Stolen Heart

Jessie growled as Jonny hit another bump.

"Sorry," he said not slowing the jeep down as they continued on.

"There wasn't maybe another, less bumpy way we could have taken perhaps?"  Jessie asked her voice portraying her obvious displeasure at their less than smooth traveling situation.

"Nope," Jonny returned, eyes glued to the road.

Jessie groaned.

"Hey, lighten up," a patent Jonny Quest grin appeared.  "Trust me."

"You know every time you say that we end up in some form of trouble," Jessie stated a deep frown creasing her face.

Jonny's smile faded.  "And what makes you say that?" he asked.

"Oh, maybe because it's the truth," Jessie retorted.

Jonny sighed.  "You're pretty irate tonight Jess.  Mind telling me why?"

Jessie closed her eyes and didn't answer.  She curled up in a ball in the passenger seat of the jeep, her feet propped on the edge of the seat, her arms hugging her legs, and her forehead resting on her knees.  She didn't want to talk about why she was in the mood she was in.  She didn't even want to think about it.  But now that Jonny had asked her why she couldn't help herself.

The whole Quest clan was visiting Estella in South America; Ecuador to be exact.  Today was Jessie's birthday.  She and both her parents had spent the day together in a nearby town…big mistake.  Jessie hadn't had a worse birthday in her life.  The majority of the day was spent listening to her parents fight.  Now, that wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't been fighting about her.

It had all started right after lunch.  Jessie had stopped a tourist from being mugged and while Race had been proud of her Estella had been furious.  She was mad that her daughter would put herself in danger.  And of course she was going to blame her ex-husband.

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Jessie dusted her hands off as she returned to her parents after having dealt with the mugger.  It had been an easy task; she hadn't even broken a sweat.  As she neared her father and mother she saw her father was smiling, but her mother wasn't.  In fact, she was frowning at both herself and her father.

"Good job Jess," her father complimented clapping her on the shoulder.

"Good job?"  Estella fumed a look of incredulousness crossing her already angry face.  "She could have gotten hurt!"

"Mom, it was nothing I couldn't handle.  Besides, I couldn't just stand by and let it happen," Jessie defended herself.

"Why not?"  Estella demanded.

"Ever heard of a Good Samaritan?"  Race cut in quite sarcastically.  "Lighten up Stella."

"First off, don't call me "Stella."  And second, this is your entire fault.  If you hadn't taught my daughter to fight-"

"Our daughter, " Race stressed through clenched teeth cutting the archaeologist off.  "And I taught our daughter to fight so that she could protect herself and not end up some mad man's helpless victim."

"Does that include protecting others?  And she wouldn't have mad men chasing after her if she were living with me and not her irresponsible father…"

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And that's the way her entire day had been spent, listening to her parents fight, quibble, bicker, and argue.  And it didn't help that usually when her mother spoke to her it was in Portuguese since her father also knew Spanish.  Jessie had of course replied in English, knowing it would aggravate her mother to no end.  And her father wasn't much help either always ready with a witty remark to shoot back at her mother instead of just letting things pass.

They were supposed to have gone to dinner that night as well, but Jessie had decided otherwise.  She couldn't handle her parents together anymore.  They'd argue about whether or not Jessie should be able to have a glass of wine with her dinner, or if she should be able to order anything she wanted or be prudent and keep her order under a certain price.

"I'm still waiting," Jonny sang as he hit another jarring bump.

This one shook Jessie loose from the ball she had coiled herself into.

The red head sighed.  "Come on Jonny.  I thought even you would be smart enough to figure that out."  A dark eyebrow shot up from the driver's seat and Jessie sighed again, this time at the blonde's ignorance.  "Let me give you a few hints then.  I was out all day with both my parents at the same time."

Jonny winced in sympathy.  "I see," was all he said.

"No you don't," she replied sitting the rest of the way up.  "You have no idea what it's like.  They aren't your parents and they aren't fighting about you.  You may get uncomfortable if you're around when they're fighting, but it just isn't the same," Jessie could hear her voice go all cold and tight, but she couldn't help it.

Luckily, Jonny could tell that she wasn't trying to be insulting toward him personally.  She was just too upset to control herself.  He knew from experience she just needed to release some of her frustration and stress, but instead of continuing she lapsed back into silence.  Jonny frowned as he slowed the vehicle to a stop, pulled the keys from the ignition, and stuffed them in his pocket as he exited the jeep.  He then made his way to the back where he had stowed a couple of blankets in case the night got too cold.

When he looked up he saw Jessie was still fuming in the passenger's seat of the jeep.  He took a deep breath, exhaled it, then made his way to her.

"Come on," he said, "we're here."

Jessie looked up at him, then reluctantly stood.  She looked around as she began to walk along side Jonny. They were pretty high up, and the clearing they were in was surrounded totally by the jungle.

"Where are we and why?"  Jessie asked.

She felt Jonny's arm go around her waist.  "Don't tell me you forgot all about the meteor shower?" he whispered right in her ear, his breath tickling it.

Jessie's eyes widened immediately and a smile had replaced her frown in the little time it took her to spin around and look at Jonny.  His eyes were sparkling as she knew her own were, and he wore that lopsided grin of his.

"I can't believe you remembered," she exclaimed as he turned and spread one blanket on the ground for them to lie on.

"Happy Birthday," he laughed.

Jessie was laughing too as he rolled the second blanket up for a make shift pillow.  They really wouldn't need it for the Ecuadorian night was quite warm, and they had each other.  They lay down on the blanket to look up to the sky, their arms around one another.

