"Why She Fights"
(smiles) okay this is my last chapter of this story... I think. So hope you all enjoy reading! :D
Jordan's voice peeped making Rachel jump. Jordan was fourteen now, and with her dark hair and matching eyes, resembled their mother a lot. Rachel startled.
"Oh, it's you Jordan."
"Yeah," she said slowly, giving Rachel a fisheye, "Who else would it be?"
"I don't know." Rachel said coolly.
"What are you doing up so late?"
Rachel swallowed hard, "It's Animorph stuff Jordan, just do back to sleep."
Jordan had been calm, but now a nagging feeling tugged at her subconscious,
"What kind of Animorph stuff?"
Rachel didn't answer. Together they looked out into the quiet, still night. Like the calm before a storm, Rachel thought grimly, a frown tugging at the edges of her mouth.
"I think it isn't Animorph stuff," Jordan said softly, "I think you just can't sleep."
Rachel turned to look at her sister, condescendingly. "What do you know?" She said, half-joking.
"A lot now," Jordan said darkly. Rachel`s expression switched to surprise. When had she grown so much? Rachel put her arm around her sister's shoulders and hugged her, fighting with every ounce of strength not to let her tears fall freely.
"I can sleep just fine Jordan," she said, more to comfort her sister than for herself, "But I want you to promise me something okay?"
Jordan just looked at her sister with alarming concern. What's wrong Rachel?
Rachel bit her lip, "Be good to Sara… this whole ordeal has been tough on her you know?"
Jordan stared stonily at the ground and didn't answer.
"You know, what with having to quit school, leave all her friends, and relocate to some woods in the middle of nowhere due to evil alien invaders and all," Rachel joked lightly, "But you know, somehow I don't think she misses school all that much..."
Jordan smiled thinly, "Me neither. But you know, Sara's not the only one whose had it tough."
Rachel's smile faltered and her own eyes darkened, "Yeah... I do know that."
Jordan continued quietly, "Mom's not too happy here. Sara thinks it's like a game most of the time. And I'm okay I guess. If this was a camping trip, it'd actually be kind of fun."
"That's the spirit," Rachel said automatically.
"But it's not a camping trip. We'll probably never go back home again. And I'll probably never see any of my friends again."
"Hey," Rachel said sharply, "You don't know that."
"But you don't know either. And if I do see them again they'll probably be one of them. A Yeerk."
Rachel noted the way Jordan practically spat out the word, having so such bitter anger towards an enemy she'd never met, at least not formally. She cringed at hearing her sister speak this way. She didn't want her feel the anger she felt. She wanted her to be happy. Carefree, like they used to be, not with the weight of the world on their shoulders.
"I hope Dad's okay," she whispered finally. Rachel cringed again, after listening to her sister count off the members of their family, she should have known that was coming. "He's fine Jordan."
She opened her mouth to speak but Rachel cut her off, "And don't ask me how I know. I just do okay?"
Jordan sniffled, and for the first time Rachel realized she had been crying. Her heart felt heavy automatically, but at the same time, she wasn't good at comforting, not a time like this. But she was Rachel, so she would try anyway.
"Things are going to be okay Jordan. They're going to get better."
Jordan shook her head, "How can you know that?"
Rachel shrugged, "You're right. I don't. But you don't know that they won't," she grinned, "You just got to have a little faith sis. Quit raining on my parade."
Jordan actually laughed, "Only you could compare this craziness we're in to a parade."
Rachel laughed along, "Hey you might as well make the best of this situation. It's not everyday you get to live life on the run as a fugitive." When they're laughter was finally swallowed up by the night, it wasn't lost forever. And even when the unspoken gravity of the moment fell over them, hushed, both sister's minds were put at a strange sort of ease by replaying the sound of the laughter in their memories.
Rachel smiled and walked away, "See you later shrimp."
As Jordan watched her disappear into the moonless night, she fought the urge to go after her, to ask her to stay, to sit this fight out, just this one. But she stopped, because Jordan knew better than anyone that it would be useless.
But still, after her sister was gone, she couldn't help but think:
If this was Animorph stuff… then where were the others? Why weren't they with her?
"Rachel!" Jordan shouted into the night, "Rachel! Come back! I need to ask you something."
She ran through the forest barefoot, passing dark trees so quickly they became nothing but blurs. It was so dark under the treetops; she could barely see her hand in front of her face. They were miles and miles away from any city lights. Of course, the fact that hot tears were pooling in her eyes wasn't helping the matter either. "Rachel!" She finally stopped and slumped onto the ground in exhaustion.
Rachel's voice came from the sky, sounding distracted and strained.
((What is it Jordan?))
"Rachel?" Jordan asked in disbelief, "Where are you?" She scanned the surrounding brush and saw nothing but dark outlines. She took in a steadying breath and wiped her tears with her sleeve, "I – I can't see you."
((I'm flying in the sky Jordan. I'm a bald eagle now.))
Jordan looked up. But her view of the sky was obscured by towering trees, "I can't see you!"
((It doesn't matter. I'm here. What did you want to ask me?))
"Um, are you... I… where…" Jordan paused and furrowed her eyebrows. She decided to ask another question.
"Why aren't the others with you?"
((It's something I have to do alone... go back to camp Jordan. It's not safe to be out here by yourself.))
Jordan was frustrated now, why did no one give her straight answers anymore?
"But where are you going Rachel?"
"You are going somewhere!"
Rachel was loosing patience too, ((I'm just doing surveillance, go back to camp!))
Jordan frowned, "No your not. Cousin Jake asked Toby and the other aliens to take care of that this week."
Rachel sighed mentally, her sister was way too observant. ((...I'm going to end the war.))
"What?... What does that mean!?" she cried.
((….It means...)) For once Rachel was at a loss for words. She knew what she wanted to say but the emotion was too overwhelming.
Jordan didn't care for the silence.
"What does it mean Rachel?" she asked softly, "Can you please just tell me for once."
This is too much, Rachel thought to herself. She was on the verge of breaking down. I can't handle this. Please Jordan just go away! Go back to camp! Flashes of the Ellimist's offer to save her and her family, along with a small portion of the human race came rushing past Rachel's memory. It was silly, she knew, to think in terms of 'what if'. That offer is long gone, Rachel thought dismally, chiding herself, I can't live in the past or wonder what would have happened. Besides, that was a sour deal anyways. You can't save a portion of the planet and let the rest become slaves. Still... to be with her family, forever happy, forever safe, forever free. That sounded wonderful.
"Rachel," Jordan said again, "What does that mean?"
I have a duty, she reminded herself. People are counting... on me...
"Rachel?" Jordan said, slightly panicking, "Are you still there?"
((Yes, I'm here.))
"Then tell me what that means Rachel... Please?"
Oh God... I love you all so much... that's what it means! I love so much that I have to... I must... what must I do?
Finally she composed herself.
((It means... that I love you, Jordan… I love you a lot, and I love Sara, and Mom, and Dad... But I just have to go.))
At the rate she was flying, she could have talked for at least another minute before the distance ended their conversation, but her heart was breaking, and even Rachel could only be strong for so long.
Rachel was impulsive, but she had thought this one through.
And she wasn't backing down.
She would protect this planet she loved.
She would protect her family.
And she would see her sister again.
She didn't need doubts or fear or anything at all but the fact that she simply knew it.
Rachel was never perfect, but this was her unshakable truth. It was her unshakable strength.
It gave her purpose, and she thrived because of it.
((I love you… good bye….))
"I love you… good bye…."