Chapter Fourty Four: Time's up.
"this is it for me... don't try and save me, get out of here!!"
-?? (you will wind out)
the lights flickered, some bulbs exploding, some of the pods containing the DSBIWO pilots burst into flame, leaving those inside to burn to death while others fought to escape, and benson and 999 were hurriedly herding the scientists and their friends, virtually any survivors, out to the gateway as the facility fell down around them.
benson, kevin, Oriado, Carl, Patrick, and Norido were collecting armfulls of frightened survivors, depositing them in backpacks as fast as they could.
"c'mon, c'mon! hurry or you'll be killed!!"
the walls were crumbling and the ceiling was giving way, causing the panicking masses to step up their frantic dash for safety.
collin, syrus, and Kenziel were busily herding groups into a gateway leading back to the grey room which 999 was struggling to maintain "hurry... i can't... hold out... much longer...!"
dyson forcefully pushed the masses into the gateway with his gravitational power, also feeling the strain
"ugh... this... is bad!"
finally, the giants rushed in with fully-loaded backpacks, and 999 struggled even more to expand the rift, then they passed through, except for benson, who handed his pack to patrick as he leapt through.
999 glared at the fox "what? why... aren't you...?"
"you need to get out, too!"
the brown wolf nodded to dyson, and benson felt himself being sent forward, along with everyone else...
the last he saw of the wolf was a sad smile "give my regards to your new world..."
he handed a metal box to dyson and then...
he threw the white haired boy in with them, leaving only the DSBIWO and their pilots gazing back into the rift as it closed, expressions forlorn as could be physically possible.
the rift closed, leaving them to fall through to the grey room...
999 turned to his fellow legionaires, tail tucked and ears flat, but nevertheless smiling.
"it's over... we're free..."
they smiled back at him.
number #1000, now a doberman, sighed "we have to die, too... can't let this power or knowledge fall into the wrong hands..."
the wolf averted his gaze, tears trailing through the air "i know... it's for the best..."
huge tons of iron and steel fell around them, crushing a few of them without chance to feel pain.
"goodbye... all of you..."
the roof caved in upon them, and for 999, everything went black.
endless darkness surrounding him.
the infinite grasp of the end itself.
he was afraid, knowing that he'd forever be trapped in this void, never seeing anything or anyone ever again.
he couldn't even sense his own presence, not by any of his six senses.
he believed that if he truly had a form here, he would have shed tears.
but none came.
he was nothing anymore, just a thought, the essence of something that had once been something.
he wanted to just fade away so he could no longer be tortured by this.
and then, brilliant light enveloped him, and a respect-demanding voice called out to him with but a single word, and nothing else...
he suddenly became aware of himself, his 'body'...
his human form, clad in his casual wear from Xlen, the black tracksuit pants and black jacket.
in this, he floated before an overwhelming presence...
Do you seek rest? or another means of your end?
999 struggled to think, unable to find the words, but the presence seemed to know his answer already.
you seek the path of Reincarnation, i see it in your core, you are not yet finished with your mortal trial?
he shook his head.
i understand... rather than accept rest in the hereafter, you wish to be put through Reincarnation?
something like that, he figured, but not entirely...
the presence seemed amused
i see! i know the perfect route! ... Altered Metempsychosis! to exist as a seperate, Guardian soul within another!
999 felt his consiousness shifting, and reached out, feeling the cold, shadowy grasp of another, which was surprisingly comforting for reasons he didn't understand.
the presence asked one final thing of him...
who am i?
999 smiled before he felt himself being absorbed into a new body...
"you... are me... you are them... you are all of us... every single living thing..."
he dissapated with a final answer...
"you are... the Soul itself."
being funnelled through the grey room, everyone crashlanded back in the centre of the army base.
benson dimly heard cheering and whooping, and smelled ash.
he opened his eyes to find the same crowd as earlier, but everything looked burned and destroyed.
"what... happened? i thought... we stopped the ray?"
lily burst out of the crowd, and lay herself out in a hug upon his vulpine muzzle.
"you did! benny, you did!"
she rubbed her arms slowly across his muzzle "well, we didn't get hit, but it destroyed the barrier and burnt everything... it was radiating with heat... and well, pressure..."
he groaned "that... explains it..."
a light from above drew their attention.
in the dark night sky, shining brighter than usual, were the northern and southern constellations Vulpecula and Lupus, the fox and the wolf.
Lupus shone brighter, and he recalled what ian had once said...
"the constellations are what they are, because you have to do something pretty impressive for your body to become one."
kenziel shifted back to human form.
"wow... Lupus must be reacting to his sacrifice... he's truly been given respect..."
lily pressed herself harder against benson's muzzle "what about the other one?"
"well, i'd take Vulpecula's reaction as congratulations to ben... he's gained the praise of a constellation"
a new shape began forming above them, an odd, orb-like shape
collin groaned "is... that the moon?"
dyson's presence became known, as he shifted his hands in the air, affecting the orbiting sphere.
"no," the white haired child chuckled "it's a new planet."
everyone got up at least to their knees, staring in disbelief.
"999 gave me all the data he had on this world, and, with my Eidolon's power, i can create a new one, a better copy of this one..."
kevin stared at the small child "you... can do that?"
he nodded "it was the wolf's last wish."
-three years later-
benson, along with lily, and their two young, Foxcat sons, relaxed upon the immaculate beach, their sons lay comfortably on benson's abdomen, and lily relaxing upon benson's broad chest.
he sighed contentedly "this is nice, isn't it, lil?"
lily stroked absently at his chest fur "yeah.... it's perfect..."
benson lay his head back on the warm sand "what do you think, boys? is this nice?"
the twins chuckled and relaxed upon their father's stomach
"yes, dad... it's great... thankyou..." said the one wearing glasses
"i love it here... especially with you and mum!" the other one exclaimed, both of them clad in only swimming trunks, the glasses wearer in a red pair, the other in green.
benson himself, wore only a blue pair, and lily wore a candy-pink one-piece bikini.
benson settled back, and hummed out a light, airy tune.