"After asking around, I was told that this would be the perfect spot to watch the show, especially if I wanted to be alone," Jonny explained as the first meteors began to shoot across the sky.

Jessie giggled and Jonny was glad he'd been able to pull her from her gray mood.  It wouldn't have been fun to snuggle up and watch a heavenly spectacle with a cold, preoccupied girlfriend.  Jonny glanced at Jessie to see a soft smile on her face.  He watched as the reflections of the passing meteors reflected in her eyes, bringing them back to life even as he lay there watching.

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"I'm so glad I cancelled dinner with my parents tonight," Jessie sighed in contentment as she lay there with Jonny.

The meteor shower was long over, but the two were still occupying the same spot they had taken to watch the show.

"Shouldn't we be getting back?"  Jonny asked, already knowing the answer.

"No.  I know I'm just delaying the inevitable, but I'm doing my best to prolong having to go back and face my parents," Jessie answered.

"I just don't want Estella to kill me like she almost did last night," Jonny admitted as Jessie laughed.

The night before she and Jonny had gone off for a walk after dinner.  When they hadn't returned "on time," Estella had come looking for them and had found them making out.  She wasn't happy and what was worse, she'd brought her trademark shot gun along with her.

"Mom's just paranoid," Jessie stated nonchalantly.

"Yeah, but I still don't wanna go face her after keeping you out so late," Jonny retorted.

"I can handle mom.  I saved your behind last night didn't I?"  Jessie assured, pecking him on the nose.

Laughing softly, Jonny rose and helped Jessie up.  "We really should get back," he said again, much more seriously this time

Jessie sighed, but cooperated anyway.  Working together the two lovers gathered the blankets and deposited them in the back of the jeep.  Luckily for Jessie, and maybe for Jonny too, he was more careful with the bumps on the return trip.  The drive back was quiet, but it wasn't uncomfortable.  This was one of those times when it was better not to say anything, just enjoy each other's presence.

"Everybody must be in bed," Jonny commented as they pulled into the docile campsite.

"Except for mom who's definitely going to be waiting up for me.  I better go let her know that I've returned so she won't go gallivanting about the jungle with her shot gun," Jessie explained.

"If she already isn't," Jonny teased.

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"There is nobody in this camp," Jessie stated abruptly entering Jonny's tent.

He'd been on the verge of sleep, and he rose rubbing his eyes.  "That's impossible."

"If you don't believe me go see for yourself," Jessie replied, holding the tent door open for him.

Jonny threw the blankets off and padded past Jessie in just his boxers.  She followed him out, but then stopped to stand in the doorway with her arms folded expectantly across her chest.  What she expected Jonny didn't know.

So, he did as she asked and began checking tents.  When he found that every tent of his family's was vacant, he began to get worried.  He slipped past Jessie back into his tent and when he exited again he was fully dressed.  He stepped down off the platform the tent was raised up on and then turned and looked up at Jessie.

"So what now?" he asked her.

Jessie shrugged.  "Are you sure you aren't supposed to lead me to a surprise Birthday party?" she asked hopefully.

Jonny shook his head no.  "I wish."

Jessie pursed her lips as she scanned the area from her perch.  "There has to be some explanation for their disappearance."

"Of course, and I'm sure we'll find out what that is soon enough," Jonny comforted as he took one of her hands.

And then the beam of light came down, blinding both teens.

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Benton Quest moaned as he pushed himself to his knees and rubbed his forehead with the palm of one hand.  He looked around to find Race and Estella both unconscious nearby.  He crawled over to them and checked their vitals to find, to Benton's relief, that both were alive.  For a minute he debated whether he should wake them or not, but decided against it.  It would be better for them to wake up on their own.

Instead, Benton rose and began to inspect the room.  There really wasn't much to it.  The walls were all black and curved, and there was no door that he could find.  The lights from above didn't seem to have a source.

Finished with his inspection and not knowing what else to do, Benton seated himself against a wall and waited for his colleagues to awaken.  It wasn't long before he heard a groan come from Race.

"Where in Sam Hill are we?"  Race asked, sounding woozy as he rose.

"That's a good question," Benton answered, catching the man's attention.

"Benton, you okay?"  Race immediately asked, waking fully.

"I'm fine," Benton assured with a smile.

Race rose to his knees and looked around the room just as Benton had done.  He spotted Estella, but ignored her.

"Where's the door?"  Race then asked.

Benton shrugged.  "There isn't one."

"What?  There has to be.  How did we get in here without one?"  Race exclaimed.

"That's another good question.  Too bad I don't have any answers," was all Benton could reply with.

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Hadji drove into camp in the beat up jeep that he'd rented in a nearby town and parked it next to the similar ones at the edge of the site.  He had arrived a few days later than the rest of his family, but then he'd had other duties to take care of as Sultan of Bangalore before reuniting with his family.

However, Hadji had a strange feeling that something was not quite right.  As he'd neared the camp he hadn't heard any signs of activity.  Entering the camp, he could see no one at all.

"This is not good," he mumbled as he looked around himself.

And that's when he felt like someone had shoved their hand into his chest and taken a piece of his heart.  Not his whole heart, just a piece.  And soon after that a flash of light blinded his eyes and when it disappeared he was surrounded by the entire camp.

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Even Estella had been awake for a while when there was a flash of light and the three found themselves back in camp surrounded by all of Estella's crew.  It was now morning and Hadji Singh was looking around himself with a very puzzled expression on his face.  Immediately preceding the bright light, Benton, Race and Estella had all felt a slight tingling in their chest, as if something had just been removed from there.  Even now, Race was still holding his hand to his heart.

