Hero's Story: Part Three

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The finaleof the Tale Of Hero Doran

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Hero's Story: Part Three

  1. 1. Si x y ea r s l a t er
  2. 2. Hero didn’t spend a lot of time at home any more.
  3. 3. It had been two years since she’d graduated from college. College had been tough on her, especially while she’d still lived in the dorms.
  4. 4. Avoiding someone was difficult when you lived right next door to them.
  5. 5. Eventually, she’d gotten tired of constantly planning her schedule specifically to avoid Kendrick and had moved into a place of her own.
  6. 6. She knew it was hard on Chantal, who had remained in the dorms and was decidedly torn about the whole issue. But Hero really couldn’t handle being reminded of what he’d done, or nearly done, every day.
  7. 7. After he’d told her everything, Hero had spent a lot of time looking over her shoulder, expecting homicidal elves to be around every corner. But Kendrick must have been telling the truth, as nobody ever came after her. Eventually, she gave up and began to relax again. This did not mean she trusted Kendrick in the slightest.
  8. 8. Once she’d graduated, she’d moved straight into an apartment high on Belladonna Cove’s hill. The city was exactly how Hero had imagined it; bright, lively, and a little raw. She adored it, and spent as much time as she could out of her apartment and wandering the gritty streets. Of course, she also spent time out of her apartment to avoid her roommate.
  9. 9. Benjamin Emerson. Hero had chosen Ben as her roommate primarily because he looked so much like her lost high school sweetheart, Jihoon. She’d actually toyed with the idea of starting a relationship with him, but soon discovered that he was not actually very much like Jihoon at all.
  10. 10. Despite her gentle but firm rebuffs, Benjamin still had an obvious crush on Hero and clung relentlessly to her. So she spent her time away from their apartment, not even minding that returning home on foot meant hiking up a rather large hill. She usually cheated and flew up the hill anyway, just skimming a hair’s breadth from the cement path.
  11. 11. She had to go home sometime, after all.
  12. 12. He was waiting for her when she walked in the door. “Hero! You’re finally back! I expected you back about an hour ago.”
  13. 13. Hero sighed inwardly. “I had a few errands to run. Sorry if you were worried.” Ben smiled blissfully. “It’s okay. You’re home now. And look, I made dinner!”
  14. 14. To Hero’s surprise, Ben had indeed cooked dinner. He wasn’t exactly a culinary savant, but from where she was standing, the salmon looked and smelled pretty good. It didn’t hurt that the last thing she’d eaten had been a gyro about five hours ago, either.
  15. 15. “Aw, Ben, you didn’t have to cook for us. I was just going to grab some mac and cheese…” “…and hide in your room for the rest of the night like you always do.” “I’ve been busy. Paperwork and such.” “That’s still no excuse to skip out on a decent meal here and there. Come on, it won’t bite.”
  16. 16. Resigned, Hero sat at the table with Ben and took an experimental bite of the salmon. It wasn’t half bad, but then it wasn’t half good either. Clearly desperate for conversation, Ben broke the silence. “So, what exactly did you do today?”
  17. 17. “Oh, y’know. Work, then I fixed up some stuff at the bank and had a look at a clothing sale, since Chantal’s birthday is coming up. Didn’t find anything she’d like though.” “Sounds like fun!” Hero noticed that Ben was even more fidgety and chirpy than usual. This can’t be good. Trying to be tactful, Hero asked, “What about your day?”
  18. 18. Ben blushed a bit. “Well, I… uh, I went to the jeweller’s.” “The jeweller’s?”
  19. 19. “Yeah. To buy this.” Ben took a black velvet box out of his pocket and placed it on the table. “It’s for you.”
  20. 20. Hero’s face fell. “Ben, are you proposing to me?” “Well. Yes. I kinda am.”
  21. 21. “Oh Ben. I’m sorry, but… no.” “But… I thought we had something special together.” Ben looked utterly heartbroken. “Ben, all we ever had together was the rent.” Hero handed the box back to Ben. “Save it for the right person. You’ll find her someday.” “I thought I already had.”
  22. 22. With a sigh, Hero got out of her chair. “It’s not me, Ben. It never was. I have to go.” “Hero, it’s the middle of the night!”
  23. 23. “I don’t think Chantal’s going to care. Don’t wait up for me.” Hero strode out of the apartment, not looking back at the man whose heart she’d broken.
