Author’s note: F bomb a couple times.
Four days… four days left… until…
I swung my legs through the barstool I was sitting on, kinda lost in thought about the project. We were gonna try it in four days. Four days and everything might be better, or nothing changes or… or I die.
Okay, I was a teensy weensy bit afraid of that last option. What would death be like? I thought of that fog, and the light, and the voices telling me it wasn’t my time. Was this gonna be my time? Four days from now? Did I really survive all the pain from Samuel only to die here at these labs?
“You d-d-don’t have to do this,” Kay told me when there were three days left.
“I know but I want to,” I replied, trying not to show how nervous I was. This has to solve things. I had to hold onto that hope. “What if I remember things? My life? If I actually did something bad or if I’m just making things up? I need to know.”
“It m-might not…”
“I know.” But I had to hold onto that hope.
Because, I thought at the two day mark, this is the best choice… even if I die… it’s better to try and… risk everything? Is it the right choice? No, it is. Because otherwise I would drift along for eternity wondering, wondering–always wondering. If I had fingernails, though, I would’ve chewed them down to the er… things at the bottom of fingernails. I just hoped it wouldn’t hurt.
“You c-can still change your mind,” Kay said the day before we were going through with it. Dr. Rosso had set everything up, taken all my information and plugged it into the machine, ran some tests and… well, tomorrow was it. Kay was still trying to convince me to not go through with it.
“I’m not changing my mind.” I was sitting on his floor, hugging my knees, staring intently at his blanket.
“You l-look terrified.”
“Wouldn’t you be? If there’s a chance of you dying?”
“I do,” I interrupted and smiled at him. “Don’t worry, even if this fixes things I’ll still sleep on your floor and be the puppy of the labs.”
Kay snorted so hard it was a wonder it didn’t hurt. He was now laughing, shaking his head. “You really d-d-don’t mind that, do you?”
“Nope! Puppies are cute.” A stab of something in my brain at that. I had had this argument before. “So, uh, I don’t mind being a puppy.” Where had I had this argument before?
“All r-right. I w-won’t… ask you again.”
“About me being the puppy?”
“It’ll be okay, Kay,” I whispered as he turned off the light so we could go to sleep. I tightened my arms around my legs and slowly breathed in. It’ll be okay.
I didn’t eat in the morning. I just fidgeted a lot as Kay ate and then fidgeted the entire way to the labs. I felt like maybe I would cry, or laugh, or throw up, or maybe all three at once. I wanted to run away but I didn’t dare. This could solve everything. Or I could die. Or nothing could happen at all.
Kay stayed true to his word and didn’t ask me about if I really wanted to go through with it although the entire way to the lab he gave me these sad looks. I smiled back, hiding my fear. Or hoping I did at least cause I was sick sick sick sick with fear. When we went into the lab and Dr. Rosso was waiting, my legs began shaking. She adjusted her glasses and threw a firm look at Kay before turning the gaze to me.
“Are you ready, ghost?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said, before I could think about it. “Um–in case I die though…” I flung myself at Kay and hugged him tightly. “Thanks. For everything, you know–being a friend and stuff.”
He hugged me back and then put his hand on top of my head, messing my hair up. “It w-w-won’t be goodbye,” he said.
“It might be,” Dr. Rosso said in a bored tone.
Kay and I both got the same look on our faces at that. “Someone needs to work on their bedside manners,” I murmured under my breath and Kay covered his mouth, hiding his smile though I heard a tiny little snicker. “So do I just um, step into the–the thing?”
“Yes,” Dr. Rosso said, waving one hand. “All your information is in here. If things look like they’re going wrong then I might be able to stop before it gets to be too late.”
“G-g-g-good luck,” Kay said, squeezing my arm.
I went over to the thingie and was about to step in when the door opened. A young woman stepped in rather nervously. “Dr. Rosso? There’s someone here to see you. He says it’s urgent.”
“I am very busy right now,” Dr. Rosso snarled. The woman nodded and left, quietly shutting the door. I licked my lips and then stepped into the thingie. Dr. Rosso began flicking switching and touching the keyboard while Kay hovered behind her, paler than he usually was and actually looking a bit green. “Five…. four… th–“
But then the door swung open so hard it banged the wall. “–don’t give a shit if she’s busy I demand to see her!” A man stormed in with the woman stumbling behind him.
“I tried to stop him, Doctor!” she wailed.
