Large PrintHandheldAudioRating
using
 paypal
Twisting The Hellmouth Crossing Over Awards - Results
Rules for Challenges

Because of You

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking
Story

Summary: After the war, one of the Animorphs finds a new home in the middle of a new – though timeless – war. But first, he has to come to terms with how his old life ended. BTVS crew mentioned more than anything. Rating just to be safe.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Childrens/Teen > AnimorphsBerserkerNWFR1312,514066011 Aug 101 Aug 10Yes
Because of You

Disclaimer: Not mine. Animorphs belongs to K.A. Applegate. BTVS belongs to Joss Whedon. Song is “Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson.

Summary: After the war, one of the Animorphs finds a new home in the middle of a new – though timeless – war. But first, he has to come to terms with how his old life ended.

A/N: They never really come right out and say the ages of the Animorphs in the series (though according to Wikipedia Rachel was 16 when she died). Assuming the war lasted two years, that would make them 13/14 when the series started. I'm making Tobias a year younger than that for the start point.

In this, the Rachel survived the encounter at the end of the last book. They returned to Earth and went back to their lives.

--

I will not make the same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself cause my heart so much misery


He sent her to die, and she knew it. I didn’t want to forgive him. I didn’t want to let him escape any of the blame. He was the leader; he made the decisions. He knew she wouldn’t take backup; that wasn’t her way. She completed the mission he sent her on; she killed her cousin. And she never came back. He waited to tell us until after she was too far away to help. Until she was too far away to say goodbye. Until I could do nothing but stand there, aching in a way that part of me knew I would never recover from. I had looked up to him for two years; from the moment I met him. He was my savior back when the worst that happened to me was bruises and swirlies. He was my friend and commander when we became warriors. He became my scapegoat the day he lost his brother and his cousin. He’s been too much to me to ever be nothing, but I would probably walk away if I passed him on the street.

I will not break the way you did; you fell so hard
I've learned the hard way to never let it get that far


She was his ‘Ace in the Hole’, and I think I hate her for needing it. When I met her, she was beautiful, courageous, and comfortable in her own skin. Tall, blonde, and ready for anything. When everything started she seemed to make the easiest transition. We all thought she must have been born for the war. As far as we could tell, she thrived in the fierceness of battle. Over time, though, it changed. The battle was no longer part of her life; it was her life. We would go into a battle; five of us silent, wishing it could end. Not her. She would charge in, a war-cry screaming silently in the heads of our enemies. The battle was in her blood. I don’t think she would have survived long living in peace. I said I loved her, but even I couldn’t see that the girl had been replaced by a living embodiment of blood-lust.

Because of you
I'll never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side
So I don't get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust
Not only me, but everyone around me


I lived in my meadow for nine years. Two years while fighting the war, three after she died, and four after our ship returned from that last battle. Those six months were the only time I left. With no more battles to fight I was able to live in peace for awhile. None of the others tried to visit me too often, and I didn’t talk to them when they did show up. After all, the only two I desperately wanted to talk to were gone. After a few months I got tired of listening to them try and guilt me into rejoining humanity, so I hid when I saw them coming. They eventually either got the hint or gave up. So I slept, hunted, and flew in circles above the meadow. After our story got out I watched various campers trek out to my territory trying to find me. If I didn’t allow my teammates to find me, why would I let perfect strangers?


Because of you
I am afraid


They were just a way to get hurt.

I lose my way
And it's not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that's weakness in your eyes


Her attempts to contact me always got to me the most. She was always so kind to me after I got trapped like this. Our leader may have blamed himself for my situation, but she’s the one who helped me adapt to it. She understands animals, and whether I liked it or not, that’s what I had become. They say I sacrificed the most in this war, but to sacrifice something you have to give it up knowingly and/or willingly. That wasn’t me. I ended up the way I did because I didn’t care enough to pay attention to the time. I didn’t know my parents well enough to mourn more than could-have-beens when they died. My girlfriend died before I knew what was happening. Her, on the other hand, her losses really were sacrifices. She willingly gave up her humanity to be prey just to save us; the fact that she regained it doesn’t negate that. For awhile she seemed to be giving up her personality – her kindness – to survive the war. I’m glad she got that back. When it was at its worst, she gave up her parents; she moved out at the age of 16 to live in a colony in the woods. And somehow, she still considers herself the weak link of the group.


I'm forced to fake, a smile, a laugh
Every day of my life
My heart can't possibly break
When it wasn't even whole to start with


His attitude actually scared me at first. He was always talking, laughing, joking. He just reminded me so much of the bullies from my previous schools. Then I started paying attention. He enjoyed making people laugh; getting them to enjoy themselves. But he was just as broken as I was. I still never managed to be friends with him. We were comrades; brothers-in-arms for a time: there for each other in the heat of battle or the frightening adrenaline rush of a mission. But never more. He tried too hard, pushed too far, and danced around the line dividing appropriate from inappropriate. We never managed to really understand each other. Our lives and situations, while not parallel, had some similarities, but we responded to them in opposite ways. I withdrew and became a loser and loner. He made the world his stage and comedy tour. And now, he’s sold our lives to the highest bidder to pay for his next house.

