Disclaimer: I do not own the Biker Mice From Mars. They are the property of Brentwood Funnies and are used without permission. This fiction is purely for entertainment only and I make no profit from it. Centerline belongs to JWC and is used without permission. Airik Davidson and Teri Davidson, however, are mine.
Airik walked into the Last Chance Garage, noticing that her grandmother and Asphalt Jack were already there. As she made her way into the living room area she took time to notice that three certain bikes were nowhere to be seen. She grinned ruefully, Amazing, she managed to keep them away. As she walked to the couch Charley looked up, her face solemn and sad.
"Airik hon, you didn't have to come."
Airik hugged her mother, "Mom, you've said that every year since I started at the Academy. You know I wouldn't abandon you today. This is a tough day, I'll always be here to support you too."
Charley smiled wanly, "Thank you dear."
Airik sat down next to her mother, "So, how did you get the guys to stay away?"
"Yeah, I was just wondering how you managed to keep mister hot shot at bay today."
"I told them I had things I had to take care of around here, and if they interrupted me I'd put them to work cleaning the Garage."
The approaching sound of motorcycles put an unhappy frown on Charley's face.
"I don't think they listened very well," Airik said.
Mrs. Davidson looked to her daughter, "Are you sure you can deal with this?"
Charley looked towards the ceiling as she took a shaky breath, her eyes blinking rapidly, "I don't have much choice, do I?"
As the three motorcycles parked Airik jumped before Jack, Charley or her mom could move, "I think I'll try running a little interference for you mom."
"Don't worry mom, I may have to tell them it's personal, but you know I wouldn't tell them more than that."
Charley sighed, "I suppose telling them it's personal is the only way to get them to stay at the scoreboard today."
In another part of the Garage the guys were parking their bikes.
"I don't get it," Throttle was saying, "Charley said she had stuff to do, she all but told us to stay away, but from the look of things she has company today."
Taking a quick look at the other vehicles, "And it's not as though her company is anyone that doesn't already know about us."
As they turned to go to the rest of the garage Airik walked in.
"Airik darlin'!" Modo exclaimed, giving her a big hug.
"Hey sweetheart, I didn't know you had any time off," Throttle said.
"Yeah, and what's with the dark and drab look?."
"Hey guys, it's great to see you..."
Vinnie started towards the door, "Man, am I parched. Think Charley-girl has any rootbeer left?"
Airik stepped neatly in front of him.
"Look, guys, I don't want to sound rude, but, um, could you come back later?"
"You want us to leave?" Vinnie asked in a voice that was only partly mocking hurt.
"Anything up we should know about?" Throttle asked.
"Nooo. It's just...you guys can't be here now. Today."
"Now wait one darn minute," Vinnie said, "We've known Charley-girl for a while and she's never kicked us out before."
"You aren't being kicked out..."
"No, then what do you call it?"
"I call it being asked to leave for personal reasons."
"We have to leave, but McCyber doesn't have to? He doesn't, does he?"
"No, Jack stays."
Modo put a hand on Vinnie's mouth before he could continue.
"Airik, we've never been refused here by Charley before. You have to understand our take on this. Suddenly, without warning, Charley-girl doesn't want us here, but you, Mrs. Davidson, and Asphalt Jack are all here," Throttle said.
Airik looked at each of the guys and sighed.
"I told you, it's personal."
"But you know about it. What could it possibly be that Charley can't trust us?" Modo asked, hurt creeping into his voice.
"No Modo, it isn't that she doesn't trust you." Airik took a deep breath and looked Modo in the eye. "Sometimes there are things in our lives that are too hard, too painful to share, even with our loved ones. No matter how close you are with someone, you just can't share."
Modo looked at Airik, and for a second she could see the same agony in his eyes that she saw in her mother's, and she knew she had struck a nerve.
"Please Modo, this is very personal, and very hard. She loves you all dearly, but she just isn't ready to tell you yet, to share that kind of pain with you."
"But Jack..." Vinnie began. Modo whirled around and clamped a hand over Vinnie's mouth.
"Not another word." Modo looked at Airik. "We'll be welcome tomorrow?" Airik nodded. "If Charley-ma'am needs us, we'll be at the scoreboard."
Modo glared Vinnie into silence as the three got on their bikes and rode towards the scoreboard. When they were well out of sight of the Last Chance Throttle and Vinnie looked over at Modo.
"Big Fella?" Vinnie asked.
