FanFic - Other
"Fallen Angels"
"Three Keys, But Only One Door"
Part 8b
by Cotti
Disclaimer: Not mine, I can only play :)
Summary: A new take on Max, Isabel, and Michael's origins.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
8b: Out of the Box

"NO!" Isabel cried, pulling away from Alex and facing her keeper. "I'm not leaving him!"

Alex smiled and came up behind her, "Isabel, look, I know you have to leave me, it's ok, I love you, I think…" he paused, "I think I always will, if you have to leave, then leave, I don't want to keep you from… wherever it is you belong."

"I belong with you!" she cried, throwing herself into his arms. "I don't care if I don't go home, I don't care if Liz died to do this, I don't care if I get taken away and tested, all I want is you!" her voice was trembling, tears in her eyes, and Alex felt himself weaken. "All my life, past, present and future, I've never had anyone that's cared about me as much as you, nobody's told me they've loved me…" she let a strangled sob escape her throat and continued, "all I want is someone to be happy with…"

Alex looked pleadingly at the keeper who smiled sadly and spoke. "Isabel, my child, my love, you know that he can come with us," she smiled at the boy, who nearly collapsed from happiness.

Isabel looked up, "he can?" she asked, not moving her gaze from his eyes, "you will?"

"I'll always be with you Isabel," he smiled, kissing her forehead, "and I'll always love you."

She clung tightly to him as the keeper stepped to the glass, her scythe appeared in her hands and she raised it to the glass. "Time to come out," she murmured, raising the blade. She brought it down on the wall, and though it didn't do anything to the walls surface, Katie awoke from her sleep with a hollowed scream. A deep gash ran crosswise from shoulder to hip down her back, blood flowed freely onto the floor.

"Ow," she said, closing her eyes for a moment before standing. The other keeper looked Furious, letting the scythe disappear, she placed a hand to the wall, and before Katie could protest, a blinding flash of silver light filled the room. Again, the wall went untouched, though Katie lay sprawled across the room from where she had stood.

"Christ," she muttered, again standing, her leg collapsed from under her and she looked down, "you broke my leg," she said, almost disinterested. She placed a hand on the weak limb and twisted the bone back into place without so much as a whimper. She stood again, her face not conveying the pain she was in.

"What did she do to the wall?" Max asked, touching the barrier, the girl winced and arched her back.

"I'm not sure. Try something else," she said to the keeper.

Topolsky laughed, having woken up with the scream. "Whatever you inflict on any of the walls is redirected into her body, every touch, every blow, she feels it tenfold."

"I may be bleeding, but I'm not dead. I could still kill you yet," Katie threatened, glaring at the woman. "Try something, anything."

The other keeper sighed and touched a finger to her forehead; a bright light filled the room and let out a flash of searing white fire onto the wall.

Katie collapsed with a small moan and looked up. "I think the bitch may be telling the truth," she sighed as she stood, her hair was singed, her face red and her wounds stung from the residual heat. "You'll have to leave without me."

"I can't open the vortex, you know that," Isabel's keeper said solemnly, "and you won't die easily, especially not by my hand. I'll not kill a fellow keeper."

"Fine, let me take a shot at it," she grinned down at Topolsky, "feel good?" she asked mockingly.

"Just peachy," the agent spat, sitting up.

"Feel good enough to die then?" Katie laughed and she placed a hand on the woman's heart. She drew out the woman's life, the steady beat of her heart slowing until it stopped and Kathleen Topolsky lay dead on the floor.

She looked up at the shocked and terrified faces of her friends and fellow keeper, "oh don't act so surprised, you knew I would do it," she said as she planted her feet solidly on the ground.

"You're not," the other keeper said sternly, "if what she said was true, you won't touch the walls and will probably end up killing yourself."

"Probably, but there's a chance I'll actually do something right in my life."

"You've had a long life, Katie, you've done many good things, many right things, including taking your charges and myself this far. Don't kill yourself on a whim."

