FanFic - Other
"Breathing for the Stars"
Part 1
by Ashleigh Lou
Disclaimer: When did money start growing on the trees?
Summary: Michael POV, sequel to "Jumping The Moon."
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: I really love this fic. However, NO ONE ever gets it! Ok, maybe two people have understood it since I've written it. If you DON'T want to ruin your *own* take on it and think you get it, email me and we'll see :)
When you get to this place, they take away your emotions first thing. Eventually you get them back; the reason for removing them in the first place is one I'm not sure of. But as soon as you begin to feel again, they come for you and you vanish from this place forever.

By this place, I mean -- well, what do I mean? It's a place of transition. Somewhere between heaven and hell, possibly. But I think it's a little like earth. You go through the motions every day, and most people never pay attention to those who matter most.

There are no angels and demons where I'm at right now. And like I said, there are no emotions at first. No one gets hurt, because no one cares about anything in particular. Take Isabel, for example. She hasn't been here too long, but all she's done is file her nails. Apparently, even in death, beauty is a must.

But, it hasn't hit her yet. It doesn't really get to you until you've been here a while. It positively smacks you in the face when you see a new arrival conjure up the image of his family, then shrug as if they were strangers and walk away from the image.

It hit me some time ago, so I guess they'll come for me soon. They will walk through the door of my sleeping chamber (and yes, we need sleep here too) and give me one of two messages from an unseen source.

If I've served a purpose and lived a good life, they'll bring me my robe. Not just any robe, however. We've all seen the snow white robes worn by the few who are taken to paradise. It's made of the softest satin, and fastened by a featherlight golden chain. I suppose the robe is a symbol of goodness, of a duty served. They will urge me to slip the robe on, and then they will say, "You have lived a worthy life, Michael Guerin. Come home with us."

On the other hand, the powers that be may decide that I'm a lost cause, a soul not worthy of heavenly pleasure. They'll attach shackles to my wrists and ankles, and say, "You have not served your planet. You will be taken to the place of eternal darkness."

I see more and more people escorted to hell -- if that's what it is, anyway. I don't know about a one true God or an evil lord in a fiery pit. But, I do know that there is something else, somewhere else to go after this. I have the suspicion that where I am now is just like an intergalactic waiting room for the dead.

But before I'm taken to my final destination, I have a few things to say.

Welcome to my world, Maria. I've been watching you since the moment they pronounced me dead. Of course, when I first came here I didn't care. But then everything I had felt on Earth came flooding back, and I began watching your life almost like a daytime soap opera.

I saw our daughter's first steps, and her first ballet recital. And it was around the time that I began to feel again that Eliza started junior high school. I saw her get drunk for the first time, and I saw her come home crying from her first date. I saw her throw a handmade napkin holder at you in a bout of anger. And then I saw you sit on the kitchen floor for two hours after Eliza stormed out, clutching the napkin holder and staring blankly at the back door. I watched Isabel come to you and plead for you to take her daughter. And I saw you treat Marybeth just like you did our own child.

So our daughter is all grown up now. She got married three years ago, and soon we'll be grandparents, I suppose. Marybeth will be the valedictorian of her class next year. Your shop was sold and the money was spent on the DeLuca School of Voice -- something you'd wanted all of your life. I know all these things.

If you haven't noticed yet, Maria, time moves different here than it does on Earth. Thirty years have passed there since I departed, but in this place it only seems like a few weeks.

And to answer what you've always wondered, yes, I *did* know beforehand about my sudden expiration. Call it suicide, if you'd like. And while you're at it, call me obnoxious, but I'd like to believe I saved lives in the process.

I guess this is where I explain everything.

When you became pregnant with Eliza, you had those visions. I knew about them, and I had them too, believe it or not. It confused the hell out of me for a while, for these were some seriously weird flashes. But one thing was certain in them, and that was your pregnancy.

Did you know, that we were supposed to spend the rest of our lives together, Maria? Do you care right now? Imagine that -- me, Stonewall Guerin, coming to my senses. We were supposed to get married three days after high school graduation.

You're wondering, "What the fuck? What was so wrong about forever, Spaceboy?" I know you're thinking that.

Well, here's what's so damn wrong with forever, Maria.

I told you I had visions, too.

In them, I saw us live the fairy tale. You were to become a pop singer, and I would paint some images that would blow the art world away. We had everything: expensive cars, houses on each coast, and more fame than we bargained for. I saw all of it.

But, we were childless. Soon after learning of your pregnancy, the Crashdown was supposed to be robbed. You got shot, just like Liz, and almost died. Our child didn't make it. We never had any more children, not that it mattered.

I wonder, did your own visions tell you any of this?

No? Didn't think so. After all, when I saw these images of our future, I knew what I had to do. I made up my mind immediately, so automatically everything was different.

And that's how I ended up here, between the floors of eternity. Everyone comes here; whether you worship God or Buddha, or if you're an alien hybrid or the King of Spain, you still end up here. It's the rest stop for the afterlife.

Your green eyes are curious, the look on your face a bit confused. I know you're wondering why I, for all practices and purposes, killed myself.

You see, Max and Tess, Isabel and I -- we weren't meant to save the world. Liz is actually the one that changed all that. Did you know about that? It was a big, hairy mess and it kept Liz and Max apart for a long time. But as you know, in the end it all worked out.

Anyway, Liz changed the future in one night, by pretending to sleep with Kyle. You probably know more specifics about that one, but here's the thing: the future was changed forever.

Somehow, by that change, it has fallen upon our descendants to fight the battle between worlds. Eliza, our daughter. Tess and Kyle's brood of hellions. Isabel's Marybeth, the daughter she never really knew. Max and Liz's quiet, studious son.

So you see, Maria, Eliza had to live. I saw this, and I don't know why. I don't know why I viewed our future and you only saw bits of it. I've wondered, "why me?" every day since I've been here.

So, yes, I did something for the greater good. A few would expect that from me. Most wouldn't.

You know, I could hear you, Maria, in my head; every time you whispered my name in the night, I would awaken from my own sleep in a sweat. And every time you told Eliza, "You're just like your father!" it rang like a bell in my ears. I have listened to you forever, Maria, whether you realized it or not. I couldn't ignore you if I wanted to, and I never would.

They're coming for me -- I can feel it. None of what I've said to you will mean anything just yet -- how could it, when you're numb? But just wait, Maria. Your emotions are going to come back quickly in this place when you realize what might have been, what was, and what is to be.

Wait until you begin to feel again, and then you'll know what I'm talking about. It's the reason we lived in the first place, you know.


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