Ch. 19

Grey Dies


By: Cutegirlmayra (I'll rewrite the book, this was the first writeup/rough draft, and I want to know what you think could be strengthened for the second go at it. But I enjoyed this story, and I enjoyed your comments and excitement. Thank you for everything!

Please enjoy this last installment of Colors!...

The prequel…

to Aerial Ace.)

It was evident that Shade was more focused on fighting Rocketman than me. He pulled his tower back to bend and fire him out like a sling-shot, zipping by above me like an arrow through the sky towards him.

Rocketman looked serious this time, more than I had seen him before. He was finally taking Shade's threat seriously, pulling back a fist and punching the air to knock Shade off course.

He walked briskly to me, not even bothering to look back at Shade who was caught by his dark, thick vines that wrapped around him and hung around him like a net from a spider's web.

"Jet?" He spoke the absolute critical words and nothing more.

Waiting for my reply, I hurriedly spoke what he needed to hear. "Hurt, but fine. Getting care as we speak. Wishes he could be here, trust me." I made a lighthearted tilt of my head to show the humor in my words, underexaggerating how much I knew it hurt Jet's pride to be considered a 'liability' in his condition.

Rocketman nodded, but I saw Shade get placed on the ground, hunching over as he rose a hand. A ton of dark vines launched themselves up and began to create a spiky mass, forming slowly out into what looked like a deadly spiked lance.

"Richard-" I reached a hand forward, but Shade hurled the dark spear through the air, "Look out!"

The vibrant bands of light behind me twisted and spun forward over me and Rocketman, immediately leaping out to catch the spear and push against it.

I could feel the tension, my hands flexed as I strained against the force of the spear.

Even Sparkles was trying to push back against Shade's spear with all her might, I could hear her struggle from within.

"Hang in there…" I encouraged her, speaking through my gritted teeth.

Then Shade burst out a cry, "Quit interfering!"

This was clearly a battle he wanted to have alone, but I could instantly tell this was more an emotional fight than one of revenge.

Something wasn't right. He was clearly unstable, but more so than before.

Perhaps seeing Rocketman made the difference, but I wasn't going to let him have his face.

"I won't stop!" I redirected the angle of the spear, realizing I couldn't push back against it more than leaving it at a stalemate, and it crashed into the side of the earth.

Immediately after, a metallic ringing vibrated from its impact before the vines quickly untangled and split apart to withdraw back to the shadows.

It misted around the light of the fires though… I wonder…

If they were staying clear of bright lights, maybe I needed to make mine brighter too…

"Leave this to me." Rocketman stepped towards Shade, lifting a hand to pat the air lightly, as though telling me I wasn't needed.

That sort of back-handed comment insulted me, but I resisted the urge to get offended. I simply backed down…

Jet looked ready to rumble, but immediately switched to enraged when Rocketman stated,

"He's merely a sidekick."

Wait… Did he really just say that?!

That idiot! Did he realize what horrors Shade had done!? Has he really got the guts to say that at this point!?

Shade's nostrils flared, sending shards of dark matter towards Rocketman.

Instantly, Rocketman tried to flick them away with literal flicks from his thumb and pointer finger. Although he did get a few away, the shards thinned themselves out like a flat surface, moving under his powerful, channeled wind blasts and having the darkness spread out in blotches over him.

He held a hand up to examine the phenomenon but soon more kept engulfing or splashing into him.

He struggled, at first ripping at it, reminding me of that thug that me and Coop dealt with back in the sewers. Could Shade control people through darkness?

No, this was different. It wasn't seeping into Rocketman, it was completely overcoming him.

He blasted light by withdrawing into himself and crying out as he shoot forth air waves that moved through the sky.

I plugged my ears, hearing them ringing.

Lily! Do something!

"W-where was Pierce?"

No time, Lily. Go!

"You're the clever one! You do something!" I gestured for an idea, but she remained silent.

I heard something sorrowful in her next words though and didn't know what they meant.

I won't be able to soon… Lily.

"What?" What does that mean!?

