Jack had never been in the attic before, but he decided it looked like a good place to hide out. "Sisters." he grumbled. Why did he have to be cursed with three of them? At least one of them lived far away. She could only bug him by phone. He looked around, and seeing that the coast was clear, he climbed up the ladder.
He needed his own space. Didn't anyone understand how important his work was to him? He had been campaigning for months to get his own workspace, and finally his Dad had agreed, on one condition. That he ate dinner with the family every night. Jack had readily agreed, anything to get his own area that would be off limits to the girls, one girl in particular. He was tired of Luna messing with his stuff. He couldn't wait until his new lab was up and running.
Once in the attic he took a look around, it was filled with miscellaneous stuff, books mainly. Jack looked through some of the titles, "Bloviation On HyperInflation." he read out loud. "Hmm, sounds interesting..." Just as he was about to pull it off the shelf, another book caught his eye.
It was a large, and rather thick book. The cover on it was quite plain, and it had no title written on the bind. It had a presence about it though, and Jack could almost swear it was speaking to him. He scoffed to himself. That was utter nonsense of course. Books didn't speak to people, well, not in that way!
Still, he felt pulled towards it, compelled even. Jack didn't like things that had no obvious reasons for them, he was man of logic and science. Logically, he knew it was just another book on the shelf. Still, he scratched his chin, there was something about it...
Science dictated that he should look into it, explore it. Once a thing was explored and understood, it lost its mystery, and the logic behind it became more clear. He grabbed the book, and grunted just a little bit, it was heavier than he expected. He cleared away an old end table, and placed the book on it.
He examined the book carefully, turning it back and forth, almost afraid to open it. Then he chided himself. It was just a book. He blew the dust off it, and then sneezed. Four times. "I hate dust!" He flipped the book open, and stared at it, in disbelief.
It looked like some sort of computer cursor thing, and it blinked, blinked, blinked up at him. He shook his head, sure that he was seeing things. He rubbed his eyes, but no, the cursor was still there, waiting for input. What sort of input? What kind of book was this anyway, it obviously wasn't the average old book!
He hesitated, before proceeding, but proceed he did. His logic was still sound. He lived his life by scientific principles, not mobo dojo stuff. Resolutely he placed his hands over the lighted keyboard, and the resulting flash of light was so brilliant he had to squeeze his eyes shut as he quickly pulled his hands away. What had just happened? He cautiously opened his eyes up again, the book laid there, flat, looking like any other ordinary book.
He knew it. He was going crazy! His sisters had driven him there too! All that prattle and Jack can you do this, and Jack can I borrow this, and Jack, oops you didn't want that did you? It had finally pushed him over the edge.
"Stupid sisters." he grumbled. "Why couldn't I have been born a single, like Jake or Nick?"
"Hello Jack." a voice said behind him.
Jack froze. Sh*t. He was hearing voices now. He closed his eyes, "I'm not crazy, I'm not crazy." he repeated to himself. "I am not hearing anything but my own voice. I'm not crazy!"
He heard a chuckle, and his eyes sprung back open. "No, you're not crazy Jack."
"I'm just a program, a hologram if you will, that book is what you might call a mini-computer. All scientific and logical, I promise you."
Jack swallowed. "A program?"
"Yes, written long before you were born, written just for you though."
Don't turn around Jack, he told himself. Don't turn around. If he saw something, then it might prove he really had gone crazy. Or dreaming. Yeah, he could be dreaming. That made him a feel a lot better. He turned around to face the dream.
"Hello." Jack was proud of how calm he sounded in his dream. The dream was kind of cool, he almost wished it was real.
"It's not a dream." the man said with a smile, almost as if he knew Jack's very thoughts.
Not a dream? It had to be. Wait, there was one way to test it. He pinched himself, hard. "Ouch!" It. Wasn't. A. Dream. He felt a little faint, but refused to embarrass himself by passing out like some sissy girl. "Who are you? And how do you know my name?" His voice might have squeaked a little, but that was nothing to be ashamed of he reassured himself. First the weird book, and now the weird...man?
The man smiled gently. "My name is Ethan, and I know you Jack, because I saw the future long ago."
"Sure you did." Jack said skeptically.
He narrowed his eyes at...Ethan. "Is this some kind of prank? Did Grandpa Alder put you up to this? I don't find it amusing at all."
Ethan shook his head no in amusement. "No, it's not a prank, I can assure you. My physical self has been long gone, but when I finally cracked the time continuum..."
Jack interrupted, "You cracked it? How?" He asked eagerly, forgetting for a moment who he was talking to.
