A/N: Code will henceforth be referred to as Cody.
Cody sighed as he finished unpacking his new computer desk and sat down Indian style to read over the instructions. He began to arrange the pieces according to the diagram and distributed the screws around the mess he'd made. This wasn't so hard…
He was constantly keeping himself busy as it helped to keep his mind off of what had happened only a month ago. According to Casius, the physical mind permanently stored the memories and personality of a person while the soul just empowered the body and provided a host of instincts and experience from past lives. The Realm Lord did admit however, that he had never encountered a case like Cody's.
He'd said that because in the days following Ashani's death, Cody had begun to act differently. There would be flashes of memories that weren't his, certain images would stir emotions deep down inside of him that never had before and he had several strange nuances and tendencies now as well. Like, for example after Carey Martin had rented this spacious apartment in light of the fact that the Tipton was now uninhabitable Cody attempted to make it more secure by adding a redundant alarm system. Then there was also his compulsion towards stocking up on non-perishable foods and making sure they had plenty of medical supplies.
Carey was concerned by this strange behavior, but didn't do anything about it. She just accepted it and hoped that he would talk with her when he was ready. Zack however had approached Cody several times asking him what was wrong, to which Cody had finally snapped, 'I've got another person's life in my head!' on their last encounter which prompted Casius's examination.
Casius concluded that some of Future Cody's memories had been imprinted onto his soul in the seconds before he'd sacrificed himself to kill Ashani and now they were a part of Cody too since his own soul had been destroyed and replaced by that of his future self's soul.
Cody tossed the instructions aside with a hiss of disgust and leaned back against his new bed. He liked his new room, though it was a bit disconcerting as for the first time in his life he didn't have to share it with his twin brother. He felt a little lonely at times with no one to talk to quietly just before falling asleep or how Zack's presence in the room meant that he could never fully run away from his problems. There was always someone to talk to.
"Cody?" Lily asked as she appeared standing just outside his open doorway with a couple glasses of lemonade in her hands, "Would you like something to drink?"
"Yes please," He replied, patting the carpet next to him, inviting her to join him. Cody was glad for the distraction. Lily was a constant source of companionship these days as she was staying with the Martin's now. Even though the two of them were still working out their relationship together, for Cody had strong feelings for her and many rather embarrassing memories, Lily was family now and Carey had joyously accepted her into their home.
Shortly after leaving the battle ground, the Children of Light had regrouped at Dante's mansion and broke the news to the Lily. She was devastated of course, but Lily had let slip an important piece of information while she had been crying. It all had something to do with her last moments with her lover and she retold it to all of them…
"Your friends," Lily explained, "They're making final preparations for the defense of Earth and I think you need to be there."
"Sounds important," Cody teased her, his spirits greatly lifted by her presence. She slapped him playfully on the shoulder and then shoved him out of bed.
"Get going you!"
"Ok ok! I'm going, I'm going!" He exclaimed hurriedly as she mimed hitting him with a pillow. Just before he left the room however, she called out to him.
"Do you remember when we spent the night in front of the fire on Christmas?"
"Yeah," He replied, leaning against the door frame. As if he needed reminding of one of the happiest moment of their lives together, "I wouldn't say no to another night like that."
Lily smiled even as she blushed slightly. She opened her mouth to say something, then shut it as she tried to keep herself from laughing and made shooing motions instead. Cody raced back over to the bed, planted a kiss on her forehead and then retreated quickly out of the bedroom before she could swipe at him. She didn't follow, choosing instead to watch the spot where she had last seen him for a moment before flopping down on the sheets with a tired sigh.
"I didn't tell him…" She sobbed. Oddly it was Max who was consoling her as Zack and Cody were both in varying degrees of shock over the experiences of the past few hours, "I didn't want to distract him, but now he'll never know!"
"What did you want to tell him?" Max asked in a soothing tone, gently rubbing the other girl's back as she cried into her shoulder.
"He was going to be a father!"
Zack had glanced up in surprise, but quickly moved to his brother's side before he had a chance to process this startling admission as Cody had simply fainted. Carey dropped down next to her son and pulled him into her arms, gently shaking him to wake him up.
