Disclaimers:

I do not own any of the ideas, locations, or characters that appear in the Ratchet and Clank series, these belong to their respective owners.

The item/term Manifestor belongs to Stephen Stryker, I am using it with his permission.

This chapter has a scene that borrows heavily from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. The initial idea with Limbo is hers, and I have modified it for my purpose.

All other characters, races, and locations not appearing in the Ratchet and Clank series are my own. While I probably won't care if you use them, it would be nice if you did ask.

Epilogue: Choices Made

The first thing he noticed was that he was clad in his mechanic outfit. The second was the silence. There was an absolute stillness. The third was that he was grasping his dual wrench. His eyes were closed. He opened them. He saw a white room. It was not very clear, as though it was out of focus. He blinked. And then he realized something. He couldn't hear his heart.

He began to panic, trying to feel a pulse in his neck or arms. Nothing. In desperation, he beat his chest in a desperate rhythm, trying to jump start it. Nothing. After thirty seconds the realization hit him.

"Bloody Hell. I'm dead."

"Indeed." Ratchet whirled. That voice…and there he was.

The Lombax was a good two inches taller. He was clad in a brilliant Praetorian armor. A dual wrench was strapped to his back. White fur with red stripes.

"General Azimuth? Ratchet's voice was a mere whisper. It couldn't be, the elder was dead…wait. Wasn't Ratchet dead also? Right.

"I would say 'in the flesh', but given our situation, that doesn't somehow seem to be the right thing to say." A low chuckle.

"Well well, Ratchet, it looks like you went from cute to handsome." Ratchet whipped his head around.

"Angela…"

"I see you still have a trace of that crush on me." The beautiful female Lombax paraded forward. "Seriously though, last time you were way to young."

Ratchet noticed that the area was becoming slightly clearer, though it was still very obscure. "I'm sorry. I wasn't fast enough to save you-"

"Ratchet, don't be an idiot!" Angela had an annoyed expression on her face, one that instinctivly made Ratchet cringe.

"She's right you know. There was nothing you could have done. I made my choice, and she…well she was tricked. She really didn't have much of a choice." The elder sighed.

"But I could have done something…" He stopped as Angela surprised him with a soft hug.

"You can't save everyone Ratchet. Its ok. I have dealt with death, even if I don't know what I have done." The two softly embraced, and then broke apart.

"Where is everyone else? Where is my family? Kaden, Mom…Icarus?" He looked around the room, yes it was a room, and spotted a small pile. Nothing else.

"They aren't here Ratchet. They are…beyond."

"Then why am I not with them? Why aren't they here?"

The other two Lombaxes looked at each other. Angela was the one who answered. "Because here you are going to have to make you most important choice. And you won't remember it."

Ratchet snorted. "Figures. Wait a minute. Early, you said you dealt with death, even if you don't know what you have done. What in the world does that mean?"

She sighed. "You explain it, you were always better at this."

The elder stepped forward. "Well, Ratchet, you see death is in part what you make of it. For instance, say you believe in reincarnation. When you die, you will be reincarnated. Others go to the various Heavens and Hells they believe in. Still others simply end.

Of course, there are limitations. You can't just simply believe you will be reincarnated as a god and have it happen. And sometimes the universe throws fate in your direction. Like it is doing now."

A groan. "So I don't really have a choice do I? What, does the universe have my destiny all mapped out?"

"I said fate, not destiny."

"What's the difference?"

This time it was Angela who answered. "Fate is when you are at a crossroads, and you make a choice. Destiny is having that choice already made for you. In truth, there is no such thing as destiny. Choice may crop up in fate, but you decide what you do."

"I couldn't have put it better myself."

Ratchet picked up his wrench from where he had dropped it during Angela's embrace. Again the pile of items caught his eye.

"What are those?"

The general spoke again. "Those are the items people have given you at your funeral. Each is from someone you touched. It is an old Lombax tradition. Speaking of which, I hear you got them back."

A grin. "You bet." The grin faded. "But the cost…"

"We'll get through."

Silence. "I guess I should see what my friends left me." He walked over to the pile. "Say, you still haven't told what this choice of mine is, what fate has thrown at me."

