Disclaimer: I do not own Biker Mice from Mars or make any profit from this fic other than your enjoyment. Also, I use the characters of Survivor's Log with the permission of their creator.

Now that that crud's done- On with the Fic. (You can thank Vikki if I completely ruin the mood of this fic.)

A New Reason To Care.

by: JBJ

Copyrighted: 1998

The halls of the base were anything but quiet as one lone mouse searched for just that. The groans of the wounded filled his ears despite his attempts to block them out. War, Death, and Pain weren't new ideas to him but these people weren't the victims of gang wars but of one much larger- the war to save Mars. The cries were that of soldiers and Freedom Fighters. But the ones that truly stung his heart were that of the innocent slaves that had been captured and beaten until almost dead. Many had died since freeing them two days ago.

These thoughts clouded the mind of the mouse until he unknowingly stopped in front of the door to the infirmary, or at least one of the rooms that had been turned into an infirmary.

Suddenly, a crash sounded on the other side of the door, bringing the mouse out of his revelry. Thinking to himself, I thought that room was soundproofed. The mouse thought about checking it out; then a primal scream came from the supposedly soundproof room. He immediately rushed through the door and came face to face with one of the strangest sights in his life.

"Jack! Grab her!" yelled Terrance while being thrown into a wall by a mere wisp of a mouse, but that wisp was most definitely female.

Threadbare tatters barely covered what they were supposed to and exposed long shapely legs, a tiny waist, slender arms, and a large hint of what lay under the tattered top. The complete product, though covered with grime, made Jack hot in practically no time flat.

The female mouse turned to face Jack, teeth bared like an animal. At the sight of him, she immediately took a feral fighting stance and the one red eye that shown through the mat of hair in front of her face calculated him.

"Shhhh," cooed Jack, trying to calm her. "No one's going to hurt you." He took a cautious step forward.

A growl of warning trickled through her clenched teeth. The growl died abruptly as her eyes rolled back and her legs gave out under her. Luckily, Jack was close enough to catch her before her head hit the floor.

Terrance quietly walks forward and removes one of his syringes of sedative from her shoulder. "Took you long enough," he mumbles to the empty syringe.

"Plague victim?" asks Jack as he looks down at the peaceful, and equally beautiful, face of the beautiful mouse lying asleep in his arms.

Terrance shakes his head. "Her blood test came out negative. Twice. I don't know what got into her." He stands. "She's been unconscious since the raid. Actually she collapsed in the ship. You mind helping get her back on her bed?"

Jack easily picks her up and carries her to one of the benches being used as beds. As he lays her down, Jack notices a scar running through her left eye. He also notices more on her arms, waist, and legs unlike anything he had seen before. The one on her face was definitely made by a knife, or something to that effect, but; the others were too thin and straight.

Terrance, who had been replacing the IV that had been torn out when she had woken, saw Jack staring at the scars; or at least let Jack think that's what he thought he was staring at. "They're surgical scars."

"Surgical scars?" Jack suddenly notices the thin line of blood on Terrance's forehead. "Terrance." He points to his own forehead. "You're bleeding."

Terrance touches his head and winces in pain. "Great! I have enough to worry about without adding myself to the list!" He sighs and goes to see to his wound.

Jack looks around the room, seeing only more mice lying in drugged or other induced sleep. Jack takes one last look at her and leaves.


Two days later, Terrance cautiously walks into Carbine's office. Even though he thought he didn't make a sound, Carbine's head snaps up from the papers she's reading and gives him a glare that would have made most people forget what they wanted out of sheer fear and walk back out, but exhaustion is wearing her and the glare down.

"Terrance, what do you want?"

"There have been six more deaths since yesterday." He hands her some papers.

Carbine sighs as she accepts them. Too many deaths, thinks Carbine.

"The good news is, three patients have made it past the critical point. I expect complete recoveries from all of them."

Carbine manages a weak smile and says, "That is good news. Now if there's nothing more..."

"Actually..." Terrance tries to find the words. "There is one special case."

"Go on."

"Well, ya see. It's kind of hard to explain. There's this girl.. uh... woman. I've had to keep her under sedation since she woke up the day before yesterday. She isn't infected but she's very violent. I was thinking maybe we could find her a private room where she could stay awake and not hurt anyone. I'm not learning anything that might explain her behavior from her blood tests."

Carbine sighs and tries to rub the tension from her temples. "Let me get this straight. You want to give a possible psycho her own room and put everyone in this base in danger if she got loose just for you to find out why she's wacko? Give me one good reason."

"I think she's just scared. Who knows how she's been treated? She may not remember how to trust."

"So you want to rehabilitate her?"

Terrance nods. Carbine sighs, half from frustration, half from exhaustion. "All right. I'll see what I can do."

Terrance smiles then gives her a examining look. "Carbine. Maybe you should..."

"Now don't you start! I've had Harley, Stoker, Strain, and half a dozen others already say something. Now get out of here before I change my mind!"


It had been over a week and still Jack couldn't get the female mouse out of his mind. I'm just bored, he thinks. There's nothing to do around here. She was the first exciting thing that's happened since the raid.

He walks through the halls of the base, trying to find something to take his mind of her, but ruby red eyes haunt him. Suddenly, he finds himself in front of the same door. I guess it wouldn't hurt to see how she, and the others, were doing, he thinks as he makes his way into the infirmary.

The first thing he notices is that most of the beds are empty, including the one she occupied. The second thing he notices is that Harley, not Terrance, is seeing to these patients.

Harley looks up from taking the pulse of a patient and asks, "Jack? What can I do for you?"

"Nothing. I just thought I'd come see if Terrance needed rescuing again."

Harley smiles. "Yeah. He told me about what happened with 'Jane'."

"Is that her name?"

Harley laughs at that. "No. Jane or John Doe is what you call a patient when you don't know their real name." She sighs. "We haven't found her on any of the missing person lists."

Jack tries to be casual with the next question. "So where is she?"

"Terrance got her moved to a private room. It was dangerous to keep her sedated so much and dangerous to have her around other people, though, she is getting better about Terrance." Harley grins. "Why? You want to see her?"

Jack keeps a stone face. "No."

Harley returns to her patients. "Room 205 in the West wing. Terrance should still be there." She chuckles quietly as Jack shrugs and leaves.


Outside Room 205, Jack tries to think of a good excuse for being there if Terrance was still there. Coming up blank, he just takes a deep breath and walks in.

Inside is just a ordinary cot, and Terrance looking up to the ceiling holding a tray. Jack looks up and finds her, standing on all fours on one of the four inch wide beams. The beams are 20 feet from the floor and run from one side of the room to the other only three feet from the ceiling.

She looks to Jack the second he walks in. Terrance follows her line of sight. "Jack? What are you doing here? Never mind. Just stay quiet and don't make any sudden movements." He turns back to her. "It's all right. Jack's not here to hurt you. Now will you please come down here and eat." As he says that he points to the floor. She tips forward, falling from the beam, makes a complete flip, and lands on her feet. Terrance sets the tray on the floor between them and backs away slowly.

The only thing on the tray is a large cup. She squats down to get the cup, her eyes watching Jack and Terrance the entire time. She grabs the cup and drinks the contents hurriedly. Terrance takes a few steps forward. "Slowly."

