LOVE CAN BE ENOUGH
"Scarlet?" Mike breathed. "I love you. You... you told me... well you told Mark... that sometimes love isn't enough. I don't believe that." MxS. Alternate/extended 17 Again ending.
A piece of commentary I've seen about the film from many viewers is that they would have liked it if Scarlet and Zac!Mike could have had time together at the end of the film, prior to transforming back into Matt!Mike.
So I thought I'd write it.
It's short, and very simple, but I'm just dabbling with seeing how I feel about writing fan fiction for this movie. Hope you enjoy.
Oh - and as a random add in after publishing - I went to see the film again and in the credits, Scarlet is spelled with one T and so I've edited this accordingly.
Spoilers for the film 17 Again contained within. Do not read if you have not seen the film and do not wish to be spoiled.
Mike charged to the end of the corridor in search of his beloved Scarlet. She was nowhere to be seen but he knew that she hadn't been a figment of his imagination. He knew that he'd seen her as she was about to abandon the gym; and in that moment as he'd been holding the ball and their eyes had met – it was that moment when the déjà vu filled experience struck. Same situation – and Mike knew that he would make the exact same decision again. That his life was not about basketball and scouts and scholarships and colleges.
She was his life.
He reached the end of the corridor, his heart sinking at the prospect that she'd slipped through his fingers.
"It really is you," her voice came, soft and delicate and utterly bewildered.
Mike spun around, seeing Scarlet step out from the shadows, staring at him intently with her eyes wide open. He took a few precarious steps forward closer to her.
"You believe me now?"
Scarlet swallowed, narrowing her eyes as she peered at him closer. Suddenly, she was looking at him with perfect clarity. Looking into his eyes, she didn't know how she could ever have thought it was any one but her Michael O'Donnell. From that very first moment she'd seen him in her backyard clutching onto the basketball, she'd felt drawn to him, drawn to him in a way that no middle aged mother should feel drawn to a teenage boy. He didn't just look like her Mike – he was her Mike.
"I do," she whispered.
"You believe that I'm your husband?" he said, slowly stepping closer.
Looking straight back at the muscular teenager, Scarlet nodded. "Yes."
"And... that I'm the father of your children?"
It sounded ridiculous saying it out loud. She believed him. She believed that this was real. But Scarlet had never been one to hold back from communicating her truthful opinions. Especially not from the man who she'd never stopped loving – even when a part of her had hated him, she'd never stopped loving him.
"I believe you. I know it's you. Which... which scares me. I don't... I don't understand," she said, her voice wobbling a little.
Finally the gap between them was bridged, Mike standing just before her.
"You believe me?" he repeated, almost in disbelief himself.
He'd expelled so much time and energy into this cover story which Scarlet, Maggie and Alex seemed to have bought into with relative ease. And Scarlet had been so mortified, so offended, at his misguided advance and subsequent attempt to tell her the truth. And so not once had he ever contemplated a scenario where she would actually believe him.
The day that Scarlet had told him that he wasn't going to be sleeping on the couch any longer and told him she wanted a divorce, Mike never thought that this could be possible. That he could be standing in that very same corridor they had been in a life time ago, with his Scarlet looking at him the way she used to.
"I believe you."
"I don't understand any of this, Scarlet. Everything was so messed up and then somehow this happened... this doesn't just happen! Not in the real world! Ned has this whole theory about... a spirit guide transformation or... something or other. I just know that it seemed great at first but... now I just want to be back with you and Alex and Maggie, I want our family to be together," Mike was becoming increasingly agitated as he spoke, his speech hastening, his hands scrunching into balls. " I screwed up so badly and now I'm like this and I don't know what I'm supposed to do!"
"Hey! Hey! It's... it's going to be okay," Scarlet said soothingly.
Somehow within the déjà vu scenario, positions had wound up reversed. Now, it was Scarlet convincing Mike that some way, somehow, they could make this work out okay.
"How?! Look at me, Scar! Look at me!"
"I'm looking at you," Scarlet said softly.
For the first time since her palm had struck the side of his face, her fingers came into contact with him, her warm hand reaching up to touch his face. It wasn't the prodding and probing approach during the first encounter with his newborn teenage self. Instead, she was lightly caressing his chin and cheek with placating comfort and love.
"I'm looking at you and I see Mike O'Donnell. I see your passion, I see your strength, I see your humour, I see your sarcasm, I see your kind heartedness, I see your will to reach out and help others."
