Disclaimer:Only Rose, Ali/Albany, Nathan, and Opal are mine. Well, as I said in the last episode, this story line is my last. There are some sub-plot stories you need to read before finishing this story. Otherwise, the end won't make much sense. You'll find the link in the story. Enjoy and thanks for putting up with the series. *wink*
It was perfect swimming weather. My duffel bag held my swimsuit and a towel. I was on my way to the pool to enjoy this beautiful July afternoon. Life seemed perfect except that Brooklyn seemed a little distant, distracted, actually. Well, I was sure I could cheer him up. I was his mate and…
I paused in my thoughts. My enhanced hearing detected footsteps. ‘Is someone following me?’ I wondered. I stopped and the person behind me stopped, too. I continued walking, only a little more quickly. My follower kept the same pace it did before. I kept quickening my steps, even though the other one didn’t. I stopped and so did the person behind me. ‘Someone is definitely following me. Whoever it is, is going to be sorry they messed with me.’
I dropped my bag and whirled around, ready to fight off the stalker. I got a surprise when I saw three humans instead of one. Two males and one female. Numbers didn’t scare me, unless they had weapons. Then, that would be tricky.
The first male, with brown hair, approached me and placed a hand on one of mine. Angry that he thought of taking the direct approach for a date, I seized his hand with my free hand and easily threw him over my shoulder. As I threw him, I thought I saw a flash of red hair. Red? Didn’t he have brown? Pushing that thought away, I faced the other two humans.
The female rushed by me, caressing the leader. That left me and the second male, who had black hair. I couldn’t help growling as he came closer. His eyes widened in shock at my response. That was when he spoke.
“Jasmine, it’s me. Tygra.”
I stopped growling and blinked twice. Suddenly, the human before me became a tiger Thundercat. Looking over at the other humans, I saw Cheetara and Lion-O. I gasped as I went over to them.
“Oh, Lion-O, I’m so sorry about that,” I apologized, embarrassed that I actually threw my lord of the Thundercats.
“No harm done. Just had the wind knocked out of me.”
I turned back to Tygra. “What are you guys doing here?”
“We thought about visiting you for a few days. Until the day after the Fourth of July.”
“You can come with the clan and see the fireworks that night in Central Park.”
“That’s the main reason why we’re staying until the day after,” Cheetara explained.
I smiled at the prospect of spending time with the Thundercats. It was July first. That gave me three days after today to spend with them. I picked up the bag that was beside me.
“I was going to the pool. Do you want to come?” I offered.
“Sure,” Lion-O answered. “In fact, that’s why we were following you.”
“Great.” I looked at Tygra as we walked. He seemed uneasy, which concerned me. “Tygra, are you okay?”
“Just fine. I just can’t swim, that’s all.”
This little announcement surprised me. “You can’t swim?”
“No.” His tone was sad.
“Then, I’ll teach you.” I couldn’t believe that I was going to be teaching Tygra for the second time. I really needed Tygra to teach me something in return for these lessons.
Upon entering the pool area, the four of us split up to enter the locker rooms. Moments later, Lion-O and Cheetara were swimming while Tygra and I were at the steps. I descended down, feeling the cool water shock my skin. I took a deep breath and dove underwater, swimming for a short time before coming up and placing my feet on the bottom.
“Come on in. It’s shallow,” I assured him.
I watched my love (?) walk down the steps and approach me. I showed him the basic swim movements, then swam underwater to give him an idea of how it works.
Two hours later, Cheetara and I were back in the locker room, in separate shower stalls rinsing the chlorine from our skin and hair. Tygra was a fast learner, much to my surprise. Once he learned the basics, we swam to the deep end and I taught Tygra how to tread water. Grabbing my towel, I patted my skin dry, wrung the water out of my hair, then I rubbed it damp, brushed, and tied it back. I slipped my daywear and cloak on. Putting the towel and suit into the bag, Cheetara and I walked out of the locker room, met up with the guys, and began our walk to Castle Wyvern.
