FanFic - Other
"Fallen Angels"
"Three Keys, But Only One Door"
Part 8c
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
8c: Words Cut Deeper Than Steel

"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.’ It was like a slap in the face for all of them.

"What?" it was Alex, the first to find his tongue, as usual.

"I thought I was clear," she said stolidly, "you're going, I'm not. I'll hold the vortex open for you, then I'll close it."

"And what then?" Isabel demanded, angry. "Will we forget you again? Do you expect us to?"

"No," Katie replied hotly, moving away from Michael, who was taking the news hardest. "I don't expect anything from you, I can't. My expectations are simply that you listen to what's best, and that you go."

"Then I'm afraid I'll fall short of those expectations," Alex said decidedly, everyone looked surprised.

"You, at least, I thought would have their wits about them. You don't even know me, past present or future, why should you care if I stay or go?"

"I may not know you, but I have seen how you affect the people around you. You inspire them, and drive them. I would be a fool to miss out on a person like that, possibly a friend like that…" he looked down.

Isabel looked at him for a moment, before standing next to him and seizing his hand. "I stay too. I won't leave the two best things in my life."

"You are so frustrating!" she whirled to face the rest, "I suppose you three feel the same? You want to give up you future, your fate, for a worthless shell of a woman that can't know love?" she was raging and tears began to streak her face. "Well fine!" she threw up her hands, "see if I care, I’m leaving anyway, here, there, whether you're here or not. I have no other purpose. You were the last, I knew that, and I'm sure you knew that. I'll slowly fade, becoming more useless than I am now," she sighed, wiping the sweat that had formed on her brow. "I'll die a worse death knowing you wasted your happiness because you were to stubborn to see the plain truth."

"I can't believe that," Max said slowly, "I've lost you once already today, I can't risk losing you again."

"Yes, you can, and you will, because if you don't, you'll die slowly, from the inside out. I'll leave and you'll blame yourself, you'll wonder, and wonder, until it drives you mad, but I'll be gone from this world, and you'll be left with nothing."

"No," it was Maria's turn to speak now, "no, Katydid, I need you with me, I need your childish smile and sing song voice and pretty face…"

"Pretty," she scoffed, looking up, "you call this pretty? Beautiful?" she touched one of the red gashes that ran across her face. "Look at me, my face looks as if it had been used as a surgeon's test subject. Whatever might have been beautiful in me died today. I'm nothing, so don't waste yourselves." She turned and began to walk away.

"Where are you going?" Michael whispered sadly.

"If it's your decision to stay here, then I'm leaving, getting as far away from emotions as I can. Call me a coward all you like, I still can't deny what I am."

"Then it truly doesn't matter to you that I need you," he replied, broken. It wasn't we need, not Ria needs, or Isabel needs, or Max needs. Just I need. It was enough to stop her feet. She raised her head for a moment and closed her eyes.

"Don't ever even dare think that, Michael," she whispered, whirling to face him, and only him, looking him dead in the eyes. "It matters more to me than the earth and moon that you need me, that you seem to think you love me. But you know as well as I do that it's only conditional, you watched me sentence the one thing that makes you whole to damnation, and I know that if time hadn't drawn out between then and now, that you would loathe to look at me."

"I love you unconditionally," he murmured softly, breaking her gaze.

"There's no such thing as unconditional love," she said, and his own words hit him full force in the chest.

"I thought so too," he said solemnly, "you taught me otherwise."

She screamed in frustration, "You could all go, live happy lives, live eternal lives, without me. You'd eventually forget the wretch that you would have risked perfection for, you'd eventually find something to fill whatever place I seem to waste in your heart."

"What if I don't want to forget?" Michael murmured, fire rising in him, "What if I've been forgetting all my life what it was to love, and forgetting who it was that loved me?" he shouted, "What then? Does it matter what I want, what any of us want?"

"NO!" she shouted back, her voice strained and sore. "I don't CARE if you've been forgetting all your life, because you know what?" she paused, her eyes burning into him. "I've remembered everything, three lives worth of memories are all right here," she tapped her head, "all three lives worth of pain flows through me, and I've had to live with that, to deal with that for eternity!" she shrieked, "ETERNITY!"

She closed her eyes and calmed herself before continuing. "I was fated to live forever, fated to watch you die, watch everything I thought I knew disappear. I was fated to bring that world back together one day, but I was never fated to be a part of it. After I renewed that world I was allowed to die. I've lived your life hundreds of thousands of times over, all in the same body. I am old as the sky, old as the moon. Do you have any idea what bliss it would be to be able to forget these damned memories? To wipe away any traces of who I was, who I am?" she dashed away tears of fury and stared at him. "Would you deny me my one respite? Would you take from me my one true wish?"