His intense azure orbs stared straight back at her, feeling not only overcome with comfort but also overcome with love. He loved this woman. He knew it when he was seventeen and twenty years later had not changed that. His hands came to rest lightly on her waist, pulling her a little closer toward him.
"Scarlet?" Mike breathed. "I love you. You... you told me... well you told Mark... that sometimes love isn't enough. I don't believe that. I believe that if you really love someone, then you can make it work."
Scarlet bit her lip and closed her eyes for a moment. And before she even had the chance to respond – a pair of warm lips were pressing against hers. But this time, instead of fighting against it, she went with it.
Standing in that corridor with Mike kissing her with such passion, such adulation, such love – she too was seventeen again. She too was taken back to a place where she was able to believe that they could make it work, that everything really could be okay. It wasn't about what Mike looked like, it wasn't even about all of the things they'd said to each other over the tumultuous years gone by. It was about Mike and it was about Scarlet and it was about their love.
Maggie was fidgeting in her seat, not sure whether she should be going after her mother or not. Her mom had abandoned the game and a minute later Mark had ran off court, effectively throwing away everything he'd spent his time at Hayden working towards. There was that tiny part in the back of Maggie's brain that wondered if there really was something going on between them. But more so, she was worried about her mom, having seen that traumatic, stricken look on her face. In a sudden decision, Maggie rose to her feet and excused her way out of the row, darting down the stairs and toward the hallway that she'd seen her mom disappear down.
She rounded the corner, peering cautiously – and scrunched up her nose.
"Ewwww," Maggie said, shielding her eyes from the sight before her. "It's great that you guys are getting back together, but I so don't need to watch my mom and dad making out."
Scarlet and Mike jumped apart, Scarlet's eyes lighting up as she realised what had happened. Her hands came to rest upon his face again, lovingly caressing the features of the man she hadn't seen since she had been tossing his belongings into the woodchip in the backyard.
"Oh my God."
"It's me?" Mike said, his tone incredulous, staring down at his features.
"It's really you," she murmured.
"Um, why are you wearing a basketball uniform, dad?" Maggie asked, eyebrows raising.
Mike cleared his throat. "Uh... you know... thought I'd come support your brother."
"Oh," Maggie said, seemingly satisfied with this response. "You kinda look like a douche, but Alex will be stoked that you're here. "
"I can handle looking like a douche," Mike said.
"So, are you guys just going to make out in the corridor all night, or are you going to come in and watch the game?"
Mike's left arm wrapped around his daughter's shoulder. "Watch the game of course. And you shouldn't sound so grossed out, Margaret Sarah. One day – in the very far from now future, when you're married and have a stable income and a house – you'll be a parent. And one day, your kids will see you with your husband."
Maggie rolled her eyes. "Whatever."
Scarlet nestled into her husband's right side, his arm holding her tight into him, the trio walking back into the gym.
"So... are you guys getting back together?" Maggie asked hopefully.
Mike didn't want to speak on Scarlet's behalf, but he did glance down at her.
"Yes," Scarlet said with definition. "We are."
Maggie grinned. "Awesome. I didn't like that guy you were dating."
"Neither did I," Mike contributed.
"When did you meet him?" Maggie asked, head tilted to the side.
Mike cleared his throat. "Umm... I didn't. Um... I heard about him. You know, while I was staying at Uncle Ned's. Mark told me about him."
"Oh. Okay then. Did you guys see Mark, by the way? He like totally bailed. What an idiot, with the scouts watching and everything."
"I didn't see him," Scarlet said quickly.
"Me neither," Mike chimed in hastily.
Maggie glanced at each of her parents, but didn't have time to contemplate their weirdness. The moment they emerged into the main gym area, the Warriors were in the midst of executing a quick play. Mike watched, eyes lit up as Alex stood up as an integral part of the team, the ball snapping out to him and making a sleek jump shot. The Hayden Warriors supporters burst into cheers.
"Go Alex!" Scarlet called out, supporting her son.
Alex looked up to where he'd heard his mothers cheer come from – and then spotted his father. Mike gave his son a nod and a small wave, to be greeted with a broad grin in return.
The O'Donnell family made their way back to their seats, the whole way, Scarlet remaining nestled into her husband's side.
They were together, as a family.
They were where they should be.