Happy Birthday
By Wickedclowns101




Authors Notes - Add another fic to my collection of Rachel/Jake ficcies. No real romance, but it can be interpreted. As can a little bit of Jake/Tobias. This fic takes place in three different time periods, so don't get confused. Read on!


*1990*
(Approximate ages - Jake, 5. Rachel, 5. Cassie, 4)





I stood up in the back seat of the van, trying to see over the top of my mom's seat.
"Jake, put your seat belt on!" Mom yelled.
"It is on." I said, and pointed to the belt, which was wrapped around my ankles. Two strong arms wrapped around my shoulders, and pushed me down to the seat. "Sit down, squirt." Tom said, and picked up his basket ball from the ground.
"Are we there yet?" I complained, and crossed my arms over my chest.
"Yep." My dad said, stopping the car.
"Yay!" I yanked off my seat belt, and opened the door. I ran up the sidewalk, and knocked on the front door. It opened swiftly.
"Hi Jakey!" It was my Aunt Naomi. She picked me up, and hugged me.
"Hi Aunt Nai-nai... Where's Rachel?" I asked cheerfully.
"She's upstairs, waiting for Cassie and Melissa. And you, of course." Aunt Naomi said. I wiggled out of her arms, and ran upstairs. It was hard work to climb all those stairs, and there was a long hall way at the end. I walked down the hall way slowly, and peeked inside each doorway, looking for Rachel. At the third door from the stairway, I found her, standing on her bed, looking in the mirror.
"Rachel!" I said, as I walked into her room. She spun around, and smiled.
"Jake!" She jumped off of the bed, and hugged me. I hugged her back. "New dress?" I guessed. She looked down at the red, sparkly dress she was wearing.
"Uh huh. Mommy bought it for me for my birthday today." Rachel said.
"Want to go play?" I asked. She nodded, smiling brightly. I took her hand, and ran downstairs with her.
"Ah, to be young," My Uncle Dan said as we ran outside. Another girl was walking up the driveway with an older man.
"Hi Cassie!" Rachel said. I waved to her.
"Hi Rachel. Hi Jake." Cassie said.
"Want to play with us?" Rachel asked. Cassie looked up at the man holding her hand.
"Can I, daddy?" she asked.
"Of course, Cassie." the man, her father, said. He let go of her hand.
"What are we going to play?" Rachel asked. I grinned, and touched her shoulder softly.
"You're it!" I said, and started running away. Rachel growled. "You come back here!" She screamed, and started chasing me. "You'll never catch me!" I said, dodging behind a tree.


***




"I'll get you!" I yelled, and started chasing Cassie. She giggled, and started running, but I was faster. I caught up with her quickly, and jumped on her, knocking her over. Rachel came up behind us and jumped on top, sandwiching me in the middle. We started laughing.
"Jake! Cassie! Rachel! It's been an hour! Come back inside, it's time to open presents!" My dad called from the doorway to Rachel's house. We stopped laughing, and helped each other up. We started to walk inside.
"Stop right there!" It was my mom. "I want a picture of you and Rachel, Jake." she said. Rachel and I turned around, staring into the camera.
"Like this?" Rachel asked.
"Closer together." My mom instructed. I wrapped my arm around Rachel's shoulder, and she leaned her head on my shoulder. We both smiled.
"How precious," my mom said, and snapped the picture.
"Now can we go open my presents?" Rachel asked.


*2000*
(Approximate ages - Everyone, 15. Ax, unknown)