I looked back and saw Rocketman shout out in pain as the darkness completely covered him from the inside of his mouth to his eyes.

Dark Destiny was his villain, wasn't he? Why didn't he have a strategy for this?

Then again, Shade must have known his father lost to Rocketman plenty of times, maybe this was his counterattack.

Shade certainly looked confident but also like a mess. His crazed grin letting a few chuckles of relief out every now and then.

Was he that desperate to win..?

Seeing him that way, I felt so much pity for him. Defeating Rocketman wouldn't solve any of his problems. They were all inside, somewhere he clearly couldn't touch.

"Alright… I'll fight." I pulled every bit of strength that I had left into this.

I pushed every last ounce of light I had and let the ribbons pour into Rocketman, spreading out over the darkness and shoving it to the side as much as it could.

"Ahhh!" Shade's hands steamed, he had to remove his gloves in a reflex of the burning, revealing how red they had become.

Rocketman stopped shouting, but let his shoulders and head relax down. With Shade distracted, the power was easily overtaken by my own.

Sparkles's own.

Our own?

"You… why are you so convinced they're right and I'm wrong?" Shade could barely touch his raw skin, still clearly burnt but not on fire anymore. He started to come towards me, "How could you let them deceive you!?" I saw the signs of tears, but watched as he threw his head back and cried out. "Aughh!"

"…Shade, I've come to see that it's not people that are the problem." I spoke calmly, removing the lights from Rocketman as he was about to attack Shade.

I swung my arm and light threw him across the field and behind a building, pinning him down so I could have this conversation.

He definitely wasn't one for small talk, but I wouldn't let him hurt Shade if there was still a way I could save him…

"Heh… are you… still trying to reform me?" Shade hunched his back again, laughing softly. "If you joined me… you would realize that people are the problem."

"It's ideas, Shade! It's ideas that bad people make to gain control or power over others! You did the same thing. If people-!"

"Were angels?! A perfect government doesn't exist, Lily!" He began to throw darkness up into the air, building a cylinder around him. "What happened to your 'staying neutral' policy, underdog!?" he flung it down as a sea of darkness surfed over the area and began dragging people into its depths.

I jumped on my rainbow, but noticed that other heroes, villains, and kids were all being dropped into it, choking and unable to swim up from it.

"Stop it!" I cried out.

He only shook his head, "Ultimatums are kinda my strong suit." He rose up on a smaller pillar this time, standing toe to figurative toe with me in the air.

"I don't know why I bother… but you've enchanted me with your eyes just as much as I can with mine." He stared into my eyes, and I suddenly realized my effect on him too. "I still believe you see things as I do… I also believe that Dr. Ram has polluted your wonderful ideals with a false sense of realism. Who says dreams can't come true?" He gestured around him, the cries of people suddenly rang up from below the dark sea…

"What are you doing to them!?" I watched in absolute helplessness as they stopped choking, but kept sinking further and further, as though the earth didn't exist under the ocean of blackness they kept falling through.

I could barely see them now, as they cried out towards the only piece of light they could see… me.

He outstretched his hand again, moving in close before touching my cheek and making me flinch.

I was breathing heavily, feeling the sting from the fire's smoke in my lungs with each frantic gulp I took.

"…Stop resisting it, Lily…" he looked exhausted, but I could finally tell that it was a game.

I knew he wanted me on his side, but I was thoroughly convinced he wanted Colors, not me.

"In the beginning, you said that yin and yang don't mix." I said.

He lowered his head but kept his eyes fixated to me, "I also said they couldn't work together without some conflict, but doesn't every relationship create some kind of core goal that keeps them steady? Life is that goal. A life we can both create…" He lowered his touch to my hand, pulling it up to him. "Together?" he kissed it lightly, but I could feel the sticky rawness of his burned skin.

"Are you really that forgiving?" I referred to his hands.

He let out a coughed laugh.

"Sorry, Shade." I removed my hand, "But I came to find that the only way to change the world… is to save it."