  24. 24. Chantal didn’t answer the door when Hero knocked. “Chantal? Chantal, it’s Hero. You in there?” With a sigh, Hero gave up and dug in her pocket for the key Chantal had given her. She hated to barge in like this, but Chantal obviously wasn’t home.
  25. 25. Though she’d been expecting Chantal’s exuberant interior decoration, Hero’s eyes still smarted when she walked into the corridor. “Chantal?” she called again. There was still no reply, but she could now hear a faint, odd noise from upstairs.
  26. 26. This was explained fairly swiftly once Hero got to the second floor.
  27. 27. “Oops. Sorry. Should’ve realized you were, uh… busy. I’ll just go now, shall I?” Chantal made an odd yelping noise and pulled away from her current squeeze.
  28. 28. “Can we save this for tomorrow night, Rhys? I need some girl time,” said Chantal to the redhead. Rhys wiggled his eyebrows. “Any time.” He nodded unashamedly at Hero as he let himself out.
  29. 29. Chantal launched herself at Hero. “Hero! How’ve you been? Man, it’s been ages since I’ve seen you!” Hero laughed. “Chantal, we met two days ago for coffee.” “Ages in terms of men. I’ve gone through about four guys since then.” “Why am I not surprised?”
  30. 30. “I guess I have commitment issues. Probably because my parents broke up and all.” “Your parents are happily married and living in Pleasantview with their eighty bazillion cats.” “Fine, fine. Take away all my excuses. Anyway,” said Chantal, abandoning that line of conversation, “what brings you to my neck of the woods this late at night?”
  31. 31. “A lot of different things. None of them good, of course.” “Is this to do with the Clingy Roommate of Doomness?” “Yeah. He proposed to me.”
  32. 32. “He WHAT? Jihoon-a-like the Wet proposed. To you. You are messing with me, kiddo.” “Nope. He full on pulled out a diamond ring randomly during dinner.”
  33. 33. “AHAHAHAHHAHA! Oh man, that is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard!” “I know, right? I mean, I knew he had a crush on me, but this? Completely ridiculous!” The two cracked up laughing.
  34. 34. “Ahah. Hah.” Chantal wiped a tear out of her eye. “Stress-busting laughter aside, I guess you need a place to crash.” “Yeah. Is it okay if I…” “Hero, silly, don’t even ask. My spare room is always open to you. Well, it’s open to everyone since it doesn’t have a door, but…”
  35. 35. “Thanks, Chantal.” “Anytime. So, have you eaten yet?” “Not really. I had about two bites of the salmon that Ben cooked…” “He cooked for you?” Chantal seemed about to laugh again, then dragged herself back to the subject. “I can make us up some mac and cheese, if you like. I don’t have much more in the fridge.” “That sounds awesome, actually.”
  36. 36. “So what are you going to do about this whole thing, Hero?” asked Chantal as she rifled around in the fridge before pulling out a box of macaroni mix.
  37. 37. “I don’t actually know yet. I’ll probably move out, or something. It’d be too weird living there still.” “There nobody you’ve been seeing?”
  38. 38. “You know very well I haven’t been dating since college.” “I wonder why that is,” said Chantal mildly as she mixed the macaroni.
  39. 39. “Chantal, you’re not using this as an excuse to push me back towards Kendrick, are you?” asked Hero, raising an eyebrow.
  40. 40. The stove dinged. “Mac’s cooked!” said Chantal brightly. “You’re avoiding the question.” “And you’re avoiding the noms. Come on, let’s eat.”
  41. 41. “You know how I feel about the whole thing between you and Ken,” said Chantal. “Yeah. You think I’m making a huge mistake, he’s perfect for me even though he can be a useless ass, blah blah etcetera.” “Well, would you prefer Ken or Benjamin the Clingy?”
  42. 42. “That’s not the issue.” Hero took a bite of her macaroni. “The issue is that I trusted him and he betrayed that trust in the worst possible way.” “I’mff not sho shure that he did,” said Chantal through her own mouthful of pasta.
  43. 43. “See, he didn’t really betray you. He didn’t even know you when he took the job, even though it was unbelievably stupid of him to take it. As soon as he sussed that it was you he was meant to be tracking down, he shut the bitch behind it all down and got his ass out.” Hero couldn’t help but laugh at the mental image. “It still hurts, Chantal. He came so close to betraying me.”