The man straightened up, eye gleaming angrily. “Doctor?” he asked in a harsh voice. “I’ve found you. Finally. And you are going to fucking tell me what the fuck you did with–” Now he stopped since he had seen me out of the corner of his eye and turned bodily, the anger out of his eyes now. His mouth was wide open behind his beard as he gaped at me. “Chance! Oh–Watcher–Chance!”
I floated off the thingie, about to ask if I knew him but when he said that word for the second time it was like a key opening up a gate inside. The gate opened and memories came flooding in. It was the voice I kept hearing in my mind, saying that word–saying my name. My name is Chance, and then everything else came in. Maybe not everything since I couldn’t remember being alive. This man–Jareth, no… Specter. It was Jareth, though. Samuel’s kid. But he hated being called Jareth, he had changed his name to Specter.
I remembered falling for him, and him kissing me, and us making love countless times. I remembered… oh…. I remembered the heartbreak I felt, the fight, me leaving his house, me wanting to die.
I swayed, clutching my head as all of this poured into my brain. “Specter?” I managed to whisper after a second or two.
“Chance–Chance I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Let go of me!” he added when the strange woman grabbed his arm. He easily swung his arm free. “Chance–“
“Why?” I asked in a kinda whiny tone. “Why did you come looking for me?”
“If you don’t leave this minute,” Dr. Rosso said before Specter could say anything, “I shall call security and you will regret bursting into a restricted area.”
But Specter didn’t look away from my face. “Why–why? Chance… I’m sorry.” His voice cracked and he sounded like he might cry. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for yelling, I’m sorry for–for snapping, I’m sorry for pushing you away. I’m sorry for fighting. And… I’m sorry for not telling you sooner…”
It was like time slowed down. I got this swimmy, throbby feeling in my head and my insides did flip-flops. “Tell me what?” I whispered, going closer to him.
“I love you, Chance.”
Everything exploded. My entire being just burst open and everything good in the world swirled around me, filling all that empty space up and pouring over and it was just the most flying, glorious, infinite, wonderful, amazing, complete feeling I ever felt. I wanted to cry, and Specter was crying, at least he had a couple tears dripping down into his beard.
“I’m not good with… expressing emotion. Other than anger. I’m really not good at–at feelings. I felt this way about you for–for a long time but I just kept denying it. I kept… convincing myself… it wasn’t the–the ‘l’ word. And I made the biggest mistake. I should have said it sooner. I should have… accepted it sooner. But I didn’t, and I made the mistake, and–and–and–” Here he stopped, his head swiveling towards the doctor and the professor. Dr. Rosso was looking pissed while Kay looked confused but both looked shocked when Specter said, “Doctor Rood? Professor Rood?!”
Dr. Rosso went pure white and she snapped her fingers at the door. “Newett, you can go.”
“But–” the woman started but Dr. Rosso snapped her fingers again and said, “Now!” So the woman left, shutting the door behind her.
“J-J-Jareth Greyson,” Kay squeaked and for some reason he reached up as if protecting his hair.
“I thought it was ‘Rosso’ not ‘Rood’?” I asked but nobody was listening to me. I was a bit put out that Specter’s beautiful and perfect and wonderful confession had turned into whatever this was.
“It’s, uh–it’s Specter now,” Specter said haltingly. “What the hell are you doing in Moonlight Falls? Wait… what the hell are you doing with Chance?” He looked past me at the thingie I had been on then at all the machines.
“We were in the middle of an experiment,” Dr. Rosso-Rood said, pushing her glasses up. “Before you so rudely interrupted.”
“I guess I can kill two birds with one stone, then,” Specter said a bit stiffly. “I’ve found Chance, and now I can exact revenge on you.”
“Revenge?” The doctor raised one eyebrow. “Whatever for?”
“It’s your fault my parents were killed,” Specter replied. “You were harboring the ghost, you failed to keep it in check, you failed to keep it locked up.”
Now my mouth was open and I looked from Specter to Dr. Rosso-Rood, wondering if it was true. “Don’t be stupid,” she said and now I looked back at Specter.
“DON’T you call me stupid!” Specter stepped a little bit towards her and she folded her arms, and I was afraid for Specter. I remembered how quickly and without blinking an eye she shot Samuel. “It’s your fault you b–“
“Either you’re stupid, thick, an idiot, or have a completely skewed view of reality,” the doctor said as she shook her head. “Except… if memory serves me right, Samuel Everett took you in, did he not? Hmm. No wonder you think what you do. Growing up with lies.”