Then, without any notice Hadji turned and hurried in a certain direction.  Estella, Race, and Benton all watched him with their gaze.  However, as soon as they realized what his goal was they all headed after him.

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Jonny was watching the sleeping red head who was using his lap for a pillow.  There were tears streaming down his cheek as he stroked Jessie's hair tenderly.  Hadji crouched down in front of his brother and put his hand on his shoulder.  "Jonny, what is wrong?"

"Why is there a whole in my heart?"  Hadji asked as tears fell from his own eyes.  Jonny finally looked up at Hadji.  They both looked around him at Estella and Race who were on either side of him, and Benton who stood behind with...was that Alice Starseer beside him?

"He took her love," was all Jonny said.  His gaze returned to Jessie.  "He took her love."

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The flash of light receded and Jonny and Jessie found themselves in a very strange room.  There were machines all over, and the place looked quite alien.

"I have a bad feeling about this," Jessie muttered.

"That makes two of us," Jonny said in agreement, eyeing the room suspiciously.

They both looked around, though they were facing opposite directions.  Back to back they tightly clasped one another's hands as if holding on for life.

"Finally, I've found what I've been searching for," a man's voice said from somewhere catching the teen's attention.

They looked at him, quite in awe of what they saw.

"You're…an Anasazi," Jessie identified wonder filling her voice.

"More or less," the man affirmed.

"What is it that you've been searching for?"  Jonny asked suspiciously.

"That."  He pointed at Jessie.

Jessie looked down and her hand released Jonny's to go to the locket at her breast.  "My locket?" she asked in confusion.

She looked back up to find the man hadn't moved an inch, his finger still pointing at her.  That's when she felt the slight tugging sensation, right at where her heart was.  Jessie felt her face go white, and she didn't know how much longer her knees would hold out.

"Jessie?"  Jonny asked unsurely sensing something was wrong with her.

Her hand was now latched onto Jonny's shoulder.  Her whole body had tensed up.

"Jessie, what's wrong?" Jonny asked, now with alarm in his voice.

"I don't know," she ground out through clenched teeth and Jonny had to strain to understand her.

A set of blue eyes zipped between Jessie and the Anasazi man whose finger was still pointing directly at Jessie's heart.  Jonny put his arm around Jessie for support, knowing all he could do was wait to see what happened.

And then a small, pure white ball of light blossomed at Jessie's chest, right at the spot where her heart would be located, and grew, pulling itself free from Jessie's body.  As soon as the ball of light had maneuvered its way free from Jessie's breast, her whole body went slack in Jonny's arms and her head lolled forward.  She tried to keep her hold on consciousness by clinging to him, but it was a losing battle.

"I love you Jonny," she whispered softly before she went totally unconscious in his arms.

Jonny fell to his knees and pulled her toward him laying her head in his lap and stroking her hair.  With tears streaming down his face Jonny looked up into the eyes of the Anasazi.  Both men's eyes diverted momentarily to the small ball of light floating above the palm of the man's out stretched hand.  Then, once again, their eyes met.

"What have you done to her?"  Jonny demanded in an unexpectedly powerful voice.

"I am Melyzaar.  And I have taken her heart," the man said simply.

"Her heart, but she'll die…" Jonny began.

Melyzaar interrupted him with a deep, mocking laugh.  "Not her physical heart you fool boy, her spiritual heart.  She won't die, but she won't be able to feel any emotions either."

Jonny's eyes widened in a combination of shock and fear as he looked down at the sleeping red head.  He felt unbound anger wash over him, and again he looked up at the Anasazi, his whole body trembling with hate.

"Give it back," Jonny cried, his voice filled with menace and outrage even as he moved, ready to rise and take it from the man.

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But the order had fallen on deaf ears and Jonny had once again been blinded by a flash of light.  The next thing he knew he was hearing his brother's voice.

"Why is there a whole in my heart?"  Hadji asked as tears silently slid down his brown cheeks.

Jonny looked up at that statement to find his whole family gathered around his adopted brother.  And surprisingly enough, Alice Starseer was there also, standing right next to his father.

"He took her love," was all Jonny could manage to tell them.  "He took her love."

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Race paced back and forth in Estella's tent.  Benton stood in one corner, a thoughtful expression on his face, with Alice standing nearby.  Estella was slouched in the metal, folding chair that matched the old card table she was using for a desk.  The only members of the Quest Team not currently present were Jessie, who was still sleeping, and Jonny who had taken up vigil over her and wouldn't leave her side.  He hadn't since they had been found.

"One more time Hadji," Race demanded.

Hadji took a relaxing, calming breath, and then once again launched into the short explanation he'd already given umpteen times.  "It is quite simple Race.  He, whoever that may be, took Jessie's heart."

"What do you think would be the side affects of that?"  Estella suddenly asked, coming out of her trance.

Hadji shrugged.  "I do not know.  All I grasped from Jonny's riddling statement was that her heart had been taken."

"But how can she survive without a heart?"  Race interrogated, confused and concerned.

"Because he did not take her physical heart," a heavily accented Native American voice explained.

The whole group turned to the source of the answer to find an Anasazi standing in the doorway of the tent.  Estella rose from her chair in awe.

"What do you mean?" she asked the Anasazi.

"He has the girl's spiritual heart.  Without it she has lost the capability to experience emotions of any kind," the elder continued to explain.

"What would he want with her heart?"  Hadji posed the next question.

