Magnus, Druitt and Ashley stood on the Magnus family's rooftop trying to compose themselves after the ludicrous experience they had all just somehow survived. They were all equally shaken by the entire encounter. Their next move would be to turn themselves into swirling particles of cosmic dust, which was not best attempted with a shaken disposition.
"I'm proud of you," said Magnus, her eyes on Ashley who was sneaking a sideways look at Druitt.
"You are?" She looked confused. "I deliberately got us trapped here and tried to interfere with your life and ended up making an even bigger mess of everything."
"When it came down to it, you figured it out. Everyone has to make their own decisions. You can't do it for them."
"Couldn't you just have told me that to begin with and saved us a lot of trouble?"
"I don't think I realised it myself to start with. Anyhow, would you have listened?"
"No. But I still failed." She sounded resigned.
"I don't think you failed," said Magnus.
"How do you figure that out? I didn't destroy the source blood."
"No, but that's not what you came here to do. You came to stop them from taking it, and you have made them stop and think about it. Maybe that's all you could do. Maybe you can't change history, but you can change the people who change history."
Ashley gave her a rueful smile. She had been pretty blind this whole time, she had her parents already. It was better than not having them at all.
"What did you mean back there?" asked Magnus. "You said it wouldn't make a difference if they knew."
"I meant a difference to us. We're here. They are there."
"What does that mean?" asked Druitt, baffled.
"You're here now standing in front of me. That's what matters, not what happened in the past. There is only now."
Magnus was trying not to laugh but couldn't hide the smile from her eyes as Ashley awkwardly tried to tell Druitt she loved him just as he was. Druitt stared at Ashley as though seeing her for the first time.
"Are you telling me that I didn't have to do that?" he asked in disbelief, pointing to the skylight. "We've been through all this trouble only for you to find out that you had what you wanted all along?"
"Well I wouldn't have found out if I hadn't gone through all that in the first place now would I?"
Her parents were officially dumbfounded.
"And you know what? You're not that bad as you are, you could be worse. I don't know if it would have worked, me with them. Those two are too squeaky clean."
It wasn't often someone managed to surprise Magnus or Druitt, and certainly not the both of them at the same time. Ashley seemed to have found the knack for it. Squeaky clean? They didn't know what to say to that offhand comment.
"What did you say to John?" Magnus asked her knowing she wouldn't have given everything up that easily.
"You'll find out when we get home. Whatever happens, happens. Want to do something fun before we go? C'mon Mom, you can show me London, old school style. What do people do for fun here? Because I sure haven't managed to figure out what it is."
"We could go to the cricket," suggested Druitt hopefully.
"We are not," Ashley snorted in disgust.
Before an argument could break out over the pros and cons of cricket, Magnus intervened.
"We are going home."
"Wait," said Ashley. "Before we do, I was wondering. There's something that's been bugging me this whole time."
They waited expectantly. Was she going to ask them awkward questions? Ask about their lives in London? How they met? How they split?
"What colour is my swirl?"
Magnus and Druitt exchanged a bewildered glance. What was she blathering on about now?
"You know," she noticed their bemusement. "The smoky bit after you teleport."
"I hadn't noticed, to be honest," said Druitt.
Ashley looked offended.
"Well yours is red!" She huffed at him. She waited for Magnus' answer.
"I have no idea," she admitted. "Is it important?"
"That's not the point. The point is, is it cool? Oh forget it, let's go."
Ashley held out her hand to Magnus.
"Are you certain you can do this?"
"Sure. We can go anywhere you want, meet anyone you want. What about Einstein?!"
Magnus did not look amused. "I've already met Einstein thank you and I think it the best for humanity if you stay as far away from him as possible. I was under the impression you had problems focusing on your destination."
"It's all cool. I teleported back to the Sanctuary by accident days ago, gave Henry the fright of his life," she snickered at the memory.
"You have known you can do this all along?"
She gave her mother a cheeky grin.
"I'm not saying we couldn't still end up in oblivion, but you know, fingers crossed and all that."
She held out her right hand to Druitt.
"Wait a moment, let me get this straight. Who do you like better, him or me?" He asked having just translated her earlier explanation so it made sense.
"You're the same person," she pointed out.
"I just want to hear it again and make certain."
"Who do you think is handsomer, him or me?"
She rolled her eyes, grabbed his hand and teleported.
John stuck his head out through the skylight and surveyed the roof. They had gone.
Magnus, Druitt and Ashley flashed into existence in Magnus' study, startling Henry who was sitting at Magnus' desk, engrossed in sensor readings on the computer while simultaneously playing solitaire.
"Huh?" He said to no one in particular, maybe to himself. He stared at them as they picked themselves off the floor and tried to compose themselves, still reeling from the teleport.
"What colour was it? Henry, what colour?!" Ashley asked him excitedly as she scrambled up off the floor. He stared at her blankly.
"The swirl, Henry! Oh you're all blind." She swayed around trying to find her balance, even this could not stop her from talking. "You would not believe where we've been, although that was like the vacation from hell and officially the best one I have ever been on." She grinned at him.
They all looked around expectantly searching for any evidence of change they may have affected. Only Henry stared back at them.
"What are you doing?" he asked, fascinated. They had apparently all gone mad.
"Are you OK? Has anything happened? Is it different?" asked Ashley.
"Is what different?"
"You know, here."
"What are you talking about? You know you want to stop doing that teleporting thing, it's making you sound deranged. Although that's nothing new."
"Are you telling me after all that, it didn't work?!"
"What didn't work?"
She tried to teleport, but just stayed in the same spot making weird faces.
"Nothings happening, it's not working."
She looked at Druitt who also attempted to teleport. Nothing happened. He looked around with a puzzled expression as though he was listening for something. He staggered forward as though something he had been leaning on had been taken away from him.
"What is going on?" demanded Ashley.
"Shhh," said Druitt. "Can you hear that?"
They all listened carefully, without knowing what it was they were listening for. Ashley sniffed and rubbed her nose, it had stopped bleeding.
"It's gone quiet."
"What do you mean?" asked Magnus.
"The noise, it's stopped."
He dared to allow a smile to cross his face.
"The roar. That infernal cacophony, it's gone. I can hear my own thoughts."
Druitt's words gradually permeated into their consciousness.
John Druitt was free.
Gregory Magnus stared into the waves breaking over the bow of the ship he had sought passage on, heading for the vast Indian Ocean. In his possession he had a vial of pure vampire blood. His intention was to hide it as far away from his brilliant daughter as possible. As though visitors from the future weren't complicated enough he had a hard time taking in the news about the source blood or how his beloved daughter could be and would be, stupid beyond belief. Either version of his daughter.
He had managed to get to the docks before Helen and convinced the Captain to switch the vial for a fake. The Captain had been relieved to find he hadn't had to lie to Helen or Magnus, a Dr. Magnus had collected the source blood. Doctor Gregory Magnus.
Big shout out to everyone who reviewed. Thank you for your support, funny comments, incoherent squeeing and indignant outrage at cliff-hangers. It wouldn't be half as much fun without you.
Future Echoes is dedicated to: CatzChaos, Misery Loves Sarah, Chocolate and Drama, SparklySkater, HEX's-VampirexXxDemon, melissaadams22, Serenity's Pain, Eternal Density, cj1013, Jasper'sFavorite, Miria, Fell4, forensicirulan, Jen Rock, Shykeiro, sandra-carter, Terra Young.