Because of you
I'll never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side
So I don't get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust
Not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid


That last battle, when we rammed our ship into his, I didn’t really want to die. But I didn’t particularly want to live either. I was there for him. Only him. We crashed. We became more famous than my father. We survived. He didn’t. I don’t remember much after watching that ship break apart; seeing that creature who stole my only real family from me float away in space, dead before leaving the wreck of twisted metals. I’m told I dropped to the ground, morphing and demorphing from every creature I had ever taken DNA from. They said it lasted about an hour, then I just went limp. I don’t know. I woke up when I felt sunlight hit my face. I was being carried, wrapped snugly in a soft towel, out of the ship. She was there, eyes wide in concern. I shifted and felt the grip on me loosen. Within minutes I was airborne, winging my way back to the meadow. I couldn’t deal with seeing them. Not right then. Maybe not ever again.

I watched you die

Aximilli-Esgarrouth-Isthill. We called him Ax. When I finally left my meadow again I morphed human and spent nearly two hours eating as many Cinnamon Buns as I could hold. He was my uncle and best friend.

I heard you cry
Every night in your sleep


Marco. Remember when you moved in with Ax? I kept an eye on the two of you when I could. I think about you whenever someone says something that makes me want to laugh.

I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me


Jake. Our ‘Fearless Leader’. Just a child, though. I don’t want to hate you any longer. I looked up to you for so long. I’ve stopped placing people on pedestals. Would you believe I now have a group of kids who look up to me? Sometimes, I pick up the phone to call you, just needing a piece of advice. How did you do it?

You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain


Rachel. Our Xena. I thought she was the love of my life. Maybe she was. But her inner demons were too strong. The girls I teach now know about her. She’s one of their heroes. They have that darkness too. I’m already dreading the day they’ll be the ‘Ace in the Hole’.

And now I cry
In the middle of the night
For the same -- thing


Cassie. The only one who managed to live after the war, instead of just surviving. I still sometimes look at an animal and wonder how beautiful you could make the morph. I hope your nightmares have finally stopped.

Because of you
I'll never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side
So I don't get hurt


After my four year seclusion I left the meadow. I spent an hour and forty-five minutes at the mall as a human. I demorphed and flew to the old construction site. Thanks to Marco, it had been recreated exactly as it was that night so many years ago. He even brought in some of those giant tubes we hid in while my father was killed. I morphed human again and wandered around the site. I tried to retrace some of our steps, but it was hard. I sat down where I remember Elfangor being that night. I stared at my watch. At one hour and fifty-seven minutes I felt a spike of fear and apprehension.

Because of you
I tried my hardest just to forget everything


I became a human nothlit. I was twenty-one years old in a twelve-year-old body. We didn’t think about that at the time, but since my human form was a morph, it aged the same as the others’ animal morphs. That is to say: not at all. It would have been easier to stay as a hawk, but I was tired of taking the easy, safe way out. I was finally ready to start living again. Of course, it wasn’t until later that evening that I realized that a twelve-year-old couldn’t live on his own. I stayed the night in Cassie’s parents’ barn.

Because of you
I don't know how to let anyone else in


I found the blue box the next morning. Somehow, one of the others had gotten hold of it and hidden it in the loft. I acquired every animal in the barn, just so I could avoid detection. My plan was to travel as far from that town as possible before getting myself back in the system. Wolves and hawks could do that much easier than a human child. I buried the box behind the barn, about four feet deep, and a few inches to the left of the water pump. Then I took to the sky.

After two days I found myself in Ohio. A man caught me demorphing. I started running, but stopped when I realized he wasn’t chasing me. Later that day I found a covered plate of food and a note telling me to help myself, that whoever left it understood being afraid for being different. Over the next two weeks I slowly started trusting the man. Then one day a different man showed up instead of him. He said that the first man was injured in a fight, but asked someone to check up on me.

Because of you
I'm ashamed of my life because it's empty


I agreed to follow the new man to visit the first one. He introduced himself as Xander, and the first man was named Gunn. He made it a point to mention the two N’s at the end of the name. I admit to being a bit freaked when Xander brought me to a mansion instead of a hospital. But then we walked inside. I saw hundreds of girls and young women, all carrying themselves with that same grace and confidence I remember in Rachel, but also possessing a peace I will always associate with Cassie. There were dozens of young men as well, but these were more like me or Marco, or even Ax, in our early days. These were warriors-in-training at most.

I stayed with them. I told them my story. They told me theirs. Gunn’s friend Rupert Giles adopted me. Officially, even. They all unofficially adopted me into their family. They sometimes treat me the age I look, but usually they remember that I’m an adult. After four years, when my body was finally seventeen, they allowed me to join their fight.

Because of you
I am afraid


I have a team of Slayers now. Four of them. We battle real demons every night. I spend a lot of my time worried that tonight they won’t make it out. That I’ll lose one. After Rachel and Ax, I don’t know how I’ll survive it. One of my girls was thrown through several walls once, and at first all I could see was Rachel when we saved that baby Hork-Bajir. Then, just the other day, one of my smaller girls was fighting a giant demon and he nearly ate her. I flashed back to Marco at that Sharing meeting, when he was nearly eaten by a crow. I know all the ways it could go wrong.

Because of you
Because of you


I remember watching Jake’s face as he was forced to make difficult decisions. I can forgive him now. I know it hurt him just as much as me; probably more. I remember Rachel rushing into battle, lust for the fight singing in her blood. I have a better understanding of her need to fight. I recall Marco’s annoying quips right when we didn’t want them but desperately needed something to break the tension all around us; Cassie’s morality, keeping us from slipping into a place too dark to recover from. And I remember Ax, giving me comfort and companionship even in the midst of self-imposed isolation.

I think I’ll try to get in touch with them some time. Maybe we won’t get together and have a group meeting, but I can at least tell them that I’m living again. And it’s at least in part thanks to them.

The End

You have reached the end of "Because of You". This story is complete.

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking