Summary: Takes place after the main action of the movie – later that night, before the fishing trip and before Bethany and Tom activate funky Ricky. Basically they just reflect on what happened and how it changed their relationships. Sort of hints at Tom/Bethany and Jake/Hannah but it a very light way.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Despite the brush with Armageddon, this had probably been the best day of Tom's entire life. "Life changing", just like he had said to his dad. Probably also the longest: dragging his sleepy butt out to the car at the crack of dawn that morning he had felt worthless and angry. Matters had only gotten worse when Ricky showed up at the rental house and throughout the day Tom had something like four confrontations with his dad. But none of that mattered anymore. The day was winding down, and everything had ended in the best possible way. Everything that had been troubling him that morning had been resolved: patching things up with his dad had been the final step, so Tom felt pretty good after their heart-to-heart. Fresh. Renewed. Strong.
Their parents would never believe them about the aliens, so the kids didn't even bother trying to explain why they had been misbehaving all day. None of the evidence that remained – the remote controller, the torn-up basement, the pulverized satellite, their testimony and that of Ricky and Nana, confused though it would have been – would convince anyone. But that was OK. The kids pretended like being left out of the fireworks had been a punishment and they accepted it. After they helped get the fishing gear ready and demonstrated some excitement about the next day's activity, all was well in the household.
All of the adults were asleep now. Ricky was long gone, to no one's disappointment, least of all Bethany's. Art, Lee, Jake, Tom, and Bethany had snuck out to the lake, even though they were exhausted, to talk and absorb the day's events. They were mostly silent, however, staring up into the sky. Going to sleep had seemed impossible. They were lying in a row on the grass at the water's edge. The gentle waves were soothing. Tom was worried he might fall asleep, but he wasn't quite ready to go back in. The moon was high now, and it was probably pushing midnight.
"What time is it?" Tom asked Jake, gesturing at his cousin's shiny watch.
"Nice, huh," Jake acknowledged, lifting his wrist. He pressed the glow button, and when it lit up, he informed all of them that it was 12:30.
"It's late," Bethany murmured. Cold and shivering, she had rolled over to Tom's side and had nestled up against him. Her eyes were closed; she was half asleep.
Jake had lifted his arms in an inquisitive shrug: he'd only ever seen the two of them at each other's throats. Tom shook his head and returned the gesture, just as puzzled.
They had only been out there for a few minutes when Hannah had wandered along, rubbing her eyes, her arms awkwardly empty without her sock monkey. She was the only one dressed for bed; she was clearly freezing in her pink nightgown.
"Han, what are you doing out here?" Jake demanded, though he sounded slightly more concerned than angry. "You could have gotten lost. It's dark and cold and late."
Tom was puzzled again, this time wondering where Jake's caretaker side had come from. These were usually the things that Tom would be saying. He felt a stab of anger that his role had been usurped, but then Bethany snuggled closer and he was grateful he didn't have to move. He tentatively wrapped his arm around her, and finding that she didn't resist, he used it to press her against him.
"We're gonna get caught," Jake sighed.
"I kept the secret about the aliens all day, didn't I?" Hannah pointed out, standing up for herself.
"She did," Art agreed. Lee nodded emphatically.
"How did you get out here?" Jake asked, taking the counsel of his brothers with a frown.
"I followed you," Hannah spat angrily. "Why didn't you bring me along?"
"We thought you were tired," Tom responded.
"I'm not," she asserted, but she belied her statement by yawning.
Jake couldn't help but laugh at her. "You should have stayed in bed."
"I don't want to be left out, just because I'm little."
"She's got a point," Lee said.
"Yeah, she's one of us," Art added.
Hannah walked towards them, headed for her brother and sister, but not feeling welcome by them she looked around, distressed.
Jake sat up. "I'm open," he said, by all appearances annoyed that he hadn't been her first choice.
She ran over to him eagerly and jumped into his lap. All of his reservations about her presence melted away and he enclosed her in his arms with a laugh. She leaned back against his chest, and, like her sister, sleepily closed her eyes.
"You can see so many stars out here," Lee commented. "It's like being in space."
Tom saw the night sky in a whole new light. He'd been battling aliens all day, but he still couldn't quite believe it. Intelligent life in the universe. Intelligent, and hostile. He just hoped that if they ever returned, it wouldn't be his problem. Hopefully Sparks would keep the Zirkonians away from Earth.
The thought of Sparks drove Tom to take a peek at his little sister. She had slipped down a little, and her head now rested in the crook of Jake's elbow. Sure enough she was thinking about her extraterrestrial friend: "I miss Snuggle Lump," she whispered intimately to Jake.
