Other Fan Fiction ❯ KISS Next Generation ❯ Ladies Room ( Chapter 10 )

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

Ladies Room
Part 1
By Trynia Merin
Disclaimer: KISS belongs to themselves, as do the terms of the Elder, and the
likenesses of their makeup and persona. The concept of the Four who are One belongs to Psycho
Circus. Mona, Elliot, Tyler and Jeannie are my own creations, and are my attempt to create a next
generation of KISS. This means no harm to the organization or the band, and represents a tribute to
a rock and roll legend.

"Milord," Kelsey moaned as the Demon lay her down across the soft silky couch. She swooned, unable to resist any longer even if she wanted to. The soft assault of his tongue in her navel unleashed a
groan louder then she thought she could make.

Shandi sobbed with delight at Celestial's soft kiss and soothing silver chikara that
surged over every nerve. With a whisper and a wave of his hand, they both vanished into a shimmering rip in reality. Next thing Shandi knew they lay on his vast bed, Celestial relaxing under her. His soft kisses pressed to her lips, tongue slipping over hers in an intricate dance. After what seemed an eternity she felt the bolt of passion slammed into both of
them.
"My little one, I love you so much," he sighed, stroking her hair.
"I love you my Celestial," she sighed, kissing him fondly as she rested on top on him.
Tears welled up in his dark blue eyes, and she wiped them away.
"Milord, what is wrong?"
"Oh my little one… our time together is so short…"
"What, why do you say that?"
"I wish I was not cursed with sight of what is yet to come," he sobbed, unable to hold
back the truths that were revealed to him.
"Oh please tell me… why, am I going to die?"
"No, my Shandi," he sighed. "But we have such a short time together…"
"Why… then, please tell me what is to happen?"
"I cannot… please do not force me to reveal it…"
"Celestial, I love you so much, please don't do this to me."
"I have read the stars and drawn the charts. You and Kelsey will be taken
away…"
"By who? Blackwell?"
"That part is not revealed. But to become our champions you must take the Quest.
Moreover, you must do what Morpheous bids. And we cannot stop you from facing the trials to
come…"
"But won't we be together?"
"We will. But not in this world, little one."
"I won't leave you…"
"We will be reunited but not after a long time," said Celestial sadly.

"How?"
"By the quest. You as a Magician must learn to open the ways. But the way will separate
you from me… and all my skill will not be able to return you here this time…"
"Oh no…" Shandi began to sob.
"But you will not be alone, Shandi. For I have planted my seed inside of you. Where you
next go, you will bear our child."
"My… our… child?" she gasped, unable to believe what he had just said.
"But… I'm only a child myself…"
"There will be others. Those that you will come to love, that you will protect. As they
will love and protect you. And your child will grow in that other place you will enter. And Kelsey
will go also… but you must say nothing of this to her… or the others…"
"Oh please I must tell them…"
"I cannot say the precise time," Celestial admitted. "But it will be long before our
child is born…"
"Celestial," she sobbed as he held her close, wrapping her in his arms. They sobbed bitterly together; knowing each moment must count.
***
That next day, Shandi was loath to get out of bed. She ate little, despite Celestial's
insistence. Most of that day she buried her head in spells, watching him at a distance. Decked in
her blue robes, she sat on his large ornate chair watching him at work over his incantations that
whole morning. All she could do was sit dully as he opened his enormous tome before her, and page to
an ancient spell. Dust rose off the page as he brushed it aside.
"This is the spell for shielding," Celestial announced. Shandi didn't lift her head at
first. Moving over to her, he carried the book over and set it on her lap. The shock jarred her out
of a meditative funk.
"I'm sorry Milord," she apologized, glancing up at him with a sad smile.
"You are preoccupied, my little precious one," he stated, turquoise eyes fixing into
hers. "Do you not wish to learn sorcery this day?"
"No, I mean…yes I mean…" she got out, before she felt the tears come.
Celestial pulled the book from her lap and placed it to the side. He knelt before the ornate chair,
resting his long hands on her knees. Lightly he stroked them.
"Shandi, I am saddened too by the revelations I imparted. However, I want our time
together to be filled with joyous memories…" Celestial urged, his nose only fingers width
from hers.
"I can't help it! It's not fair," Shandi blurted out as she squeezed her eyes shut.
"Damn it!"
"Shandi, I am sorry. I never should have told you…" Celestial sighed deeply, his
chest rising and falling beneath the triangular collar of his robes. The shoulders spread out and up
into points, giving his torso the extra width and majesty of a master mage. Diamonds glittered as
stars across its black surface. She traced her finger over it, leaning forward to bury her head in
his shoulder.
Celestial wrapped his long arms around her as she sobbed. She felt his finger tip her
chin up to press a soft sweet kiss there. Silver energies flooded her soul with their soothing light
of knowledge. In seconds, the spell in its knowledge was traced onto her brain in its mystery.
Silently their minds merged into that one place in the astral realm where they were at peace.
Until reality crashed in, and they parted. She fingered his silver cheek, noticing the
large tears in his turquoise pools. "My love, you must be brave," he told her.
"I'm really trying hard, Celestial," she told him as he wiped her tears with a large
long finger. "But it's so hard!"
"Would it help you to know more?" Celestial asked.
"Were you holding out on me?" she pouted.
"I have seen a precious little more. And I want you to know, that there will be others
to help you and comfort you when I am not with you," Celestial whispered into her ear.
"Others… helpers you said… like the Four Who are one?"
"Yes. You will enter their world. When I cannot say. But you must learn all the magic I
can teach you, for it will be of help in their world…"
"What is it like?"
"It is far different from this one," Celestial sighed, rising gracefully from the
floor. He turned from the chair, placing the magic tome on her lap. The weight of the book pressed
into her robe clad knees with its mystery, for she could feel the buzzing of the power on its
surface warm to the touch. Ancient symbols carved on its ebony back and front caught on her fingers.
Celestial seemed to gaze into another dimension as he swept his hand over a rounded crystal sphere.
Slipping it into his fingers he turned back to Shandi, and knelt before her again on one knee.
"It is a clouded world, with many machines and devices that take the place of Magic, of
Chikara…" he said, waving his fingers over the reticule's surface. Shandi peered into the
clear heart, which suddenly clouded over. Slowly the clouds parted to reveal cavernous ruins. She
drew in her breath at the sight of a twilight world where no sun could penetrate. Grey water lapped
at the dead city by the bay, white letters rising over a battered hill.
"It is like Blackwell's island," she shuddered.
"This world was kissed by Death," said Celestial ominously. "A great snowball from the
heavens fell, and seared the northern parts of this world with great heat. The black cloud you see
is the debris from the impact. Many people died in the quakes and fires that resulted, while others
lived locked underground. Many have perished for the want of food and drink, for the animals eat
plants, which cannot harvest the sun in this twilight hell. Only the Four who are One, and their
families have survived, thanks to the power of their chikara…"
"How can they eat?"
"There is food that was preserved that they scavenged. In addition, those that did not
remain fled, and soon perished. The Four, and their Fathers… and the friends are all that
remain alive in this city. But there are other lives… and others that need their
help…"
"It's a terrible world!" Shandi cried, putting a hand over the crystal to blot out the
hell she viewed. "Isn't' there anything that can be done?"
