So this is the last chapter! This story's been a bit of a mess, but I'm glad I get to finish it.
Thank you everyone who has supported me through it, namely scone104, charasweet, TomFieldings and IWishICouldBeNumberFive, for your time and thoughts on this story...
...I'll come back, when you call me, no need to say goodbye..."
Joseph held his sister's hand tightly as their mother ran through the crowds. Kiara was crying, and everytime he tried to wipe away his own tears, one look at her would set him off again.
Rhea forbid herself from crying in front of her children. She could sense their mounting fear, and she knew had to be strong for them, even if it was difficult. She was finding it harder and harder to fight the hoards of people flowing out of the buildings that lines the street, and decided it was time to take a risk.
Teleportation wasn't a perfect science, and she wasn't sure what she would teleport the into, but right now, she was desperate. She stepped into an alleyway and set her children down on their feet. "Joseph, Kiara, I'm going to teleport us there, ok? Like how I did at your birthday party", she told them and they nodded, reaching for her hands.
Kiara remembered the feeling of the floor falling out under her and the twist in her gut that went with teleporting, and this time was no different. She closed her eyes an ground her teeth in an effort to reduce the aftereffects, but to no avail. When they appeared outside the LDA building, she had to take a second to stop her head from spinning while her mother looked at the scene around them.
The LDA building was almost completely destroyed with fires burning in the few structures that had managed to remain standing. It appeared as if the Mogs had targeted the more populated areas in an attempt to spread the panic, and judging by the crowds of fleeing people in the street, it was working. But here and there a few stood firm against the frightened masses and fought the beasts and soldiers from the ships above, but they were grossly outnumbered and overwhelmed before they could react.
Rhea scanned the horizon for any sign of the Cepans, and began to wonder if they'd managed to get out of the building in time. She glanced down at her kids and confirmed that they had their wristbands on, so she knew they wouldn't have a problem finding them in case they did get out. Watching the battle playing out before her, she knew they could not afford to wait any longer. Conrad and Reynolds would have to come to the airstrip. After deciding on which route to take, she bent down and took her children back up into her arms.
She turned towards the crowds and was about to set off when she heard someone calling out to her. She whipped around to see the two Cepans running towards her and started towards them. "Where were you?", she asked them and Reynolds replied, "The LDA was attacked... something happened to the grid and we needed to get some tech out before we lost all defense capabilities". She nodded her head and motioned for them to take their respective Garde.
Kiara had been silently replaying everything that had happened so far in her mind, and hadn't even realised her Cepan was standing next to her, until he tried to pull her out of her mother's arms. She let out a scream of pure panic and gripped her mother tightly, the situation reminding her vividly of what had happened with her father. She heard a similar shout and saw Joe fighting to hold on as well, tears streaming down his face. "No! Don't go mommy, please!", he cried and she began to sob.
"I'm not going anywhere, I'm going to follow you guys, ok? Now let Conrad and Reynolds carry you so we can get out of here", their mother replied and Joe reluctantly let go. Conrad managed to pry Kiara away and once both Garde were with their respective Cepans, they set off. Between the three of them they managed to reach the airfield without too much trouble or injury. Rhea saw the ship, fueled up and ready to go and the line of young Garde and Cepans waiting before it. It wasn't her place to go further, and she found herself in the position of having to say goodbye to her children, even though she was far from ready.
Conrad and Reynolds turned around to face her at the gate, their faces reflecting the apologies that weren't theirs to make. They didn't dare set the children down, in the event that they would run to their mother and result in thIs taking longer than they could afford.
Kiara and Joseph, who had been watching their mother from over their Cepans' shoulders now turned in their arms to face her. While Rhea had told herself she wasn't going to cry in front of them, the sight of their innocent faces brought tears to her eyes, and she did nothing to stop them from falling.
The twins had calmed down considerably since their father's departure, but now burst into tears seeing their mother upset. They knew she had to leave, and that by the looks of things, they had to as well, but loss, grief and separation isn't easy to handle at any point, and at the age of seven, surely not what they should be experiencing.
"I love you two, take care of each other and know that I'm always watching over you. We'll see each other again one day, I promise...", Rhea managed and gave each of her children a brief hug, wishing she could have spent more time with them, to watch them grow, but now that was impossible. They cried out as she turned to leave, and while every step forward broke her heart, she knew this was the only way she could make it hurt less, for them and for her.
Kiara was screaming, tears running down her face as she called after her mother, and Joseph began to struggle against Reynolds firm grip. The Cepans began to walk towards the ship, knowing that nothing they could say or do would change anything. The two young garde had faced more trauma in one night than most people did in a lifetime, and things were only going to get worse. A planet light years away would become their new home, they would be fighting for their lives and the future of their planet.
Seeing that there was no going back, Kiara closed her eyes and ears to block out the world around her. She imagined herself back at home, but never got far when she felt Conrad set her down. She opened her eyes and slowly lowered her hands as he knelt down in front of her and wiped away the last of her tears. She gave him one last hug before he led her to her place in line. She recognized the others from the day at the LDA, and felt her panic return as her brother was led away to the other end of the line. Before she could react, a tall man stepped forward and begin to chant some strange words, and she felt a sharp pain on her ankle. She looked down but saw nothing, and by the time she looked up again, he had finished and handed her a necklace with a swirling loralite charm. The other Cepans led their Garde into the ship, but Conrad and Reynolds stood where they were.
Once everyone else was inside, the man turned to the two remaining garde in front of him. The charm he was about to cast would change their lives forever, and so he felt obligated to explain briefly what was going to happen, even though he would make them forget it. Once he was done, the girl turned to her brother and hugged him, and the two promised to see each other again. They had started to cry again, but didn't protest when he told them to get ready.
Their acceptance of their fate, their pain and their challenge ahead played heavily on his mind as he began the second incantation. He cast the charm and changed their memories, going one step further to erase the happenings of the past few hours and providing them with false ones of different, but happy lives. He was sure that by the end of this, they wouldn't even recognise each other and sure enough, when he finished, neither one showed the other any sign of familiarity.
Conrad and Reynolds then proceeded to walk their Garde to the ship with heavy hearts. The two laughing children they had met now didn't know each other, and would be thrown into a world of danger, lies and secrets. They watched the door to the ship close and turned around, only to find a sight so beautiful and painful all at once.
The boy took a few steps forward and extended his hand to the shy girl in front of him. "I'm Joseph, what's your name?", he asked with a grin as she regarded him warily before taking his hand and replying politely, "I'm Kiara, it's nice to meet you".
And that's it! I hope you liked this story and enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. This chapter was a bit messy, and I'm sorry but there was so much to describe and I was getting emotional.
And the story continues... be sure to check out my other fics, The Second Chance and Over and Out...
So for the last time... goodbye!