This chapter explains everything... almost. Sorry for the extremely long wait, if you're reading this... thanks for coming back =)
At the end of the world
or at the last thing I see
never coming home
never coming home
And all the things that you never
ever told me
And all the smiles that are never
gonna haunt me
never coming home
never coming home
And all the wounds that are ever
gonna scar me
For all the ghosts that are never
gonna catch me...
The Ghost of You - My Chemical Romance
As Gerard held on to Mikey's hand desperately, Frank watched in a daze. It couldn't be happening and yet it was. It was unbelievable how life could change so suddenly and then again in just a matter of seconds. In just a few fucking seconds!Gerard was about to die and now his brother was lying on the floor in front of the two, blood flowing from the wound where the dagger still stuck out of his chest. The battle went on around them, oblivious to it all. Was this really the answer, this /war/? Was this really the only way to defend the Stone of Life and find peace for once and for all?
As Frank stared at Mikey, gasping for breath, he wasn't sure if he should cry or shout with delight. Whose side was Mikey really on? Frank's confusion was soon to be cleared.
"No, no, no-please! You can't do this, Mikey, you c-can't leave me now," Gerard sputtered, fighting back tears.
Mikey gasped for breath. "I'm s-so sorry, Gerard, for everything I've done, but thi-this is the way it has- to be... there is so much I have to show the both of you..." he said while grabbing one of Frank's hands with his free one, "/now/."
In front of their eyes flashed images rapidly, as if someone were skipping through channels on atelevision set at light speed. Everything stopped suddenly and a particular image came into view.
A crowd of growling Ruins gathered together. In front of them all stood Mauritius motioning with his hands to gain their attention. Silence slowly came over the crowd while untrusting expressions spread on their faces.
"Thank you all for coming here today! Now, I'm sure you're all wondering what this is about."Grunts in agreement sounded around the large round room. "Then I will stall no more. I'm here to propose we join forces."
This caused several reactions: some Ruins looked ready to rip Mauritius to pieces at any moment while others actually laughed at the absurdity of it all.
A black haired Ruin spoke out. "Why would we want to work with one of you when you are the ones trying to kill us?" he snarled.
"What is your name?" Mauritius asked good-naturedly.
With a look of uncertainty, he spat out, "Everyone calls me Anthony now."
"If by saying'now' you are referring to after your memory loss, then I understand you perfectly.
Anthony and the others looked alarmed. "How do you know about that?"
"I also know how you all became this way, how you all woke up one morning with a large scar on your chests with no memories whatsoever. And I'm sad to say that I know all of this because I'm one of the magic holders that made you all this way," Mauritius stated with convincing sadness.
Mean faces grew throughout the crowd.
"You must be incredibly stupid to come here all alone and tell us you made us this way,"snarled a particularly large Ruin.
"I'm hardly alone, my good fellow; and even if I were, I wouldn't need protection from anyone. Let me remind you I'm a magic holder... and I could kill you all in an instant without moving a muscle," Mauritius finished menacingly.
The Ruins began talking among themselves loudly, outraged and yet intrigued by the man in front of them.
"Now that I've gotten your attention, I'd like to propose a truce. I will help you all receive the revenge you deserve."
"Why would you want to go against your kind and help /us/?
"I've seen the error of our ways and want to fix what I can. If we work together we'll be able to destroy them all, even with their powers. And since I know more about them and their weaknesses, I'll become your leader and lead you all to triumph!" he finished dramatically.
The large Ruin snorted. "If you think we're going to buy this story and make you our leader then you've-"
The Ruin was cut short as he suddenly screamed out in pain, grasping his head. The others looked at Mauritius with a mixture of fear and amazement as their fellow loudmouthed Ruin cried out in agony; several veins had exploded in his head. Seconds later, all was silent once again as the Ruin fell to the floor, blood flowing freely from his nose and mouth.
"What do you want in exchange?" asked a crazy looking ruin with longish brown hair.
Mauritius laughed pleasantly. "It's clear you're a man of business. Well, well, the only thing I want is something that will beneficiate us all: The Stone of Life." Over loud whispers, he continued, "I'm sure you've all heard of it, if not in this life time, in the one before. But I've discovered something about it that will make you all even more eager than myself to retrieve it from its hidden location and that will help you with your revenge. The Stone of Life, among its many unknown and mysterious powers, has the power to grant immortality to anyone that touches it with such desire. And I think we all know how you feel about death..."
From behind the Ruins and out of sight, Mikey watched what was happening disapprovingly. Mauritius smiled as expressions of hope and astonishment spread across their faces. Oblivious to the Ruins who were too busy celebrating, Mikey noticed there was ahint of - what was it? - almost wickedness in Mauritius's smile.
Mauritius' content face whirled view as another scene came into focus.
As if in someone else's body, a large room with white walls and floating suns the size of basketballs could be seen; Frank and Gerard recognized the room at once as the place where the Unknown held their meetings. In the semi-circle where elegant chairs were placed, not all of the chairs were occupied. The first two from the right held the two elderly men Frank had met on his first trip to the room long ago when he had first learned the Stratton was his creator. Stratton himself was seated next to them on the third chair from the right. On the other side, sat Mikey in the second chair from the left, next to a man in his last fifties whom they didn't recognize. Stratton and this man with grayish hair were arguing openly while the rest remained in silent. A terrorific tension filled the room.
"In the right hands the Stone can do nothing but good! It could save many lives! What about all of those Ruins? It could even possibly give them back their souls! Isn't this what we're after? To help the entire world?!" Stratton beamed much in afashion a politician would giving a debate.
"These days Ihighly doubt your hands are the right hands, Stratton! And how /dare /you mention those poor people when you and your new friend are the ones responsible for their loss of souls! I think we've all come to realize the real reason behind your obsession with the Stone of Life; you want it to control the world, not save it!" said the man, standing up from his chair indignantly.
Stratton's face changed to resignation. With a sigh, he said, "I guess there's no changing your mind then."
With his nose up, the man with grayish hair shook his head defiantly.
"Don't do this, Stratton, just - don't take this too far," Mikey said warily.
