ski to the max

8

“Swablu! … you should go with your friends.”
“You’re letting it go?!”
“Mm-hm. It’s Swablu’s happiness that really counts.”
“But, May! I thought we were all gonna be really good friends.”
“You better get going, your friends are waiting for you. But– I’ll miss you. Goodbye! Take care of yourself! … love you…

(Pokemon Advanced Generation Episode 64: “Tyltto’s Sky! The Heart of Haruka!!”/“True Blue Swablu”)

The Apple Orchard (Writing Guild Fall Free For All - Jopper)

 Here is my Contribution to The Writing Guild Fall Free for All! I hope  checking out the amazing contributions from my fellow guild members!








“Are you sure we won’t get caught?” Will Byers asked in a small, anxious voice as El Hopper rifled through the stack of permission slips on Mrs. Burbage’s desk. The girl selected a permission slip and unscrewed the cap off of a tiny bottle of White-out.

“The odds are in our favor, you just need to lower your damn voice,” she scolded, painting over a check-mark nestled in the middle of a box. “Sorry, Mrs. Henderson, we only need a handful of chaperones,” she muttered.

“The apple orchard is a popular field trip, lots of parents always sign-up.”

“Yeah, that’s why we’re doing this. No luck-of-the-draw for Dad and Mrs. Byers. Guaranteed spots.”

Will frowned as he wondered how the Police Chief’s adopted daughter became so devious. The two of them had bonded over the year before she was enrolled in Hawkins High School. He and the rest of the Byers family, along with Lucas, Max, Mike, Nancy and Dustin had worked hard to catch her up on her studies, so she could enter school at their grade level. Actually, they hadn’t had to work that hard at all, El was a bit of a sponge and an evil genius, quickly surpassing even Nancy’s level of intelligence. There had been talk about placing her higher than ninth grade, but Hopper had balked, not wanting her to feel more out of place than she already was by sticking her with kids who didn’t know her.

One of the things the two bonded over, other than shared trauma, was the fact that everyone seemed to see the obvious attraction between their respective parents, EXCEPT for Joyce and Hopper. Will desperately wanted his mother to be happy again, and in the quiet moments shared between the two families, it was clear that being around Hopper made her very happy. She even smiled and laughed, going so far as to tell actual jokes. Will and Jonathan had no idea their mother was so funny. Will had seen little flashes of it over the years, through her natural silliness and the way she liked to tease and embarrass both boys, but that exuberance and humor never shone so brightly as it did when she was in the kitchen with Hopper, getting cooking lessons from him, or sitting around the kitchen table and television together like a big family.

Will liked how complete he felt when Hopper and El were in their house. It felt right. Almost like how it felt when Bob was around only more… it just made sense. He knew El wanted to see her father happy, though she chalked up her compliance with Will’s scheme to the fact that Hopper laid off of her and Mike more when Joyce was around.

“All done! Down to the required three chaperones. I kept Mrs. Sinclair because she always brings Moon Pies to field trips.”

Will scoffed at this. El’s sweet-tooth was legendary, despite his mother’s efforts to keep the Hopper fridge and pantry stocked with healthy snacks and vegetables. He observed the stack of doctored permission slips and smiled. He hoped this would work.

__________

“Man, I would’ve never signed up if I knew they were actually going to pick me. The kid was so adamant about being more involved in school stuff, but you told me that the apple orchard was some kind of beauty pageant for chaperones.” Jim Hopper grumbled as he settled into a seat on the bus next to Joyce Byers.

“It usually is! I try to sign up every year and I never get picked,” the tiny brunette sniffed as she rifled through her purse until she located a pack of Big Red. “It’s a long way to a smoke break, Hop, have some gum.” She slid a stick into his waiting palm.

“Thanks, Joyce.” Their fingers brushed as she withdrew her hand and placed it back on her lap. Hopper wanted to take back the little hand, with it’s long, tapered fingers and hold it in his. It wasn’t the first time he felt such a keen yearning, and even though it had been nearly a year since Bob had been killed, he still hesitated to act on the urge to pull her close and tight and never let go.

“Almost suspicious,” he admitted before unwrapping the stick and popping it in his mouth.

“Huh?” Joyce inquired. Before he could answer, a loud popping noise filled the air, coming from the back of the bus. He and Joyce both gave a violent start before turning around to see Troy Harrington and one of his oversized buddies laughing uproariously, a tattered paper bag clutched in the boy’s hand.