"We don't question Charley-girl on this one, bros." Modo said quietly.
Charley looked up as Airik walked back, her question plain in her eyes.
"They've left for the garage. I told them it was personal and just couldn't be shared. Throttle doesn't understand, but he accepts it, Vinnie is completely clueless, but Modo I think understands the pain, if not the situation."
"But how..." Jack began.
"Mars," Charley interrupted, "they've had some bad times with the Plutarkians. I forgot that they might actually understand."
"What time did you say the florist would have the flowers ready?" Mrs. Davidson asked her daughter.
"Eleven o'clock," Charley answered.
"If I leave now I'll get there just past eleven. I'll be back," Airik said. She was out the door before anyone could respond.
"A tad on the impetuous side, isn't she?" Jack asked.
"Takes after her mother that way," Mrs. Davidson replied, grinning at Charley.
"She is that, but I think she's giving us time to talk about things that we'd be uncomfortable discussing in front of a 15 year old girl."
Almost an hour later Airik pulled into the garage, flower arrangements perched on the back of her bike and held down by a specially designed cargo net. She grabbed the flowers and went in to sit down with everyone else. As soon as she sat and looked at Charley she knew something was up.
"It's time they knew," Charley answered, her voice oddly devoid of emotion.
"Mom, if you're not ready," Airik began, worry in her voice and concern crinkling her brow.
Charley looked at her mother and Jack, then back at her daughter. "We talked about it..."
Airik looked at Mrs. Davidson and Jack and realized that they still had serious reservations.
"Mom, you don't have to do this."
"I know that dear, but I need to. And I need to do it while I still have the courage. It's been nine years, I need to try to deal with this."
Airik studied her mother's face and eyes for a few minutes and saw the unspoken plea. "I'll support you," she finally replied.
Charley gave Airik a small smile. "Could you call them and tell them to meet us here? I don't have the strength or courage to be subtle."
Airik frowned as she realized what her mother meant, but nodded. She sat down in front of the radio and turned it on.
"Guys, this is Airik. Answer me."
"Hey Airik-darlin'," Modo's voice came over the radio, "is everything okay?"
"Yeah, everything's fine. Could you guys meet us here at the Garage?"
"Are you sure?" Modo asked.
Airik looked at Charley, who nodded. "Yes, I'm sure."
"We're on our way," Modo said.
Several minutes later the Biker Mice pulled up to the Garage. Charley, Jack, and Mrs. Davidson were already in Mrs. Davidson's car. Airik was standing next to the car, waiting for them. As they pulled to a stop, curiosity in their eyes, Airik walked up to them.
"Airik-darlin'," Throttle said by way of a greeting.
"So, gonna clue us in on what's going on?" Vinnie asked.
"Well, not yet. Look, guys, please, don't make any off comments or questions. Just follow us. Trust me, when we get to where we're going, you'll understand."
"You got it," Modo said.
Airik smiled gratefully at the guys, then got into the front passenger seat. As soon as she was buckled in the car pulled out of the driveway, the guys following.
As they followed the car through the streets of Chicago the guys were silent. Finally the car slowed down, then stopped in front of a cemetery. The mice looked at each other, each raising an eyebrow to the other while the occupants of the car got out, two flower arrangements emerging with them. As Modo got off his bike he looked again at the cemetery, understanding in his eyes. He looked at Throttle and Vinnie and they all saw a dawning understanding.
"So, Charley-girl lost someone." Throttle stated. As he began to walk towards the car Modo put an arm in his path. Throttle looked at him in confusion. "I think we should stay back a bit," Modo explained. The guys held back, then followed Charley, Mrs. Davidson, Airik, and Jack, keeping about five feet between them. Finally they came to a stop in front of some gravesites. One was for Charley's father, but the other had an inscription that surprised the mice. On it was written:
Charley and Mrs. Davidson each placed a bouquet in front of the gravesite. The small group stood in front of the gravesite. Then, arms around each other, they turned and headed for the car. They mice could see tears streaming down Charley's face.
"Charley-girl," Vinnie said as the three of them stepped forward.
Charley shook her head, waving at them to keep them from approaching. "I'm fine," she said, her tears in her voice.
"Meet us back at the garage," Airik said as they continued to the parked car.
The guys got on their bikes in heavy silence. They started and revved their engines, taking off behind the car.
"So, Charley-girl had a sister," Throttle stated.
"All the time we've been here on earth and she's never told us," Vinnie said, sounding indignant.
