"Listen, listen, Virg. You do what you have to do down there. And if things aren't the same on the other side," Zeke shrugged, "it's been a good ride."
Virgil slowly nodded as Zeke turned to leave. Pausing to think about what Charlie had said, Virgil turned back to the football field to see his younger self being carried by football players, along with Charlie, down the field. Virgil started down the stairs while he pulled up his hood and put on his goggles. Doubt was gnawing at his mind, but he tried to ignore it as he ran across the field.
This is my chance to be somebody, he told himself. It doesnt mean I wont be friends with Charlie or Zeke. I just have to do it. I have to. . .
The football players who had been carrying him roughly threw Virgil down on the ground. That Charlie Tuttle kid was next to him, spitting out grass he'd apparently got in his mouth. Virgil looked for a way of escape, but the laughing football players and students who were standing in a close circle around them blocked any exit. A couple of the football players had left, yelling something about cheerleader outfits. Virgil groaned.
What did I get myself into?
Suddenly someone grabbed him from behind and pulled him out of the circle. The football players were coming back, holding up cheerleader uniforms and a tube of lipstick, but no one had seemed to notice that Virgil wasn't there anymore. Quickly looking up to see his rescuer, he found himself looking into a face covered by a white hood and black goggles.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"A friend who knows about your past and cares about your future," the person answered.
Virgil looked up in confusion. Something about this guy seemed familiar in a freaky way. "Why'd you get me out of there?"
"I care about what's gonna happen to you. Trust me, things will be a lot better now. If I were you," the guy smiled a little bit, "I'd get out of here. Good luck, man."
Without another word the person ran. Virgil quickly scrambled to his feet and started to run off the football field, then paused to look back. No one had really noticed he was gone, but they were carrying Charlie Tuttle, dressed in a cheerleader outfit, toward the school mascot. Feeling a little bit guilty, Virgil left.
Once Virgil was out of sight of the football field he pulled back his hood and took off his goggles, letting them hang around his neck.
"I did it," he said softly. He laughed. "I actually did it!"
Looking down at his watch his smile faded a little and he started running again.
When he reached the park, Virgil looked around. He couldn=t see Charlie or Zeke anywhere, but the vortex looked like it was about to touch the ground. He ran forward and jumped into it. In a few seconds he was thrown out onto the football field, head first. He groaned as he landed on the ground and lay there. The sky swam in his vision, then everything went black.
"Virgil! Virg, are you ok? Wake up! C'mon man, say something."
Virgil squinted and groaned. "What happened?"
"Hey, guys, he's talking! Are you ok, dude?"
When Virgil opened his eyes he saw Derek and a few other football players huddled around him, trying to help him sit up. He groaned again. "Uh, I'm not sure. My head really hurts. What happened?"
"That's what we're wondering, bro," Derek answered. "What are you wearing?"
Virgil looked down at his white snowsuit. "I have no idea. I can't remember much of anything right now."
"Do you want us to take you to the nurse or something?"
"No, I think I'm ok. I must have hit my head. Just help me get up and I'll be fine."
The football players helped Virgil stand up. He was dizzy and had a headache, but was starting to feel better. "How'd I get out here?" he asked, looking around the football field.
"You would know better than us," Derek answered. "We were just coming out for football practice and we found you laying here."
"Are you sure you're ok?" one of the football players asked.
"Yeah, Michael, I'm fine. Thanks, guys. You're good friends. I'm gonna go inside."
"Ok man. See you later."
Virgil walked off the football field and went inside the school. He noticed Stephanie coming towards him and waved. "Hey Stephanie."
"Hi Virgil. Um, what's with the outfit?"
"Oh, ya know, it's such a warm day outside I thought I'd wear a snowsuit." Virgil smiled as Stephanie laughed.
"No, really, why are you wearing it?"
"I'm not sure. I must have hit my head really hard because the guys found me out cold on the football field, I have a major headache, and I can't remember most of today. Or anything, for that matter."
"Um, that's really weird, Virgil. Come on, let's take you to the nurse," Stephanie said, looking concerned.
"No, Steph, I'm fine. Really. Other than my headache I just have to sort my memories out. It's really not a big deal."
"But what if you have amnesia or something?"
"I don't. It's ok, I'm just confused. It's like that feeling when you wake up from a dream and you can't remember what's real and what isn't. But I'll be fine, don't worry. By tomorrow I'll be my normal self again. Now I gotta go get into some normal clothes."
Stephanie smiled a little bit, but she looked unsure. "Virgil, if anything else weird happens or you start to feel worse, promise me you'll tell someone, ok?"
"I promise Steph. Now stop worrying."
Zeke groaned and rubbed his head, but found it covered in a hood that he quickly threw back. He pulled the goggles covering his eyes off and looked at them. Still holding the goggles, he stood up quickly, but almost fell down again. Dizziness washed over him and his head started throbbing. After he felt a little better he quickly walked into the school and to his locker. He never noticed the boy who had been lying unconscious next to him on the football field.