She growls and throws the cup at Terrance. He dodges but the drink splashes on his lab coat. Jack laughs at the sight. She watches him laugh, then she starts laughing. Her laugh was low, smooth, almost seductive to Jack.

Terrance watches the two of them. That's the first time I've ever heard her laugh! He bends over to pick up the cup and tray. She automatically notices his movement; stops laughing; and, with one push off, jumps to one of the beams. She watches both of them from her perch.

Terrance sighs. "I thought we might have gotten somewhere today." He turns to Jack. "I'm going to go change and get her some more. Would you mind staying for a while? She seems to like you. That's the first time she's laughed."

Jack shrugs his shoulders. "I got nothing better to do."

"Great. Just a few things. One, give her plenty of space."

Jack chuckles. "I saw what happens if you don't."

"Two," Terrance says, a little angrily. "She doesn't talk. I don't even think she understands speech. Just the signals of pitch and volume, but she does understand some basic hand signals."

"All right. All right. I understand."

Terrance shrugs and leaves. When he does, Jack takes a long look at her above him. Some of the grime had been cleaned off, but she still wore the tatters and her hair was still a mess. Her eyes were like that of a wild animal as she watched him as intently as he watched her.

Jack leans against a wall and, while still watching her, takes a small apple out of his pocket. Before he can bite into it, she jumps back down and stands two arm lengths away and holds out her hand, clearly wanting the apple.

"No," says Jack as he starts to bite the apple.

Not discouraged, she thrusts her hand at him and grunts forcefully.

"No. This is my apple." That doesn't phase her either. Jack sighs. "Listen. When you learn to say 'Please', then I'll give you the apple." He turns his attention back to the apple.


Jack's head snaps back to her, eyes wide. "What did you say?!"

She rolls her eyes and says, in a naturally sultry alto voice, "I said, 'Please.' Now hand over the apple."

Jack's actions don't register as he immediately hands her the apple. She takes it quickly and, while holding it in her mouth, jumps back to the beams. Once settled on the beam, she greedily eats the apple to the core.

Jack's wits finally return to him. "You can talk! Why didn't you before?"

She just watches him as she did before. Well, that and she threw the apple core at him.

The core bounces off the side of Jack's head. He looks at her annoyed. "You just like throwing things, don't you?" She giggles at that. He couldn't help but smile at the sound. "I mean it! You even threw Terrance that first day!"

"I've done it more than that."

"You didn't answer my question." She looks at him confused. "Why didn't you talk before?"

"I learned to keep my mouth shut if I didn't want to be hit." The scared look on her face sent pain through his heart.

"No one's going to hit you. I promise."

Her eyes calculate him. "What are your promises worth?"

Jack is taken back by that question, and her voice swept over him with a chilling sting to it. "I keep my promises."

Not phased, she retorts, "Until you don't want to no more." Jack stares at her, clearly confused. She continues. "You'll promise me no one will hurt me, that you'll protect me as long as I'm nice to you. Then, when you get what you want, you'll forget that you ever promised." She jumps down and stalks towards him, anger replacing fear. "Well, I have a news flash for you. I don't need your protection, and I'm sure as Hell not going to be nice to you."

"I don't know where you got that idea from," says Jack, in a soothing voice. "But all I want..." Her eyes narrow. "Is to know what your name is."

The hate in her voice is as hot as brimstone. "That's how it starts."

Jack sighs. "I'll tell you what. Let's trade. I'll go get you more food if you'll tell me your name. How's that sound?" She just nods. Jack smiles. "OK. So what's your name?"

"Don't have one. Where's the food?"

Jack chuckles. "Funny. Now tell me the truth and I'll get the food."

She tilts her head to the side. "The food first."

Jack holds up his hands in submission. "All right. Fine. The food first." He starts to walk away.

"And I don't mean anymore of that drink. Something solid."

Suddenly, Jack feels like a waiter. He turns, and asks sarcastically, "Would you like me to bring a napkin?"

"What's a napkin?"

"I guess that answered my question."


Jack runs through the hallway. He has to find Terrance. Which he does, very suddenly.

"AAAHH!" yells Terrance as Jack runs straight into him, causing him to spill the drink he was carrying all over himself.

Regaining his composure, Terrance asks, "Jack? What's going on?"

Jack replies, out of breath, "She... She... talks! And she has a smart mouth."

"What? Who?"

"Her. 'Jane'."

Terrance watches as Jack tries to catch his breath. "OK. Calm down. Now what are you talking about?"

Jack talks real slow. "She talks. I heard her. She wants food. Solid food."

"OK. Tell me everything."

Jack shakes his head. "Later. I have to get the food I promised her. She has this thing about people not keeping their promises."


Back in Room 205, she watches as Jack comes in with a tray of food, mostly fruit, with Terrance right behind him. She jumps from her perch and holds out her hand and grunts.

Terrance chuckles. " Jack. That's not talking. She does that all the time."

Jack shakes his head. Then he turns to her. "Come on. We had a deal."

She crosses her arms on her chest. "He wasn't part of the deal."

Terrance's jaw drops. "Y... You... You..."

She chuckles. "I talk. You look like the one who can't."

It's Jack's turn to chuckle. "I told you she had a smart mouth."

She turns to Jack. "And you have a dumb brain. So there."

Jack laughs. "OK. OK. Now, I held up my part of the deal. So what's your name?"

She takes a deep breath. " 'Hey You!' 'Stupid Brat', Ugly Rat', and some Plutarkian curses. Take your pick."

Terrance asks, "What did your parents call you?"

"I don't know. I don't remember having any parents."

Disclaimer: I do not own Biker Mice from Mars or make any profit from this fic other than your enjoyment. Also, I use the characters of Survivor's Log with the permission of their creator.

Now that that crud's done- On with the Fic. (You can thank Vikki if I completely ruin the mood of this fic.)

A New Reason To Care, Part II.

by: JBJ

Copyrighted: 1998

"Hold still. This won't hurt." Terrance tries to check her with a stethoscope. Jack watches from his usual place by the wall, chuckling at Terrance's frustrated expression.

"I've heard that one before," she replies. The tone in her voice makes Jack wonder from just where. Then he remembers the speech she gave him. What did they do to her?!

Terrance tries to put the stethoscope on her back but she leans away. Terrance sighs. "Listen. The sooner you cooperate, the sooner this will be over."

"I've heard that one before too," is all she says; jokingly; but she does cooperate a little better.

Finally, Terrance is finished with her examination. "Well, that didn't hurt, did it?"

"Heard that one before too." Terrance moans and shakes his head.

"You know, I think I liked you more when you didn't talk."

She tilts her head and thinks for a moment. "That one's new." Jack laughs.

"Terrance. You might as well give up. She has to have the last word."

"You'd better believe it." She gives Jack a smile that would make any man, including Jack, do anything to see it again.

"We need to decide what to call you," says Terrance as he re-packs his equipment. "I mean, 'Hey You' might get a little confusing and as far as the other suggestions...," he lets his voice trail to indicate he wasn't even considering them as options.

Jack nods his head. "Yeah. Something that agrees with her...," he smiles, "winning personality."

