It was over. Third-children were free. They had won their right to exist. Luke Garner lay awake in his bed one night, wondering what life would be like from now on.

He was home with his family again, plus Smits (who had nowhere else to go), and was back in his room in the attic. He felt fulfilled, but at the same time he felt hollow. Even though he had significantly contributed to the freeing of all third-children, he felt as if he had nothing to show for it. He had already been leading a pretty comfortable life before he'd known that there had been a resistance against the Population Police, and now that they had been overthrown, he wondered how his life would change for the better.

He couldn't stop thinking about Jen.

Luke sighed and turned over on his bed, glancing at his digital clock. 2:46 it said. He rolled onto his back again, and sighed.

Suddenly, he heard a scraping sound. He froze in fear; a leftover reflex from when he was still technically illegal. He relaxed. Then, he heard it again, this time followed by a clunking sound. He sat up, and turned on his bedside lamp. He then slowly moved over to the window, and was surprised to find it being opened by someone from the outside.

"Uh," he began. Before he could say anything else, the person lifted the window completely open, and climbed inside. "What the-?"

"Heh, whats up?" she said. It was a girl.

"Who are you?" Luke asked in a whisper.

"Luke," the girl chuckled. "It's me." Luke squinted and looked at the girl. "It's Jen," she said again.

"No. Jen was killed at the rally," Luke said, trying not to get his hopes up.

"Actually, I wasn't," she said. "Luke, look at me," she said softly, grabbing his face with her hands and pulling him in close to look in her eyes. By now her hair had grown out, just past her shoulders, and she had become a little more attractive, being fourteen and all.

"Oh, my gosh," Luke breathed, backing away and sitting down on his bed in shock.

"Yeah."

"How did you survive?" he asked.

"Well, I was shot," Jen began. "Just not killed. But there was this group of radicals who found my body and took me in, nursed me back to health and stuff."

"Where have you been all this time?" asked Luke.

"Underground," said Jen. "I mean, not literally, but I was hiding out in the mountains with the group of radicals."

"Why didn't you contact me? Or any of us?" Luke asked, feeling personally offended.

"I wanted to! You were the first person I wanted to tell!" said Jen. "But the radicals explained to me that if you and the rest of the thirds didn't think I was dead, you wouldn't have been as motivated to fight the Population Police."

"You could have told me," said Luke, looking close to tears.

"Luke, I-" But Luke cut her off as he pulled her into a hug, turned around and flung her onto his bed.

"Don't ever leave me again," he said as he lay down beside her.

"Luke, take it easy," said Jen, more than a little bit freaked out.

"Say it!" huffed Luke, leaning over her menacingly. "Say you'll never leave me!"

"OK! OK! I'll never leave you!" said Jen. "Luke, why are you-?" Once again, Luke cut her off. This time with his lips. He gently kissed the girl he had spent so many sleepless nights thinking about.

"I missed you so much," he whispered against her lips.

"I missed you, too," Jen admitted. Luke reached over and turned off the lamp, leaving the two of them in romantic darkness.

"You have no idea," Luke whispered between kisses. "How many days and nights I've spent thinking about you."

"Luke, I've been thinking of you this whole time, too. But I couldn't-"

"Shh," said Luke, rubbing his nose against hers lovingly. "Don't talk. Let's just sleep."

"OK."

"Now I can finally sleep," he said almost silently, wrapping his arms around Jen and tucking her head under his chin.

THE END?

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