“Lies?” Specter growled. “What d’you think you’re talking about?”
“Oh are you actually interested in the truth? I doubt it. I know your type. You’ll just insist the truth are lies, that lies are the truth, and continue blaming me.” She lifted a hand, examining her fingernails.
“It’s n-n-not our fault,” Kay said, finally speaking up again. “My s-sister is right, if you th-think the ghost killed your parents… y-you’re wrong.”
“What are you talking about?” Specter said, voice even more growly now. I kept my mouth shut even though I was extremely interested as well. The ghost killing his parents was the entire reason he hated ghosts, was the entire reason we had as many difficulties as we did (but he said he loved me, I heard it, he said it, and I had witnesses), so if the ghost didn’t do it who did?
“After all the pandemonium settled down, I began reviewing the security footage,” the doctor said. “At least that is what I attempted to do. Someone had scrambled it up. It took weeks to decode and fix. By that point, Professor Everett had left the labs. With you.”
“Samuel… yeah, he didn’t want to stick around with psychos like you,” Specter said.
“I’m sure he told you that, and didn’t tell you he had with him millions of simoleons worth of research and machinery.” Dr. Rosso-Rood smirked when Specter looked confused. “Oh, he didn’t? I believe it’s how he was able to jump start his little ghost hunting business so well. He stole all my research on ghosts, as well as all my inventions to paralyze, capture, and even kill ghosts. Although mine were not quite for killing but it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to adjust a few wires here, a few codes there and make the guns I know perfectly well his employees have.”
“Samuel invented all of that on his own.”
“No. I did. And that little rat stole it! It’s taken me twelve years, twelve years to hunt him down and get back what’s rightfully mine!” she hissed. “I would have found him sooner except he covered his trail pretty well and hid in plain sight.”
“That’s why you were at EGHB,” Specter said lightly. “How I found Chance. After Samuel went missing we reviewed our security tapes. We didn’t catch your faces but we saw the license plates. And the ghost. I knew it was Chance since we didn’t need anything special to see him. Chance…” It was if he finally remembered I was still here. He spun around, forehead all wrinkly. “Why were you there? Were you at EGHB or–or with them?”
“I was at EGHB,” I admitted, toeing the ground. “I was so angry after our fight I wanted…” Ugh, I probably shouldn’t be saying this especially since I was just now remembering it all, and having to come to grips with the fact I ran away and tried to die.
But before I could confess what I wanted Specter took my hands in his. “I’m sorry for the fight. Samuel and I had fought earlier, and I was in such a bad mood–and as I said, I suck at anything involving emotions. And when you asked me… I just freaked out. It was wrong of me, and I’m sorry.” He pulled my hands closer to his mouth and I felt his beard rub against my skin in that tingly, sexy way that I was very glad to remember. “I beg of you to forgive me.”
“Of course I forgive you,” I answered. “I love you.”
“I love you,” he said and kissed my hands. “I think I’ve always loved you. I was such an asshole for denying it.”
“Oh Watcher, ” the doctor groaned, clutching her stomach and gagging.
“I th-think it’s romantic,” Kay sighed.
“It’s disgusting, and getting in the way of our experiment. Oh for xenomorph’s sake, they’re kissing.”
We were kissing. Specter put his arms around me and dipped me back, and we were kissing again and it just felt so right and perfect and amazing. I clutched him tightly and didn’t want to ever let go but we had to since we were sorta standing in the middle of the lab. Specter moved his lips from mine but didn’t let go of my body. “I’m so sorry,” he muttered as he nuzzled me.
“It’s okay. Well, it wasn’t before but now it is.” I nuzzled back and the doctor groaned.
“So–w-wait, you know each other… rather, he kn-knows you? Your n-name is Chance?” Kay asked, sounding a bit awkward.
“It is, I remember things now. Not everything though, but enough,” I answered happily.
“Remember?” Specter frowned.
“Yes. When Samuel was torturing me I lost all my–“
“WHAT?!” Oops. “HE WHAT?” Specter now let go of me I guess since he was so angry. The muscles in his face tightened and his hands were now large fists.
“Um, yeah. I asked him to… to kill me. And he locked me up and–“
“Kill…?” His voice was faint and scared. “Why? Chance–why?”
