Other Fan Fiction ❯ KISS Next Generation ❯ Back to Reality ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Nothing to Lose part 10
By Trynia Merin.

"How can be sure that what you heard was … kosher?" Tyler asked Jeannie. Both of them sat by the fire, while Mona rested. The last time jaunt had taken a lot out of her, and even though she had rested during the two days that Jeannie had been asleep, Tyler worried about her. Now Tyler was sharing his concerns with his former lover, and now best friend. In turn, Jeannie had finally shared with him her strange elaborate dream.
"I know it sounds nuts, but it makes sense. What else does?" Jeannie shrugged. "It was so real, like one of Elliot's illusions. I know the Demon's power doesn't make my psychic, but I could swear these Elder were communicating with me!"
"Yeah… and what they said about Elliot still being with us… that was pretty full on," Tyler agreed. Clearing his throat, he moved delicately into the next question with a low voice, "So… about Sean… do you believe he is Elliot?"
"I don't know, and I don't care right now," Jeannie snapped.
"But you gotta admit… he smelled a hell of a lot like him. His scent is a blend of both Elliot and Sean," Tyler pointed out. "My nose knows."
"Whatever," Jeannie growled.
"But you have to admit, if he has Elliot's powers, whoever he is," and Tyler said this for Jeannie's benefit. "We need all the help we can get. We can't afford to alienate him."
"True," Jeannie agreed. "But he had better watch himself."
"Okay,” Tyler nodded, knowing from that glare the subject was closed for now. "So what next? Mona rested these last two days, but I don't know if she's ready to make the next leap."
"Okay, so we rest a few more days. Gather supplies, and see if anyone else is left alive in this wasteland," Jeannie sighed.
"Jeannie, about the next leap… past or future?" Tyler asked.
"But Sean said…"
"I want to make Leader pay for what she did!" Jeannie snarled, baring her teeth as her hands knotted into fists. She shook one in Tyler's face and he backed away.
"All right… but where do they come from? We don't even know which century!"
"Can't you remember what they smelled like?" Jeanie asked. "And if you smell that smell in the century…"
"Okay, but Mona will need a hell of a lot of rest before we even should try such a thing. Is it really worth it? I mean there is a much better way to kick their asses.”
"Make sure they never exist to begin with," Tyler snarled. "I say we wipe their existence out totally."
"Where is the vengeance in that?" Jeannie snarled back.
"It's logical. An eye for an eye. They tried to wipe us out so let's make sure they don't even exist to meddle. If you're so hell bent on killing them all…"
"True. But it seems unfulfilling! I want blood," she hissed. "I want to see the fear and anger in their eyes when I kill their Leader. I want to make her beg for mercy, that she denied Elliot."
"You're scaring me, Jeannie," Tyler shook his head. "I wanna kick ass as much as you but it would be cleaner that way."
"I'll consider what you said," she nodded, the light dying for a moment in her green eyes. "But for now, we cool it and regain our strength. I want to have our powers at their peak."
"I've been over this whole city with you, and I have this feeling someone or something's watching us… but they don't want to reveal their position," Ty shivered with a low yowl.
"Let them cower in fear as the cowards they are. And if they are victims, they will learn soon enough that we offer a haven," Jeannie nodded. "I'll go on a patrol later to practice my flying."
"You'd better take someone with you… in case," Ty nodded. Jeannie grunted in agreement.
Just then, Darryl came in; carrying an old fashioned Colt 45 in hand. He'd gotten it from Tyler, who had one or two pieces from his father Peter's gun collection there.
"Perimeter's secure, Boss Lady," he nodded to Jeannie. "What are your orders now?"
"Make another circuit, and keep watch," she nodded. "Try the second floor. It's covered, and has a good vantage point. What are our supplies like?"
"Last time I checked, we were down to canned stuff," he said. "There's hardly any bread
"I'll head out and scrounge up some more food," Tyler suggested.
"You do that… but take Darryl here with you."
"It'd be faster on my own."
"No. I'll not lose anyone else," Jeannie snapped. "Go with him Darryl. Report back in an hour. Don't hesitate to shoot if you need to."
"Gotcha," he nodded. Sighing, Tyler dropped to all fours, his frame melting like quicksilver into a hunched over figure. A tail sprang from his spine, arching as he flexed his claws. A shaggy blond mane curled over a face festooned with black and white patches identical to his makeup. Golden fur merged into silky black over his entire body. Green eyes blazed into Jeannie's.
"Be back soon," he rumbled a low undertone present like the roar of a lion. Around his neck glistened the choker collar Ty wore with his costume. The twin bandoleer straps glistened across the Lion's torso still, the only part of his costume present in his were form.
Nodding, Darryl climbed onto Tyler's back, and hung onto the silver straps. In two leaps Ty bounded out the front door. Jeannie closed it after them, bolting the latch securely. Turning away she moved to pick up one of the swords she had rested against the wall. She sat in the sectional sofa, and began to polish the weapon carefully in the light of the fire.
"Loneliness will haunt you, will you sacrifice," rung the Elder's words in her ears. Loneliness had hit like a kick in the stomach. All she had was a dull ache inside, like someone had ripped her heart out and left a cold stone in its place.
Meanwhile, the courtyard hosted the two other members of the Four. On the edge of the swimming pool Mona sat, bouncing her silver boots idly off the side of the pool. Where water had once laughed months before, only rubble and empty air whistled under a gray sky. Hardly any sun shone down, the brightest of days looking like an overcast rainy day. It was oppressive, making her shiver with fear.
She forced herself to gaze at the other occupant of the pool. In the shallow end, a figure walked toward her, his dark eyes set in the Lone Ranger mask around them. Instead of the Star, the silver edged black mask much like a Bandit complimented both eyes. That was what he insisted on being called if not by name.
Raising his hand, he held it out before him with an upraised palm. For a second Mona saw a lavender flash of energy, replaced the next second by a red rose. Holding it before him he walked the sloped bottom toward the deep end where she sat. Just before her he peered up, holding the flower aloft with a smile, "A rose for a fair maiden."
Mona couldn't help grinning. She leapt down, her platform boots contacting pavement just before him. He steadied her against him, passing her the flower. As it passed from his hand to hers, he seized her other and pressed a kiss to its palm.
"Delighted to present it to such a lovely one as you," he smiled.
"Sean, you don't have to impress me," she laughed.
"You believe me, don't you?" he asked, the soul deep eyes fixing into her silvery gray ones. For a moment she felt that familiar shiver pass down her spine.
"I… I'm not sure," she sighed, taking the flower. For a moment she thought it might be an illusion. To convince herself otherwise she pressed the petals to her face, inhaling a very real scent. It took her far away from the stench and grayness. In their black and silver costumes with whiteface, the red rose seemed the only splash of color other than their skin tones and his red lips.
Sharp thorns she avoided with her sensitive fingers along the stem. Each petal was soft and silky to the touch. It was real.
"As real as I am," he whispered, moving up behind her. "Please say you believe me. That I'm Elliot in here too."
"I want to, I do."
"Why won't they?" he pouted, drawing away from her. That blasted sexy pout looked worthy of Paul Stanley himself. Even if the face was a different shape from Elliot's.
"Can you blame them?" Mona demanded. "I mean we thought Elliot had died! Then to find out that he… you are in someone else's body is a little too much."
"I'm… he's in here…" he said, holding out his hand as he put it over his heart. "Breathing and feeling just like you are."
"If you are in there, Elliot, what happened to Sean? Are you possessing a body that doesn't belong to you?"
"I'm here too, baby," came a slightly altered voice, which sounded more like the KISS army member she had met at that first concert. "It's freaky I know. Majorly, but like I am in here too."
"Sean? I… are you okay?"
"We are one…" he answered, voice blending into a mixture of Sean's and Elliot's. "Together, united. A fusion."
"You… mean you are both sharing the same body… both minds are alert and awake?"