"I know, Han. Me too," Jake whispered back in a soothing voice.
"I'm surprised Uncle Nate went to bed so early," Tom remarked to Jake. "Though I don't suppose he would've stopped us."
"Yeah, Nate might act like a frat boy, but he's still got the body of an old man."
Frat boy. The thought made Tom look at Bethany. Her hair was really all that he could see, bunched up on his chest. If he put forth the effort, he could probably get into a better school than Michigan, but he didn't want to. He wanted to follow Bethany.
"Listen, man, I'm sorry I was such a tool earlier about the room, and about your potato gun. I'm sorry I called you a geek. You are one, but you shouldn't feel bad about it," Jake apologized.
Tom shook his head. "Don't worry about it."
"No, really. We made a good team today and we couldn't have won without you. I was an ass."
"You were right, about taking action. I needed you to push me. So, it's all good. And keep the room."
"I was planning on it."
Tom laughed. He didn't mind taking the other bedroom: it was closer to Bethany's bedroom anyway. He didn't know why he wanted that, but all of the sudden he did. Or maybe he did know.
He felt a need in him building, a need to be close to her. Maybe he just felt protective, after what had happened that day. His family had been in danger, and now he didn't want them out of his sights. That was it.
"She's asleep," Jake said, a few minutes later.
"Yeah," Tom responded, feeling the weight of Bethany on his chest. But Jake had been referring to Hannah. "We should probably go back. It's late. At least your dad got our fishing time pushed a little later."
Jake smiled. "He's good for some things."
Art and Lee rose, more than ready to go to bed.
Tom propped himself up on his arms, rising slowly until he was sitting. He shook Bethany lightly, brushing her hair out of her face. He whispered her name.
Beside them, Jake had stood up, holding Hannah the entire time in a fireman's carry. She stirred, but remained asleep.
Bethany woke quickly, immediately lucid. She pulled away from her brother in a sudden movement, perhaps ashamed that she had fallen asleep.
"We're heading back," Tom informed her. He looked over at Jake. "I'll carry her."
"I can do it," Jake responded, either defensive or possessive.
They walked back to the house in a sort of huddle, but filtered in single file as to be quieter. Jake deposited Hannah in her bed, tucking the covers in around her, and even slipping a teddy bear into her arms.
Bethany stood in her bedroom door way, and Tom stopped in front of her instead of taking the last few steps to his own room. She smiled at him in a tired way. He smiled back.
The interaction was uneasy.
"I'm still scared," she confessed. "I'm more scared than Hannah."
"Hannah got to pretend. You didn't get to do that," Tom comforted. "But you don't need to be scared anymore. It's over. The aliens are gone. All they wanted here was that machine, and it's dust."
She nodded, inhaling, trying to allow herself to be comforted. "There wasn't time to be afraid while it was happening. It was all adrenaline and action. But now…We could have died. Hannah, you. Mom and Dad. We could have died." She licked her lips nervously, and then shook her head. "You were great today."
He shrugged modestly. "So were you."
She shook her head sadly. "I don't think I was great today. In fact, today was pretty much one humiliation after another."
"You can't think about it like that. You stood up to Ricky, because he didn't respect us and he didn't respect you. Even though you still liked him. You were strong."
"Well, I don't like him anymore. I mean, he's still good looking. And he has a great car. And rock-hard abs, and-"
"I get the picture," Tom interrupted.
"But none of that matters to me anymore. Because I saw who he was inside. And you were right, all along. He was fake."
"And too old for you."
She nodded with a sad smile. "Yeah. He was."
"But you were too mature for him," Tom added. Bethany laughed.
"Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
He nodded. "Yeah."
It was awkward again.
Tom broke their eye contact and went forward to his room.
Fishing was fun. A lot more fun that he remembered. And it was great being with his family. They were all getting along better than they ever had before. Tom was glad that he could please his parents after all of the stress he had recently handed to them. He was done with all of that. His brief stint as a bad kid, also known as his failed attempt to be cool, was over. But maybe he was cool now. Jake, tough and cool naturally, now felt like his best friend. And Bethany, beautiful and popular and capable of attracting a guy like Ricky, now felt like…his other best friend. He had earned their respect.
Bethany was on the other boat. She smiled at him shyly and held up a fish she had caught. He clapped for her.
Hannah seemed eager to impress Jake. She wasn't fishing very well, but she managed to keep his attention. He helped her most of the time instead of holding his own line.
They ate fish for dinner. The twins had done most of the catching. Apparently whatever fishing game they had for Wii did a pretty good simulation.