“I was so lost! We had fought, and I couldn’t remember anything about anything and I was just so miserable and depressed and hated everything, and I just couldn’t stand it. But he locked me up and experimented on me, and it was torture. Like… really painful stuff. Super painful stuff. I kinda lost all my memory. Everything. Until just now when you came in here and said my name, I remembered us.”
“Your n-name is Chance?” Kay asked before Specter could say anything else.
“Does it matter?” His sister said, sounding very tired of what was going on. “We were in the middle of something very important.”
“It m-matters. Your n-name is Chance?” he asked again, and I nodded. “Wh-what’s your last name? Do you remember?” I shook my head at that. “Is it D-Danevbie?”
I froze and Specter stiffened. Before Specter could answer, I nudged him with my elbow and said a bit loudly, “No. It’s not.” I knew it wasn’t since Specter had done research into that name and that person didn’t exist. It had led to our fight. That’s the bad thing that happened last time someone researched me.
“Oh…” Kay’s face fell. “Are you s-sure?”
“Not everyone we happen across is a Danevbie,” Dr. Rosso-Rood sneered. “In any case, have any of them died like that?” She waved a hand rather angrily at me.
“There you have it.”
“Let’s get on with this, shall we?”
“Get on with what?” Specter asked. “You’re not… experimenting on him, are you?”
“I am,” she said.
“Yeah, no. You’re not.” He stepped in front of me, as if to protect me. “Chance and I are leaving. We’re going home, and–and… and I guess continue the search for… Samuel. And when I find him I’m going to wring his neck for hurting you, Chance.”
“That’s gonna be kinda difficult,” I said. “He’s dead.”
“Oh boy,” sighed Dr. Rosso-Rood.
“He’s what? Wh-what? No, he’s missing. He’s been missing for over two weeks.”
“He is dead,” the doctor said, clearing her throat. “I killed him.”
“I killed him.”
“Oh, J-Jay!” Kay wailed. “You said you w-wouldn’t!”
“It was either him or me, and it was not going to be me,” the doctor said haughtily.
“You KILLED him?!” Specter yelled. “So, basically, let me get this straight. Because of you my parents are dead. And because of you, my adopted father is dead.”
“Just a moment ago you wanted to wring his neck,” she pointed out.
“IT’S A FUCKING EXPRESSION!” Specter screamed and he lunged forward but the doctor began talking and when she said what she did, he stopped, staggering to a stop.
“D13–the ghost–didn’t kill your parents. Samuel did.”
It was seriously a moment for DUN DUN DUNNNN. I gasped, Specter gasped, Kay nodded, and the doctor… well, she just continued to look bored. She was inspecting her fingernails again.
“What…? N-no… that… that’s a lie…” Specter’s voice was breaking again. “I saw… I saw…”
“You were in bed,” she said, shifting her weight to her other foot. “You saw the corpses. You also saw Samuel leaning over your mother, correct? Then he told you the ghost killed them? He lied. When we unscrambled the security footage, we saw everything. The ghost never was near those rooms. He went straight towards the guest bedrooms, to… to someone else’s room. Samuel went straight to your parents room. There was no sound, but I saw them arguing and then he killed your father, and then killed your mother.”
Specter was shaking really hard. “You’re lying!”
“I’m af-fraid sh-she’s not,” Kay said, wringing his hands. “It took a l-long time to uncover everything b-but… Professor…Everett… er, S-Samuel… he was behind everything. He had b-b-been faking reports and d-documents whenever he worked w-with D13, and er-erasing the vi-video from there. We d-didn’t get all the film but it looks l-like he was g-going in a lot when he w-wasn’t supposed to, and helping the gh-ghost learn things l-like… possession.” Kay rubbed the back of his head and looked ready to cry now. “He let D13 out th-that night. We think they had an agreement. D13 went t-to Serenity’s room, and S-Samuel went to yours. After… during all the c-confusion… Samuel st-stole the research and inventions, and used the gh-ghost’s escape as an excuse to quit. I’m s-s-so sorry…”
Specter had fallen to his knees, covering his face, tears soaking into his beard. “No,” he whimpered behind his hands. “It’s n-not true. It c-c-c-c-can’t be true. He didn’t. He wouldn’t. He–he raised me. He took–took me in, he… he… I c-c-c-couldn’t have b-been living with my parents’ murderer all th-this time. I couldn’t. It’s not true. It’s not!”
“We have video evidence if you want to–oof!” Dr. Rosso-Rood stopped when her brother elbowed her. “Look, are we going to do this experiment or have you changed your mind?”