He shook his head, "Don't make that same mistake." He spat out, "Don't say it again. I can't take your rejection again!"

I slowly… offered my hand.

"Then don't make me have too." I whispered lightly, "Just hear my side out. Decide your fate. Dr. Ram said you were unsavable. Prove to me you can change and don't reject my offer."

He stared at it.

"Prove that you can let go of control just as much as I had too… That you can learn to make friends, heh. Learn to fight without violence and tyranny. Show me that its people who are the problem, and not the ideas." I twisted his words, "Or let me show you that it's the ideas, not the boy who just lost his father."

The line really took him back, as he visually did lean back and his eyes glazed over to the distance, not daring to look at me.

"…Please, Shade." I came closer, never wavering my hand to him. "I don't want to give up on you either…"

He closed his eyes, continuing to shake his head as he turned back to me, lifting his hand.

"You'll have too." He lifted his hand to reveal the spiraling vortex of the other, contorting dimension in his hand.

I barely had time to react, when I heard Jet crying out my name, and was sucked into the void.

.How long has this pain been happening?...

My body was contorted in all unknown ways, twisting and being split like a puzzle before thrown back together and warped, a Picasso painting or something straight out of a nightmare.

The pain had almost made me forget why I was trapped here, how I got sucked into Shade's black hole space. I remembered Jet's voice, crying out to me, muffled and almost forgotten as this plane of existence kept shifting me over and over again, repeating its strange horrors and leaving me wanting death.

Still, I wanted to believe Shade could be saved.

Even after all this.

I willowed in the despair that I wasn't able to save him but gave a prayer that someone could do it. I haven't prayed in a long time. I was blacking out.

Then… a strange sensation took over my anguished mind.

-Sparkles's Memory-

"Now, listen carefully, dear girl."

Dr. Ram?

He was in his lab, tossing something cube-ish from hand to hand.

"You like this? Do you like this? I know you like this one!" he was getting Sparkles, the perspective I figured I was looking out through, all riled up with a tease like a dog and a tennis ball.

"Now then, this is first a reflector… and a replusor." Dr. Ram giggled to himself, probably knowing that wasn't a real term. "It magnifies and enhances light. Simply put a light source through here… into this gel…" He pulled out a flashlight, turning the cube into a gel that started blasting the light all around like a disfigured disco ball. However, the main light source was suck in the gel, growing and shining through the clear, floating liquid gel that suddenly released it and the entire room shot up in white.

When Sparkles's eyes adjusted, I noticed she was ducking under a table, and Dr. Ram rubbing his eyes.

"Sparkle? Where's my good girl, now, you must remember this. It's important for Leelee." He mimicked her strange language, and Sparkles, upon hearing my name, flew out to him once more.

"Bah-soo!" she mimicked the sound the gel had made.

The gel had reformed into a solid square again, and he quickly picked it up.

"Now." He poked it in his hands. "Now, now, now… how to tell you this…" He looked away, "You've been with Lily for a long time…" He turned away and kicked his legs out one after the other with his slow, unbalanced stride. "However, I've been keeping taps on you two lately. And my precious dear, I have come to find out some tragic news."

He about-faced to her, clicking his heels. "As you know, I staged that little match with Colors and Terra. Not that I knew she'd be knocked out or anything, though I figured you'd protect her, but I learned something invaluable that day."

Sparkles floated up to lick his hair, playing with it as his thin, white hairs swooped into curls with each playful tug of her tongue.

"Now, stop that. This isn't time the time to be utterly cute." He held her in his arms and straight out in front of her. "Lily needs to know this. You're the only one that can save her…" His eyes grew to a deep love as he stared at Sparkles, lightly scratching her ears and making her chime. "You're such a good girl, Sparkles. You've been aware all along, since the beginning, haven't you?" He nuzzled her nose, and for a moment, I was even smitten at how sweet Dr. Ram was being to her.

"…Every time you and Lily combine forces to slay the figurative dragons in her life… She ends up taking more and more of your light."