"Yes…" he nodded eagerly. "I can't bear to possess a person without sharing the experience. All I see, he sees and feels is both of our experience."
"But how can you tell who is who?"
"That will not be a problem in time," Sean laughed, a little too confidently, Mona noted to herself.
"But Sean… what about being an individual?" wondered she.
"He asked me… Elliot that is, baby," came a voice that sounded like Sean's. "He said if I wanted to help KISS survive, it was the best thing a devoted fan could do. How could I refuse? Now that I know who you all are really."
"But you could be like this your whole life!" Mona protested.
"I'd do anything to make sure the legend doesn't die," Sean answered softly. "Besides… I kinda dig that Jeannie chick."
"Oh god," Mona laughed ironically. "But this… is it permanent?"
"Till there is a way to reunite Elliot's body with my soul… yes," Sean answered.
"Even if that was possible, then how would you separate your two personalities, your souls?"
"We would share common memories. Everything we are and will be is forever together."
"And that doesn't bother you in the least?" she marveled.
"No. I wanted this… to be part of the Legend," said Sean. "And now… I can be a hero."
"There is more to being a hero then a costume," Mona sighed. "I'm no hero."
"Don't say that," Sean cried, grabbing her arms and gently stroking them. "You are so brave… why do you sell yourself short, girl?"
"Because… I can't even play a guitar!" she cried. "I'm the daughter of Ace Frehley, and I don't even play a basic chord on this dammed thing!"
He immediately leaned forward, his hand resting on her arm but almost not touching it. "But you can sing! And being Celestial is far more then how you can play a musical instrument. Besides you can always learn. You have lots of time."
"Moni, cool it with the powers for a change," came Jeannie's voice. The Dragon Womyn landed near them, startling Sean for a moment. His eyes fixed longingly into hers.
"I just…"
"Go in and rest. I'm your relief on watch…" Jeannie said, resting a hand on her arm.
"But…" she protested.
"It's an order, girlfriend," Jeannie said with a cute growl. "Or do I have to have the Bandit knock you out with a relaxer ray?"
"Okay, I'm going," Mona laughed. "But this Celestial isn't down for the count!"
"Good thing. Rest up, and then we'll kick some ass," Jeannie laughed, patting her on the back. With a look at Sean, Mona returned to the house. Leaving both members of the Four to regard each other warily.
"We need to talk," Jeannie leveled her gaze on Sean.
"You don't believe me, do you?" he asked.
"I don't know what to believe, kid. Look, I believe that you have the Star Bearer's powers in you. Fine. But you being Elliot, I can't swallow it. So just cool it with the flirting!"
"Why?" Sean asked, moving a step toward her. "I can't turn off how I feel!"
"Just cool it!" Jeannie growled low in her throat. "Don't go there!"
"Why are you so scared of me?" Sean demanded. "Can't you believe that love…"
"Shut up!" Jeannie roared at him, baring her fangs.
"Oh so we're the big bad demon now. Afraid to feel?" Sean snorted. "Really mature, Jeanie!"
"You're not the one whose heart was torn up and killed!" she roared. "So help me Leader will pay!"
"Jeannie… that's not the answer!" Sean held up a hand.
"That's how I know you're not Elliot!" she pointed a finger at him, sheathed in a black spiked glove. "He was all ready to kill them… for what they did to our parents!"
"And what was that, Jeannie?"
"If you are Elliot you would know!" She mocked him.
"Okay, I deserved that! But Jeannie, revenge isn't the answer! Didn't your talk with Gene teach you anything?"
"How much I wanna kick someone's ass for this," she retorted, folding arms across her armored chest.
"You can be a real bitch when you wanna. But when are you going to face what's really going on?" Sean countered, moving up behind her. She followed him with her eyes, keeping her distance from him warily.
"And what is that, smart guy?" she shot back. "I don't have time for getting in touch with my feelings!"
"You're the big bad Demoness, I forgot," he laughed sarcastically. "You can't afford to let yourself feel anything right? Except for satiating your base hungers… well what about that? If you are your father's daughter, I know more than anyone else how hot you are for me right now."
"Don't flatter yourself."
"Hah," he laughed, poking a finger in her face. "You're dying for it. You want me… that's why you're fighting me."
"Oh please!" Jeannie laughed. Like it or not, she did feel the strange hunger in her lower belly. Even though he was thinner then Elliot, he still had a nice body, lean with some muscle. Somewhat like Ace, but in between Ace and Paul. Like Paul his hair was a tight mass of curls that bounced a bit as he walked, the lines of the cheeks narrower much as Paul's were, unlike Elliot's.
"Don't you want me, Jeannie?" he cooed, bringing his lips close to her ear. She turned her head to look at him, that sorrowful look in soul deep eyes more then she could withstand. Gritting her teeth she stifled a hiss of anger.
"Damn you," she growled low, in her throat.
"Why deny it," he asked, breathing into her ear. Her coarse hair yielded under his hot breath.
"Because… you aren't Elliot… you're a kid who has no freaking clue!"
"You're my age. I just turned eighteen. Even if I'm not Elliot, I'm a man."
"Loneliness will haunt me. I made the sacrifice," she countered. "I am a war machine. If I slept with you, fine. But don't expect me to show any tenderness now."
"Bullshit! You're the Demon's daughter, but you're still a woman. Who needs desperately right now to be touched… to be held… to be loved."
She turned on him, the growl again sounding between clenched teeth. Green eyes twinkled with hunger that she could hardly restrain for another moment. All of the reasons why this shouldn't be went out of her mind when she felt the sexual tension mounting. Damn she wanted him, wanted someone. Something to quench the fire in her belly. He knew the exact words to say to push her buttons, just like Elliot did.
"I don't know whether to kick your ass right now…" she breathed, labored in and out. "Or something else."
Lips parted, he ran the tip of his own tongue along white teeth. Sensuality exuded from every pore, and for a moment Jeannie wondered if he was using his starchild powers on her. He wasn't, for she could not sense the manna at all. Only a base desire that had drawn her to Paul, then to Elliot.
"How badly do you want me?" she said, lowering her own voice to a sultry tone.
"Let's find out," he laughed lightly, stepping toward her. Nimbly Jeannie leapt up, somersaulting over his head to land with a thump behind him. He traced up the fine lines of her golden dragon boots, which seemed melded to her long legs that disappeared under that leather and gold studded battle kilt.
"I'm not gonna make it easy," Jeannie shook her finger at him.
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Sean grinned. He circled her, eyes glaring a light purple. A shower of rose petals suddenly landed on Jeannie's face, confusing her. In the confusion, he seized her around the waist, pulling her close. She brushed her tongue over his lips invitingly hot breath falling against his lips and nose. Sean's lips lowered in anticipation of her kiss that never came. She pushed him away with a wicked grin. For a moment he vanished. Only an instant before she felt strong arms grip here she leapt skywards. Gracefully she rose into the air with ease, carrying whoever it was for a ride.
"Whoa!" Sean's voice cried into her ear, and locking her in a death grip.
"Who's in control now?" she laughed.
"It would seem you were, for now," he laughed.
"How long can you hold on?" she laughed with a wicked gleam in her eye. Under her spread arms her cloak billowed with her long black hair streaming behind her. It slapped Sean in the face. He weighed slightly less than Elliot and she couldn't help but wonder what other differences existed. From that first concert she had seen a glimpse of his excitement. Not a bad package. It might have some possibilities after all.
Sean glanced over Jeannie's shoulder to gape at the ruined cityscape below them. She circled in ever broadening arcs around the neighborhood, and out to LA beyond. A fragmented mess of spires hung to one side while the gray slate sea loomed to the other. Jagged craters dotted the hills where the ruined Hollywood sign stood defiantly to the other side.
"Shit, talk about Destroyer," he gasped. "Man… they blew up the whole stinking world!"
"A comet did us in," she whispered. "And is that Elliot or Sean speaking to me now?"