  44. 44. “He didn’t, though. He… ahh, what am I doing? I promised myself I’d let you guys do this on your own.” “Sorry?” “Well, I want to interfere like a good friend should, but I’m not exactly qualified to give any relationship advice. Look how dysfunctional I am.”
  45. 45. “You’re not dysfunctional, you’re just Chantal.” Hero finished her pasta and picked up the bowl. “Hey, don’t bother cleaning up.” “I’m not a slob like you, Chantal.” Hero grinned and dumped the plate in the dishwasher. “I might head to bed. It’s nearly three in the morning.” “Don’t let the bedbugs bite,” said Chantal cheerfully.
  46. 46. But Hero didn’t sleep straightaway. She lay awake through most of the remainder of the night, wondering if there wasn’t some truth to Chantal’s words. She’s right. She’s not qualified to give me any advice, really. Despite this conviction, it took her an awfully long time to sleep.
  47. 47. The next morning, Hero decided to go on one of her rambles before deciding anything concrete about her future. “Thanks for letting me stay here, Chantal.” “No problem. Hey, if things don’t work out, you know you can always stay here.”
  48. 48. “And think about what I said. Seriously, you two are perfect for each other, and you’re the only one who doesn’t see that.” “I will. Just… not now. Not with everything else that’s happening.”
  49. 49. “Byeeee Hero! Call me if something goes down!” Hero grinned as she walked away. She was so lucky to have Chantal as a friend.
  50. 50. Lost in her own thoughts, Hero wandered further out from the city than she had ever done before. She barely noticed the buildings thinning and the trees growing wilder, until she came across a park she’d never seen before.
  51. 51. It wasn’t actually a park, as she soon discovered. It was an old cemetery, but one that had been well-kept and furnished with statues and willow trees, and even a fountain. It was a very pretty spot, and Hero wondered that she’d never found it before now.
  52. 52. “Hello, Hero.” A voice that was totally unfamiliar to Hero sounded from a nearby tree. Startled, Hero looked around to find the voice’s source.
  53. 53. A woman appeared, swathed in a black cloak and hood. “Who are you? And how do you know my name?” asked Hero. “Always the same questions. Who are you, what do you want with me, why are you feeding me to a cowpl… but that’s beside the point. My name is of no importance to you. I know your name because I know a great deal about you and your family.”
  54. 54. Hero craned her head to try and see the woman’s ears, but the hood covered them too well. “You’re not from the forest, are you?” “Goodness, no. No, I do not intend to hurt you. I wish to impart some advice.”
  55. 55. “Oh no.” Hero made a show of blocking her ears. “I’m sick to death of advice. Why people can’t let me mess up my love life without interfering is beyond me.” “Hero, you and Kendrick Rosenberg are meant. Designed for each other, if you will. Stubbornness will cause more harm than help at this point.”
  56. 56. “Oh yeah, and I suppose you’re qualified to give me advice because you’re the mysterious, omnipotent woman in the freaky cloak. Sorry, I’d rather get advice from Chantal and end up with half the male population of the city in my bed.”
  57. 57. “Hero, do not be stupid and impulsive for once in your life,” snapped the woman. “Put your feet on the ground instead of in the clouds. What real damage has Kendrick done in your life?” “He betr-” “No he did not. He saved you from the dangers of a homicidal elf and loved you enough to let you go when you flipped out.”
  58. 58. “Save your breath. I’ve heard this song before, and it’s as boring now as it was when I first heard it.” “Kendrick’s only crime was to fall in love with you. And that saved your life, Hero.”
  59. 59. “He was honest with you where he could have told you nothing. Hero, Kendrick has done some stupid things but not anything that merits this kind of behaviour.”
  60. 60. “Okay, stop. I don’t know who you are, or why you’re so intent on messing with my head, but I’m tired of it already. I’m leaving.” “Do you love him?” asked the woman.
  61. 61. “I… what?” “It was a simple enough question. Do you love him?”
  62. 62. “I, uh… Oh my god. I’m an idiot.” “And now she gets it.” The woman sounded very pleased with herself. “Chantal was right. All these years, and I never listened to her. You’re right. Everyone was right, except me. And Ben. But mostly me.”
