A/N: Okay, I actually came to realize that with the extremely short downtime between chapters 35 and 36 (seriously, it's a new record for me) there would be some of you who would actually miss it. What with my usual large gaps between updates and everything. Since I know not everyone who read stories don't alert them. (don't worry I neglect doing so too) So, just in case you didn't realize, you may have missed 36 and you should click that little backy button before reading this one... that is all.
Chapter 37: Implied Scenarios
Things were less than quite following the night of their capture and escape.
The Canadian news was nearly running up the walls with the coverage the Edilestein manor fire. What with the obvious signs of an attack and zero answers as to what was going on, things were becoming somewhat chaotic in the world of televised information.
There was no surprise at how big the story had become however. It wasn't everyday that police find a near massacre in a rundown mansion. Everything about it completely baffled the local law enforcement, looked at as a boon by the three friends.
Though Alex considered himself very anti-media, always finding the overblown sensationalism of journalism something of a blight on the land, he couldn't help but watch the spectacle of broadcasting with high amusement.
Then again, Aeris and Leo both noticed the uplifted mood the hybrid had gained. A smile was always on his face, his voice carried a joy that rivaled that of a child's, even his eyes shimmered with a carefree sense. All in all, he seemed happy.
Both cats found the new found sense of peace somewhat odd, especially with how badly it contrasted with his appearance.
The first day after their horrific experience, the hybrid was couch-ridden for sometime. With his damaged ankle, he could barely walk and moving his left arm was out of the question given the cut Joey gave him.
Thankfully for him, his feline friends came through with a crutch that allowed him to get around the apartment, even managing to find a sling to keep his arm in place.
Despite the physical pain he was enduring, nothing seemed to dampen the hybrid's sunny disposition.
And when it seemed like he couldn't get happier, the phone decided to ring.
"Hello?" Leo answered, curious to who was calling. But his wondering expression shifted to worry as his gaze landed on Alex. "Uh... it's for you." Not saying a word, Alex took the phone as the gray cat handed it to him.
"Yes?" Alex asked, creating a long pause as he listened to the information being fed from the other end of the call. After several moments, Leo and Aeris both eyed one another as they saw the hybrid's eyes widen.
"Ha ha! That's just brilliant," Jake shouted jovially, nearly slipping out of his hospital bed.
The last half hour was spent with Alex recounting the tale of their daring escape from the clutches of the evil Elijah Frost and his hellish minions. Though the story lacked the appropriate tone that would have made it a fable for the ages, the hybrid couldn't help but beam as he was still getting over seeing his good friend once again.
Jake was just like he was when Aeris and Leo first met him, his time asleep having not effected him in the slightest. Now, he sat up on his cushioned bed, eating away at his food as he listened in. The duo of felines couldn't help but stare at the 'food' he had though. Whatever was inside of the bowl looked like an unholy mixture of melted pistachio ice cream, wet paint and baby food.
All the same however, it didn't stop the wolf-hybrid from scarfing it down like he had been lost on a desolate island.
"Oh god," he said, putting down his spoon to wipe the tears from his eyes. "I might have missed out on the fun, but what a way to end it. Alex, you bad ass, ha ha- argh!" He clutched at his side in pain, ending his laugh with a weak chuckle. "God... it still hurts to laugh, heh."
"Maybe if you didn't stuff your face with that toxic waste," Alex suggested, crossing his arms as his lips curled in disgust at the pasty goop.
"Well, it's finger licking good," Jake replied, taking another spoonful and eying Alex as he slowly dragged his tongue across it.
"Good hospital food? That sounds like a first."
"No," Jake said with a shake of his head, "finger licking good, as in I'd rather devour my own hands then this dreck... But I'm hungry as hell and I need my hands... I've been told they're the second best part of my anatomy, the first being my-"
"Okay!" Alex interrupted, rolling his eyes as he muttered something unintelligible. Jake merely grinned as he emptied the rest of the bowl.
"It's good to see you're doing alright," Aeris said, doing her best to divert from the halted topic.
"Alright isn't exactly the word I'd use," Jake muttered dejectedly, letting out a groan. "Dammit, I feel perfectly fine, yet the Doc won't let me leave this hell of white."
"Well," Leo shrugged, "you did almost die." The now agitated hybrid grumbled to himself for a moment before looking back at his visitors.
"Yeah, but it's not like I'm new to that... And GOD I'm getting way to stir crazy here. Don't even get me started on how pint up I've been feeling. Can you believe how long it's been since my last night of tail tugging? If how long you've said I've been out is true, then it's been over a month!" Another groan escaped the crossbreed as he fell back into his pillow, looking up into the white lights hanging above his bed. "I feel like shit. Seriously Alex, this must be what you feel like all the time. So frustrating, I feel like punching an orphan."
