(For some reason, when I was making this page, it made boxes around some paragraphs, so ignore those. Thanks agian.)
18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)18:56, October 4, 2010 (UTC)Mellymelamiss
Once More: After the Animorph War
First person: Jake Berenson
Four years after the war is over between the resistance and the Yeerks, I still haven’t gotten over the killing I had my friends do. The murdering I did with my o wn free will. Still hadn’t forgiven myself for sending my beautiful cousin out to kill my infested older brother.
Tobias certainly hasn’t.
A week after my twentieth birthday, I was heading towards the cemetery like I always did. I guess I’m hoping Tobias would be there, too. Neither Cassie nor Marco has seen him after the depressing funeral. After he carried the urn with her ashes in it away.
But I never made it to the cemetery that day. I was suddenly transported to Tobias’s old meadow. Cassie, Marco, Ax and Tobias, in his human morph, were there, too. We stood there, awkwardly, trying to figure out how we got there. It didn’t take long to guess; we’ve been through this before.
“Oh, come on!” Marco groaned.”I was shooting a scene with a very pretty girl and the Ellemist decides to have a meeting, now? For someone who’s the Keeper of Time, he doesn’t choose the right moments.”
Cassie was closest to me. We quietly said hello and exchanged small smiles. Cassie and I have grown apart over the years. We realized that after everything that’s happened and through my depressed stage that we wouldn’t be able to be together. She’s seeing somebody else. I’ve met him at a party and he seems great for her. That makes me happy.
Ax was farthest from me. He looked deeply disturbed. <This isn’t right. My crew and I just came back from a mission. I saw my mate and son running towards me before time stopped,> he said, sounding peeved. He slashed the nearest tree leaving a remarkably deep gash.
Tobias didn’t look at me, didn’t speak to me; as if I didn’t feel bad enough. But I welcomed it just the same; I was sick and tired of everyone telling me that I did the right thing, that it was worth it, that she would’ve done it anyway even if I didn’t tell her to. I needed somebody to chastise me.
I looked around the meadow. It looked the same as always, pretty, even because the grass was longer and was swaying though there was no breeze. It brought back so many memories of the battles and missions against the Yeerks. Like the two times we lost Cassie. When Ax told us everything he knew. When we gave David the morphing technology.
Suddenly, the Ellemist stood before us. He took the appearance of an old guy, as usual. Out of every creature we’ve seen, he was the weirdest. He was solid but you could see through him, slightly. His voice came from one direction but you heard him all around. He touches your arm but it feels like he’s wrapped around you. Yes, defiantly the weirdest.
“Ah, my Animorphs,” the Ellemist began. “It has been so long since you’ve seen me last. Since then, you’ve all lead wonderful, successful lives.” He moved closer to us. “But some of you still mourn for her. I can feel the sorrow and loneliness radiating from your hearts. It’s not right to see such sadness from good players like yourselves. I wish to ease your pain a little.”
I felt my jaw go slack, my mouth falling open. I could see the shocked faces of my friends; the Ellemist was interfering with time. That was against the rules of the game. That and the Ellemist never answered wishes or requests.
The Ellemist laughed lightly. “Yes, I’m interfering greatly, but I’ve found a way around the rules like previous times. Now, to help your hearts.” With that he swept his arm towards the center of the meadow. We were all on the edge, in the trees so we got a full view the miracle that was about to happen.
For the first two or three seconds we stood there, confused. The meadow was supposed to help? But then the wind blew hard pat us, seeming to be racing to the center. We were in a transparent funnel; the middle of the meadow was the eye. The wind was picking up something up from the west, it looked like sand or dust, and the Ellemist had it blow a careful pile in the middle. The hard wind turned into a gentle breeze and everything calmed down. But then the breeze started to do something, too. It silently raised the pile in the air in a swirl. It sprinkled through the breeze and swayed past us again but this time I smelled soot.
The breeze twirled the dust into the meadow again. The Ellemist lifted his hand and it elevated. Then he did something that froze us all.