“Hey, knock it the fu–… cut it out!” Jim shouted, rising to his knees in his seat. His top of his head nearly brushed the ceiling of the bus, his big frame looming threateningly over the seats. “You can carry your lunch in your pockets, I guess.”

Dustin Henderson was sitting across the aisle from Troy and his friend, the boy’s face was bright red. “It was actually my–”

“Shut the fuck up, Toothless,” Troy hissed. Jim’s ears burned and his brow furrowed at the insult.

“Where’s your lunch, kid?” he asked Dustin. He noted that the young bullies cocky faces were now demonstrating a sufficient degree of terror. Dustin, for his part, looked hesitant to answer.

“They threw it out the window,” El volunteered in a flat tone, her dark eyes narrowing in the direction of Troy. “So they could make their stupid bomb thing.”

Troy was well aware of El’s connection to the Chief, so he didn’t shoot a smart remark her way. Instead, his eyes flew to the window, his face distinctly bloodless.

Jim smacked his lips. “Huh.”

“Now, Jim–”

“I’ve got this, Joyce. What did your mommy pack you, Harrington?”

The boy turned and swallowed. “A roast beef sandwich, some Reese’s, an apple and some celery.”

“Keep the celery. Give the rest to Henderson.”

“What?!”

“Now.”

Troy nodded quickly and handed off his lunchbox to Dustin.

“Cool, it’s a Tron lunchbox!” Dustin exclaimed, showing it to Lucas.

“Keep it, buddy,” Jim decreed, turning to sink back into his seat. Joyce was raising an eyebrow at him, a smirk on her face. “What?”

“That’s one way of handling it.”

“That kid is a jack ass, he needs to learn humility like his big brother.” he turned and leaned over across the aisle to the elegant woman who was quietly reading a battered copy of War and Peace What do you think, Mrs. Sinclair?” he inquired sweetly.

The woman shrugged, not lifting her eyes from her book. “He’s called my son worse than ‘Toothless’; I’d say he needs to learn more than humility, but a celery lunch is a good start, Chief.”

“See?” Jim teased, gently elbowing Joyce in the side, and then twisting away from her poke-happy forefinger. “Stop!” he cried helplessly as she jabbed into his side and elicited a sharp bark of laughter.

“You two…” Mrs. Sinclair chuckled knowingly. Joyce immediately ceased her onslaught and folded her hands into her lap with a fierce blush high in her cheeks; her dark eyes were downcast and held a distinctly guilty expression.

__________

“Is that what flirting is?” El asked Will as they watched Jim take off his coat and put it around Joyce’s shoulders as the adults walked ahead of the group down the path of apple trees. The fall day, which had started rather warm and sunny, and turned frigid and windy, the sun retreating behind the gathering clouds.

“No. That’s - that’s just your dad making sure my mom is comfortable. He’s always doing stuff like that. Flirting is what they were doing on the bus after your dad busted Troy.”

“What are you two whispering about?” Mike Wheeler asked, slowing down his pace so El and Will could catch up. He was holding his apple bag, and El’s. Both were about half-full.

“Mom and the Chief,” Will informed him, spying a particularly attractive apple high on a branch. He stood on his tiptoes to reach it before Mike plucked it and two others with ease throwing the first one into Will’s bag. “Thanks, Larry Bird.”

“I’m not that tall, Frodo.”

The boys snickered at their own banter, El just rolled her eyes. “Anyway, we think they’d be good together,” El explained.

“Who would be good together?” came a female voice from behind. The trio turned in time to see Max, Lucas and Dustin walk up. Their bags were nearly empty, and Max’s red hair had twigs and leaves sticking from it.

“What have you three been doing?” Will asked, curiously.

“Max tried to climb to the top of one tree to shake down the good stuff. We got caught though, so technically we need to catch up with Mrs. Sinclair so we have a chaperone around at all times,” Lucas explained, giving his girlfriend an admiring look. “Are you guys talking about Mrs. Byers and the Chief?”

“Aren’t they already boinking?” Max asked, drawing disgusted groans from Will and a confused look from El.

“No!” Will protested. “No, they aren’t! Jesus, that’s disgusting.”

“What is–”

“Something they’re definitely not doing, don’t worry about it, El,” Will explained patiently, throwing Max a withering look.

Max snorted. “Are you guys trying to Parent Trap your parents? That is so cute. You know once they’re together they’re gonna do more than hold hands.”

El wrinkled her nose, finally getting her meaning. “Ugh. Shut up.”

“Yeah, don’t talk about parents like that, Max. That’s nasty,” Lucas chided with a shudder.