"That is why there is serendipity in your approaching trip," Celestial smiled. "Why we
cannot, dare not retrieve the Talisman. The Four hold the cure among them. The solution. And you
hold the key to making it possible…"
"Me?" she gasped.
"The child you bear, our child will have the power to set it right. Nevertheless, the
years before she shall know her power are many. And there will be those that will wish to steal it
for their own. And then there are the Fathers of the Four, who will give the kiss of life to this
husk of a world and restore it to what it once was…"
"I thought the Four who were one were the hope…"
"They are another thread in the Universe's tapestry. However, those that will give the
kiss of life are their sires. Only by working together can they restore their world… and you
and your friend will be the catalyst for this to happen…so at the appointed time our child
will do what must be done…"
"Why our child?"
"There are but three children to be born. There must be Four," celestial told her.
"Yours is the fourth that makes their next generation whole. To fill the balance. I have had another
vision. Once you have journeyed into their world, there will be Friends of the Four. Three will
betray them, and those that bear the Kiss of life will battle them, when time is reversed. Your
child will be endangered by them. Three will rise, and take one of the Four Who are One and turn
them against you and your friend. But the Four's fathers will tip the scale…"
"So many prophecies…"
"Only one of the traitors is true evil. Beware them. I cannot say when in their time
this will happen. However, it will be after the birth of our child. Watch for the signs…"
Celestial instructed. Shandi felt his hands cup around hers, which cradled the reticule in her small
hands. Smooth coldness tingled there, imbuing Shandi with bluster of strange images. So many that it
made her head ache to hold them all.
From a distant place, she heard a long sonorous clanging, which snapped her back to the
present moment. Celestial and she met their gazes and smiled. "It is time for Repast," he smiled.
"And you and I share much…"
"Including our appetites," Shandi laughed as she heard her stomach growling. Taking
Celestial's hand, she rose from the chair. She only came to his elbow as he led her to the door.
Suddenly he stopped, and turned to her.
"Shandi, will you Diss apparate?" he winked. She grinned, summoning her energies for
the spell. Light sparkled around their frames as they suddenly winked out of his lab into another
chamber. The gaze fell to reveal the Main Hall of the Citadel where the four thrones stood on a high
dais.
"What took you so long?" Beast King growled impatiently. Already he was seated, his
paramour chrystyne upon his lap in her human form.
"You're always late for Dinner," Demon nodded, as Kelsey settled comfortably into his
lap. He let out a low rumbling growl of satisfaction as she stroked fingers through ebony
locks.
"I am not the only one who is tardy," Celestial smiled, and indicated the other empty
chair. In a series of laughs two figures bounded out from the darkness. A shower of rose petals
landed on their heads from above; signaling the arrival of ebony skinned vision in drifting
diaphanous robes of gauze. Her long moonlight locks spilled behind her and her breasts bounced as
she ran away from her pursuer. Long legged strides brought Star Bearer after Domino, who reached the
table first.
"You are slow milord," she laughed, dodging behind Demon's throne. Demon flicked his
tongue at her invitingly, and she winked a moonstone eye at him.
"Hey, he's spoken for," Kelsey glared at her. Star Bearer pretended not to notice, but
suddenly caught hold of Domino's wrist when she had her eyes on the Demon's burning gaze.
Celestial took Shandi's hand and led her over to his throne. Sitting down first, he
then settled his robes around him and held out his hand. She settled onto his lap cozily, while he
pushed the chair in. Demon clapped his hands meaningfully.
"You do that so masterfully," Kelsey laughed. Two lines of sylphs brought out large
trays of delights, moving on small graceful feet. Their gowns trailed about their slender forms as
they approached. Before each Elder the settings were placed, joined by large jeweled goblets and
trenchers worked with precious metals. Platters of fish and fowl were placed among the choicest of
fruits for their repast. Leaning over each shoulder the wine bearer tipped her jug for each one.
Soon they fell to eating and drinking. Each paramour shared plates with her Elder, Shannon feeding
the Demon small pieces she tore for him from his plate as others followed suit. It was an amusing
game they played, each paramour savoring the innocent fun of waiting on her mate in the smallest
ways they could. Every need was provided here, even companionship, but there was one need they
filled their others could not.
"Pleasure, sheer pleasure," Star Bearer sighed. "Your beauty far surpasses all
others…"
"How silver is your tongue today, lover?" she asked, sipping wine from his cup. Overtop
hers his fingers interlaced.
Shandi didn't feel like eating, a strange squirming in her stomach rising. She refused
the food Celestial offered her, huddled on his lap with her head resting on his shoulder. "Are you
all right?" Kelsey asked, leaning over to look at her friend.
"I…have been better…"
"Try for me," Celestial pleaded, holding a grape to her lips. She let him feed her,
grape by grape until she had a little nourishment within.
"Are you happy my love," Demon asked Kelsey suddenly.
"Are you insane? Of course," she sighed, stretching in his lap. "I've never been so
happy in my whole damned life…"
"That is good," Demon rumbled with pleasure.
"Why the suddenly question?" she asked.
"No reason, save that I wish to please you," Demon answered her suddenly. "Because
times of pleasure can be fleeting…"
"Oh watch how he jests," Domino laughed, feeding Star Bearer a bit of meat. He licked
her fingers clean of the juices.
"Stop saying those things," she laughed. "Milord, are you jesting?"
"I… cannot say," Demon suddenly admitted, falling silent. Star Bearer and Beast
King looked to Celestial, who sighed.
"Did you tell him?" Shandi whispered to him. Celestial nodded slowly.
"But I thought you couldn't," she got out before Celestial's lips pressed to hers. They
tasted of wine and fruit, sweeter then nectar. In her thoughts his voice moved as quicksilver,
warning her to say no more.
"Milord, what are you saying?" Kelsey asked.
"Think little of it, my love," he waved his hand. "It is merely that I wish your time
hear to be pleasant…"
"Wait, I thought you said we'd be here forever," Domino interrupted. "Do we not please
you?"
"You please us well," Star Bearer assured her, running his hand up her thigh. "What
talk is this!"
"You know," Demon rumbled, and Star Bearer glared his gaze at Celestial.

"You, do you hide some truth from us?" he demanded of his brother.
"I… am not permitted to say…" Celestial murmured.
"Speak, now!" Beast King growled, looking for a moment like his panther form.
"Have you told Demon and not us?" Star Bearer asked, voice low with anger. All the
women froze in fear on their laps.
"Leave us," Demon commanded. "This is not for our consorts to hear!"
"Wait a minute!" Kelsey snapped.
"Leave me, and take your friends. I command it," Demon growled in a voice that would
not be refused.
"Have I displeased you?" Kelsey asked.
"No. This is a matter that we must settle alone… as brothers," Star Bearer said.
"Now, please leave us. We will summon you when we are finished…"
"Celestial…" Shandi said.
"Say no more, little one," Celestial warned her. He pulled her to him for a passion
filled kiss, his arms wound around her tightly.
