"Are you sure about this?" inquired Chip of his favorite mouse, Gadget. Gadget herself was making a final check of an airplane she had finished building the night before.
"Will you stop? I'll be fine" replied Gadget. "I built this thing, remember? If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust?"
"All right, fine. Just be careful up there" Satisfied, Gadget hopped into the driver's seat. "sure you don't want me to come along?"
"Sorry, Chip. But you know I can't let you come on the maiden voyage of one of my airplanes. I've got to test it out and get a real feel for it. Take her to her limits. You can keep up with me over the radio."
"Just be careful, okay?"
"I always am." Gadget started the engine. "And don't stay out too long...I wanted to got to the police station and I need all of us because we might get a case."
"Just give me two hours. I'll see you then. Tell the others to watch for me." Gadget gave the plane a little juice from the battery, and she was sppeding down the runway and into the skies. Chip sighed and walked inside the tree he and the other Rangers called home.
He took a look around Gadget's workshop as he entered, every time he came in it was different. Refocusing his atention on his airborne friend, Chip found the radio and waited for Gadget's first report. He had to turn the volume up high to hear over the cartoons Dale was watching in the next room. Chip would have done something about it if Gadget's transmission didn't start coming through.
"Hackwrench to base...Hackwrench to base. Do you read me, over?"
"You're coming in beautiful Gadget. What's your status?"
"All systems check. Structural integrity is holding. I'm going to start my routine."
"I want feedback if so much as one of your hairs falls out Gadget, you hear me?!"
Gadget giggled at that for a moment, then responded. "Whatever you say, sir. Hackwrench out."
Chip put down the radio and waited for what seemed like the longest five minutes in history. He turned on the radar to see where his friend was now. She was over the pond.
"Gadget to base...Gadget to base"
"Base here...it's about time!"
"Sorry but I've got a slight problem here. I'm going to lose steering any minute now"
"Then bail out!"
"Why? I'll just reduce speed to compensate. I'll level her off and land it in an alley next to the supermarket."
"Are you sure?"
"Have I ever gone wrong before?" Chip saw on the radar the initials GH moving steadily away from the pond and toward the grocery store. "Uh-oh!"
"I'm losing power. I think I've got a short"
"Gadget, bail out!"
"Can't...I'm too low."
"Then take it up."
"I can't. Steerimgs dead. Power failing. I don't know if I'm going to make it here!"
"I can't the wind...the building....AHHHHHHH!!!!!! "*CHCKT* The radio went dead. Chip started to sweat profusely.
"Chip to Gadget, over" Silence was the only response. "Hackwrench, this is Ranger HQ. If you can hear me, acknowledge" Silence. "Acknowledge" No response. "ACKNOWLEDGE!" Still only dead air. Dale came in after hearing Chip yell."
"Hey Chip, I can't hear the TV." said Dale. "What are you shouting for?"
"Where's Monty and Zipper?" Chip asked curtly.
"At the docks, why-"
"Tell them to meet me near the supermarket, something's happened to Gadget."
Dale ran. Gadget was in trouble and needed her friends in a hurry. Fortunately, they all arrived at the crash site around the same time. Chip was just a few yards ahead of the others. He started digging through the mess to get to his most cherished one. "Gadget! Gadget!" he yelled.
The others chipped right in they soon had the rubble off of her. "She's unconscious." said Chip.
"Here now," started Monterey Jack,"let me have a look at her." Monty bent down to look at his late best friend's daughter. Her favorite purple outfit was torn in a few places. Bloody streaks were covering various parts of her arms and legs. There was a scratch on her right cheek. "She's alive, thank the stars for that." Monty began running her entire frame over with his hands. "No broken bones, Gadget luv, how do you do it? She's stable, we've got to take her to a hospital. I'm afraid she lost a lot of blood. We've got to get her out of here before we really do lose her, mates"
"Dale," said Chip, "you and Zipper go to the hospital and have a doctor waiting. Monty and I will carry Gadget.