“Anyway, they’re cute, and everyone already thinks they’re together,” Max admitted with a shrug. “So you got them to the field trip, and judging by the fact that it’s an apple orchard, you were bucking for quaint romanticism, like those cowboy romances my mom reads. Now what?”

El and Will exchanged glances. “We… don’t know?” Will admitted. “It just seemed like a nice place for them to be together is all. Fall is romantic.”

“Mmm. Well, he’s already given her his coat, so I guess they’re off to a good start. Maybe it’ll rain and we’ll all have to get holed up in that barn until it lifts. My mom’s books always have people getting trapped in barns.”

As if on cue, thunder rumbled and the skies opened up. Five faces of eyes turned to Max with astonished expressions.

“Are you a witch?” Dustin inquired in a low, conspiratorial whisper.

__________

“Everyone, get in the barn!” Jim Hopper shouted so he could be heard through the deluge. He hoped the other chaperones for the other classes were finding similar shelter around the grounds. Joyce and Mrs. Sinclair moved about the Freshmen group on either sides, taking a headcount and guiding the soaked kids towards the door Jim was holding open.

“Ladies, get inside!” He called out, anxiously.

“Hold on, Chief – I counted 15 kids on my side, Joyce!”

“17 on mine, Dana!”

“That’s everyone!”

The two ladies hurried for the door, both holding their jackets over their heads to protect from the rain. Joyce was practically drowning in the brown jacket Jim had provided her from his own back, but he refused to take it away from her when she removed it and tried to hand it off.

“Don’t be silly, you’ll catch Pneumonia, Hop. You’re soaked to the bone and it’s actually dry.”

Jim shook his head as he hunkered down on a hay bale. “I never get sick.” he wrinkled his nose. The barn smelled of damp grass, leather, binder-twine and–

“Horses!” Max exclaimed, taking El’s hand and leading her to a row of stalls that were, indeed, filled with horses.

“Don’t spook them, girls!” Dana scolded, taking her book out of her bag and perching herself on a bale of hay.

Joyce settled herself onto the bale next to Jim and threw the jacket over both of their shoulders, pressing her warm, dry body against his soaked side with a shiver, her arm resting across his back to pull him closer.

“Now you’re going to get wet,” Jim fretted, giving an anxious glance around the room. Sure enough, Will, Dustin, and Lucas spotted the cozy scene and immediately fast-walked over to the stalls. Will whispered something in El’s ear, and the girl glanced over her shoulder, trying to school her instantaneously pleased expression into something more neutral when she realized that Jim was watching.

“We’re being studied,” Jim murmured in Joyce’s ear.

“Huh?” Joyce’s voice had a slightly drowsy quality, and Jim realized that she had been nodding off.

“Jeez, still any port in the storm for you, Horowitz? I swear you could sleep on a concrete floor if you were beat enough – our kids are over there, looking at us like they’re arranging a marriage and having it pan out in their favor.”

“Oh lord,” Joyce sighed, without pulling herself away from Jim. He felt something akin to hope stirring in his chest at the realization.

“Awful precarious situation we’re finding ourselves in,” he added, trying his luck by brushing his lips against the top of her head. Not the whispering from across the room was getting more audible, more urgent in tone.

“Do you think it’s time to tell them? If they’re actively trying to make it happen, it probably means they wouldn’t be mad at me for… I mean, are you sick of sneaking around?”

The ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ erupted in Jim’s mind as his heart soared and his stomach fluttered. He exhaled on the breath he had been holding and tried to play it cool. “Well- uh- I mean as sexy as sneaking around has been… Yes. Absolutely, I want to tell them, are you kidding?”

“Dinner at my house?”

“Yup. I’ll pick up the pizza and the ice-cream.”

“And the champagne for later?”

“And the whiskey for later.”

Her arm tightened around his side, and he felt her chin digging into his chest as she looked up at him with soft eyes.

“Love you, Hop.”

He kissed her forehead and tried not to sniffle at her words. If he did he’d just chalk it up to the weather.

“Love you, Joyce.”

anonymous asked:

I just discovered you recently and am blown away by your landscapes. Beautiful. I'm interested to learn a little more about how you meter your film. I'm used to metering for shadows by holding the meter at 45 degrees to the ground with the bulb in but something tells me you have a different method. Do you rate your Ektar at 100? And obviously so much of how your images look is dependent on the person operating the scanner. What do you tell them?

Due to the types of lighting situations you come across when shooting landscape I have found a spotmeter to be the best tool in determining exposure. I shoot all my films at box speed as I feel they scan well and also render tonal separation best at these speeds. I have written a bit on how I meter and expose my film here. I talk specifically about Portra 160 but I shoot all films from Velvia to Tri-x in the same way making only small variances of where I place highlights and shadows based on the latitude of the film.

