AN: I've been thinking about this story for a while, but I wasn't really planning on publishing it. Then the finale happened. I ended up changing the initial MacGuffin and added to some of the plot to better fit with what happened, but a lot of the characters' thoughts and perspectives were kept the same, so if they seem slightly off now, please let me know.
I don't have a beta right now, and I'm American so if there are grammar and spelling mistakes or Americanisms please let me know that as well. I'd be very grateful for the help.
Disclaimer: I don't own Misfits, DC Comics or The Shadow.
Out of the Loop
The end isn't her life flashing before her eyes or a white tunnel. It's her brain yell shit, he's going to do it. He's going to break his promise and go back. He's going to trade the rest of his life so she could have a few more months. So that he could have a few months with her. She wants to yell at him. To tell him screw you and your self sacrifice hero shit. I'd rather you lived. But all that comes out is a gurgle. She watches as the light goes out of his eyes along with hers. Her body feels cold and numb. But when the blackness is about to come, she suddenly feels a sharp burning pain in her gut. Like a hook through her belly. Followed by a tug.
When the burning fades and world stops spinning around him, everything is wrong. The time, the place, even him. He feels like a snake stuck inside a skin he has long outgrown. And, he's alive.
He unconsciously reaches up and undoes the top button that seems to choke him, but before he can really breathe someone slams into him at full speed and he's sent sprawling. When he pushes himself up on elbows and looks up he's surprised to see Curtis, looking back at him with a shocked express as he runs in the opposite direction. The man that toppled him takes off again, after Curtis, and Simon's first instinct is to reach forward to trip him. Instead he finds himself on the floor again, feeling as if his brain doesn't quite connect to his body. He's not used to being so clumsy or gangly anymore. He pushes himself up again, slowly. Curtis and the man are now long gone, and he decides to move out of the flow of traffic to figure out what is going on.
He's in a club. Curtis was here. It's familiar. As he looks around at the crowd, his eyes catch on a familiar blonde head. Matt. This is the night he tried to burn down Matt's house. Maybe he was wrong about being alive. Maybe they'd been wrong about an afterlife. He's always said that his worst nightmare would be losing Alisha, or going back to his old life. He shouldn't be surprised that it's also his hell.
He's surprised when he can leave. He hurries out the door, afraid he'll be compelled to go back. To bring Matt a beer and be told he was texted by mistake. To make the best mistake of his life and watch as he finally has everything only to lose it all again.
When he reaches the stairwell his stomach begins to roll as a memory hits him. This place, a girl and him. He had been very very drunk, and not particularly planning what he might do next that night, but that doesn't stop him from feeling sick at what he had done. If he saw someone trying to do that to a girl now, he'd probably slam them against the stairwell's cement brick wall. That was one part of becoming the man in the mask he hadn't been able to explain to Alisha. It was about her, of course, always, but before it was all about her and them, and becoming the suicidal version of booster gold, it was also about all the mistakes he'd made. About maybe making up for a few of them, even if he knows he never really can. About using the darkness inside him for something good. Like Lamont Cranston. He knows what evil lurks in the heart of men because he has seen that evil in his own heart. They had even had the same power for a while.
But there's no one to hit in the hallway. Just him and his memories and he ends up sprinting down the rest of the stairs, only stopping when he's gasping for breath, in the parking structure at the bottom. He had forgotten how much of a difference the new muscles and months of training had made.
He's still trying to catch his breath when he sees another familiar figure walking down the rows of cars but doesn't call out. He's gotten used to silently watching the past versions of his friends over the last few weeks and if he's right about the date, this Nathan doesn't know him. This Nathan doesn't know that in less than a year he'll be his best friends and a few months after that he'll be driving off into the sunset for the happily ever after Simon can't have.
Simon still almost follows him. Nathan tends to need looking after, but Simon realizes that he had to have made it through tonight intact, or they wouldn't have met each other to begin with. It would be ironic if this is the night Nathan gets arrested as well. They've all made bets as to what he really did, and while Simon doesn't think he could claim the pot from the afterlife or wherever he is, he would still like to know how close they had all gotten.
Simon eventually makes his way to the flat. It's not a flat yet, through, just an empty dirty space. He contemplates staying there anyway before realizing that he probably still has a room waiting for him at his parents' house. He might as well rest comfortably before, whatever he was pulled here for happens.
When he gets there, he half to find his younger self in the bed, or be woken up by him in the night. Instead he tosses and turns in the too empty space until morning, then has toast with his sister for breakfast. When he wakes up for a full week in this old time, in his old bed and in his old body he realizes that he probably isn't going to yanked out, or wake up in a more conventional afterlife. He also realizes that that means he should probably make sure to get himself into community service, and get some weights.