I suddenly didn't feel anything, I literally felt like a zombie as I predicted the next things he'd say.

"Your very life is in your power, Sparkles. Your tail has shrunk and sparkled less brilliantly… your colors are going mute, while her hair keeps shining brighter blonde with each transformation." He had to lower his head, letting her go to rub his eyes again.

She grew worried and floated closer to him, but he simply waved her concerns aside. "Oh, no. No, no, don't worry about me. Just some residual impairment. My vision hurts just a bit from that light explosion, don't mind me." He was clearly feeling just as hurt as I was.

"Sometimes, to save those we love, we must sacrifice the ultimate gift we possess." He held a hand over his mouth and finally moved to a chair, sitting down as Sparkles excitedly landed on his knee, wanting to be bounced like Aldin would do.

She was still too young here, not able to understand fully, I could tell that as much.

Was she reflecting this now? Why could I see her memory? Was this like that one time I conked out and could see what she had done?

"What a good girl, you are." He sniffed, continuing to love on her like he would a beloved pet. "You saved her, and you'll do it again without a second's notice. You love her. She loves you. A beautiful but dangerous friendship. When all your light has been absorbed into her own light, you'll disappear and become the very sentient power that rest within her. You'll be non-existent. The power won't remember or know what 'Lily' even means. What 'Sparkles' even was. It will be just that, power that Lily will finally, fully control."

I felt numb, I didn't want to hear this. Sparkles was going to be absorbed!? That's absorb!

-End of Sparkles memory-


I was pulled out of the setting, strapped back into the car seat of a never-ending torture ride as Sparkles's voice sounded clear as day.

Her voice had matured, though still high-pitched, it sounded much more sure of her words than ever before.

Don't be sad… Ram was right. I love you. I've never left your side since the day you took me in, fed me, and kept me warm. I can never forget the first time a creature helped me, saving me from a strange exile that should have ended me. I may not exist anymore, but my memories are yours to carry now. I will live on in your mind forever. Even when you can't feel or hear me, I'll always be in your beautiful mind.

'No! Shut up! This isn't happening!' I couldn't speak in this world, but I felt my eyes crying at weird angles and ways as I continued to be contorted in this space. 'You're not going anywhere! I've treated you horribly and I need to make it right! You can't leave me!'

A flood of memories poured through my mind like a montage of fleeting, happy dreams that zoomed through a life's worth of precious scenes. Everything played so beautifully, so vivid and clear as though it was my own.

'Don't leave me, Sparkles.' I watched our adventures together, our fallouts, our tender moments. 'I can't be super without you. I can't be happy without you. You're… my only friend.'

Even I know that's no longer true, Lily. You've really changed in wonderful ways. You've been strong, you've been weak, and you've been wrong. But now, you're finally moving towards what's right. I've seen grey, Lily. It's not worth chasing. My whole planet was grey, both literally and figuratively. I don't want Shade to make your planet the same… violent, greedy, merciless… where only the strong thrive. I liked your planet. It was fun, it was loving, and it was beautiful. Shade will try to drain all the power from the world, but you must protect these wonderful colors, Lily. You must be the hero… to all the colors of the universe.

I could feel her consciousness slipping, suddenly, I connected so much with a pig crying over a dying mother spider.

'Sparkles…' I could feel my power growing stronger, I could see in this darkness and pain a growing light and in that light… a cube.

'I love you, Sparkles… Thank you. For everything.'

The power fully combined with me, blazing my hair alight. I realized that so much power had been within Sparkles, power I didn't even comprehend. But then again, when did I ever fully comprehend the powers of light?

I was so distraught, that the last fleeting feeling of Sparkles that I had left, was her thrusting me into a ball of light, a signature of hers, and hurling me towards the cube like a comet.

I love you too… Lily…. Lily…. Lily….

As a ball of light, I couldn't feel the black hole's distortion. The gel connected my light into thousands of splitting pathways, until I could feel myself expanding and building until I couldn't suppress it any longer.

'Sparkles!' I blasted through the realm, covering everything that was darkness till there was nothing left to suppress me.