"Locked in the girl's heart are many powers; powers that sleep, but Melyzaar will awaken those powers if we do not stop him.  And the powers her heart holds are strong, stronger than any others I have ever seen," the Anasazi warned.

"If he awakens them, is there a way to return them to their dormancy?"  Benton asked.

The Anasazi elder sadly shook his head in the negative.  "Whoever controls that heart, controls the powers within it, once they are awakened.  If we cannot get to Melyzaar in time to stop him from awakening the powers, the girl will have to be trained when we return her heart to her."

"When?"  Estella asked hopefully.

The Anasazi nodded.  "We cannot just let Melyzaar get away with what he has done.  And the girl must have her heart, for once the powers are unlocked, only she is capable of controlling the powers contained within it."

"How can you be sure?"  Race wanted to know.

"Because if she could not she would never have been given the powers in the first place."

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"How's she doing?"  Race asked as he entered his daughter's tent.

Jonny just looked up at Race and shrugged.  Race frowned as he crouched next to the chair the young man occupied.  Both men stared at the sleeping form.

"We're going to get her heart back," Race promised.

Jonny just nodded as he rubbed the back of Jessie's hand with his thumb.

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Melyzaar looked at the heart, wishing he himself could wield the powers inside.  But his soul was too corrupt; he would never be able to control them.  He'd needed to find the perfect human to be his guinea pig instead.  Someone who was generally evil, but not so much that it would keep them from using the powers.  He'd needed a perfectly balanced human being.

That hadn't been so hard to find.

"Lorenzo, come here," Melyzaar called out.

A brown haired man came forward stepping out of a shadow as if he had been waiting there the whole time, a cocky gleam in his eye.  "Yeah, what do you want?' he asked in his Brooklyn accent.

"I have something for you," Melyzaar said.

He held out his hand with the girl's heart still floating above it and watched as it entered Lorenzo's body.  Lorenzo watched mesmerized by the floating thing.

"What just happened?"  Lorenzo asked, more unsure than normal.

"I just gave you extraordinary powers," Melyzaar told the man.  "And now I want you to go destroy the Anasazi and take over the planet for me."

Lorenzo smiled as he felt the power inside him.  "Whatever you want."

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When Jessie awoke, Race had already left.  She opened her eyes and then rose and looked around herself.

"You okay?"  Jonny asked her.

She shrugged.

"How do you feel?"

"I don't."

Jonny felt like crying again, but he held back the tears.  Looking in her eyes he could see the fire that was usually there was gone, and that made the hurt even worse.  She wasn't smiling, she wasn't crying, she wasn't scared.  Her face was a complete blank and when she spoke her voice had no emotion in it whatsoever.

"It's weird, not feeling any emotions," she stated.

"You don't even love anymore?"  Jonny asked though he already knew the answer to that from the gaping whole in his heart.

Jessie shook her head no.  "I know I love you, but it's more like knowing that one and one are two, or that a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea."

There was silence.  Jonny didn't know what to say, and Jessie just didn't say anything.  She looked down at where Jonny still held her hand, his thumb still rubbing the back of it.  Tears ran down her cheeks, but her face remained blank.

"You're crying," Jonny pointed out.

"It's a physical reaction.  I don't feel depressed, but my body seems to know I should be and is acting accordingly.

Jonny leaned forward and gently wiped her tears from her eyes.  "We'll get your heart back Jessie.  You'll love again.  I promise."

"I want to do more than just love," Jessie told him catching his eyes again.  "I want to feel again."

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"NO!  What is he doing?"  Melyzaar asked the empty room as he pounded his fist dangerously close to the viewing screen.  "I told him to take out the Anasazi first!  They are the only people who can stop me and he is letting them live!"

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A group shuffled into Jessie's tent, startling Jonny who had been in a trance like state.  Estella led the group, pushing Jonny from his spot.  Race followed her and gave Jonny an apologetic look.  Benton came after, accompanied by Alice Starseer.  The scientist headed for his son and gave him an encouraging smile.  Then Hadji entered and stood at the foot of Jessie's cot.  After them all came the Anasazi elder.

"Balcobii wanted to talk with both of you," Alice explained.

All eyes went to the Anasazi waiting for him to speak.

"Who is Melyzaar?"  Jonny asked before he could begin.

"Melyzaar is a rogue Anasazi," Balcobii answered patiently.

"Why does he want my heart?"  Jessie then asked.

"Most probably so he will be able to take over this planet and possibly many others."

"What's so special about your heart is the powers contained within it," Estella explained softly to her daughter.

The girl only stared blankly up at her in response.

Estella couldn't take it.  Making a frustrated sound, she rose and left the tent.  Race sighed and then followed her.  Jonny returned to his spot.

"How do we get her heart back?" he asked.

"My people will take care of that," Balcobii replied trying to sound reassuring.

Jonny pursed his lips and nodded.  He felt his father's hand on his shoulder as he slipped his own back into Jessie's.

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"Estella stop," Race called out when he wasn't able to catch up with his ex-wife.

She abruptly stopped and turned.  Race hadn't expected her to, but he didn't complain.

"Estella, you need to calm down.  Jessie is going to be fine."

"Calm down?  You want me to calm down when there's a hole in my heart where my daughter used to be?"  Estella exclaimed.

"We're going to get her back," Race promised the frantic woman softly.  "And I know how you feel because there's a matching one in my heart, but you don't see me going into hysterics, do you?"  Race reasoned calmly.

"You know this is all your fault Race," Estella began.

Race groaned inwardly and tried his best to stop himself from rolling his eyes.