The look of your images is extremely dependent on both the scanner and the person operating the scanner. While film and different film stocks have attributes that are inherent the “look” that people generally think of when they think of film is partly due to the limitations of scanning technology as well as subjective decisions made by the operator. My short advice would be to send your film to a lab that is interested in working with film photographers. I use Indie Film Lab; The Find Lab and Richard Photo Lab are two other options, among a few others. They are all open to working with you on customizing your scans. With Color Negative film, unless you are shooting a color chart in every photo and even then for a slew of other reasons such as color space and the limitations of scanner technology, you are always getting a representation of what is actually on the film. Working with a lab you will be able to narrow in on the representation or look that you want. If you are wanting to pull as much information and the truest representation of the image off of the film as possible a drum scan is the only way to do that. I would encourage everyone to get at least one done at some point to establish a baseline of understanding with the film you are using that is the least inhibited by the shortfalls of scanning technology. Scanning is a pretty convoluted topic, the best way to approach it is to try and understand its limitations and balance that with your objective. 


I personally ask for what are referred to as “Flat Scans” very similar to that of a RAW file from a digital camera. Not in file format but in the look of the image. I want the scanner to pull off as much detail as possible. All of the information from the highlights and shadows that is possible, rather than a baked in higher contrast look. This gives me a low contrast “digital negative” that I can then work with in Lightroom. My images fall into three basic categories with similar scanning needs. Below is some information ripped from my reference page I have provided the lab.


High Key

White whites that hold detail of the contours in shapes or shadows, light tones that retain texture detail. Light tones were exposed about 2 1/3 stops over middle gray to keep texture and have room to be boosted in post if they seem to dingy.


Soft Light

Maximum detail in highlights creating dynamic texture filled skies or textures in trees and foliage. Shadows may be deeper and are not to be brought up in a way that sacrifices exposure detail/contrast in the mid-tones and highs. The Mid’s in these images were placed at middle gray, highlights such as the sky were held back with ND Grads to keep texture in clouds and color in sky. Texture and color detail in sky is a priority over foreground/mid-ground.


Moody

Moody, texture filled, darker skies and deep shadows. Scan for max detail out of highs and mid’s allow deep shadows to be black and normal shadows with minimal noise. The highs in most of these images were metered 1 1/3 to 2 stops above middle gray.

Stressed Out

(Taking place in @skiretehfox‘s Twenty One Pirates LIS AU.  If you want to see more of my work, check it out at @philwritesstuff)

Bzzzzzz!

Max barely felt the vibration of her phone in her shaking hands, and it took a few seconds for her to register that it had buzzed at all.  The dressing room was empty save her and Chloe, and she wondered through an anxiety-clouded mind if she should bother checking it or just leave it for after the show.  What if it was an emergency?  What if they had to cancel the show?  What would Lost Hope think of losing their headliners on the last night?

Keep reading

El’s First New Year

Shout out to all you lovely people who started following me after my “El’s First Period” fic. I have some other ideas for an “El’s Firsts” series, but they won’t be in any chronological order (just in the order that I feel like writing them).

This one is about El’s first New Year’s Eve party at the Byers’ which unexpectedly turns into a sleepover (with Mileven fluff obviously). I have already read some great fics on the topic, but guess what here’s another one. 

Word count: 2,570


“Come on, kid. We’re gonna be late!”

It was 9:12pm and Hopper was knocking on the bathroom door for the third time.

“I’m sure you look fine. We should have left 20 minutes ago. Let’s get moving!”

El suddenly threw open the door and walked out.

“How do I look?” She had the exasperated look of a girl who had just spent hours trying on different clothes, experimenting with makeup, and re-doing her hair several different ways. She ended up in a sleeveless floral knee-length dress over a fitted grey t-shirt. Hopper had driven her to a mall a few hours away to go shopping for new clothes, as was her Christmas request.

“You look fine. Put on your coat and get in the car.”

“You didn’t even look at me!!”

“That’s because I know you look fine!” He shouted this over his shoulder as he walked out the door. El rushed to grab her coat and followed him.


Keep reading

Worth the Price, Pricefield fanfic

All around Max, the familiar surroundings of the girls bathroom at Blackwell Academy were slowly coming back into focus. She had made it back from the lighthouse where she had just said her last emotional goodbye to Chloe upon agreeing to go back and sacrifice her for the good of Arcadia Bay.