"You…" he gasped. "Both and neither."
"Aw shit, don't' give me that!" she groaned. "You sound just like those Elder who…"
"Your dream, right?" he asked.
"Yes… wait a minute… did you possibly have anything to… no way… that's not possible…"
"Jeannie… I didn't have my powers yet in this body… but I was with Sean… myself… I put my soul into this body… because…"
"Damn… they should have listened to my mom," Jeannie shook her head.
"Yes… not a soul left alive… but wait… Jeannie… I sense something alive down there. Someone… trying to find us."
"What?" she asked.
"Very faint… very distant. It's like I suddenly sensed some minds waking up."
"Better get down to earth again," she suggested, circling back.
Again she circled the block, and dipped. Sean's arms tightened around her neck and chest, wincing at the spikes that jabbed him. Much like the thorns on a rose, he reflected. Below them the ground blew up as they skimmed over it. Jeannie ran along the pavement of the asphalt for a few lengths before coming to a running stop.
For a moment she stood, tensing. Sean still clung to her back, his weight hardly fazing her. "Uh Jeannie… you can put me down now."
"Oh… sorry," she muttered, still walking toward the house.
"Damn you're strong," he muttered. "I'd sure hate to piss you off."
He slid from her back, but didn't remove his hands from her. IN fact he slid them down till he folded them over her waist, nuzzling into her hair. Just before her ear at the boundary of the white to the normal skin he softly pressed a kiss.
"Sean," she hissed lightly.
"Yeah baby?" he breathed into her ear.
"I hunger… but…"
"Baby, I'm sorry. I can't stop how I feel about you."
"You can't sense what I'm feeling?"
"You know my powers don't' work on you. It's a guess at this point. But Jeannie, I know I'm not the same body… but does it matter? Both of us want you badly… are you gonna let physical barriers stop us?"
"No," she whispered, a low growl vibrating deliciously from her back into his chest. Whirling in his arms, she grabbed the sides of his white face and devoured his lips with her hot demanding mouth. Her long tongue thrust into his, exploring new territory. For a moment Sean felt clumsy and foolish, stunned there in her grasp unable to move with the sheer force of the sensation flooding him. Her hips ground against his, her hands digging into his back as she pulled him close to her body.
"Man, you want it bad," he gasped when she withdrew, panting. She ran her hands down his back, feeling the muscles that were slim yet fine and hard. Walking down his jeans to the small of his back, her hands stopped.
"Relax," she whispered to him. "If this is gonna work at all, you gotta let go."
"I… it's like I know what to do… but the rest of me… I've never…"
"You're a virgin?" Jeannie smirked cutely. "Ah, now this is a challenge!"
"Yes," he groaned.
"Hmm…" she grinned. "Well, this is an experience."
"I take it you believe me?"
"I believe you're hot and I'm horny as hell. And I'm not passing up this chance to get some action."
"But you don't believe I'm Elliot?"
"Shh, lemmie get used to this. Don't say anything else."
"But Jeannie…" he whispered.
"Shh," she laughed, brushing his lips with her tongue. "I don't feel like talking a lot, do you?"
Jeannie's lips closed over his, a little more gently this time. She drew back a moment, and peered at him. "Sean, relax. I feel like I'm kissing a dead guy."
"But…" he asked, and she took him by the hand.
"Cmon in here…" she urged, beckoning with one finger as she lead him up the stairs. He felt her hand grasp his and pull him up behind her. She opened the door to a large master bedroom, still intact. Pictures of women covered one wall to the side, while gold records covered the other. A huge bed dominated the side of the room, modern and spread with satin sheets.
"Oh god! Is this where I think it is… oh yeah it is!"
"Uh huh," she grinned. A smile spread over his lips, and she pulled him to her, kissing him again. His lips brushed over hers lightly and sweetly. He yielded to Elliot's experience, letting Jeannie take the lead. Her hands traced down and gripped his ass under the jeans. Gasping, he let out a whimper behind the kiss as a jolt of fire shot up his spine, erupting into pleasure. Her tongue worked over his, and she pulled him onto the bed…
"I saw them take off," Darryl panted to Tyler as they bounded back to the house. In Tyler's jaws he clutched a net bag of various supplies they had scrounged. Under him Tyler tensed, sniffing at the atmosphere around the backyard. Darryl wondered what strange scent he had picked up.
"What man, danger?" he asked, slipping off Ty's back.
"Nope, just good ol fashioned pheromones…"
"What the hell?"
"Good ol fashioned sex," he said.
"You mean…" Darryl's jaw dropped. "Sean and Jeannie?"
"Yeah," Tyler shook his head. He morphed back to his human form in a shimmer of green light. "I just hope she knows what she's doing."
"And who!" added a female voice. Darryl and Tyler groaned at the joke. Yet both were glad to hear Mona cracking one.
"Moni, what are you doing up! I thought you were resting!"
"Don't be so protective, sheesh!" she laughed. She moved up to Tyler, who wrapped an arm around her. His lips pressed a kiss to her electric blue ones, and she passed her arms around his neck.
"Mm, can you blame me?" he chuckled. "But seriously… If Jeannie and Sean are…"
"Let's just let it be okay?" Mona asked him, pressing a kiss to his lips again to shut him up.
"Uh so this is where KISS lives in the future, or is this where you guys live?" he asked, when they parted.
"Well… uh…" Tyler scratched his head.
"What year is it? I mean I saw this newspaper in the house that said 2004."
"Better fill him in," Mona said.
"You sure?" Tyler asked.
"Please, he'll figure it out eventually,” she flipped her hand one palm facing the ground as if it were no consequence.
"Tyler," she warned, tapping his nose with her finger. "Does it matter? Yes, this is 2005. And this is Gene Simmons' home."
"Wow!" Darryl shook his head. "Far out! And Ace is your dad, right? And you Ty, Peter's your father!"
"You got it."
"Man this is like freaking planet of the apes!" Darryl laughed.
"You like SF?" Mona cocked a brow.
"Hell yeah!"
"At least that gives you a frame of context," she muttered. Absently she separated herself from Tyler and suddenly raised her hands.
"What are you doing?" Darryl asked.
"I… I… can't summon it…" she gasped, looking confused for a moment.
"Moni, what did you do?" Tyler asked accusingly.
"I was able to summon it before… but when I sent it back… something went wrong." She gasped.
"What do you mean it won't come back?" Tyler demanded.
"I… I don't know…" she shook her head. "To tell the truth I wasn't keeping track of my instrument. I assumed that I could just summon it."
"When did you last have it?" Tyler asked her.
"When we were back in the past. I was so exhausted I didn't even try summoning it and…"
"Did you take it with you?" Darryl asked.
"I could have sworn I assumed that it had returned to me… after the battle two days ago… but now I don't know!"
"Moni, think hard," Tyler urged her. "When did you last have it?"
"The battle with Leader. I gave it to Ace and…"
"Oh shit…" Tyler shook his head. "Did he give it back?"
"I can't remember…" she froze in fear. "I can't remember!"
"Calm down maybe you can bring it back here!"
"I'm trying but I can't!" she cried, panicking. "And I'm afraid if I try too hard… I won't have enough power to send us to where we next need to go!"
"What?" Tyler asked.
"Without my guitar, no powers! When I have to recharge right!"
"Darryl, go get Jeannie now!" Tyler snapped. "On the double!"
"Jeannie!" called a voice distantly. Sleepily Sean raised his head from the pillow, feeling cool satin sheets around him.
"Mmn," he gasped, feeling an incredible sense of well being fall over him. Close to him he felt a living-breathing woman, and brushed a lock of hair from her sweaty face. Still it was covered in the mask of the Demon, lying pillowed on his chest. Her bare skin pressed deliciously to his.