"You're scaring me," Kelsey said to the Demon, her voice quaking at the fire in his
dark eyes.
"Forgive me," he rumbled, and pulled her to straddle him. His tongue thrust deep
between her lips, his hips grinding against hers. A sigh escaped her lips as his kiss seared her
mouth with fire. When he released her his eyes were soft with affection.
"Now… go," he whispered. "It is not your fault or cause. We must summon
Morpheous and talk to him, our master alone…"
"Oh… all right," She nodded, knowing this to be a good reason. Rising from his
lap, she followed Domino and Chrystine who had already risen. Celestial released Shandi's lips and
gently pushed her from his lap, still squeezing her hand.
"Guide them to the Library," Demon ordered their six bodyguards. "Then summon them
again when next we meet."
"Amuse yourselves," Star bearer winked. "We will not be long…"
Shandi followed her friends out of the chamber, only looking back once. Turquoise eyes
fixed into hers, and she shivered as a strange look crept into that gaze. Ever so discernibly, the
gloss of tears rose in them. His blue lips pursed in a kiss as she was hurried out of the chamber.
Two doors clanged shut behind the four led by the sylphs. Until they were alone in the main
hallway.
"That's fine," Kelsey snorted, hands on her hips. "Shooing us out like that!"
"They are the Elder," Domino shrugged. "We are their Consorts, and Paramours. Their
will is law, and we must obey…"
"Whether we dispute it or not," Chrystine added slowly.
"Bull," Kelsey snapped. "They're holding something back… I can smell it!"
"How?" Chrystine asked.
"Warrior's instinct," Kelsey said.
"Well I'm not questioning it," Domino said. "If they wish to summon their Master, we
cannot join them! For Morpheous is not to be heard by any mere Mortal like us…"

"But Star Bearer was angry at Celestial," Kelsey said. "And Demon, he knew something.
They aren't telling us…"
"Why should they," Chrystyne asked. "They are the Elder… their will is not even
for us to hear…"
"It's not right," Kelsey pouted. "We're sharing their beds, their food, their
lives… we should know!"
"Let's not question it," Shandi said slowly. "Let's just… amuse ourselves till
they call us…"
"Okay, if that's what you want…" Kelsey sighed. "But I still say they're hiding
something… something bad…"
"Come Chrystyne, let us practice our combat," Domino told her friend. "I wish to go
riding in the Caverns…"
"Very well… will you two join us?"
"No… I don't feel like it," Shandi admitted. Domino and Chrystyne left, walking
down the hallway to their right. Leaving Shandi and Kelsey to regard each other under the high
banners.
"Now Shandi, you have to tell me, what you know," Kelsey said hands on her hips.
"I can't… what are you talking about?" Shandi denied.
"C'mon," Kelsey said, taking her friend's hand and leading her out. They strode out of
earshot of the guards, into a long winding staircase that let downwards. "Let's go sword
fight…"
"But I don't…"
Down the stairs to a large illuminated chamber, they strode, Kelsey leading Shandi by
the hand. They stopped in the armory, furnished with huge racks of gleaming swords and halberds.
Shields festooned the stone walls, which were devoid of tapestries. Under their feet, the smooth
stone held dents from the falls of opponents past. Here Kelsey went many a round with Demon in their
combat exercises. Closing the door, Kelsey barred it.
"Now, talk," she said, arms folded across her chest.
"What do you mean?" Shandi asked, appearing as innocent as she could.
"You said something to Celestial. Did he tell you something we don't know…"
"I…"
"C'mon Shandi you and I are best friends. You have to tell…"
"I can't!" Shandi wailed. "I just can't…"
"Shandi, what's wrong?" Kelsey asked, slipping an arm around her. "Please… was
it something bad? About us?"
"Yes!" she sobbed into her friend's shoulder.
"Please tell me."
"I… promised…"
"Well hard on them. What did he tell you that is so awful…"
"He said… he had a vision. That you and me would be taken away from the
Citadel… from…"
"Of course. We're going to go on a Quest," Kelsey laughed. "Is that all you're worried
about…"
"Not just this citadel, but this World!" Shandi cried.
"What?"
"We're going to be taken away… and there's no coming back! Not for a long time!"
Shandi blurted out.
The slew of words hit Kelsey like a mace blow. Pulling away, she sank to the floor if
not for Shandi's hand on her waist. Heavily she leaned on Shandi, and sat down on the bench with her
friend's hand to guide her.
"You… must be jesting…"
"I am not!" she admitted.
"It can't be!" Kelsey cried.
"You see why I can't tell you!" she blurted out, sitting down next to a stunned Kelsey.
"He told me not to, and I was not supposed to tell you…"
"Why?"
"He wasn't supposed to tell me," Shandi continued.
"And he did. Did you notice he didn't tell Demon or the others… but Demon
knew…" Kelsey muttered.
"Yes… I think somehow they must have told each other… but why not Star
Bearer and Beast King?"
"Well Celestial's not the only one that can see the future, or sense what's about to
happen," Kelsey muttered. "He has his ways…"
"Of that I am sure," Shandi nodded. She knew that Demon had his own magic, and ways of
seeing the signs as well as Celestial, although his sources were not the stars, but the dark shadows
that told of secret fates. The Flames told him much.
"I knew something was going to happen," Kelsey shook her head, angry tears forming in
her eyes. "Damn them…"
"I'm sorry… now you know why I didn't want to tell you," Shandi cried.
"I know… but they shouldn't keep these things from us…" Kelsey
grumbled.
"Well they are Elder," said Shandi.
"Right, as if I need to be reminded of that constantly," Kelsey snorted, rising from
the stone bench on which they sat. Suddenly she flinched, and turned to Shandi again, a twinkle in
her eye.
"What?" Shandi asked, knowing her friend's look of sudden inspiration. It was a look
she had come to fear lately.
"You learned how to scry, didn't you?"
"Oh no…"
"Well maybe if he can see the future, maybe we can. Maybe we can figure out a way to
really know what they're talking about, and if they are serious…"
"But Celestial told me that we were going into another world, and nothing was to be
done to stop it!"
"Well, is he really sure?" Kelsey asked.
"He's Celestial… he can see the future…"
"Well sometimes prophecies can be changed," Kelsey laughed. "And as for the
details… prophets don't know everything. I want to know for sure…"
"I trust him, that's why…" Shandi snorted.
"Well I want to know for sure… Don't you?"
"I saw the world, in his Reticule, so I know it's going to happen," Shandi said.
"Did he tell you when?"
"Well… no… he said he didn't know when…"
"Well, let's find out… and maybe if we know when, we can find out how to prevent
it!"
"I don't know if that's a good idea," Shandi shook her head.
"Well, why don't you go get that crystal ball and bring it to the Library," Kelsey
whispered.
"But…"
"We don't dare use it in his rooms. But nobody will bother us in the library. And there
is something else there that can help us…"
"Kelsey… I don't think…"
"Shoo. Go use your Disapparation powers and get that crystal ball and meet me
there!"