-Jet's POV-


Shade shook his hand out, looking somewhat conflicted in his actions.

What? Was he really going to try and pull that one on me?

I tightened my fist. This wasn't heartbreak. This was murder.

I flew down and searched the area, "Pierce?" I called, "Are you still connected to Lily?"

'Sorry… I couldn't reach her at all.' His voice sounded shaken, it was still weird hearing something in my head. My ears didn't pick up on anything, it was like my own thoughts without my voice. So strange…

"Then… she's alone?" I looked to Shade, standing a few yards away from me, still shaking his arm out and not looking at his hand.

'Please don't talk out loud.' Was Pierce still afraid of him? 'And what if I am?'

So… Even Pierce was feeling uneasy with Lily swallowed up by that freak's power.

I couldn't just sit back and watch him pace, I had to ram that fake grief off his lying little-!

'I picked up Rocketman's thoughts not too far away, he was being held back by Lily's light power, but it vanished with her.'

'No one can die from that world, right? I was there, and I came out alright.' I lightly fibbed, knowing full well what that world had done to me.

'…You weren't in there long enough…'

My throat constricted. What did he mean by that!?

I threw my hand out, pulling some wind with me. Combined with the smoke, it was a good cover, and I launched myself out to spin kick'em!

'Don't be hasty! Regroup with Rocketman!'

Impulsively, I weaved my smoky attack to make myself unpredictable, but Shade looked up and immediately his darkness spiked up to protect him.

I whammed my leg into it, feeling the raw pain shot up my leg as I twisted to have the air pressure take most of the impact force.

'You're still not fully recovered!'

"How could you!?" I spun out of the windy vortex kick, not daring to land on the dark terrain and just flrew through the air to fire more turbine attacks.

He didn't answer me, we just countered each attack and kept at it. He was a long-ranged attacker, I figured as much from last time, but this time he took in his darkness as a kind of sleek armor around himself and took my hits.

He caught me once, spiraling his darkness around me to try and suffocate me and drag me into the darkness below.

The entire ground seemed to disappear, I was pulled into the abyss and found myself in total darkness.

I fought against the constricting black tentacles, but I couldn't free myself no matter how many sonic boom punches I threw at it.

I heard voices from below me, but when I looked down to see where they were; nothingness.

Above me hovered on the real ground was Shade, staring down as I continued to struggle.

More shouting, more calling out for help. "What is this!?" I blared out, "Release Lily!"

"…Is she yours to demand for?" Shade slowly dipped himself into he blackness, looking like he had flown underwater.

He gestured with his hand and suddenly I started choking, grabbing my throat and trying to medically figure out a way to stop the suffocating.

We had training with this before, but not when there wasn't anything physically present…

As I struggled, Shade came closer. "She chose you… was I too soft? Not forward enough?" He shook his head, "You wouldn't understand us… how did she relate to the likes of you? You… heroes and sidekicks…" he laughed, "My darkness… her light… we were like moths drawn to the same flame. What were you? Wind? Sky? Freedom, perhaps? I can't see it. I can't see a single thing about you that would be more alluring than me." He swung his arm and I was dipped upside down, feeling the blood start rushing to my head.

"I hate it. But there is something that can quench that hatred, just a little bit." He cocked his head to the side, letting his hair—almost fading in with the surroundings and making him appear bald—flap to the side as he angled himself vertically. "The fact that you'll know what she's feeling. The torture she's sustaining because of you. You are your heroic ideals. They're her doom. She'll be tortured, but in my grasp, for the rest of her existence."

Does that mean she won't die?

Pierce was silent.

"The fact that you now know that. That gives me some satisfaction out of this whole mess." He straightened us up, adjusting his hair out of his face.

"Such a shame… she was a beauty, too. I wouldn't have minded a little rebellion from her, but this was just too much."

I felt myself blacking out, no pun intended when suddenly I heard a blast from above a fire blaze over his darkness.

"What?!" Shade threw himself back and let me fall, getting pulled by his darkness up to the surface again.