"Righty-o!" said Dale, eager to do anything for the girl he had his crush on. Dale ran off, and Zipper was buzzing right alongside him.
"All right, Chipper, it's time to earn our merit badges." said Monty.
"Let's go!" replied Chip. The two of them set off, Gadget
on their shoulders, in the direction their teammates had gone.
Light shown brilliantly around Gadget, to the point where it hurt her eyes. She forced herself to look onward, and all came into focus. She was dtill dressed in her normal garb, but the purple was much more brilliant and eye catching. The first sight to catch the young mouse's eyes was a glowing gate. *What happened? I remember I was flyiing, I lost control and...*
"Welcome Gadget." came the voice of a kindly old man. He was seated at a desk next to the gates, facing a computer terminal. "Just in time for you appointment, I see." The man was dressed in a flowing, brilliant white robe. Gadget strode over to the desk, and read the name plaque, St. Peter.
"How did you know my name? And what's this about an appointment?" Suddenly, the name of her companion sank in. She took another look at the gate. "Golly to the tenth!" she exclaimed. "Ami I...dead?"
"No, no, my dear. You are actually having an out of body experience. You have been called here for, shall we say, a performance review."
"Yes. We examine your life, your mind, and your heart. If we find that your overall performance has been good, back down you go, lass."
"And, if not?"
"Then you take up a permanent residence here earlier than expected. You have not been bad, but we must decide if you have made ample use of the life given unto you. Never fear, I shall be your guide. You will find that this experience is much more for you than for us."
"Somehow I don't think this will be fun, Mr. Saint Pete."
"Just Saint Pete will do, Gadget. Now come along."
"Where are we going?"
"Through your life, of course."
St. Pete snapped his fingers, and the two of them disappeared.
As soon as they arrived at their destination, Gadget became upset. "Oh no! Please not here St. Pete. Please not here. Anywhere, anywhen...but here." she pleaded.
They were in an airplane, the same one Gadget had been dwelling in when she had gotten a surprise visit from who were now the other members of the rangers. Gadget looked upon a much younger version of herself, who was sobbing quietly in a corner. A flash of light, and suddenly Gadget was no longer observing, she was the crying young mouse.
It was a few years after the death of Geegaw Hackwrench, yet this was one of the saddest days in Gadget's life. She had locked herself away in her home, fortifying it against all outsiders. She just wanted to be alone with her inventions and her memories, no one to disturb her until she was no more. Memories began to come to her, all painful, of this day. She had woken up that morning with the intent of dying. Had even had the guts to go through with it, and the stupid rope her neck had been dangling by broke. Outraged at her inability to do something as simple as killing herself, she spent many hours making dangerous boobytraps to shut herself off from others. If she had no relationships with anyone, she would never have to worry about being hurt. No one would leave her, beacuse no one would be there to leave her. It was, perhaps, the reasoning of a child. Gadget now regretted the years she spent alone, talking to her father and mother as though they were really there. And she remebered when Monty and his friends had broken in. "Traps for salesman." she called her fortifications. To this day she didn't know if they ever bought that story.
Then, the light glowed again, and she was observing, rather than experiencing. "Good," came the voice of Pete, "you understand why I brought you here. You realize that you were wrong to lock yourself away. You have many steps yet to go, child"
Suddenly, a figure appeared next to Pete. "Wait one moment!" called the newcomer. "I won't let you do this, Pete. I know you work on comission, and want her to have to stay here! My client here has done many good things as well, and as far too much to experience in her life!"
"Excuse me, did you say client?" asked Gadget.
"Yes my dear, I am your guardian angel, and I will see you through this."
"Either way," said Pete, "she HAS to go through with this review."
"That may, be true, but I will show her something more fitting and pleasent..." The angel snapped his fingers and we see the scene has changed to Glacier Bay.
"Yes!" said Gadget. "This is where I made a commitment to help the others stop Klordane. Perfect. And look here, I came out of hiding to fly them here...even ended up sacrificing the Screaming Eagle, daddy's plane."
"You see there,Pete." said Gadget's guardian. "She gave up all she had for her friends."