"To be with you?" he asked quietly, "to have you smile at me and comfort me and make sure that I'm safe?" He looked at her, and she still had an expectant look in her eyes. He sighed, breaking his own heart as he spoke the words. "No," he sighed and she let the hint of a smile into her eyes. "I love you as much as I need you, and knowing that I denied you anything you truly desired would be as good to me as it would be to you. I'll go; I'll do as you wish in body, but never in mind. You're always where I am. Keeper, work your magic and end this."

Maria and Isabel were crying softly in each other's arms, while Alex and Max watched on in sad silence.

Katie looked at them silently demanding an answer to her unasked question. "Do you all follow him? Or will you make my life more difficult though you try to save it?"

Maria sighed, "You break my heart, Katydid," she murmured, taking the satchel that held the crystal (it had since fully formed, while Katie had been bringing the walls down around herself) and handed it to her. "I'll go with him, for you and myself. I can't stand to see you like this. Take it," she looked at the satchel, "do what you will."

Isabel moved to stand with Maria and Michael, without saying a word, pain in her eyes. Alex and Max both moved slowly towards the rest.

"Well then, now we all can move on to fate." She sighed, shaking out the crystal, which had formed together and become a perfect, shimmering, black rose. She closed her eyes and sighed. Murmuring something foreign she held the crystal up and began to pour her energy into it. White light surrounded it and became a small, swirling vortex of light. It grew and a light warm breeze fell through it.

"GO, now," she commanded, but they could hear the weakness in her voice.

"You can't hold the vortex," Maria said softly, "I can."

Katie's eyes locked with hers and an infinite look of anguish was all that was there. She nodded, sadly. "I could if this damned body wasn't so weak!" she shouted and almost let the vortex close, almost let the crystal shatter; almost let her bliss shatter with it.

"Give it to me," Maria said, "you chose your messiah, let me fill my fate…"

Katie sighed resignedly, letting Maria take the crystal and widen the vortex. It seemed as if she had lost something, yet slowly, crystal wings formed on her back. Katie smiled, touching the hard surface of one. "Bliss," she whispered, before looking at the others.

No one moved, and Maria looked as if she were beginning to weaken.

"Go, now," she murmured, pushing Max towards the vortex, "she can't hold the damned thing together forever you know." Max reluctantly stepped through, and was engulfed in blinding silver light.

"You won't be coming through, will you?" Alex asked, as he was about to step through.

Maria shook her head. "No, it's part of the deal, you guys for me. I love you," she smiled, and let him hug her before he disappeared. Tears began to fall from Maria's eyes, and they shattered into shards of crystal as they hit the floor.

Isabel moved towards the vortex next. "Maria, there's so much I want to say…" she began sadly.

"I know, Izzy, I know, if you only knew how much you meant to me," she whispered, and Isabel embraced her. "I love you more than life," she murmured as the blonde disappeared, sobbing, through the vortex.

Maria looked at Katie. "Go through? Take care of them for me?" she asked, and Katie nodded.

"I cannot deny my redeemer her request," she sighed and the scythe that had belonged to Isabel's keeper appeared in her hand (the silver hared woman had disappeared slowly, unnoticed, with a sad smile on her face). "I grant you oblivion," she smiled, tapping the base of the staff on the ground twice. A swirling black vortex appeared and began to drag things into it. The keeper kissed Maria's forehead tenderly, before passing through the vortex like an Angel of death.

Michael looked at Maria, and she looked back at him. "I'm not leaving you," he said softly.

"Oh yes you are, Michael," she said sternly, "you're going through there and you're going to make sure that everyone I love is fine, and you're going to take care of Katydid for me, and do everything you ever dreamed of."

The dark vortex was pulling on their hair and clothes now, and Michael shook his head.

"I can't live without you!" he shouted over the howl of the swirling winds.

"Damn it, Michael!" she shouted back at him, "this world is dying, falling apart, I have to stay, you don't!"

"Yes I do," he cried at her, tears falling from his eyes. "I need you to breathe!"

"Michael, this is ending, I can't let you die like this!" she countered, praying he would simply listen to her.

"I don't care if the world ends, Maria,” he shouted, tears flowing freely from his deep eyes. "I just want to be with you!"

She broke, and a sob escaped her, "Michael, if you die now, I'll kill myself a thousand times over every moment I think that I let you die!"

He looked at her crying and kissed her deeply, for the last time, clinging to her small frame dearly before throwing himself through the vortex.

Maria sighed, letting a sob drop from her lips, but she left the vortex wide open. She didn't realize it, but she had begun to crack, like a crystal, many facets now danced over her features. Before she knew it, a blinding silver light shot through the vortex she held open, before it snapped shut heavily, and everything was black.

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