Two weeks later:
The morning air was crisp at the Academy. Birds greeted the sunlight after a chilly night. It was a scene if peace and serenity in gardens so lavish that it took an army of gardeners to keep them.
The serenity was only interrupted by the heated argument that erupted from one of the lecture.
Amelia paced the floorboards, her ears back and her tail flicking in aggravation.
Jim had failed to bring home the treasure from Treasure Planet.
And for that, he was scheduled to die. Even after everything he had gone through... it should have redeemed him, but yet the governing council would not hear of it. It was an outrage!
Bound in handcuffs, they had already escorted him from off the premises and into the courtyard of the naval barracks.
He had a choice: a hanging or a shooting.
Jim opted for the shooting, the same way in which he'd died, originally. He'd also opted not to have a blindfold.
And as they watched him, he seemed so calm...
"Ready!" The call rang out through the courtyard. "Aim!"
Jim opened his eyes, only just realising that he'd closed them, his heart skipping beats on end.
The guns that once aimed were now brought back, troops making way for the figure that slowly and gracefully stepped up to him.
"Qu... Queen Ankhesen."
The gasp rang out through his audiences, wails of alarm now becoming a suspenseful silence as her representative, the scarred General addressed the crowds.
"I hereby decree by order of the Queen that all charges placed against James P Hawkins be dropped, effective as of immediately."
The sigh that rang out through Jim's audience could not even begin to reach the height of his relief right then.
The General ordered Jim's release and as they unbound him, he was suddenly mobbed by family and friends from all directions.
The Hawkins name was cleared.
Somewhere in the confusion, the gentle figure of the Queen approached Jim, his family and friends separating from him immediately.
"Congratulations, James." She smiled, her voice as gentle as the morning breeze.
She slipped an envelope into his hands.
"Accept this as my appreciation for your efforts in saving the lives of countless individuals."
And with that, she and her escort disappeared back into the crowds.
"So how does it feel to cheat death again, Jim?" Delbert watched him over his spectacles, handing him a plate of potato mash.
Jim accepted the plate, slopping a spoonful of it onto his plate and passing it along.
"I gotta admit... it feels good to be alive." His smiled extended across the table, his eyes meeting those of his mother.
They were red and raw as she had only just managed to stop crying. She looked as though she'd aged years in a matter of hours. But she was finally beginning to settle once again.
"I'm told that the moment Queen Ankhesen heard about the order for my execution, she immediately went about having me pardoned. "
Amelia gave a chuckle. "It does pay to have friends in high places. So what are your plans now, James? Will you be able to finish your exams?"
Jim's grin was wide. "I don't need to. Queen Ankhesen fired the Academy's governing members. Then the Academy's new representatives passed me and offered me a new job. They're opening up a new division that they want me to head."
Amelia gave a snort. "A desk job would never suit you."
But Jim hadn't finished speaking yet.
"I'll be a relic re-locator. Once I'm trained up, I'll be travelling to all parts of the Galaxy."
"Wow! Jim! That's amazing!" Dolphy just next to him spoke for the first time that evening. "Congratulations."
"Its wonderful news, isn't it." Sarah had to agree.
Talk started with regards to Jim's bright and new future that lay ahead of him. Already he'd faced more adventures awarded to most people in a lifetime. They were sure this would only be the beginning.
"And what about you, Dolphy?"
The question was unexpected and caught her off guard.
The girl stopped, her eyes darting in every direction. Jim had invited her to come to Montressor with him... but yes indeed, what was she going to do?
"I...I..." she went to say.
"She will be staying in the Benbow for the moment. I could use an extra kitchen hand." Sarah winked, filling in for her. "That is until you get established. Now that Jim's friends are married, I'm sure he is going to appreciate having you around."
"That would be awesome." Before he could think, Jim blurted then went an instant shade of red. "To have you around, that is..."
The table laughed, the adults watching the two youths giving each other shy glances.
Yes, it was a time for new beginnings.
And for the first time in a long time, Jim could feel at peace with himself once again.
His attention fell onto a photo on the mantle.... the figure that smiled back at him... eyes showing that of a proud father.
And finally, Jim could feel something that he thought he never would... forgiveness.
"I love you too, dad."
ok... I wasn't going to save the final chapters for Winne to write but I started to get a lot of requests from people, so in brief, here they are. No doubt, Winnie will do a muuuch better job at finishing the story!
For JimXDolphy fans, I have started another fic exclusively about them (with the input of Dolphy).
That can be found on my DA gallery or under this profile too. It's called: "The Forefathers"
Other than that, I'm going to get into editing this and Winnie, when she can, will be rewriting a few chapters too.
Many thanks for everyone for taking an interest in this story. Seriously, it would have never happened without your support.
Also, many thanks to everyone who 'donated' their original characters to let us play around with. It was lots of fun!!
Hopefully I'll see ya'll over at the new Forefathers fic! :)!