"If they catch us…"
"Well he wants you to learn to use your spells, so you can tell him you were practicing
divination! You're supposed to know that anyway, right?" Kelsey winked. Reluctantly Shandi
Dissaparated and found herself in Celestial's chambers. Daylight spilled in the upper window set
high through which he viewed the stars at night. She crept over to his table, and found the reticule
on a tripod. Picking it up, she gazed through it. Suddenly in her grasp, it shrunk to fit her cupped
hands. This was no surprise to Shandi, for she knew when she used many of his objects they would
shrink to accommodate her. She also grabbed the smaller of the tomes in which she had been writing
the spells he had taught her. A cold draft hit her, and she grabbed her cloak to throw on. Chanting
the spell again, she vanished with the reticule in her hand.
Kelsey gestured before the fire, her sword fastened at her hip. She wore her chainmail outfit, her long
cape slung about her shoulders. Although she did not have to dress in this fashion except for trials
outside, she still enjoyed donning her outfit inside the Citadel. It gave her a sense of purpose
that she was the Demon's woman, and reminded her of the Warriors of the Fireflash. Moreover, like
the fireflash she had constructed a fire in the large fireplace as part of her daily ritual. Often
times she would meditate or perform calisthenics to it. This was not the magical fire of the Demon,
only a precursor. She had watched the many magical spells he had wrested from the fire, channeling
the chikara of Fire and Earth. Sometimes he could send his spirit in the flames to other realms, and
in turn the fire could show him images of these realms with a precise channeling of the power.

Out of it, the Demon had stepped, to meet her those months ago. She knew she should not
be building it without him, but he would be so engrossed with Morpheous would he notice.
Behind her, a silver flash threw the bookcases in radiance for a split second. She
turned from the flickering fire to face Shandi in her silver robes and gray Apprentice cloak. "Good,
you have it!"
"Kelsey, you built the Fire? But won't Demon be mad…"
"He doesn't have to know."
"But you told me the Fire was for his Magic, and you weren't ready to use the fire
yet…"
"I can look into it. I figured it would help us look into that crystal of yours.
Demon's divinations and Celestials visions together will really get the picture clear…"
"But they are experienced and we are but pupils…"
"So, it doesn't hurt to look," Kelsey grinned, and waved her over by the fire. She
settled down on a mat, legs crossed as she faced the fire. Shandi sat next to her, cupping the
reticule in her hand. Slowly Kelsey lit candles, placing them about her in a pentagram formation. At
each, she lay a handful of stones, representing each element.
"Uh Kelsey, you shouldn't' do this… you're not a mage…"
"That's why you're here. Start chanting the circle of protection already!" Kelsey
chided. Shandi opened her book and chanted a quick ward to protect Kelsey. It would allow her to
channel the Fire of vision in the right manner. Still she felt uneasy, as if they were doing
something they shouldn't.
"Fire, burn with your glow… and give us that light… of mind, of knowing,"
Kelsey whispered to Shandi. "That's what he chants. Do it… I can see the visions in the fire,
but you have to invoke the chant…"
"All right…" Shandi sighed. She spoke the incantations, holding the Tome as a
channel. Kelsey cast the rinseed inside, causing the flames to spark and jump. Strange smoke filled
the room, crackling with red chikara. Around them it hung as a curtain, hiding the possibilities.
Suddenly it cleared, and the flames jumped into strange images that Kelsey peered into.

"What do you see?" Shandi asked. She could invoke the channel to see, but only Kelsey
could make sense of what was seen in the fires.
"Well it's weird… this ruined city… totally cloaked by a twilight…
wait do you see that in your ball?"
Shandi cupped the ball within her hands, closing her eyes shortly. She whispered the
words that would invoke its own power, blue chikara flooding from her fingertips over its curved
surface. It fogged discernibly, then slowly swirled. The picture cleared to reveal the same ruinous
landscape of battered towers of glass and some strange metal, of a vast gray sea under a weary
sky.
"I see it…"
"Now… before the city… what is going to happen?" Kelsey asked of the
fire, waving her hands. Now the smoke wreathed about her and Shandi, the ward channeling her power
channel that Shandi had opened.
A cold prickling rose from her hands to her nerves, numbing her hands. Shandi gasped,
almost dropping the reticule.
"We shouldn't be doing this. Kelsey… the power… It's too much for
us…"
"Don't be silly…" Kelsey gasped as the flames sprung higher. Flames formed
images, of four individuals who seemed so familiar. Faces that resembled the Elder, but the clothes
were so different. Like those of their friends. But what was this? A strange blackness muffled the
flames, wind battering them down from the flue above. Shandi coughed at the black smoke suddenly
rising from the fire, creeping down and around them.
"Wait… this isn't right…" Kelsey gasped, choking on the darkness that
arose.
"Put it out!" Shandi cried. "Now! The power's getting away from you… from
me…"
"But that… isn't possible… I've seen him do it a hundred times…"
Kelsey cried. "Shandi, stop it, do something!"
"Me, but you…" Shandi got out. Within her hands the reticule flashed, and
crackled with lightening. Raising it, she saw the fires burning through the choking smoke. It seemed
to coat their bodies, laughter crackling out of the flames. A surge of power slammed into the fire
sparks flying everywhere.
"OH shit…" Kelsey got out, the word strange to her lips. It was an expletive she
heard Elliot use. Yet, it seemed appropriate. Black smoke fogged her vision, pulling her forward. She
struggled at the live tendrils of solidness wrapping around her and dragging her.
"SHANDI!" she screamed, kicking and screaming. Laughter crunched their bones, flames
burning and scalding them both.
"I can't… I can't stop it!" Shandi wailed, coughing. Smoke choked off her life's
breath, encasing her hands. It choked all spells from her throat, snaring her hands from
gesturing.
"You poor pathetic fools…" came the laugh they hated. It seemed composed of the
crackling fire itself. Fire rose against them, tempered with the lightening. From Shandi's hand the
crystal ball slipped, and bounced on the hearth once…
Only to shatter into a million pieces on its next contact with the floor. Screams
shattered the crackling force, echoing in the vast Library. When the smoke parted, there were two
piles of clothes, with charred ashes among them…
"Shandi!" Celestial cried, his eyes blazing turquoise.
"No…"

Demon too raised his head, hearing the silent scream in his thoughts. Beast King leapt
up, hearing the piercing distant cries echoing in the recesses of the Citadel. Star bearer gasped
when he felt two life forces suddenly snuffed out.
"Dark light… here?" Beast King snarled.
"Not possible… not in a century…" Demon growled. "Unless…"
"Shandi!" Celestial cried, vanishing in a blaze of sparklers. He and Demon materialized
in the library, batting aside the smoke that spilled around them. A wind howled from above, and
Celestial raised his hands to batter aside the influx of blue lightening. Reality had been rent
asunder by some stray clumsy force. Dark Light spilled along every seam of the room.
Demon's voice commanded the Fire to overcome the Smoke. In a matter of seconds the
flames spewed forth, burning away the recesses of darkness until the whole room was ablaze with
fire. Black tendrils retreated to the fireplace, then back up the flue to the outside world with the
force of Demon's flickering chikara. Celestial held the threads of reality together, weaving them
back into place.
