This is a story that used to be on an old geocities site that became defunct several years ago – I rediscovered it, did some minimal editing, and decided to re-post it onto .
Animorphs crossover with The Crow.
These characters do not belong to me, so please, don't sue.
The Animorphs belong to K. A. Applegate. The concept of the Crow belongs to J. O'Barr.
Warnings: Death story (well, what do you expect with a Crow crossover?)
"The Final Confrontation"
Pain - all he could feel was such intense pain. It lifted him up on black gossamer wings, rushed about him with dark whispers, until he thought he'd go mad. Then, a voice ... ~Tobias. Wake up, Tobias.~
'Mom? Is that you?'
~No, Tobias. It's time to wake up.~
Tobias opened his eyes, the pain lessening as he did so. He was lying on the forest floor, staring up into the trees. 'That's odd. Since when do I sleep on the ground?'
He turned his head, noticing for the first time that he was surrounded by a flock of crows. 'A murder,' he thought with sudden unease. 'A murder of crows.' In a panic, he tried to fly off, only to discover that his wings had been exchanged for arms and legs. He sat in a crouch, perching on the ground. A small part of his attention was trying to figure out what was going on while the rest of it focused on the crows, wary of any sudden movements.
~Tobias, you have to remember.~
'Remember?' Tobias was confused.
The Animorphs had been taking the day off, relaxing. The small group had decided on a picnic in the woods. Too many fights in too short a time was wearing them out. Something had to break, soon. Too bad something did.
A group of controllers surrounded the area. Humans, Hork-Bajir, and Taxxons penned the Animorphs in. Ax had been in his human morph and immediately began demorphing, feeling more comfortable in a fight in his own form. Tobias had taken to the skies, attempting to distract enough of the Yeerks to allow the others to escape.
Unexpectedly, Visser Three appeared. Or maybe not so unexpectedly. The Visser was so intent upon capturing the Animorphs, he would have done anything to ensure they did not escape. We have you now, Andalite bandits. Demorph now, while you still can.
No one moved for a moment. Then, a voice was heard. "Visser Three, I regret to inform you that you are mistaken."
What impertinence is this? He turned upon the speaker.
The others Animorphs could only stare as Tom, Jake's brother, stepped forward. "These are your troublemakers, as I mentioned. But only one is an Andalite. Isn't that right, brother?" He smirked, then said in a staged whisper, "Guess no one ever told you that you talk in your sleep, did they?"
Jake looked horrified, aware that he had been the one to betray his friends. Visser Three started to laugh, the cruel edge to it causing shivers to run up their spines. With a screech of fury, Tobias launched himself at the Visser, swooping low with his talons extended. By sheer luck, he grabbed hold of an eyestalk and tore it off.
AHHHHHHH! The Visser grasped his spurting eyestalk, shrieking in pain. Get that bandit!
Five sets of arms reached out for the hawk. Dracon beams flashed through the air. Rachel screamed as one such beam caught Tobias in the wing, dropping him to the ground. Tobias screamed as well, but he focused his rage and pain directly into the mind of Visser Three. He had the satisfaction of seeing the Visser reel back in pain before being grasped tightly by cruel hands.
Visser Three saw to the execution personally. After most of his feathers had been pulled and his limbs broken, he had mercifully blacked out.
'I'm dead. Aren't I?' Tobias merely stated the fact.
Tobias looked around. The clearing was empty save for him and the birds. 'The others?'
'Then we'd better be on our way.' Tobias rose, the last of the pain fading, leaving an empty ache in the center of his being.
The crow cocked its head at him, regarding him thoughtfully. ~What shall you do?~
'Free the others.'
The black eye glinted knowingly. ~And what of the Yeerks?~
Tobias met the crow's gaze. 'Will I have the help of your brethren?'
~Of course. After all, you're one of us.~ There was a pause. ~The Yeerks?~
A slow terrible smile spread across Tobias' face. 'Kill them. Kill them all.'
Visser Three was feeling good. After disposing of that pesky hawk, the other bandits had become more controllable. 'I think the phrase is "in shock".' Some of his own people had looked decidedly green, too. After all, the Visser had ripped the bird apart with his own bare hands, dropped the carcass onto the ground, and walked past it like it was so much garbage. Taking a life, especially of one who had caused so much trouble, was so satisfying.
He had brought the rebels to the underground Yeerk pool, but hadn't decided whether he would infest them or just kill the lot of them. He stared at each one, reveling in the hopelessness he felt coming off them. It would be interesting to find out exactly how you ... children, managed to elude me all this time. They shrank back from him, but weren't able to move far as Controllers held them in place. Let's play a game. One of you volunteer to be a host and I won't kill the rest of you.