She cocks an eyebrow. "Any ideas?" Jack thinks for a few moments.

"Amanda?" Terrance suggests. "I knew an Amanda like her once." He seems to remember something he doesn't like. "No. Not a good idea. Carol, maybe?"

She sticks her tongue out, definitely not liking that one, but shrugs a whatever.

"Sprite." They both turn to Jack.

"Why?" she asks.

"I thought that was the name of an old Earth drink," says Terrance.

Jack sighs, "I heard Paul tell Amber about this creature from Earth fairy tales. A sprite. A creature that has a lot of energy and is always causing trouble."

"That's her all right," laughs Terrance.

"What about you?"

She just shrugs her shoulders. "Whatever."

Terrance puts a hand on her shoulder. "Now this is up to you. If you don't like that name tell us." She shrugs off his hand.

"Listen. I don't really care what you call me. I can't remember even having parents, let alone what they called me. And I've never had a real name.... Except Five."

"Why Five?" asks Jack.

"Someone called me that once. It's part of my slave number. I used to have a tag right here," she points to a spot on her right ear, "saying 5,2,9,4."

Jack asks softly, "Do you want to be called, Five?" She begins to shrug but he stops her. "Yes or no." She shakes her head no and looks at the floor.

"The guy died when I was real little and I haven't been called that since."

Jack takes her chin and turns her face towards his. He sees tears floating in her right eye. Her left covered by a mat of hair. She jerks her chin away and wipes the tears away quickly. Then she turns back smiling. "I like Sprite."

Jack smiles. "Then Sprite it is!" Just then a knock sounds at the door to Sprite's room. Jack chuckles. "And here's your first chance to try it out."

Terrance opens the door and in walks Charley, Sanri, Bordeaux, and Shelly each carrying a small bundle of unrecognizable objects, most look like clothes.

Sprite watches the bundles for the women's hands more than anything else. Jack notices and whispers low, "They ain't here to hurt you. I promise."

Equally as low, "You make a lot of promises."

Jack grins. "And I've kept every one."

"So far." Sprite grins but her tone still holds a edge of ice.

Bordeaux saunters over to them. "Well. If you two are finished whispering sweet nothings," she gives a knowing smile and Jack tries to hide a blush. He was thinking about doing just that.

Maybe, if we had been alone.

Bordeaux continues. "Out." She points to the door. Jack and Terrance take their cues and start for the door.

"What's going on?" Sprite seems a little nervous. Charley pats her shoulder.

"It's all right. Terrance just asked us if we'd clean you up and help you get used to..." She can't find the right word. She looks to the others. They are equally as blank. Sanri grins.

"You'll understand later." She turns to the guys still standing at the door. She gives her no- nonsense mom look and points to the door. Terrance and Jack hustle out of the room. Shelly giggles.

"Let's get started."


An hour later, Jack and Terrance are still just outside Sprite's room, but now there are a few more curious people gathered there. Namely Rex, Paul, Amber, and Mac. Jack has finished explaining the story behind why they were waiting there, excluding most of his personal feelings for Sprite. It wouldn't have taken so long if he hadn't of had to wait for the others to stop laughing at some of the parts.

The door to Sprite's room opens and Bordeaux saunters out, sopping wet and smiling. "You won't believe your eyes, boys," she sees Amber. "And, girl." She steps out of the way and Sanri and Charley, just as sopping wet as Bordeaux, gently push Sprite through the doorway. Jack's heart and breathing stop.

Sprite, once clean, is a brownish-tan; the same shade as Rex, with darker hair reaching to her shoulder-blades; now that is was cut. Her bangs craftily hide her left eye and add another level of seduction to her natural demonically seductive looks.

Her tatters have been replaced with black jeans, a white sports bra showing through an unbuttoned emerald green work shirt with the sleeves torn off and the ends tied just under her chest, baring her waist. Finishing the outfit are black calf boots, a black belt with a gold buckle and one gold hoop earring in her newly pierced right ear.

Jack practically stalks around Sprite, absorbing every inch and imagining feeling her curves rub up against him. He doesn't even notice the others watching him, knowing smiles playing on their lips.

Jack finally realizes what he was doing and shakes the dirty thoughts out of his head. The rest of the guys were staring too so that helped ease his embarrassment. He smiles and then says, "I had been wondering if there was actually a mouse under all that crud." He takes one last look. "Yeah. I guess there was." To which Sprite retorts,

"I'm still trying to find your brain under all that machismo.... Nope. Haven't found it yet."

That gets a loud laugh out of everyone, even Jack.

"That is a good one! Can I use that some time?" asks, Bordeaux. She starts walking down the hall. She calls out, "Oh, Vinnie," more to herself than to find him.

Charley chuckles, "I guess I should go see if Harley needs my help."

Terrance looks to her. "You're right. I'd better go too." He turns to Sprite. "You'd better go back inside now." Sprite just nods and turns to go back in. Mac interrupts.


Jack turns to him. "She has to stay in that room."

"Why?" This comes from Rex. "She can't be that dangerous." He smiles at Terrance.

Terrance smirks. "Yes. She can be."

Mac chuckles and walks to Sprite. "Miss. I would be honored to accompany you to the mess hall for dinner." He takes her hand to kiss it but before he knows what happened he is laying, on his back, on the floor with the toe of Sprite's boot pressing on his throat. She is also holding, almost crushing, his hand in hers. And her tail is holding his legs and tail immobile.

Jack jumps into action. He stands in front of her, holding his hands in front of him, and making sure he isn't too close. "It's all right. He wasn't going to hurt you."

"I might now!"

For that outburst, Mac receives a yank on his arm, almost pulling it out of the socket, and more pressure to his throat.

"Whoa!" yells Jack. Then more calmly, "Now that's enough. Now if you let him go, Mac will leave you alone. Won't you, Mac?"

"Yeah." That one word comes out a little hoarse.

Sprite watches Jack. Mac ain't going anywhere. She asks, "Another one of your promises?"

"Yeah. I promise. I know Mac won't make me break a promise."

A smirk crosses Sprite's face. She tosses Mac's hand away and steps back, while uncoiling her tail from around his legs and tail. She whispers, coldly, for only Jack to hear, "We'll see."

Mac stands and rubs his neck. He walks away muttering, "I didn't even see her coming. I can't be getting that old."

Rex chuckles. "Now I have seen everything. I'm gonna go find Shelly. She owes me a date. Later!"

Sprite watches Mac, then Rex, leave, obviously surprised. Jack smiles. "I told you." Sprite just looks at him. Then, she walks back to her room. Jack follows.

Once inside, he asks, "Why don't you ever believe me when I say something?"

"I told you." She jumps to her favorite spot on the beams. Jack notices her holding a brush, just watching it in her hand. He decides to change the subject.

"Do you remember anything about your parents?"

Sprite is surprised by his question. How did he know?! She looks at him from her perch. "I think I remember someone," she looks at the brush again. "Brushing my hair."

"Your mother, maybe?"

"Yeah. Maybe." Sprite starts brushing her hair, willing the memories to surface. But all she gets is the past she'd rather forget. She sees Jack still standing there by the door. "What do you want?"

"I thought you might want to talk about it."