Sitting back up, Jake leaned over toward his friend and gave a sharp jab to the shoulder. Alex responded immediately, hissing in pain as he nearly fell over in a cringing mess.
"Ah damn it, still sore there!" Though the damaged muscle around his cut was healing enough he didn't need his arm in a sling anymore, the area was still tender.
"Oh, heh-heh, sorry," Jake muttered, having just remembered being shown the very stitches himself mere minutes ago. "Really though, it's hard to believe Frost is gone... even Joey... Guy might have been bat shit insane, but he at least new fair play between innocents and criminals." A grin again made its way across the wolf-hybrid's muzzle. "I'm still a little surprised about what happened to me though. Made it to the city just fine, was planning on seeing you after I sampled a local bar. Ended up finding this lovely husky there. And imagine my surprise when she comes over to me and totally uses some of the best innuendos I've ever heard. The next thing I know, I'm getting the shit beaten out of me by Joey and some guys in suits, all the while being forced to chug bottle after bottle of some really good vodka..." He began looking at the wall in a wandering gaze, piecing together his memory. "Then... there was a loud rubbery screeching, a bang... then everything went dark... and now you guys are here..."
Alex stood there, pinching the space between his eyes. Aeris held her mouth open, as if to speak, but found no words that adequately expressed herself for the given situation. Leo simply stood still, his face written into a look of frozen horror as a certain detail hit him like a ton of bricks.
Their reactions were soon taken away as the door to Jake's room opened, his doctor stepping in.
"Ah, it's good to see your friends have heard of your awakening," the doctor said, his eyes looking down on his clipboard as he approached them. The moment his gaze fell on the three visitors however, the medical professional jumped back in shock. "My goodness, what on earth happened to you."
"Oh uh..." Alex muttered, looking down at the crutch he was holding. "Heh, well you know stairs. They look easy to use one moment, the next you're on the ground screaming in agony."
"Right..." the doctor said, adjusting his glasses, "and did the stairs do those as well." He indicated the cuts and marks on his face.
"Yes they most certainly did," the hybrid replied, his ruse becoming more and more hopeless.
The doctor then looked toward Leo, catching similar scuffs on his person. It didn't take him long to shift toward Aeris, not finding any noticeable signs of damage to herself. A frown came across his face before Jake broke through his thoughts.
"Hey Doc, when can I get out of here?"
"Soon enough," the doctor answered with a sigh, "just as I told you the last time. We need to run a few more tests to make sure you are one hundred percent and you will be released." The doctor then waited for Jake's long drawn out sigh of over-exaggeration to pass before speaking again. "Well, since you have company, I'll leave you four to your privacy." With one last look at the three visiting friends, the doctor turned and left, shaking his head while muttering something about a shift in the order of the sexes.
"Huh," Alex huffed, involuntarily licking his drying lips. "I think I'm going to go down and get something to drink really fast."
"I'll go with you," Leo said, standing next to the hybrid. "I'm a little thirsty too."
With a shrug, Alex nodded toward Jake before leaving the room, Leo right behind him.
The moments following, the small room was cast into silence. Aeris didn't say anything, but she caught the sight of Jake grinning at her.
"So," he finally said, "you popped the old murder cherry did you?" The pink cat flinched at what he was bringing up. Though she had been able to come to terms with what she had done, it still wasn't something she liked to think about.
"Yeah... I guess," she replied, holding her arms as she uneasily shifted her weight about. Another term of silence fell between them. It ended quickly however as Aeris found herself wanting to ask the crossbreed something. "What was it like for you? To kill someone I mean."
"Hm," Jake murmured, scratching his chin in thought. "Well, it was back when I first found out what happened to Kerkrin. I was furious at what those people had done to him. As we we were escaping the warehouse they had locked us up in, I ended up wounding one of our guards. As he lay there, begging for his life, I put a gun up to his head and... bang." After a pause, the hybrid simply shrugged. "Like I said, I was angry at the time. It took a while for it to finally sink in. But even still... I found myself with little remorse for what I had done. Just knowing what those people had were... it made killing them less morally draining."
"I don't think I ever want to have to do that again," Aeris muttered, rubbing her arms as the hairs began to stand on end, "even if the person was evil." Again, Jake just shrugged.