Gingerly he moved out from under her, feeling the call of nature. He rolled to the edge of the bed, and placed both feet on the thick carpet. Cool air hit his bare skin. He made his way to the bathroom to relieve himself. Minutes later he returned, to see she had turned over in her sleep. Leaning over he pressed a kiss to her forehead, and whispered, "I love you baby," into her ear softly. She smiled and stirred in her sleep.
"Jeannie! Where are you?" came the voice again. It had not been in his dream after all. He grabbed his jeans off the back of a chair and started to work one leg into them, stumbling. Unfortunately he fell headlong onto the floor, crashing rudely.
Jeannie pushed herself up off the bed, and shook her head. The thump had jolted her out of a sound sleep, and she turned her head to look at Sean on the floor. He squirmed into his pants, and rolled over. "Hey, you okay?" she muttered with a yawn. Deliciously she stretched, feeling quite good all over.
"Sorry to wake you up baby…" he peered up at her.
"Who was calling my name? It wasn't you was it?" she yawned, slipping to the side of the bed. She tossed aside the sheets and stood up on long graceful legs. Reaching down she grabbed Sean's hand and effortlessly pulled him to his feet.
"Jeannie!" came the voice again, and Darryl burst into the room.
"What?" Jeannie yawned again, rubbing her eyes. "Where the hell is the fire? You could wake the dead yelling like that! Damn!"
"Don't you know how to knock, jeez!" Sean snapped, buttoning his jeans.
"Sean… man… Tyler said…."
Darryl's voice trailed off, his eyes widening. Like a deer about to be hit by an oncoming Mac truck he froze into place. His jaw dropped open, and Sean wondered for a moment what he was staring at. Then he realized Jeanne stood in the nude, completely unfazed by the presence of both men gaping at her shapely body.
"What?" Jeannie asked. "Mind telling me what the hell's gotten into you, kid?"
"Moni… no guitar… no powers… scared shitless," Darryl babbled out.
"What?" Jeannie demanded, striding toward Darryl, who backed away. "What do you mean no powers?"
Sean grabbed a robe and draped it over Jeannie. Rolling her eyes she pulled it shut, sighing, "Look, I'm flattered you're admiring the view, but don't tell me this is the first time you've seen a naked chick! Get it together and spill it already!"
"Sorry… but Tyler wants you to talk to him. Mona lost her guitar in the past!"
"Oh shit," Sean gasped.
"That's all we need now!" Jeannie snapped, flying out the door before either one could stop her.
Darryl looked to Sean for a moment, completely stunned. "Holy shit, you scored! Dude!"
"Yeah…" Sean shook his head. "Incredible."
"You rock man!" Darryl laughed, and slugged him on the back. "But what's with the makeup?"
"The… oh… it won't come off. This is what I really look like now…" Sean hastily explained.
"But shouldn't we like get her costume?" Darryl asked, picking up the pieces of her outfit from the large bedroom.
"Yeah… but let's find out what's up with Mona."
They rushed into the living room minutes later. Sean pulled on his KISS T shirt, and shoved his feet into the large platform boots. Jeannie still wore only the bathrobe, scarlet in color around her shapely form. Violently she combed her fingers through her hair. Mona perched on the sofa, her eyes closed shut while Tyler wrapped an arm around her.
"But it's my fault!" she sobbed. "If I hadn't been so careless…"
"So you're sure you left it in the past?" Jeannie asked.
"Yes! But I've ruined it all! I don't know if I have enough powers for more than one jump."
"Well, couldn't you jump back in time and get it?" Jeannie asked. "Strange you can't bring it back here."
"It's as if something is blocking me!" she despaired.
"Or someone…" Tyler growled. "I smell trouble. Literally."
"If so, who?" asked Sean, joining them.
"That's what I'd like to know!" Mona shrugged. Slowly she relaxed under Tyler's gentle soothing touches.
"Hey, what's done is done," Tyler said to her. "We just need to get it back."
"But I thought you wanted to go after Leader… in the future," Mona looked up to Jeannie.
"Well this solves the problem," she sighed. "We have to go back. And get your guitar."
"But if my powers run out… what then?"
"They won't. Just so long as you get us back to a time before the comet hits," Jeannie interrupted her. Sean coughed and handed her her costume. She began to put it on in front of her friends.
"But there's another thing. If we're gonna go, we gotta go now… because I'm not sure if I can keep my powers going much longer without a recharge! And what if we don't find my guitar?"
"There is one solution," Sean said. "Go back and find KISS, and get Ace's Talisman. If you recharge with that… you'll be set, guitar or no guitar. At least for the next move."
"Of course!" Jeannie slapped her forehead.
"Duh," Tyler laughed, teasingly shaking Mona's shoulders. "Like Father like daughter!"
"So, do we all go, or what?" asked Darryl.
"Someone had better stay here and hold down the fort. I don't' think that we can afford to teleport more than us…" Jeannie muttered. "It's a huge responsibility…"
"I'll stay. Besides, someone has to keep guard."
"You sure man?" Sean asked him.
"I'm a member of the KISS army right?" he laughed. "Besides, if you're time traveling and all, you'll come back only seconds after you left!"
"You really do dig SF," Mona laughed.
"Okay, let's go," Jeannie threw up her hands.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" Sean asked her. She shot him a glare, and then noticed him holding up the parts of her costume.
"Okay. In a few minutes. But it's then or never, right Mona…"
"Okay…" she nodded, biting her lip. Tyler took her aside and sat down opposite her. Softly he spoke to her, leaving Sean and Jeannie alone. Darryl moved into the next room while Jeannie put on her costume.
"Jeannie… are you okay with what happened?" he asked softly as he helped her to buckle on the pieces of golden armor.
"It was what the doctor ordered," she answered slowly.
"I mean… you don't regret what we did, do you?" Sean asked her, eyes filled with concern. He could not read a single emotion on her, curse the Demon's power! It somehow negated his empathic abilities. While he could read Mona and Ty to some extent, he could not get any readings from her at all!
"No way. But don't ruin it with the psychoanalysis, okay? Good sex is good sex, and that was great! Why not just start there?"
"Okay," he agreed. She pecked him on the lips, and turned so he could fasten the cloak at her elbows and wrists. "But my feelings?"
"We'll figure it out later…okay?" she whispered in his ear seductively.
The ruinous landscape stretched all round him as he glanced out the window. Darryl tensely scanned the cracked rooftops in search of someone, anyone out there. The whole experience of the last few weeks had taken on the unreality of a wild dream. In the last fortnight he'd found more challenges then he had ever thought possible. Should he stay here, or go? He had promised them that he'd stay and guard the ruined house. Even so he had no idea how long they would take. There was still plenty of food in cans and bags.
A dry scrape sounded, and Darryl snapped to attention. He jerked his head around to follow the
sound. Nothing. Looking left, then right, he glanced again. Across the street a modern mansion
glared at him through a dozen cracked windows. Bits of glass gleamed in the eerie twilight of the overcast sky. There was no night or day, just this grim grayness.
"Who's there?" Darryl shouted to the silence that suddenly became oppressive. Around the smooth wooden handle of the colt 45 he clenched his shaking fingers. Literally it was his grip on reality, such as it was. There was a sudden click of a key in the lock downstairs. Jolting from his perch, he rushed down.
"Who goes there!" Darryl shouted, as the door swung wide. He held the pistol before him, and gasped at who strode coolly in. Black and silver as the dreary world, three pairs of brown eyes fixed on him, and he shook.
"And you are…" a tenor voice asked, in a New York accent.
"Oh my fucking god…" he got out.
"Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my house?" came the voice with a hint of growl to it.
"Hey man, lighten up, and put the popgun away… this Space Pioneer's arms are getting tired…" Someone else joked.
"You… you're alive…" he gasped, dropping to his knees. The gun fell from his hand as Darryl fainted clean away from shock.
"Check out the reject from Detroit Rock City!" the slurred voice joked, nudging Darryl with a silver space boot.