  63. 63. “I have to find him.” “You don’t have much time. Hurry, Hero Doran.”
  64. 64. Hero turned to the woman. “I guess I… hey! Wait!” The woman had already vanished in a curtain of golden light.
  65. 65. “Okay, priorities.” Hero yanked out her mobile and dialled Chantal’s number with trembling fingers. “Chantal Wheelwright’s phone. If you are male, press one. If not, don’t bother because I don’t usually swing that way. Though if you’re attractive enough I could make an excep-” “Chantal, shut up. It’s Hero.”
  66. 66. “Hero! How’s things?” “Apart from being scarred by your spiel? You need caller ID, Chantal.” “Whatever. What’s happened?” “I had a revelation of sorts. I got helped on the way, but… Anyway. I’m an idiot, and I’m sorry.” “Hallelujah! She has finally seen the error of her ways. When do we bust out the champagne?”
  67. 67. “Chantal, this is important. Where does Kendrick live?” “He did live in a townhouse near me, but he’s leaving town tomorrow. He’s booked a mobile home for the night.” “Why did you not tell me this? Wait, forget that. You have the address?” “Sure, it’s on Main Street. You better get a move on, though – he’s heading to Desiderata Valley and he’s not coming back.” “Don’t worry. It’s only what, five minutes from here? As the crow flies, anyway.”
  68. 68. Hero hastily hung up her phone and took off. She had plenty of time, really, but it felt so urgent that she was willing to risk being spotted. Love was like that, sometimes.
  69. 69. Meanwhile… “So, did it work, do you think?” asked Titania as her more corporeal friend rematerialized. Fire shoved back her hood. “Yeah. I think so. I’m not sure it was quite right to… meddle like that.”
  70. 70. “Oh hush. You are a goddess in your own right, my dear; you have a right to meddle.”
  71. 71. “Besides, this was not meddling,” mused Titania. “This was you showing my granddaughter how silly it was of her to let that nice young man slip away from her.” “Why are you always right?” asked Fire wryly.
  72. 72. “It’s a mother thing. It happens whenever you have children.” Fire grinned. “That explains an awful lot. Anyway, I think our work here is done. Back home for both of us?” “Indeed. It was a pleasure working with you.” “Right back atcha.”
  73. 73. Hero had flown so fast to the trailer park that she knew she’d get a strain- induced headache tomorrow. She really didn’t care, because a headache was nothing compared to what she’d go through if this didn’t work.
  74. 74. She crouched on the deck, as if to check that she’d been unobserved. Really, she was stalling. It was strange that she’d been in such a tearing hurry to get here, but now that she was here, she couldn’t bear to knock on the door.
  75. 75. Mentally slapping herself in the face, Hero gritted her teeth and knocked on the door. Half of her hoped she’d picked the right door; half hoped she’d picked the wrong one.
  76. 76. Kendrick opened the door.
  77. 77. “Hi, Kendrick,” said Hero brightly. Kendrick didn’t say anything. He didn’t even blink, as if he were afraid Hero would evaporate if he did. He just stared, speechless, at the woman he’d thought he’d lost.
  78. 78. With Kendrick not speaking, Hero had no choice but to babble. “So I was talking to Chantal and she said I needed to get back together with you and I ignored her then I went for a walk and this really weird lady in a cloak said I was an idiot and she was right because I love you even after all that crap you put me through and I guess I’m happier that you told me rather than keep it secret and…” “Hero.” One word from Kendrick was enough to halt Hero’s verbal flood. “Shut up.”
  79. 79.
  80. 80. “Um. Whoa.” “I’ve wanted to do that again for the last six years.” Kendrick’s face was a mixture of triumph, hope, and devastating love. “You know what?” “What?”
  81. 81. “So have I.”
  82. 82. Epi l o g u e Hero and Kendrick were married a year later, in a small and intimate ceremony.
  83. 83. Originally, the only guests were going to be Chantal and her current ‘escort’, but a few hours before the ceremony two unexpected guests turned up.
  84. 84. Hero never asked her mother how she’d known where to find her, much less that she was getting married. She had her suspicions, of course, mostly based on Ainsley’s gift of foresight, but all that really mattered to her was that her mother and father were able to see their eldest child married to the man she loved.
  85. 85. Hero had never been happier that she’d made the right decision in her life. She and Kendrick still had a lot of issues to work through, but they were happy together at last.
