Notes: And, it's complete! Many, many thanks to everyone who read and reviewed. I'll be taking a little victory break next week, after which Part Three of the trilogy will begin! Also, due to FFN's rules, I've left out the snippets of lyrics in this version of the chapter; if you want the version with the lyrics, please read the version on tumblr or on the Monkeesfics LJ comm.
Micky and Peter could only stare as Zero finished speaking to younger Peter, apparently giving him directions to somewhere. He walked away, disappearing in a cloud of smoke. Young Peter now turned around, heading away from the spot where he was supposed to be colliding with Micky.
"No…" present-day Peter whispered. "No… we have to stop him—stop me! If he keeps going… I'll never meet you!"
"Desperate times call desperate measures," Micky said. He cupped his hands to his mouth in order to project his voice as far as he could. "HEY, PETE!"
Present-day Peter jumped a mile, and younger Peter stopped in his tracks, looking baffled at the fact that someone had been calling for him. He turned around, beginning to go back again in the right direction.
Young Micky, on the other hand, had been utterly baffled by what sounded like his own voice. He broke into a run…
…Colliding with young Peter.
"You did it!" present-day Peter said. "You actually did it!"
"How about that?" present-day Micky grinned. "My big mouth was finally good for something!"
He blinked as the summer breeze blew an old page by them. Peter grabbed at the fluttering page and grinned, as well.
"Our page from the Book of Ages. Three more pages to go…"
He trailed off as the Vortex manipulator started fritzing out a second time.
"Here we go again," the brunet sighed, holding on to Peter's arm as they vanished once again.
A few yards away, their younger counterparts looked in that direction on account of the sudden sound. Seeing nothing, they looked back at each other and shrugged, and headed off together.
Back in the bus depot, Mike and Davy could only stare in horror as younger Davy accepted the taxi voucher from Zero.
"What do we do!?" present-day Davy exclaimed, tugging on Mike's arm.
The Texan gritted his teeth, knowing what he had to do.
"You wait here, Tiny," he said. "Oh, and uh… sorry in advance."
"…Sorry for what!?" Davy demanded, as Mike slipped into the crowd. "Mike, what do you think you're doing!?"
Obscured by the crowd, Zero vanished, his work completed. Young Davy began to lug his luggage cart off towards the taxi stand.
Present-day Davy decided that he couldn't wait for Mike; he would have to risk whatever paradoxes ensued from talking to his past self, because he knew that the alternative of a life where he never met Mike was unbearable.
He opened his mouth, but then trailed off; Mike had slipped through the crowd and ahead of young Davy, who had been slowed down by the cart. Timing it perfectly, Mike stuck his foot out, resulting in young Davy hitting his shin on the Texan's boot. Young Davy yelped, tripping and falling flat on his face. The taxi voucher fell from his hand and, before the boy could look up, Mike snatched it from the floor and disappeared back into the crowd.
Young Davy's luggage cart continued to roll forward, resulting in a domino effect that caused several others to trip over him and the cart until he could get up and get it under control again.
Upset by the crowd, papers started fluttering through the air, and present-day Davy managed to grab a page from the Book of Ages as it passed him. He looked up in time to see Mike return, tearing up the taxi voucher.
"And the rest, as they say," he said. "Is history."
He looked towards the information counter, where a very sullen-looking young Davy had resigned himself to going back to now that he had lost his taxi voucher. As he waited in line, young Mike, finally having found the flier, entered the depot and headed over to the bulletin board to post it.
"And I think that's our cue to leave and let things take their course," present-day Mike said. "Maybe now the Eldy will let us go home."
"I wouldn't count on that," Davy sighed, and then he stopped in his tracks.
"What is it?"
"…You just tripped me in the shin back there!" he said. "That hurt!"
"You're still here by my side, ain't ya?"
"Case closed. Let's go."
The two managed to slip outside unseen, though they glanced back in time to see Mike coming over to the information booth to stop the man there from scamming Davy, knowing that things would be alright.
The Eldy admitted them entrance after Mike waved the page in front of her doors. But the moment they were inside, she was whisking them off again.