Ethan shook his head slightly. "All in good time, Jack. All in good time. I saw..." Ethan's face fell, "destruction, and chaos. Fire fell from the skies, and smoke poured from the mountains," Ethan paused, then went on, sadly, "bodies filled so many shallow graves I could not count them, and those who were left, they would have been better off dead."
"Sounds awful." Jack observed.
"Yes, yes it is." Ethan said solemnly.
"I determined then, to find out what went wrong, and I spent years, searching through time, careful only to see, and not be seen."
Jack nodded thoughtfully. "Ah yes, the time paradox." Jack had spent many hours thinking about what could happen if people actually did travel through time. Why, if they weren't careful, they could erase themselves from the time stream!
"Exactly. Then I saw it, the day the prophecy spoke of, and it was so clear to me! This was where it all went wrong. If I could change this moment, then it would put the future to rights. Did I dare go in there and change it myself? I thought on this for long hours, and concluded it was too risky. I did not belong in that time, indeed I was to die soon, betrayed and murdered beside my beloved wife."
That startled a laugh out of Ethan. "Indeed, it did."
"I came up with a plan, a daring plan, but one I was sure could work. First I made this hologram self, that you see before you, and I recoded it, and the book. The book was coded to specifically to your DNA, found on a cup you used and set down. It would open for no one but you, because, you Jack, you could understand all of what I need to teach you."
"Like time travel?" Jack asked eagerly.
Ethan shook his head. "No, more important things."
"What could be more important than time travel?" Jack couldn't think of one thing. Here was this guy, standing before him, telling him he knew the secrets to time travel, and he wasn't going to share?
"Your family Jack. I need your help to save them. The danger is already here, it already stalks your family, my family."
Jack was stunned. Save his family? Like he was some sort of superhero? He was a supergeek, but never a superhero. Then Ethan's last words penetrated his brain. "Your family?"
"Yes, my family. You are my family Jack, you and your sisters and brothers, and your Dad, and his Dad, and so on. I am your ancestor, and more than that, I am a Guardian, and sworn to protect this world the best I can. I will do so, but I need your help."
"When do we start?"
"Now, I have a lot to teach you, some new technologies that will aid in our quest. There is simply no way we can do what needs to be done with the antiquated equipment of this age. First, we must put this book away, so no one finds it, and there are many who seek after it. It's time has not yet come. Secondly, speak to no one about this. I cannot emphasize this enough."
Jack nodded his head in agreement. "Time paradox."
Ethan nodded his head approvingly. "Exactly."
Jack had long forgotten his earlier worries of being crazy, or seeing things. He was too busy geeking out. "New technology!" he whispered excitedly. He would have his new lab, new technology, and he was going to be a superhero just like in his favorite comic books. No way would he tell anyone, not to mention the complete mess up of time he could create, he simply didn't want to hear their laughter at him. They would know someday. He was Jack. Superhero.
The one thing Luna loved about Tanner, was that he was so easy to be with. He spent many nights just hanging out at her house, but they wouldn't do anything really. Just watch TV, he enjoyed the same shows she did. Sometimes they would play video games, though Luna admitted to herself, she could be a sore loser. She hated losing anything. Some nights though, if the sky was clear, they would sit outside on the porch and just look at the starry skies and talk.
They would talk about anything. What she wanted from life, what he wanted from life, all the way down to what they had for dinner. No topic was too inane or boring to talk about, they just really meshed as friends. Making Tanner her best friend was one of the best decisions she had ever made. Luna turned to Tanner, who had been mostly quiet that night, just listening to her chatter away, and said suddenly, "I'm going to do it Tanner."
"Do what?" Tanner responded absentmindedly. He was having a heck of a time paying attention to what she had been saying all night. He was just so...nervous. Butterflies in his stomach, bile in his throat, jumping beans in his legs nervous. This was Luna, his best friend, the girl he could tell anything, and did. Except one thing. He loved her. And not just as a friend.
Prom night wasn't very far off, and he really wanted to ask her if she would go with him. As a date, not as a friend. She had broken off with that creep Devin, so now was his chance. He just had to get the words out past the lump in his throat.
"Devin and I are going to sneak away in the middle of Prom, and, you know, make love for the first time."
"We've got it all planned out, it'll be perfect." Luna said dreamily.
Tanner felt like he'd been kicked in the solar plexus. "But, I thought you guys broke up again?"
Luna waved her hand about airily. "We're back together again. It was unfair of me to expect him to wait so long."
"Unfair?" Tanner spluttered. "It was only a few weeks!"
Luna nodded. "I know, totally unfair of me, right? Dev swears though, that once we start sleeping together, he won't be with anyone else. Just me." Luna smiled happily.