Angela nodded. "Well, you see, it revolves around an old legend." A dramatic pause. Ratchet suddenly realized he was in the hanger of the Phoenix. "Did you ever wonder why those Leviathan souls are so valuable? It is because it is believed that they can bring back the dead.

As it turns out there is some truth to the legends. But you can't simply have the soul on you. No. You have to be given the soul after death. It must be offered up willingly, with no trade in. You also need three crystals. One sun, one moon, and one sewer."

"You have got to be kidding me? A sewer crystal? Sure, I can see the sun and moon crystal, I remember mining them for those mystic guys, but what in the world is a sewer crystal doing there?" Ratchet noticed the three rocks, as well as the soul floating around. He ignored it for now, and looked at the other stuff.

"That's what I said when I learned about it."

"You never were a believer Azimuth. But anyway, there are some notable cases, like with your brother Clank."

Ratchet had just pulled out the tracker bracelet. "Yah, me and Clank were like brothers." Clank. It made sense to offer his tracking device with this.

"No Ratchet. Clank is your brother. His soul, the one that Orvus gave him, is that of your brother."

Ratchet stopped looking. He turned to Azimuth. "You never told me I had a brother."

"I didn't know until I was dead, and neither did Angela. Your mother…she was pregnant during the attack. Kaden was going to announce it soon. But then she died…"

Tears welled up in all three of them. "So Clank…he has my brother's soul, which Orvus did by using a Leviathan soul?"

"Aye, though I suspect he cheated a little, being a Zoni and all."

Ratchet let the remark pass. "So…what if I don't want to go back. What if I am done fighting for everyone, suffering for everyone?"

"Then you board that dropship and go beyond." Angela gestured with her hands, and Ratchet turned, seeing an open dropship.

"What, no advice?"

"Ratchet, my boy, this is your decision. We aren't here to guide you. You have to make this choice all on your own."

"I see." There were several moments of silence. "I have made my decision."

"Then we will take leave of you." The two Lombaxes turned. Angela paused then walked towards Ratchet.

"What the Hell. One for the road I guess." And before the startled hero could react, she firmly placed her lips on his in a big kiss.

It was Ratchet's first, and he enjoyed it immensely. The softness of her lips, the warmth. Her tongue teased his. It lasted a full five seconds, and then she withdrew. Ratchet purred.

At this Angela giggled. "Oh, new experience I see?"

"Oh yah…I mean…ah crap." A huge grin crept onto Angela's face while Azimuth cackled with laughter in the background. Ratchet grinned sheepishly.

"Well, lover boy, time for you to get going." He nodded, and left the hanger.

There was a moment of silence, and then a flash. Two old blue men in capes and wielding staffs appeared, and Angela and Azimuth were replaced with floating balls of energy.

"We thank you for letting us use your souls. Go back to your peace." The two souls flew off.

The mystics turned towards each other, and nodded. The room was empty, and returned to its previous state of nothingness.

It had been ten days since Ratchet's funeral. And subsequent revival. Everyone, including Ratchet, had been very surprised when he had removed the lid to the coffin. He began by cussing a blue streak and demanding to know who had thought it funny to drug him and place him in a coffin.

He had been interrupted by Clank jumping up and hugging him fiercely, and then being tackled by Talwyn. In a move that shocked even her, Talwyn grabbed Ratchet's face with her hands and kissed him hard. In that moment, feelings for her that had been buried under his missions awoke in Ratchet. He wasn't sure yet if he loved her, but he knew he cared for her, and wanted to try it out.

A day of sorrow turned into a day of celebration. A party quickly started on Fastoon, and spread throughout the Tri-Galaxies, and even into the Lycan dimension. It was a party that lasted a day. There was much joy.

The next day was spent with various scientists and doctors trying to figure out how Ratchet had come back to life. No one could explain how a corpse with no blood suddenly woke up with it roaring through his heart. In the end it was classified as "paranormal, a miracle." Some said it was the work of gods. Others said Ratchet himself was God, but these were few and far between. So were the ones who claimed he had made a pact with the Devil. A good portion just chalked it up as Ratchet being too tough for death.

In the end, only four people knew the truth. Two were brothers, and they had a direct role in the affair. Another, who always seemed to know everything, simply shrugged and went back to fixing pipes. The other, with his trusty parrot, figured it out, but decided never to tell anyone. In the end, no one would know.