"How did the Doctor's visit go?" Cody asked. He took a sip of Lily's homemade lemonade, enjoying the heavenly taste as he waited for an answer. Having spent the first three months with child in the future, there had been no experienced medical care to examine her, but now that she was in the past she was taking advantage of it. Today was also the big day as she was far enough along now in her pregnancy for the Doctor to determine the baby's sex.
"The baby and I are completely healthy," Lily answered, then when Cody continued giving her a hard questioning look she asked, "Are you sure you want to know? Some parents like the surprise."
"I'm not too fond of surprises anymore…" Cody muttered. Finding out that he was an immortal human being with the ability to tap into the cosmic power of light was enough of a surprise to last him for a lifetime.
"Oh, well then," Lily gently ran her hand over her stomach, "It's a beautiful baby boy." Cody returned her smile, a rarity for him these days.
"That's wonderful!" Cody felt uneasy, but he was happy for her. He felt conflicted because while he hadn't physically fathered this child, he had the other Cody's memories of the Christmas night Lily had described doing just that. She was technically a stranger to him and yet, he felt that he loved her very much and was calmed by her presence. They had been spending time together, but had shared nothing more than friendly hugs and a cuddle or two.
"I wonder what we should name him?" Lily wondered aloud, moving her hand aside to let Cody feel her stomach. The baby wasn't noticeably moving just yet, but he would be soon enough.
"Matthew," Cody said simply, surprised how easily it came to him.
"You remember him?" Lily asked, excited at the possibility of her Cody's memories returning. She felt a bit guilty though, it wasn't fair to this boy sitting next to her to hope that he would ever be the same person.
"I remember that he protected us and that he was very brave and kind. Matt found himself thrust into the invasion just like the rest of us, but he didn't run like the others. He stood his ground protecting the weak and the innocent until the very end like a true hero."
"Matthew is a good name," Lily agreed, "How do you feel about James?"
"My father, James Redmond."
"Oh, that's fine too."
"Can he have your name too?" Lily asked, momentarily confusing Cody. Just how many names was she going to give the poor child? Then, seeing his confusion, Lily continued, "Matthew James Martin?"
"I don't think it would be right if I didn't agree. I would never dishonor the memory of Matthew's father like that." Lily nodded, pleased with his decision.
"Thank you Cody."
"I just have one request…"
"Keep him away from Zack if you don't want to be getting called into the Principal's office all the time," Cody said, fighting to hold back laughter as he remembered all the times his twin got into trouble over the wild pranks he always pulled. Lily, who had heard many of these stories in the past few weeks agreed and then shared in the laughter he could no longer contain.
Life might not be so bad after all Cody mused as he wiped tears of mirth from his eyes.
Zack plopped down into a chair at an outdoor café he had begun to visit with increasing frequency. It was a pleasant part of town, not too congested with traffic and a comfortable distance from the quarantined section of Boston that had been obliterated a month ago by the battle with the Chaos Realm. It was cool out, fall was noticeably in full swing as the trees lining the sidewalk had turned varying shades of yellow, and he had dressed appropriately in a pair of khaki cargo pants and a black sweater.
To anyone who knew him well, they would have been surprised at his current image. His clothes were spotlessly clean without a wrinkle in them; his hair was cut shorter than usual and combed neatly while anyone near him would smell a faint hint of his apple scented shampoo and body wash. These outward changes had been partially brought on by the new discipline in his life Kasen had given him and now Casius was continuing with numerous training sessions and workout regimens.
'You're trying to impress a girl…' a little voice inside of his head whispered, keeping Zack honest. In truth he had taken to wandering around his new home on his free time and had found this place purely by accident. After he'd met this beautiful waitress one day, he started coming back with increasing frequency and had become a regular at the establishment.
Maya usually worked on Friday afternoons after school and now, sitting at one of her tables, Zack hoped she would be here. He liked talking to her. She was funny, intelligent and not afraid to be smart with him. She was a refreshing change from Cody's constant gloominess and Lily's anxiety over her unborn child.