"hmm hmm hmm, hee ha hin, hee ha, hmmm, hmm hmm hmm, hee ha hin, hee ha ho ha ha ho hmm, hmm, hm, ha, hee..."
lily began singing to the tune
"you have me, here we be, together, please, stay with me, don't leave me, when i'm with you, i, feel, safe... stay, with me, i'll stay, with you, what, you mean, to me, cannot, be known... because, it defies, all, my words, there just is not, any word, good enough, to say, how, i feel..."
the twins drifted off to sleep under the sun, and the watchful eyes of their parents.
lily moved to them and stroked their head fur gently "even after all this time... i still can't believe we made such beautiful things like Ciril and Virlan..."
benson chuckled a bit "it's thanks to you, lil... you did all the work, i didn't really do all that much compared to you."
she moved back up to his chest and playfully pinched him, making him yelp
"au contrare! i couldn't have done it without you, you big moron!~"
he moved a paw from behind his head, and used his index finger to softly and delicately stroke his little cat across her whole body, making her purr.
"well, i certainly can't take all the credit. you're the one who had to carry them for nine months, not me!" he laughed happily.
"but you were so supportive, i couldn't have made it through pregnancy without you~"lily responded between her continuous purring and loving snuggling into his chest ruff.
benson felt his tail trying to wag beneath his back, and smiled as he looked up at the bright summer skies above them...
"i love you lil"
"love you more, benny"
he chuckled "that's just not even remotely possible~"
suddenly, a jovial shout and happy bark came from the entrance to the beach.
benson turned his head and felt himself smile broadly at their friends.
the first thing he noticed was that kevin was holding a pet's lead, which was connected to a red collar on a white pet wolf, who seemed to be smiling.
it was, of course, Collin, who had acted as a domestic (pet) for kevin and oriado for three years now.
kevin, collin and oriado, along with carl and syrus, ian and amelia, and patrick strode over to them, all clad in swimwear.
and, flying low, just over amelia's head, was a young, winged cat.
benson gently prodded his sons "boys? boys, wake up, your cousin Velian's here..."
the foxcats woke and grinned, and their cousin flew over to them for greetings.
"what took all of you so long?" lily giggled.
amelia chortled "hey, not all of us live on virada, you know!"
oriado and kevin grinned
benson cocked his head "what? what is it?"
kevin had a big, toothy smile
"we've got a surprise!"
everyone gave them their undivided attention.
oriado turned and looked behind himself
"c'mon, it's okay, they're our friends, they're nice people..."
the wolf stepped to the side to reveal a young, four year old wolfdog cub-puppy, who was nervously clinging to oriado's tail.
lily beamed "oh my god! he's adorable!" she cooed.
oriado blushed "isn't he just?"
kevin patted the young wolfdog on the head "we present Bailerich Nevitto Ghast, our son..."
benson chuckled "by blood?"
Bailerich hid behind his lupine father's legs "c-call m-me b-b-Bailey..." he stammered nervously.
benson could clearly see elements of both a German Shepherd and a Wolf in Bailerich's fur tone, and smiled.
"hello there, i'm Benson, a good friend of your dad, kevin."
Bailerich nodded slightly "h-hello..."
lily waved, so benson pointed to her, and bailerich waved back nervously.
then, benson pointed to his own sons "these are my sons; Ciril and Virlan, and their cousin Velian."
"why don't the four of you go get to know each other better?"
oriado nudged his son over, and benson retrieved the three youngsters from his abdomen, holding them eye level with Bailerich.
Bailerich cautiously held out his paws and benson carefully slid the trio into them.
bailerich sat by the water's edge with the trio in his paws, while the adults reminisced and joked around.
the winged cat waved at him "i'm Velian!" he held out his handpaw "pleased to meet you!"
Bailerich stammered "i... uh... it's... nice to... meet you... too?"
the ancat scoffed "come on! shake my hand, big dummy!"
"h-how do i...?"
he nodded in understanding and bent his index finger to shake the ancat's hand.
velian laughed "there you go! good biggy!"
Bailerich couldn't help but smile.
the two flourescent orange foxcats linked arms and spoke in unison "We're Ciril and Virlan, we're twins!"
"since our dads are best friends, i bet we will be, too!" ciril boasted, motioning a white paw to the wolfdog's face.
"and you are?"
bailerich whimpered nervously, but answered "Bailerich... but call me Bailey, please..."
virlan smiled "no prob, Bailey! i bet we'll be friends forever!"
"b- but... you're all... so little... i might..."
the trio jumped up and down in his paws "it's okay! trust yourself!"
virlan chuckled "if our dad trusts both'a yours, then i bet we can trust you, too!"
Ciril beamed "hey, put me down, i wanna show you summin' cool!"
bailerich put the glasses-wearing foxcat down, and suddenly he grew to the same size as him!
"WOW! HOW'D YOU DO THAT?!" bailerich asked, eyes full of wonder and amazement.
Ciril laughed jovially "'s 'cause mum's small and dad's big!"
the wolfdog looked down at virlan "can you do that?"
he shook his head.
bailerich felt his nerves subsiding, and smiled happily "oh well! i bet we'll be friends anyway!"
(next chapter: epilouge.)
it's quite difficult to think of killing yourself off in a story, but I felt it was needed.
please note that I am not suicidal.