At last, they took stock of what was on the hearth. The fire burned normally, with an
amber glow. Growling, Demon dropped to one knee as he picked up Kelsey's red cloak. Celestial choked
when he saw the pile of gleaming shards, glittering like new stars on the blackened hearth.
"Shandi… why did you do it…" he whispered.
"I told her not to use the Fire… not yet," Demon growled. "She had no idea of
the Dark Magic I use. It is not for beginners to use!"
"Why you use them is beyond me!" Celestial hissed like a falling star. "You know
Morpheous forbids it!"
"Don't you think I know that!" Demon thundered, his roar rattling the foundations of
the Citadel. "You were the one who did not share your Vision!"
"You knew it too, with the fire," Celestial countered, tears rolling down his cheeks.
"And you know that there was nothing we could do to stop Fate. It was nothing we could do!"
"Damn," Demon growled. "If they did not know, they would not have tried this
folly!"
"The time was not set," Celestial whispered. "If they had not done this… the
time would not be now… it would be later…"
"What does it matter. They are lost to us now…" Demon roared. Throwing back his
head, he let out a mournful howl, rending Kelsey's cloak in his claws. Black wings unfurled, fire
spreading over his form as Demon transformed. Anger rose in him as the draconian figure stomped and
thrashed.
Celestial sank to his knees, hands touching the pile of cold stone. From his cheeks
glistened silver tears. He fell on his hands and knees, sobbing bitterly as the Demon rampaged
around him. Nothing could fill the void in their immortal lives that had suddenly opened.
***
Worlds away, Ace suddenly let out a squawk, and tumbled out of bed. He shook his head,
groaning. Both he and Peter were staying in Gene's spare bedroom upstairs, while Tyler and Mona
had taken the guesthouse where they could be more private before the birth of his grandkids.
"Grandkids," Ace groaned, shaking his head. "Man I'm getting old…
shit…"
Slowly he rose off the floor, wrapping a robe around him. What was that silver buzz that
had flared into his mind? It seemed as if reality was ripped asunder, then put back together
hastily. "Crap… what just… went down…"
Ace stumbled over to the computer terminal he rigged. Security cameras all around the
perimeter flickered various views. No mutants or anything else to see, he noticed. Another 'gift'
from Leader had been the power source they used now, the geothermal tap. It alone gave them the
power to run the defense perimeter. Punching other keys, he settled down to check for any odd energy
scans. Just then came a knock at the door, and he blurted out, "What?"
"It's me Ace. What the hell woke you up this time of night?"
"C'mon in Peter. Did you sense some weird vibes too?" Ace asked him. The door opened to
the Cat Man, who shook his mane of black hair streaked with silver.
"Yeah. I smell something in the air…"
"You told anyone else yet?"
"Woke me outta a cat nap… something just is screaming that it's about to
happen…"
"Huh yeah. Well I just got a vibe from my little extra sensory sensors. It was like a
major ass rip in reality man," Ace shook his head. "But the scans are negatory…"
"Maybe we should check it out," Peter said.
"Yeah… better let everyone know…" Ace nodded.
Star Child snapped out of his trance, gasping. Something was wrong, desperately wrong. Again, that flare of blackness exploded, spewing two flickering lives. He shook the vision from his brain as he pushed
himself up from the bed. His bones ached.
"Shit, I'm getting too old for this, "he muttered. The flickering chikara of everyone
in the home brushed his mindprobe. Yes they were all accounted for. Tyler and Mona in the
guesthouse, with the two young minds of Mona's twins buzzing.
Then down the hall where Jeannie reposed, her own life squirming within her belly. Next
to her lay Sean, the dual chikara of both Elliot and Sean slumbering away in one body. Down the halls
further, he felt the surges of Gene, sleeping in that master bed alone. Nathan in his own room
slumbered, sharing it with Darryl, the friend he'd come to know. Susan in her own room tossed and
turned, along with Jenilee. All were reposing peacefully, he nodded.
Those other distant cries of terror rung out like a beacon from the background noise.
He could sense the moaning from mutants, vagrants, and wild animals that ran loose from the zoos.
Yet, these distinct ones meant no harm. In addition, they were closer then last time. Very close.
Paul debated whether to wake Gene, but he could swear they were familiar.
"Ace… Peter…" came his thoughts. "Ace did you sense anything weird?"
"Yeah, like a flare!" came Ace's reply. "You sensed it too?"
"New minds…"
"Better check it out. Peter and I were gonna go out…"
"Should I wake Gene?" Paul asked. "Or one of the kids?"
"Let them rest," came Peter's thoughts in his brain. "They deserve it. Let us old
timers have a little fun…"
"But Jeannie and Sean…"
"You stay here Starchild. Keep watch. Sing out if you need us… and wake Demon if
we give a yell," came Ace's mindcast.



Within minutes, Ace and Peter drifted out over the wasteland, which stretched in its ruined gray expanse beneath them. Talisman granted them the power of flight, which was denied all the children save Jeannie. Both of them had no explanation for why this was, except perhaps the children needed to reach a certain level of maturity and age with their powers.
"So Pete, any whiffs?" Ace asked him. Peter shifted to a transitional form, inhaling
the filthy air that made him sneeze. His powers shifted to adapt to the change in environment, gray
clouds spilling and curling under the midnight sun. It was this eerie twilight that they all saw,
knowing that it was the cometary debris. Only the food synthesizers they had gotten from Leader's
technology stash were keeping them from starvation now. The protein and lipid bars they produced
were not the most interesting of foods, but they were better then nothing.
Ace was working on a new food synthesizer that could mimic the food, which they loved.
It would be hard to produce pizza and hamburgers, but so far the ice cream synthetic substitute
wasn't' bad. It was passable, and the stab at chocolate was a success.
"Next time, leave out the kitty kibble," Peter growled.
"Well, you wanted something like fresh kill, "Ace shrugged.
"I'll help myself next time," Peter yowled. He and Tyler had brought home fresh meat
that could be roasted over a Demon induced fire. It gave a fresher aspect to their diets.
"There…" he pointed, dark eyes fixing on the particular building far below. He
dipped, soaring down to circle the spires of the building once, then twice. Ace cackled when he
recognized the structure, it was the Arena where KISS had done many a concert in LA!

Fortunately, there seemed to be no rogues or vagrants present. They seemed to have left
the scene when Leader had arrived. They were beginning to think that they were the only humans left
alive. A stench of bodies rose, and assaulted Peter's nostrils. Here and there lay the remnants of
people, potato chip wrappers and other food scattered with emptied water bottles. A wreath of black
crows and starlings pecked at the sad remains of the arguers who had died of starvation. It was a
sad sight, and one he was glad that his daughter in law was not to see. Tyler refused to let
Mona venture outside the compound of Gene's restored home. The defense perimeter kept out anyone
or anything that would attack. Landing, both entered the torn open doors, their hackles raised for
any possible threat.
"Place is empty, but I smell something… yes…"
"Hmm…yeah… where?" Ace wondered.