"Well I don't. So you can just go." She lays the brush carefully on the beam, then stretches out. She wraps her arms around the beam, underneath her head. She then wraps her tail around the beam and her waist.

Jack sighs and starts to walk out, but before he goes he says, "No one's wants to hurt you here. As long as you don't give them a reason to." He hated saying that last part, but he had this feeling he had to say the absolute, complete truth.

"What's a reason to?" asks Sprite. A real question, not any sarcasm at all.

It worked! Jack turns around. "Don't beat up on them and they won't on you."

"They don't beat up on me, I won't on them."

Jack remembers what Terrance said about her probable lack of trust. "Does that mean you trust me?"

"It means I'm believing what you said. For now."

Jack smiles. It's a start. He starts to leave again. As he opens the door, a haunting melody reaches his ears. He realizes Sprite is humming. Jack vaguely recognizes the song, but can't remember the name. He could have just stood there and listened to her but decided he should leave. He shuts the door behind him and walks down the hall, humming the same song to himself.

Jack doesn't notice Rex watching him from another hallway. Jack? Humming? Jack never hums! At least, I don't think he does.

Disclaimer: I do not own Biker Mice from Mars or make any profit from this fic other than your enjoyment. Also, I use the characters of Survivor's Log with the permission of their creator.

Now that that crud's done- On with the Fic. (You can thank Vikki if I completely ruin the mood of this fic.)

Warning: There is a slight amount of bad language in this fic.

A New Reason To Care, Part III.

by: JBJ

Copyrighted: 1998


Jack and Terrance walk down the hall to Sprite's room with Carbine. Terrance is babbling on about Sprite's progress over the past few weeks. "I really think she's getting close to remembering."

Carbine looks at him. "Have you found a reason why she doesn't remember anything before Plutark?"

"I think she has a severe case of amnesia. She..." Terrance notices Jack shaking his head. "Do you have anything to say, Jack?" He realizes Carbine doesn't know Jack's stake in this. He turns to her and says, "Jack and Sprite have a sort of understanding with each other. He's been around more than me lately. Befriending her."

Carbine turns to Jack. "So what do you think?"

"From what I can understand of what she's been willing to tell me, there is nothing before Plutark."

"You mean she's lost her memories of before Plutark?" prompts Terrance.

"No. I think her memory can't go back that far. I'm just taking an educated guess, but she may have been five or younger when she got to Plutark." Terrance's eyes widen with shock, but Carbine remains calm.

"And you came to this conclusion how?"

"Sometimes she acts like a kid." He adds more solemnly, "A kid that's been through enough to drive a grown man crazy."

Terrance sighs. "That's just regression. It's normal. She been through many traumatic experiences and thrown into a very new situation. Most people in her situation would do the same."

Jack burst out. "What's so different?! She's still locked up all the time! Still treated like a lab subject! You said it yourself! Surgical scars! Which means experimentation!"

"Jack! What's gotten into you?!" Terrance bellows to be heard through Jack's anger. "I am not experimenting on her!"

"You act like she's under a microscope! Writing down everything she does! Everything she says!"

Carbine grabs Jack by the shoulders and shakes him to get his attention. "Jack! Calm down!" Then quietly she adds, "Your right."

Both of the men turn to her. "Huh?"

"We haven't been treating her as an equal. And that's partly my fault. Terrance told me she was dangerous. Has that changed?"

"It's hard to say. She's jumpy about things. She..." Jack looks to Terrance for help.

"She misunderstands peoples actions towards her. She sees most everyone as potential threats. Then she responds to them violently."

Jack tries to defend her. "But she really is starting to understand that people here aren't going to hurt her." He turns to Carbine. "I'm sorry about blowing up, but when I see the fear and pain in her eyes...it...just..." Carbine pats his shoulder.

By now they have reached Sprite's room. Terrance goes to punch in the code for the computerized lock on the door, but the pressure causes the door to swing open. Terrance shoots a look to Jack.

"I thought I locked it when I left after breakfast!"

"Is she in there?" asks Carbine, practically yelling.

Terrance pushes the door open and scans the room. "No."


Sprite slips through the hallways, quietly and not daring to leave the shadows unless there's no other way. She doesn't know where she's going just that the door was open. Just get away. Then safe, she thinks. Just get away. Suddenly a scene very different from the hallway flashes before her eyes.

The scene is of a male mouse with light brown fur lying in the sand, reaching for her. "Go now! Just get away! Before they catch you! Just! Get! Away!"

Then, just as suddenly, Sprite is back in the hallway. And except for overwhelming fear, the vision leaves her as if she never saw it. Sprite then realizes she is no longer alone.

"What are you, Sweetheart? A dream or an angel?"

Sprite watches the white mouse that said that as he stalks around her. The white mouse smiles, light shining off the metal that covers the right side of his face.

"No. An angel wouldn't dress like that." Sprite looks down at what she's wearing, which is her white sports bra and denim cutoffs. She wasn't used to shoes so she wasn't wearing any.

"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" Sprite is very nervous but tries to remain calm.

"Nothing." The white mouse smiles. "Why don't we go to the mess hall for something to eat?" He takes hold of her hand.

Sprite spooks and pulls the mouse to her and rams her knee into his groin.


His eyes water as she then throws him against a wall, face first. She presses him against the wall and yells, "DON'T TOUCH ME!!"

"NOT TOUCHING! NOT TOUCHING A THING!! shouts his muffled voice. Then two familiar laughs can be heard.

"It's all right, Sprite. I think Vinnie's learned his lesson."

"Bordeaux?" Sprite looks to her. Then from her other side,

"It was funny though." Sprite turns to find Mac on her other side. She lets go of Vinnie and steps back until she can she all three of them at once, or at least if they make a move.

This immense feeling of being trapped washes over her. Her breathing and heartbeat become faster. Have to get away! Have to be safe! Suddenly she makes a rush for Bordeaux. But just before she hits, she pushes off and flips over Bordeaux's head! She's running before she completely lands on the ground.

Bordeaux spins around and runs after her but Sprite disappears down another hallway.

"Damn she's fast," pants Mac as he catches up to Bordeaux.

"Who is she?" asks Vinnie, still a little sore.

"Later. First we need to find Terrance and Jack."


Jack was able to split up from the rest of the searchers and rounds up the other Sky-Walkers. If anyone can find her, they can.

"Sure cuz. We'll help you find your girlfriend," replies Nightstalk after Jack asks for they're help. Rex grumbles something about Night acting like the leader that makes Night smile wider. "But I have to know. Whatcha do to make her run off?"

Jack sighs. "She's not my girlfriend. She... Oh, Never mind."

Rex jumps in. "Let's go."

Jack adds, "Just remember to tell her I sent you and maybe she won't kill you." Night and Sliver chuckle a "Yeah. Right." as they leave.

Rex stops Jack before he goes. "I know your stake in this, but why do you need us?"

"The others'll search from the ground, but we'll search where she'll be."


Sliver slips through the ventilation shafts of Level 6, but stops to watch the intimate moment he stumbled upon between two military soldiers. The he sees a shadow crawl down a shaft five feet in front of him. Since he was the only one searching this level, it had to be Sprite. Sliver looks from where she went, back to the couple, and back to where she went. "Man!" Sliver whispers. "Ripper. You owe me big time for this!" He follows her down the shaft, until she accidentally went down a dead end.