"Some people can take it, some can't. But remember why you did what you did. Vincent was ruthless, I couldn't even begin to describe the horrible things he did to people in our city. You killed him to save your lives, not to simply kill a bear."
"I guess..." Aeris said, still uncertain.
"But enough of the grim stuff," Jake said with a smile. "Tell me, how have you and Alex been doing?"
There was a short pause as Aeris was taken aback by the sudden topic. Though in reality, it was something she was asking herself for a while.
She could remember them both standing together outside, right before they were attacked. Then after everything was done and they returned home safe, it all seemed to halt. The pink cat wanted to simply wait, not wanting to throw such concepts Alex's way until she was certain everything had returned to normal with them. Now, she couldn't help but think she had lost all chances to see about her and Alex's friendship, or that it could even be something more then that.
"There's nothing," Aeris said, shaking her head. "There's nothing at all." Though she failed to sound entirely convincing.
"Alright, alright," Jake said with a nod, "I won't bring it up anymore. But Aeris, though Alex my not look it," he shot her a devious grin, "he does prefer it when people are very... direct with him."
"Direct huh?" Aeris thought to herself, standing in the apartment as it was bathed in the darkness of the night.
Jake's words played through her mind, simple enough advice that put much on the line for a quick solution.
The pink cat still didn't act on that advice right away however. Feeling that the time just wasn't right, she waited for the most opportune moment. A few days passed since their visit to the hospital, now she was sure that time had come, but she found herself hesitant to finally lay everything on the table.
With a heavy sigh, Aeris pressed her hand on the door leading to Alex's room, closed at it always was while he was asleep. The pink cat looked deep within herself, already finding the unsaid answers to the questions that were cast between herself and Alex. But realizing just what would occur the moment she passed that tiny threshold, it suddenly made her yearn to move forward. If the hybrid wanted direct, he damn well better be able to handle direct.
As her determination peaked, Aeris gripped the doorknob and opened the door. No noise escaped her as she quickly stepped into the room and shut the door. Only the soft click of the door locking sounded at her actions, her need to prevent any unwanted disturbances.
The following day, Leo noticed an odd air about the apartment. He couldn't quite place the specifics, but the gray cat was certain it had something to do with his two friends.
It was almost physical, the sudden shift in energy between the two. Leo could see that they looked much more uplifted then they had ever before, even Alex's previously cheerful mood seemed like nothing in comparison. Throughout the day, they talked, played games, even smiled to one another in ways he thought were saved for a certain step one would take with another.
Though the gray feline wasn't quite sure exactly what had changed, he could come up with two possibilities.
"It seems like they just... resolved something between themselves," Leo pondered, allowing his own inner monologues to decipher what he was noticing. "Using words to discuss events and answer a long standing question about something. Something regarding themselves personally I'm sure. Or perhaps... they... relieved themselves of a growing tension. Both of them going for physical action rather then flailing words. Now that experience is changing their views on one another in ways they didn't think possible..."
Not too much time was spent on this thoughts however as Leo quickly gave his head a good shake. Now it seemed he was having trouble understanding his own thought process.
Even though he didn't fully understand what had occurred between Aeris and Alex, he was at least glad to see them happy. Because, if his friends were happy, then he was happy. Even with what happened with Kerissa still effecting him, he found his friends were more then enough to allow him to forget about the conniving canine and her poisonous ways.
So everything returned to as normal a state as it possibly could have. The three friends enjoyed every moment spent together, finding the horrific events from the past turning into memories to be put away.
Sadly, there was a disturbance within the state of perpetual harmony within the apartment of gaming friends. Though he kept it to himself, there was one fact that a certain crossbreed was neglecting to share with his friends. But simply knowing the inevitability of it was enough to weigh him down all the same.
It quickly became apparent to the two felines as well, gaining suspicions that something was being held from them.
Those suspicions were soon realized as well, when Alex sat them down at the table.
"So..." Alex muttered trailing off with a stalling tone, "we've certainly been enjoying ourselves, haven't we?" Aeris and Leo both looked to one another, each giving a confused nod to their friend. They noticed he was wearing his coat as well, something he had rarely done for some time. "Well... I really do hope our time together was as wonderful for you as it was for me..." The crossbreed's ears began to drop. It was clear that something was troubling him.
"Alex," Aeris began, worry dragging onto her voice, "is something wrong?"
"Actually no," the hybrid replied with a shake of his head. "It's just... I knew it would be difficult to say... After all we've been through, I knew it would be hard to say good-bye to you both."
"What?" both felines gasped in unison. Before they could receive an answer, a knocking on the front door sounded. Without waiting for someone to answer it, the door opened and the two cats were surprised to see Jake.