"Fine, a point for her there, but let's try this." The
scenery shifted, and we find the three of them in RRHQ. Chip and Dale are
bickering. As Gadget pays attention, she realizes it is over her:
"You're always goin' out of your way to do somethin' for her." said Dale
"That's because I'm the one here who respects her, unlike other chipmunks I know." retorted Chip.
"I do to appreciate Gadget!"
"Yeah, you appreciate ogling her as she works. You don't appreciate her intellect or charm or, or.."
"But I'm the one who saw her first! And I do not ogle Gadget...I simply admire her qualities. So there!"
"Look Dale, I've been competing with you for two years over the same girl, and every time I'm about to make some ground you ruin it for me. Why don't you find someone more your type?"
"Because Gadget is my type!"
"Why you.." at this, both chimpmunks have begun rolling
around, continuing their string of "Do not's and Do too's" all the way.
"Golly!" shouted Gadget. "Why are you showing me this...Chip and Dale argue all the time."
"Yes, they do." said St. Pete calmly. "But they wouldn't be arguing half as much if you didn't give them reason to."
"Because you frankly never made it clear which of them preferred, they would just fight over you! You have thrown shadows at them for years...if that! And someday soon this fight is going to split the two of them for good. All because of your inability to make a decision!"
"All that over little old me?" Gadget looked at the two chipmunks, thrashing about the tree. she sighed. "Maybe I don't want to make a decision."
"You already have, but you have also decided to run from
acting upon it ,little one" said the angel. "You had best do so when you
return...of course you won't remember any of this, so I guess you'll have
to trust yourself. Enough of this, I'll take you to what could be the happiest
moment of your life!" A snap of the fingers and they were gone. Then, things
blurred into view.
She was staring at the ceiling. She then became aware that it was going by..she was moving. Her friends were crowded around her as she went.
"No worries, Gadget luv!" said Monterey, a tad older, yet looking mostly the same. "Women have been 'avin babies since the beginning 'o time. You'll be all right lassie."
*Babies?* thought Gadget.
"Say Gadget," said Dale, "you might want to start breathin' now, because-"
A beep emitted from a digital watch Dale was carrying. At that instant, Gadget was struck with pain like she had never known. She thought someone had stabbed her in the abdomen. "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she screamed "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"
Zipper started buzzing frantically. "Breathe, Gadget girl, breathe!" shouted Monty.
Gadget looked down at herself, particullarly the bulge in her stomach. "Gollllllllyyyyyyyyy squared! I'm..........pregnant!"
"Too right! You've been eatin' for three for the past eight an' a half, luv."
"Wait'll I find the creep who, did this to me, I'll...I'll-"
"The 'creep' who did this is yo' husband, Gadget, and as I recall you and Chipper did this together!" Monty laughed accordingly at his own joke.
"Chip and I are having a baby!" she yelled. "Golly cubed!"
"Twins to be exact."
"Golly to the fourth!" Gadget leaned back down. And where is this husband of mine now?"
"Right behind you honey." said Chip. "Bleary eyed and bushy tailed!"
"Look at it this way Chipper," said Monty, "at least you're gettin' two out of the way now. One less trip you have to make here!"
"And twice the pain for me, thank you." said Gadget. "If I make it through this alive, Chip Maplewood, I'm going to-"
"Going to do what, Gadget H. Maplewood?"
Gadget herself was too taken aback by hearing a different name after her first to finish her threat. She just laid back down and softly said "Golly..."
"To the fifth?" inquired Dale and Monty simultaneously as Gadget's gurney went through the doors to the delivery room.
"I suppose" she replied. *Of course, silly, you changed your name when you tied the knot! Chip and me...married? Then I really do love him...yes, I know I do. But...what about all the things that stood in their way. Bad timing, lousy luck, their need to help others, my inability to hurt Dale's feelings...my own naiviete...*
She was hoisted off the gurney and onto a delivery table. "There, there, Lassie." said Monty. "Relax. Those babies are coming whether you want 'em to or not. 'Sides, you're body will know what to do, that's th' important thing. You can handle the delivery room luv!"
"Yeah," said Chip, "but can the delivery room handle Gadget."
Chip's wife was exhausted, and had a long way to go. Chip leaned down and softly kissed her cheek. "I know you'll make our families proud honey," he said to her, "and all of us proud too. In fact, we are family...all of us have become one family. We are the Rescue Rangers!"
"Rescue Rangers!" they all shouted, even Gadget.
"And we're gonna need a bigger tree!" added Dale. He had long ago forgiven Chip and Gadget for getting together, though he still had no significant other.
"I'll...get started...on that...after I get these kids out of me Dale." Gadget did a breathing sequence. It was humorous for the guys to watch such a resourceful woman lie nearly helpless, and looking ridiculously large. Dale watched her stomach go up and down.
"Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey!" said Dale "She looks just like Fat Cat!"
Even Gadget had to laugh at that one. "If I ever get out of here, you'd better start running Dale! I'm not THAT bad, am I?"
"Well," chimed Chip, "it IS twins!" Gadget groaned.
"And to think this is the man that told me he loved me 3 years ago! Thank you ever so much Chip." Gadget laughed, but at the same time was frightened...she REMEMBERED Chip proposing to her! She glanced at the ring on her finger. It was a beautiful diamond...but what made it special was that Chip hadn't "borrowed" it from a store, he had bought it. *Golly...I remember Monty telling me that!" This is getting to be too much. It's like a fantasy, or a dream. And...I'll never get here, will I? It's just the imagination of a busy young woman-*
And then she was gone...yet she reappeared in a place no less happy. It was years after the delivery, and Christmas Eve in the Ranger Tree. She looked around. She was seated in a loveseat, next to Chip, who was reading a detective novel. Monty was watching a Christmas special from the sofa, Zipper at his side. She recalled him saying something about Dale visiting Foxglove, he'd be back by ten. Gadget saw two children playing on the floor, and new them to be her own. Their names came to her, the boy had been named Chipper, a tribute to Monty and a throwback to his father's name. Their young girl had been named Gander, after the adventurous spirit of Geegaw. The tree was now finished, except for the star, they waited for Dale on this one. It was a Hackwrench tradition that Gadget would put the star on top...this year that would be passed on to Gander. "It's all so perfect!" exclaimed Gadget. And then she was back at the Pearly Gates, Pete and her guardian angel on opposite sides of her.
"So you see, Pete," said her angel, never removing his hood, "she just has dreams. She has done a lot for the world, her acheivements as a Rescue Ranger prove that. No need to drag her through those unnecesarily. I will watch her and make sure she does what's best. Now...I beg of you to let this one go."
"Very well." replied St. Peter. "But don't let it get out that I let her off."
"I won't." In a flash, the saint was gone. "Now...what have you learned Gadget?"
"That I have my faults, that I should make decisions, that I need to work out my fear of commitment...and that I have someone like you to watch over me. And I know now how wonderful it will be, and I'll-" Gadget was cut off.
"I only wish you would be able to remember this when you go back."
"Wait! If you're sending me back, can't I at least see one more thing?"
"Well...I suppose, if you want. But what on earth, er heaven, would you want to see?"
"I want you to show me the moment I knew he loved me."
"Yes. I want to know why I understood, what it was that made me take something like this out of life."
"But you won't remember it!"
"Maybe so, but it might never happen down there. I want to know what it's like."
Her angel smiled. "As you wish Gadget. When it is over, you'll wake up back where you belong."
"I understand. And...thank you for everything"
"Good luck." he whispered, and Gadget was gone.
She found herself in Ranger HQ, it was holiday time, again. But no children this time. The calendar said December 24. It was very late, probably after 1AM. Gadget lookeed down and ran her fingers over the star in her hand. It belonged on the top of her tree, her father used to lift her up to the top to place it. But this year she didn't want to. She was feeling rather blue, memories of her childhood were always painful to her, but she needed them. She lay there on the couch, remembering and fondoling the star. Suddenly, someone turned on the light, she hadn't even realized they were off. Chip walked in, on his way to the kitchen. The sight of Gadget changed his plans. He called to her.