"Hey Zack, what'll it be?" Maya asked as she snuck up from behind him, pen and paper in hand to take his order. She looked lovely even in the black slacks and casual blue dress shirt that was her uniform, what with her long flowing brown hair, chocolate brown eyes and all.
"A date with you," he said flirtatiously. Maya smirked at him and scribbled something on her pad.
"Club sandwich and a coke, anything else?"
"Ok, how about lunch right now then?"
"I'll have an Iced Tea," she replied, adding it to his bill while she walked away. Zack's eyes followed her until she disappeared inside. She was playing hard to get again and he thought he'd rather come to enjoy this game. Maya would often sit and chat with him when she didn't have other customers and judging by the looks of things, today would be another of those times.
A few minutes later Maya returned with their drinks and his sandwich. She joined him as he'd hoped and started squeezing some lemon juice into her tea. Zack sipped his coke as he watched her. She caught him looking and stared back.
"You're such a goof ball," She said, stirring her tea, "How's your brother."
"Being a buzz kill as usual," Zack joked.
"So, that new movie 'City of Ember' comes out tonight."
"Does it?" Zack asked, playing dumb. He knew full well she wanted to go see it and that she hated going to the movies alone. She was an orphan, living with foster parents who were always too busy for her and the constant shuffling around from place to place had made her nearly give up forming friendships altogether. She was as lonely as Zack, but wouldn't admit it to him directly.
"Yes, and you're taking me to see it."
"Am I now?" Zack asked, continuing the act but unable to stop a small grin from breaking out on his face. Maya reached across the table and swatted him playfully.
"This is your one chance Romeo, don't blow it."
"That story didn't end very well you know," Zack pointed out.
"Good thing we don't have overbearing parents trying to keep us apart," Maya countered. Zack smiled at her wit and finally agreed to taking her out. She gave him her address and phone number and told him any time after six was fine with her. They talked for a little while longer until more customers started arriving and sitting in her section.
"Thanks Zack," Maya said as she stood up to leave.
"For?" He wondered, slightly confused since they had been talking about nonsense stuff for the past few minutes.
"I dunno, just thanks."
Maya suddenly bent over and pecked him on the cheek. A flush of warmth crept across his face and down his neck. Zack touched the spot where her lips had been and smiled in triumph.
Jarran surreptitiously checked his reflection one more time, straightening the collar of his shirt. He looked normal enough to pass inspection on Earth, though there was nothing that could be done about his pale complexion. As Chaos was an underground world, its people were never exposed to ultraviolet rays.
He shrugged off the thought and turned to inspect the contents of the backpack he was taking along with him. There were a couple changes of clothes, some hygiene items, water bottles and some rations, a wad of American dollars, photographs of his new friends in Boston and various notes and maps he'd made with the help of Clara over the past few weeks.
Now that the Chaos Realm was stable again in the wake of Ashani's death, Jarran felt that it was safe enough to do some traveling. With Earth's defenses back up at full strength, he could only enter the Light Realm with Casius's permission and would be unable to freely travel between the worlds as he had done during the invasion. As such, once on Earth he was stuck there until he asked Casius to allow him to leave and for the duration of his stay, his power would be incredibly weak. Very little darkness penetrated into Earth now, meaning that Jarran would barely be a step above normal mortals. He was apprehensive about that fact, but still determined to go through with his plan.
"I wish you wouldn't go. You still need a lot of training to reach your father's level," Pandora said from the doorway of his bedroom.
"I know," Jarran agreed as he started packing away the items laid out on his bedspread, "But this is something I have to do. It's important to me."
"I'm not one to argue with my Demon Lord. I'm really just worried about your safety."
"Don't worry Pandy, I'll be ok," Jarran assured her as he hitched his backpack over his shoulder, "How do I look?"
"Older…" Pandora said critically, "So grown up now." Jarran smiled, accepting the compliment. He walked towards the door and Pandora fell in step beside him, draping her arm across his shoulders.
"Take care of the Realm while I'm gone ok?"
"Don't worry little Jarran, it will be in good hands," she replied, playfully mocking him.
In short order, they had made their way outside of the Imperial Palace and Jarran bade his final goodbye as he walked out onto the grass.
"See you soon Pandy!"