"I'll take this as far as it needs to go, Michael. Do not forget who is in control here."
Mikey turned his head angrily away from him.
"Well then, Argus, I suppose this is... goodbye," Stratton stated to the bewildered man.
As Mikey jumped out of his seat while yelling, "Don't do it!", Stratton closed his eyes tightly, as if trying to concentrate. A second later he opened his eyes. As if nothing had happened, he threw Argus a dagger with a golden handle and said,"Pick it up. You know what to do."
Without hesitation or a single comment, Argus picked the dagger up, turned the blade towards himself and drove it forcefully into his chest. Gasping from the pain, he fell to his knees, but instead of letting the dagger go, he drove it into his chest once more. He fell towards one side and the dagger was thrown dramatically from his lifeless hand.
With adistasteful look on his face, Stratton picked the dagger off the floor, reached into his jacket for a handkerchief with which he cleaned the blade; done with it, he dropped the bloodstained handkerchief on the corpse lying in front of them in a growing pool of blood.
The scene suddenly seemed to be sucked away as thousands of images began to flash before us them more. All of it came to a stop on a particular scene.
Mikey stood before two men in the Ruin world. A cold shiver raced down his back as an overwhelming feeling of helplessness overcame him. He was alone in the world. Mauritius had called for his presence; they needed to "have a talk", he had said. Mikey had known that nothing good could come out of that. Mauritius sat in his usual chair that looked more like a throne while Stratton stood next to him; both of them wore pleased smiles on their faces.
Mikey stared at Stratton with pure hatred. For months Mikey had seen Stratton gradually change into an unrecognizable person. Of course, anyone could argue that Stratton had never been very nice to anyone, but he was a good man. He wanted to help people with his powers, "make a difference"; but as his powers grew his perspective on life changed also. With his ability to manipulate memories and the other of forcing people to do as he wished, he could practically control the world around him. Of course these powers only worked on those with a relatively weak mind or no powers, but still, very few could resist - if you will - his abilities. Mauritius was clearly one of those few people, which is why Stratton decided to join forces with him (/If you can't lick 'em, join 'em!/). Mikey was also part of that remote group, which was certainly a reason to thank the skies above. Because of this, Mauritius Stratton called upon him often to"reason" with him; reasoning for Stratton meant forcing Mikey take his side whether he liked it or not.
In spite of the fact of Stratton's ever growing desire of power, Mikey had never thought he would team up with the recently proclaimed leader of the Ruins. Never had it crossed his mind that one of the Unknown - the ones that were supposed to be interested in the welfare of the human kind, the ones that swore to give their life to protect and hide the Stone of Life - would cross over and become evil.
Mikey had been standing in front of the two men that most disgusted him in the world trying to take it all in. They talked and talked with their cool and educated vocabulary claiming things along the lines of them having to join sides for a common good. They even stated that having the Stone of Life hidden was useless ("Surely an object so powerful was not made to be merely hidden in the darkness without ever being able to expose its full potential!"). Mikey stared at them wide-eyed, his mouth opening every now and then trying to utter a word but not being able to. How could this happen?
But why did they find the need to tell him all of this, Mikey had asked. Wouldn't it have been better to keep it a secret from everyone?
"Ahh, but it /will/be kept secret from everyone. Everyone except you," Mauritius explained pleasantly with his hands folded neatly on his lap. "We share our secret with you because, quite frankly, we need your help."
"We need you to help us keep the others under control, to make sure they never suspect a thing. Our mission, you see, is to find the Stone of Life and retrieve it... but you have already made the first part quite easy, have you not?"
Mikey's eyes widened. He had, indeed. The Stone of Life had been hidden centuries before by those who had lived in the Underworld long before they had. Over the pass of time the exact location of the Stone was lost. Many had tried to brave the maze that was known to lead to its hidden location, and had never returned. Not long ago, however, Mikey had had a vision. Most of the visions Mikey was used to having were of the future, while Stratton's visions were of the near future; never before had either of them experienced a vision as though an animated map had entered his head. The vision in question was like that; Mikey could see himself at the beginning of the maze and then walking quickly and confidently to the room where the Stone had been hidden.
God, how foolish he felt as he looked at Stratton and Mauritius to have trusted Stratton and he had. Without hesitation, Mikey had run to Stratton to tell him what he had seen. Immediately after, they both set out to find the Stone, and indeed they did. Both of them marveled at how an object so small could be so incredibly powerful. They watched the fire sway in its interior as if a cool summer breeze were teasing it. They had known not to touch it, of course, since that would have brought disaster upon the entire human race. They returned to the Underworld to fetch the other Unknown and then showed them the Stone also, all of them reacting as Mikey and Stratton had. They decided to keep it secret. The eagerness of the Ruins would only increase if it somehow slipped that the Stone of Life was no longer hidden to a few living souls.
Yes, Stratton knew Mikey had the exact location of the Stone graved into his head because of the vision. Mikey was the only person that could find it again on his own. And even though none of them could actually pick it up and use it... he thanked the high powers above for giving him that vision and not Stratton.
"I'd send you home with a pat on the back telling you to think it over, but there's really nothing to think about," Mauritius stated almost comically.
"What happens if I decide not to? What if I go back to the Underworld right now and tell everyone what you two are planning; that you have joined sides and want to obtain the Stone and even use it. What then?" Mikey asked defiantly.
Mauritius' face turned serious. "That - would be very sad indeed. Because then you'd have to face the consequences, and the first to pay for your actions would be your dear brother."
Mikey's eyes widened. "You wouldn't dare."
"Oh, but Iwould, my boy; I assure you that I would."
Mikey gazed at Mauritius who had regained a slight smirk on his face. Stratton seemed worried, on the other hand.
"So what you're saying is that if I don't help you keep the others in the dark, you'll..."
"Kill Gerard -yes," Mauritius finished. "Do what we ask - which is really not that hard at all - and you'll brother will live happily until he is old and gray."
"What about in the battles? If we have another battle with the Ruins, will he be kept safe then, also?"
Mauritius waved his hand, taking importance away from the matter. "I shall tell my men that he is not to be harmed, as well as the rest of your little gang. They may prove useful in the future, who knows..."