Tanner kept a smile plastered on his face, but it probably looked more like a grimace. He didn't understand her obsession with that jerk. He cheated on her, lied to her, and yet Luna made up excuses for him. His hopes of being more might be dashed for the moment, but he was still, and always, her friend. "Luna, he doesn't deserve you. He's a jerk, and the way he treats you pisses me off."
Luna patted him on the cheek. "You're so sweet Tanner, you know that?" Tanner groaned. She wasn't listening, again. "You know, you should ask that girl to the prom. You know, the one that sits beside you in Economics class. Tamara. Or was it Teresa? Terri?" Luna frowned.
Tanner supplied the answer. "Tina."
"Yeah, Tina. You should totally ask her, she likes you." Luna brightened up. "And I have the most amazing idea! We could triple date! You and Tina, Skye and Hawk, me and Devin, it would be perfect."
Tanner inwardly cringed. He couldn't imagine a worse fate than watching the girl he loved fawn over that miserable cur. "I don't think so, Luna."
Her face fell. "Really? Come on Tanner, it'll be fun!"
Tanner shook his head no. "Mr. Jockstrap wouldn't like me hanging out with you guys anyway."
Luna ignored Tanner's pet name for Devin, and instead smiled widely at him. "He does like to keep me to himself."
That was another thing that Tanner didn't like. The guys possessiveness was beyond normal, especially since he couldn't seem to keep his pants up around other girls. "I think you should dump him and go with me to the Prom." Tanner said it jokingly, but he meant every word.
Luna chuckled. "You are so funny Tanner, and I love you for it! You always make me smile. Now, come on, promise me that you'll at least ask Tina to go with you to the Prom. Come on, promise! Please?"
How was it that his heart could lie in shreds and yet he still felt compelled to make her happy? He knew Luna wasn't deliberately cruel, she didn't know what he felt for her. He only wished that he had the courage to say something to her before Mr. Jockstrap barged into her life. Jockstrap boy was bad news, and it was killing Tanner to see how he treated Luna. She deserved better, the moon, the stars, all of it. Instead she had pond scum.
Tanner sighed heavily. Her choice, he reminded himself. Friends they were, and so friends they would stay, he would keep her in his life whatever way he could. He couldn't imagine a day without her. "If it'll it make you happy Luna, I'll ask her."
Luna squeed and wrapped her arms around him. "You'll be the perfect couple, just wait and see!" Then she added to his anguish, and kissed him lightly on the cheek. "I love you Tanner, and you deserve someone special too."
Luna was having the time of her life.
She felt Devon behind her, and she danced suggestively against him. She was having a lot of fun teasing him, determined that he would want her, and only her. She shimmied, and gloried in his grunt of approval. His hands were roaming her body, grabbing her boobs, almost painfully. She laughed, and shook him off. "No hands Dev, remember? You promised, not until later."
"F*ck Luna, you're so hot, and I just want to..." he whispered harshly into her ear all the things he planned to do to her.
Luna shivered in delight. She liked this feeling, this feeling of power. Power over him. It had been the perfect Prom night. She had been crowned Queen to Devon's King, they were the perfect couple. And soon, very soon, the night would be even more perfect. She glanced over at her sister, but Skye was busy dancing with her date. She glanced over at her brother, who had somehow managed to get a girl to dance with him.
He had been different lately. Jack. She didn't know why, it was almost as if he was getting lessons on how to behave socially. She shook away the fanciful thought. Who would Jack get lessons from anyway?
He was even dancing like a proper gentlemen, instead of the ogre she knew he was. He spent most of his time holed up in his new workroom, she had no idea where he had found the time to find a date! Devon growled in her ear, and ground his pelvis into her butt. "F*ck Luna, let's blow this sh*thole, and turn this night into a real party."
Both of her siblings weren't paying any attention to her, it was the perfect time to slip out. They wouldn't even notice she was gone, no one would notice her momentary disappearance from the dance.
She would be back before the dance ended, before anyone noticed she was gone. She would come back a real woman though. She was giddy just thinking about it. "Okay." She breathed. "Let's go."
"F*ck, now you're talking." He grabbed her hand and led her off the dance floor.
Skye closed her eyes, and breathed in the scent of Hawk. He smelled wonderful, and she could happily dance all night with him.
She loved the feeling of his arms around her, the warmth of him as they gently swayed to the music. She sighed happily. This was the best night of her life.
She still couldn't believe she was dating Hawk. Her! She was so plain and dull compared to her much livelier and prettier sister, Luna. She was thankful that Hawk didn't think so. He thought she was beautiful. She blushed. She felt his chuckle.