"I don't think her death was easy on Charley-girl," Modo said.
"Still, she could have told us," Vinnie said.
"Yeah, but look how long it took before she told us she had a brother," Throttle pointed out.
"You're right," Vinnie admitted. Then a thought struck him, "Ya know bros, if it's taken her this much time to tell us, do ya think she's told Centerline?"
The three looked at each other in surprise, "Great moons, I don't think Centerline's been told. Centerline never said a word, and I'd think that he'd say something if he found out he had a sister that died. A sister that he never knew about."
A little later they pulled into the garage. They walked into the living room to find Charley sitting on the couch surrounded by Airik, Jack, and her mother.
"Charley-ma'am," Modo began, gently taking one of Charley's hands in his own, "I'm sorry, we never knew."
She gave him a watery smile, "Thanks, but there's nothing you could have done. It was well before your time."
"If you don't mind my asking, what happened?" Throttle asked quietly.
Airik looked at her mother sharply, concern etching deep lines in her forehead.
Charley took a deep breath and began, "Well, it was about three months after Teri's birthday. I had promised her a shopping trip for her birthday, but it had taken that long for me to get my driver's license..."
Sixteen year old Charley Davidson walked through the kitchen doors with an air of purpose.
"You ready Teri?" she asked the 10 year old girl sitting at the table.
Charley turned to her mother and dropped a kiss on her cheek. "I know mother," she began before Mrs. Davidson could say a word, "drive carefully, look around me, and don't leave her by herself."
Her mother grinned, "I suppose I've been giving you the same advice all week, huh?" Her oldest daughter just grinned back. Then Mrs. Davidson looked towards her youngest. "Teri, you stay with Charley, okay? Don't go wandering off on her."
"Yes mom," the young girl said.
"Can I go too?" six year old Airik asked.
Charley knelt down in front of the child and smoothed the gold-brown hair off of her forehead.
"Airik hon, I'm taking Teri out as a late birthday gift. Don't you worry though, I'll take you out all by yourself when you turn seven. Okay?"
The little girl thought about it for a few moments, then turned a radiant smile on Charley, her dark blue eyes shining, "Okay Charley-mom."
"See ya later, mom," Teri called out to her mother as she followed Charley out the door. A few seconds later the car started up and Charley pulled out of the driveway, headed for downtown Chicago.
Several hours later found Charley and Teri in the girl's section of a large department store.
"Charley?" Teri asked, tugging on her sister's sleeve to get her attention.
"Yeah," Charley asked, turning to look at Teri.
"Can I go over there and look at the shirts while you find the jeans you're looking for? Please?" Teri asked, trying to imitate that puppy-dog-eyes look. She was pointing to a clothes rack two down from the one Charley was currently looking at.
"All right, but when you're done looking you come right back here," Charley said.
Teri grinned, "Okay." With that she scampered off to the rack, her small hands going through the shirts. Occasionally Teri would take one off the rack and hold it against her, shake her head, and put it back. Charley watched her sister for a minute before returning to the jeans.
Charley had moved to the next rack of jeans when several security and patrol officers entered the store.
"People," the officer in charge began, "We must evacuate the mall immediately. There has been a bomb threat. I repeat, there has been a bomb threat and the mall must be evacuated. Please use the nearest exit in an orderly fashion."
With that announcement the officers began to sweep through the store to encourage the less willing customers, or those who simply didn't believe there was a danger.
"Teri!" Charley called, unable to catch sight of her sister's light brown hair. She began to move towards an area packed with clothes racks, thinking maybe Teri was looking in there. Before she could get very far a hand clamped down on her shoulder.
"Miss, you have to leave now," a young officer said.
"I know," Charley said, "but my sister was supposed to be right here and I can't see her now. I have to find her before I go anywhere."
"Miss, officers are going through the entire store to make sure no one is left. I understand that you're worried for your sister, but I can't let you stay and look for her. Another officer will find her and bring her out."
"But," Charley began as the officer guided her towards an exit.
"I'm sorry miss, you have to leave. It's too dangerous for anyone to stay in here. Someone will get her out," he said.
Charley took several deep breaths, seemingly ready to argue the point, but saw that the officer wasn't going to budge.
"Okay, but I'm staying as close as I can until I find her."
The officer nodded as he led Charley out the door. Once outside several other officers quickly escorted her behind a barricade, preventing any plans she might have had of going back in.