Everyone would be kept safe - great. But how could Mikey keep such a huge secret from his best friends and only family? They were all so close... they'd probably see right through the first lie he tried to feed them. But as much as he thought about it, he couldn't see any way out. They couldn't run and leave the Stone with Stratton and Mauritius; it would only be a matter of days before the entire world went to hell if they were left to do as they pleased. He couldn't tell anyone the secret either because Mauritius would use his power on Gerard, and Mikey couldn't bare to think about that... The best option was obviously to stay and do what they say - or at least let them think he was doing what he was told. Mikey wouldn't let them two to be the only ones playing mind games around there.
"So...?" Mauritius asked eagerly.
Mikey took adeep breath. There was no turning back. He'd probably hate himself for it later- as would the others when they eventually found out he had been lying about so many things - but at the moment it was all he could do. He'd think of ways to slow down or even stop the two later. For now, there was only one thing to say:
The scene faded into another until Mauritius' laugh of triumph faded away.
Stratton finds Mikey walking around a hallway and tells him he had news he should know. Mikey backs against the wall, intimidated by the man in front of him.
"I'm going to try again tonight, Michael; I'd like you to make sure no one disturbs me while I'm doing so."
"Try to make anew one? Tonight? Why tonight?" Mikey asked puzzled.
Stratton smiled at him with his nose up. "I have a feeling that tonight is the night... Halloween night - the night I'll finally create a being worth living. A powerful being."
As Mikey stared wide-eyed at the man in front of him, the scene whirled around until a new one is formed. Mikey and Stratton are still present but this time they are in acastle-like room, made out of big gray rocks. In the center on the floor lay anaked man facedown with his arms and legs stretched out. Stratton was laughing madly while Mikey walked around the man on the floor, amazed.
"My creation is complete! Finally - it has happened!" More mad laughter followed.
"What are these markings... what do they mean? They look like messages."
Stratton's laughter ceased. He took a few steps towards the man on the floor, studying his back. "I didn't put those there... they must be consequences of Halloween night... No matter!"
In a low voice, Mikey said more to himself than to anyone else, "Messages of war... and of hope."
The man on the floor raised his head slowly from the ground as Stratton began laughing once more, pleased with his achievements. A flash of dark bangs came into view, contrasting with the white hair on the sides of the man's head.
Mikey crouched next to the man on the floor who looked at him puzzled. As the man turned his neck to look around, still on the floor, Mikey saw a tattoo on his neck: ascorpion.
"A scorpion,"Mikey whispered.
"He has ascorpion on his neck. Could it be-?"
Stratton's eyes widened. With a trembling voice and yet no hesitation, he stated, "It's him. 'A God among men: the human with a scorpion clung to his neck is no other than Scorpio, the controller of all mind power and to which all other powers bow.'That old prophecy - it's finally come true, and it's my creation! I brought Scorpio to life!"
"Mikey, what's going on?" asked Gerard, walking into the room disoriented.
"Ahh, you're just in time to see my greatest creation ever: Scorpio!" Stratton beamed.
Gerard's mouth dropped open. Not being able to utter any coherent sound, he limited himself to walk around the man on the floor, who in turn watched Gerard with great interest.
Mikey stared at the man on the floor who had seemed to have taken a sudden interest in his fingers. Could it truly be him? The man all Underworld had been waiting for for centuries? Only time would tell.
The room flashed out of sight and in an instant another came into focus. Mikey, Stratton and the two elderly men, Abbott Griffith and Durwin Randal, were sitting in their usual seats in the room illuminated by miniature suns. Before them was the crazy old lady, who looked rather nervous to be there.
"Tell me what prophecy you made this morning, Miranda, and don't try to trick me; you know I'm always watching all of you and nothing escapes me," Stratton said with apleasant voice that hid a cruel intention.
With her hands trembling, the old woman said, "I'd hardly say it was a prophecy, dear; it was just m-me rambling in my sleep, really-"
Stratton shut her up slamming his fist against the armrest of his chair. The nervous woman almost tripped over her own feet from the unexpected noise. "Enough! Tell me, now!"
Knowing there was no way out, and that Stratton could just use his power to force her anyways, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. In a monotonous voice she said, "The fate of the entire world will lie in his and his hands only. His life and entire world will take a twist on a cold Halloween night. The wind will blow, the leaves will dance, and he will be taken to the right place at the right time. Only he, the Chosen One, will be the tamer of the Stone of Life, stopping the world from its own self-destruction and bring peace to the magical world for once and for all. He will not be alone, he will have help, but the salvation of us all will depend on the life that runs through his veins. He will draw the line between evil and good, erasing, for once and for all, every sign of evil on the face of the earth. Flame will find fire, and all will be well."
By request, the woman repeated it. After they all had heard it a second time, Stratton's face filled with utter delight. "M-my my - my creation!" he yelled unable to control himself. Mikey and the others looked at him uncertainly.
Jumping up from his seat, he stood facing the others. The old woman backed away, afraid. "Don't you see? 'His life will take a twist on a cold Halloween night' - that was when I made him - on Halloween night! It fits!"
"Are you sure...?" began Abbott but was immediately cut off by Stratton's thrilled shouts.
"Of course I'm sure! Who else could it be? He /is /Scorpio, after all! I knew I had afeeling that he would turn out special, and look! He's the chosen one!"
Stratton's grin went out of view and the scene changed once again.
Two people were having a discussion in the dark lane that leads to the tent that hid what everyone had learned to call home. As everything slowly came into focus, Mikey could be seen grabbing Alyssa's arm as she tried to turn around and leave.
"You're not going to do this anymore," Mikey growled in her face. "This is not a game!"
Alyssa laughed wickedly. "Of course it is! And who's going to stop me - /you/?"
"I'll do what Ihave to," he answered smugly.
Alyssa's eyes twinkled mischievously. "You know Mauritius won't be too happy about you threatening me..."
Taking a deep breath, trying to control himself, he said, "Just - leave him alone. He's not atoy for you to play with. He's - he's really in love with you!"