Just then, Max heard the door open, and then heard Nathan muttering to himself once again like he did a week ago, in Max’s time of mind anyways. Soon, the moment she had come all this way back for would happen. Max’s heart beat faster as she prepared herself for it. She leaned back against the nearby toilet stall wall and breathed in deep and exhaled slowly. She knew what she had to do. And she mentally prepared herself as best as she could for it.

The door to the woman’s bathroom then opened once more and Chloe’s voice could be heard. “I hope you checked the perimeter, as my step ass would say.” Chloe asked Nathan as she scouted the area. A tear formed in Max’s eye as she knew that those would be some of the last words from Chloe that she would ever hear.

The moment was approaching, Chloe was threatening Nathan and pushing him. Nathan then once again pulled his gun out from his pocket and pointed it at Chloe. “You don’t know who the fuck I am, or who you’re messing around with!” Nathan threatened back. “Where’d you get that gun?!” Chloe exclaimed. Nathan moved towards her and pushed her up against the wall. “What are you doing?! Come on! Put that thing down!” Chloe pleaded.

Around the corner stall, Max’s heart beat furiously, she could hear and feel each throb deep within her ears. Sweat glistened across her face and her breathing came out in quick, terrified gasps. This was it. The moment had finally come. She peered around the corner of the stall and waited for that crucial moment.

“Get that gun away from me, psycho!” Chloe yelled as she pushed Nathan away. He stumbled back and a space opened up between Chloe and Nathan. With lightning quick reflexes Max raised her hand up and all of time came to a stand still.

Slowly, Max came out from her hiding place and walked through distorted frozen time towards Chloe and Nathan. When she was beside Chloe, she reached out with her left hand and softly touched Chloe’s cheek, then turned her hand and ran the back of her fingers against Chloe’s soft skin of her cheek a few times. Tears started to stream down Max’s own cheeks now.

“Oh Chloe… I know this isn’t what we agreed on, but I can’t bear to watch you die again. I love you too much for that. Please forgive me for this…” Max said softly to her frozen in time best friend. Max then sighed sadly and ducked under Chloe’s outstretched arms that were held out after pushing Nathan away and placed herself between them and backed up against Chloe, shielding Chloe with her own body for what was about to come.

Max looked up towards the skies, “I know what I have to do to restore time back to the way it was supposed to be. But I won’t do it! You can’t have her!” Max said to whoever or whatever gave her the ability to control time. “I know I abused the powers that I’ve been given, and the terrible outcome of what happened because of it. And I’m truly sorry for that… But Chloe is innocent. She doesn’t deserve to die… But if a life must be given to restore all of time… Then take mine… And spare Chloe's…”

Max then looked down at the gun barrel that was now aimed at her chest as she continued to stand in front of Chloe. She took one more deep terrified breath, accepting her new fate and then dropped her hand, bringing time back to its normal flow.

A single gunshot then echoed through the girls bathroom, and Max was struck in the chest and was knocked back into Chloe. Max cried out in pain. “What the fuck?!” Chloe exclaimed as she caught a stranger who fell against her who wasn’t there a moment ago.

“Max Caulfield?!” Nathan exclaimed as he recognized who had suddenly appeared in front of him. “Max?!” Chloe cried out and looked over Max’s shoulder to see her face. “Chloe…” Max said weakly and in a lot of pain. Nathan was in shock, bewildered he asked, “How the fuck did you-”, a flying fist then reached around the side of Max’s head and Nathan was then punched hard in the side of his head by an enraged Chloe, who screamed in anger just as her blow had landed. Nathan was knocked off balance, fell to the right and his head hit the nearest stall wall and he was knocked out cold. No longer a threat.

Chloe then turned her attention back to Max and she carefully held her from behind by the waist, “Max!” Chloe cried out. Max’s legs then gave out, her body became limp and heavy in Chloe’s arms. Chloe leaned back against the nearby wall, using it to balance herself as she held onto Max. She then slowly slid down the side of the wall, bending her knees, and going into a sitting position, never letting go of Max, who was now between Chloe’s legs.

“No! No, no, no, no, this can’t be!” Chloe said as she began to cry.

David Madsen then came bursting into the bathroom, “What’s going on in here!” He demanded to know, he looked down and he saw Nathan unconscious on the floor and a gun next to him. He then looked over and saw his step daughter sitting on the bathroom floor, holding onto another girl by the waist. This girl had been shot and was bleeding from a wound in her chest. Chloe looked up at David with teary eyes, “We need some help in here! Go get some help! Now!” Chloe begged shrilly.