"You're always assuring me that you can take care of my daughter, that you would never let anything happen to her, that you can protect her.  Well, what happened?  My daughter has no heart.  You aren't doing your job-"

"SHUT UP!"  Race bellowed unable to stop himself.

Estella froze her eyes wide with awe.  Race turned away for a moment to calm himself, then turned back looking as if to say something.  Instead, he turned and stalked away.  Estella watched him her eyes still wide.  Gradually, she began to relax, though, and finally realization flowed over her.

For the past eighteen years she had been acting like a child.

And her ex-husband had been so patient with her, waiting for her to wake up.  To see how immature she'd been acting.  And it hadn't been until he'd finally lost control that she'd finally seen herself for what she really was.

"I'm an idiot," Estella mumbled to herself.

She'd treated her husband like scum and tortured her daughter the poor girl's whole life.  If she had acted like the responsible adult she'd always prided herself in being, maybe she and her ex-husband might be on good terms and her daughter wouldn't be in total agony every time she spent time with both her parents.

"I have a good family," Estella whispered out loud, closing her eyes.

They'd put up with her childishness all of Jessie's life.  They'd been so patient, while she had held her grudge and blamed Race for everything and towered over her daughter.  She realized now that most of the decisions Race had made about Jessie had been the right ones.  And if she had only opened her eyes and seen that she could have learned a few things.

Estella sighed.  She hated to admit she was wrong and she hated apologizing just as much.  But what she hated didn't matter.  Sucking it up, she forced her feet to move after her husband.

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Why waste time on the Anasazi?  Lorenzo thought to himself.  Melyzaar has world domination on his list of things to do and he wants to worry about killing off a race of traveling aliens?

Lorenzo couldn't quite grasp why he was doing this.  So he decided, why make the world wait for its destiny?

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"Race!" Estella called trying to get her ex-husband to slow down, but he wasn't giving in to her.

She didn't blame him though.  He probably thought she was just going to chew him out some more and lay more blame on him.  She sighed and shook her head at herself, then broke into a jog, which quickly turned into a run.  She reached her ex-husband and stopped him by putting a hand to his shoulder.

She was in the process of turning him to face her when a shock wave sent them both flying backwards and then finally hitting the ground.  Race looked up at Estella from where he was lying on top off her, a distressed expression on his face.  He then looked behind him, wondering what had caused such an explosion rolling over off of Estella as an after thought.

The rest of the group was just now immerging from Jessie's tent.  Balcobii was the first to exit, followed by Benton and Alice, then Jonny and Hadji, and finally Jessie.  She stepped forward between the two young men, watching the scene with a blank expression on her face.

The first thing they heard was an annoying laugh, a very annoying laugh, accompanied by an eerily familiar voice.

"Well, well, well; if it ain't the Quests?  Won't it be fun to finally kill you guys off?"

Benton looked back at his two boys, eyebrows raised in question.  Hadji returned it with a perplexed look.  Jonny just shrugged his shoulders, but it was clear that all three men were racking their brains trying to place the voice.

"Oh, come on.  Don't tell my you don't remember me."  When there was no reply the voice snorted.  "Ah, I'm hurt," the voice said mockingly.

A beam shot down from the sky, followed by a faint figure, ascending down the middle of the shaft of light.  The identity of the being was still unknown, but the voice definitely belonged to someone they had faced before.

"Who is it?"  Jonny finally asked the question.

Slowly, the figure neared the ground and as his features clarified expressions of amazement spread across most of the faces of the group.  Jessie walked forward to stand by Balcobii.  She raised her finger and pointed it at the man.

"He has my heart," she stated emotionlessly.

Balcobii nodded and closed his eyes.  A flash of light and the clearing was filled with Anasazi.  Many were aimed with bows and arrows or other assortments of archery type weapons.

"What you have does not belong to you," Balcobii said.  "You must return it."

"Return it?"  Lorenzo exclaimed in outrage.  "I don't have to.  It was a gift."

"It was not the giver's to give," Balcobii replied.

"It don't matter.  Its mine now and I ain't gonna give it up…period."

"Then we will be forced to take it from you," Balcobii warned.

"Just try," Lorenzo challenged a cocky look on his face.

Race looked quite angry at this point and ready to take on Lorenzo himself powers or no.  Luckily, the more level headed Estella held him back by keeping a hand on his shoulder, though it was obvious she wasn't too pleased with Lorenzo either.  Benton watched with wide eyes at what was happening, taking it all in and processing it with his scientific brain.  Jessie continued to stare at Lorenzo with her emotionless eyes while Jonny watched her worriedly and Hadji's eyes darted around the clearing studying the Anasazi that had appeared only moments before.

Lorenzo raised his fists to shoulder height and made a grunting noise.  The ground began to shake and pieces of it began to lift into the air.  The group still standing behind Balcobii fell to the ground.  Jonny struggled up and made his way unsteadily to Jessie, fighting his way to her side and helping her up.

Unaware of his companions' predicament, Balcobii pointed his finger at Lorenzo exactly the same way Melyzaar had done with Jessie.  From the sides the rest of the Anasazi began to chant, their voices rising and strengthening as they spoke in unison.  Lorenzo screamed and put his hands to his ears.

"It's mine.  I won't let'cha take it from me," he yelled in defiance.

He resisted Balcobii with all the strength he could muster, not willing at all to give up the powers he claimed as his own.  Veins popped out if his neck and forehead as he tried to resist the Anasazi.  However, it was futile, and finally the glowing ball of pure white light was plucked from his chest.  Lorenzo fell to the ground unconscious.