Sprite turns to see a brick-red mouse behind her, and something about him told her he was dangerous.

"Hey there, Gorgeous. I've been looking for you."

The familiar cold fear holds Sprite's heart. She hears a hissing sound by her left ear, and feels heat. Without a second thought, Sprite turns and grabs a metal pipe. She opens it and boiling steam flies straight for Sliver's eyes.

"AAAAHHHHH!!" Sliver holds his hands over his face. Suddenly Sprite shoves his head into the wall and crawls past him. He lunges and grabs her by the ankle. Sprite's other foot smashes into his jaw. Sliver's head swims and he lets go. She scurries away and disappears before he can follow. "Damn!" Sliver's curse echoes through the shafts. Then he rubs his head as he suddenly blacks out.


She'll hide somwhere dark. Somewhere that has high places. Somewhere no one is. LEVEL 9! Jack rushes down to Level 9.

All the lights are off when Jack reaches Level 9. But when he tries the switch he finds they do work. The ones that aren't broken. The lights make long strange shadows. Jack looks around scanning for a possible hinding place. Between the shadows, piles of broken equipment, and the high rafters above his head; there are hundreds. Jack sighs and calls out, "Sprite? It's me. Jack. Come out." His voice echoes in the silence.

"Not Jack. Ripper." Relief washes over Jack. He tries to find the source of the voice, but the echoes make it impossible.

"Sprite?! Where are you?"

"Who are you?" is her answer.

"What do you mean?"

"Your name's not Jack. It's Ripper."

"Yes. My name is Ripper."

"So you lied! Everyone lies!" Sprite's scream echoes like the screech of banshee.

"No I didn't! My friend's call me Jack! I want you to be my friend too!" Jack turns around not sure where to look. He hears a board creak behind him. He spins and sees her shadow on the wall. Then it disappears. But from that direction comes,

"What's a friend?"

Jack's heart sinks when he hears that. "A friend is someone you care about. Someone you trust."

"Do you lie to a friend?"

"No." The moment Jack says that he knew he messed up.

"Then how can I be your friend?! How can you lie and call me friend?!"

"Because I'm sorry. I promise I won't lie again."

"You lied about your name; you'll lie about your promises." Sprite is near tears at her hiding place. She has a good look of Jack's face there and can tell he's angry. She realizes she's sorry she made him angry. Not just because she thinks she'll get punished, but because she was beginning to think he might have been different from the others. "You're just like the others!"

"What others?"

"The others. You're mad at me. If you catch me, you'll beat me."

Jack finally realizes what she means. "I am not like the Plutarkians." His voice is strained as he tries to keep his frustration in check. "And I'm not mad, just frustrated."

"You treat me just the same."

Jack's memory snaps back to the argument he had earlier with Terrance and Carbine. He says the only thing he can. "We don't know if we can trust you because you don't trust us. You're dangerous and you know how to hurt people. Until you learn to trust us..." He looks at the ground. "... things have to stay like they are." Jack sees two brownish-tan bare feet in front of him. He looks up into Sprite's sad eyes.

"Then I guess things have to stay like they are. Unless...."

"Unless, what?"

Sprite looks into Jack's face. "Ripper. Show me the sun and... I'll trust you." Her request breaks his heart.

"You've never seen the sun?" Sprite shakes her head. Her voice cracks as she says,

"Show me the sun, just once. And I'll do anything you say." She looks into his eyes, her own filled with tears. "Anything. You. Say."

Jack gently takes her hand in his. Sprite tenses but doesn't pull away. Jack smiles and says softly, "Just trust me. That's all I ask." He leads her to the elevator. "Now let's show you the sun."


Sprite steps cautiously out into the bright sunlight. Jack's heart stops, then starts beating a lightyear a second as a golden halo shimmers around her from the sunlight. A wistful smile plays on his face as he watches Sprite close her eyes and takes a deep breath.

Sprite wraps her arms around herself joyfully. "It's so warm!" She starts spinning around like a child; relishing in the light and warmth. She suddenly falls backwards and lands spread-eagle in the sand. Her voice erupts with loud cheery laughter.

Sprite's laughter is contagious and Jack can't help but join in. "I take it your happy?" Her answer is to just roll onto her stomach to look out at the horizon. All of a sudden a familiar cold strangles her heart. She is on her feet and running before she even thought about it.

Jack watches awestruck as Sprite runs away like her life depended on it. "SPRITE!" He takes off after her, but her head start and the fact that the sand didn't give his bulk much traction puts her far ahead. When he finally catches up to her, he finds her in a long dead tree, curled up on the highest branch that would hold her. He would have climbed up after her but he could hear the wood straining from her weight. There was no way the tree would hold up with both of them.

"Sprite," he calls, keeping his voice straining to remain calm. "What's the matter?"

Sprite looks down at him, confusion and fear glowing in her eyes. "Ripper? What's going on?" She notices where she is. "What am I doing here?"

Now Jack is equally confused. "I don't know. You just took off running. Come down. Please." Sprite swiftly slips out of the branches and lands qracefully on the ground. Jack asks her, "Did you remember something?"

Sprite shakes her head. "Fear. Nothing else." She looks up at the tree and a feeling of ice runs down her back. She holds herself tightly. Jack puts one of his arms around her. Much to his surprise and happiness, she doesn't pull away. Instead she leans closer and turns her head to face him. Her breath caresses his face as she asks, "Can we go back inside now?" Jack nods and leads her back to the base.

On the way back, Sprite feels strangely safe in Jack's arms. The icy fear she felt just moments ago vanished when he held her. Her brain is warring against itself. The years of horrific experiences tell her to get away before it's too late, but the safety she has longed for since before she can remember keeps her close.

They walk like that even through the halls of the base. Jack can't understand the strange need to protect her, but can't fight it. Besides, he definitely liked the feel of her next to him. Soon they come face to face with Nightstalk and the questioning look he gives Jack definitely says, "Not your girlfriend, huh?"

Out loud Night says, "I see you've found her. Know she can help us find Sliver. No one's seen him since we started searching."

Jack can feel Sprite tense beside him. She watches Night like she did him that first day. Jack squeezes her shoulder. "It's all right. This is Nightstalk. A friend."

"Any friend of Ripper's is a friend of mine." You can almost hear Night's thoughts as he thinks, Except for da punk. Sprite turns to Jack.

"You call him friend, but he calls you Ripper." Jack can see her eyes turn back to the wary glare they always possess.

"They don't call me Jack all the time." He can see she doesn't like that answer much but takes it. Jack returns to the matter of Sliver.

"Do you know where he was searching?"

"He said he was going to search Level 6."

"Uh-oh." Jack and Night turn to Sprite.

"What 'Uh-oh,' Sprite?" She takes Jack's hand.

"Come on."

Sprite leads them to where she left Sliver. They carefully help him out of the vent. Careful of the still flying steam. Once he's out he tries to stand but is very shaky. Night laughs and asks Sprite, "What did you do to him?"

Sprite looks frightened but answers, "I got away."