David then turned and headed out the door to call paramedics and the police. Suddenly, all around Chloe and Max, time began to slow, then came to a stand still. Both girls remained unaffected though. “Whoa! What the fuck?!” Chloe gasped in surprise as she looked around at her distorted surroundings.

“It’s time?” Max asked as she looked around while being held by Chloe. “Time? What do you mean it’s time?” Chloe asked. Max looked at Chloe, “Time is… Giving us a chance to be alone and… say goodbye to each other.” Max replied weakly.

“Goodbye?!” Chloe cried, “No! Not goodbye! You’re going to be fine! You have to be! Just hang in there!”

Chloe then held her hand over Max’s gunshot wound and applied pressure to try and stop the blood oozing from it. Max grimaced in pain, clenching her teeth hard. Chloe could feel Max’s warm blood under her hand. She could also feel Max’s heart beating irregularly. “Max… Why did you do this? Why did you get yourself shot for me?”

“Because… I couldn’t watch you die… Again.” Max answered truthfully.

“Again?! What do you mean again?” Chloe asked in confusion.

Max placed her right hand on top of Chloe’s hand that was clutching her gunshot wound. “Because this… This is what would’ve happened to you instead. I’ve seen it happen before. It’s what was meant to happen.” Max explained.

Chloe shook her head, “I don’t understand! Any of this!” Chloe shouted in frustration.

Suddenly, a bright circular light began to shimmer, glow and expand from a tiny dot to a large circular shape in front of the girls. Instinctively, Max reached out for it with her left hand and, like images on a TV or computer screen, the scene with Nathan pressed up against Chloe with the gun in the bathroom appeared and began to play like a movie. It was as if Max’s memories of this event was playing for Chloe to see from Max’s point of view. “Get that gun away from me, psycho!” Chloe saw her other self plead to Nathan in this vision. Then, she was shot. Chloe, the one holding Max, jumped in surprise as she watched the other version of herself fall to the ground. A bullet hole in her chest. Max hadn’t saved her in this version of events.

“Thank you.” Max said silently to who ever or whatever was allowing time to remain still and to show Chloe what would’ve happened so she could both see and understand.

Chloe looked back down, “Y-you were right, Max. I died… I-I was supposed to die here…” Chloe said with a quivering voice. She then sniffled, furrowed her eyebrows angrily and asked, “Then why?! Why did you take my place if that’s what was meant to happen?!”

“Just watch, you’ll understand soon…” Max then remembered another event; when she and Chloe were holding hands, walking down the train tracks together. Then Max remembered all of the times they hugged and did their best friend handshakes. Finally, she remembered back to the time they were swimming in the Blackwell academy pool together at night, laughing happily and splashing each other. And all while still holding onto Max, Chloe watched silently, with her mouth slightly agape as these memories from Max played before her very eyes. She was in shock and awe, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

Max, who’s head was resting on Chloe’s chest, could feel Chloe’s heart beating rapidly.

“Don’t look so sad… I’m never leaving you.” Chloe saw herself say to Max in the pool. Chloe broke down and sobbed. “All these visions, these memories… They’re real?! They actually happened??” Chloe asked Max. Max nodded. “Yes. They’re real. Every single one of them.”

Chloe shook her head in disbelief. “I didn’t know that I could still smile like that… Didn’t know that I could still laugh like that… Didn’t know that I could still… Love… like that?”.

Max looked back at Chloe, “You can, and you did. But you can do so much more than that.” Max then raised her left hand back up, recalling another memory. “Watch. This is why I couldn’t let you die… Why I’m giving my life for you.”

Max then remembered the moment they had their first kiss. “I double dare you, kiss me now!” Chloe saw herself say in this new vision. And she watched her other self and Max kiss. Then she watched Max and her other self hug on the beach and tell each other how much they meant to one another and how they were meant to be together at that moment in time and more.

Finally, She was shown a vision of Max and the other Chloe on the lighthouse cliff tops on the final day with the storm and tornado visible in the background. And Chloe watched herself and Max kiss again. This time longer, more passionately, it was clear that it they were deeply in love with one another. Soon, they moved apart and looked into one another’s eyes, and Chloe heard herself say, “I’ll always love you, Max.”

Chloe cried harder, covering her eyes with her left hand. Hugging Max closer to her body. Max no longer felt any pain coming from her wound so she didn’t cry out in pain this time. “You did it because you love me?!” Chloe asked tearfully.

Max looked back and nodded, placing her left hand on top of Chloe’s right hand that was still clutching her wound. “More than anything in the world, Chloe… More. Than. Anything!”