The fibers of the dust came together to form a young woman, about twenty. Her eyes were closed and she had long lashes. Her golden hair shone and floated in the wind. She wore a sleeveless white dress that ended at her knees, leaving her calves and feet bare. She was considerably tall, like a model and gorgeous like one, too.
The extra dust particles burst into wild flowers and drifted slowly and carefully with the girl. We know the Ellemist was putting her down by the way she followed where his hand went. He laid her down in the long grass. Her hair splayed in every way and as her head tilted to her right, there was no doubt about who she was.
She was the cousin I sent on the suicide mission.
She was more beautiful than she’s ever been in her short life and her white dress brought out the color in her lips and cheeks. But her chest didn’t rise and fall like it should when breathing; it didn’t move at all.
The Ellemist gazed at Tobias and softly commanded, “Say her full name.”
I didn’t look away from her for one second, but from the corner of my eye, I saw tears streaking his face. “Wh- wh- “ He cleared his throat. “Why?”
“Say her name,” the Ellemist repeated.
With fresh tears in his eyes, Tobias obeyed. “Rachel Berenson,” he whispered, sorrowful and lovingly. The Ellemist cupped the air in front of Tobias’s mouth and hovered over to her. He moved his fingers as if he were sprinkling something. It was Tobias’s words. As the Ellemist dropped the words on her, we heard, “Rachel Berenson” being whispered again.
He came back and stood next to us. We watched her start to breathe again, we watched her stir, and we watched her open those blue eyes we’ve missed so much. But since she wasn’t looking directly at us, we weren’t there at the moment. She turned her face to the sky. She smiled, no doubt remembering that she was up there a multiple of times, riding the thermals with Tobias, and took a deep, refreshing breath. She sat up, drawing out the action as if enjoying the moment. She looked around for a better view of where she was, skipping us again, and a spark of recognition reached her face. She stood up. I couldn’t take it anymore. I guess the others couldn’t either because we all called out, “Rachel!” in a loud clear voice that she couldn’t miss.
Her head whirled around to face us and the first one she sees is Tobias. A nd how couldn’t she? He was running to her, a little clumsily though, since he hasn’t used his human morph in a while. He fell a couple of times before reaching her, but when he did they hugged so tightly. The rest of us snapped out of our funk and ran to them, having proof that she wasn’t a hologram or whatever. Tobias picked her up and spun her around, while she kissed his neck and cheek over and over. Cassie and I were crying uncontrollably, like Tobias; Marco was laughing joyfully and Ax repeatedly welcomed her back to life. But the Ellemist interrupted our reunion by saying, “She’s your for two hours, then she’ll become a pile of ashes again.” He vanished a second later.
So that’s what I smelled: ashes. I smelled her ashes.
I fell to the ground sobbing into my hands. Even if she was back for only two hours I was immensely grateful.
Cassie kept saying, “Rachel, oh, my God. Rachel. Oh, Rachel, you’re here. Rachel, it’s been so long…”and Marco continued to hoot like a five year old. Tobias eventually put Rachel down. He sank to his knees, clutching the hem of her dress to his face, staining it with his tears. Cassie took this chance to throw her arms around her supposedly-dead best friend. She hugged her back and tried to ease her sobs. I couldn’t help laughing.”Ah, Rachel,” I sighed, wiping my face. “You were dead two minutes ago and you’ll be dead in two hours yet you still have strength to spare.”
We spent the two hours sharing our stories from over the last four years. Tobias said some things, too and a couple of times he spoke to me and that made me happy. But for the most part he listened, his arms around Rachel at all times. They occasionally smiled at each other. Cassie held her hand. Even Marco found pleasure in those hours because Rachel laughed, genuinely, at every joke – then told him how funny he always was. We congratulated Ax for starting a family and Rachel found it hilarious that he was a real prince yet he still called me “Prince Jake” out of habit. Then I subtly suggested that we should give Tobias and Rachel five minutes after I noticed them glancing at each other more frequently.