At his locker Zeke got out of the white snowsuit that he had been wearing over his clothes. He held it up and looked at it. Something about it seemed so familiar, but he couldn't remember ever seeing it before. He had no clue why he had been wearing it or why he had been unconscious on the football field, for that matter. Quickly he stuffed it into his locker and sighed.
"Hey, Virgil!" someone called from across the hallway. Zeke looked up to see Virgil Fox walking down the hall.
Virgil. Hes one of the popular kids. Or is he one of the dorky ones? Why cant I remember?
Zeke watched Virgil as he walked past, but suddenly Virgil stopped to look at him. Their eyes met for a few seconds. Memories of Virgil flashed through Zeke's mind, but they didn't seem to fit together. He could remember seeing Virgil sitting at the popular table, but an image of Virgil wearing a white snowsuit identical to the one Zeke had just put in his locker flashed across his mind. There was something about bean dip, a cat, and a machine.
"Hey, Virgil, what're you doing, man?"
The sudden voice cut the tie between Virgil and Zeke. Their eyes shifted away and Virgil continued walking. Zeke put his hand on his forehead, trying to think. Virgil Fox was friends with Derek Beaugard and Stephanie Jameson. He was one of the popular kids and he didn't care about anyone who wasn't as "cool" as him. Zeke slowly shook his head, knowing he was right, but unable to shake off the weird feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Three days passed. Everyone had forgotten about Virgil being found unconscious on the football field. Everyone except Virgil. He tried to ignore his confusion, but it was always in the back of his mind, gnawing at his thoughts. He had no idea the same thing was bothering Zeke Thompson and Charlie Tuttle.
Zeke was walking slowly down the halls, too absorbed with his thoughts to pay attention to where he was going. As he turned the corner, he collided with someone much shorter than him. He took a few steps backward to steady himself, but the person he ran into was knocked to the floor.
"Sorry," Zeke mumbled quickly. He reached down to help, but stopped when his eyes met those of the boy on the ground. They both froze, Zeke bending down with his hand out, and Charlie Tuttle still sprawled out on the hallway floor.
Memories of Charlie ran through Zeke's head. He grabbed Charlie's arm and pulled him to his feet, but he felt like all his movements were slow and clumsy. He felt the same as he had when he looked at Virgil.
"Are we friends?" Charlie asked, looking as confused as Zeke felt.
"I think so," Zeke answered slowly. "Or, we were, maybe."
"You're Zeke. You build things. Did we build something?"
"Wait, you invent stuff, right?"
"Yeah. I think I do. Or I did. I think I invented something that you built."
"Look, man, are your memories as whacked out as mine?"
Charlie nodded. "I haven't been able to remember much of anything right, anymore. It's like I have different memories that don't make sense together."
Zeke nodded. "Me too. But I know it all has to do with us and-"
Charlie and Zeke looked at each other and said the same name in unison:
"OK, you're coming with me," Zeke said quickly, pointing at Charlie. "We need to find Virgil and figure this out before I go crazy."
"Wait, maybe we should just-"
Zeke grabbed the front of Charlie's shirt and started pulling him through the hallway, ignoring Charlie's objections and the weird looks he was getting. He didn't care anymore.
Virgil was walking down an empty hallway, glad to be alone for once. He leaned against the wall and sighed, then turned when he heard someone walking towards him. Two someones. They all froze. Virgil Fox, Zeke Thompson, and Charlie Tuttle stared at each other for three minutes without saying anything, but they all remembered.
Suddenly Virgil gasped, realizing that he'd been holding his breath. "This is all because of me," he whispered. "Because I changed it."
"This is the other side, Virg," Zeke said softly.
"Ah, this is so weird!" Charlie exclaimed. "I can remember two different lives. I remember being on that stupid statue with you, Virgil, and being there by myself. I remember the years I was your friend, but I remember the same years when I wasn't."
Zeke glanced between Charlie and Virgil. "Everything's changed."
Virgil shook his head. "I didn't think it would be like this. But it is."
"Well, at least we all know," Zeke said. "I don't know what's gonna happen now. We'll never be the minutemen again, but, like I said once, it was a good ride. We can't change things any more. We just have to go on from here."
The cafeteria was noisy as groups of students talked and ate. Virgil sat at the popular table, where everyone was laughing at a joke he just told. He laughed and took a bite of lunch, then looked around the room. He couldn't help glancing over at Zeke, who was sitting by himself, fiddling with a fork. Zeke looked up and caught Virgil's eye from across the room, then they both looked over at Charlie, who was at the dork table, rambling about something while no one really listened. Charlie looked over, and they all nodded at each other from their separate tables.
The three of them were connected in ways no one could ever understand, but separated by barriers none of them were willing to break - yet. Virgil sighed, wondering what would have happened if he hadn't changed anything, and wishing that things had turned out different.
A/N- I couldn't help thinking, What if? Honestly I think this fanfic is kind of sad, 'cause it doesn't exactly have a happy ending, which is unusual for being something I wrote. Obviously I'm happy the movie did not end this way. But I still couldn't stay away from that old question - What if?