Wearing a fine set of cloths that looked newly purchased, the wolf-hybrid was absent of any marks that indicated a long stay within a hospital.
"Hey guys," he said with an awkward smile, realizing what he was walking in on.
"Now... now just wait a minute," Aeris said, standing up from her seat. "Alex, just what is going on? You're leaving?"
"Yes," the hybrid answered with a solemn nod.
"You can't just leave," Leo protested, stunned at how sudden this was.
"I was planning on doing this for a few days now, I just didn't want to tell either of you. I figured it would be better to save it for last minute so we can enjoy our time together a little bit more."
"No, no no," Aeris said, shaking her head furiously as she approached the hybrid. "How can you just leave! Just like that, with hardly a farewell! What was all that back at the manor about, did it just mean nothing to you?" Alex looked deep into Aeris' eyes as he stood up, slowly shaking his head as she questioned him.
"I meant every word I said Aeris, I will never let anything do harm to either of you. But... that's also why I must go. It's too dangerous for you if I stay. Though the police haven't found anything on me, there's no guarantee that something won't come up that links me. Then... you'll be linked to me. I can't risk ruining both of your lives for my sake, so I must go."
"Where will you go?" Leo asked, standing beside Aeris as she looked heatedly at the crossbreed.
"Home," Alex answered, a small smile appearing on his muzzle. "For the first time... I actually want to return there. To see how much of an impact was made with Frost gone. And... to visit three people who I've hid from for too many years. I think I'll visit them first, visit... and pay my respects."
A light chuckle escaped the hybrid, something that seemed impossible given his previous thought.
"I could never really explain it to you. But I feel like I can finally close Frost's chapter in my life and keep it closed. I feel renewed, almost as though I've been given a second chance to live a life of my choosing." Without warning, Alex stretched his arms out and grabbed onto the two felines, holding them in a three person hug. "But don't think I'll forget what two felines helped me get this far."
"So this really is goodbye..." Aeris said, her tone dropping down as low as her drooping ears and tail.
"Of course," Alex said, concreting the fact. He held onto her shoulders, making her look up at him and see him eye to eye. "Don't worry Aeris. I will always cherish every moment we've spent together. And Leo," he turned to face the gray feline, "just try to keep your nose clean and most of your jokes to yourself. I'd hate to find out you were beaten to death by Aeris for another Mother joke."
"Heh yeah, I'll try," Leo said with a smile. "We're sure going to miss you though Alex."
"Well, it's not like it's goodbye forever. I'll be sure to visit someday." With one last hug to them both, Alex stepped toward Jake and grabbed a ragged bag that was set aside. "I've only taken a few things I know I'll need. Everything else, the rest of my stash, my possessions, you can keep. Think of it as a thank you gift for everything."
They didn't say another word as the four left the apartment and silently made their way to the lobby.
Outside, the cats were surprised to see an shiny new sports car waiting at the curb.
"Wow, where did you get that?" Leo asked, staring at the car with awe. Jake looked at the feline with a smirk.
"You really don't wana know."
Alex tossed his bag inside and waved to the cats seeing him off.
"Goodbye Alex, make sure to visit us soon," Aeris and Leo said with sincerity,
"See you two around," the hybrid said back. "And once again, thank you for everything you've done for me. Now I'll always remember, no matter how dark the world seems to get, I know I have two friends waiting for me up north."
"So long my kitten companions," Jake said with a wide grin. "When next we meet, I'll be sure to tell you two the story of when Alex lost his- oof." The crossbreed was cut off as he was pushed forward by Alex, ushering him toward the drivers side before taking shotgun for himself.
The engines then roared to life as the car started up. Reaching out of the window, Alex waved goodbye to his two feline friends for the last time before the car pulled into the street and took off.
Aeris and Leo waved to their friends themselves, standing just outside their apartment with their eyes on the car.
Soon, the car became nothing but a dot on the horizon, finally disappearing in its entirety. The felines stayed there for sometime, taking in the fact that their friend was gone.
Aeris' gaze turned toward Leo, taking in the sadness she could see around him.
Though her gray friend repeatedly spoke against his own misery toward what happened with Kerissa, she knew he was simply masking his pain. He was hurting, who could blame him? But she knew she couldn't let her friend harbor such depression.
"Come on Leo," Aeris said, grasping his hand and showing him a warm smile, "let's go home and play something." Gaining his own smile, Leo nodded before Aeris led them back into the apartment, both determined to enjoy the rest of their day.
The scenery seemed to become a blur as the sports car sped by the rest of the traffic.