Night laughs again and says, "I guess you did." Sliver looks at her with embarrassment shining in his eyes.

"You, Bitch!" Then he laughs and rubs his head, whincing when he touches the developing bump in the back. "Where'd you learn to do that?!"

"I... I..." Sprite looks to each of them, confused and frightened. She wishes they would just get her punishment over with. Jack notices her unease and reaches for her. Suddenly she drops to the floor curled in a ball to protect her face. Jack kneels beside her.

"Sprite? What's the matter?"

"I hit him. He hits me. That's what you said." Her voice is muffled since she is still in a ball.


"They won't beat up on me if I don't beat up on them. That's what you said!"

Jack groans. Anything you say can and will be held against you, he thinks. "Sprite look at me." Sprite doesn't move. Jack slips his hand under her chin and brings her eyes up to meet his. Fear glazes her eyes and her chin trembles. Night and Sliver stand silent, Sliver propping himself on Night for balance.

Jack strokes Sprite's hair and tries to calm her. "I didn't mean it like that." Sprite pulls away.

"You never mean anything you say! Everything you tell me has another meaning or isn't what I thought it was! What. Do. You. Mean?!"

Jack is speechless. He doesn't know how to explain what he had said. He had meant if she had started a fight or something. But he knew she wouldn't understand it. It's Sliver that comes up with an answer.

"I'll let ya slide this time."

Both Jack and Sprite ask him, "Huh?" But Night catches on.

"He'll let you off with a warning this time. Just don't do it again." Sprite looks from Night to Sliver to Jack.

"You don't want to punish me?" The men shake their heads. "What about the other one?"

"What other one?" asks Jack.

"The white one with the metal on his face. Uh...Vinnie." Night and Sliver barely hold back their laughter. Jack chuckles.

"I don't think he'll punish you either."

"Why not?" she asks. Jack responds without thought.

"I won't let him." His remark shocks everyone, especially himself; but he meant it. He holds Sprite's face softly in his hands, oblivious to the others, and says, "I won't let anyone hurt you."

Sprite stares into Jack's face. Though she had little choice. And for the first time in a long time, she believed. She nods. "I believe you."

Disclaimer: I do not own Biker Mice from Mars or make any profit from this fic other than your enjoyment. Also, I use the characters of Survivor's Log with the permission of their creator.
Now that that crud's done- On with the Fic. (You can thank Vikki if I completely ruin the mood of this fic.)
Warning: There is a slight amount of bad language in this fic.

A New Reason To Care, Part IV.

by: JBJ

Copyrighted: 1998

To Jack the next few days flew by and in his mind Sprite blossomed. That's the only word to describe it. Once she had someone to trust, she completely changed. She has a need to learn that rivals a toddler.

"What's that?" asks Sprite in a cheery voice she had acquired lately. Jack looks over Sprite's outfit, the same one she wore the day the girls cleaned her up. A black blotch is on the front of her sports bra.

Jack carries a box into Sprite's room. "It's a new game."

Sprite smiles. "Like finger paints?"

Jack chuckles. "No. Not like finger paints. That was a little too messy." He notices Sprite's fingertips are still tinted blue. He rubs his neck where a yellow streak still shows. But he smiles as he remembers how it got there. Jack made a joke about Sprite accidentally wiping green paint across her forehead. She returned the favor with a pink spot on his nose. This turned into a intense wrestling match, interrupted by Terrance, much to Jack's displeasure.

Shaking the memories, and hormones, to the back of his mind; Jack motions to the table and chairs that had been added to Sprite's room. He takes off the lid of the box and turns it upside down. The lid is metal. Then Jack dumps a bunch of colorful, magnetic pieces, shaped like letters of the Martian alphabet, on the table. He takes a deep breath. If I can teach Rex to read, I can teach her.

About one hour later, Jack is wondering what he got himself into. Sprite couldn't understand that a word meant an object, or person, etc. She could barely remember the letters and words.

Terrance walks in and smiles. "I'm not interrupting anything this time? Am I? " He sees Jack rubbing his temples. "What's going on?" he asks. Without waiting for an answer, he sets a piece of paper down beside Sprite. "Here. This might help."

The paper has the Martian alphabet on one side and the Plutarkian alphabet on the other. Sprite grabs the paper and stares at it like it's the only thing on the planet. Suddenly, she turns to the pieces and quickly spells one, two, then three words without a second glance at the paper.

Terrance reads, "Experimentation Laboratory No." He looks at Sprite. "No?"

"Number!" shouts Jack. He turns to Sprite. "Where did you see this?"

"All over before here. Sometimes they had an arrow pointing to where they would take me."

"Signs," says Jack.

"Signs," agrees Terrance.

"What are signs?" asks Sprite.

Jack answers. "Signs tell you how to get to where you want to go." A solution to his problem clicks in his head. "Sprite? Did one of these signs point to where you got those?" He points to her thin surgical scars. Sprite nods. Then her eyes widen.

"This," she points to the words she spelt. "Is the place?!" Jack nods.

"Words represent other things."

Sprite looks at Jack. "More words.... Please."

Terrance watches in awe over the next hour as Sprite absorbs everything told to her. Jack couldn't spell fast enough. They even gave her a pen so she could learn to make the letters herself. That only took ten minutes. She ended up with better handwriting than Terrance!

"I have to go now," says Terrance to the younger mice. He grins. "You two be good."

A few minutes after Terrance leaves, Sprite's stomach growls loudly. Jack laughs. "I guess it is lunch time." He stands. He heads for the door. "Come on."

"What do you mean?"

"I think it's time you ate at the dining hall with the rest of us." Jack takes her hand and leads her to the door.

"Rest of us?" asks Sprite.

"The others."

Sprite jerks away in fear. She jumps onto her favorite beam. Jack slaps his forehead. "No! Not those others! Night. Sliv. Rex." He names more. "Your friends."

"No others?" asks Sprite.

Jack shakes his head. "No Plutarkians. No one who will hurt you." Sprite jumps from her perch and walks to Jack. And, to his surprise, she holds out her hand. He takes it smiling and leads her to the dining hall.

The Sky-Walkers had gotten into the habit of eating at the smaller dining hall after normal eating hours for a little more privacy. You stay loners that long and it's hard to stop. So when Jack and Sprite get there, the only people are the Sky-Walkers and a few other late eaters. Namely Paul, Amber, Ashes, and Shelly.

Night and Sliver are the first to notice the new arrivals, still holding hands, and in their unique way, greet them.

"AAOOOOOOOHH!" Sliver lets out a long howl while Night makes kissing sounds. Paul, Ashes, and Rex laugh and clap, then receive punches from Amber and Shelly. Rex turns to Shelly, grinning dangerously.

"You'd better be careful, doll. I might take that as a challenge. And you don't want to challenge the leader of the Sky-Walkers." He twirls a strand of her hair around his finger. "Of course there are a lot of ways to apologize." Shelly blushes and pulls away, getting up from the table.

"I think I've lost my appetite."

Sliver laughs. "Maybe your hungry for something else, eh? Mouse meat perhaps?" He wiggles his eyebrows. "I hear the loin is pretty hard though." Shelly's blush deepens and she walks quickly away. Rex turns back to Sliver angrily.