Jonny watched the ball of light as it moved through the air and finally disappeared into Jessie's back.  She looked up into his eyes, and he smiled when he saw the fire had returned.  She too smiled as tears of joy ran down her cheeks.

"I don't think so," Melyzaar said, startling the two.

He had his finger pointed once again at Jessie and when Jonny looked back to her face it was filled with pain.  He pulled her close and stroked her hair and rubbed her back, praying that Balcobii would win this fight too.

Jonny could feel the next battle begin, and though the ground didn't shake this time, pieces of it began to rise into the air again.  Jessie's hair rose too, and everybody could feel their own hair and clothing, even their entire body's doing the same.

"No," Jessie whimpered right before she went slack in Jonny's arms.

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"I am sorry," Balcobii said quietly.

"It's not your fault," Jessie replied in her emotionless voice.

She was curled up in the chair in the corner of Estella's tent.  Jonny stood behind her, absently rubbing her shoulders.

"We are going to attack Melyzaar at his home base," Balcobii informed the group of solemn faced people.

"May you have better luck this time," Hadji murmured more to himself than anyone else.

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Estella and Race stood outside the tent the rest of the group was in.  She knew what she needed to do and she was going to go through with it.  She needed to say the things she hadn't been able to before Lorenzo attacked.  She needed to apologize to Race.

"Race, I'm sorry," she said softly.

"For what?"  Race asked.

"For the way I've acted for the past eighteen years," Estella explained.  She took a deep breath.  "I haven't been a very good mother or ex-wife."

She looked up her husband who was just waiting.

"I want to make things right.  I know I won't be able to change over night, but I will try to do better.  I promise."

She waited for Race to say something, anything.  Instead, she felt his arms slip around her.

"It's okay," he whispered in her ear.

Estella couldn't stop the smile from tugging at the corner of her lips or the tears welling up in her eyes.

"I will have to take your daughter with me when we return her heart," Balcobii said startling the two.

"Why?"  Estella asked wiping the tears from her eyes.

"Because she needs to learn how to control the powers that have been released," Balcobii answered solemnly.

Race nodded, and watching him, Estella too began to nod.  "If that's what has to be done," she agreed softly.

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"Hey Ponchita," Race said as he lowered himself beside his daughter.

Jessie continued to stare at the dying embers of the fire.

"You haven't called me that in a while," she commented absently.

Race shrugged.  "It slips out every so often."

"That moment when I got my heart back, for those few seconds I was happy again," Jessie said in her emotionless voice.  "I knew what it was like to be happy."

"We all were Jess," Race said in a soft voice.

Jessie leaned against his shoulder.  "It's really…different…not being able to feel any emotion.  I want my heart back, I want to feel again."

Race hugged his daughter.  "We all want that too Jess.  Ask anyone in this family and they'll tell you that there's a hole in their heart where you used to be."

 "They aren't as big as the one where my heart used to be."

Race sighed and kissed the top of her head.  "It won't last forever."

Jessie mumbled something inaudible, but Race understood.

"We just have to trust in the Anasazi," he said into her hair.

Jessie nodded absently and Race looked down at her.

"Why don't you go find Jonny?  He's probably off somewhere being depressed."

Again Jessie nodded and then rose.  She took a few steps, then turned back and hugged her father.

"I love you dad.  I don't need my heart to tell me that," she whispered.

Then she was gone.

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"Lorenzo, where have you been?"  Julia exclaimed at seeing her brother.

"I need to talk to the boss," was all Lorenzo would say.

"I asked you a question," Julia growled.

Lorenzo pushed past her and into the back room where Surd was hooked into Quest World.  He headed straight for the controls and logged his employer out.

"Julia, what is the meaning of this?  It better be important," Surd bellowed threateningly.

"It isn't Julia, it's me, and it is important," Lorenzo assured.

"What do you think-" Surd began.

Lorenzo cut him off.  "Just hear me out."

There was a tense silence, then Lorenzo slowly began to speak.

"Them Anasazi came back."

"How would you know?"

"There's a rogue Anasazi who gave me some really neat powers, but the Anasazi took 'em from me.  I would've taken the whole world over by now if they hadn't," Lorenzo finished.

"Lorenzo, you've been drinking again haven't you?  What have I told you about that?"  Julia's cold voice demanded from the doorway.

"No, it's the truth," Lorenzo insisted.

"Get out of here Lorenzo," Surd ordered before preparing to return to Quest World.

Lorenzo looked between his employer and his sister with wide eyes.  "Don'cha believe me?   Ya gotta believe me!"

Julia rolled her eyes at her brother as she bumped past him to the console and began relogging Jeremiah back into Quest World.  Lorenzo continued to stare at them, trying to think of something, anything to say to them that would make them believe him.

But, they were no longer acknowledging his presence.  So, with a scowl he turned and left grumbling to himself as he went.

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Benton stood looking up into the starry sky, his mind a total and complete blank.  It wasn't often he got such an opportunity, but at the moment so much was going on that his mind needed a rest.  So, here he stood admiring the great view of the stars.

"It's been a long time Benton," Alice said softly coming up behind the doctor.

"It's been three years.  Not quite as long as the last time, but still," Benton agreed.

He felt Alice sidle up next to him and lay her head on his shoulder.  He found he couldn't resist putting an arm around her, and did.

"I only wish I hadn't returned under such circumstances," Alice said softly sounding regretful.

"Maybe then things could be different for us," Benton agreed.