"It's not a whim, dear, and you know if I die then you'll be able to open the vortex," she smiled brightly, and it contrasted the rest of her. A broken leg, being favored unconsciously, a bleeding gash along her back, along with light burns across her flesh and abundant slash wounds across her body. The smile seemed to make the hideousness of the situation fade with its stark contradictory defiance.

"You know that I love everything about life," she said, to no one in particular and everyone in the room, "I love seeing you smile, hearing you laugh, letting you cry," she smiled. A tear fell to the floor, "you make me feel, you let me feel, and for that I can't thank you enough." She looked at Max, and then at Alex, and smiled. "I wish I could have known the two of you, you live within their hearts and mean more than light and dark. She loves you Maxie, and she's safe. I'll protect her for you, and give her the future she was denied."

No one spoke. No one could, how to follow such a profession of love, honesty, how to say goodbye to your freedom, it's something you can't articulate. Something you can't touch, you won't dare, because of fear, deep, cold fear that you'll lose the warmth that the words bring, that they give you. Fear that you'll never be able to answer with enough passion, that there aren't enough words to describe such emotions.

So the lot of them watched at their keeper, their friend, their sister, and their confidante prepared to die. A wash of calm came over Katie, and she placed her hands together, her wrists pressed tightly together, while her palms and fingers were splayed out to the sides, parallel to the floor.

She murmured something incoherent, before looking directly at Isabel, mouthing 'I love you,' to her before a furious squall of wind filled the room. It pressed against the walls and Katie suppressed a scream as the force came at her from all sides, her hair flailed around her, despite the stiffness the dried blood caused. Still she persisted, her muscles tensed, forcing stronger winds to escape her fingers.

The walls began to crack and Katie moaned in agony. She increased the pressure of the winds and slowly pieces of the clear barrier began to tumble down around her, towards her, and outwards towards the six onlookers.

A block of the strange clear wall fell on Katie, and Maria cried out, but the girl didn't falter, though the wounds on her back were now filled with dust and were still bleeding profusely.

Michael pulled Maria away from a falling part and Max stepped back unconsciously. Isabel refused to move on her own, and, when a large part of the wall came hurtling towards her, Alex shoved her aside, only to take her place beneath the fallen debris. Isabel moaned and shoved the piece aside, pulling him into her arms. She murmured something repeatedly, but he couldn't hear her, all he could see was her beautiful face, marred with tears.

"Don't cry," he choked, and brushed away the wetness. Isabel couldn't hear him, but let more tears fall at his actions.

Katie's body felt as if it was being crushed. Pushed in from all sides, she felt like she would implode. She desperately forced more and more of the wind out of her, and suddenly the last resistance the walls held up crumbled, and her cage crumbled with it. Briefly, the other members of the room were beated down with a violent wind, and were abruptly made aware of only a fraction of the pain the girl mist have felt. Yet she stood, her hands now dangling limply in front of her, she was breathing heavily, dragging in the relatively fresh air like a drug. She looked up at the stunned and admiring faces of her companions and smiled a weak smile, trying to take a step forward.

She stumbled, but caught herself, and laughed bitterly. "You were right," she rasped, struggling to stand straight, her back howling in protest. "I don't die easily," she tried to laugh; her throat wouldn't let her, changing the mirthless laughter into a fit of coughs. Her body desperately wanted to collapse, but she wouldn't allow it.

She struggled forward when no one moved. "You all stuck to the spot, or just glad to see me?" she tried to laugh again, but this time the coughs were worse, and she collapsed, despite herself. Her leg was aching, a cold bone-piercing pain shooting through her. Her back was bleeding faster now, trying to remove the dust from the wound, and her skin burned furiously, raw and red from the force of the wind. She grappled with her protesting body to stand again. To her surprise she found strong arms hauling her to her feet, and gentle hands touching her face.

"Katydid," it was Max, holding her close. "You're dying," he said, and she laughed.

"If didn't die from that, I most certainly won't die sitting on my ass in here!" she coughed, almost collapsing in her brother's arms. "I have to open the vortex," she muttered, pushing away from Max's embrace, only to be engulfed in another one. Softer this time, but no less desperate.

"Izzy," she laughed, "Izzy, Izzy, Izzy!"