Charley and a large group of people milled around behind the barricade, trying to get any information they could from the officers preventing them from getting any closer. Charley had turned to look at the mall, wondering where in the world Teri had gotten to, when the mall erupted in a ball of flame and a shock wave big enough to knock the shoppers and several of the barricades down.
Charley pushed herself up into a sitting position and considered the flaming mass of concrete, metal and glass for a moment. The she leapt up and began racing for the flames.
Before she could get more than a few feet away from the previously barricaded area one of the officers jumped up and tackled her to the ground.
"No! You have to let me go, my sister's in there! Teri!! TERI!!!!"
The officer held on to Charley tightly, "Miss, you can't do anything! This isn't the only area that we brought people. You're sister could be in another area of the parking lot. Miss, if you go looking in there you'll be dead."
Charley slumped to the ground as she realized the validity of the officer's statement. Then she looked him in the eyes, pleading plain in them, "Her name is Teri Davidson. She's ten. She has short light brown hair and hazel eyes. I'll be over there," she pointed to a part of the barricade that hadn't been knocked down, "when you get any information. I'm not leaving until someone finds out where she is."
"That's okay," the officer said. "Just as long as you do stay there and don't go anywhere near the fire."
The officer walked Charley back to the barricade where several people had erupted in hysterics upon realizing that a loved one couldn't be found. Then he walked away. Charley looked at the distraught people. Please, Teri has to be okay. She's just in another barricade in a different part of the parking lot. Oh, please don't let her be dead.
Charley waited in that very spot for hours. She was there when her mother and Airik, along with Asphalt Jack, showed up.
"We got separated," was all she would say when her mother asked her for Teri's whereabouts.
Charley made it clear that she wouldn't leave until an officer had found Teri and brought her over. They waited while fire trucks put out the blaze and ambulances took the injured and hysterical to the hospital.
After a while Mrs. Davidson began to cry. Too much time had passed and they still hadn't found Teri.
"Charley, maybe we should wait for news at home," her mother suggested.
"No mom," Charley replied, "I don't want Teri to think we left her here."
"Charley, I don't think..."
"NO! She's fine! She's just in another barricaded area. The haven't had a chance to bring her here."
Mrs. Davidson looked at Jack. "Stay here with Charley, I'm going to put Airik to bed and call the babysitter to watch her."
Jack nodded his agreement and stood next to Charley while her mother was gone. As it got later Charley refused to move. She watched rescue efforts with tears in her eyes. All the rest of the survivors had either been sent home or to the hospital. They were still digging through the rubble, looking for bodies and maybe, just maybe, a live person who was trapped, but had survived.
It was early evening when a young officer, one who looked very much like the officer who had escorted Charley out of the store, approached the small group, his face grim and grief stricken.
"What happened?" Mrs. Davidson asked immediately.
"They uncovered some bodies in the rubble of the store your daughters were in. My...my brother was one of them."
Charley looked at the officer sharply. "He's the one who made me leave."
Jack stood closer to Charley, sensing that the officer was there for more than to just tell them they'd found his brother's body.
"They found him covering another body...a child's body. It...it looks like he tried...he tried to shield her from...from..."
"We understand," Mrs. Davidson replied, her voice wavering.
He held out his closed fist towards Charley and her mother, "The little girl had this around her neck. They want you to bring dental records to the morgue to...to confirm..."
Unable to go on he dropped the necklace into Charley's outstretched, shaking hand.
Charley brought it to her face and looked at the pendant. It was twisted and deformed from heat, but it still bore a resemblance to the Last Chance Garage's sign.
"NOOOOOO!!!!" Charley cried as she sank to her knees, Jack supporting her so she didn't land hard. "Noo Teri, no," she sobbed into his shoulder.
The officer looked away, tears in his own eyes, before looking back at Mrs. Davidson who had tears streaming down her face. "I'm sorry to have to give you this news. When you...get a chance...the dental records..."
Mrs. Davidson put a gentle hand on his shoulder, "I know. Why don't you go home and grieve. I think you've held it in long enough young man," she said compassionately.
"I had to tell you first," he said, looking down at Charley's sobbing form.
"I understand," Mrs. Davidson replied.
As Charley finished her story Airik motioned the guys to follow her out of the garage as Charley sobbed almost hysterically into her mother's and Jack's shoulders.
They all looked worriedly at Charley as they left the room.
"Airik-darlin', will Charley-girl be okay?" Modo asked.
"Yeah, mom will be fine now," she said as she took a seat. The others followed suit.