"Inside there… something's alive. I can smell it…"
They entered the arena, glancing around. The remnants of where the Four had performed
were present. Before Leader's soldiers who sought to occupy the past, they had given the concert of
their lives. Before Time itself shifted in its tracks, leaving the world forever changed. There had
been much loss and misery, but the promise of life still burned with their children.

As much as they would wish to chose some other time, Ace realized that any further time
tampering would be detrimental to their own existences. Besides, Leader's technology served them
well. Further, inward they trekked, following Peter's sense of smell, sense of life itself.
Paul's mindscans had given them a rough estimate, but Peter's animal senses were the fine-tuning to
locate the source. Wrinkling his nose Peter struggled to follow the scent past the stench
within.
"Whoa… this is something weird. Chikara and it stinks…" Peter shook his
head.
"Yeah… talk about ripped space," Ace too shook his head. Slowly they strode down
the dark hallway, toward what seemed the backstage area. Years ago they had stepped back to this
very place when playing a concert themselves.
"Hasn't changed much," Peter sniffed. He stopped, and hesitated.
"What?"
"Heartbeats. I hear heartbeats… and breathing," Peter shook his head. A steel
door barricaded them from their objective, yet the scent wafted out from beyond it. That intense
pins and needles feeling of chikara hit Ace fully when he realized and recognized the frayed edges
of ripped space-time. Something had warped and bent it, but was it Leader? No, it was a little more
cleanly done then the electronic temporal shifters her people used.
Rather it was more fluid, leaving a few strained warped threads. Peter's claws bared,
his paw raised to strike. One quick swipe broke through, and he shoved the door open. They waited
for a moment, to find that nothing happened. Stale air hit their nostrils, and they wondered how
long this place had been locked up.
"This is some kinda old dressing room… lookit all the junk," Ace cackled.
Peter's night vision glanced around, before he stopped.
"Ace, over here… I think you should see this…"
"What?" Ace asked. Reaching under his halter he pulled out a small flashlight, and
flickered it on. The light flashed toward Peter.
"Beam that some other place man! You're screwing my eyesight! Aim it there!"
Light glinted off shapes huddled on two cots. Peter sniffled and snuffled at the end of
each, and Ace passed his light from one end to the other. For a moment, something flashed into his
eyes, and he beamed the light down again.
"They're alive all right…" Peter shook his head. "But why and how they got in
here… is anyone's guess…"
"Maybe they hid?" Ace shrugged, then froze. His flashlight halted on the flash of
silver, which formed into a series of what appeared to be gleaming rhinestones. They curved over two
bumps, which lead to a rather nice face, covered in glasses. A woman's face framed with short
strawberry blond curls. Peter was gently pushing the hair out of the face.
"Chicks!" Ace got out. "Whoa!"
"Yeah, chicks all right. This one's about in her twenties… and this gal can't be
more then eighteen!" Peter got out. Ace moved over to the other figure while Peter examined the
strawberry blond. He flashed his light in the face of a brunette girl, her graceful eyebrows arching
over shut eyes. A choker necklace with a lightening bolt encased her neck, and her young body was
clad in a short minidress, blue with planets and stars all over it. Long boots covered her shapely
legs, and Ace saw the gentle curve of her belly.
"Gal's pregnant," Peter got out. "Poor kid. It just gets me to see kids having
kids…"
"Yeah," Ace shook his head, realizing the teenager was younger then Mona. Slowly he
fingered her cheek, brushing a tendril of hair aside.
"They seem healthy," Peter said. "Poor kids probably came in here to get outta the mad
rush. I see some food was stashed here. But somehow they're asleep… don't know what put 'em
out…"
"We'd better take 'em back," Ace nodded. "And give 'em a little encouragement
like?"
"I'll take this one, and you take the other. Think you can manage?" Peter asked.
"I'll take the kid," Ace offered, and gently picked up the pregnant girl. She was just
far enough along to show. Peter's own scent had smelled the pheromones of her body chemistry in
bloom. The cat man gathered the other figure, clad in laceup leather pants, and fringed leather
jacket, into his own arms. They carried their precious cargo out into the open. Overhead the cracked
dome afforded more light, and Ace cackled when he noticed the pattern of rhinestones on the older
girl's chest.
"Crap, they're Fans!" Peter couldn't help but laugh. "Here?"
"Yeah, go figure," Ace Cackled. That lightening bolt necklace the younger one wore
looked a lot like what many of his fans would wear. The other was clad in a rhinestone babydoll T
that spelled KISS in simple lettering.
"Gene's not gonna believe this…" Peter laughed.
"So, we fly em or port 'em back?" Ace asked.
"Let's fly 'em… in case they wake up. I don't think they wanna get too jarred
with your teleporting… remember what happened last time you teleported someone who wasn't one
of us?"
"Yeah, barforama," Ace muttered. Slowly they rose into the air, cautiously bearing
their girls.
"Something's really weird about this," Peter muttered. "They reek of chikara…
you suppose they're from the past… some sort of thing Leader tried…"
"I dunno. But we'll figure it out later…"
****
Gene shook himself awake with a muttered growl. He happened to wander down into the
kitchen, which was vastly transformed. Banks of computer units lined one wall, into which Paul was
stabbing buttons. A quick thirty seconds later and a strange brown liquid dribbled into a
carafe.
"Is that coffee, actually coffee?" Gene grumbled.
"Mona figured it out. She's a real chip off the old block," Paul laughed, taking the
coffeepot and carrying it over to the dining room table. Jeannie was already chewing on a few lipid
bars ravenously, sitting near Susan who looked equally zoned.
"You're really showing now Sis. How many more plates of that are you gonna snarf
down?"
"Better not bug Sis or she'll eat you for breakfast," Nathan teased his sisters. He
was very much the same as Gene would have been at his age, dark haired and dark eyed. Jeannie looked
up and exchanged a wink with her younger sister.
"He's right. I've only just begun to feast…"
"Nuh uh, there's no familial cannibalism," Gene shot back at his kids, who all laughed.
Jeannie reached for coffee, but Paul stopped her with a warning hand.
"Caffeine's the last thing you need right now,"
"Whom died and made you dad!" she shot back.
"He's allowed to set the limits, kid," Gene told his older daughter. She retained the
strange markings that would never vanish. It was weird to see her alone among the other two children
without markings. Would they share the potential to wield the Talisman energies? Sean gladly took
coffee; sitting on Jeannie's other side with an air of overprotectiveness shared by Paul. It was
driving Jeannie crazy sometimes.
"Back off, I don't' need another mother hen," she grumbled.
"It's just cause we care, sweetheart," Paul reminded her.
"I suppose a little coffee's not gonna hurt the grandkid," Gene said. "But it's your fault if it starts doing backflips…"
"He," Paul corrected.
"Say what?" Jeannie asked him as he sat down near Gene. Each helped themselves to the
synthesized nutrients, which Paul was managing to coax out of the synthesizer.
"He. It's a boy," Paul said with an air of confidence that made Gene want to smack him
at that moment. Although it was more of a sibling rivalry sort of annoyance, like two brothers would
share. In all intents and purposes, they were just like brothers.
"Where's Ace and Peter?" Nathan piped in.
"Out on some patrol," Paul answered. "You seen Mona or Tyler?"