I could breathe now, but I was too tried and broken to try.

Then I felt arms around me, big and sturdy, as I was rapidly pulled out of the bottomless pit.

"Keep it together, Jet."

Uncle Richard?

"Sam wouldn't want to see you like this."

…He was right.

I thought of my little brother, taking some air in and remembering that I couldn't give up. I promised the day he died, never to give up on anything.

I had told him he was overreacting. That he wasn't really that sick. It was just a fever and a cold.

I would never be that nonchalant about anything in my life every again. I was either all in or nothing. I would never take anything as a light threat.

When Shade first popped up on his own, I knew something was amiss. I was so ticked off when Richard never listened to my concerns. I wasn't going to shake his presence off. I couldn't. I would never ignore anything as a nuisance ever again.

Even with Lily, for Sam's sake, I never took her as a small thing. If I liked her, and I wanted to save her, then I would put up with everything and do whatever it takes to help her. Even if that meant falling hard for her. I wasn't going down without an honest and goodly fight.

I still recall when he was bedridden, coughing up a storm and Jankins pouring some water down and then grabbing a napkin to dab his forehead…

"Aldin…" he had called for me while I was playing some stupid mobile name. "Aldin…"

Jankins had turned around to me, "He's calling for you, sir." And I begrudgingly got up and fell by his bedside.

"What?" I called him a crybaby in my head. It was two weeks before he was about to die.

"Can you… sing the sick song… Mom used to sing to me?"

I groaned, but Jankins whacked me upside the head.

I sang the song half-heartedly. Three days before he died, I tried to hold myself together as I cried through the song. You are my sunshine…

I looked dead into Shade's eyes, seeing him shaken as the flames had brought up enough light to leave him vulnerable for a moment.

My only sunshine…

I thought of Lily. The first time I saw her, how scared she looked. Then that time she teased me, the chase, the first kiss I could land on her…

You make me happy, when skies are grey.

Rocketman called out an attack I knew by heart, as I grabbed his hand and got into formation, diving up through the air at lightning speeds.

Her smile merged with Sam's, when he was barely awake, delirious from the fever having taken away the majority of his life, but conscious enough to know I was singing to him.

At least, I hoped he knew.

You'll never know, dear. How much I love you…

We spun down in a mimic of a kamikaze, but it was only a farce, one I could tell Shade hadn't seen before.

When he wasn't with his father, he didn't see how Rocketman faced him. He only knew what he experienced. We had an advantage with this. It was rare we ever pulled it out from under our sleeve either.

Was Uncle Richard finally taking this seriously?

Please don't take, my sunshine… away.

The winds were like a high-powered fan, ramming into him as he tried to retaliate by having his darkness push against the winds and attempt to grab us.

He flatted the slick exterior and launched them at us as we pulled up. The swan dive with out grip on our arms, spinning like a turbine unlatched and we flew off in opposite directions.

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping…

Rocketman would have wanted me to regroup for another attack, but I fixed my sights on Shade.

I came charging back to him, at knots I knew I hadn't trained my super-human body for.

I felt myself blanking out, but if I managed to break through his defenses, I could take him out into that dark abyss below us and maybe shoot him down far enough that he'd be lost for good.

Or the impact would shatter both our bodies into nothingness, either or.

I dreamt I held you, in my arms.

But then, out of nowhere, I saw a bright light form from his hand.

My eyes widened as he pulled it up to his face. It was trembling as the light cracked through his skin, and he shouted out in pain.

But when I awoke, dear. I was mistaken…

That light grew and grew, cracking through his skin as though it was made of china. As it overtook him and my sights, seeing small embers fly off from him, I pulled back at the last second, curving my suicidal, last resort.

I heard a muffled call of my name from Richard, slowed my speed and dodged the buildings to land in a crushed building's half-intacted window and land on a couch.

Please don't take… my sunshine… away…

I thought I had fainted, if it weren't for the fact that my mind was stuck on holding my little brother's limp body, crying my eyes out and refusing to let anyone else touch him.