Jake spoke up, his voice laced with hatred. "We'd rather die!" The others nodded, faces pale and pinched. They were all in shock over Tobias' death and knew there was no way out of this. They were done for, but
they would at least go out with some dignity.
You are without honor, Visser Three. Unworthy to even be crushed beneath my hoof.
At Ax's insult, Visser Three had his tail blade at the younger Andalite's throat. He hissed, You've just volunteered to go first. At a signal, the two Hork-Bajir holding Ax began dragging him to the Yeerk pool in preparation for infestation.
A black bird darted across the length of the cavern, skimming low to the pool. It gave a warbling cry, attracting the attention of Visser Three. Seeing the animal, the Yeerk went ballistic. Andalite! Kill it!
Dracon beams filled the air, but none seemed to come close to the small bird. The Animorphs watched as the bird dipped down towards the surface of the pool, coming up with a Yeerk in it's talons. They were stunned at the display. What was going on? Had the Andalite forces finally arrived? Or was it just some cruel coincidence?
Visser Three was furious. Don't just stand there like idiots. Kill it!
Focused on eliminating the obvious threat, the Yeerks failed to notice other birds drifting into the cavern until a magnificent fisherhawk swooped down upon the pool and caught up two Yeerk slugs as its prize.
Looking about the cavern, whole flocks of birds could be seen covering every available perching spot. Ax whispered to the others. This couldn't possibly be the Andalite force. They would have announced themselves as such immediately, not this silent attack.
And it was silent. No calls or screeches could be heard. Only the rustle of feathers and the clicking of talons over stone.
Unnerved, a human Controller raised her gun to fire upon the birds. As if that were some kind of signal, several groups of birds descended upon the shocked Controllers, disarming them and dropping the weapons into the pool before returning to their silent vigils.
Several birds passed overhead to land on the stone railing of the main stairway. Instinctively, Visser Three and the others turned their heads to watch, wary of the birds' close proximity. A small figure perched on the railing with the birds, uttering a series of soft clicks and whistles that the birds seem to respond to.
Rachel whispered a name in disbelief. "Tobias."
Visser Three narrowed his eyes at the young man. He had not thought the boy to be a threat when they had first met. Insolent abomination. I should have killed you the moment I discovered you to be the child of Elfangor. This revelation was accompanied by several surprised murmurs from the Animorphs.
'But you didn't.' Tobias' voice sounded strange. Instead of vocalizing, he was somehow using thought-speech to communicate, and it sounded as if he was speaking from a long way away. His face was in shadow, yet his eyes glowed an uncanny amber color rather than the blue of his human self.
I'll see you dead! the Visser bellowed belligerently.
'Undoubtedly,' came the even response. With a flick of his wrist, a contingency of flyers descended upon the Yeerk pool, fishing for their supper.
The Controllers frantically tried shooing the birds away, but without their weapons, they did not have much success. Visser Three shouted in anger. Make them stop or I'll kill your friends! He placed his tail-blade once more at Ax's throat.
Tobias' stare was unnerving in its unswerving focus. 'You're going to kill them anyway. They'd rather not be Controllers and would end up forcing your hand. Besides,' he added. 'If you kill them, you'll never discover how I control these birds.'
That caused Visser Three to pause long enough for several things to happen. Tobias gave a cawing cry. At the signal, a flock of starlings and ravens flew between the Yeerk and the Animorphs, creating a living barrier of wings and feathers. Other birds, save the crows, began diving at the Yeerk pool, scooping slug after slug out of the waters and devouring them.
The crows began attacking the Controllers. At first, the Animorphs couldn't tell exactly what the crows were doing, until a few attacked the Controllers that guarded them. The birds dived down, talons extended towards the skull, until they appeared to strike the head. Then they lifted off and away, a slug-like Yeerk in its talons. The now ex-Controllers would weave on their feet for a moment, then collapse onto the ground, unconscious. No wounds were apparent, the crows were somehow extracting the Yeerks without harming the hosts.
Exchanging incredulous looks, the Animorphs rushed for some cover. Birds still bombed the pool, though it looked as if the pickings were becoming slimmer. Tobias had leapt from his high perch to land lightly on the balls of his feet in front of Visser Three. The Andalite-Controller struck with his tail, impossibly fast. Tobias ducked and dodged, taking minor wounds, but never crying out in pain.
The Animorphs watched as the cavern, which had been an extremely regulated facility, fell apart in a sea of chaos. Those Yeerks who were still in control of their hosts, ran frantically about, seeking some means of escape from the birds that swarmed about. The ground was littered with the unconscious bodies of the Controllers that had been dealt with.