When we entered the Main Hall of the castle, we saw the other Thundercats who were gathered there to greet us. Forgetting about my bag, I rushed toward the rest of my friends and began laughing and talking with them. Lion-O, Cheetara, and Tygra joined us after a few minutes.
While we talked, we headed outside, so the Thundercats could greet the clan. We had to stop talking when the sun was very close to vanishing completely. Night fell as the gargoyles awoke and I became a gargoyle, too.
Angela was the first to notice the large crowd. Her eyes lit up happily. She smiled. “Hi, everyone! What brings you back to Manhattan?” That brought the rest of the clan to step up and talk with our friends. All of them, that is, except Brooklyn. Separating from the group, I searched for my mate. I found him on the side of the tower everyone was on. I approached him.
“Brooklyn, is everything alright?”
“Sure, sure. Everything’s fine.”
“Then, why aren’t you with us?”
“I just want to be alone right now.”
“Alright.” As I walked off I wondered about Brooklyn’s strange behavior.
Minutes later, the clan was assembled to draw straw for patrol parties. This was Goliath’s latest routine for choosing teams. It was decided that I would stay at the castle since my friends were visiting. I watched as my clan members drew straws. Brooklyn, Broadway, and Angela drew the same straws. I saw a pained look on Brooklyn’s face. That was when it clicked. Brooklyn still had not gotten over the idea of Broadway and Angela being an item. I felt jealous that Brooklyn was still pining for Angela when he had his son, his daughter, and me. I let my mate’s actions slide. I still sometimes feel the pain of losing Aladdin.
The Thundercats and I watched the clan leave for patrol, then we settled down in the courtyard to continue our talking.
“How’s Rose?” Panthro asked.
“She’s fine. Her second birthday was three months ago.”
“She’s two already? Wow.”
“What about Albany?” Tygra added. I noticed that he seemed to really care about Albany, even though he’s not Albany’s father.
“Well, he’s seven months old and he can get on his hands and knees and crawl around.”
“When will he learn to glide?”
“When he’s about four or five. As Rose will.”
Hours later, when it was about an hour before dawn, the patrol parties came back. Brooklyn didn’t look very happy. I decided to try to cheer him up before he went to sleep. I waited for about half an hour before deciding to approach him.
I wasn’t the only one approaching Brooklyn. Broadway, Angela, and the Thundercats had the same idea. As we rounded the corner, we saw the brick red gargoyle with his hands behind his back.
“Brooklyn, what do you have behind your back?” Angela asked.
“What?” Brooklyn said. “Oh, just this.” He brought his hands forward. In his right hand, he held a trinket that I had seen back in the clocktower and heard Goliath say that he had lost it in the time stream. My eyes widened.
“No!” Angela gasped, placing her hands on her cheeks. “It can’t be!”
“What? What is it?” Broadway asked.
“That is the Phoenix Gate!” Angela cried.
“The what?” Lion-O asked.
“The Phoenix Gate,” I answered, also shocked to see it here.
“So?” Brooklyn and Broadway said simultaneously.
“It’s kind of a long story, guys and I-,” Angela began, but she was cut off when the gate began to glow. It was activating and Brooklyn was still holding it!
“Brooklyn, get away from it,” I warned.
My mate stood there, frozen with shock. A ball of flame engulfed him, then it disappeared, taking its passenger into the time stream.
“Brooklyn!” I cried.
“What happened?” Lion-O asked. “Where did he go?”
“The Phoenix Gate took him,” Broadway replied.
“That little trinket?” Tygra questioned.
“Yes,” I said, turning to my friends. “You see, the Phoenix Gate is a device that allows you to travel through time.”
“Time travel?” Wily-Kat said, raising an eyebrow. “How is that possible?”
“Well, you hold the gate, then think of a time and place you want to go to. Speak the incantation and the gate takes you there in a ball of flame.”
“But, somehow that wasn’t the case this time,” Broadway noted.
“I know. That’s strange.”
“Is he gone forever?” Angela asked.
“No. No, he’s not. He’ll come back,” I assured her, though she should have been assuring me. I hoped I was right about him coming back.