"Look, is it too much to ask that you get us together with Micky and Peter before you start hauling us off to parts unknown?" the Texan drawled.
She responded by tipping Mike and Davy outside again, locking the doors behind them. They seemed to be backstage in an old theatre. Before the two could protest, however, Micky and Peter suddenly appeared in a flash of Vortex Manipulator, looking as stunned as Mike and Davy were.
They began to talk over each other at once, explaining their stories. Mike then whistled for them to be quiet.
"Fellas," he said. "Do you realize something here? Zero did his best to stop you two from meeting, just like he did with me and Davy. We managed to stop him, but he didn't offer any resistance. Why?"
"Maybe he didn't think we could do it?" Micky asked.
"No," Mike said. "You know how obsessed Zero is with us. He wouldn't leave anything to chance like that. He let us fix those moments and get the pages back just to get us to build up our confidence."
"Why?" Davy asked.
"Because there's still one more chance for him to mess things up for us and make it so that the four of us don't ever get together. Separating all of us would've been ideal for him—but all he needed was to keep me from meeting Peter, so that I couldn't defend him at his trial. And when did I meet you, Shotgun?"
"At that talent show—back when you and Davy were Lone Star and Union Jack, and Micky and I were the California Dreamer and the Connecticut Yankee."
"And did you take a look around at where the four of us are standing?"
"It's the Great Oak Theatre," Davy realized, his eyes widening.
"Exactly," Mike said. "And I'll bet you anything that we were sent back in time to the night of the talent show."
"So, Zero's going to try to sabotage tonight, like he did when he tried to stop us from meeting and making our duo acts," Peter said.
"And we're going to have to stop him," Micky said. "But what are we supposed to do? Where do we go?"
Mike looked at the clock on the wall.
"It's about a quarter to eight—we went onstage exactly at eight."
"But that doesn't make sense," Davy said. "We've already met by this point; we just got the jade monkey statue and we're probably running around right now, trying to keep it out of the hands of those thieves."
"Maybe it's not the meeting," Micky said. "Maybe it's something else…"
Mike snapped his fingers.
"He doesn't need to stop us from meeting. He needs to stop us from coming together and forming the Monkees—which we did on that stage, at exactly 8:00."
Peter suddenly let out a gasp.
"What!?" Micky asked,
"That's it!" he exclaimed. "That's it! All of those pages from the Book of Ages—the pages that mentioned us—they were all leading us to this moment. Look!"
He held out the page that he had picked up in Ventura. Davy also held his recovered page out.
"Look, there it is again, on these two pages—'The sky will come full circle when the extraordinary is believed.' It's talking about 'Circle Sky'—about us, singing it here! This moment had to happen—us meeting and becoming the Monkees—in order for all the other moments to happen, too!"
"Because none of them could've happened if we never became the Monkees," Micky murmured. "Peter and I would've moved on because we wouldn't have all been hired for that summer gig at the Vinnie Van Gough-Gough…"
"…And Mike wouldn't be there to defend me at my trial!" Peter finished, looking horrified.
Before Mike could reply, a fifth voice responded.
"Exactly, Mr. Tork," Zero sneered at them. "This is where it ends—right where it began."
The quartet turned to see Zero standing a few feet away. He raised his hands, and the four were sent flying, pinned to the back wall by an invisible force.
"So, you figured it out," he scowled. "I suspected you would. But it doesn't matter now. Things are going to change here."
"You've only got us hanging here," Micky said, glaring right back at him. "How is this gonna stop our past selves from singing?"
"That is easy enough," Zero smirked. "You're the one who came up with the lyrics on the spur of the moment. All I have to do is stop you from getting the inspiration. And I know just how to do that."
"You can't kill a musician's inspiration," Mike scoffed. "Remember what I said at the trial?"
"Ah, but there is one way," Zero smirked. "Right now, the four of you are split up, trying to find each other as you're playing keep-away with that jade figurine. Those crooks are after you all—more than enough of a situation to worry your fool head over your little English friend, isn't it?"
"I'd already gotten out of the ductwork by this point in time," Davy said, glancing at the clock on the wall. "He has no reason to worry about me now."
"Then I'll just have to give him one, won't I?" Zero sneered.