Max’s body then began to feel numb. The outer most edges of her vision began to darken. Fear crept into Max’s heart, “Chloe! Chloe!” Max cried out. “I’m right here, Max! I’m with you right here!” Chloe reassured her, squeezing her hand comfortingly.

Max and Chloe then interlocked their fingers together. “I-I thought I was ready for this, ready to die… But I’m scared, Chloe! Help me not be.” Max pleaded as she trembled in fear. Chloe held Max tighter, “Tell me what to do!

"Hold me… Stay with me till the very end.” Max requested. Chloe choked on sobs and tears. “Max! If you have powers then use them! Rewind time and go back! Change it back! I don’t want this!” Chloe begged.

Max weakly shook her head, “I can’t, Chloe. Even if I can rewind time, I can’t rewind this wound away. It’s a part of me and I can’t take it back. I’m… I’m going to die, Chloe.

That’s when it hit Max. What if, even after this sacrifice, the storm was still coming? "Chloe, please, you need to listen to me.” Max begged.

“What is it?” Chloe replied.

“In my reality Arcadia Bay was destroyed by a massive tornado that struck on Friday of this week.” And as Max said those words, a vision of the described tornado, viewed through Max’s eyes from the lighthouse clifftop appeared in front of them. “Look for these signs… After I’m gone.” Max instructed.

Chloe got a painful lump in her throat after hearing those words, but she nodded while whimpering.

“Flocks of dead birds… Beached whales… Strange weather patterns.” Images of all these things flashed in front of them like a slideshow. “If you see these signs it means that the storm is still coming. So I need you to make me a promise.” Max pleaded.

“Anything, Max.” Chloe answered tearfully.

“Do whatever you can to convince people to leave town or make for the lighthouse on Friday. Understand?” Max advised, “You save as many people as you can, but you get to the lighthouse where it’s safe, you hear me?”

Chloe nodded as she sniffled, “I will, Max. I’ll be there if it comes. I’ll be where it’s safe. I promise!”

Max felt very sleepy, her breathing started to slow. Her vision ever darkening. It wouldn’t be long now. “Chloe… Please… Kiss me. One… Last… Time.”

Chloe nodded and carefully, she slowly pulled Max towards her, never breaking eye contact. Their soft lips then met, and they kissed. Both girls closed their eyes, embracing the moment. Streams of tears flowed from both girls eyes as they continued to kiss.

Though this was the first time Max kissed this version of Chloe, it felt exactly the same. The kiss was just as warm, just as soft and just as lovingly sweet, and felt just as right. Neither wanted the kiss to end.

What felt like an eternity later, they moved apart, looking deeply into each others eyes. Max smiled and reached up with her left hand and caressed Chloe’s cheek. Chloe smiled back and held her hand on top of Max’s.

Max breathed in and out softly a few times, “Thank you, Chloe… Knowing that you’ll get to live this time… Makes me so happy. This is what I want. I want this…” Max confessed, “I’m not afraid anymore… Chloe… Don’t forget about me…”

Chloe kissed the back of Max’s hand, “I never will, Max. I swear it. I’ll never forget you.”

“I love you, Chloe… Goodbye…”.

Max smiled one last time, slowly closed her eyes and breathed her last breath. Then, she passed away. Her hand falling from Chloe’s face and landing limply at her side. Time then resumed its normal flow. What had felt like a lifetime between Max and Chloe was actually less than two seconds in the real world.

Chloe softly shook Max, “Max? Max?! No… Please, Max… Come back! Come back!” She begged in tears, running a finger across Max’s cheek. Chloe then lowered her head and pressed her forehead softly against the side of Max’s head, closed her eyes and crying harder as her heart continued to break.

David then returned with a officer who happened to be nearby. The officer stepped past both girls and proceeded to handcuff Nathan and secure the gun he had.

As he was doing this, David turned to his stepdaughter and the other girl.

“Chloe! The paramedics are on their-” but he stopped as soon as he saw that the poor girl Chloe was holding onto had passed away.

He was too late. And seeing how hard Chloe was crying, he knew that she must’ve meant something deeply important to his stepdaughter. David then knelt down next to Chloe, and placed a sympathetic hand on her shoulder.

Chloe looked up at David with red teary eyes, but couldn’t manage a word. But she didn’t need to say anything. David knew what she was feeling. As a soldier, he too had seen friends of his die in combat. Even held some as they passed away. Truly, he understood her pain at that very moment.