Alyssa's grin widened. "But of course he's my toy! And I'm not going to hurt the poor boy... not /physically/, anyways..." She started to turn away again but Mikey stopped her.
"What are you going to do, Alyssa? Just - tell me the plan."
"I'll make him love me even more - if possible - and then I'll... break him and watch him fall. It should make for an interesting experiment!"
Mikey gasped at her wickedness. "But - you'll break his heart!"
Alyssa's excited smile turned sour. "/Exactly/."
As Alyssa spun on her heal leaving Mikey looking helpless and surprised, the scene faded into another. Slowly two men came into focus. One of them was speaking urgently and almost pleading to the other; the one being pled to has his back turned.
"You have to tell her to stop; she's going to ruin everything! All the plans you have for the future will go to hell if she screws up Gerard like she's planning to. You don't know how he'll react like I do!"
Mauritius turned around to face Mikey with a pleased smile on his face. "Yes, she is a feisty one, isn't she? But I'm not sure it's really my plans you're worried about... you simply do not want your brother to be hurt. Am I correct?"
Mikey avoided eye contact; this made Mauritius let out a hearty laugh.
"Don't be afraid to show your true feelings, boy. It is most understandable for you to want to protect your brother, and I would be disappointed if you didn't. Nevertheless, I believe you are right about my future plans being spoiled by her childish behavior. I shall speak to her about it at once."
Mikey stood with his mouth partly open, not able to believe Mauritius was really going to make Alyssa stop with her mind games.
Mauritius laughed at the sight of his disbelief. "Go on now, don't worry!I'll tell her right away. She's due to come along any minute now."
Letting out aquick breath of relief, Mikey said, "Thank you, sir. I know this will be for the best - for all of us."
Mauritius shooed him away with a nod of his head and a wave of his hand as Mikey turned and ran down the hallway. At the sound of a door slamming, Mikey stopped and turned around to see Alyssa walking towards Mauritius. With a mischievous grin on her face she pulled him into a deep kiss, which Mauritius responded to by giving her butt a quick squeeze. Alyssa squealed in delight just as Mikey turned back around, leaving the two lovers alone.
Mikey's worried face whirled out of view, giving place to a huge battle. The grandiosity of the field made it obvious it was the Open Field, filled with big rocks and boulders. The Ruins used these objects, throwing them against their enemies. Agirl rushed past while shooting electricity through her finger tips at any passing Ruins. I watched one cry out in pain and then fall to the floor in alump as smoke raised from his burned corpse. In a hidden corner was Mikey, crouching out of sight. He seemed to be waiting for something. Suddenly, avoice sounded in his head, making him cringe slightly at the ferocity of it. Now!Find Alyssa and tell her it is time. Hurry! The voice clearly belonged to Stratton. Scowling and not obeying the direct order, Mikey continued to crouch where he was, thinking. After a few seconds and a stern yet resolute look, he began to stand up but was thrown to the ground with great force as he received a vision...
In the middle of the enormous battle... Gerard surrounded by friends and enemies alike... a blood curling scream made him freeze in his tracks, wide-eyed - Alyssa was in trouble! - Gerard runs towards the sound, shouting out to her - where was she? What were they doing to her!? - Running, running, avoiding Ruins, searching for his loved one... heart aching!... stops in his tracks... finds himself in a dark corner... Ruins smirking at him appear, Gerard instantly covers himself with protective force field... Ruins surround him, forming a circle... Two Ruins holding Alyssa push their way into the Ruin-made circle - Alyssa! - She cries out, a Ruin is holding a dagger against her neck... Gerard asks for a trade- his life for hers - Ruins accept his offer willingly... In the midst of hysterical laughter, a Ruin grabs Gerard and slits his throat... During his last seconds of life, with blood pouring down his beautifully smooth neck, Alyssa grins devilishly... She joins in on the Ruins' laughter, walks up to Gerard, kisses her finger tips and then presses them against Gerard's mouth, as he looks up to her, tears flowing from his wide betrayed eyes...
Mikey gasped as the vision disappeared, leaving him with confusing images that lead to a very clear message: Alyssa wasn't going to play along with the plan. She was simply supposed to disappear with the Ruins and leave everything at that: Gerard and the others never knowing who she really was and leaving them to mourn her. Mikey had actually known her particular plan for weeks, and had even confronted Mauritius about it, but he was too blinded with her to even think straight. The vision had appeared again as if it were a reminder.
Mikey would not let Alyssa go through with her plan. Everything he went through was to keep Gerard safe and he would not allow that witch to take away what he most loved.
Mikey got up from the floor and eyed the battle scene. Where could Gerard be? He began combing the crowd of people avoiding the attacks from both sides. Anyone outside of the battle would have realized how odd it was that both sides seemed to be taking special care in not attacking him, as if he were on both sides... as he was. Finally, Mikey spotted Gerard. Two Ruins were charging at him; Gerard raised a force field around himself just in time for the two to run into it. /Idiots/, Mikey thought with distaste as he neared his brother.
Gerard smiled, relieved to see him. "You okay, Mikes?"
He nodded while grabbing his arm and leading him away from the area he knew Alyssa would scream for "help" in. As Gerard asked Mikey what this was all about, they passed abulky guy who had just thrown 3 Ruins against a few others.
"Take over Gerard's position, Blake," Mikey told him.
When Mikey finally managed to drag Gerard behind a particularly large boulder, he stopped.
"Mikes, what's wro-"
"Don't talk, just listen. I just had a vision." As the wheels spun like crazy inside Mikey's head, Gerard cocked his head slightly.
"What'd you see?" he asked with a hint of worry.
Mikey's particular light bulb of bright ideas turned on. "Mauritius is going to try to trick you. He has a new magic holder working with him now."
"What do you mean 'new'...? Only Ruins work for him, right?"
/Fuck/. For an instant Mikey had forgotten that nobody was supposed to know that Alyssa was with Mauritius. "I- I didn't mean to say that. Just-someone is working for him now. A new guy - he's not from around here. He - he can create false worlds and trick people. Make people hear and see things that aren't really there."
"How do you know about all of this...?"
"I told you - I saw it in a vision. You have to promise me that whatever you hear you won't go running to try and save anyone. Promise."