"Don't laugh. I think he's way away from home," the deep voice muttered, nudging him with a dragon boot sheathed in silver scales.
"I could swear I sensed them here… but they're gone!"
"They probably thought we were dead," Demon said to Starchild. Both men regarded each other sadly; their dark eyes almost the same shade. Hair streaked with silver and black curled around Starchild's white face, his cheekbones firm and angular. The hair on his chest was still black, mingled with silver, his body still muscular, if not a little leaner then his youth.
"I smell time scans, all around," Space Ace sniffed. "Man, it's live!"
"They found them," Demon growled low.
"It's come full circle," Starchild nodded.
"And this guy is the problem?" Ace asked.
"More like the symptom," said Paul.
"Where are the kids?" Gene wondered. "They should be here… unless…"
"They forget their guitar," Ace cackled. "We'll see them soon!"
"What do we do about him?" Paul asked, leaning over Darryl.
"You tell me Starchild. Can you do your psychic thing and pick his brains. We need all the info we can get…" Gene said practically.
"All right… but you think he'd be more comfortable on the couch?" Ace asked. Gene effortlessly scooped Darryl up, and set him on the sofa.
"Here goes nothing," Paul said, and reached out with the purple aura as his eyes glowed brightly. He slipped into Darryl's dreams to learn what had happened….
****************************************************** *******************
Confusion met Paul's probes at first, and he moved deeper, but more delicately. He had to be careful, lest he disturb the chain of events that lead to this present time. What had happened in the past few days, Paul wondered. He shifted to two days before the kids left, opening each page with wonder. Till he reached a page that brought far more questions than answers…
Mona shivered in the heat of the fire. Try as she might, Mona simply could not get warm. Every muscle quivered in her lean body. Even rubbing her hands up and down her costume could not make a difference. She pulled her liquid silver cape around her shoulders and hugged herself.
"Hey, are you okay?" Tyler asked her, flopping down next to her on the sofa. He placed his hip and thigh tightly against hers.
"I'm just so cold…" she shivered. "Jeannie's fire is raging hot in front of me… and I'm so cold!"
"Then let's get in front of it," Ty suggested, and pulled a blanket off the sofa. He threw it down on the hearth and pulled Mona down to sit beside him on it. He pulled her cape around them both, moving up next to her as close as he could. Warmth moved from his body to hers, and he rubbed her arms and hands beneath the cape.
"Brr, I hate this!" she shivered. Tyler brushed his hands up her thighs, stroking along the sides.
"If my lips weren't already blue, they'd be blue cause of this cold!" she joked.
"Yeah, you're chilled to the bone, sweetie. But let ol' Ty take care of you. C'mere…" he grinned, pulling her to sit just in front of him. He wrapped his arms around her front, his chest warming her back deliciously.
"That feels so much better," she sighed, letting his warmth fill her from behind as the fire surged close and hot. Its heat seeped into her shivering body, and Tyler didn't seem to be bothered by the cold at all.
"Does it?" Tyler chuckled. Suddenly Mona let out a gasp when his hands moved over her breasts, lightly rubbing them through her silver halter-top. He reached under her cape to do this. Slowly they worked down to her belly, and traced along her thighs to her folded legs. An intense flash shot from her groin to her outermost parts.
"Uhh," she groaned, biting her lip to stifle the moan as his hands massaged her through her costume.
"You know, it would work better if you took some of these clothes off, sweetie," he whispered into her ear seductively.
"I'd love to Ty, but if I do, I'll freeze!"
"I thought of that, baby, and I promise I'll keep you warm… trust me…" he leaned forward to kiss her cheek. From the back of the sofa he pulled more blankets. He tossed more around them, with pillows from the sofa.
Jeannie raised her head from a satin pillow as she heard the Lion's roar, and the Celestial's scream as that of an angel's song. It was nice to know she wasn't the only one enjoying herself tonight. Sean rested against her, while she stroked his chest. Already he was catching on quickly to the lovemaking. Elliot's experience surged inside, while the virginal body of Sean experienced each technique as for the first time. The lean body with some smooth muscle felt nice against her, covered in an abundance of dark brown hair. Far more abundant then Elliot's, but not as much as Paul had been.
Starchild flushed as the memories flickered in his mind. How could he have known it was she so many years ago, during that encore? If Gene knew, he'd kill him. Well, Gene knew all right, but that was years later… when they finally connected two and two… But where was Elliot? He probed deeper, realizing the truth. Elliot's mind was housed in this other body, asleep and dreaming dreams of a KISS army Soldier, mingling seventies and future into one stream.
"Oh boy, this is gonna be a tough one," Starchild told himself, and forced himself to continue his probe, lest he miss something important.
Oh man, he's inside that guy Sean, Paul thought. How had it gotten so screwed up? Paul inwardly wondered. He saw Jeannie's gift to Darryl, and understood its meaning. But he felt her pain and anger at Elliot's predicament. And Mona… she had lost her guitar!! And they had gone to the past to get it!
What a tangled mess they had made of fate, trying to save it, Paul sighed. They had changed fate, for the better of all, but at the risk of endangering a future population. Jeannie was taking on so much, could she possibly face what was to lie ahead?
IT was good they were here. For now the Training and Transfer could be completed…
****************************************************** ********************
Suddenly Ace clapped hands to his head, feeling the crackling of temporal energies from beyond. The pattern of cosmic strings was tangled and stretched as someone forced through. He nudged Gene, whispering a warning.
"You mean they're coming back?" Gene asked.
"Yep… don't you remember them coming back?"
"Time Travel's confusing as hell…" Gene muttered.
"Yes… it's them all right. But they're stuck… shit!"
"What?" Paul asked, pulling himself from Darryl's mind. His eyes reverted to their warm mahogany, now darkened with concern.
"What do you mean, stuck?" Gene growled.
"Stuck! Something's screwing with Moni's powers!" Ace cried. "It's jamming her… the thread's going!"
"Get them back here Ace!" Gene shouted. "Now!!!!"
Ace stood to his full height, spanning his arms wide as he reached to that inner dimension. Energies crackled about his fingertips, silvery blue as his talisman glowed at his throat. Each of them carried the power with them, as they had always done. Even though they had left the objects of power away, they knew they would return to them eventually. Such was Fate! Paul reached out, mingling purple with blue. His power merged with Ace's struggling to find the minds trapped between dimensions. "They're stuck in between!" Ace shouted, as the power mounted in intensity.
"Now Ace!" Paul cried. "Before they slip away!!!"
Time melted like quicksilver as Ace moved between realities. He reached with one hand, pulling a handful of cosmic strings. He jerked them tight, folding Time itself to find what he sought. With an expertise of a lifetime he tugged and strummed them like his Gibson.
There came a wind that flashed through their hair, blowing Ace's auburn mass streaked with silver aside of his face. Vast energies swirled in that confined space as reality opened up, and four figures tumbled through to land on the carpet.
"Just in time…" Paul gasped. "They're all so still!"
"What happened?" Gene demanded, standing over the fallen form of the Dragon Womyn. He tenderly cradled her head and shoulders in his arms, leaning at her side.
"Sweetheart!" Ace cried, leaning over Mona and holding her close to him. She was so still, and so cold.
"They are so still. I hope…" Paul whispered.
"Ace, what happened?"
"They were lost in transit," Ace whispered, cradling his daughter in his arms tenderly. Paul tended to Sean and Tyler, laying them gently out and checking for broken bones.
"Lost? How?" asked Gene.
"Some other guy has time travel," Ace explained. "I felt someone playing tug of war. It was wicked… I almost lost them…. Moni… she's not used to this… and she panicked. Then the other time traveler or device snatched them. It took a lot, but I got them just in time!"
"Great… but how long will they be like this?" Gene demanded.
Paul's eyes glowed a gentle purple, his nimbus expanding to encompass all four. For a moment the glow intensified, then faded. He sighed, and faced his friends, "They're out of it. I'd say at least a few hours… to a few days."