After that the good times were over. The Lombax Council still had to try him for treason, as well as Sajuuk. Sajuuk's had been quick, he had simply pleaded guilty and had been kicked out of the military and barred from owning any weapons. He didn't care, and immediately applied to be an ambassador, which had been accepted when no other candidates arrived.

And now Ratchet was going to face his sentence. The council, missing the military elder, was about to announce the verdict.

"We, the Council of Elders, find the defendant, Ratchet, guilty of the charge of treason."

Clank remembered Ratchet's shocked look. Before he could protest, or try to escape, the elder continued.

"Normally the punishment for treason would be death. But in light of circumstances, we have decided on a different punishment.

Ratchet, you are hear-by sentenced to one year of community labor on Fastoon, effective tomorrow. This court is adjourned."

Clank also remembered the surprised look upon Ratchet's face. Clank had already figured it out. They didn't truly believe he was guilty, but they wanted him on the planet. They wanted him as a citizen, to use the hero of the Great War as a bargaining chip. Poor them. They had yet to realize Ratchet was no bargaining chip and that he would help everyone equally.

The next year was a blur for the duo. Ratchet spent most of his time working on projects like restoring the Gear Statue near the Court of Azimuth. A good portion was spent dating Talwyn. The rest was spent tracking down a portion of his funds, most of which ended up in funding an orphanage for war victims. Ratchet only got 1% back, but that was more than enough, being over 20 million bolts.

By the end of the year, Ratchet and Talwyn were engaged, with a wedding following soon after. After this Ratchet faced his next challenge.

There had been a huge movement to create a "Ratchet Day" something he was vehemently against. Though Ratchet enjoyed popularity, this was a little much, and he protested against it hard. But the public wanted a holiday. In the end, after much backroom politics (which Ratchet claimed were worse than any battle he had been in) a compromise was made. There would be a remembrance day holiday for all those who fell in the Great War, and to honor Ratchet it would fall on the day he had been scheduled for burial.

Other major changes occurred. Realizing that the use of dimensionator to travel between the Lycan dimension and the Tri Galaxy was slowly destabilizing the Great Clock, they were used one last time to bring back the worlds into the Polaris Galaxy. Though there were some time rifts, Orvus and Sigmund were able to patch them up. All dimensionator were destroyed, and so were the plans. They were just too dangerous to the time-space continuum.

The Lycan empire crumbled upon itself, and folded back up to its home system. The other races that had returned to their own world. For the first time in Centuries, Lycans did menial work. Karen remained the Great Alpha Leader of her people. Peace reigned.

In the Bogon Galaxy, Fizzwidget quickly established a presidential government. Soon, after much debating, the Tri-Galaxies merged into one government, with one president. As a war hero and as a talented politician, Sasha Phyronix became the first Tri-Galaxy President.

Over the next couple of decades he, Ratchet, and Talwyn would have many adventures. There were numerous close calls, and there were times each thought the other was dead. But they survived, although there were many scars.

After many decades, they settled down on the rebuilt Apogee station. A few months later the twins were born. The hybrids were slightly odd, but there were many other hybrids out there. They both had unusually thick fur, and their ears weren't as large as normal Lombaxes. They mostly looked like Lombaxes on the outside.

The elder, a male named Azimuth Clank Apogee, was a gold with red flecks hybrid. He was a tall one at 6'3", and was interested in joining the military. He was a lot more disciplined than Ratchet ever was, and had a good head for tactics. Still, he was a bit of a rouge, and loved to explore.

The younger, a female named Angela Mira Apogee, was a purple with pink flecks. She was a bit short, around 5'6", and had a very inquisitive mind. She loved to tinker with both science and machines, and cause quite a few accidents aboard the station simply wonder what would happen if you did this.

One memory always stuck out for Clank involving the twins. He was alone with them, and they were telling of an unusual dream they both had.

"So you think you both had the same dream?"

"Yes Uncle Clank. I was wondering if you could help us understand why that is."

"I'm only in this so it doesn't happen again. What if I somehow gave away military secrets in my dreams? That would be a tragedy."

Clank chuckled. "I am not sure what happened. Perhaps you could describe the dream to me."