  86. 86. Kendrick and Hero purchased a small house together on the outskirts of Belladonna Cove. As much as Hero loved the city, it was impractical to stay in an apartment, particularly since she planned on having a large family. Which she got.
  87. 87. The couple had four children together, who were their absolute pride and joy. L-R: Clark, Barbara, Kendrick, Hero, Cassandra, Bruce.
  88. 88. Hero joined the police force and was given the opportunity to join their ‘superhero squad’. For once, she had no need to hide her ability. Kendrick refuses to let Hero fly him onto the roof of their house, however.
  89. 89. Chantal never settled down with just one man, preferring to share her affections with the men in her apartment block.
  90. 90. As such, she ended up having a small horde of children, all boys save her youngest. Chantal adores her children more than she ever loved any man and is quite pleased with her large family. L-R: Edmund Austen, Nathaniel Legacy, Jesse Whedon, Perdita Goth, Chantal, Erik Fitzhugh, Achilles Newson.
  91. 91. It took some time for Benjamin Emerson to get over Hero’s rejection. He finally moved on when he met Marilyn Allbright. They married and still live in the apartment Hero bought. Upon hearing this news, Chantal said “Benjamin the Wet and Marilyn-the-Rock? Match made in heaven.”
  92. 92. After three unsuccessful years, Aemorniel’s funding finally dried up and she was forced to return home and accept a stiff reprimand from her superiors.
  93. 93. Raashell disappeared without a trace one month after Aemorniel’s return to her home dimension. Fi n
  94. 94. T h e T a l e o f H er o D o r a n Ca st Hero Doran as…………………………………………………………………………Herself Kendrick Rosenberg as……………………………………………………………Himself Corinna Chandler as………………………………………………………………Chantal Wheelwright Random CAS Elf #1 as……………………………………………………………Raashell Random CAS Elf #2 as……………………………………………………………Aemorniel Justin Chandler as…………………………………………………………………Lead Singer Lindsay Chandler as………………………………………………………………Guitarist Adam Chandler as…………………………………………………………………Bassist Susannah Chandler as……………………………………………………………Drummer Rhys Fitzhugh as……………………………………………………………………Himself Lorne Whedon as……………………………………………………………………Himself Frank Austen as………………………………………………………………………Himself Erasmus Goth as………………………………………………………………………Himself
  95. 95. T h e T a l e o f H er o D o r a n Ca st Stanley Legacy as…………………………………………………………………………Himself Nicholas Newson as………………………………………………………………………Himself Ainsley Doran as……………………………………………………………………………Herself Puck Summerdream as…………………………………………………………………Himself Titania Summerdream as………………………………………………………………Ghost of Titania Fire Eternal as………………………………………………………………………………Mystery Woman A Whole Bunch of Downtownies as………………………………………………The Clubbers The Kids as……………………………………………………………………………………Themselves Louise Cooper as……………………………………………………………………………Marilyn Allbright
  96. 96. T h e T a l e o f H er o D o r a n Cr ed i t s Now that Hero’s story has finally wound down, there are a few people who have made all this possible, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them. Firstly, thanks to Orikes, who created the character of Hero. Without Ori’s turn in the RR, there would be no story for Hero. Thanks also go to Ori for helping me chase down the CC she used for Ainsley and Puck, since I’m such a n00b when it comes to CC hunting. Next, thanks go to Rose, my editor. Rose read each and every chapter before I released them and picked up on my silly little flaws, like my habit of forgetting to close quotation marks. Thanks to Cait, for getting me started on this. If Cee hadn’t bullied… er, nagged me, I wouldn’t have even thought of doing a spare story. So it’s all her fault.  Thanks to all of the members of the Magic Box, who begged for spoilers (not to name any names, Marina) and gave me feedback on them, who read and flailed over the chapters, and who generally made me feel all warm and happy inside. You guys are the greatest support team ever. Thanks to all of the awesome CC creators who made the great stuff I used and abused in the making of this story; particularly Decorgal for her facial overlay hack; SynapticSim from MTS who made the Flying Pose hack; and SilentLucidity for the always-useful OMSPs. Last, (but certainly not least) I’d like to thank each and every one of you who have read not just Hero’s tale, but the RR itself. You’ve made all this worthwhile, and I hope that you continue to read the story as it unwinds.

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