"Gadget? Shouldn't you be in bed?"
"One could say the same for you. Couldn't sleep?"
"I've been trying, I thought maybe some water would help. What's that...the star?!"
"Yes, I...I couldn't bring myself to put it up. Daddy always used to lift me, and I'd feel strange. I don't know why, I've done it every other year."
"Sometimes you just have to be strong. I understand that it's hard for you, having lost your family, but we all care about you're Gadget. You're a member of our family now. A Rescue Ranger."
"I know. Maybe I'm just being silly."
"No you're not. C'mon, I'll lift you up to the top of the tree."
"Sure. If it makes you feel better. No crying allowed in the Ranger tree on Christmas Eve, Gadget."
The two them went to the tree, Chip in his night shirt, Gadget in her nightgown. Chip turned to her, grabbed her by the middle, and hoisted her up. Gadget daintily laid the star in it's rightful place, as though it were a child being placed in the crib. Then Chip slowly placed Gadget back on the floor. "Thank you." she said.
"The least I could do."
"Gadget bent down and kissed him on the cheek. "You're one of the best friends I have."
Chip, taken unexpectedly, struggled to remain graceful. "It's the least I could do for someone I love."
"Eh?" She looked at him, their eyes met.
"You are a member of our family?"
"Yes. I love all of you too."
Their gazes were still intent upon each other "And..."
"And" she posed it half as a question and half as a statement.
"I think you're really special Gadget."
She pulled her eyes away, shifted her look to the surroundings. "Only you could have built all of this." Chip added.
"You make it all possible." she replied. "You hold us all together."
"Maybe. But even I admit I'm a tad overbearing at times. I'm working to tone that down as my new year's revolution."
"Oh, you're not that bad. You're...the guy in the white hat, Chip. That's what you always wanted. Well, I really should be getting to bed."
He took her hand. "Wait. I...I care for you Gadget. I want you to be happy."
"I am happy. But why are you so concerned."
"Because...because...because I love you Gadget."
She turned to him. Her eyes met his once more. For a minute the two of them just stood there, saying nothing. Finally she spoke. "I know. I know. I love you too. But there's always something to complicate things. We should just let it go. Let it alone Chip. Let it alone."
"I can't. How can I? And pretend nothing is like that everytime I look at you? Even you have to realize that...that..." Silence separated them again. "Gadget..."
"Chip..." And they kissed. It was one of those long flowing ones, the kind that meant something deeper than the two of them. The kind of thing you get lost in. They finally broke, most likely due to their tired legs. "I love you." she said.
"And I you."Chip sat down on the couch, motioned for her
to follow. Soon they were at it again, and were forced to stop as it became
bitter cold, 3AM. Chip pushed her into a lying position, then move himself
next to her and pulled a blanket down over them. "Sleep well, Miss Hackwrench."
She gave him a look, cuddled him, and within five minutes they were asleep.
Monterey Jack was fresh out of his shower Christmas morning, but Dale was almost behind him. Monty dressed and went out to start a Christmas breakfast. He walked through the door into the living room, and stopped dead in his tracks, mouth hanging open. He looked at Chip and Gadget sleeping oh so peacefully on the couch, in each other's arms no less. "Tooooooo-raaaaaaaa-loooooo!" he said slowly and softly. "Merry Christmas Chipper!"
"What's so merry about Chip's Christmas?" asked Dale, who was now standing directly behind Monty.
"Nothing! C'mon, mate, let's you and me go back to my room and tell some stories until the others are awake."
"But I thought you were makin' a big breakfast for us."
"It can wait, Dale, oh boy, can it wait!"
"Wait nothin', I'm starved. I'll cook breakfast without you!" Dale prepared to charge Monty.
"Dale...I'm askin' you as a mate not to go out there. Please, pallie, breakfast can wait."