"They're still in their love shack," Sean joked. "Won't come in here to join the rest of the tribe…"
"They're entitled to privacy," Gene muttered.
"And I'm not?" Jeannie joked.
"You've got your room," Gene answered back. "If you want the arrangement to change I think we could get Ace to throw a synth up there…"
"They only gave them the guesthouse cause Peter and Ace made such a stink about it," Jeannie whispered to her sister Susan, who giggled. It was good to have her two siblings and father
around, even 'Uncle Paul', despite all her complaining. It helped to fill the ache of loneliness
inside. However the loss of Terri, her stepmother, and Elliot, her lover were still wounds that bled
bright. Paul and Sean had been sweet in their own ways as surrogate father types, but she couldn't
shake the feeling that something was not quite right with Sean since her foray into the other world
of the Elder.
Ever since Paul had risked his life to save her from Blackwell, Jeannie had felt a strange oddness around him. This man had been her uncle for a significant portion of her life. Yet, to see him in the past, and to have known him so intimately, even if for one night, it had made a lasting effect on her. She still couldn't get that strange tingle out of her mind. This was ludicrous. Sean shared her bed, and she was glad for his company, but she couldn't help but notice the strange instincts she shared when she saw Paul walk across the room. For a man in his sixties he
still looked quite good.
Poor Paul had lost wife and son in this reality. His divorce with Linda was perhaps only a few short years ago. Now both she and Michael, his other son was most likely dead. The scans he had made had proved negative. Now loosing Elliot was a further heartbreak. She was amazed he managed to keep body and soul together. That tender care he lavished upon her touched her, for she was carrying his grandchild, the only remaining physical link to his lost son and family. It was a tough burden to carry. Sometimes she wanted so badly to go to his bed and offer the comfort and understanding of one who had lost so much… but dare she?
Nathan saw the way his sister looked at Paul, and felt a weird feeling in the pit of his stomach. Susan too would have been blind not to notice her older sister's pained looks.
This was Jeannie, a sister they had come to know when they were young, and she was barely a
teenager. They had gotten along well from the start, although they were only half siblings they
always thought of her as a full sister. Losing mom was hard for them, but they gravitated toward her
as the mother figure. Especially since she was having a child, and she was the eldest child, bearing
the Demon lineage. So surreal and yet so natural a progression.
"You okay, Jeannie?" Gene asked his daughter.
"I'm all right Dad," She sighed exasperatedly. "I just well… have this nagging feeling something weird's about to happen…"
"Something weird always does happen where Ace is concerned…" Paul put in, resting a hand on Jeannie's shoulder.
"Maybe we should invite Moni and Ty to join us?" Susan asked.
"If you want," Gene said. "But let's not force them. I wanna find out what Ace and Peter found, if anything…"
Just then, they heard an electronic bleeping, and Gene rose from the table, still in
his bathrobe. "Wait here. That's they…"
Gene wandered out into the foyer, leaving his family behind. Paul followed automatically, leaving a nonplussed Jeannie and Sean. The parents had taken over automatically from the Four, assuming dominant roles since they had returned from the future. It seemed sacrilegious to question their fathers leadership, but Jeanie was a little bit tense when it came to certain decisions. Considering how much she and her friends had suffered the past few months. There was reassurance and tension simultaneously present, and many strong opinions had been raised. Ace had decided to remain in the main house, but only for times of sleep. Peter had insisted on taking a private place where he could retreat to, needing time to himself. Gene proposed he and Ace take the guesthouse if they wanted their own spot, whereupon Peter suggested Tyler and Mona could join him there. Tyler agreed, while Mona was reluctant to leave her friends in the main house.
"We'll only be a few hundred yards away," Sean joked.
"All right…" Mona said. It had smoothed over any rough edges that were
developing between Peter, Ace, Gene and Paul. They needed their privacy, eve though they all agreed
staying in Gene's home was the safest compared to finding their own place in the ruined city. Paul's
home had been devastated, and they had taken what they could from his dwelling to restore what was
here. The machinery had done its work well, restoring Gene's home to its former glory, with a few
extra options. Including a defensive perimeter, food synthesizers, and a geothermal heat sink power
source.
"Clan Criss and clan Simmons," Jeannie joked.
"That's not funny," Sean muttered.
"Well it's what's going on," Jeannie reiterated. "Never have they been able to hold
their stuff together for longer then a few years…"
"Hey just because Peter and Ace moved their kids outta here doesn't mean our future's
gonna be jeopardized," Sean shot back.
"I think it's a good thing," Nathan suggested. "I mean Dad and Uncle Paul are pretty
egotistical, and after all, we'd all end up chewing each other out in our faces all the
time…"
"Good point…" Susan nodded. "I mean look Sis, you're pregnant, and so is
Mona. If I know anything, two women expecting under one roof, that'll drive the men nuts!"
"True, but it's not my fault," Jeannie laughed.
"Takes two to make a baby," Darryl shrugged.
"It's just a question of which two," Sean muttered, and got up.
"Hey, what crawled up your ass?" Darryl asked him.
"Nothing," Sean muttered.
"Sean, out with it," Jeanie snapped. "You've been Mr. Grouch ever since I woke up. Is
something bothering you?"
"Look, it's nothing ok? I just… I'm just going nuts not having anything to do. I
mean it's great having the guys back… but how long are we just gonna sit here and do
nothing…"
"We're doing something. We're trying to survive," Jeannie told him.
"I know that. But Darryl and me… well… we wanna help you guys and
all… But what are we doing? I mean we are helping you guys protect your family and…"
Sean stammered his voice sound more like a young teenager's who was uncertain of his future. For a
moment, he looked less like Elliot and more like his former self. They could sense the tension
present.
"You okay man? We promised to stay and help KISS and their families, remember. I mean
there's nothing much for us in the past…" Darryl said.
"I know that, but… shit it's so hard to think…" Sean grumbled. Just then, the tenseness snapped when they heard Gene's laugh from outside. Jeannie got up and rushed out to see what the commotion was. Ace and Peter were in the foyer, the door bolted shut. However, what was with him surprised her. Two young women were in Ace and Peter's arms, and her father Gene was gently stroking the cheek of the nearest female.
"Nate, Susan! Get some water, and some sheets!" he yelled back.
"What the hell is going on?" Jeannie asked. Gene's head snapped at the sound of his
daughter's voice. Already Peter and Ace were carrying the two newcomers toward the living room.
"We found these two girls in the city," Paul said, striding over to Jeannie. "You should take it easy…"
Nathan and Susan rushed out, carrying water, and a few extra blankets. They joined their father in the living room area, amazed at what they saw. Ace gently lay the younger of the two women down, noticing how her belly curved much like Jeannie's did.
"A pregnant girl, here?" Jeannie asked Paul.
"Yeah… I sensed them last night…"
"But they're dressed like…"
"KISS fans," Gene shook his head. "Un fucking real!"
They all gathered around to help make the newcomers comfortable. Even Darryl and Sean had wandered in, peering incredulously at the two girls. "Damn, chicks!" they both got out. Gene went down on one knee at the side of the strawberry blond, stroking her curls. He slipped a pillow under her neck, and pulled her glasses off tenderly. Susan rapped a blanket around her, as Nathan helped Ace with the other.