A bolt of energy shot out from his hand, striking Davy; involuntarily, he cried out in pain as the others called out to him. But soon, another voice was heard—that of a younger Mike, hearing the cry and thinking that it was his Davy.
Present-day Davy now gritted his teeth as he realized what was happening; he bit back another cry of pain, but Zero looked triumphant.
"It is done," he said. "One cry from you is all it will take—he will be distracted with worry over you for the next ten minutes. He won get a chance to play onstage, let alone get the inspiration for that song."
He looked to present-day Mike now, his eyes flaring with malice as young Mike continued to call for Davy.
"Do you see, Nesmith?" he gloated. "Your greatest strength—your so-called power of love—is what will prove to be your undoing! All I need are these ten minutes!"
He strengthened the energy bolt at Davy; the English boy cringed, but refused to cry out. Still, it seemed fruitless; young Mike was frantically calling for him.
"This is it, then…" Peter said, softly. "After everything we did… everything we accomplished… this is how it ends—with all of it undone…"
"We lost," Micky said, defeat evident in his voice.
"That's right," Zero said, smirking. "It won't be long now, Boys!"
"I'm… sorry…" Davy said, through gritted teeth. "Mike…"
"Don't you ever blame yourself," Mike said, trying to talk through the lump in his throat. "Just… just keep believing, y'all. No matter what happens now—wherever we end up… we'll be okay. I know we will. Maybe we'll meet up again—start up some other way. Maybe… just maybe… we've still got a chance…"
"Five minutes left…" Zero snarled.
Already, they boys' bodies were beginning to fade away; a new timeline was forming as young Mike continued to call for Davy, nowhere near the stage where he was supposed to be heading to.
Present-day Davy held back a sob.
"It's alright, Tiny; it's gonna be alright. You and I will still be together; we'll make it work somehow," Mike said. "Mick… Pete… you two do your very best to find us again, y'hear?"
"Of course we will," Peter promised, through his own tears.
"Hey, Fellas?" he asked, glancing at his fading form. "While we're still the Monkees… for these last five minutes, anyway… how about one last number?"
"Really?" Zero asked, rolling his eyes.
"You got it, Mick," Mike said, ignoring Zero. "Let's go out the same way we came in—'Circle Sky.'"
He began to sing, the others backing him. Even Davy managed it, despite his condition.
Within earshot, young Mike froze, the song coming from… somewhere, sounding like his own voice, as well as others', singing words that made no sense, yet felt… right.
The young Texan turned around to see Davy—his Davy—standing there, relieved.
"There you are! I thought they'd gotten you!" the young English boy exclaimed. "Come on; we're in trouble—the judges want the two of us or Micky and Peter to go on first! How do we do that without two of us ending up caught?!"
Young Mike thought for a moment as young Micky and Peter now joined them, silently asking for his advice. He could still just barely hear the song.
"We'll go on together," he said. "One act." He paused, trying to figure out how and why he could hear his own voice singing a song not too far away. "And I know just what we're singing."
He ushered the others away, towards the stage, a song now in his heart.
And as he did so, the four, fading present-day Monkees slowly began to get their physical forms back.
"What is this…!?" Zero hissed, as they continued to sing, now out of defiance rather than a last hurrah. "It can't be…"
Their song ended, but he could hear it still playing—from the stage, played by the younger Monkees, fulfilling their original timeline.
"No… NO!" Zero fumed. His spell began to falter, and the Monkees came loose from the wall.
"Awww, yeah!" Micky countered. "Power of love, Baby!"
Mike took a step forward now, placing himself between Zero and his bandmates as the concurrent page from the Book of Ages fluttered from the flies above and into his hand.
"Get out of here," he ordered, quietly. "Not even you can change the past. Our past is ours."
"Congratulations on winning another round, Nesmith. The past may be yours, but the future can still be mine!" Zero warned.
The Texan's eyes narrowed.
"You just bring it on."
"Once I find the proper way of going about it, rest assured, I will," he vowed.
Without another word, he vanished in a cloud of smoke. Mike exhaled, having acted a lot more confident than he really had been.
He drew his bandmates into a hug.
