FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"A Few Degrees Shy of Heaven"
Part 30
by Christina
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing.
Summary: ***If you haven't read Road Trip, much of this will not make sense***
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
"I knew you would come," a child's angelic voice carried throughout the tall trees causing Maria to spin around in search of it's owner. Her eyes darted in all directions until finally there she was. Alice. It worked! I can't believe it worked!

Maria took a few shaky steps towards the child who was once again playing with the flowers and her breath caught in her throat. Now that she knew who the child was, it made it almost impossible not to burst into tears. The resemblance was uncanny. Those eyes, those lips, that hair; she was the perfect combination of Michael and herself. How had she not seen it right away before?

"Oh?" Maria questioned as she reached the child, chastising herself for the uneven sound of her own voice to her hears. She sounded so frightened and melancholy at the same time. She mentally commanded herself to be strong. "How did you know?"

Alice looked up into her face and shrugged. "I just did." She then held out her hand and said, "Sit down with me?"

Maria mustered a smile and took the child's miniature hand in hers. The minute they touched, Maria felt that same current run through them; the one she had only experienced with Michael. That confirmed it beyond a doubt, this was her baby. She cleared her throat and took a seat right next to her daughter, crossing her legs under her. "So, what are you doing?" Maria asked, unable to get to the point of her reason for being there just yet.

"I'm giving them names to help me remember them when I'm gone."

"Who's them?"

"The flowers. They're my friends."

Maria looked at the patch of colorful wild flowers Alice was referring to and her eyes settled on a particularly lovely tiger lily. "What's his name?" Maria asked.

Alice giggled gaily. "Silly, it's not a he. It's a she. I named her Dorsa."

Maria frowned. "Dorsa? That's a strange name. Where did you learn that name?"

The child frowned as well and then looked around in fear.

Maria was instantly alert and even though none of this was real, she was flexing her limbs, ready to defend her child. "Alice? What is it?"

Alice stood up and leaned over to Maria's ear. "HE comes in my dreams."

"Who's HE?" Maria asked tightly, feeling rage boil inside of her.

"I don't know. But HE scares me. HE said that I have to listen to HIM, that I have to learn stuff from HIM."

"What kind of stuff?" Maria asked, her heart wrenching as she watched Alice burst into tears.

"HE showed me this book and HE said that I need to learn the stuff in the book," she sobbed. "That I have to protect you. And I will, I love you."

Maria couldn't hold back the tears any longer. "I love you too."

The child's face became hopeful all of the sudden. "Then you know who I am?"

Maria nodded and tried to smile herself but she was sure it came out wobbly. "Yes, you're d- daughter."

The little girl smiled back and threw her tiny arms around Maria's neck. "Mommy!"

Maria held her back with all her might as they both sobbed in each others arms. She didn't know how long they held each other but eventually, she forced herself to pull back to look into those bright green eyes which were shining with tears. "Alice," she whispered. "You need to listen to me, do you understand? You need to tell me what he has been telling you. I need to know so that he can't hurt you anymore."

Alice bit her tiny lower lip, so similar in shape to Michael's, and shook her head. "HE doesn't tell me anything. He shows me things. Drawrings."

"Can you show me these things?"

Alice nodded and grabbed her hand, closing her eyes tightly. Maria closed her eyes as well and the vision was almost immediate. Shapes, dozens of them appeared before her eyes. Familiar shapes. Like the ones Ashtar had shown her in a book earlier that day before she had began to practice with the dagger. He had wanted to know if she could tell him what they meant but she couldn't. The vision ended almost as quickly as it had come and Maria opened her eyes. "Do you know what those shapes mean?" she asked urgently.

"They tell me that daddy is a bad man. That he wants to hurt you. Is that true?"

Maria's eyes widened in horror. I'll kill him! How dare Nacerro try to turn Alice against Michael! "No honey," she said quickly. "Your daddy is a very good person. He would never hurt me or you. He wants to protect us, not hurt us. He loves us, do you understand that?"

"But the man says that daddy wants to kill you and that I have to stop him; that I have to take you with me so daddy can never find you."

"Baby, I told you, HE's a liar! HE wants to hurt all of us but daddy would never do anything to us. Where does the bad man want you to take me?"