When the last ten minutes neared, Rachel made sure to say something to each of us directly, something to really remember her by.
To Ax she said, “Ax, you were a great person to have watch my back in a battle. You’re a prince now but just wait till you’re a war prince; you’ll be higher than Jake.” We laughed. “I know how much Andalites worry about honor. Let me tell you something : I don’t know what Elfangor’s been through, but you’re no doubt the most honorable and modest Andalite next to your brother.” Ax took a lot of pride in those words; Rachel leveled him up to his brother who had been a war prince.
To Cassie she said, “Girl, you know you’re more than a sister to me. I’m so proud to call you my best friend after what you’re doing to save the Hork-Bajir. I mean, I’ve always been proud to call you my BFF, even if you did wear manure-covered jeans” – we laughed again – “but now I would brag about you. Brag so much, people would start to hate my voice.” Tobias disagreed strongly about that last part.
To Marco she said, ”Now. Marco, I know you think you’ve always bugged me – sorry to dash that dream – but I thought you were really funny. Other days, you really were a pain in the butt, Marco.” We playfully agreed and he just laughed. “Keep it up in the show and movie biz,” she concluded.
There were about five minutes left before she became ashes, and I desperately wanted to know if she would forgive me for sending her to her death. I guess she was saving Tobias for last because she turned to me next.
“Jake,” she said. Her eyes shone but she was strong and didn’t let the tears fall yet. “Jake, I know you feel responsible for my short life – “
“Because I am – “
“Shut up. Yes, you sent me on the mission, but you gave me the choice and I s aid yes. We both knew I was the only one able to do it – “
“I could’ve – “
“Shut up, Marco. I mean…” She looked at him. Smirking, she said, “Gee, I’m so used to telling you to shut your trap, I don’t know how to say anyone else’s name after ‘shut up’.” Marco chuckled. Then she turned her attention back to me. Rachel lowered her voice. “You wish it were you instead. But think: you couldn’t be the one to kill Tom. You knew that. You still know now that you wouldn’t be able to do it.”
“But I wouldn’t want to kill you either!” I cried out. “Not only you but countless others, too. Because I told them to. I was in charge so it’s no worse than me slashing them with my own tiger claws.” I stared at my hands which could and had become claws before. I took a deep breath and continued. “Other then you, I lost two very significant things. My brother and Tobias’s friendship.” I looked at Rachel sadly and she replied firmly and sure, “He’ll forgive you.”
Then she turned to Tobias. She didn’t need to say anything as important as what she said four years ago when her last words were “I love you”. She kissed him, though. Holding Cassie’s hand again, she took Tobias’s and stood up. She hugged everyone, even Ax, still in Andalite form. When she hugged me she whispered, “You want me to forgive you, but there’s nothing to forgive.”
Rachel had us huddle around for a group hug, all of us obeying because it was more or less like a last wish and right then we probably would’ve given her anything she could possibly want, even if it meant combining our fortunes together to buy her own shopping mall. Well, at least I would’ve.
My cousin, Rachel Berenson, finally let herself cry as she began to fade. At the last second she pecked Tobias for the very last time, and after that she was gone. We were left with a pile of ash at our feet, some on our clothes and some on Tobias’s face. The wind that brought her to us carried her away again, blowing her off our bodies.
Tobias faced the sky and smiled like Rachel did; not a huge grin but enough to call it a smile. He was allowed to demorph back to a red-tailed hawk and he flapped his wings a few times before finding a thermal and being lifted away, filled with gratitude for seeing her again.
One moment I was watching him disappear over the trees, the next, I’m at the beach by myself. And I experienced a second miracle.
Tom stepped out from behind a sand dune. He grinned and said, “Hey, midget. How you doing, bro?” he thumped my back.
“Tom…” I whispered, amazed.
