Chapter Name: Epilogue
Notes: Thanks to reviewers Urias, Pigwiz and Snapplelinz as well as those who have commented on the story on the Creddie forum or elsewhere. Thank you all for reading.
"Today is April 21, 2011. If you are viewing this recording, then I have likely failed." I sighed. I didn't want anyone ever to see this, "If I'm lucky then this has been recovered as a historical artifact. Or maybe as a curiosity. The mad ravings of a lunatic."
I adjusted the camera so I could sit down while I talked. This could take some time. After spending all that time getting Sam used to debriefing by camera specifically to make this part of the mission as useful as it could be, myself being the one who wound up doing it was a touch ironic. I was always behind the camera then. Now I'm in front. Because of Sam.
Sam didn't make it. Through a crackling blue electrical haze I watched her life end because of a shining metal terminator. The entire squad died to protect me. I'm here to ensure their sacrifices aren't in vain.
I made sure that future isn't going to come to pass.
It was hard work. Grim. Dirty. But it was necessary. I wasn't the first person. Turns out the reason Seattle never got nuked was because of our side, in a previous attempt to make things right.
Someone once told me there is no future but what we make for ourselves.
It was my job to make that future better than it turned out the first time.
"I've killed. Machines. Humans. Not all of them were guilty of any crime. I murdered people for what they might do in one of the thousands of possible futures. I did what I was ordered to do. I did not take this lightly. Their faces haunt me at night. I was not trained to do these things. But I did them. For humanity."
I paused to decide how much I should reveal. It could still be valuable in the event we 'tried again'. I recalled all the aspects of my mission. How they died by my hand. Who died to protect me. What steps I took. How I changed the future.
I stopped Judgment Day.
"I'll start at what seems the logical point. What happened after I arrived. "
I was naked in a dark alleyway in the middle of winter. Stray cats mewled at me as I scrambled into the nearest doorway. It was the side entry to an apartment building. I tip-toed towards the laundry. It was empty. I tried locked door after locked door. Silently. Quickly. I couldn't afford to waste any time getting arrested. Luckily my identity wouldn't be on police records, but I didn't want to take any chances. I couldn't get captured, or locked up. Not even for a day.
No-one would respond to knocks. That was just stupid at this time of night.
I finally found an unlocked door and peeked inside. A young boy.. mid-teenage, was sitting on the couch. He took a second to notice me, then his eyes went wide. He looked left and right, as if thinking about waking his parents by yelling out. I'm pretty sure he was worried he'd get in trouble for watching TV at 4am on a Tuesday.
His eyes went as wide as saucers when he realized I was naked.
Ten minutes and a slightly fondled set of boobs later, I left wearing a combination of clothes from his sister, father and mother. At least the little perv didn't ask me to have sex with him.
I wondered if anyone else had this much trouble getting clothes when they went back.
I didn't have a lot of time to fulfill my mission. I contacted the safe house.
Safety wasn't something I'd had for a protracted period of time.
Overcome with weariness I stumbled into a bed. A real bed. 14 hours later I awoke to start the mission.
I didn't have any nightmares for the first time in years.
I finally completed encoding the video files into the multiple formats we were going to be using. Then came the laborious task of backing them up onto physical media. Tape. DVD. Blu-Ray. CD. SSD. HDD. SD. All the mainstream storage tech I could get my hands on, and some that weren't so mainstream. A courier had collected the boxes and sent them on their way.
Down in the apartment sub basement I set a fuse. Seconds later the computer died in a hellish inferno of thermite. The ferocious white heat reduced the computer to a pile of slag, completely destroying the chances of anyone recovering the data that was held on it. The noise quickly emptied from the vacant concrete basement and that was it.
I was done.
I could leave forever.
One final task needed to happen before I would leave Seattle for good. It's not a military one. This is personal. I can't go without doing it.
I've got enough money to live a good comfortable life. I can't come back to the US. Maybe I'll go to Australia. Or South Africa. Canada is too close. Mexico too hot. Germany? England? I'll decide once I'm at the airport.
The regulations recommended against seeing people from your future, in the past. I'm drawn towards it. I doubt anyone could resist the idea. I wouldn't normally say this.. but the regulations can go to hell.
It was a great day. Carly rescued me from getting detention. Freddie annoyed me less than he normally did. The Groovy Smoothie wasn't that busy today. T-Bo had taken our orders and come back fast.
The conversation happening right now however, was weak chizz.
Freddie and Carly were talking about their college plans. I shook my head and collapses even further into the blueberry blitz I'm drinking. The pair had been talking about it more and more lately. Without me. I hated it. There wasn't any point even if I wanted to. None of the schools they wanted to go to would take me.
All I'd accomplish by wanting to go as well is holding them back.
I couldn't let that happen. I made up some lie about picking out of a hat when my acceptances came, Carly laughed, Freddie rolled his eyes and that was the end of that line of questioning. The reality is I'd go to whatever college in Seattle I could get into, or one as far away as possible from where Carly and Freddie ended up.
Carly and Freddie.. that's how it's going to be pretty soon, it won't be Carly, Sam and Freddie. It's going to be Carly&Freddie. They have about ten shared schools on their massive college list, there's no chance in hell they'll end up separate. Unfinished business? My stupid 'bacon' theory ruined their first shot. That's probably why they want to wait until I'm gone. Freddie won't be reminded of my words and the feel of my lips on his. Carly won't feel as guilty if I'm on the other side of the country.
They won't have to take care of a juvenile delinquent.
It used to be Carly and Sam. Now it's Carly, Sam and Freddie. I don't even begrudge him that. Perhaps I even love him for it. Even if I know we'll never be just Sam&Freddie.
They need to become Carly&Freddie. As much for me as for them. I'm not cut out mentally to spend the 'college years' alongside them. I've faded into the background. If I tried then I might have been able to join them. Instead I sat around eating fatcakes and blowing off school.
Perhaps it's time to grow up?
As I stared into my drink ruminating on my epiphany, Freddie stood and left the table. Carly turned her eyes to follow him as a puzzled look overcame his face.
The door bell jangled as Freddie raced out the door, looked to the right for a moment then came back inside. The bell followed his entrance.
Freddie sat back down his face scrunched like he does when he's working on a stupid math problem or when his computer breaks down and he's not quite sure what to think or what to do.
"What was that about?" Carly asked.
"I swear I just saw Melanie!"
AN: So that's it. The end of this crossover/au story. I don't even remember where the idea for this story came from. Twitter maybe. I don't know. It was interesting to write. Especially with Sam as the central character. I hope you liked the little twist ending here. It's always fun to think of ways to kill off the main characters too.
Thanks for reading.