"Let's get them more comfortable," Gene suggested. "They're gonna have a hell of a surprise when they wake up."
"That's for sure," Paul pointed to Ace, who stroked Mona's face gently.
"They are from another time," Ace whispered, looking up at Gene. "I sense another dimension on them. Whatever timeline they came from, it wasn't ours, till now."
"What?" Gene asked.
"More time travel stuff…" Paul sighed heavily.
"Moni… I'm here for you, baby," Ace whispered, kissing her cheek. Now he would make up for the lost time, he promised. Gently he took the guitar she had retrieved, and lay it aside with care. Picking her up he lay her down on the other side of the sofa.
Gene picked up Jeannie, and carried her up to her room tenderly. There would be much to show her. She looked so strong and yet so vulnerable. He hoped the others they had brought with them would be all right, for they were already put to bed….
Many revelations would be revealed, and many questions answered, and so many more generated.
Mona groaned and glanced around. She lay in a vast bed, which dwarfed her with its massive four posters and thick brocaded curtains tied back by ropes as thick as her fingers. Her toes only came to the middle of the bed, and her pillows seemed as large as two into one. The width was at least as large as Jeannie's father's bed from the Mansion, far larger then a King. She groaned and sat up, bracing her back against the satin purple sheets. Between the curtains she saw a roaring fire set into an ornately carved hearth, working with tiles painted in moons and stars. All over the comforter/bedspread she saw the expanse of stars with a small crescent moon at its heart. Rich purple carpet spanned the vast floor, spreading in four directions. Huge tapestries draped the high stone walls, large lancet windows set with diamonds of uneven glass. At the midpoints she saw the vast roses wrapped in thorny vines.
She started at the sound of scraping of metal on metal, and the door swung open. Slowly it admitted a tall figure swathed in rich purple from head to toe. Eyes sparkled like amethysts in his handsome face, as white as snow. Onyx curls framed his face, spilling over powerful shoulders. He strode on long muscled legs toward her, and she froze in fear. For that patch of black over his right eye was extremely familiar. His robe opened, revealing a chest covered in lustrous thick hair contouring the toned muscles.
"Little one, you are awake, that is good. Did you rest well?" came a voice as rich as a cello, echoing with many others beneath it.
"Who… what is this place…" she stammered when he reached the bed. He towered over her, at least eight feet tall, and she could only gasp when she imagined how colossal other attributes could be.
"Do not be frightened, little one," he soothed, his eyes glowing soft lavender. A soothing shimmer bathed her body, and she felt her fear ease a bit at the touch of a long fingered hand over hers. Softly it stroked hers with its fine fingers, soft and strong. They were twice as large as her own small hands which felt as small as a child's in comparison.
"Where am I?" she demanded again.
"Within the Citadel, safe and well. None can harm you here, little one."
"My friends…you… look like Elliot… but Elliot's dead!"
"You know who I am, my dear," he shook a finger at her. "How can you not know the Master of Dreams?"
"Oh God… Jeannie wasn't kidding…" she got out.
"You speak of your friend, the Demoness…" he said with a hint of amusement puckering those impossibly ruby lips. "She was quite spirited when she visited us. But you came to us, hurt and strained. You have been working far too hard, precious one. You deserve to rest…"
"I can't rest… not when my friends need me…" she said.
"Such doubt tears at my heart," he whispered, and she gasped when she saw his knee glide onto the bed, sheathed in black speckled with diamond dust. He moved beside her, bringing supple legs to recline next to her.
"How did I get here?"
"Your power, maiden, is that of crossing space and time," he whispered, his lips approaching her ear. "This time you are trapped between worlds. Celestial found you, and brought you safely here."
"My friends…"
"Are safe and well. You need not worry. Why do you doubt your powers, precious one?" he cooed, gently slipping an arm around her shoulders.
"Elliot…" she began to cry.
"You mourn the loss of him. But he is not lost to you. For did you not see his spirit in your
"What is this place, another planet?" Mona gasped, flinching away.
"Another Realm. One long forgotten by your world."
"You know of Earth?" she asked. "Am I in another universe?"
"That is a way of conceiving it…" he nodded, drawing her close to him. She shivered at the lavender pleasures wrapping her shaking body.
"I don't understand…"
"Do not seek to… for it will all become clear in time, my precious one…" he breathed into her face. Before she could stop herself she felt warm soft lips close over hers, pressing a searing kiss to her mouth that washed over her with an ocean of sensation. Strong arms wrapped around her, and she felt safe as if she were in a parent's arms. A moan escaped her throat, as she parted to catch her breath.
"There is no need to be afraid of me. I have watched you for so long, my sweet maiden… so lost and so full of doubt. Not knowing how strong she is."
Again he pulled her close, deepening his kiss this time. His tongue teased her lips, coaxing them apart. Mona groaned into his mouth, almost yielding under his soft delicate touch for one so much larger than she.
"I… can't…" she whispered against his lips that sought to please hers. "Please…
"Your heart is pledged to another?" he asked, pulling away and lifting a graceful brow.
"Yes… to Tyler," she admitted. "I love him! And I can't do this! Please… let me go!"
Star Bearer drew back, putting a hand's width of space betwixt them. He drew in a deep sigh, "Then the Beast master has found his mate. A pity, for there is so much I could teach you now… sweet one."
"What do you want… to screw me?"
"How harshly you put such a thing," he shook his head with a sad laugh. "I want you, my songbird, my Angel of Music. Your heart is not open to me as it was before."
"I want to go home… to my friends…" she said, pushing him away with a firm hand.
"I feared as much," Starbearer sighed.
"Are you called Elder?" she asked. "Like Jeannie said? Star Bearer?"
"Indeed that is one of my names," he said with a smile.
"You're not a dream…"
"Yes and no, Space Maiden. I am as real as you wish, or need to be."
"If you are he, then can you tell me how to get Elliot back?"
"There will be one among you who can help. The answer is within, as the power is within. After the Celestial has played his part. All will become clear. The Transference will happen. But you must be ready."
"Am I not Celestial?" Mona wondered.
"You are not the first, nor will you be the last. I am amazed that a Woman was chosen, two women to bear the Powers."
"You know about the Talisman, right?"
"What does your sense tell you?" Star Bearer questioned.
"That you know more then you want to tell me. You said chosen… so the Talisman must have come from here… at some point… but who Chooses?"
"Morpheus," he whispered.
"The lord of dreams? But you said you were…"
"He is the lord of this realm. I am the lord of Dreams to those of your world," Star Bearer explained. "But enough. If you are so determined to return, and refuse that which I offer… then I will tell you how you can return to your realm."
"Wake up, baby… wake up…"
"Wake up? Is it that simple?" Mona muttered as the lavender cloud surrounded her. She closed her eyes, and then blinked.
"Mona! Baby, please wake up!" came another voice. It sounded so familiar. She opened her eyes wide, peering at the faces above her. At sight of the Star she flinched away, for the dark eyes peered into the depths of her soul.
"No… leave me alone… you said you'd send me back!" she cried, trembling.
"What's she saying? Mona… please it's us!" came the voice, and she felt the hand close around hers.
"Easy. She's been under some kind of intense dream," Star Bearer said. "Hey, sleepyhead, don't you recognize me?"
"I… I…" she stammered.
"Mona, it's us," a blonde face bobbed into view, and green eyes fixed into hers with concern. "Baby… don't you recognize us?"
"Tyler!' she got out, grabbing his hands and beginning to shake. "Oh God I thought I'd lost you!"
"Never, sweetheart!" he got out, hugging her close.
"Give her some air, kid," Star Bearer said, or the one in the stellar mask of makeup, drawing him back. She noticed the streaks of silver mingled with the black, and the angularity of the features. It was no one but Elliot's father, Paul! Tyler contained his enthusiasm, gripping her hand. "Thank God I thought you'd never wake up… and we got Paul here to help."
