Summary: Close only counts in horseshoes…
NOTE: This is a very rough draft with no editing at all (per National Novel Wiriting Month rules) and is presented for amusement value only. Think of it as a periscope into my writing process rather than a coherent story!
There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing. These snippits are also posted out of order, so please refer to the Outline to figure out where it’s supposed to fit.
For The Good Of The One
He was almost there, Red battled through the waves of squirrels and things larger than squirrels. If he could just reach the keyboard.
Beside him Peter Pan wrecked great and mighty vengeance, tearing apart the mobile units in a flurry of lighting and silver storm clouds. The smell of burnt metals and ozone filled the room as the waves of mobile units came on and on.
And then all of a sudden everything stopped.
For a heartbeat the world was horribly unnaturally still and then the city bucked and heaved around them, throwing Red across the room and dashing Peter Pan into a thousand pieces against the wall.
“No!” snarled Peter, rebuilding himself and tearing at the walls themselves now. “NO!”
Red clawed his way across the floor, there was still time, he just needed to reach the keys.
And the city stopped again, with one final vicious twist that slammed Red into the console he was trying to reach, snapping his forearm against the column. Red climbed to his feet, clutching his arm, still stubbornly trying to stand and reach the keyboard to type with his offhand.
But the screen was dark and no amount of button pressing or cursing would get it to turn on.
“You have to work, you have to.” Said Red, forehead pressed against the monitor, his shoulder braced against the wall to keep his broken arm tucked between the wall and his chest and his good hand pounding on the keyboard. “Turn ON.”
“It’s not going to work Red.” Said a calm voice behind him. “I’m sorry.”
“Why?” Asked Red, turning to face Blue, clutching his broken arm and not really crying because he had run out of tears and out of energy and out of hope. “Why?”
The Blue he saw wasn’t Blue, not anymore, but a shimmering copy of Peter Pan’s lightning storm. Only Peter was crouched against on wall, snarling at Blue, who was watching him warily.
“They didn’t give us a choice.” Said the Blue who wasn’t Blue, “And I couldn’t let you die.”
“Kill him!” yelled Peter Pan “It’s not too late! Use the key!” He was fury and lightning and a storm of nothing that sparked and sputtered in impotent thunder.
Red looked at Blue, who wasn’t Blue, and saw John who wasn’t John, and saw John who was John looking back from the mess of the thing that was a city.
“No.” said Red finally. “No.”
“We can’t lose now!” Said Peter Pan, “We’ve worked too hard! Don’t let everything die now!”
Red turned to look at Peter, cradling his arm and with an infinite sadness. “It’s too late, it was always too late once we turn her on. That was the mistake and Maddy was wrong, I can’t fix this. No one could fix this.”
“Don’t say that!” said Peter Pan, “You could always fix this, I know you, you have never ever failed before–”
“Didn’t I?” Said Red softly, “I failed at a lot of things, you were there with me through the worst of thing, so don’t stand here and lie to me. I was never perfect John, no matter how much you wanted me to be.”
Peter Pan went still for a heartbeat and then collapsed in on himself in a mobius loop of expansion and contraction. “Nononono, you can fix this, I know you can fix this, you’re never wrong. I trusted you, I trusted you–”
Blue watched, but did nothing and Red finally pushed himself away from the wall with a sigh and a grimace of pain and staggered over to what was left of his friend. “Come on kid, we need to go.”
Peter Pan fluctuated for a moment more, then solidified again, looking up at Red from muted eyes. “You were supposed to fix this.” He said sadly.
“I know.” Said Red and reached out his good hand.
After a moment Peter took it and stood up, refusing to turn at look at the person who wasn’t Blue.
“Where will you go?” Asked Blue as they turned to leave.
“There are other doors.” Said Red shortly, “There are other doors to other worlds where none of this happened and none of this will happen, and we’re going to find one.”
“I’ll miss you,” said Blue, because it was true.
“Don’t come looking.” Said Red, and he limped back out the door, leaning on Peter who wasn’t Peter and they walked out of the room.
Blue stood for a long time looking at the door they’d left through.
“He didn’t say thank you.” Said the half of him who was Atlantis. “I don’t understand. You saved his life–”
“Did I?” Said the half that was Blue, sadly and tired. “He doesn’t think so.”
The half that was Atlantis sighed in frustration and focused her attention on more logical things. The half that was Blue stared at the door and wondered what it would have been like to have been John.