"I'll be leaving again as soon as everything has been set right," Alice continued with a sigh.  She sounded kind of tired.  "Maybe this time you'd consider coming with me?  Jonny's grown up, and ready to start a life of his own."

"No Alice, not quite yet.  Jonny's still learning about life, he still has a couple of years to go before he'll be ready for me to leave for good," Benton informed the woman.

"You can't hold onto him forever Benton," Alice put in gently.

Benton knew what Alice had just said was true and it made him uncomfortable.  But then again he knew he would have more time for himself, more time to do things important to him.  And what was more important to him than Jonny?  And it wasn't like he didn't have feelings for Alice, because he did.  It was just he still had things to do here on earth, a place he was very attached to no matter how inviting the stars were.

"I know, and I don't plan to.  But I also don't plan on letting him go quite yet.  He's still too young" Benton found himself repeating as he did his best to keep his body relaxed and his eyes on the stars so they couldn't reveal anything.

Alice seemed to consider this.  "Than maybe in a couple of years he won't be…  I'll return to see if you'll be ready then."

"And maybe I will be.  Then again maybe I won't.  We'll just have to see," Benton responded.

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Hadji took a deep cleansing breath from where he stood behind his brother before proceeding with the frustrating task of being reasonable with him.  Just like his father, he too was looking up at the stars and not really listening to what anybody had to say.

"Jonny, you know there is nothing you can do," Hadji reminded.

"And you know I can't just sit here waiting and doing nothing," Jonny retorted not taking his gaze from the star filled sky.

"The Anasazi will take care of everything," Hadji assured.

Jonny was making his response when the East Indian felt a hand on his shoulder.  "I know I know," the blonde assured.  Hadji turned to look into Jessie' green eyes.  As Jonny had, he noticed the usual fire that burned within them was gone.  "But I've gotta help Hadj.  I've just gotta do something," Jonny continued oblivious to Jessie's arrival.  Hadji already understood what she wanted and bowed out happily, knowing Jessie would take care of the blond boy.

Jonny waited for another rational remark from Hadji, but it never came.   Instead, a certain red head slipped into his arms silently, leaning her head on his shoulder.

"You worry too much," she told him.

"And you're surprised?"  Jonny asked her.

"No, but for once can't you just sit back and let other people handle things?"

"You know me Jess, of course I can't."

"Then let me give you a job to do," she suggested, looking up at him.

Even without the fire her eyes were still breath taking.

"What?"  Jonny asked ready to do whatever it was she asked.

"Stay here with me.  I need you," she stated simply.

Jonny smiled and nodded, happy to oblige.  "Whatever you want Jess."

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Melyzaar growled to himself as watched the glowing heart that hovered above the pedestal.  Lorenzo had failed him, but what else should he have expected from such a simple, stupid, idiotic…  Melyzaar growled again.  If only he could use the powers himself.

But no, it was impossible.  The last time he had tried, the powers had shut down and refused to work and he'd ended up destroying the heart.  Last he'd heard, the owner of the heart had died.  Not like it mattered to him, the person was useless anyway.  So, he'd had to go searching for a new one.  Once he'd found it, he'd decided that this time he wouldn't make any mistakes.

Then that fool Lorenzo had decided he didn't have to follow orders.  So, he 'd sent the man back from where he'd gotten him and started his search for a new guinea pig.  So far, no good.  Melyzaar couldn't believe it would be so hard to find another man like Lorenzo, but they were either too evil or not evil enough.  Not one human had the same balance of dark and light as Lorenzo had.

And going to another planet to find a being like that was out of the question.  Earth's solar system was very isolated and the nearest one was hundred's of light years away.  There was the possibility of using the heart to take over that planet instead, but Melyzaar was set on earth.  He didn't know why this particular planet was so irresistible, but he would have it one way or another.

Unless of course Balcobii and the rest of the Anasazi got in the way, which of course they would.  The familiar flash of light and Melyzaar found himself surrounded.  The fools were so blind with their peaceful ways and passive lifestyles.

"If it's another fight you want, I won't disappoint you," Melyzaar growled assuringly.

"It is not a fight we want," Balcobii insisted.  "It is the heart."

"Well, then it is a fight you want," Melyzaar corrected.

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"It is happening," Hadji said.

But no one was around to hear him.  After leaving Jonny to Jessie he'd gone to find a quiet place to meditate so he could sort his thoughts and calm himself.  He rose and went to look for everyone, anyone, but it seemed they were all hiding from him.

"You seem a little lost," Hadji heard Estella say.

Hadji twirled around.  "It is happening.  They are fighting for her heart."

Estella's eyes went wide.  "Are you sure?"

Hadji nodded.

Estella turned and went rushing off, spewing rapid-fire Spanish in every direction.  Hadji sighed as he followed her.

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"Well, what's happening?  Are we winning?"  Race asked impatiently.

Hadji sighed and shrugged.  Why did his family have to be so impatient?  "Just give me a minute Race."

The room stood in apprehensive silence as they all waited for Hadji to do something, anything.  They were waiting in vain.

"I have lost them," he apologized, shaking his head.

He looked over at Jessie and Jonny who for once were both being extremely patient.  Hadji didn't know how, but somehow Jessie had calmed Jonny down.

"I'm tired.  I'm going to bed," Jessie informed the room of people.

"Aren't you anxious?"  Jonny asked her.

"You forget what the fight is over," Jessie said, looking up at him.

Jonny frowned and closed his eyes.  "I'll walk you there."

The two left as every eye in the tent watched them.

"At least one of us can sleep," Race mumbled as he stuck his hands in his pockets and did his best to keep himself from pacing.