As if knowing who I was referring to, Gerard asked, "Where's Alyssa?"
"She - She's fine. Just promise me you won't try playing superman, okay?" His anxiety was growing by every passing second.
"If you don't tell me exactly what you saw I can't be sure I'm not going to fall into atramp. When did you have this vision anyways?"
Absentmindedly, Mikey said, "Weeks ago, just promise me that, Gerard!"
"And you're telling me now? Who are the Ruins going to try to lure me with?"
"For fucks sake Gerard, you're not listening to me! If you hear her screaming and run to save her /you'll die/!"
"What if they really do have Alyssa? I have to go find her-"
The ferocity with which Mikey screamed that single word kept Gerard in place, shocked.
"I-I mean..."Mikey stuttered, "I'll go find her. You need to stay here and help the others. They need you, and I'm no use to them anyway." Mikey forced a smile.
Reassured, Gerard gave Mikey a hug and whispered, "Bring her to me when you find her, okay? I just wanna see her..."
Mikey nodded sadly into his brother's shoulder, knowing he couldn't keep his word.
With a last smile Gerard got up and ran to join the others. Mikey watched him leave, knowing that the next time he saw his brother, he would have to break his heart.
The scene shifted slightly and Gerard's worried face came into view. Behind him were Kat, Aileen, Bob, Ray and a number of other magic holders. They are standing at the entrance of their tent. Mikey takes long strides down the lane towards them; he is also worried and yet fakes apathy. It is the only way he can maintain himself strong and do what he must.
"Where is she?"Gerard yells before Mikey even has a chance to reach them.
Mikey doesn't say a word until he's in front of Gerard. He stands before him looking into his expectant eyes and almost can't say the words. "I'm sorry, Gerard," he whispers and looks away.
It was all he needed to say. While the others gasped in shock Gerard shook his head.
"No... no! I don't believe you. It can't be true. NO! Where is she?"
"I WANT TO SEE HER!"
Not knowing what else to do, Mikey turned and walked down the lane back towards the battlefield. Gerard and the others followed behind wordlessly - what could be said? Mikey continued forward until he stopped at a corner away from the light.
"This is where I last saw her," Mikey stated simply, avoiding his brothers eyes.
"Where is she?"
"They've- taken her body. The Ruins."
"/Body/?"Gerard choked out, tears starting to flood his eyes, but he blinked them back angrily.
"I'm sorry, Gee, I didn't mean to say-"
"To say what?That she's /dead/? I don't believe it; I can't!" Gerard then began eyeing Mikey suspiciously. "You knew, didn't you?"
Mikey avoided his gaze. "No."
"You did! Was that story you told me about Mauritius trying to trick me /fake/? So Iwouldn't go after her and risk my life like you knew I would? I was standing near here until you came and moved me away! Did you do it so I wouldn't hear her screaming for help?! ANSWER ME!"
Mikey swallowed hard. He looked at his brother. His body shook with rage and helplessness at the same time. His eyes gave away his true feelings; he was in terrible pain.
"It's not that simple..." Mikey muttered, realizing just how badly the situation would end.
"Tell me the fucking truth, Michael! You knew the Ruins were going to get her, didn't you?Does this fall into your 'no one can change the future' theory?"
Pitifully, Mikey whispered, "I didn't want you to die too..."
For a second Gerard looked slightly taken back by this comment. Suddenly, he pulled his fist back with a look of total rage and before anyone could react, brought it hard against Mikey's face, hitting his cheek and nose.
"BASTARD! YOU FUCKING BASTARD!" he bellowed at Mikey, who brought a hand to his face in shock, and then looked at the blood on his fingers; his nose was bleeding.
Bob, Ray and afew others rushed forward to hold back Gerard to prevent him from doing anything else he may regret later, while other others shouted out in surprise in face of the attack.
"It's okay, man-" Ray whispered in a vain attempt to calm him.
"No it's NOT okay! We have to find her - we have to save her!" Gerard muttered in a craze as he tried to expect the grip of his friends that knew better than to let him go."Let me go! I have to find her... because she can't be... can't be... /dead/..."
His eyes suddenly caught sight of something shinning in the dirt. At once he knew what it was. Slowly, he knelt down, his hand shaking in dread as he reached out for the object. He gulped forcefully. Everyone around him took in a breath sharply as they, too, realized what Gerard had found in the very spot Alyssa had supposedly died in. Gerard's eyes filled with tears once more as he brought the recovered necklace up to his face to examine it. On a silver chain hung a charm in the form of a flat heart with a triangle on it - the international symbol of faith. It had belonged to his grandmother, who had given it on to him before passing away, and he to Alyssa. And there it was, abandoned on the dirt with the chain broken from the fight Alyssa supposedly had against the Ruins. Looking at it closely, he could see blood on the upper right-hand part of the heart. He turned the charm over. The entire backside was covered in blood. Gerard looked at his fingers in disbelief as he saw the blood on them; /Alyssa's blood/!, he must have thought.
Realization struck him then and he could stand it no more. He broke down and began to weep. Gerard leaned his head on Bob, who was then holding him up along with Ray. His loud moans echoed along the walls of the battlefield making the flames of the torches dance in what seemed like a dance of sympathy.
The loud wails of the loss of a loved one were slowly replaced by the soft voice of a man and woman.
Mikey and Aileen were alone in a dark room. Mikey was explaining something to her anxiously.
"Don't get mixed up with the little details," Mikey told her holding up a hand impatiently."Just remember this: Gerard is going to show up with a guy named Frank. You have to use your power and show Frank where the Stone of Life is - so he can protect it."
Aileen stared at him uncertain. "Does that mean he's-?"
"Yes," Mikey cut her off, while finishing the sentence for her, "he's the chosen one."
Aileen's face of surprise blurred as another scene came into view, which turned out to be what Mikey had predicted.
Aileen, Bob and Ray were playing cards on the table outside their building.
"Bullshit, Toro! You can't have three 2's when I have two of them myself!" Aileen yelled across the table.
A second later Ray threw his cards on the table frustrated. "Fucking hell, I always lose!"