"Where is she?" Marco asked annoyingly, leaning against one of the couches inside of Ax's scoop.
"Chill, Marco. She'll be here." I insisted. I eyed the four packages that sat on the couch on the opposite end from Marco. It was Rachel's birthday. Cassie and I had arranged for everyone to meet here. Rachel thought she was on her way for an emergency meeting.
There she is, > Tobias said. He was perched in a tree almost directly above the scoop. His excellent hawk eyes never missed a thing. Rachel fluttered to a landing a few yards away from the scoop, and demorphed.
"What are the Yeerks up to now?" She asked eagerly.
"Nothing we know of." I said. Rachel looked confused.
"Then what..." She asked. Marco laid his head on her shoulder.
"Tis a noble day, when fifteen years ago, this heavenly angel of the light side was birthed," He said in a british accent.
"My..." Rachel stuttered.
Happy birthday, Rach. > Tobias said. Cassie emerged from the scoop carrying the small cake she'd made, and I gathered up the gifts.
"You guys didn't have to do this," She said. Cassie set down the cake, and placed her hands on Rachel's shoulders.
"We know, Rachel. We wanted to." Cassie said.
"Should I open the presents first?" Rachel asked.
"It's your day, go ahead." I said. Marco picked up a box, and handed it to her. She shook it gently, listening for a booby trap.
"Oh come on, Rachel. I'm insulted." Marco said, and faked a faint.
"Sounds like clothes." She commented, and tore off the wrapping paper. She tried to open the box, but found that it was taped at the bottom. She ended up breaking a nail trying to get the tape off.
"You're paying for this, buster." Rachel said, growling at Marco.
"Geez, didn't know a piece of acrylic covering your nail was so important." Marco said, as Rachel lifted off the top of the box, and stared down at its contents.
"A leather skirt and top?" She asked questioningly. Marco nodded solemnly.
"Authentic Xena wear." he said. Rachel rolled her eyes.
"You are such an idiot... but thank you anyway." She said, and put the box down on the ground next to her. She reached back over to the pile, and picked up a small square box.
"From... Ax?" she asked, looking at the Andalite. Ax scuffed his right front hoof against the dirt, and raised one stalk eye to look at her. It was almost cute. He was embarrassed.
I did not know what a human teenage female would like for a gift, so I had Cassie help me. > he said. Rachel opened the box, to reveal two small tear drop shaped platinum earrings.
"Aww, thank you Ax!" Rachel said, and hugged Ax lightly. He seemed surprised, but then hugged her back.
You are very welcome, Rachel. > He said. Rachel took out the earrings, and put them on. "How do I look?" She asked. I decided to try a joke.
"Smashing, baby!" I said in an Austin Powers voice. Everyone laughed, save for Ax, who had no idea who Austin Powers was. She dropped the box inside of the bigger box that held Marco's present, and picked up the big box that Cassie had gotten her. She tore off the paper, and looked inside, at what appeared to be a pair of boots.
"How did you know I wanted these?" Rachel asked.
"Please, Rachel. I can read you like a book. A book that screams 'Kitaki Boots! Kitaki Boots!" Cassie said. Rachel giggled.
"Thanks, Cassie." Rachel said, and picked up the last present, which was a long narrow box. She opened it, and pulled out a golden chain, with a small locket on the end. She opened the locket, and found a picture of the human Tobias staring back at her. She looked up at Tobias. "Thank you, Tobias." She said lovingly. I swear, I saw him smile. In his hawk form. One by one, six pairs of eyes turned to stare at me.
"My present is kind of a family thing." I said.
"Come on, Jake. We're all like family here." Cassie insisted.
"All right then." I reached into my jacket pocket, and pulled out a small, thin picture frame. I handed it to her. "Happy birthday, Rachel." I said. She took the frame, and looked at it. "I was looking through my mother's picture album, and found this. I thought you might want a copy." I said.
"Isn't this the picture your mom took of us on my fifth birthday?" Rachel asked. I nodded, and looked at the picture again. My arm was wrapped around her, and her head was on my shoulder. we both smiled brightly.
"We were so young. So..." I started.
"Naive?" Rachel finished.
"Will we ever get those days back?" I asked. Rachel took my hand in hers.
"After we win, Jake." She said. I squeezed her hand and smiled. "Happy Birthday," I said.
"Thank you for making today so special. I love you, Jake." She said. That took me by surprise. Rachel isn't an 'I love you' person.
"I love you too, Rachel. I always will." I said.


*2010*
(Approximate ages - Jake, Cassie, Marco, 25. Ax, Tobias, unknown)




