishes couldn't cancel each other out, and because Rose's wish had already be granted; only part of Jake's wish came true.

All the stuff between him and Rose still happened; but her memory of it was erased, and the wish created an alternate reality for Rose; one in which she lived a normal life with her family. But she was still having dreams of her forgotton life as Huntsgirl.

I'm guessing the photo and the dream charm still being there was some sort of side effect. It has to do with this whole, parallel reality thing.