His training this time is oddly inverse from before. Then he had honed his body before trying to learn to actual jump off buildings. Now he knows exactly how much strength he has to put behind each jump, when he should grab or flip, but his legs don't quite move the way he expects yet and his arms fail him when he reaches. He gets as many scrapes and bruises as he did the first time at the start, but muscles are quicker to shape and reform then the brain, it seems and he's surprise to find he's close to where he was by the time he about to start his community service with the others. It's a relief since he's not entirely sure what he'll need to do. There's only one of him now and unless there's a future future version of him out there waiting to bail out the gang, he's going to at least try to find different ways to save them.
The truth is that he enjoys it. Not the injuries or the long exhausting days at the beginning, but later, once he starts to hit his stride, he likes it. He's always wanted to learn parkour, he just never thought he could. Once he knew he had to, it became a chore. But as time went on, and he slowly became almost good at it, he began to remember why he had wanted to learn in the first place. It really did start to feel like flying.
He's not entirely convinced he's not just here to watch helplessly as time repeats again. Getting an actual second chance still seems like a reach even all these months later. But if he really was in hell, he wouldn't be able to feel like that, would he? If he were in Hell, then Alisha wouldn't be here, out of reach but alive.
He doesn't regret coming back. Not when he got to touch Alisha again. Not when the alternative is not coming back, and having everything he did disappear. When at best it would create a new world in which most of his friends are hurt or killed; where he never falls in love and no one ever loved him. And at worst it would begin to unravel reality itself. But that doesn't mean he didn't start to resent it, especially towards the end of his time in the past, after he began to realize exactly how his much his grief may have clouded his judgment. He's begun to wonder if he could have just told his younger self how to become the hero he needed to be. He wonders if he could have found a way to convince himself to come back without Alisha dying; deep down he knows it would be useless. He knows himself, and he knows he would never have left Alisha if she was alive, but he's begun to wish they could have a happy ending.
Her old bed is too big. It never used to be, but now, she finds herself reaching out and hating the emptiness on the other side. It's kind of pathetic really. She's only been here a few days. She can't count the number of times she's picked up the phone to call Simon. If it isn't her Simon she'll freak him the hell out. If it is, that means he died too. It's like that cat in a box Kelly joked about after she had drawn the straw to kill Mr. Miggles. The box is going to have to open soon anyway. She starts her community service again in less than a week and he'll either be there or not and he'll be him or not. She'll wait, if it's not. Until he's ready. She may not be patient, but the only thing she's ever been willing to wait for was Simon. And if it is, she's going to slap him for getting himself killed. Then she's going to kiss him senseless.
She finds herself unconciously wandering near his old house. Even though she should expect it, she's still surprised when she sees him.
"Simon?" He freezes at the words and turns stiffly towards her, his eyes wide with surprise.
"Alisha?" His voice is laced with astonishment and disbelief. He looks at her that he looked at her and the sudden realization of what that means causes anger she hadn't realized she felt to bubble up.
"You knew I was going to die." She spit towards him as soon as he's close enough that she doesn't have to yell. "You knew I was going to die, the whole time you were with me in the past but you didn't tell me." She crosses her arms across her chest and stairs at him, daring him to respond. After a moment he seems to push past his shock and choke out one word.
He's never been very good at lying, especially not to Alisha. He's only ever been able to manage it twice. Once when he hid the suit and once when she asked whether she was going to die. The later one wasn't even exactly a lie. He had only been able to form the words because he told himself that, from his perspective, he wasn't going to let that happen. He already had.
When Alisha finds him it's no different. He ushers them up to his room, and as soon as he's closed the door everything that he's been keeping inside, all the thought he's brooded over for the last few months tumble out along with the parts of their story she's yet to learn. When he's finished they're both sitting on the floor beside his bed, with their knees pulled up to their chests.
"I want to be so angry at you right now." She finally says without turning towards him. "Shit." She rested her head in her hands. "We're so messed up." He watched her for a moment, barely able to keep himself from resting his hand on her back. Finally she took a deep breath and looked up, letting out a choked chuckle.
"The funny thing is, this just show we're messed up in the same way."
"Alisha." He started, only for her to cut him off before he could offer her any argument.
"I couldn't let go either. I knew that loving me would get you killed, but I wanted us to be in love so badly I didn't care."