As the others began tackling Ray playfully in spite of his annoyance, Bob noticed two men walking down the lane towards them and whispered, "Look..."
Aileen recognized Gerard immediately by the way he walked, and took in a short breath sharply as she realized who the other boy must be. They came to a stop in front of the table. She stared at the boy that had his head down with his hoodie hiding his face from view.
"This is Bob, Ray, and Aileen. He's Frank," Gerard said, turning his head toward Frank.
Aileen gasped softly. Even though she knew he would show up - Mikey's visions never failed to be correct - the fact of knowing that the guy in front of them was the chosen one was still unbelievable. As he finally lifted his head, Aileen's eyes locked with his and it became impossible for her to look away. The lane where everyone stood whirls away giving place to Frank safely tucked away in his bed at home. He was tossing and turning while softly mumbling in his sleep... although the dreams he was having were very much real. He woke as he heard Aileen resounding in his head... "Remember this place, remember what I've told you! Don't forget it!This isn't a dream! It isn't just a dream! It's not a dream...it's not..."
The scene changed once more. A room that ended in a semi-circle could be seen, with the usual chairs in their places but only one of them being occupied.
"We want to see the boy," Stratton stated calmly from his seat in the Unknown meeting room.
Mikey stood before him. Aside from the two of them, the room was empty. "I-I don't think that's a good idea, Stratton; he's just gotten his powers and he's extremely unstable and bringing him here would just-"
"SILENCE!"Stratton boomed. The single word echoed around the large room. Mikey cringed from surprise. "I didn't ask you for a psychological report on the boy, I /told/you we want to see him. I want to see how he has evolved. For too long he has been away from me, his creator, and I think I have a right to see him!"
Anyone could confuse this desperate desire to see Frank with some sort of fatherly instinct, but Mikey knew all too well what this really was: it was with the same feeling a child would rip open a large present already knowing it was the bike they had been asking for for /years/. Yes, it was the yearning of a wonderful prize, a fantastic object.
Mikey didn't say a word. He simply stood there staring at Stratton not wanting to open his mouth and say something he'd later regret.
Stratton eyed him. "You wouldn't want me to ask Gerard to bring him in here for me, would you?"
There it was: the threat. Every time Stratton brought Gerard into a conversation it was because he was threatening him, almost always in a subtle way. Stratton knew Mikey would do anything he asked to protect his brother. Even give his life.
Stratton smiled, recognizing the expression on Mikey's face as rendition. "Bring him in later... after lunch, perhaps?"
Mikey nodded unwillingly as Stratton dismissed him with a wave of his fingers. Turning around abruptly, Mikey took long strides out of the room. His mind twirled with what he was going to have to do to Frank. He couldn't even imagine how Frank would react in the face of the news he would hear. Pushing it out of his mind, Mikey comforted himself with the thought of giving Frank and his brother the information needed to defeat Stratton and Mauritius for good. Mikey's face zooms out of view and then back in again a few hours into the future. Frank and Gerard are standing in front of the Unknown; Mikey had taken his seat among them not too long ago. He watched helplessly as Stratton told Frank about his origins. He watched Frank's expression change from confusion to fear, to anger, and then back to confusion again in an endless circle. He watched as poor Frank glanced around, as if looking for help; he glanced at Gerard who had been against the whole thing to begin with, he glanced at the elders, and then he even glanced at Mikey, even though he was the one that had brought him down there. Mikey wanted to help him, to make Stratton just shut up, but instead he sat there, watching. And listening to Frank's world crash around him.
Things were getting out of hand. Frank was getting more upset by the second and yet Stratton continued with his tirade. At one point Stratton got up from his comfortable chair and walked over to Frank, calling him "son" - big mistake. With a shout of fury Frank sent him flying backwards, no longer controlling his emotions, let alone his powers. Stratton hit the back wall with such force that it cracked, leaving a mark where he had hit. The force of Frank's uncontrolled powers thundered through the room, making the ceiling crack. I simply sat in my chair as the two elder Unknown ran out of the room. A second later, with a look of horror on his face, Frank turned and ran down the lane that would take him back the way we had came. He had to escape, get away from this place. Frank wouldn't know the way back, he knew. But Mikey wasn't worried; helping him would be easy. As Gerard ran after Frank shouting for him to stop, Mikey finally got up from his seat and calmly walked out the back door as the elderly men had done before. On the other side of the door, he stopped and concentrated. He could see Frank running blindly through the hallway in his mind. /Turn right/, he told Frank, and so he did. He began giving him directions on how to exit the building until Frank reached the main entrance where he stopped in his tracks, surprised to have made it out. As Kat and the others began questioning him and his intentions, Frank ran down the lane and out of sight. Mikey knew there was nothing he could do to stop him. Frank knew the truth but had to see it for himself, even if it broke his heart.
Images began to flash again until stopping on one with a room that contained a single chair placed against the back wall. The room was dark except for the dim lighting the few torches along the wall offered.
"You can't keep making me come over here like this; someone could see me," said Mikey in an annoyed hush. He walked up Mauritius who was seated in his usual chair and stopped in front of him. Mikey always thought of the chair as a kind of thrown, as if Mauritius were the king. It was surely what he thought of himself.
Mauritius laughed as he usually did. Mikey hated that laugh. "I'm perfectly confident in your ability to come to my world without being noticed. After all, you can see the future and know where everyone will be."
"It doesn't work like that, I can't always have visions when I want to, and when I do they're of the future; Stratton is the one with visions of the near future and-"
Mauritius dismissed his statements with a wave of his hand. "Details, details. If it's not you, then its Stratton. The point is you can come here without being seen. Now, enough of this nonsense. I didn't call you over here so we could engage in a debate about how your visions work. I have news for you." Mauritius gazed at him with his hands clasped together on his lap. He had a pleased expression on his face.
Mikey didn't like the look on his face nor the fact that he had "news" for him. That was never a good thing, especially coming from someone like Mauritius. Mikey tried not to show his distaste while asking what the news was.
"Alyssa is going back to the Underworld," he stated bluntly, waiting for a reaction.
"WHAT?" Mikey exclaimed, unable to help himself. "But everyone thinks she's dead!"