"She's my age Dad," Susan shot back to her father. "And pregnant?"
"Wonder who the dad is," Ace muttered. "Poor kid."
"Two more mouths to feed," Sean joked. Darryl nudged him to shut up.
"Well I'm not complaining about two beautiful girls showing up out of nowhere, but I wanna know who they are," Gene shook his head.
"They look familiar, but it can't be," Jeannie shook her head.
"Familiar how?" Gene asked her.
"They look like… Shandi and Kelsey," Jeanie shook her head.
"That's impossible," Sean laughed.
"How so?" Paul raised an eyebrow. "Their souls seem familiar…"
"But they're from a dream reality!" Sean laughed.
"Perhaps they are they," Jeannie muttered. "Because if Blackwell was somehow able to
send himself or parts of himself here…"
"Yeah… they could be them!" Paul shook his head. "Man… that's full
on…"
"But wait, they can't have physical bodies like we can," Sean disputed. "I mean yeah
spirits, but bodies?"
"Real live flesh," Gene muttered. "But you of all people should know that possession is
possible. Perhaps their souls were put into bodies of this world…"
"They look a lot like the women we knew," Sean nodded. "But how…"
"Shh! I think they're waking up," Ace hissed for silence. He stroked the soft brown hair of the eighteen-year-old, who was muttering softly. Gene gathered the head and shoulders of the strawberry blond onto his knees.
"Better give them some space. They might freak if they see all of you in here," Jeannie
cautioned her brother and sister. They moved out of the room with Darryl and Sean into the
hallway.
"Milord," the younger one moaned. Ace stroked her forehead, shushing her with soothing
noises. An overwhelming sense of protectiveness came over him at that moment, as if he didn't' want
anything to harm this child. Peter too moved close, sitting at her feet.
"Hey it's okay kid. You're safe," Ace said.
"Mm, Milord," she stammered, then slowly opened her eyes. Across from them the
strawberry blond in leather blinked, and peered up into Gene's face.
"Hey, don't be scared doll. We're friends," Gene got out before a smile crossed her face. She lifted a soft hand and stroked it over his white and black cheek with such tenderness it drove a bolt of desire to his loins.
"They seem to know us," Paul shook his head, incredulous at the familiarity he sensed
from the women.
"Unreal."
"Milord, you came to help us!" the redhead cried, and threw her arms around Gene's neck. He didn't' complain in the slightest when she caught his lips in a delighted kiss. Automatically his arms pulled her into a tight embrace, enjoying the feel of woman in his arms again.
"Uh… Gene…" Paul said. "I don't think…"
Gene waved him away, still fully concentrating on the firm kiss he was receiving, and giving back to the strange woman in return. She seemed quite content.
"Uh dad… I don't think…" Jeannie muttered, before biting her tongue. She turned her attention to the other that looked like Shandi.
"Celestial," she choked, her eyes filled with tears as she peered up at Ace. Then her
gaze turned to Peter, who moved closer. "Beast King?"
"Uh, I don't think that's right," Peter began. "You okay little girl?"
"I'm Ace, and this is Peter," Ace said with a slight amused cackle. "It's okay, you're gonna be fine…"
"But you look…" she said with sudden disappointment, reaching a finger up to stroke Ace's cheek. He helped her to sit up, with a hand from Peter, disappointment rampant in the soft brown eyes. Tears brimmed in them, and she began to weep bitterly on Ace's shoulder.
"Hey… shh…" he got out, hugging her tightly. "Don't cry… man I hate to see a chick cry!"
"Shandi?" Jeannie asked, moving closer to her with a reassuring hand. "Do you know me…"
She popped her head up, and fixed her gaze on Jeannie with confusion and familiarity, "Jeannie… how… you're here!"
"Yeah… do you know me? Are you Shandi?"
"Yes… but how… oh no… I really am gone… and Kelsey…"
At the sound of her name the redhead popped away from her kiss with Gene. She stared up into his face with confusion. "You… are not milord…" she asked him.
"Not that I'm complaining, young lady, but I think you're mistaken…" Gene began. "I am the Demon… but I'm also Gene…"
"You… I…" she stammered, then looked over into the concerned face of Paul, who leaned close. "What's going on here!"
"Kelsey, it's me," Jeannie said, moving over to her. "I know this is weird, but I'm familiar, and you gotta remember me!"
"Jeannie… what's going on! Milord… oh no! NO!" Kelsey screamed, backing away from Gene and Paul in terror and disappointment. Jeannie grabbed her friend tightly, hugging her close.
"It's okay. You're safe. You're in our world!" Jeannie told her. "Just like we were in yours!"
"Celestial… oh god I'll never see him again," Shandi sobbed into Ace's shoulder. Peter stroked her back gently, squeezing her shoulder.
"Hey, don't cry kid, please don't!" Ace begged her. It was heart wrenching to have this sobbing girl in his arms, crying her eyes out. What had happened?
"We… Celestial said there would be helpers…" Shandi finally gasped, looking up at him again. "Kelsey, we made it… this is Jeannie's world…"
"Why! I want my Demon!" Kelsey howled, clinging to Jeannie tightly. "I'll never see him again! Damn it!"
"Hey I know it's not fair, but at least you are alive!" Jeannie told her. "And we'll do everything we can to get you back!"
"I promise we will," Gene said, resting a hand on Kelsey's shoulder. She flinched, turned her head to look up at him. Tears filled her blue eyes, her chin wobbling.
"Trust us," Paul urged, his eyes dark and sincere. "After all, you got here, there must be a way back…"
"Oh god it hurts," Kelsey whimpered, finally accepting Gene's embrace. "You're so like him, and you're not him…"
"Better tell the others," Jeannie said to Paul, who nodded.
"We'll stay with them," Ace offered. "If that's okay…"
"I'll get Tyler and Mona…"
"They're coming," Paul nodded. "I already summoned them…"
"I'll never see my Demon again," Kelsey cried, as Gene stroked her hair gently. She seemed so sad, so lonely. It tore his heart to see such grief, and yet it was so familiar. A need that echoed his own.
"Hey, it's okay," he managed to get out, his own throat catching. "We'll figure out a way to help you… I promise…"
"Till then, you're with us," Peter said stroking Shandi's shoulder. "And we'll make sure you're taken care of…"
"That's double for me," Ace nodded. Shandi could only muster a smile that was half hearted. She reached out to clasp her friend's hand, and squeeze it tightly.
"What are your names again?" Gene asked.
"Kelsey," she said, looking at him more carefully. "And you…are you known as Demon here?"
"Yeah, most of the time. But I'm also Gene. And that's Paul, and that guy's Ace, and
that's Peter. Our real names, if you like…"
"Strange names, but good ones," Shandi nodded. "But are you Elder here?"
"Not Elder, but rock 'n roll stars," Jeannie corrected, still keeping a hand in Kelsey's for reassurance.
"Rock stars," Kelsey asked. "What's that?"
"Oh boy talk about culture shock," Ace cackled.

Chapter 9
Chapter 11
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