"Because I got you to fall in love with me." He finally said. "Because I tricked you. I let you believe I saved you." He may not have admitted it to himself, but it was true, and admitting it was better than allowing Alisha to place any blame on herself.
"Right, so me thinking I'd walk away and you'd be the only one to die, that's better?" She countered, shaking her head. "If you tricked me, so did I. I got you to love me first."
"You didn't trick me. You told me what would happen." He reminded her. "And you didn't believe in the loop." He pointed out.
"I told myself that I didn't, after I fell in love with who you were then, but I knew you. Deep down I knew, but I missed you too much to care." She said quietly, before she finally turn to look at him.
"You should have told me." She stated. "You should have trusted me." He stares at her a moment. He's not sure what exactly his omission had to do with trust. He still nodded. She didn't clarify.
"Are you going to try to repeat the timeline this time?" She finally asked.
"No. You already know everything. They'd be no point." He stated truthfully. She nodded. Then, to his surprise she reached out, and took his hand.
"If you go and get yourself killed again, I'm going to track down the guy with the resurrection power and have him make you into a zombie just so I can bash you head in." When he tried to speak, she brought her free hand up to warn him to let her finish. "And if you lie to, manipulate or cheat on me again, I'll kill you, then bring you back to bash your head in."
"I'll hand you the bat." He tells her. Alisha gave a small snort and rolled her eyes.
"Of course you will." They sat there a moment quietly before he inched himself toward her, and wrapped his arm around her. When she rested her head on his shoulder, he finally let himself believe that he might be forgiven. It was the first time, he realizes, they've ever sat together as equals. The first time one of them didn't know more than the other. She's the one that finally breaks the silence.
"So, what happens now?"
He tracks down Rachel. He's a murderer several times over, but he's never actually wanted to kill someone until he sees her, walking home. But he knows he can't. They finally seem to have broken out of their time loop, and he's not chancing Rachel seeking revenge again.
He follows her home and waits until she's unlocked the door before he moves into the open and slides up behind her. He almost feels a twinge of guilt as he injects her with the sedative, until he remembers what she's capable of. He carries her to her room, and lays her on her bed, then leaves. He yanks out the phones out as he goes and turns off the electricity to the house so her alarm won't go off. It took some research, but he's been careful with the dosage. She should wake up about an hour after the storm ends.
She had heard the story a thousand times from her mother. Romeo and Juliet with less family feuds and more time-travel and superpowers. She used to agree with her that it was dead romantic. Then her best friend got her power, and she realized it wasn't just a story. It was her parents' friends. Two people stuck forever because they wouldn't let go of each other. She became a bit obsessed, really, but then, there's a reason they keep making movies about Romeo and Juliet isn't there? No one said anything, but she thinks that might be why she got the power she did. It's not like the original wave of powers. Most of them, the second generation, wake up one morning and along with all the other shit that goes with puberty they're suddenly shooting lighting out of their hands or something. Sometimes it's about who they are but it's usually something like their parents had. Even if their parents gave theirs away. That's another way they're different. So far, no one's been able to take their powers.
It's because they're different that she was able to do what she wanted. Otherwise, she wouldn't have been able to grab Mr. Masked Avenger. Her brother, who's the second smartest person she knows, tried to explain it with viruses and locks but the way she sees it is that their powers are just a bit off from what the storm gave people. Like how a different versions of the same book have passages at different page numbers. They don't fit the same way. So immunity from storm powers won't stop hers. At least, that was what she had guessed before she got the chance to actually try it. She should probably tell her parents that she pulled her friends into another timeline. She has a feeling that might count as "abusing her power" given that no one technically gave her permission. She's also pretty sure they're not going to mind.
AN2: In case you wanted to know:
Lamont Cranston is the alter ego of The Shadow, the hero of a number of 1930s and 40s Pulp Novel and a Radio show. His power was the ability to "cloud men's minds" effectively altering people perspectives so that they would perceive him as being invisible. While he had a number of convoluted origins in the novels and on the radio, the 1994 movie version of the character had a dark past which he was attempting to atone for through his action as The Shadow.
Booster Gold is a time-traveling superhero who, prior to the most recent reboot, was in charge of maintaining the integrity of the DC Universe's timeline. There, of course, a tragic aspect to his story in that not only does he sometimes have to allow people to die, but he repeatedly goes back in time to help out or protect past versions of his friends, but the one point in time he wants to change, the murder of his best friend Ted Kord, he can't. When he attempts to, it initiates what is more or less an apocalypse and Ted ends up stealing Booster's time-machine and sending himself back in time to be killed in order to set things right.