Second Chances by Carla

featured story Summary: (Protector Series #1) Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Star learns the dangerous truth behind this old adage as she muses on what used to be. No matter how much you plan out in your head what might have been, no one knows what will really happen when time replays itself.
Categories: The Protector Series
Characters: Anna Valentino, David, Dwayne, Marko, Michael Emerson, OCs: Multiple, Paul, Star
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Supernatural
Pairing(s): None
Warnings: Adult Themes
Challenges: None
Series: The Protector Series
Chapters: 9 Completed: Yes Word count: 12198 Read: 17771 Published: 14 Jan 2005 Updated: 14 Jan 2005

Chapter One by Carla

Star sat, watching the sun play across the ocean, watching as the light danced off the waves, turning their tips to glowing embers. For so long she had been forced to sleep during the day, denied the pleasure of the sun, forgetting the way it painted the world with a golden haze. But now, thanks to Michael, she was free. Free of the ache inside, the demand for blood. Free from the taste of immortality. Free from the Lost Boys. Her Lost Boys.

She missed them. Despite the pain they’d caused, the anger, and the fear, she missed them. It was a new ache inside her body, eating away at her heart at odd moments when her emotional control was low. As happy as she was with Michael, walking in the sun with him, laughing with him, with no fear of being torn apart, still she missed them.

There were times, when she sat, watching the sun play off of the ocean as she so often did, that she could see David’s smirk in the clouds, or a flash of Dwayne’s dark hair in the depths of the ocean, or hear Paul’s laughing voice in the wind, or see Marko’s dancing eyes in the spray where the waves threw themselves upon the rocks.

Lately Star had begun to wonder what it would be like, to join the water beating itself on the rocks. There were instances when she could almost see it, see herself falling through the air, hear the thud and crunch when she hit, feel the water washing over her, taking everything away.

She would never know. She wasn’t afraid that she might kill herself. The thoughts were just passing ones, never taking root. But she did miss them, her boys.

The sun began to sink below the horizon. Still Star sat, watching as the sky turned orange, pink, purple, and that deep dark shade of blue. The last rays of the sun disappeared in a burst of light. The sky was dark, save a single star shining brightly.

Star, gazing up at it, was reminded of her childhood. “Star light, star bright,” she murmured, hearing whispers of the past in her head. “First star I see tonight. I wish I may. I wish I might. Have this wish I wish tonight. I wish…” her voice trailed off. Finally she spoke again, voice soft and childlike. “I wish they could have had a second chance.”

“Done.” A new voice filled the air, startling Star, causing her to leap to her feet, looking about her anxiously.

“Who, who’s there?” she gasped out.

Laughter filled the night air, gentle laughter. “Doesn’t matter my child,” the voice said. “I’ve come to grant your wish.”

“But I didn’t…” Star’s voice stopped when she realized that she did mean it. She wanted them to have a second chance, no matter that they were vampires, killers. They had done little to harm innocents; had, in fact, chosen their meals from those who preyed on the youngsters crowding the Boardwalk every night.

“But you did mean it,” the voice confirmed. “Or I wouldn’t be here.”

“Wishes don’t come true. It’s just a lie parents tell their children,” Star whispered, unable to wrap her mind around the situation at hand, though she’d taken to believing in vampires easily enough.

Laughter filled the air again, soft laughter, so quiet Star had to strain her ears to hear it. “Really?” the voice queried, the slightest tilt of the words giving away its teasing.

Star sighed. “How are you going to grant this wish?” she asked, almost afraid of the answer. For the Lost Boys to have another chance, in her mind at least, there could be no Emersons in Santa Carla…and that meant her precious would not be here. “Please don’t take Michael away.”

“Time will replay itself. They will be given a Protector. If they act correctly, they will live. If they do not, the Protector will fail.”

“A Protector? Act correctly how?” Star asked, voice shaking. Though she had decided, without even realizing it, to believe this…disembodied voice…she still didn’t understand what exactly it was asking of her.

“That will be known when the time is right.”

“Is that it?” Star asked softly. “They just have to behave, and this Protector will save them?” It sounded too easy, without enough suffering, and as she’d learned throughout her life, everything came with pain and loss. Even her beloved Michael.

“The Protector will save them, if everything happens like it should.”

“Ok, that sounds easy enough,” Star said, letting her lips twist into a small smile. “When does it start?”

“One final thing,” the voice said, its words dripping into Star’s ears with a pause between each one, as if her mysterious benefactor was reluctant to share this latest information. “You will remember that things are happening for a second time, up until you meet the Protector. Once you meet the Protector, you will know they are the Protector, but then you will forget everything. And know this. The Protector will be risking their soul for your wish. If the Protector fails—the Protector’s soul will be forever lost, payment for the failure.”

“But…” Star couldn’t finish her protest, for the world began to spin, dragging her up away from the ground and into the dark sky. The stars above her head rushed down to greet her, seeming close enough to touch; when she reached for them, only empty air met her fingertips. Slick lights flashed before her tightly closed eyes and then her world grew dark.

Star found herself on the Boardwalk, alone though people pressed against her as they walked by. She was surrounded by partiers, their screaming voices thudding within her ears and almost lost beneath the blast of music as the band on the outdoor stage warmed up. The Giant Dipper rose above her head, casting shadows over her, and she could almost taste the exhilaration of those riding the roller coaster. The lights and smells of the Boardwalk invaded her senses, leaving her helpless for long moments as she adjusted to the sudden change.

Just as she was ready to step forward and seek out her Boys, a solid body smacked into her, slamming her to the earth with enough force to knock the breath out of her. Pain rippled through her body and she gazed up through a red haze to see two large, hairy men continue past her without a backward glance.

Suddenly the one in front was thrown into a wall hard enough that the cracks of his bones breaking were strangely audible. The second man lunged forward, groping for an unseen attacker. Star watched in amazement as he was flung against a light pole.

The fight was over as quickly as it had begun. A laughing voice filled the air. It would have been lovely to listen to, had a dark vein not run underneath the laughter.

“Twice you’ve upset me,” the voice said. “First, the way you acted towards me. Second, you knocked this lovely lady down. Cross me a third time, and you won’t be given another chance.”

The second man slowly stood, then helped his companion stand. Both men were groaning and limping, both had broken bones. Both disappeared into the night.

Star found herself gazing at a pale hand. The fighter was offering to help her up. Star’s gaze finally cleared. The fighter was a young girl, no more than nineteen at the oldest. Her hair was a thick mass of white blonde curls, long and wild. Her eyes were a deep blue, dancing with amusement. Her full lips were turned up into a smile.

“Are you ok?” the girl asked softly, still offering her hand to Star. “I’m sorry about that. They were chasing me, and knocked you down. I apologize. I should have kept an eye out for bystanders.” A small frown marred her features for a moment, then disappeared. “I’m Anna.”

Star blinked once just to make sure she wasn’t imagining things. She remembered her wish and the voice, and knew that time was replaying itself, but she didn’t remember ever meeting an Anna. Slowly she lifted her hand and placed it in Anna’s pale one.

Her body stiffened, as she was overwhelmed with images. Scenes of her Lost Boys, images of Michael, blood, fighting, life, death, wishes, dreams. She saw this girl, covered in blood, facing the boys. Star began to shake and opened her eyes. The girl was gazing down at her worriedly.

“Are you ok?” Anna asked softly, not wanting to scare the girl further.

“Protector,” Star whispered, then lost consciousness.
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