"What? Is there a surprise waitin' for me out there under the tree?"
*On the couch is more like it.* "You, uh, might say that."
"Oh boy, oh boy oh boy!" Dale forced his way past Monty.
"Dale! Dale, no!" his friend called after him.
"Ahhh! This is horrible!"
"Oh no!" Monty ran in after him.
"There's no surprise under this tree! You trying to trick me?!" Dale yelled, oblivious to the sleeping couple.
*Maybe there's still time...*thought Monty, Then Gadget's head lifted up. *Spoke too soon.*
"Golly." Gadget said between yawns. "Is it morning already? I heard a lot of noise out here."
Chip, disturbed from his slumber when Gadget moved, poked his head up also. "Could you keep it down out there?" he asked, then dropped to his pillow.
Dale looked at his downed friend and the bleary eyed Gadget, put two an two together, and ran. "Crikey!" said Monterey Jack. "Me poor pallie really took this one hard." He took a look at the couple on the couch, and sighed. They weren't going anywhere without prodding. They looked too tired to be even aware of each other's company. "I'd better go see to Dale."
Gadget forced herself up, bleary eyed and a tad frazzled haired. She yawned. Monty turned. "No, Monty." she managed to force herself up. "Let me go to him. He...deserves that, at the least. She lifted her body off the sofa and staggered towards Dale's room.
With his love gone, Chip felt colder and less comfortable. He sat up and decided to start his day. And right now he needed a shower something fierce. Anything to wake himself up. "You old dog you..." came the sound of Monterey's voice. "How did you ever...?"
Chip yawned openly then responded. "It's not like that at all Monty! It was just like, it was late last night, and..."
"Just tell me 'ow all o' this happened, 's all I want to know. Crikey, I trust you Chip. I don't think you would be...inappropriate shall we say?"
"Good. Because I wouldn't. It was late, Gadget was here with the star, we said some things...I guess you just had to be there. But...it just felt...right...somehow. Like, it couldn't help but be. I don't know, you know?"
"Hmmm, ol' Monterey Jack's been there and back again a time o' three. I think I get what you're drivin' at mate. Well, couldn't ay 'appened to two nicer or well-matched blokes. I always thought you two had...well, something. I never really was sure what it was. But what about Dale?"
"Eh? Dale? Gadget'll worry about him."
"Crikey! 'E is your friend, Chipper."
"Oh.......all right. I'll talk to him. -After- my shower, and maybe after I get something warm in me."
"Too right!" I'll get started on breakfast. You get started on your shower, and Gadget'll get started on Dale. Of course, -you'll- get started on Gadget too..."
"Not funny!" yelled Chip as he made his way to the bathroom.
He closed the door behind him and let the hot water build. He then turned
the water on full blast, removed his nightshirt, and stepped in. *AHHHHHHHHH.*
he thought to himself. *Some of the best things in life are the simplest.*
Gadget entered Dale's room without knocking, she hadn't the time for formalities. "Dale?" she asked in a soft voice, poking her head around the door before manuevring her body in the room completely.
Dale was siting on the foot of his bed, staring out the window. He was looking particularly glum. He wasn't crying, but he was genuinely forlorn. Gadget walked over and placed her hand on his left shoulder. "Et tu, Gadget?" stated the Chipmunk.
"Do you even know what that means?" she asked.
"Not really, no, but I just know that this is the right time to say that line." he responded, timidly.
"Dale...it literally means 'And you, Gadget?' And this is NOT the time to say that."
"Oh no? Why not?" there was a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
"Because I haven't deserted you! You're my friend Dale. And you're important to the Rangers. You're important to me too! All you guys are!"
"Yeah, especially Chip! You care about him more than you care about me!"
"That's not true!" Gadget sounded genuinely hurt by Dale's last words. "You're just important to me in different ways is all."
"Do you think I'm stupid?! You just spent the night with my so-called friend. Did you think I wouldn't be hurt? Is that it? Don't mind liitle old Dale! He's not good enough to be taken seriously!"