He began to get choked up too. He couldn’t manage any words either. So he continued to hold his hand on top of Chloe’s shoulder, rubbing his thumb back and forth comfortingly and hung his head in sadness for his stepdaughters loss. For once, they shared a special, but tragic moment together.

Chloe looked back down at Max, and softly stroked Max’s soft brown hair as she continued to cry. She then leaned her head in and softly kissed Max on the cheek one last time and then placed her forehead against Max’s head and continued to weep.

And in the days that followed Max’s brave sacrifice, none of the foretold events to be watchful for came to pass. It seems that time was kind in this universe and had accepted Max’s plea, and Arcadia Bay was spared from destruction. At the cost of her own life.

Also, David Madsen had received a letter that was found in Max’s pocket after she was taken away by the paramedics. It told him where to go to find Rachel Ambers body, where the Dark Room was located, and who her killer was. So justice was brought to Chloe and Rachel upon Mr. Jeffersons arrest soon after.

On Friday, Max’s funeral was taking place. She had received a heroes farewell after everyone learned how she had sacrificed herself to save someone else’s life.

The procession from the funeral home to the graveyard was given a police escort from the front, their lights flashing brightly the whole way. Following closely behind by the black hearse, with Max’s coffin in the back.

Max’s mother and father following the hearse in their red jeep and Chloe and her mom and stepfather following in Chloe’s truck. Lastly, were five full school buses of Blackwell academy staff and students wishing to pay their final respects.

When everyone had arrived at the cemetery, it was the Blackwell football team, the Bigfoots, that helped carry Max’s coffin on their shoulders and towards her final resting place. Logan, Zachary, and a few others were among them.

Max’s mom and dad walked closely behind their daughters coffin, holding each other and crying the whole way.

Not far behind them were Chloe, who was wearing a black sleeveless dress, no beanie and black high heels. Her mother, Joyce, in a black dress and hat. And stepdad, David, wearing a black suit. Followed by the long columns of Blackwell academy staff and students. All dressed in black. Amongst them were Warren, Kate, Victoria, Dana, Alyssa, Brooke and many others.

All throughout the sad funeral, Chloe never took her eyes off of Max’s coffin. She still could not believe all that had happened and in her heart, she knew that she could never tell anyone the truth about what really happened. Even though these were Max’s friends and family, she bore this secret grief alone.

After all the prayers and respects had been paid, Chloe stayed long after everyone else had left after Max was put into the ground. Standing silently in front of Max’s grave.

She knelt down next to Max’s headstone and placed her hand on top of it.

“Max… I’ll never be able to repay everything you’ve done for me. You travelled back in time to save my life. You showed me that I can still be happy, and laugh, and smile like I never thought possible again. You even brought closure to my search for Rachel Amber. And most of all, I’m alive when I know I shouldn’t be… I’ll always love you for that.

I miss you so much, Max… But, it does bring me peace, knowing that there are alternate universes out there. Other universes where you’re still alive and well in them. If that’s true, then that must mean that there are alternate universes where Rachel Amber is still alive and maybe even my… Father is still alive? That brings me so much inner peace, Max. Thank you so much.

Maybe… Just maybe, there’s one universe where you and I both got a chance to live and be happy together. I wish it could have been this one, Max…

I’ll honour your sacrifice and live my life the best I can for you. I swear, I’ll even go back to Blackwell Academy and finish my courses, and graduate with honours.

Most of all, I’ll stop fighting with my mom and stepdad and try to become closer with them. Maybe someday we can be a real loving family…

Until the day we meet again, Max… you’ll forever remain in my heart. And I’ll love you till the day I die. I promise.”

The End

“What was the start of all this?
When did the cogs of fate begin to turn?
Perhaps it is impossible to grasp that answer now,
From deep within the flow of time.

But for a certainty, back then
We loved so many yet hated so much
We hurt others and were hurt ourselves.

Yet even then we ran like the wind
Whilst our laughter echoed
Under cerulean skies…." 

~ Chrono Cross

That frustrating feeling when you want to read fan fiction but then you realize that the only fandoms you’re in are small and have been inactive for over a year, leaving you with hardly any content.

Hans-Georg Schulze, here wearing the SS collar tabs of rank as 1st Lieutenant, was Hitler’s SS ordnance officer from October 1939 to July 1941, when he was killed in action serving in Russia with the LSSAH. He was popular with everyone, particularly Eva Braun, whose friend and skiing companion he was. He had replaced Max Wünsche as ordnance officer in 1940.

Source: Guarding The Führer Sepp Dietrich & Adolf Hitler, Blaine Taylor.