"Paul… oh god… you… you're alive!"
"Yeah," he smiled, fingering her face gently. "For a moment there you had us all worried…"
"But then you know that Elliot… oh god!"
"He knows," Tyler nodded. "And he's already trying to think of a way to get him back…"
"Jeannie and Sean…" spluttered Mona.
"They're okay," Tyler said. "And so are you! And Paul's not the only one who's here…"
"Everything's gonna be all right, little girl," came a voice that vibrated from behind her head. Mona shivered when she recognized it.
"Who…" she gasped.
"It's only me, Moni!" a voice cackled, and she realized what she was reclining on, someone's lap! Indeed the soft hands held her shoulders gently, and a face that mirrored her own bobbed into view, upside down.
"Oh my god…." She got out, stammering as tears came over her eyes.
"I know the war-paint looks weird, but it won't come off. And I bet yours doesn't either… if you found the Talisman! Say, why are you so shocked?"
"I thought you were dead!" she sobbed, trembling. It seemed almost unbelievable, but it was him!
"Baby, its okay, Daddy's here now. It's okay! As soon as that comet hit, I teleported everyone about thirty minutes into the future, and then we all flew to safety… when the jet burned up around us!"
"Oh god…" Mona sobbed, straightening up in his arms. She buried her head in his shoulder, crying and shaking with joy and disbelief.
"Hey, it's okay Moni, shh," he whispered, stroking her back as she hugged him tightly. She felt the silver lame of his costume under her cheek, and his thin arms holding her tightly back. "We're alive all right. Thanks to a bit of thumb work.”
"I thought you were dead, I thought…"
"Hey, baby it's all right…" he hushed her. "I'm not gonna go away again. Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye."
"I missed you so much I never thought you… oh god…" Mona howled, trembling in Ace's arms. He pressed a soft kiss to her forehead, rocking her on his lap. Brown hair mingled with red as father and daughter shared a tight embrace neither wanted to break.
"C'mon I wanna word with you," Tyler whispered to Star Child. He returned the look of concern, and both men left the room, gently closing the door behind them.
"You realize the last time she saw Ace, was in the past," said Tyler. "And she never knew him as a father."
"That's crazy… because Ace has known her since she was sixteen!" Paul protested. "Don't you
remember when you guys met at summer camp, and I invited you all over to Gene's place… and
then Ace was there and…"
"Wait, that happened, but it didn't happen till I was 22," Tyler said. "Mona never knew her father was Ace till then. Because her mother kept it a secret."
"What?" Paul demanded. "Ace had always known he had a daughter, but his ex kept him away from Mona till he kicked his drug habit, and after that he had full visitation!"
"How old was she?"
"Twelve!" Paul said. "Don't you remember?"
"No," Tyler said. "Because we've made changes…"
"Changes?" Paul blinked.
"C'mon Mr. Stanley. You know. We traveled back in time, gave you the Talisman, and then everything changed. And I know it has, because of what you just said."
"Man…" Paul got out.
"C'mon, I wanna see if Jeannie is okay," Tyler said.
"Yeah…" Paul nodded. They strode down the hall to a small bedroom on the second floor, and knocked on the door. Slowly it was swung open, by the Demon. He looked tired, but at peace.
"She's woken up a little while ago," he said. "Remembers me. But she keeps saying something about Elder…"
"I was afraid of this," Paul muttered.
"Wait, you guys know about Jeannie's dream?" asked Tyler, incredulous.
Slowly they entered the room, and Jeanie was sitting up in bed, looking refreshed, but very serious. Tyler moved over to her, gripping her hand. "You okay?"
"She'll be fine," Gene admitted. "Thanks to a little persuasion. Right?"
"I'll survive," she said, gripping her father's hand tightly. He kept a hand on her shoulder as he sat down next to her on the bed with the pink satin sheets. Tyler pulled up a chair, and Star Child stood awkwardly against the wall.
"Is Mona…?” Demon asked.
"She's awake, but she's acting very freaky," Star Child admitted, concern in his dark eyes. "She
acted as if she was shocked Ace was still alive. I felt such a release of tension and anger from
her, it hurt. IT was as if she couldn't believe he was her father."
"Things have changed, I told you," Jeannie said, glancing up at Demon and Star Child. "And because of that, we paid the ultimate price for screwing with history."
"Jeannie…" Demon said, gripping her hand and squeezing it. "That is not true, and you know it!"
"It is," she said, looking down at her bedspread. Her armor and costume had been removed and placed aside carefully while she had been recuperating. "And it's all my fault. That Elliot died!"
"Don't say that for a minute, sweetheart," Paul snapped. "You did what you had to!"
"I couldn't be more proud of you, little girl," Gene said, grasping her face and turning her gaze to
face his. "So stop the self guilt! I don't wanna hear it!"
"He died saving me, Dad!" she shouted. "I could have taken that shot, but he took it for me!"
"Hold it," Paul said, striding over to the bed. "If you want guilt, I've got enough for all of us."
"Listen to him," Gene urged her. "Stop beating up on yourself. I won't have it… and neither will the rest of your family. So you can just stop it now. I don't want to hear another word about how it's all your fault. When from where I stand, I couldn't be more proud of my daughter then now. Tyler told us all about how you kept it together."
"Elliot…" Jeannie protested.
"WE can help him," Paul urged. "I'm not sure how, but we'll find a way… trust us."
"Where were you all this time?" Jeannie asked, as she calmed down. He wiped away her tears with a Kleenex.
"There was a shockwave," Demon explained. "And then the plane we were flying in was hit full on by it."
"That's when all hell broke loose," Star Child added.
"Ace saved our asses. He ported us ahead a second or two in time. The plane bought it, but we were fine. Damn good thing…."
"How did you get down safely?" Jeannie asked.
"We flew, of course," Paul grinned.
"Wait… wait a goddamned minute, you said you flew?" Tyler asked. "But we could never
fly… only Jeannie could."
"That's another power that the Talisman gives us," Paul said. "It's only something we discovered after a year or two. And that was by accident."
"You've only had the power a short time," Gene explained, slipping an arm around his daughter's shoulders. "You showed us how to use the powers at first, but when you disappeared, we had to figure out the rest on our own…" "Then you know that we went into the past," Jeannie said slowly, and her eyes met those of Star Child's. An awkward silence ensued, as Paul traced the floor with his boot. Unspoken words announced the reason loud and clear, though Gene for his benefit said nothing. Rather he turned a harsh gaze from Paul towards Jeannie.
"Well, we eventually figured it out," Gene said, breaking the pause. A flush of pink came over Paul's cheeks, Jeannie could swear.
"When we broke up, we were afraid that the power would fall into the wrong hands, so after we took off the makeup, we put the Talisman away in the Vault," Paul said. "It wasn't till the four of us got back together that we even touched our Talisman again."
"But that doesn't' explain why they were in the basement," Tyler responded.
"What do you mean they were in the basement?" Paul asked. "You found the instruments, didn't you?"
"Yes… well no…" Tyler scratched his head. "Well we found the instruments, but we also found the Talisman. Which further proves time got changed because you guys must have had the talisman with you to use your powers to get back here… man this is whacked!"
"It does, and it doesn't," came a cackle. Ace strode in, his arm around Mona's shoulders.
"Jeannie, you're okay!" Mona smiled with relief as she rushed over to hug her friend. The two embraced, glad to see each other up and awake.
"I was, till this whole damned story became even more complicated," Jeannie grumbled.
"Ace what the hell are you talking about?" Gene growled.
"It's a temporal paradox," Mona said slowly. "KISS had the talisman because we gave them to them. So they could come back and help us, now…"
"Only it was us old farts," Ace cackled. "And I even brought your guitar, kid… that you left
behind in 1976!"
"Oh god…" Mona groaned. "I can't believe it!"