"I love you too, Katydid!" Isabel sobbed, "God you must hurt."

"Not really," she laughed, lying easily, it didn't really hurt, the physical pain didn't register as anything much, something droning in the back of her mind, reminding her that she was really there, that it wasn't some dream. She found it mainly annoying now, as it inhibited her abilities.

Again, she pulled away, and again she found herself engulfed in an embrace, this time of two people, and she laughed richly as she was sandwiched between Michael and Maria.

"If you ever do that again," Michael began, clinging to her, "I swear I'll skin you!"

"You scared us to death, Katydid," Maria sighed, ignoring the fact that her shirt was soaking through with blood.

"Fine, fine, never let myself get caught and taunted by some bitch that won't let me out of a box," she tried to chuckle, but it came out a cough, she realized her ribs were cracked, at least, since there was an odd pain in her side whenever she breathed. "You guys always spoil my fun!"

She pulled away, expecting to have finished with embraces, but found herself face to face with Alex Whitman. He gently wrapped his arms around her and smiled. "Thank you," he murmured, letting her free of her own accord.

She looked at him, puzzled, "what did I do?"

"You made her happy," he said, looking at the floor, and Katie had to smile.

"It was fated," she shrugged, "I simply played my part. I deserve no thanks," she frowned, moving away.

"You do," Michael said softly, sadly, "I don't know why you see yourself as you do," he paused, forcing back emotions.

"See myself as what?" she asked coldly, "I see myself for what I am, Michael," she continued, looking away from the group, at the debris that remained of the wall. "An unnatural force, filling an unnatural fate. I have no value, no worth, I'm loved by nothing and no one, and I can't have what I truly want."

"And what is that?" he asked, having moved close to her, close enough to touch her, but he didn’t.

"I want what I was denied," she said, looking directly into his eyes now, her pain was perfectly articulated in those deep green pools. "I want heaven and earth and the moon and stars, I want a man to love and be loved by. I want a child, not a charge, which I can care for. I want freedom from this…" she dashed away tears, "this caged destiny!"

Michael shut his eyes and unsuccessfully willed away the vision of the anguish in her gaze, and the tears that threatened him.

"I only really want one thing though," she murmured, stepping within a hair's breadth of him, "I want love."

"You have that," he whispered, so soft, "I love you, Maria loves you, Izzy does, Max, even Alex who doesn't even know you!" he looked up with anger in his eyes, it was matched with her pain. "Does that mean nothing to you? Does our devotion, our love, our complete faith even cause a grain of contentment within you stone heart? Do you even recognize it?" he demanded.

"That's a cold thing to say," Isabel murmured but was ignored.

"No," Katie whispered, and the mix of anguish and malice in her voice broke Michael's heart. Her eyes still the mask of pain, were now also clouded with anger. "I have never known love. Not once in my entire aged life have I felt the warmth that you do when she looks at you," she looked past him to Maria. "I know nothing of love, how could I see it if I don't know what I'm looking for?" her voice was ice, masking the quiver that threatened to break her resolve.

No one could speak. No one knew what to say. Each ached to know how much she had done for them, how much they cared about her, but couldn't.

Michael looked at the floor, "I love you," he murmured, so softly, in a raw, wretched voice. "You've been a mother to me when I had none, a friend when I needed one, a sister and a guardian. You're more then I deserve, the only family I want and need," he let out a sob and the world around him shook, everyone could tell that this was not the same, stoic Michael Guerin that they had known, but a different, strange Michael. "I'm sorry I never told you."

Katie tilted his chin up, staring into his eyes, "You were my only friend when I was dragged into this wretched, worthless fate. Why? I don't know, and I can't honestly say I care. I adore you, Michael, you were everything to me, you brought Isabel into my life, Isabel who was my sister and my mother for my entire life, and Ria," she smiled, tears breaking through the mask of forced indifference. "Ria who I would have died for, Ria who I killed…" she turned away. "I don't deserve what I want, and every fiber in me tells me not to want what I deserve. You all have to go now, this world isn't yours any more than it is mine now," she sighed, "but I won't be coming with you…"

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