"What do you mean by 'now' sweetheart?" Vinnie asked.
"You guys don't know what mom just did. Not only did she share something extremely painful, but that's the first time she's ever really told the story of what happened that day to anyone."
"No way, that can't have been the first time," Throttle countered.
"Yes, it is. Mom spent months goin' to a shrink. She was really depressed and everyone was worried about her. The doctor knew she needed to talk about what happened, but she never could. She just kind of, buried it. But she started coming out of her depression, so the shrink said we needed to leave her be. He said that as long as she wasn't depressed or starting to have serious problems she could be allowed to bury it until she was ready to talk. I don't think he ever expected her to bury it for this long. But now she's finally told the whole story, she's really dealing with her guilt and letting it all out. She needs a real good cry on grandma's shoulder right now."
"If you don't mind us askin', why aren't you as affected Airik?" Modo asked.
"Oh, don't get me wrong, I miss Teri, but I was six when she died. A tad on the young side to really comprehend death. Though I spent my time with the shrink too," she said to the mice's astonishment.
"You sweetheart?" Vinnie said. "Why?"
"Abandonment issues, so the shrink said. No one had noticed anything, but the shrink did. He got me through it. The whole deal was so much harder on mom and grandma. And Jack. Jack was a close friend of the family and had known Teri for a long time. Mom took it real hard because of the guilt, but also because she'd just lost her dad the year before. In some ways it was hardest on grandma though. She'd lost her oldest son," at the startled expressions on the mice's faces she paused, "well, mom told me what she knew about Jayce, so I also knew about him. Anyhow, gram had lost her oldest son. Then she lost her husband. At least their losses had been spaced apart, but a year later she looses her youngest daughter." Airik fell silent.
"Do you think we'll ever see what she looked like Airik?" Throttle asked, changing the subject.
"Possibly. Now that mom's talked about it openly she might hang a picture or two with Teri in them. Don't ask her, but keep an eye open."
Throttle sat, frowning in thought.
"Something wrong, Throttle?" Airik asked.
"Well, we were wondering earlier if Charley and her mom had told Centerline about Teri."
Airik shook her head, "No, they haven't."
The guys didn't look happy to hear this piece of news.
"Guys, I know he has a right to know, but not even gram and I have heard the whole story of what happened before tonight. How were they supposed to tell Centerline? 'Oh, by the way, you have a sister who lived and died while you were gone. Just don't say anything about her in front of Charley or she'll go to pieces?'" Airik asked in contempt. "Mom could not have dealt with talking about Teri before tonight."
"So just how is he supposed to find out? Walk into the garage or Mrs. Davidson's house and see a family portrait with a girl he's never seen. 'Who's that?' 'Oh, Centerline. Meant to tell you about her. She's your dead sister. We just haven't told you about her yet.'" Throttle asked.
"That's not fair Throttle," Airik protested. "Teri is a very, VERY sore spot for mom. She's been carrying around all that guilt for nine years." Airik mentally crossed her fingers and silently asked forgiveness for what she was about to do. She didn't approve of hitting someone's sore spot, but in this case, she'd make an exception. "I refuse to believe that you guys have never had anything so painful that you couldn't talk to anyone about it, even those who needed to know."
Airik saw remembered pain reflected in their eyes and silently cursed herself for doing that to Modo twice in one day. "Look, guys, I'm sorry if I hit a nerve, but you guys can't really be that blind to mom's feelings, can you?"
The three mumbled an answer. Airik grinned at them.
"You guys are the best. Mom and gram will tell Centerline when the opportunity arises. She'll need your understanding and support when she does too. I understand where you might be upset on Centerline's behalf, but try to remember mom's side of the deal. And isn't it possible that Centerline might actually be understanding to the whole thing?"
"It is at that," Modo conceded
"Well then, now that that's settled..."
"How much longer do you think they'll cry," Vinnie asked.
Airik just shrugged, "However long they need. I'm sure you can find something to occupy you until then."
The mice grinned as they heard the distant, but unmistakable sound of Limburger's goons.
"I bet we can find something," Modo said, smiling.
"AAHOOOOO!!!!" Vinnie yelled.
In addition, I'd like to say that I am not a psychology major. I barely remember my one mandatory psychology course. I also have no clue what would happen in the event that a major mall recieved a bomb threat, nor how rescue operations would proceed or how long they would take. Please forgive all inaccuracies in these areas and I hope everyone has enjoyed this little bit of fiction.