I parked my Viper outside the cemetery, much like I did every night. But tonight was special. I pulled out the boquet of roses and the small package from the passenger seat.
"Evening, Mr. Berenson." Stan, the night watchman, said. I shook his hand.
"And to yourself, Stan." I said as he opened the gate for me. I walked from the main entrance, and up the narrow walkway, passing by the other monuments for the rich and famous. Bob Hope, Gerald Ford, even Ozzy Osbourne. How ironic, to think that the largest monument here, belonged to a normal girl.
Rachel's monument was easily three times as big as any other in the cemetery. Hell, it was like a temple. A walk in memorial. "She wouldn't like this," I muttered to no one. It was true. She'd want a simple memorial. They made her into a God.
At the center of the memorial, there was a statue of her. Enlarged of course, it stood nearly thirteen feet tall, and was carved out of solid marble. I pressed a hand against one of the arms of the statue. "Rachel..." I whispered. I sat down on a bench inside the shaded region next to the statue, and looked up at it.
My pretty, smart, confident cousin, I thought about the sixteen years we'd spent together. The good times, and the bad. I thought about that last moment of her life. It had ended at my hand.
Even now, I'd retrace that entire situation back, and figure out imaginary solutions about how she could have survived. I thought about what would have happened if I'd have gone in her place.
I chuckled to myself lightly. If our roles were reversed, Rachel wouldn't still be mourning. She would have moved on long ago. I could almost hear her voice.
"Come on, Jake. What are you doing here? What's done is done. You can't change the past." She would say.
"I know, Rachel. I should be out living it up like Marco. I should be out trying to make a difference like Cassie... I just can't." I couldn't believe it. I had tears in my eyes, from arguing with the imaginary ghost of my dead cousin.
"Why not?" she would say.
"Because I'm responsible! It was my fault that you died! My call, to flush all those Yeerks. My call, to have you kill Tom. I should have been on the blade ship, not you." I sobbed.
"Stop it." She'd say. "Quit blubbering. You know as well as I do, that I was the only choice." I wiped my eyes.
"Talking to someone?" A vaguely familiar voice said. I turned around, and saw him. He was just as I remembered him. The shaggy blond hair, the dreamy blue eyes...
"Tobias..." I said in astonishment. I hadn't seen or spoken to Tobias in ten years.
"Jake." He said with a nod, and sat down next to me. He placed a hand on my shoulder, then stared at the statue. "She was something, wasn't she?" he said finally.
"Something else," I agreed. Tobias turned to me.
"Jake, I'm sorry for the way I acted, back then," He said.
"It's okay." I said, not taking my eyes off the statue.
"No Jake... Pushing you away was the worst thing I could have done." Tobias said. He leaned over and hugged me. I hugged him back. We sat there for a few minutes, before I got up, and placed the boquet of roses at the base of her statue. I started singing. Tobias joined in at the third or fourth line.
"Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday dear Rachel... happy birthday to you..." We sang softly.
"Happy birthday to you," Both of our heads snapped toward the entrance. It was Marco.
"Happy birthday to you," Cassie chimed in from the adjacent entrance.
Happy birthday, Princess Rachel. > Ax, of course.
" Happy birthday to you. >" We all sang together.
"You guys are awesome." I said.
"What, you think we'd forget Xena's B-day? Oh, look who's here. What's shaking, Bird-boy?" Marco asked. Tobias just laughed.
It is nice to be reacquainted with all of you. Especially you, Prince Jake. > Ax said.
"Don't call me 'Prince'." I said reflexively. Everyone laughed. They all sat down, except Ax, of course.
"Ah, the harshness of reality..." Cassie said after a long silence.
"When exactly did we stop being children?" Marco asked.
"When we decided to take a shortcut home from the mall." I said. Everyone sighed at the memory of Elfangor.
"Hey guys," Tobias said. We all turned to stare at him. "You wanna go get some ice cream, or something?" He asked. I smiled.
"Sounds great." I said.
"Who rides with who?" Marco asked.
"I'll ride with Jake." Cassie said instantly. Tobias and Ax took the hint.
"I got shot gun!" Tobias said, running toward Marco's jeep. Ax was morphing to human as fast as he could.
"What is shot gun?" He asked once he had a mouth. Marco rolled his eyes.
"Nothing, Ax-man. Let's go." He said, and then turned back to Cassie and I. "You two love birds better not kjeep us waiting." Marco said, and headed to his jeep, with Ax trailing behind him. I blushed furiously.
"So," I asked. "How are things?"
"Great, actually. I'm getting married in December." She said. Another dagger in the heart.
"You are? That's great!" I exclaimed.
"Thank you, Jake. You know that your opinion means a lot to me. I'll never forget what we had." Cassie said.
"Neither will I. But you moved on. I'll treasure those years forever, but you've moved on. I'm proud of you." I said. Cassie smiled, and hugged me. I hugged her back.
"We should get going." Cassie said.
"Yeah, i'll be right there." I said. Cassie nodded, and walked out to my car. I walked back to Rachel's statue, and took the two pictures out of my pocket. One was the picture of Rachel and I on her fifth birthday. The other, was of All of us on her fifteenth birthday. I placed them next to the roses, and wiped another tear from my eye.
"I love you, Rachel." I said, and walked back out to my car, where Cassie was waiting.


-FIN