"Yes, I'm well aware of the situation but the solution is simple: make up a new story."
"A new story,"Mikey repeated in disbelief.
"Yes. Alyssa will appear in the Underworld one day soon pretending to have escaped from the horrible Ruins. She'll make up some story about how she was tortured for information on whatever comes to her pretty little head and seeing how distraught she is, everyone will believe her. Gerard will be ecstatic to have her back," he added cruelly.
"Gerard might accept her back, but don't you think that story is a little too wild for the rest of them to swallow?"
"They'll believe it. She's their friend, or so they think. Besides, if someone doubts her you're always there to smooth things over."
"Why the hell are you doing this," Mikey asked tired of the situation.
"She, my boy, is going to steal the Stone of Life. And before you start objecting with your'but only the chosen one can touch it' theory, I must tell you I've already taken that into account. Alyssa will have to trick Frank into picking the stone up for her; once it is lifted from its resting place, anyone can touch it."
Instantly, Mikey began thinking about Frank and Gerard. He had been noticing how the two of them had been acting strange and then he even had a vision of Gerard and Frank kissing heatedly in his room. Mikey was surprised at first but then heartbroken when he saw his brother run out of the room distressed. He knew it was all because of the bitch called Alyssa. God, how he hated her and yet here he was being told to help her on a mission he couldn't really let her go through with. Mikey knew Alyssa's return could only worsen things between Frank and Gerard. He also knew Frank wouldn't trust Alyssa, even if it was only out of spite and jealousy.
"Fine," Mikey said falsely, "I'll help her." If he had been 5 years old he would have been crossing his fingers; either way, he wasn't planning on keeping his promise.
A light flashed. When the shock of sudden brightness eased away, Mikey is in what appears to be his bedroom. As he leaned down to pick up a shirt from the floor, Alyssa rushed in shutting the door behind her.
Mikey shot her a cold glance. "What do you want?"
Gesturing unconsciously with her hands, Alyssa said, "Look, I know the plan was to trick Frank into getting the Stone for us, but I have a better idea-"
"No," Mikey said, cutting her off sternly. "Stick with the plan and that's it. Otherwise the others will get suspicious."
"Just listen to me! I could shapeshift into Gerard, and tell Frank some story about how he needs to get the Stone to stop the Ruins or something. It could work!
"What if you run into the real Gerard when you transform yourself to look like him? Or you do something or say something Gerard never would? A million things could go wrong!"
Exasperated, Alyssa shouted, "But I'll be careful! I know it'll work just give me a chance!"
"It won't. Frank would never buy you're Gerard anyways, they know each other too well, it's like they have a weird connection between them... "
"But if I could just-"
"No! It won't work, they're not idiots! Just drop it. Find another way!"
Without waiting for a response Mikey took quick steps to the door and yanked it open, anxious to get away from Alyssa. Taking a step into the hallway Mikey found himself face to face with Frank. How long had he been there? Had he been listening to their conversation?
Alyssa passed by him, shot Frank a silent glare and walked back in the direction he had came from with her head held high. Just as Mikey was about to leave without a word, Frank stopped him.
"Making plans with Alyssa, Michael?" he asked with an insolent tone.
Mikey huffed at me. "Do not call me Michael; I hate it. And you should know it's not very polite to go around listening to other people's conversations."
Frank took the two steps that separated them, and asked confidentially, "The vision you had the day Alyssa was supposedly killed, did you make it up, or were you just confused?"
"There's so much you don't understand, Frank..."
"Cut the bullshit," he growled, "I've already heard that story before. Just tell me whose side you're on, Michael."
"Call me Mikey," he demanded, narrowing his eyes.
Frank laughed."Sorry, but we don't have that much confidence yet."
"You mean like the confidence you have with my dear brother?" Mikey expected to see a shocked on his face and got it. As Frank asked incredulously how he knew about Gerard and him, Mikey thought sadly about how much he wished he could come clean with them and tell them everything.
Another flash appeared and disappeared just as quickly.
Mikey, who had just pulled a shirt over his head and was about to open the door and leave his bedroom, fell to his knees as an unexpected vision hits him... hard.
Someone is going through the maze... looking, searching for the Stone of Life... Frank! He has a mean expression on his face... he hurries through the maze, directions whispered in his head... someone follows him, invisible... Frank reaches the Stone, Gerard reveals himself... Frank yells, Gerard pleads... Frank grabs Gerard's throat...
Mikey gasped for breath as the vision leaves him as suddenly as it came. Sweat ran down his face. He reached for the bed post at the bottom of the bed to help himself up. With great difficulty he managed to pull himself up onto the squeaky mattress of his bed. He sat there for a few seconds going over what he had seen in his head. There was no time to sit and catch his breath, he thought; Frank would be going in search of the Stone and without Mikey's help he would just end up forever lost or in grave danger in one of the traps that awaiting trespassers. From the vision it was obvious that someone that helped Frank reach the Stone, and that person had to be Mikey considering he was the only one who knew how to get there, aside from Aileen; but he knew Aileen wouldn't lead Frank anywhere since everyone that he had become a Ruin or was simply dead. But what should he do to stop Frank from attacking Gerard? Whatever he decided to do, he dad to act /fast/.
Mikey felt pretty useless as he pulled open his bedroom door and headed down the hallway that lead towards the hidden stone. He stopped dead in his tracks thinking that the only way Frank wouldn't attack Gerard would be for Frank to remember who he really is. He didn't even know if this was possible but knew it was worth atry. After winning an internal battle with himself, he turned and ran in the opposite direction.