"Penny for whatever thought that caused that delightful blush." He teased her.
She smiled up at him. "Just thinking of you."
He raised his eyebrows. "Is that all?"
She nodded. "Uh huh, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!" Before he could pursue that further, she added, "Look, they're all ready to take pictures. Let's go take our picture. Please?"
He wagged his finger at her. "This conversation is not through, missy." Then he laughed, and grabbed her hand as they headed for the photographer.
The photographer arranged them until she was satisfied with their positions. "Okay, now, look up at him, and smile, ready? 1...2..."
"...3" The flash went off. "Perfect."
"This has been the best night of my life."
Hawk smiled at her. "Mine too."
"You're late, you know I cannot abide lateness."
"Hello to you too Mother." Hawk said mildly. He kissed her on her good cheek, and took a seat. She had nearly died many years ago, and the ravages of her battle for her life were more clearly seen on her face. "Nice outfit."
She glared at him. "What took you so long? No, never mind," she interrupted before he had a chance to answer, "It's not important. I want your status report."
Hawk shrugged. "It is as you expected. We have definitely found Ivory's children." Raven crowed triumphantly. Hawk ignored it, and continued speaking, giving her the facts in an emotionless voice. "I traced the inquiry into Ivory's file to a computer that belongs to one of the triplets, Jack. He's very intelligent, but not very smart. He's also not interested in finding his mother, so it is the two girls who are behind it."
Raven tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Go on."
"One of the girls is a spitting image of Ivory, and she's rather flighty. An artistic type. The other one..."
Raven interrupted her son. "The one that looks like Ivory, she'll suit me perfectly. Forget the other two, they are not important. I want you to kidnap the girl, and you can rape her until she is with child."
Hawk scowled at his mother.
"Have you learned nothing yet from your previous schemes? We talked about this Mother, you make rash," Hawk ignored the dangerous flash in his mother's eyes, "emotion filled decisions, and where has it got you?"
"You presume too much." Raven said icily.
"No," Hawk countered, "your head is clouded with vengeance, and you refuse to see the bigger picture."
Raven's eyes were stormy. "And what would that be, my dearest, only child?"
"The other daughter's name is Skye."
Raven hissed. "Skye! Skyhawk's child, from the prophecy!"
Hawk inclined his head slightly. "Quite a coincidence, wouldn't you agree? We cannot take this lightly. I have a plan, Mother, and a much better one than you have concocted. One that will take great patience and fortitude on your part."
Raven's lips curled into a snarl. "What is this plan?"
"As tempting as it might be to kidnap Luna, that is the one that looks like Ivory, and bring her back to our home, and make sure she has my child..." Hawk paused, the idea of rape was actually detestable to him. He much preferred women who were willing, he did not have the same power and control issues that his mother did. While the twit was quite hung up over that idiot, Hawk knew he could have her eating out of the palm of his hand. She was entirely too easy to manipulate, which was very obvious when such a chowderhead as Devin Winter could manipulate her.
He sighed. In the end, Luna did not interest him at all, nor did she seem to fit into the prophetic child that his mother had chased after all those years. "...it would not gain us the Book. Without the book, the prophetic child is useless, as you are well aware. Your last attempt to get that Book did not fare so well, and indeed, you nearly died."
Raven growled in remembered humiliation and pain. "He will pay for turning her against me."
Hawk resisted rolling his eyes, as that would just set her off. His mother was overly dramatic at times. Who cared about the man who had captured Ivory's heart? His mother obviously harbored a deep hatred of him. Hawk did not, they were unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Only two things were important, a child born of a wolf's heart, and raven's blood, skyehawk's child, who held the key to unimaginable power. And the Book, that would lead the child. That was what was important, and that is what he kept his focus on.
"I propose that we play the little game Mother. I already hold the heart of Skye, she is hopelessly romantic and filled with such nonsense as true love, faith, kindness, and other such ilk. I will marry her, for that is her price, and I will live among them, like a predator among the sheep. They will not suspect a thing. The Book resides with them, and if I am living there, I will have plenty of opportunities to search for it.
I will have a child with this Skye, and I will train it, as you have trained me. All underneath their noses, and with their approval. Then when the time is right..." His voice trailed off, and he shrugged again.
Raven studied him. "And I suppose that during this time, you will want me to stay away."
"It will not work otherwise, you know this to be true."
"The Kahekilis have some sort of power." She spit the words out. "One I do not understand, that turns people, and makes them forget their purpose. Gives them lofty ideals. How do I know that you will not fall under their spell?"
"Am I not your son? Raised by your hand only, from the time you gave birth to me?"
"It is not my blood running through you that concerns me. It is your father's, and his softness. Can you stand the test, and swear you will be by my side on that Day?"
