Author's Note: Well, some of you may have noticed the peculiar, "Sequel 1 of 2" in TBWBF's description. Well, this is what it means:
Two, count 'em, TWO, sequels to PoNR. Yup, they take place in the same time period, too. Side-by-side. So, please enjoy, and please R&R!
A single dirt road, leading straight to the front door of a building clearly labeled, "Beyond". No bumps, no obstacles, just a straight road.
It should have been easy, right?
I took a step forward, feeling uneasy. There had to be a catch. Somehow, some way, this would all come back to haunt me. But, no, there was nothing to it. No traps. No plots.
I could finally get some answers. All I had to do was take a few more steps forward.
"Momma? Where are you going, momma?" I turned my head around slowly. Shadow and Rose, my babies, were lying in their bed, watching me with big, questioning eyes. "Where are you going?" Rose asked me, looking confused. In my chest, my heart did a somersault and my stomach tied itself in a knot.
What could I do? I took another step forward. Rose and Shadow just continued to watch me. What could I do? Going to Beyond meant leaving them behind. I couldn't do that! I'm their mother!
But…I may never get another chance like this. I could find out what happened to me, and maybe how I could reverse it. Ooh, the indecision was killing me. I looked around, hoping a sign, some miracle would pop up and lead me down the correct path.
"Christine! You can do the right thing, I believe in you!" I turned, searching for the voice. It was Blaze, far off the path, seemingly just floating there in the black void.
"But, what's the right decision?" I had to know. Blaze grinned at me.
"You can do it! I believe in you!" Gee, that helps. I took another step towards the building in front of me. There was a whimper from behind me. I hesitated, then took a step back. The large gray building seemed to move further away, just out of my reach. I was stuck; in an impasse.
"What do I do?" I called back to Blaze. He just kept smiling.
"I have faith in you, Christine!" Then help me! I needed help…I needed to know what to do! I sighed, gritting my teeth, then quickly ran forward, blocking out everything else around me. The building drew up quickly, soon towering over me.
"Momma! Come back!" My kit's voices pierced whatever barriers I had put up. I ignored them with difficulty, placing a paw on the large metal door.
The ground beneath me collapsed. It came completely without warning. I didn't even have time to panic.
"Nooo!" I shouted. I was so close! I had just a bit more to go! I had left them behind…it was too late to go back! What have I done? What have I done?
…what have I done?
I hit something, hard, knocking the breath right out of me. Standing in front of me were…Shadow and Rose. But they were big.
"Shadow? Rose?" I asked cautiously. They just sat there. "I'm so sorry…can you forgive me?" They shook their heads slowly.
"It's too late for that now." They both turned, walking off into the darkness. I messed up, horribly. I just wanted to take it all back. Just hit the big ol' rewind button on my life. I just wanted to go back. I cried out to my children, who had disappeared into the empty blackness.
I woke up screaming. Someone bolted upright beside me, looking around in the dark.
"Christine," Blaze asked me, "Are you okay?" I shook my head. "Did you have the dream again?" I nodded.
Blaze sat up, sighing. He scooted closer to me, holding his body against mine. I leaned against him, burying myself in the comfort of his warm body. I just noticed that I was crying.
"Shhh…" he said quietly, consoling me. "It's okay, Christine…it's just a dream…" But it wasn't just a dream. It was real! Or, at least, as real as a dream could be. I left my children behind! Blaze and I had gotten within a hair's breadth of finding Beyond, but it was snatched away at the last second. We failed. And for what? We couldn't go home now, not after we left so suddenly!
How would it be if we just show up a year later, after such an abrupt departure? I could see the conversation now: 'Oh, hey guys! Sorry we left without telling you and probably making you worry yourselves half to death. Can we crash here for the night?'
Yeah, that'd go over well. Isabel might not be as mad at us, but I was almost certain that my kits probably hated every fiber of my being right now.
Pretty optimistic, eh? I thought struck me. A year…it had been a whole year since we left. Shadow and Rose were probably so big…if only I could see them. I sniffled, holding myself against Blaze for a moment longer before sitting up. He nuzzled my face fondly.
"Are you alright?" That was my Blaze, the ever-concerned. Our entire trip he had been true to his word, and more. After we left, we set off the find the Beyond headquarters. But when we arrived, the building was gone. Not empty, or abandoned.
Just…gone. As if the large gray building had never existed. After that, I tried desperately to find any traces of the corporation. I thought I had found a lead, but even after a few months of following the trail, it was a dead-end. And Blaze had been with me the whole way. Never left my side. Sure, we'd had our share of arguments, but it was a good journey we'd shared.
I remembered the promise he made to me the day we left. 'Then I'll wait…with a smile.'
He didn't have to wait long. A month or two ago I announced I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I've never seen him so happy. Frankly, I hadn't been that happy in a long time, either. It was the first decision I made that felt truly, wholly right.
I nodded. "Yeah, I'm good." Blaze smiled, lying back down on the ground. I looked around at our makeshift little home- a small cave in the face of a rolling hill- before curling up next to Blaze and drifting off into sleep.