He knew he had little time. He ran into his brother's room, knowing he was elsewhere at the moment. His eyes quickly scanned the walls. Mikey found what he was looking for; in a few long strides he crossed the room and pulled a peace of paper off the wall. In it he could see Frank hiding behind a tombstone, surrounded by trees and their fallen leaves. It was from the day Gerard and Frank had met; it could help Frank remember, Mikey thought hopefully. He was about to leave when a dark corner of the room caught his eye. On the floor was a single peace of paper surrounded by dozen's of balled-up papers and peaces of charcoal Gerard had used to draw. Frowning, Mikey walked over to the drawing and picked it up. His heart seized at the image; there was a body on the floor, surrounded and covered in blood that gushed out of the considerable wound on his chest. The blank expression on the man's face was partially covered by blood-soaked hair. Behind the body was a man with his hands up in the air as if pleading to a God that never cared at all. Mikey clenched his jaw as he examined the expression of complete agony on his brother's face, crying over the death of the man he loved. Mikey's hand trembled as he held onto the peace of paper where Gerard had opened up his soul. Forcing himself to look away from the drawing, Mikey jogged out of his brother's room with both papers in hand, hoping they would do the trick.
Sweat ran down Mikey's back as he picked up speed and began running down the hallways he knew would lead to the Stone of Life. Ignoring the false turns and hallways that would only lead to traps, he ran until he reached the opening of the large room. With a quick glance around to assure he was alone, he jogged down the lane between the large pillars that held up the high ceiling. Without going too far, he stopped and placed the two drawings on the floor right in the middle of the lane. He turned and ran out of the room the way he had came, shooting alast glance at the drawings and hoping they would accomplish something.
Breathing heavily more from nervousness than from physical exhaustion, Mikey squatted in a dark corner where he knew Frank would have to pass by on his search for the Stone. Realizing Frank - with no former memories of the Underworld - could very well get lost. Closing his eyes in concentration, Mikey reached his mind out to Frank, showing him an illuminated path that he must follow. He could have lead Frank anywhere, never allowing him to find the Stone at all, but he knew that the only way they'd get Frank back on their side was with a confrontation between him and Gerard. So, Mikey continued on with his self-assigned mission and asked for Frank to enter the huge tent and turn when he was told to do so. Just when Mikey was about to question the accuracy of his vision, a grunting figure passed by, heading down the hallway where he was hidden; Mikey recognized the man's backside immediately, it belonged to Frank. He had made it. It was still a long way before Frank would reach the actual Stone, but Mikey was pleased to see he was succeeding so far. Mikey swallowed hard as he hoped that everything else would turn out just as well.
Mikey's silent dilemma was harshly replaced by a much crueler scene.
A war was going on. People cried out in pain as others attacked with whatever they had at hand. Ruins were blasted backwards while breaking bones of others with their enormous strength. From above the war seemed meaningless, ridiculous. What could be important enough to cause hundreds of people to fight, willing to give their very lives for whatever reason?
Through the battlefield ran one person who wasn't fighting for either side - not in aviolent form, at least. Mikey ran desperately as if he were late for an important date. A giant tornado of water made him stop in his tracks. Someone else Mikey couldn't see sent electricity into the tornado, making a deadly attack. Mikey lunged himself out of the way as it passed by him. He crouched on the floor observing the scene and searching for someone in particular. Suddenly someone crouched in front of him while angrily grabbing fistfuls of his shirt.
"Has everything you've told me just been a big lie? Did you pay the crazy old lady to play along with your mind games too?" Frank shouted over the blasts of exploding objects; Tic Toc was destroying everything in his way.
"Everything is true, Frank, you have to believe me! You'll understand everything soon, Ipromise! But right now, there's something I've gotta do!" Mikey's eyes darted around as he continued to try to locate someone; his nervousness increased with every passing second.
"Explain it to me now!"
Mikey shook his head wildly, still scanning the crowd of people nervously. "There's someplace I've gotta be now!" He escaped Frank's grip and dived into the war; there was no time to lose. Images of his last vision kept flashing in his head reminding him what would happen if he were too late. Mikey ran to the side of the field where he had seen his brother fighting and knew he had to get there before the redhead girl. Mikey's chest hurt as Gerard came into view - the redhead had to be near. He spotted Frank sending telepathic blasts at Ruins next to Gerard. They both turned to face each other and smiled. Anyone watching them at that moment could tell the love they truly felt for each other. The redhead girl appeared a few feet behind Gerard. Mikey's breath caught in his chest. Without a second of hesitation she threw a dagger towards Gerard's back.
Before Mikey knew what was happening, he threw himself in the dagger's path. It hit him painfully in the chest where it entered as if he were made out of butter. Bones in the rib cage shattered at the brutal force with which the dagger had been thrown. Mikey touched his wound and eyed the blood curiously for a second before falling to the floor. He had done it, he had saved his brother's life the only way he could in the middle of such madness. He watched his brother's expression turn into utter shock and the disbelief, and thought about how silly emotions were. Gerard was sad but Mikey was thrilled. His life didn't matter anymore, he had succeeded in his mission. Gerard had much to do, still. Mikey worried about his brother, knowing hard times would continue to come, but found comfort in knowing Frank would help Gerard - they would help each other. They were all they needed to complete /their /mission.
The three of them gasped as the visions left their heads as quickly as they had came. Mikey had used the last of his energy to show Gerard and Frank everything they needed to know. All the secrets Mikey was forced to keep, all the tasks he had to do to keep his brother and the others safe were finally told.
Unable to utter a word about all they had just seen, Gerard continued to hold on desperately to Mikey's hand, shaking his head as if trying to deny that his brother was lying in a pool of his own blood.
Gerard opened his mouth, trying to say something - anything - but found it impossible. Instead he chose to watch helplessly as the blood continued to flow from his brother's chest wound.
Mikey shook his head, telling his brother he didn't need to say anything at all as he coughed softly, spitting up blood. "Y-you were right," Mikey sputtered, while using all his might to focus on his brother's face. "You were right - about the f... the future, Gee... we can change it... it-it's not written in... stone..."
And so, after giving up his life for his brother, Mikey gave the only other thing he could: answers.
Hi. Remember me? I hope so.
I'll spare you the lame excuses of why I've taken so long to update. I just hope you all don't hate me and haven't given up on me or the story.
This song is perfect for this chapter, don't you think? I couldn't have found a better one for it even if I had spent a year looking for one.
Please ignore the mistakes you may find. I've read this over so many times and changed so many things that its driving me crazyyyy. Yesh.
So, thank you so much for the motivating reviews, they really help! Who wants to motivate me a little bit more now? ;) Rate/Review = LOVE