“Look,” Broadway cried, pointing. I turned around.
The phoenix’s flames burst into existence, five minutes after Brooklyn and the gate had vanished. From the flames came Brooklyn, only he was forty years older! There were also three gargoyles and one doggoyle with him. I barely noticed them, I was busy gaping at my mate, who was now years older than I.
“I’m finally home!” Brooklyn exclaimed. He went up to me and took me up in a hug.
“B-Brooklyn?” I stuttered.
“Of course it’s me.”
“Oh? How long was I gone?”
“Only five minutes.”
“Five minutes? I was gone for forty years. I’m sure of it.”
“Brooklyn-san,” said a jade green female, who was the same age as him. “It might have been forty years to us, but it was five minutes to them.”
“Yeah, you’re right Sata,” Brooklyn agreed.
“Mind introducing us, Brooklyn?” Angela inquired.
“Where are my manners?” Brooklyn exclaimed. “Sata, Ariana, Graeme. This is Broadway my rookery brother, his mate Angela, our friends the Thundercats, and my first mate Jasmine. Everyone is my mate Sata and our twin children. Our daughter Ariana,” he gestured to a young female with red skin and wild black hair. “Our son Graeme.” He gestured to a young male with green skin and wilder black hair.
“A pleasure,” Sata said, clasping my hand.
Tygra stepped up behind me. “What did Brooklyn mean by Jasmine being his first mate?”
“Brooklyn learned that Jasmine was just a temporary mate until he found me.”
“And we’ve seen an interesting future for so many individuals,” Brooklyn spoke up. He took my hand and eased it into Tygra’s. He turned to his family. “Let’s find the others. I can’t wait to see them again.”
I stared after Brooklyn as he and his family walked inside the castle. I was a temporary mate? Me? How could this be? I refused to cry. Crying didn’t solve anything, yet I wanted to break down. But, I couldn’t. Not in front of the Thundercats, even though the females and Snarfs had seen me cry.
It didn’t matter because Tygra, who still held my hand, suddenly pulled me toward him and held me for reassurance. I closed my eyes as my head leaned on his shoulder and my wings enveloped him and me. I had lost Aladdin and Brooklyn to other females, but I just knew- in that moment- that I would never lose Tygra to another. I would only lose him through death. That’s the way it was going to be.
Three nights later, it was the Fourth of July. Brooklyn and the family were still here, sitting quite a ways from the group. Tygra and I sat next to each other, both of us love struck. The mood lasted until Goliath called Tygra over. Giving my hand a squeeze, he walked over to my leader. It wasn’t long until Elisa called me over. I went over and sat next to her.
“What’s up, Elisa?”
“It’s about you and Tygra.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing. It’s just that the clan doesn’t want your heart broken again.”
“Tygra told me that he loved me last year.”
“Do you think the two of you can make it work?” Her tone was soft and quiet.
“Yes, I think so. I didn’t want to fall for him because of Brooklyn. But now there’s no reason for me not to. Is that what Goliath’s talking to Tygra about?” I glanced to the left at the far end.
“Yes, he is. He’s just doing his job as a father. And I’m doing mine as your stepmother. Jasmine, can I tell you something?”
“Sure, what is it?”
“I’ve been talking to Goliath about…being human again.”
“You mean have the Weird Sisters take back their gift?”
“Yes. I miss my human life.”
“I know what that’s like.”
“I know you do. Now, how about talking to Goliath, hmm?”
“Sure.” I got up and as Tygra and I passed each other, I smiled reassuringly. I reached Goliath and sat down. At first we just sat there, watching the fireworks. Then, my leader spoke.
“I... spoke with Tygra. I wanted to be sure about the person my daughter was in love with.”
“Elisa said the same thing.”
“It’ll be hard to maintain the relationship. What with you two living in two different worlds.”
“We’re willing to try.”
“I know. He told me that he admires your determination.”
I was allowed to leave and I returned to my place. Tygra joined me a few minutes later. We spent the rest of the show, holding hands.
