A/N: Hey, guys! Me again! Wow, two one-shots at the same time! Cool, right! I'm super proud of this one and it came out just great! I hope you think so, too! Enjoy!
Abbie reached for Pandora's Box. This was it. She had no other choice. Her or the world. She made her choice. She extended her hand toward the Box.
She never reached it.
She didn't even see Ichabod move but he forced her away from the Box. By the time Abbie knew what was happening, she looked and saw as Ichabod's arm plunged into it.
"CRANE!" Abbie shouted.
"You've saved the world before from these monsters, Leftenant," Ichabod said. "You are still needed. I have always been on borrowed time."
"Crane, it wants me!"
"Well, it's taking me." He stared at her as a tear fell. "Good-bye."
She shook her head, "No…"
"My beloved Abbie."
Ichabod let the Box absorb him and he completely disappeared from sight.
"No, no, no!" Abbie screamed.
She saw the Hidden One lose all of his power but there was an unintended side effect: the power exploded from the Box and caused the Hidden One and Pandora to scream in pain. Abbie and Jenny watched as both of the weakened gods began grow weaker and their skin began to turn grey. Seconds later, they crumbled into dust. Abbie and Jenny looked at each other in shock.
"They're gone," Jenny said. "They're… they're really gone."
Abbie barely registered that as she kept staring at the Box. "Crane," she whispered.
Jenny felt tears fall. "He's gone."
Abbie shook her head. "No."
Jenny looked at her sister and exhaled. "Abbie…"
"He's not gone! You just saw what happened! He overpowered them, somehow! He made the Box do that! He figured it out like he always does! So, he's alive!" Abbie blinked as she started to feel lightheaded.
"That was probably all he could do."
"You're wrong, Jenny! Okay?!"
"NO! He's not gone!" Abbie started breathing hard. The room started to spin to her and fell to her knees.
"Abbie?!" Jenny ran over to her sister and put her arms around her.
"He can't be… he's not… not…" Her eyes rolled back and Jenny managed to catch her before she hit the ground.
When Abbie woke up in her bedroom a few hours later, she learned from Jenny that, after she collapsed, Jenny took her out of the underground cavern along with the Box. Jenny also informed her that, in an event no one could explain, Joe was found wandering out of the forest, dazed and bleeding from a bullet wound in his shoulder but alive.
That was all Abbie needed to hear.
Ichabod was still alive. And she knew she needed to bring him back.
Abbie spent the next few weeks reading everything she could about Pandora's Box, finding lost souls, resurrections, and everything else she could possibly get her hands that would even remotely help. Some nights she didn't sleep. It once went on for four days straight. She only ate to stay awake and when Jenny and Joe forced her to. Sophie would try to talk her into letting it go but she wouldn't listen. Danny tried to comfort her but she refused.
"Don't they get it?" Abbie asked herself as she sat in the Archives. Jenny had just left and she was looking at picture of her and Ichabod after he returned from being gone for nine months. "This is my fault." She stared at the picture. "You did this for me. Me. You did it for me and I will get you out of this." She traced Ichabod's face with her finger. "I'll find you, Crane. I'm bringing you home." She paused. "Home to me."
After a month of constant reading and researching, Jenny walked in to Archives and, to no surprise whatsoever, found Abbie still reading away.
"Abbie," Jenny said.
"I've eaten, I've showered, I've slept, I even went home and took a break for all the good that did," Abbie said with an edge to her voice. "So, unless the next words out of your mouth are 'I know how to find or save Crane', go away, Jenny."
Ignoring her sister's anger, Jenny stood tall. "I know how to find Crane."
Abbie looked up, immediately.
"I talked to Dad. He knows of a way."
"How?" she asked, desperately.
"Remember the Catacombs?"
"Yeah, I checked. He's not there."
"Well, that's not the only place that the Box could've sent him."
"How do I find him?"
Jenny exhaled. "It's dangerous."
Abbie looked at her, indignantly. "Jenny. Do I look like I give a damn?!"
Night fell on Sleepy Hollow and it found Abbie with Jenny, Joe, Sophie, and Ezra in the Archives. As Ezra explained it, there was a totem known as the Bellator Cross, a large cross made out of crystal the same size at the Box but stood a couple of inches taller. With the combination of the Box, there was a possibility that they could use its magic to find Crane and open a portal to his location.
"This is it," Jenny said.
"All or nothing," Joe said.
"Let's do it," Abbie said, with confidence.
Ezra set the Cross behind the Box and they reacted to one another. Magic started swirling in the space between the two until a ray of light shot out of the other side of the Cross, causing a portal to appear.
Abbie took a few deep breaths. This was her best chance to get Crane back. Maybe her only chance.
"Abbie," Ezra said.
She heard him but didn't turn around.