When I finally got the sense to get up and look out the now shattered fully window, I saw Shade's whole body had filled up with light, turning him a burning red and his eyes yellow completely, like shining a light through an egg. His veins bulged, lines like a volcano's lava trailed all over his body.

He was gripping his hand… and then, it opened to blast an explosion of light, engulfing him in it as he became nothing more than flying ash.


The light formed a being, hair glowing a brilliant gold and arms outstretched out. She stumbled, looking around before threatening to collapse.

I thrusted myself out and flew as fast as I could, catching her like a feather with how fast I halted.

A sonic boom blasted the dark ground it started to dissipate in a ripple effect of my winds.

People began popping up on the ground and looking around, almost as if they had been asleep.

I shook her a moment, "Lily… Lily!" Was she alive!? Was she!?

'She is! My word, she is alive!' Pierce cried out in absolute ecstatic joy.

"Spa… Sparkles… no… Sparkles…" she was muttering faintly to herself.

"What's wrong with Sparkles?" I asked, turning her over and then lifting her into my arms.

"Darkness can't exist in light…" She said, but I didn't quite follow. "… Sparkles… she… couldn't exist a second longer… and fully gave her power to me… to preserve my life… she…"

What? Sparkles was gone?

I turned my head. I had to lose another friend?

At least she saved Lily… but still…

At least I didn't have to say goodbye to her.

"So, Sparkles helped you break free of his world."

"…Ram." She could barely open her eyes. Suddenly, her chest began to spring forth light, like sparklers.

"W-woah!" I leaned away from it, feeling the heat coming off of it.

Her eyes suddenly shot open, "SPARKLES!" her eyes blasted out light that blinded me, I had to look away.


The entire sky filled with light, and any trace of shadow was replaced by her creation of light. It was like a match being lit with striking force, burning up the clouds and hurting my eyes.

When it stopped, she went limp in my arms.

"Where's…. Shade." She seemed to be committed to a new goal. I could tell she was upset, trying to rip my hold off of her and sluggishly get to her feet.

"…He's gone." I realized she didn't know.

"What..?" As though she couldn't hear me, she turned her ear up to my mouth.

"You came out like a blazing comet, Lily." Pierce, help me out here.

I saw what she was seeing, Pierce showing her the entire thing through me and Rocketman's vision. 'Shade was directly connected to that black hole. When you spontaneously burst, channeled from Dr. Ram's invention, you became a type of wave that was like liquid magma to his skin. He had to release you, but by doing so, you completely consumed him in your light.'

She fell back into me, having me catch her as I watched her eyes fill with the horror of that realization.

"He was a bad man, Lily." I didn't get everything Pierce was showing me, but I knew it must have been a recap of what Lily did to escape. "You aren't a murder." But I knew exactly what she was thinking.

Her ideology was to save everyone. Now she must be thinking she committed the ultimate sin.

"You did save us, Lily." But it clearly wasn't enough.

I tried to hold her for comfort but she began to cry, grieving as she dug her hands into her face.

I closed my eyes, feeling her kick and cry out—"Sparkles! Sparkles, what did you make me do!?"

"She saved your life!" I tried to counter her sorrow, but I knew she just needed to let it out.

"Jet! Get away from her!"

"Huh?" I opened my eyes… and saw the swirling liquid of color being absorbed from everything around me, the whole of the world being drained into an invisible, almost non-existent looking plane.

It was like they were see-through glass you could only see because of the small, faint black line of a corner turning in.

She shoved me aside while I was distracted by the light show, getting sucked into the tangible whirlpool of colors overhead, surrounding her like the Swan Princess about to transform.

I knew she didn't have control over this because she clearly didn't remove her hands to see what she was doing around her.

The effects had people falling down, their color being stripped from them, turning them see-through as well.

"Jet!" Richard disappeared from my sights, reaching out to me, like a loving father.

"Richard!" I called back before seeing my green and black suit fade from my eyes as well. I looked myself over, unable to see anything like those VR simulators.