"You okay there, Tiny?" he asked, concerned.
"I am now," Davy promised. "We all are."
Still hugging onto each other, the quartet—grateful to still be a quartet after that narrow escape—returned to the El Dorado. As the time machine took off again, Peter began restoring the pages into the Book of Ages.
"There's only one page left," he said. "But… it's nowhere in the past. I think… I think it fell somewhere into the future!"
Mike looked at the console as they landed.
"Well, according to the Eldy, it's not our problem now."
"What?" Davy asked, stunned.
"I know. I can't believe it, either. But look—we're in our time, just some hours after we left, to make up for however much time we spent having all of those adventures in the past!"
"Home!" Micky exclaimed. "We're really home!?"
He scrambled outside, exclaiming in joy to see their beach—and their Pad.
"It would appear you are," Professor Song's voice said.
The others quickly filed outside to see the professor standing there, her arms folded as she waited for them.
Peter ran over to her, holding out the Book of Ages.
"It's all in there, except for one page," he said.
"One page from the future, I assume?" she said, taking it from him. "I expected as much. It's still flying around in the Time Vortex somewhere; until it comes to rest, there won't be any chasing after it—neither by you or by Zero." She smiled. "But don't worry about that right now; you've done wonderful work—all of you."
She looked to Mike.
"And you led the way as I knew you would."
"You knew more than I did," Mike said. "About this, and a lot of other things, too. I'll bet there's more that you know."
"Yes," she said. "But I can't tell you."
"Figured as much," Mike sighed.
Anything else he had been about to say was preempted by the sound of the Eldy taking off again—without them, leaving behind their luggage and instruments—including Micky's new Moog synthesizer.
"Hey!" Micky yelped. "Where's she going!?"
"Back where she belongs," the professor said. "Don't forget, she doesn't belong to you."
"Yeah, but if Zero is going to mess around with the future, what do we do?" Davy asked. "We never did get the Harp of Ages from him; what if we need to chase him through time again?"
"Oh, you'll see the TARDIS again," the professor promised. "Trust me on this—you don't find her. She finds you when you need her most."
"And the fella who owns her, who left that message for us…" Mike said. "She's going back to him now, isn't she? Who was that guy?"
"My husband," the professor said. "And if it makes you feel any better, there are things I don't tell him, either."
"So he's the one who left the key and box of hats in the well back in Texas?" Mike asked. "Why?"
"Oh, it's a long story—one for another time," she said, holding her hand out to Micky.
"Huh? Oh…" He handed her the Vortex Manipulator, and Davy and Mike followed suit with the Ocarina and the Sonic Screwdriver.
"Thank you all," she said, handing them a small moneybag. "That is for you—payment for services rendered."
"Oh, well…" the Texan said. "We were just in it to help secure our timeline; I wouldn't feel right, taking money from you."
"I know, but I think you'll be needing it more than you realize," the professor said. "Your landlord's been around, looking for you."
"…Oh, merciful heavens…"
"Exactly," she said. "Well, I must be off; you know where to find me."
With a smile and a wave, she pushed a button on the manipulator, and vanished.
"Well," Peter sighed. "Here we are, back home from adventures that no one will ever believe."
"We did get a Moog out of it, though," Micky said, running a hand over his new prized possession.
"And, most of all, we're still together," Mike finished.
"For how long, though?" Davy asked. He was looking out at the Pacific Ocean, as he usually did when he was upset. "You heard Zero—this time, it's going to be an all-out war against us."
Mike placed a hand on his shoulder.
"So, let him declare war," he said. "We've got all that we need—even if it was no more than we had before."
Davy did manage a smile at this.
"We going to go on the run like we originally planned?" he asked. "I bet we could get far enough away this time."
Mike sighed, looking at their instruments and luggage.
"If Zero could pop in and out of the Eldy the way he did, it doesn't matter where we go," he said. "And besides, we've got the home advantage here; that has to count for something. We're staying here."
He looked to his bandmates, who nodded in agreement. There would be a fight in their future, for their future. For the moment, however, life would soon return to normal at 1334 Beechwood.
And that was something they would certainly enjoy while it lasted.