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"Melyzaar you know this is a fight you cannot win.  Just surrender the heart to us and the consequences won't be so harsh," Balcobii suggested.

"No.  I will not give it up.  This is the key to ultimate power," Melyzaar objected through clenched teeth, coldly determined.

"You cannot use the heart yourself.  Your own heart is too corrupt, you remember what happened last time," Balcobii reminded.

"Of course I do fool.  But I will find a way to succeed," he insisted.

"Then, I am sorry to do this," Balcobii apologized.

Every Anasazi in the room readied an arrow and pointed their bow at Melyzaar.  Balcobii materialized his own long bow with a flash of light and pointed it straight at the rogue's heart.

"NOOOOO!!!!"  Melyzaar yelled, before multiple arrows fired at him.

Each one hit its mark.  And finally, Balcobii let his own arrow fly.  It sang through the air, straight into Melyzaar's heart.  The Anasazi gave an unearthly scream before disintegrating into nothing.  Balcobii hung his head in sorrow as his bow disappeared with another flash.

"I wish that could have been avoided," he said quietly, bowing his head as he grieved the loss of his comrade.

He felt a hand on his shoulder.  "We all do," a friendly voice said.  "Melyzaar had been a good friend to many before he turned."

"We only did what was necessary," another voice chimed in trying to comfort him.  "Melyzaar made his choice and he had to pay the consequences."

Balcobii nodded sadly as he moved forward and took the fragile heart in both hands.

"I will return this to its owner.  The rest of you can return to the ship.  Alice and I will join you shortly," Balcobii said, his voice still quiet but authoritative.

"She has not convinced Dr. Quest to come with her yet I take it," the first voice commented in a cheerier tone.

"Not yet," Balcobii affirmed, not able to stop a smile from creeping onto his own face.  "But if she is persistent I am sure someday she will prevail."

"I thought that was called being stubborn," the second Anasazi laughed before disappearing.

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Balcobii entered the girl's tent to find her asleep.  The blond boy was sitting on the floor by her bed and had also fallen asleep, his head on the girl's cot and one of his hands holding stubbornly to hers.  He smiled at them then stepped forward.  Positioning his hands over the girl's chest, he opened them to release her heart.  He watched as it gently floated down to settle within the girl where it belonged.  He smiled upon the two, then turned and left.

"I guess it's time for us to go," Alice said.

She had been waiting outside of Jessie's tent for the Anasazi elder.  Balcobii nodded, smiling softly.

As the light surrounded the two beings, Alice turned towards where she knew Benton would be.  He smiled at her, and waved.

"We'll be back for the girl in the morning," Balcobii informed.

Benton nodded.

"And I'll be back for you," Alice promised as the light surrounding her and Balcobii increased in strength.

"I'll be waiting," Benton returned even though he knew she couldn't hear him.

The light receded and the two beings vanished.  Benton looked up at the sky as if trying to figure out which star was the ship that held Alice.

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"So everything's back to normal," Estella said.

She looked over Race.

"No, Estella.  Everything's better," he corrected leaning over to take her hand.

"And best of all, we can start being a family again," Estella added softly beaming.

Race turned to return his ex-wife's gaze.  "At least a better one than we've been."

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Jessie moaned as she woke up.  She looked around her tent and smiled when she saw Jonny, asleep.  She tousled his hair then carefully, so as not to disturb him, climbed out of bed and left the tent.  The warm morning sun felt good against her face and she could smell someone cooking breakfast.

Jessie followed her nose to find Hadji in front of a griddle piled with bacon and eggs.  "That smells wonderful," she admired.

"I am glad you think so.  Are you hungry?"  Hadji asked.

He waited for a response, but instead found himself in her embrace.

"I did not realize they smelled that good," he laughed.

"I'm whole again Hadji," she breathed.

Then he watched her running off, yelling for Race and Estella.

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"Good Morning Jessie," Estella greeted her daughter's hug.

"It certainly is mom," Jessie replied.  She pulled back to look at her mother.  "I've got my heart back."

"We know Ponchita," Race said, coming up from behind.

Jessie threw her arms around him and he hugged her back tightly.

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Jonny awoke to find himself alone in Jessie's tent.  "She must already be up," he mumbled to himself as he shook the sleep from his mind.

He rose and headed for the door of the tent when suddenly he stopped.

"It's gone.  The whole in my heart is gone," he realized.

Jonny flew from the tent and began his search for Jessie.

"Jonny, over here," he heard, stopping him in his tracks.

He spun around to find Jessie walking toward him, the hugest smile on her face.  But best of all, the fire had returned to her eyes.  He ran to her and caught her up in his arms.

"I'm whole again," she whispered.

Jonny couldn't say anything, so he just held her tighter.

"Jonny I can't breathe," Jessie laughed as she pushed at him to give her air.

"Sorry, guess I got a little carried away," he apologized, a bit of color coming to his cheeks.

"Don't be sorry," Jessie ordered him.  "Just kiss me."

Jonny smiled then followed orders.

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"Are you ready to go?"  Balcobii asked.

Jessie nodded.  "Yeah."

She turned and looked over her shoulder at her family and smiled.

"She is in good hands," Balcobii assured them.

"Be good Jessie," Estella said.

Jessie could hear the tears in her mother's voice.

"See you in a few months," her father's voice came to her as the light surrounding herself and Balcobii began to grow in intensity.

"We will miss you," Hadji spoke for the whole clan.

"I love you," she heard Jonny say before they were gone.

"I love you too," Jessie whispered smiling softly to herself.  "I love you too."

The End