"The Cross is only using the Box as a focal point and, after all it did to destroy the Hidden One, Pandora, and bring Joe back, it's pretty weak. There's only enough strength left in the Box for one trip. You go through and, if you don't find him and come back, that's it. I don't know of any other way."
"Got it," Abbie replied.
"This is a one shot deal. One chance."
"That's all I need. That's all either of us has ever needed." She took a step but stopped, taking a breath. She looked at her father. "Thank you." She looked the rest of the group. "Thank you."
Jenny smiled. "Go get 'im."
Abbie ran into the portal as fast as she could.
After a series of lights and colors, Abbie ended up in the forest around Sleepy Hollow. She recognized it immediately. She thought something must've gone wrong until she listened and didn't hear anything at all. No birds, no animals, no wind, no distant cars. Nothing. She turned and saw the portal was still open so it must be right place.
She walked into the forest for about half a mile until she stumbled across a very familiar looking log cabin.
She was convinced, now, more so than ever. She was in the right place.
Abbie walked inside the cabin and looked around, finding it identical to Ichabod's former one. She didn't know how or why that was possible and, at the moment, she hardly cared. All that mattered was finding Ichabod.
Abbie's breath caught as she turned slowly to see Ichabod coming from the kitchen. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Abbie.
"Leftenant…" he breathed out.
Abbie rushed toward him and hugged him with all she had. They both got lost in the feeling. They had no idea how long they held each other.
Getting her breath back, Abbie released him and took his hand. "Come on. We need to go back."
"Back?" Ichabod asked.
"Yeah, let's go."
"I am not going back."
She felt like a weight was just dropped on her. A two ton weight. "What are you talking about?"
"This is it. An eternal soul was needed. I gave it mine. My time is done."
She couldn't believe what she hearing. "No! No, it's not! We've got more to do! A lot more! We are in this together!"
"I can't leave here, Leftenant. And… it's peaceful here."
She exhaled. She tried to stop herself from getting angry. She failed. "Do you have any idea what I've been going through without you?! How hard it's been?!"
"No! Don't 'Leftenant' me! Listen to me: you went through all of that crap to get me back when I was in the Catacombs and you wanna phone this in because it's easier?! No! Not just no but hell no! You're coming back with me!" She grabbed his wrist and turned toward the door.
"And if I have to watch you nearly die again?"
She stopped. She turned back toward him. "What?"
"I can't, Abbie. I cannot keep… nearly losing you. It destroys me every time. It's why I took your place. I couldn't… I couldn't let you die. I cannot keep seeing this same scenario over and over. Not to you." He closed his eyes. "It hurts. More than I can bear, it hurts."
Abbie opened her mouth but her caught in her throat. She blinked away a stray tear. "And what about what hurts me?"
"What about what hurts me, Crane?! Answer that damn question!"
He couldn't speak.
"You say you can't leave here but you found a way to kill the horrid couple and bring Joe back! That was you, wasn't it?! Answer me!"
He nodded, hesitantly. "Yes. I used what little time and what knew about manipulating the forces of the Box to try to remove the threat of the Hidden One and Pandora and did what I could to save Joe. I didn't know if I succeeded but I had to try. For him, his father, Jenny, and you."
"Okay! So you did all that and you're telling me you can't leave?! That's bull and you know it, Crane! I got here and I can take you home!"
He stared at her. "I'm just… not so sure that I should return."
She let out a sarcastic laugh, "What more do you need?! Do you need a physical sign from God to come back?! We can wait for one, if you want!"
"Do you think this has been easy for me?! Living without you?! It hasn't been! I don't sleep! I can barely eat! All I think about is bringing you home because that's where you belong! Where you should be! Where you need to be! Where I need you to be! Do you get that?! I need you, Crane, okay?! Is that what you want me to say?! Am I too… what, too closed off for you? Too tough?! Is that why it's easier to leave me behind?!"
He shook his head, "It is never easy to not see your face, Abbie."
"You certainly make it seem like it now!"
"Seeing your face in pain torments me!"
"Yeah, well, get over it! We all hurt! All of us!" She felt tears about to fall but she was too heated to care. "Everything hurts! Life hurts! You don't run from it, you deal with it every day!"
He didn't say anything. He knew she was right.
"You're trying to take the easy way out now when I can take you back and it's rotten thing to do to me!"
He exhaled. "I'm so…"
"I mean, do you get it?! I'm standing here telling you I need you! What more can I do to prove it you?!" She halted to catch her breath. Her tears were flowing nonstop now. "When the Box took you…" she shook her head, "that was it." She stared into his eyes. "I broke, Crane. I've been broken ever since. I just couldn't admit it."
He was stunned. She wasn't one to reveal anything like that lightly.
"I'm barely holding on." She let out a brief cry before getting a hold of herself. "To myself. Now, to you. Without you… it's all just… empty."
