This is the last chapter! I hope you enjoy!
(also this picks up from Chap 3, when she went back to Freya. So the order of the chapters (chronologically) are 1, 3, 4, 2)
The moment the icy cold water touched her warm skin, Alex wanted to jerk back and just vanish. But she forced herself to keep wading out into the freezing waves, gritting her teeth and feeling her blood turn to ice.
She could endure the cold. She would, after all the things she had gone through. This was nothing. Nothing.
Step after step through the icy waves, the currents pushing against her hips. She forced herself onwards.
She looked down into the watery depths. She could almost see shapes moving through the water, shapes that looked like people.
There. That… that looked like Niyx.
The water-shape wavered as Niyx seemed to form. Then it- no, his mouth moved and he spoke. "You're a riot to be around, a one-stop entertainment shop."
Blinking back sudden tears, Alex looked away, out to the horizon. When she looked back, she saw Lady Mystique smiling calmly at her. "Cryptic is as cryptic does."
Now with tears threatening to spill over, Alex frantically looked over to another patch of sea, knowing that she must be going crazy- or hallucinating, and there was Kaiden.
She almost ran towards the water-shape, then stopped as he moved his mouth too and said in a teasing voice, "The night I almost kissed you? The night you almost kissed me? The night we almost kissed each other? Yes, I think I know the night you're referring to."
Now full-on sobbing, Alex stumbled towards the shape of Kaiden smiling, but just as she reached it, he faded away, lost in the water.
And then there was Jordan. He grinned at her, and spoke. "You did it, Alex. You saved me. Just like you promised."
She turned away, tears streaming down her face, and spotted Bear. He winked at her. "I'm a charmer." Alex choked a laugh out, still crying. She saw Dix next, standing next to her parents. "We'll always be by your side, Alex."
She fell to her knees in the shallow waves. Someone held a hand out to help her up. Alex looked up.
It was herself.
Alexandra Rose Jennings smiled and said, "Never forget that you are stronger than you realise and more capable than you could ever imagine."
She was needed.
They all needed her.
Alex reached out to grasp her own hand, and was hauled to her feet, the waves sloshing around. As she stared into her own eyes, she felt a sense of serenity enter her and Alex gave a little smile.
The water-shape that was Alex nodded and lifted a hand, and she responded by lifting her own hand up and fitting it into the water-shape's palm, their fingers curling around each other's. The image of herself seemed to be waiting for her to say something as they joined hands, staring at her seriously.
And she knew what she had to say, what she had to remind herself.
Alex swallowed and whispered, "Never forget that you are stronger than you realise and more capable than you could ever imagine."
The water-shape smiled and a sudden breeze swirled around them and the water danced. "You are stronger than you realise, Alexandra Rose Jennings. Now snap to it." The last part was said with a wink. Alex smiled back and watched the wind waft the watery image away into the air, the hand that was holding hers slowly washing away, and only when it was completely faded did she blink and look towards the horizon.
She was once again alone.
What was she doing, having a swim? She needed to go back to Medora. Medora needed her.
Head held high, Alex waded out of the water, lips quivering but back straight.
She opened up a door, her breath quickening in anticipation, knowing that she was going back to where she belonged… and walked straight into Kaiden.
For a moment the worry on their faces was reflected and Kaiden's eyes bored into hers. Alex stood and calmly stared at him back, letting his stare envelope her.
"I knew you'd come back," Kaiden said softly, breaking the silence, moving forwards and letting the palm of his hand brush against her cheek. "You've been crying," he added, looking worried, seeing her red eyes.
"I- I'm alright," Alex responded, breathing in and letting the air back out. "Just got some things sorted."
Kaiden sighed and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, resting his hand on her shoulders. "You can tell me what's wrong, you know. I won't tell anyone else if that's what you want, and I will respect your opinion."
"I know. I trust you. I just had to make sure I knew what I was going to do. But I think I understand now. About… everything."
Kaiden nodded and scanned her face for any signs of depression or guilt, and found none. "Thank you. About the trust part. I know how hard it is to trust people. And… I'm glad you understand what you were thinking about before."
Alex wrapped her hands around his chest and hugged him, wiping away fresh tears of gratitude behind his back so he couldn't see.
"I can hear your sniffles," Kaiden teased as she pulled back. Giggling, Alex wiped them away and smiled. "Thanks, Kaiden. Sometimes I'm a big pain in the ass to you, yet you're always still there for me."
When their laughing ceased, Alex found herself staring at Kaiden for a long while, then leaned towards him and placed her hands around his neck, and then moved her head down until they were both sharing the same air. She tried to focus on his blue eyes, which were still open, but she found herself flicking her eyes down to his lips every few seconds. "I think I really like you," she whispered, then closed the distance and pressed her lips against his.
Her thoughts were as clear as day as he responded by placing his hands on her waist and kissing her back. She felt calm and at ease, as if it wasn't the first time she'd kissed someone, and that someone being Kaiden…
Eventually as she came back up for air, he rested his forehead against hers and she laughed breathlessly. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" She murmured.
Kaiden responded by capturing her lips with his again, and then broke their kiss and mumbled, "I think I rather like kissing you."
"Did someone just say 'kissing'?" A loud, very well-known voice broke their silence. Two voices simultaneously shushed the first one and Alex couldn't help bursting into laughter. Seconds later, Bear, Jordan (who was smiling cheekily) and Dix, walked into view and Alex ran to hug them. She was home, in Medora, with her friends and a (possible) relationship with Kaiden, and the people who she had loved as a living person and would cherish memories of them as dead, would remain with her forever, making her a stronger, more capable person.
"Never forget that you are stronger than you realise and more capable than you could ever imagine," the watery image of Alex rose up in her dreams and whispered.
Alex turned over in her sleep with a smile on her face.
CREDS TO HALLOPHOENIX! SHE WROTE THIS! SHE'S AMAZING!