A thoughtful expression crossed Angela's face. "Sure. We don't remember much. I do recall that we were in the hanger of some ship. And that we had different color schemes for our fur. There was something about Father making a decision…"

"And I remember one thing clearly. It had to do with your soul being that of Father's unborn brother who died during the fight on Fastoon."

"Yah, that stands out clearly…"

Now that was an odd detail. "Anything else?"

"No Uncle Clank."

For some reason Clank always found himself drawn to that memory. It was a nice little tale. He and Ratchet, brothers separated by death, only to return together. And save the universe of course.

Then one day even more decades later Ratchet became sick with a terminal disease. It was a cancer that stemmed of his repeated use of nanotech to heal himself. It was incurable, and revenged him in a matter of days.

He said his goodbyes on his deathbed, surrounded by his family of children and grandchildren. He passed away, and Talwyn wept next to his unmoving body. The rest of the family left her to weep in peace.

She died in the next five minutes of a heart attack. It was only after fifteen minutes that the rest of the family began to worry. By the time they got to the room, both of the bodies were already cool to the touch.

The funeral was held, and many attended. This time there was no revival. Ratchet and Talwyn were buried together on Apogee Station, and the whole station became a monument to them, filled with tools and medals and other menial stuff.

Aphelion, who had been flying above Fastoon during Ratchet's first burial, had returned to him upon his revival. Now with his death, she left to wander the stars. Though she was now an old ship, she was still in top condition, and could take care of herself. She did promise Clank that if he ever needed her, he just had to call.

Now he, Aphelion, Cronk, Zephyr, Merc, and Green were all that were left of Ratchet's era. His kids still lived, but they were of a different time, a time of peace. Everyone else had died in war, or of natural causes, or of accidents.

Clank was standing at the entrance to a building ran by the Ratchet and Clank Orphanage. The orphanage had expanded over the years, now focusing on all orphans. The lack of wars had stopped the generation of war orphans, not that he was complaining.

The door opened, and out stepped Lily Rose, an unusual Lombax orphan. Her parents were still alive, but had dropped her off due to her unusual birth defect of being deaf. It was a terrible stigma in Lombax culture. The white with black flecks Lombax had few friends, and Clank had decided to look after her with extra care.

"Hey Clank." She signed at him.

"How are you doing Lily?" He signed back.

"Great, I just finished my first invention. Could you put this in your ear? Don't worry, its completely safe, I already put mine in." She held in her hand a vile with a liquid substance. Clank complied.

"Can you hear me?" Clank almost jumped at the voice that filled his head. It was silky smooth. And it was Lily's voice. He grinned at her device.

"Very nice." He thought back at her.

"Thanks, but organics don't like it. It still burns slightly in my head, but I wanted to communicate to you. And I wanted to 'hear' my voice. It is nice."

"Yes it is."

They looked out at the bleak landscape of Veldin. "You know Clank, I have never explored the Kyzil Plateau. I hear it can be dangerous, so I packed some supplies." She pulled out an Omni-Wrench 2100, and a nanotech kit. "Want to explore it with me? I promise if we run into anything to dangerous I will go back. But I want to have an adventure."

Clank looked at the sixteen year old Lombax. She reminded him of Ratchet, but was not nearly as reckless. Ratchet's advice once again replayed in his head. "Move on Clank, and find others."

He replayed all of the decisions of his life in an instant. There had been many he would have changed if he could. Yet he appreciated those failures, those mistakes. And they always had someone in them. Maybe it was indeed time to move on.

He nodded. "I think I would love to have another adventure."

"A cynic once told me all stories end the same way: Everyone dies. He is wrong. A story ends when it is no longer told. Stories change, they evolve, but they don't die until no-one remembers them." aduck1

Author's Notes

Well, that's it. I'm done with my first major fan-fic. I have actually had the idea for this story ever since I beat aCiT. It feels kind of weird to end it now.

I would like to thank Phillip458, Ratchet Thunderfire, and Nichole 642 for reviewing and telling me to continue onwards. Every writer likes to be told he is appreciated.

As to everyone else who read, I hope you enjoyed the story. I can only assume you did, since people kept on coming back to the story. If you follow my next work, please review. If I am doing something right, I want to know, and if I am doing something wrong, I still want to know.

Thanks for reading.