"Leftenant…" Ichabod felt tears well up.
She calmed down and stared at him. "Please. I know how it must feel. To be free. To know you can rest. After all you've been through, all of the… amounts of hell you had deal with back in the old days and now, seeing you people you knew and loved turn on your or die or even both… it must feel so good to finally let it all go. But…" She shook her head, "I wanna be selfish."
"Selfish? In what way?"
"I never did tell you, did I? How much I love having you around. You make a day, any day… special. You make getting up in the morning and coming home at night something to look forward to."
He smirked. "I… knew that you enjoyed my company but…"
"It's more than enjoy it. I love it. I want it. It makes…" She shook her head when she realized she was about to admit this. "It makes me happy."
He let out a silent gasp. He made her happy. It was something he always hoped he would get to do for her.
"I don't like being weak, Crane. I hate it. I can't stand feeling this. I've been strong my whole life and I have to be. But, if I have to admit I'm weak to bring you home, then fine. I am the weakest person on the planet and I don't care."
"Don't stay here, Crane. I know it's hard. I know life is hard. I know you've been through hell no less than half a dozen times. But please…" Her voice caught. "Please. Come back. Come back and live. Come back with me. We can both be broken… and maybe we can make one whole piece."
"You are far from weak. You are the strongest person I've ever known."
"Have to be. You'd never make it through an episode of Twilight Zone without me."
He smiled. He absorbed everything she said and was left with one question. "I mean this much to you?"
She stared at him, surprised by the question. "Of course you do. Why wouldn't you…" she exhaled, "…when I love you as much as I do?"
His mouth slowly opened. He took a moment to let the weight of that settle on him fully. "A…Abbie…"
"Yes. I mean it how you think I mean it." She shook her head. "So many times I tried to ignore it and get past it. Let you live your life, try to live mine but…" She felt more tears coming and she didn't want them. She couldn't stop them. "…I can live my life without being an agent. I could never see Danny again, I could stop talking to my father. I could live without a lot." She looked at him and, slowly, shook her head. "I can't even imagine my life without you there. Hell, all those months you were gone, I was going crazy!" She looked away, "And I was mad at you."
She looked back at him, "For not calling! Do you know how insane I went for a while?" She took a breath. "And, when you got back, I kept you at an arm's length to… sort out how I felt, to see if I even wanted to try a crazy life with you as a… as a lover along with everything else. Then we add Danny and Zoey and Betsy to the picture and…"
"A maelstrom of emotions."
"That's putting it lightly." She stared at him for a while. She loved looking into his eyes. "Come back with me, Crane. Please. We can work on this. If you wanna stay here because you're so hurt, I get that but let me help you carry some of that pain. You'd do it for me in a heartbeat. I know it."
"Then please. Let me carry yours. All I can take. I'll carry it all you need me to, for as long as I need and long as I can."
He stared into her eyes, the same eyes that gave him peace and strength in the most difficult of times. He placed his hand on the side of her face.
She never expected his touch to feel that amazing. He'd touched her before but never like this.
"You will not have to carry anything for me," he said.
"I don't mind," she replied.
He leaned down to kiss her. She lifted up and met him halfway. That was all it took. They knew that was what they both had wanted for so long.
They broke the kiss and stood where their foreheads touching.
"You won't have to carry any," Ichabod began, "because I am more than capable of carrying my burdens… as long I have our love."
"Please, tell you just said 'our,'" Abbie whispered.
She exhaled in relief as she started to cry again.
He stood up straight, reached down, and took her hand. "Let's go home."
"You have no idea how much I wanted to hear that."
"You have no idea how relieved I am to say it."
Minutes later, Abbie and Ichabod stumbled across the event horizon from the Cross and the Box. As soon as they stepped through, the Box turned to charcoal and dissolved. The light of the Cross faded and the portal disappeared.
Abbie and Ichabod looked back and saw the portal was gone then looked at each other.
She stared at him for a second then saw Jenny and everyone else. She looked back at Ichabod, "Oh, hell with it." She grabbed his face and pulled him to her for a kiss, much to the surprised of everyone else.
After their kiss, she stared at him. "Happy you're back now?"
"Oh!" Ichabod cleared his throat. "More so than I can convey into words."
She smiled. "Good."
"Uh…" Jenny started, getting their attention. "What the hell happened in there?"
"Later. For now…" she took Ichabod's hand. "…I just wanna go home."
He smiled as he interlocked their fingers. "I agree, wholeheartedly."
A/N: Bellator: Latin for Soldier
Okay, this became really emotional for me to write midway through and I am super proud of it. I hope you guys liked it as well. Please! Leave me some reviews and let me know what you thought!
Also, be sure to check out my on-going Sleepy Hollow chapter story, "Sleepy Hollow: The Fated Ones."
Thank you all so much! See you soon!