"Smooth, Sliv! Ya ran her off!" He grumbles something else but it is blocked by a forkful of food.

"Me? She was pretty ran off before I said anything."

"Sliv. Ya might want to tone it down," adds Night. "We got minors present." He points to Paul, Amber, and Ashes. The three Sky-Walkers turn to the younger mice and human, who take that as their cue to leave. Jack and Sprite sit where they just left from.

Once seated, Sprite sticks her fingers in the steaming soup and sucks it off them. Jack sighs. "Remember what I said about spoons?" Sprite looks at him sheepishly and takes up the spoon and shovels the soup in her mouth. "Slowly," warns Jack.

"Hey, Ripper," calls Night. "If ya don't like the way she eats, maybe ya should feed her!"

Jack ignores him and says to Sprite, "Just remember to swallow between spoonfuls." Sprite nods and swallows what she had in her mouth.

Sliv leans to Jack. "So Ripper? How good is she?" Jack doesn't answer. Instead he tries to eat but the subject is anything but dropped.

"Come on, Ripper!" laughs Night. "You can't give us that, "She's not my girl," act. You're gone practically all day!"

"Yeah," adds Sliver. "And when ya get back, you're wore out! So tell us." He grins. "Or do I have to find out myself?" He gets up from the table and stands beside Sprite. She keeps on eating, but watches him out of the corner of her eye.

"I wouldn't try it," warns Jack. Sliver just laughs and leans down next to Sprite. His hand roams to her inner thigh as he says,

"So? How is m-" Sliv suddenly notices Sprite holding a fork to his throat.

"Don't touch me." The chill in her voice gives no clue to the fear clenching her throat.

"I thought you didn't want to get on my bad side, doll."

Sprite doesn't flinch and the fork doesn't waver. "I've realized that every side is your bad side so I might as well get on it and take my chances."

"Oh, I know something you could get on." Before Sliver knew it, Sprite lets the fork slide out of her hand, grabs Sliver by his neck, and flips him over her shoulder. Sliver lands with a crash of broken dishes on his back on the table. Sprite stands, still holding Sliver's throat. The others are standing out of surprise.

Sprite stares at Sliver with blank eyes. "If you want to live, leave me alone." Sliver growls.

"That's it, BITCH! You're dead!" Sliver wraps his legs around Sprite's head and flips her over the table. Sprite lands on the floor hard, skidding into the next table. Sliver is on his feet and stalking towards her with an unsheathed dagger.

"Sliver! Stop!" yells Rex, but Sliver's rage deafens him. Sprite crouches for the fight, watching for any movement from Sliver or the other Sky-Walkers. Movement! Sliver lunges for her, dagger out in front.

Sliver is waiting for her to try and dodge him; duck to the right, but she holds her ground. She catches his arm and throws him at a wall, taking the dagger from him. Sliver changes his pace and runs up the wall to flip over her. Wrong move! He notices too late that Sprite was anticipating that. She kneels holding the dagger double-handed right where he'll land! But, just before he is impaled on his own dagger, Jack knocks Sprite out of the way. Sliver lands on his feet but Rex and Night grab him.

"Let me go!" yells Sliver. "She's gonna pay!"

"You deserved everything you got!" replies Rex. "Now shut up!" Sliver opens his mouth but his voice is drowned out by Sprite's shrieking. Jack is holding her to the ground, the dagger lying abandoned where it fell a few feet away.

Sprite's arms and legs thrash wildly as she screams, "NO! MOMMY! DADDY!! NOOO!!" Rex, Sliver, and Night watch in awe as Jack tries to calm her.

"Shhh, Sprite. Everything's fine." Jack can barely be heard over her. She shakes her head still screaming at the top of her lungs, her eyes closed tight. "Sprite!" Jack shouts. "Look at me! Look! At! Me!" Jack's voice finally reaches her and she opens her eyes. She stares at him, her eyes clouded by fear.

Jack strokes the side of her face. "It's me. Ripper. Everything's OK now. Everything's fine."

"Ripper?" Sprite's whole body trembles. Jack pulls her to him and holds her, wishing he could take her fear away. Sprite buries her face in his shoulder and cries. Sobs wrack her body and Jack just holds on tighter.

Suddenly Charley and Throttle rush through the door. "We thought we heard screaming," says Throttle when they see the sight of Rex, Sliver, and Night staring at Jack holding a sobbing Sprite in his arms.

Charley runs to Sprite. "Jack? What's Sprite doing here?"

"I thought she was ready to eat with the rest of us." Guilt rips through his heart. If I hadn't of brought her here, this wouldn't have happened! He strokes the back of Sprite's head. Her tears still flowing.

"What happened?" This comes from Throttle.

"Something triggered an attack."

"Attack?" asks Throttle. He had met Sprite a day earlier and no one had said anything of any kind of attacks. Charley explains.

"She's forgotten part of her life. We're not sure how much. Sometimes she's doing something and it triggers a memory." She looks with pity at Sprite. "This is the result. She re-feels the emotions but can't recall the memory itself."

Jack stands, picking up Sprite in the process. She has cried herself to sleep in his arms. "I'll take her back to her room."

"Shouldn't you take her to Terrance?" asks Throttle.

Jack shakes his head. "There's nothing he can do to help. Nothing much I can do except be here for her." He starts to carry her out of the room but Sliver stops him.

"What's with her?" Jack looks at his cousin.

"She grew up alone in Hell."

"Hey! We didn't have Paradise either!"

"We had each other. She had no one." Jack leaves before Sliver or anyone else could think of anything else to say.


Sprite wakens as Jack lowers her to her cot. He strokes her forehead. "Shhh. Just go back to sleep." Sprite sits up and looks into Jack face.

"I'm sorry about your friend."

"I don't get that. First you don't want us mad at you 'cause you're afraid we'll hurt you. Then you're trying to kill us."

"Not you! Never you!" Sprite shouts. "I know now that you're not like the ... Plutarkians. You're nice. You're the only person that's ever been truly nice to me."

"And Sliver?"

"He's like the caged ones."

"Caged ones?"

"He talks like the ones in the cages with me. He acts like them. Trying to do things to me." Sprite lowers her eyes and waits. Ripper always acts strange after I tell him about before.

Jack plays Sprite's own trick on her. "What did you mean by, "If you want to live, leave me alone."?" Sprite doesn't answer. "You killed them didn't you?"

"Some." Jack takes her hands.

"It's all right to protect yourself if anyone tries anything like that, but you don't have to kill them. All right?" Sprite nods. Jacks holds the side of her face, stroking her cheek with his thumb. "You know you're beautiful."

"What's beautiful mean?"

"It means that I could look at you for hours and not get tired of doing it."

"You're beautiful, Ripper."

Jack smiles. "You call a man handsome."

Sprite smiles back. "You're handsome." She copies Jack's act of placing her hand on his cheek. She doesn't know why. It just felt right.

Jack's heartbeat quickens. This is driving him crazy! It's like Fate is throwing them together no matter what they do. Innocent finger painting turned into a heated wrestling match. If Terrance hadn't have came in when he did, who's knows what Jack would've done! Before that, he was showing Sprite music and ended up teaching her to dance. Let's just say that the reason Jack always goes back to the Sky-Walkers' room wore out is he's been driving Sprite out of his mind by working out in the gym. With the water shortage, cold showers are out.