“Experiment?” Specter’s head jerked. “What experiment? No–no! Chance, you can’t do anything. No, we’re going home.”
Dr. Rosso-Rood twisted her lips around in a weird way. “You’re not in charge of him, he can make his own choices.”
“No, I’m not going to do this,” I said, a bit sadly since part of me still wanted to do the experiment. Actually, most of me did. But I couldn’t now that Specter was here. I snuggled close to him, hugging tightly. “I’m going home with Specter.”
“I don’t believe it!” All of us winced when the doctor screamed. “Of course, of course! I am mere seconds away from what could be one of the greatest discoveries in history and now I can’t because this bearded idiot pranced in and started making orders like he owns you?”
“I don’t ‘own’ him,” Specter huffed.
“Look there’s a chance I might die so I’m not gonna do this,” I said, clinging to Specter tighter. “Not now that I have Specter again.”
“There’s merely a zero-point-zero-zero-two percent chance of death!” The doctor threw her hands up in the air and Kay looked rather guilty. I eyed him and he turned his head, avoiding my gaze.
“For what? What experiment?” Specter demanded, wiping his eyes.
“It’s nothing,” I started but Dr. Rosso-Rood cut in with, “Only one of the biggest opportunities in a lifetime, in multiple lifetimes. Only something I have beens striving to achieve for decades!” Her fist came down on a surface, rattling the pens sitting there. “Decades! But oh no, never mind that. Go and have your fun!”
“S-sister, it’s his choice–“
“Of course! His choice. He seemed quite excited for it previously, despite you trying to talk him out of it. Oh well, maybe one day we’ll find another who has half as good qualifications and possibility of a successful attempt.”
“Chance and I are going home,” Specter said, getting to his feet and pulling me with him. “It’s what… you want… isn’t it? You wanted to go home with me, right?”
“Yes!” I said, lifting my face to look at his. “I want to be with you.”
“You want to do this though, don’t you. I can tell.” His fingers touched my cheek and my entire body shuddered with the pleasurable memories of his touch. “What exactly will this do if you go through with it?”
“It will fix me,” I said. “I think it will bring back my memories. It will…” I put my head against his warm, broad shoulder. “It doesn’t matter. Does it?”
“If… if… you w-want to go through with it…” He was struggling to say it. I could see his eyes were full of hurt and sadness and anger. He was still trying to deal with all the stuff he just found out and I wasn’t sure, but I guessed he was just trying to focus on something else so he wouldn’t break down.
I wrapped my hand around his. “No, I just want to be with you.”
“Be honest with me. Please.”
I swallowed and squeezed my eyes shut. “I w-want to. I would like to. But if you don’t want me to, I won’t. You–you love me?”
“I love you.” I melted at those words and grinned but the grin faded as he continued, “But.” BUT?! “But if you want to do this, then go ahead. 0.002 percent… I–I don’t like it, but I suppose I have a higher chance of dying when I take a bath. Or getting hit by an asteroid, I think.” Dr. Rosso-Rood snorted at that but we both ignored her. “So if you really want to…”
He kissed my hands and then kissed me hard on the mouth which made me all melty again. “Then go for it.”
“It would be preferable,” sighed Dr. Rosso-Rood.
“You’re not lying about the percent?” Specter asked.
“No, by my calculations it is 0.002 percent. Perhaps–maybe–0.003 percent, or.004. Not as high as.005 though.”
Specter took in a deep breath and let go of me. “Really?” I squeaked and he nodded, wiping his face again. “Okay. Okay.” I cast a look at Kay, a bit annoyed he had made the death chance sound worse than it really was, but I suppose I could understand his worry. I mean, now I was a bit worried about Specter taking a bath. “Okay.”
Specter kissed me again, kinda clinging to me and I tried to be brave but now I was scared again. I went over to the thingie and stood in it, concentrating on my breathing. “Chance?” Specter said, stepping back towards the doctor and professor. I raised my gaze to him and he smiled. “I love you.”
I smiled back. “I know.”
“Okay Leia and Solo, can we get this started?” Dr. Rosso-Rood demanded. I closed my mouth and Specter narrowed his eyes, both of us going silent. “Good. Let me double check everything… good.” She hit a button and the thingie began spinning around me, lights beginning to flash. “Five.”
“Watcher,” I breathed, staring at my hands. “I’m alive.” And then everything went black.