"Dale! Stop it, alright?! You and I both know the things you're saying aren't true."
"The hell they aren't!"
There was complete silence now. No one spoke. Gadget shed a tear. It travelled down her cheek slowly, landing in a little damp puddle on her purple nightgown. Finally, Gadget tested the waters. She spoke very softly and near inaudibly, placing her hand on his other shoulder, gently massaging him with hands and words. "Dale..........after all this time........don't you know me? I wouldn't do anything to hurt you, Dale."
Dale's words were forced. "Yeah, right." By the sound of his voice, Gadget knew he wanted to believe her, but couldn't let go of it.
"Chip and I have something special, Dale. Love isn't something that destroys, it creates. It makes people happy. But...oh golly, you just have to keep searching for it. It turns up in strange places."
"Yes, oh gosh yes! Look at Chip and I! We've been living together for five years, and we never even....until last night and all. You just have to have faith that it will happen to you, Dale"
"Gadget...I'm sorry, about what I said. It's just, you know I've always felt special about you."
"Yes, well, *ahem*, I forgive you. Just let it go, Dale."
"No...one more thing....what did you to do last night?" Dale eyed her suspiciously. He had a smirk on his face.
"well, we........................................OH GOLLY! NO!.............NO! NO! NO! OH, DALE! WHAT KIND OF A GIRL DO YOU THINK I AM?"
"Just checking!" laughed Dale. He seemed to be getting pretty well back to normal.
Gadget left his room mumbling something that sounded like "BOYS!" under her breath, but no one that might have heard her was sure.
Down the hall and alone, she leaned against the wall and reflected to herself. *Well, I suppose everything works out okay in the end after all.* And then she knew it. She almost had it all. Understood everything. Knew all the secrets. Her head hurt, and her vision blurred. Gadget knew it was over...she could feel herself slipping away. Time to go back. "NNOOOOOOOOOOOO!" she cried out, but there was nobody to hear her....
Gadget blinked, slowly opened her eyes. Her friends were gathered around the hospital bed. Her mind reached out.
"Hey you're back with us lassie!" said Monty, but Gadget didn't hear him
"NNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" she cried, her mind not grasping her heavenly experience. The visions were fading, "NO! YOU TOOK THEM AWAY!" Gadget sobbed. "I ALMOST HAD IT ALL...AND NOW, THEY'RE GONE! YOU TOOK THEM AWAY!"
"Took what away?" asked Chip. "No one took anything of yours? What are you talking about? Who took what?"
Gadget looked around her, became aware of her friends. She desparately tried to hang on to something, but she couldn't even remember now what she was trying to hold onto. "I......I don't......know."
Hello everyone, I'm back.....I guess."
"That's good, because you had all of us worried sick!" Dale almost said it scoldingly. Zipper buzzed excitedly after Dale, remphasizing his point.
"Well, I'm back now. Golly! It's good to see you all again!" Gadget had the feeling she had never really left them, but said it anyway. Everyone hugged her. The final remnants of her experience were gone. She felt...normal. *I am Gadget Hackwrench. And this is my family* she thought as she hugged them.
And far up above, a hooded figure smiled down at her.
The characters contained herein, with the exception of the guardian angel, are all copyrighted by Disney. This story was a work of fiction, unless you're one of the people who took the time to read it, because if you did, your imagination is free enough to revel in these stories and others like them unhindered. Kinda puts things in perspective, no? Anyway, no copyright infringement was intended. Any similarities between this story, real life, other Rescue Ranger stories, be they by Disney or other fans, is purely coincidental. 'Til death do us part, thanks you've all been a great crowd, and don't forget to tip your servers on the way out. One nation, indivisible, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.
For those of you that even bothered to read the legal stuff, which isn't very legal, have arrived at my favorite part:
TELL THE AUTHOR HOW HE IS DOING!
Send your questions, criticisms, comploments, and complaints to me, Christopher "Malachite" Sweeters
Also, special thanks go out to Morgaine~song for showing the author a way out of a tight spot. Thanks, lassie!