Jack pulls himself away from Sprite. "I have to go for a little while." He makes his way quickly to the door. "I'll be back later."

Outside her room, Jack thinks, This is crazy! When I think of what's been done to her, it makes me sick! But I want to do the same thing! I can't get her out of my mind! He wipes his face with his hand. It still smells of her, and brings the longing back full force. Jack slams his fist into a wall and makes his way to the gym.

Inside, Sprite is battling with herself. What am I doing?! I don't understand anymore! He's nothing like anyone I've ever known! He acts like he likes me! He doesn't act like he wants anything from me! But then he runs off. He acts like he can't stand to be around me! What am I supposed to do?! She jumps onto her favorite beam and slumps into thought.


With a oomph, Jack back-flips onto a balance beam. Landing on his feet, he immediately does a backwards handstand and stays there. Concentrating on keeping his legs straight.

Sprite would like this. That small laspe in concentration causes Jack to fall hard into the mats around the beam. Damn! he thinks. Why can't I forget her for just three minutes?! Three minutes!

Jack gets up and starts on another lap around the gym. After three Jack notices Rex standing up ahead of him, grinning slightly.

Rex calls, "So this is why you're so tired when you get back." Jack stops in front of the younger mouse and leans on is knees, panting.


"Any reason?"

"Eating... too much." Jack takes a few deep breaths. "Need... ta keep... in shape."

"Ah-ha." Rex grins wider.

Jack smiles. "I bet you could use a little exercise too." Rex turns away a bit. Jack could always figure him out. Just as much as he knew food wasn't why his brother was here.

"Well then. Mind if I join you in a run?"

"If ya think ya can keep up." Jack takes off around the gym. Rex starts after him.


Sprite watches as the door to her room is slowly opened and a blonde head peaks through. "Sprite?"

"Up here, Shelly." Sprite hops off her beam and walks to her.

"I wasn't sure you were here. The door wasn't locked."

"Ripper and Terrance don't lock it anymore. I won't go out without one of them."

"Ri... Oh. Jack." Shelly grins.

"What do you want?" That came out colder than Sprite meant it.

"Oh! I'm sorry if I disturbed you." Shelly backs away a bit. "I just wanted to know how you were doing. I heard about your attack."

Sprite notices Shelly's unease. She isn't sure how to take it, but tries to remain calm "I'm OK." She smiles and Shelly relaxes.

"Did you remember anything yet?" Sprite just shakes her head. "Just curious but, have they tried "sharing" yet?"

"Sharing? What's that?"

"I thought mice can share memories by putting their antenna on your head. My mom says they did it to her when they first met her."

Sprite shrugs. "They haven't tried it yet."

"Hey. Do you know how to swim?" Sprite looks at Shelly confused. "I take that as a No. It's just that Throttle got one of the pools for the Freedom Fighters and we were invited. I thought maybe you'd like to go. But snce you don't know how..."

"I could learn."

Shelly smiles. "Then let's go." She starts out the door.

Sprite hesitates. Should I go without Ripper? He told me to trust his friends and Shelly's his friend. Sprite takes a deep breath and follows Shelly after leaving a note for Jack.


Even from the hallway, Jack can hear Sprite's laughter. It's almost like it comes straight for him. He steps through the doorway into the pool area. At least twenty Freedom Fighters and their kids are milling about this place but Jack picks Sprite out of the crowd no problem. Well, one. The second he sees her, his heart stops, and something lower starts to throb.

Sprite stands, wearing a simple black one-piece swimsuit, talking to Shelly and some other girls. Sprite turns her head and sees Jack. Her smile immediately widens and she jogs over to him. Jack watches her approach. Hopefully I don't have to explain why. Then he asks, "Have fun?"

Shaking her wet hair off her shoulders, and accidentally giving Jack a long look at the curve of her neck, Sprite says, "Yeah. It was...." She starts waving her hand slightly trying to figure out the word.

"Cool?" supplies Jack.

"Yeah. Cool. Ripper? Do you know how to swim?"

"Yeah, but I ain't gonna. You ready to go?" Before Sprite can answer, Jack is knocked into the pool by one young male mouse and one young male human.

Ashes and Paul laugh at Jack's sputtering form. Sprite looks confused for a moment, but a good look at Jack's surprised face has her giggling as well.

Jack swims to the edge of the pool. "Oh! You think that's funny?" Sprite nods. Jack holds up a hand to her. "Help me out."

"Sprite, don't!" Ashes and Paul's warnings come too late. Once she is close enough, Jack pulls her into the pool with him.

Sprite comes up shaking water out of her shocked face. Jack laughs. "Serves ya right!"

"I didn't do it!" protests Sprite. She points to the boys. "They did!" The boys decide this is a good time to leave before Jack gets out of the pool.

Jack laughs as he watches them then suddenly gets a faceful of water. He turns to a grinning Sprite and receives another wave. A short slash war ensues.

Finally, Jack pulls himself out of the pool while helping Sprite out with his tail. "I hate wet boots!" Sanri chuckles as she bring two towels over. She hands one to each mouse and says to Sprite,

"If you want to, you can keep the suit."

Sprite smiles. "Thank you."

Jack sighs at his drenched self. "I have to get some dry clothes." He turns to Sprite. "You want me to walk you to your room first?"

Sprite looks to Sanri. Sanri nods. "Go on. I'll have Amber bring your things to your room."


Jack and Sprite walk down the hallway silently, except for Jack grumbling about wet boots. When they reach the door to Sprite's room, Sprite finally turns to him. "Ripper? Are you mad at me?"

Jack shakes his head. "No. Why?"

"You're not talking to me." Jack grins and takes her hand; rubbing the top of it with his thumb.

"Sorry. I'm not much of a talker." Actually he was busy trying to calm himself, but not because of anger. He looks at her soft face and into her trusting eyes. He had never seen eyes that could be that hard yet soft. That cold yet warm. He could feel himself drowning in her eyes and he didn't care.

Slowly, Jack lowers his face closer to Sprite's. Sprite's mouth trembles as Jack presses his to it. Jack gently nudges his tongue against her mouth in a question of Please? Sprite's mouth opens to him and he plunges deeper.

Jack wraps one arm around Sprite's waist. His other hand becomes entangled in her hair, and he entwines his tail with hers. He barely notices as Sprite's hands slide up to behind his neck; trembling all the while.

Jack pulls himself away grudgingly and looks into Sprite's face. Her eyes are filled with tears and already shed tears have re-wet her cheeks. Jack takes a ragged sigh and leans his forehead against hers. He can feel her heart beating like a frightened squirrel-bat's against his chest. He whispers, hoarsely, "Tell me whether I should go or stay."

Sprite closes her eyes and the tears fall again. "Would you hate me if I said, "Go?"

"I could never hate you." Jack slowly releases her and opens the door to her room. Sprite turns from him and enters her room. Jack shuts the door between them and leans heavily, forehead first, on the door. I could never hate you, because I think I'm falling in love with you.

To Be Continued.

To Be Continued.