I woke up the next morning, sad. Brooklyn and Sata along with their kids and doggoyle had left last night and the Thundercats were leaving today. Reminding myself that we still had a few hours left, I climbed out of bed and got dressed for the day.
As I went down to the guestrooms, I ran into Hudson who told me to be in the Main Hall at eight tonight. I wanted to know why, but Hudson had already left. Figuring that I’d find out later, I continued on my way. I saw one guestroom door open and another closed. I went to the closed door and knocked.
I did so and, as I suspected, all the Thundercats were there. I closed the door behind me.
“Morning Jasmine,” Lion-O greeted. Gesturing at my gargoyle form, he added, “Not going anywhere, huh?”
“No. Not today. I thought we could spend our last day in the castle.”
“Actually, we wanted to talk to you about that.”
“Yes. We know that the incident with Brooklyn was unknown, so we decided to stay until the end of the month instead of leaving today.”
“We knew you would like it,” Tygra said. I saw a look that I remembered Brooklyn having back in January last year. The look of wanting a child. But was it possible? Could the two of us do it? Of course we could! I would become a Thundercat for those times.
At eight that night, all of us, gargoyles and Thundercats, assembled in the Main Hall. Goliath was in the front and three members on each side of him. Angela, Broadway, and Lex were on one side. On the other side were Hudson, Bronx, and Elisa. The whole scene reminded me too much like the scene when I was anointed a Thundercat.
Goliath gestured to the spot on his left. I walked over and stood next to him, wondering what was going on.
“Three years ago, I had chosen Brooklyn as my second-in-command,” Goliath began. “During his leadership, he chose a second-in-command of his own. With him unable to follow, I want his second, Jasmine, to take his place as my second. At least for as long as she’s here.”
At first, I felt honored to be given this position, even though it was by default. Then, I felt confused. For as long as I was here? What did that mean?
“What do you mean by ‘at least for as long as I’m here’?”
“You might be leaving us.”
“They didn’t tell you?”
“Tell me what?” I looked at the Thundercats and repeated my question.
Lion-O looked slightly red. “Sorry, we forgot to tell you. We had considered about letting you come back to Third Earth with us. To stay. Rose and Albany, too.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Take your time,” Panthro suggested. “You can tell us at the end of the month.”
“I’ll think about it,” I promised. And I did. While I thought, the Thundercats, the clan, and I had many adventures (see them here). During the month, Elisa became human and as a result, here child was born. A daughter, whom she and Goliath named Rosanna.
At the end of July, I told the Thundercats my decision. “I’ll be staying in Manhattan until next July. Then, I’ll come.”
“Promise to write,” Tygra said, holding me close.
“I will. And I’ll send Coyote to get you when the child’s born.”
“You better write too, Nathan,” Cougara said.
“I promise,” my brother said.
Alex recited the spell (with Puck’s help) and the Thundercats were whisked back to their home. During the following months, I wrote and sent letters to them the 10th, 20th, and 30th of every month. Each time I sent one, I received one. Nathan got some and sent some, too.
It was time. Time for me to leave the clan. I cradled Opal in my arms as I said my good-byes. Nathan held Ali while he said his.
“I’ll miss you all so much,” I said as Angela and I embraced.
“You mean we’ll miss you all so much,” my brother reminded me.
“We’ll miss you,” Elisa said.
Finally, the clan stood back as I recited the spell and the five of us entered the portal…
…And appeared in an empty Control Room.
“Where is everyone?” I wondered aloud.
“You’ve got me,” Nathan answered.
We left the room and I led us all through the halls. I headed for the Council Room, figuring that they might be there. We entered the darkened room and as the doors closed behind us, I started searching for the light button.
Before I could press it, the lights snapped on and everyone leaped out of their hiding places crying, “Surprise!” Balloons and streamers hung from the walls and the ceiling; a banner saying “Welcome Jasmine and Nathan” was strung above the Council table.
Tygra and Cougara stepped forward and pulled us into the party. We joined our friends, a group we would be living with for the rest of our lives. A new part of my life had begun.
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