Rachel, Cassie, Marco, Jake and Ax huddled together at the foot of the stairs, watching it all with disbelief. "Tobias died, right?" Rachel asked in low tones, her voice only shaking slightly. There was really no reason to answer the question. They had all heard his screams of pain. They had seen him ripped to pieces. They had seen him die. "Then, how is this possible?"
For a moment, they were silent, trying to absorb the implications. A large crow landed nearby, unnoticed, and gave them an appraising look, as if to say, see for yourself. Each got the sudden desire to morph and join the battle. "After all," Jake said, half-seriously. "Why should they get all the fun?"
"Let's do it," Rachel replied, her voice much steadier. She morphed into her Golden Eagle. Granted, not the best for trying to fly in such cramped quarters, but intimidating enough to keep any Controllers away from the stairwell. Cassie and Marco took flight as Ospreys, Jake as a Peregrine, and Ax as a Harrier hawk. Together, they joined the fight, never once questioning the rightness of the bird morphs, even though each had much stronger and deadlier morphs at their disposal.
Almost at once, they became aware of a connection with all the other birds, one they had never felt before. Birds that would normally prey upon each other were working in close concert with each other, destroying the Yeerks. The Animorphs were instantly welcomed into the flock, something none of these birds would have done naturally. Then, they felt the connection that each bird had with Tobias and they could only wonder at what it meant.
As they watched, Tobias continued to dance out of the way of the Andalite tail-blade, not even the slightest bit winded. On the other hand, Visser Three was not used to such strenuous exercises. He was usually able to deal with infractions quickly. His sides heaved and sweat made his eyes sting. The infuriating half-smile on his opponent's face wasn't helping matters any, either.
After a few moments, the Yeerk chortled in glee as a lucky blow laid open the boy's abdomen. I'll skewer you slowly, pulling you apart bit by bit.
Tobias had dropped to his knees, hands holding his stomach. He looked up, his eyes glowing bright for a moment. 'Sorry, I'd like to try something new this time 'round.' Tobias reached up and grabbed Visser Three's tail as it fell in a killing blow, stopping its descent. The boy rose from his knees, holding the tail away with him with no visible strain. His friends noticed that there appeared to be no evidence of a belly wound, either.
As Tobias stared at the alien, Visser Three had the feeling that those odd colored eyes were able to stare right into his head, seeing, distinguishing, and evaluating both himself and the host. At that moment, if anyone had been paying attention, they would have noticed that all the birds had returned to their perches upon the cavern walls. Thousands of eyes focused upon the final confrontation below.
'Forgive me, Prince Alloran,' Tobias murmured. 'This will only hurt for a moment.' In a motion almost too swift to see, Tobias stepped forward, releasing the tail, and swiped at the Andalite's head with his hands extended like talons.
Prince Alloran, or was it Visser Three?, shrieked at the contact, then fell silent. The Andalite swayed upon his feet, but remained conscious, an attribute to his own considerable willpower. As Tobias brought his hands away from the Andalite's head, Ax could see what looked like a gray slug clutched in his friend's hands.
Prince Alloran's eyes refocused, and in one swift motion, he snatched the Yeerk from Tobias' hand, threw it upon the ground, and crushed it. A puddle of viscous liquid seeped out, staining the ground as the Yeerk died.
The Animorphs demorphed and slowly checked the cavern out. All was silent again, save for the gentle moans of some of the people laying on the ground and the rustle of feathers and talons. Cassie stepped to the Yeerk pool and gazed intently into the waters. "They're all gone," her tone was one of stunned incredulity.
'All gone,' Tobias agreed softly and the others had a feeling that he meant more than just in the cavern. He glanced at the birds lining the cavern walls and nodded reverently to them. Still, ever so silently, the birds began filing out of the cavern, until only the crows remained watching intently.
Tobias went towards them, moving away from his friends, until Ax approached, touching his shoulder in an inquiry. He turned his eyes to his friend and recently discovered uncle, the amber slowly changed back to a more familiar blue. Tobias?
'I'm sorry, Ax-man. I'm so sorry.' Tobias' voice was even fainter, as if he was no longer in the room with them.
Tobias glanced over at the Animorphs, making eye contact with each one, giving a silent message to each, before turning back to Ax. 'Let them know?'
I will, Tobias. Shorm. Nephew. You will be missed.
Tobias nodded once, then transformed into a red-tailed hawk with none of the awkwardness of morphing. The hawk joined the crows and they darted towards the ceiling of the cavern before they vanished in a flash of light.