"Good luck with your search. Come home soon my young Demon Lord." Jarran smiled once again and then slipped into the shadows. He reached up and grabbed his jade green pendant, speaking softly to it.
"Take me home."
His body turned into shadow and transitioned across the fabric of reality into the flow of darkness that existed all around the Chaos Realm. He reached out for the brilliant supernova of light that was Earth, amazed at how it repelled the darkness so completely. Soon he could go no further and his essence bounced off of the shield around the gleaming blue-green planet.
"Hello Jarran," Casius's voice said, seeming to come from all around him.
"I wish to visit," Jarran thought aloud as he no longer had a mouth to form the words.
"Very well, safe travels."
A small window opened in the defenses around Earth and Jarran entered through it, feeling it close behind him and cutting him off from the flow of darkness. He truly was on his own now.
With startling suddenness, Jarran's body reformed and he blinked in the brilliant sunlight of the Earth Realm. Wherever he was, it was an incredibly hot and dry place. He looked around and saw desert mesa's all around him as well as a large city gleaming orange and red in the late afternoon sunlight. There was a road laden with traffic leading towards it and a green and white sign standing just a dozen feet away.
'Phoenix, Arizona: City Limit'
Jarran touched his pendant with two fingers and felt the charge of energy that ran through it. It was resonating with something ahead of him. It had never done that before. He hoped it was a sign that he wasn't mistaken in his assumptions…
When he'd spoken with Lily days before the final battle, she'd spoken of an event in the future where his father had apologized to a woman named 'Marissa' while he gently touched the cheek of his dead son. Jarran shivered at the thought of himself lying dead with his father mourning over his body. It just didn't fit the man Jarran had known all of his life.
But that was the clue that had started this all… Marissa was not a Chaos Realm name, but it was a very popular Earth Realm name. Jarran dared to hope that this was the name of his long lost mother and if by some chance it wasn't, then hopefully she would have some answers for him.
Jarran looked back to the skyline of Phoenix, hitched his backpack up on his shoulder once again and started forward with new sense of optimism.
"I'll find you mother. I promise."
A/N: Novus Posterus – Latin, meaning 'New Future'
Cody is left to deal with the haunting memories and thoughts of his future self. As he struggles to understand who he really is, he is also burdened by the knowledge that (in a sense) he will soon be a father.
Zack has come out of the invasion with a new sense of purpose in his life, but old habits die hard as he begins to date Maya. He continues to train under Casius, but in his spare time he tries to be as normal as possible by going out with girls and taking care of his troubled twin brother.
Jarran is the new Demon Lord of the Chaos Realm and now that he's gotten everything settled in the wake of Ashani's downfall, he sets off on a quest to Earth in the hope that he can locate his mother in order to bring closure to his life now that the only parent he's ever known is gone.
And with that said, the second story in the Chaos Series comes to a close. I hope you have all enjoyed the prequel to, and the rewrite of, the original story that started off my writing here at . From here on out I'll be entering unknown waters as I move into the planning stage of the third story in the series.
The story of our heroes Zack, Cody and Jarran continues in the third installment of the Chaos Series: Legend of the Black Knight.
Thank you to all of my readers for sticking with the story. Special thanks go out to Tiger, WaldoJeffers, Wyntirsno and OwlHero for giving their time by reviewing the chapters, beta reading, posting ideas/feedback in the Chaos forums and generally picking my brain on the series.
If you liked this, please nominate and vote for The Chaos Demons in the Suite Life 2010 awards. It is eligible for Best: Author, Story, Brotherly Love, Character Development, Traumatic Experience (Zack dying in Chapter 16), Tear Jerker, Villain, Battle, Cliffhanger, Unexpected Scene, Adventure/Fantasy/Suspense, OC (Jarran, duh!) and Series (with Truth Seeker as the prequel). Phew!
Taking a break for now, but I hope to see you all again soon!
Coming Soon, Chaos Series: Part Three – "Legend of the Black Knight"
The warning signs were all there, I just ignored them. I mean after all we've been through I just thought Cody was finally enjoying life again. Little did I know that everything I held dear to me was about to be ripped away…