Alice bit her tiny yet full lower lip and wrinkled her forehead in a way that reminded Maria so much of Michael. A pang of pain slashed itself through her heart at the thought of Michael but she quickly pushed it away. "He said that when he tells me to, I'm supposed to do this and it will take us away where daddy will never find us." The little girl stood up and focused on a branch of wood that had just apparently fallen from a tree. She took several deep breaths and then sucked in a final breath before unleashing her powers.

The magnitude of the power that emitted from the small child was enough to knock Maria flat on her back. "Jesus," she gasped as she struggled to sit back up and instantly her eyes darted to the piece of wood on the ground. It looked normal at first and she glanced to Alice questioningly.

"Watch, mommy. Watch," she said, the eagerness of a child in want of approval ringing loud in her ears.

So Maria watched the piece of wood for several seconds and a strangled cry exited her throat as she watched the branch wither and die before her eyes, leaving behind only a decrepit stump.

She looked sharply at Alice and gasped, "What did you do to it?"

The child's proud smile faltered. "Uh, I did what HE told me to do. HE told me that if I do this than we could leave our bodies and go somewhere that daddy would never find us."

Maria couldn't believe it! Nacerro meant to trick this innocent child into killing the both of them! What kind of sick fuck was he? She shook her head and then reached out for Alice's slender arms. "Baby, you have to listen to mommy. You can't ever do that again! The bad man may have told you that if you did this, we will would save us but he was lying to you. You have to believe me, princess; if you do this, something very bad will happen. Don't listen to him, do you understand?"

Alice frowned but slowly nodded. "Okay, mommy. I believe you."

Maria sighed in relief and then relaxed, releasing the girl. "Don't listen to him," she repeated, suddenly remembering her purpose for coming. "Oh yeah," she whispered. "Alice, do you know why I came here?"

Alice nodded again. "I know," she replied quietly.

"Why did I come, then?" she asked.

"You came to say good-bye?"

Maria closed her eyes and nodded sadly. "Yes, Alice. I came to say good-bye and that I'm sorry."

"Why are you sorry?"

Maria looked up. "Because I don't know if I'm going to make it through the night. I...I'm going to go face the bad man. I am going to try to make it so that he can never scare you or hurt any of us again but I don't know if I'm strong enough to fight him. If I'm not, I'm going to..." she paused, swallowing the hot lump in her throat.

"You're going to die if you aren't strong enough, right?"

"Yes. And if I die that means that..."

Alice finished her sentence for her. "I die too?"

Maria's eyebrows raised in shock. She knew this was only a dream but her daughter's perceptiveness was amazing. "Yes, baby. You will die too."

The little girl pouted as she lowered her head to the ground and let out a shaky breath.


Alice looked up and this time her face was different. She looked...brave. "It's okay mommy. I want you to do what you have to. I really don't mind if I die. At least I got to meet you."

Maria couldn't hold back anymore. She tried to fight the tears but it was impossible. Within seconds, the hot tears that had been swimming in her throat climbed their way to her eyes and began to flood again.

"Don't cry, mommy," Alice pleaded but Maria only cried more when she saw Alice's small chin begin to quiver. "I love you no matter what you do. I want to protect you."

Maria wiped her face and then spread her arms in welcome for her daughter, wanting to give her one more embrace before she had to leave. Alice stumbled forward but their bodies never connected.


Maria opened her eyes and sat up with a start. It was gone! The trees, the grass, Alice; all gone.

She raised a trembling hand to her face and gasped when she encountered wet trails of tears streaming down her face. "Oh God," she muttered and hung her head in her hands, letting herself cry them out. She got to say good-bye like she planned but she never imagined that it would be so hard. And, she had also learned Nacerro's plan.

Suddenly she looked up and glared into the darkness. That bastard! How can he be so evil? Shaking her head in disgust, she tossed the illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland that was resting on her lap aside and turned on the jeep. She threw it into gear and slapped the button for the headlights on and peeled out of the parking lot of the supermarket plaza she was parked in.

Once on the road, she sped through town towards her destination and possible final resting place with only one thought in her mind. That son of a bitch is going down!

Part 29 | Index | Part 30
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