Hawk opened himself up. "Read me then Mother. Read my thoughts, and know my strength of will." He felt her in his mind, recalling his memories, he held nothing back, not even his attraction to Skye.
She nodded, and rose from her seat. "Very well. We will do this your way."
"No spies Mother. Nothing. Either you trust me totally, or kill me now and be done with it. We will do this my way, and that includes zero interference from you. One little misstep, and you will ruin everything."
Raven was silent for a long moment. "Agreed. I look forward to when next we meet, do not disappoint me Hawk."
Colin glowered at the two males sitting on the couch in front of him. Once was a jacka*s and a d*ckhead, and he didn't understand what his daughter Luna saw in him. The other, was too f*cking perfect, with his manners and submissive behavior. Colin could smell bullsh*t a mile away, and the kid was filled with it. There was no fear in the kid's eyes, and there sure as h*ll should have been.
He would have liked to bury them both in the backyard. Or beat the sh*t out of them, just to give them a little taste of what happened to guys that hurt his little girls. He scowled. Skylar and Luna were constantly telling him they were not little girls anymore, but the f*ck they weren't. They would always be his little girls.
He knew though, that he had to walk a fine line. If he pushed too much, then he pushed them away from him, and toward the little a*sholes on the couch. He wrestled with that balance constantly. Take the smug b*stard that Luna claimed she loved, all he needed were a few seconds with that punk, and he would fix that attitude right up. The sh*theads just needed to give him a reason...
"We'll have them back ten minutes before curfew." the one called Hawk said.
Colin eyed him, his hands felt twitchy.
That one he liked least of all. No one was that perfect, and it made him wonder what the h*ll he was hiding. "Jack?" Colin hollered. "Get your as...butt down here." Jack was playing chaperone again, a role he absolutely hated. Colin had given his daughters a choice though, either Jack went with them, or he did. Both had quickly voted for their brother.
Colin was counting on his son to make their dates as unenjoyable as possible, which Jack normally did without even trying. Jack made him f*cking proud. He heard Skye's voice as she came into the room.
"Daddy, you're behaving right? Being nice to our guests?"
"And why wouldn't I be? Is there a reason? And I think you should change that shirt, it shows off too much of your shoulders."
Skye rolled her eyes. "Daddy, this isn't the middle ages! What I'm wearing is considered very conservative."
"I think flour sacks should be the new fashion rage. Why don't you start it Skye?"
Before Skye could answer, Luna bounded the stairs. "I'm ready!"
Colin glanced over at Luna as Devin stood up. "There's my Angel." Devin said with a smile.
Angel. Angel. Angel. The word reverberated around in Colin's head.
Images flashed through his mind, faster than he could grasp, one after another. Angel. Angel. It was his voice, speaking to a woman.
Angel...Angel...Angel...He could feel her.
He could see her. His Angel.
Colin felt his vision receding, the blessed darkness was coming for him.
Only one thought remained. She was gone. Gone. Gone.
Notes: So---somewhat of a long chapter, sorry about that. Lots going on though, so I hope you all didn't notice the length too much, lol
Just to be clear, he's not dead. He just passed out. The combo of seeing Luna, who looks so much like her mother, coming into the room, just as Devin calls her an Angel, well, it was a bit much for him to take, lol =) Does that mean his memory is coming back? Maybe...
So, all three kids have their own storyline, because I like to complicate things. XD Should be fun weaving it all together and yet keeping it straight, haha
So, some quick answers, of a sort. Devin is a jerk yes, but more than that. I only hint at it using Tanner's words, but Devin is very possessive, and that is not a good sign. Neither is it a good sign that Devin doesn't like her to spend time with anyone but him, he is effectively trying to isolate her from family and friends. Luna thinks it shows he cares, but Devin only cares about Devin.
Did I make Hawk a bad guy? Yes, he's a bad guy. *hides* Sorry! This was the trouble I hinted at in earlier chapters though, that the sisters may attract the wrong attention. And they did. The prophecy does tie in with what Jack is doing.
Speaking of Jack---I had so much fun spending that little bit of time with Ethan again. I know, I keep bringing him back, but hey, he was a genius! He's not alive, it's just a program, so no repeats of Gen3. And I'll probably not show him again, just know that Jack is learning lots of stuff from him.
I am going to try to tie up some loose ends, as I start closing in on the finishing line of this challenge.
And of course next chapter, we'll find out if Colin does regain his memory, and if he does, what happens then?
Thanks for reading, and for leaving comments! If you all have any questions, ask away, and I'll try to answer them. Unless it would be a spoiler, lol