“Yes, Jake, it’s me. The Yeerk is dead, the invasion has ended and Rachel and I are fine where we are. So please stop beating yourself; it’s hard to watch you do that.” Tom winked and it took me back to before the war and fame. It was so normal. I couldn’t help myself: I hugged him. I would’ve thought that after all the physical contact today, I couldn’t hug anyone else. But this was my brother who I wasn’t going to see ever again. Tom squeezed me back for a while, then said, “You know what? I shouldn’t have called you a midget just now. I mean, you’re as tall as me, maybe taller.” We laughed together like the good times and it wasn’t long before Tom was gone, too.
But watching Rachel and Tom leave for the second time wasn’t like losing them again. It was more like they came to visit us on earth then went back to the better life where they were happier. And knowing that they were okay made me feel much better.
The Ellemist transported me back to my expensive Jaguar. I stepped on the brakes (good thing no one was on the road). I didn’t need to go to the cemetery today. Not for a while at least. I turned the car around and headed towards the studio where Marco was shooting his movie.
Even when Rachel was gone, she never runs out of strength to share. That stays alive.
Proper Good-Bye: A Moment with Tobias
First Person: Rachel Berenson
I was thankful that Jake suggested giving Tobias and me some time together. I didn’t waste any time with him, either.
“If you love me, you’ll forgive Jake,” I said as soon as everyone was out of earshot. When the words were out of my mouth, I kind of wanted to call them back; it kind of felt like I was taking advantage of his love. He looked surprised and frowned. He was quiet for a second before answering slowly, “I don’t think I’ll be able to do that right away. Maybe, at some point in time, I will because you want me to, but not for a while.” He watched me hesitantly, watching my reaction to his words. I shrugged. “As long as you forgive him before he’s on his hands and knees begging for forgiveness, it doesn’t really matter to me when you do it, just as long as you do,” I said, staring at him sternly and he buried his face in my hair.
I’m glad that he didn’t argue much; it meant more time talking about how he’s been without someone there with him. We lay down on our sides in the grass. It smelled like rain. It was calming; I haven’t smelled rain in a long time. Tobias and I huddled close until our foreheads touched. If time hadn’t stopped and someone happened to be taking a walk in the forest, they would’ve seen a woman in a white cotton summer dress (I know I looked good in it, thank you) next to a messy blonde haired man in a spandex top and tight bike shorts. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feeling of the sun on my alive, young body again.
“Tobias?” I hummed.
“Yes, Rachel?” he hummed back.
“Hawks mate for life, you know.” I felt his heart thump against my palm as he replied, “Then I’m glad it’s you.” I didn’t move for a second. Then I smiled broadly and started to giggle, which was highly unusual because I generally have a mocking laugh. I guess I was just caught up on the sweet, blissful moment. I opened my eyes, my chest bubbling with joy with the feeling of being alive and having these emotions again and seeing Tobias just as happy.
Tobias was smiling shyly. He had tears in his eyes that he wasn’t going to let me see fall. Eyes that was usually so fierce when he was a hawk but so gentle and dreamy-like when he’s human. They’re always somewhere else lost in his thoughts.
“Of course it was you,” Tobias said almost silently. “What’s not to like from your eyes to the way you walk? I never thought I was capable of knowing what it was like to love someone or be loved because no one’s ever showed me those things. But that changed when you stood up for me and told me that because my uncles and aunts didn’t want me didn’t mean that nobody did.” Tobias smiled stronger and squeezed my hands. He whispered, “Thank you for loving me when no one else would.”
I smiled my old reckless grin, jumped up – pulling Tobias with me – held his hands between mine, stood in front of him with my face a few inches away from his and said, “I love you, Tobias.”
With his hands on my waist and my arms around his neck, we spun around slowly, my skirt twirling, dancing through the dandelions. A couple of times we held hands and spun in circles sending everything around me in a blur except Tobias’s face. When Ax, Cassie, Jake and Marco returned for the Animorphs last ten minutes together, I was swaying back and forth with my head on Tobias’s shoulder.