"It's downstairs, waiting for you,” said Ace cheerfully, and rubbing her shoulder.
"So… let me get this straight…" Paul breathed. "You're telling us you found the Talisman in the basement along with the instruments?"
"Yes,” Jeannie said. "And then we realized that we must have been the ones who gave them to you in the first place. And now that you are here, I am assuming you have brought them along, because you're using your powers."
"That's right," Ace nodded. "It's a temporal paradox all right. You gave KISS the talisman so we could get our powers. But we had to have them to begin with to leave them behind."
"Which means…?" Paul shook his head.
"These guys changed their future all right. Their time chikara's totally a different wavelength," Ace explained. "They're from an alternate reality. But they're part of the time stream they helped create."
"Shit, more Jendel crap," Gene muttered. He pressed his clawed hand to his forehead, murmuring and shaking his head. Ace's time travel always confused him despite his college education, which dealt with less esoteric matters. Although a lifetime of comic book and science fiction fandom prepared Gene for the bizarre, he had to admit there were some things Ace surpassed him in.
"It makes sense to me," Tyler shrugged.
"But Elliot… is inside of Sean," Mona told Paul.
"Yes, I know."
"Can't you help him?" pleaded Mona.
"I wish I could, but his body's been dead for days, I don't' think I can," Paul sighed. "I... got here too late."
"Then it's hopeless," Jeannie said slowly. "Elliot is gone. And his soul's stuck in the body of a KISS army fanatic. Great."
"At least he's still with us," Tyler said.
"Am I supposed to freaking clap?" Jeanne snarled, jumping up out of bed and pacing around, arms folded across the chest of her silky nightgown.
"How do you think I feel?" Star Child admitted, moving over to her. "He's my son, dammit!"
"You think I forgot that?" Jeannie snarled at him. "Now can you see why I bear the guilt?"
"Enough of this!" Gene shouted, moving up to Jeannie. "I told you to stop it with the self recrimination."
"Which is why Leader must pay," Jeannie said slowly, letting her father's hand rest on her shoulder.
"And as soon as you're up to it, Mona, we will go after that bitch and all her kind!” Jeannie promised.
"No way," Paul said.
"I don't think so, little girl," Gene said firmly.
Jeannie whirled on him in disbelief. Her fist pumped angrily. "She murdered him!"
"That doesn't make it right!" Paul said vehemently.
"How can you stand there and preach like that when Elliot's blood cries for vengeance?" Jeannie snarled, her eyes glowing red momentarily.
"Because, you're better than that, that's why," Gene said, taking his daughter's shoulders firmly.
"And as long as we're here, you're not going off on some pointless vendetta!"
"Excuse me, but I am an adult!" Jeannie shouted back at him.
"And I'm your father, little girl, and I say you're staying right here! No freaking way you're gonna do this!"
A low growl escaped her throat, answered by his. Their eyes fixed firmly, for a moment as Jeannie's hands balled into angry fists. She broke away from his grasp, and slammed her fist into the wall, punching a sizable hole as she let lose a roar.
"Jeannie…" he said, moving over to her. "I don't want to see the power get hold of you."
"What good is this power if I can't save him?" she snarled. "Dammit!"
"Jeannie… It's not your fault," Paul said, but Gene held up a hand to silence him. Ace pulled Mona closer to him as she flinched in fear and concern.
"Loneliness will haunt me," she repeated, her green eyes filling with tears. Gene held out his arms and hugged her close as she collapsed against him sobbing. All the anger and frustration spilled out in hot tears that dripped onto the floor, steaming hot and evaporating as soon as they hit.
"That's not true," Gene whispered, hugging her tightly to his armored form. She clung to him with an embrace that would have crushed anyone else but another Demon.
"It's okay," Paul whispered, from a discreet distance. "Sometimes…"
"Can't we help them?" Mona turned her face to Ace, tears in her own eyes. Tyler gripped her hand tightly, moving over to join father and daughter.
"Maybe," Ace whispered a thoughtful look on his face.
Gene took Jeannie's face between his hands, laying a gentle kiss on his daughter's forehead. "I know this is hard, but you have to stop taking it all on yourself. That's not what this is about. The chikara can get to you if you let it. And I don't wanna see my little girl loose her heart."
"I'm not a little girl anymore, dad," she cried.
"I know that. You're a grown woman. And I'm very proud of you. But going after Leader and wiping her out isn't the answer. You're no better then she is, if you did that. There's a time for killing, and a time for vengeance. And sometimes death is too easy and clean of an answer to her kind. You have to get smart, not mad. And the best way to get even is to think around the problem."
Suddenly Star child gasped, and moved out of the room. Tyler wondered what that strange slimy smell was in his nostrils. Slowly he recognized where he'd smelled it before. Quickly he rushed after Star Child, leaving Jeannie and her father with the others in her room.
"What's up?" Darryl asked Sean, as the Bandit gave a low groan.
"Something overloading my brain… for a moment. It's like a hundred people suddenly arrived, then left!"
They saw the flash of silver, and froze. Star Child and Tyler reached the downstairs as the figures suddenly appeared in their living room.
"Shit, not you freaks again!" Tyler got out. A pencil thin beam of light from Star Child zinged
past the figures, only to pass through.
"It's no good."
"This is just a warning," came the voice of Leader. "I see that you have already changed a few things. I cannot permit you to act further. This is why you must listen well to what I say."
"What do you want?" Paul got out.
"What's to stop me from killing you now?" Tyler let out a low snarl.
"Let's hear her out!" Paul cautioned him. "She's stone cold serious!"
"So are we," Darryl snapped, pulling out the Colt 45 and aiming it at the other guards.
"Foolish boy. You have no idea of what is at stake," said Leader sadly shaking her head. "You play with forces you cannot comprehend."
"Stop the riddle shit and tell us why you're here!" Sean cried. They did not see Jeannie and Gene descending the stairs.
"Let me at her!" Jeannie snarled, eyes flaring red. Only the Demon's inhuman strength held the Dragon Womyn back from pouncing on Leader then and there.
"You are wise to restrain your anger, young one," Leader said slowly. "Because what I'm about to tell you will make it very foolish to kill me."
"What… do you want," Gene asked, voice low as he held Jeanie back.
"Simple. I want you to surrender the Talisman within the next forty eight hours. Or else those whom you call family will suffer."
"What?" Paul exploded.
"What are you saying?" Gene growled.
"There are other humans that survive. And we have taken the liberty of rounding them up. They thrive under our care. But there are some very special to you. Your families."
"No!" Jeanie got out.
"Observe. These family units are known to you?" leader asked, holding up a disk. Gene's jaw tensed when the image of a tall shapely blonde flickered above it, with two other children.
"Shit!" Jeannie breathed. "Terri! And my brother and sister!”
"And you," she turned to Tyler. "Is this young woman not known to you?"
"Jennifer!" Tyler got out when Leader clicked the disk again, and he saw the three dimensional figure of a young woman, a year younger than him, shivering in fear as she huddled against a wall.
"Let them go," Gene growled, his own eyes flaring scarlet. His grip on Jeannie relaxed a bit, changing from one of restraint to one of protection.
"You are hardly in a position to bargain. And you can't find them without our help. Because they are in our time."
"Shit!" Sean whispered. "That's not…"
"Shh," Star Child whispered. "All right, you've got our attention. What and when?"
"Surrender the Talisman to us, at the Gate, in two days. We will release your families to you then. And only then."
"How do we know you're not lying?" Tyler asked.
"Am I lying, Star Child?" she asked him.
"She's on the level," Paul sighed. "We can't fight this."
"I trust you will not be foolish. Till then, I bid you farewell," Leader nodded gravely, reaching for a unit on her shoulder. One by one the figures vanished in swirls of energy. Leaving them alone and frustrated.
"Now do you see why she's gotta be stopped?" Jeannie turned to Gene.
"Most definitely," Gene muttered. "Now it's personal!"