Alex, the mixed breed of a fox and tiger, relaxed as he looked out his window. All he could really see was the distinct impression of an ending city, the streets looking less and less metropolitan as they drew closer toward the end.
Only the horizon was in their sight, the direction of south in their thoughts.
The silence between them was something to be expected as Alex examined just how much his life had changed in such a short amount of time. It all seemed to go by so quickly, yet he couldn't think of a time he ever felt happier to have lived through it.
Too lost in his own thoughts, the fox-hybrid didn't notice the set of eyes that repeatedly drifted toward him, a large grin of fangs appearing just underneath.
"So..." Jake began, purposely trailing off in a manner he knew annoyed his friend, "Aeris... did you two ever..."
Alex's fixed gaze on the scenery playing outside his window was broken as he shot a venomous glare at his friend.
"Just keep your mouth shut and your eyes on the road," he growled, returning to his previous action of aimless sightseeing, "we don't need you getting in another crash."
A burst of laughter escaped the wolf-hybrid, it watered his eyes and burned his sides. The hysterical laugh carried all the way outside the car, trailing behind them as they exited the Canadian city.
It was going to be a fun ride home.
A/N: Implied stuff is still the best stuff! (evil laughter)
Woohoo, Crossings is finally done! This was it, the last chapter. (phew) God dammit, I swear if I ever attempt to make another novel of a story, I'm breaking my fucking arms off. Ugh, this is too horrendous.
So anyway... This chapter is pretty much a jumpy little mish-mash of what occurred after the last chapter. Really, when you think about it, not a lot really changed... in a canon sorta view. Sure, there are some lasting effects the story could have... but they're really just emotional things. It's not like a character died or anything... at least not a canon one...
And you're probably looking back to that, "what happened?", part of the story. Well... it was intentional, haha!
Truthfully, that specific part of nighttime merriment was a longtime idea I had. But really, for the life of me, I just couldn't figure out what exactly to have. Obviously, there are two scenarios that could have happened. We just don't know exactly what happened... Though... I will say that I've put thought into how they would play out... I just couldn't put one in front of the other in terms of which one is better. And since it really isn't that big in terms of the main plot, I decided that it's up to YOU, the reader, to think about what happened for yourself.
Iono... I guess I could maybe make like a bonus chapter or something someday, showing how I thought that little tid-bit would play out in both ways... but iono...
Okay yeah so... that was in fact Crossings. You've just read it. Now... you must judge it!
I'm kidding of course. But it would be wonderful now, seeing as it is the last chapter and all, for you to tell what you've liked. Make a review, your final review, showing what you liked what you didn't why you thought such things etc. Especially if you've never written a review for this before, you guys know who you are (points).
Regardless of whether or not you feel the need to voice your opinion, I do hope you all have enjoyed the story. And big thanks to everyone who has already reviewed this long ass story as it was slowly (and I do mean slowly) put out there for the internet's cruel claw of fanfictionness.
Really... it surprises the hell out of me how far this has actually come. Starting off as a little piece of shit story I thought up of after reading, SweedenSpeedway's The New Guy, then ironed out over a while of thought processing. Hell, you wouldn't believe the backstory I've pieced together for Alex and Jake as I've thought up their characters Oh boy, it's intense. I'm almost tempted to doing their full story someday, obviously not on this site since it wouldn't be a fanfic... but still.
Anyway... back to fanfics... As I mentioned in a previous note. I have plenty of story ideas I plan on getting done at some point. Also, I've said how my next story will be sent off to a different site for a different fandom. (ducks from brick)
Okay... okay... don't get violent now po- (cough) people... It's nothing personal, it's just that this particular site will help to get more people (see? I said people, not po-ack) to look about and enjoy my next bit of stories for that fandom. Don't worry though. Eventually, I'll end up adding the information on it in my profile when I get around to figuring that shit out. You'll just need to hold your hoo- (hack) HANDS... hold your hands together and wait patiently. That is to say if you'll even enjoy that particular fandom... And if you don't... well you'll have to hunker down and accept it dollar by... NO it's bit by bit... (ugh)
Subtlety, thy name is Icecane.
You shut your God damn whore mouth!
… Okay... Okay... I'm alright, (calm breathing) won't let him get to me...
But yeah, at risk of making this final note even more disgustingly long. I just want to add that although this story is over... I actually have another VG cats fanfic up in my noggin and I'll someday be posting it here for all of you who have enjoyed Crossings.
Farewell for now my faithful readers. (throws smoke bomb, fades away) Oooo I'm magic now...