I could feel I was here, but I couldn't see it.

"Lily…" I looked up, seeing the circling mass of color and not able to distinguish her in the center of it. "I've lost you too many times… I won't let it happen again!"

I blasted up to grab her, moving through the color to have my color restored to me, holding her as she fought to pull me away.

"No!" she cried out, "Let me go! I'm a monster!"

"This isn't your fault!"

I heard a helicopter above, but couldn't see it through the colors, rapidly spinning around me like someone twirling paint around with a brush.

Detective Cooper stuck out his head, but it soon vanished from my sights again, becoming like a glass man. "Calm down, Rainbow! It's okay! We're all okay! You won!"

That wouldn't help. Lily didn't want to win, she wanted to save.

I looked back at her face, watching as she seemed utterly broken and defeated.

She hadn't won…

She very much felt lost.

Waiting for someone to try and save her…

-Lily's POV-

Sparkles died for me… Dr. Ram died for Art… Shade… he died for his beliefs and ideals.

But in the end… wasn't it me that killed them all?

Shade came to the school for me, Sparkles died so that her powers could be given to me, and…

And I straight up murdered Shade to free myself.

"I didn't mean too… I didn't… I want her back! I want him back! I want Dr. Ram and-!" This all happened because of death, didn't it? The sad truth was, that most things seemed to steam on someone's death. Dark Destiny died, resulting in Shade. Jet's brother died, resulting in him taking the steps to become a full-fledged hero. Sparkles died so I could be free and fully become Colors. That man who used to sing to Guinevere died, so she didn't get married and had no children to give her beautiful dress too. The old man with his dog and sons died so I could inhabit his abandoned home.

What did Shade die for?

Peace? Hope? A restoration done in a better light?

What even was light… but the absence of darkness…

I plugged my ears, trying to rip away the unwanted touch and just sob. I didn't really open my eyes, but I heard something was wrong.

Everyone wanted me to calm down. Why? Why should I? Why should people die, why should they fight against being saved? Where was my grey line, where was the purest and truest white that solved everything or the boldest black to compare the light too?

Nothing seemed to make sense anymore. What was I? Was I really the grey I wanted to create? And what's so great about grey, anyway. What was I fighting for? Was I even really sure about it?

I've been fighting for a concept I barely could define, and now, I killed someone for it.

It may not have been on purpose, but I was the cause. What was the purpose in all this!? What was the color I was searching for?

Surrounded by colors… all my life. Seeing them in a different view didn't change my internal struggle against it. I couldn't just blend in like all the others, I had to try and make something new, something I thought was rational.

But not this. He was so young. He looked like he could have been my age or maybe a little older. It wasn't fair. We're all so young and stupid. The adults are old and stupid. What's the difference?

What are we all doing this for anyway? If all we ever do is die so another idea can live.

I began to pick up on the soft tones and light puffs of air hitting against my ear from behind me. Aldin?

His arms wrapped around me, possibly to comfort me and make it easier for me to listen to his hushed voice.

He took a breath, "Lily… you're not bad. You may not be perfect either… but you're not alone in all this."

I slowly opened my eyes, shocked to see something wet or liquid spiraling around me in all sorts of pastel colors.

I watched as it hit against me as I was just breaking from my fetal position in the air. It wasn't wet, it only looked wet. I felt the color pass my cheek as it slowly moved in on us, it felt like sunlight moving across a car's window frame.

It blended and bent as though oil on the surface of water, and I noticed my body was shooting small, changing beams of gentle light out to reflect it out at the surrounding area.

A cocoon? Had I created this?

He spoke again while my tears turned the same color as the ones whipping by us. "You don't have to go through this by yourself… you're good, Lily! You're so good! You're not trying to hurt anyone and that makes you good!"

Was there ever really grey in my life? There was a home. There were parents I couldn't understand and didn't want to end up as. There was a brother who was slowly becoming them. Was it bad? Was it good?

"There is no black and white, Lily."

I flinched, feeling him instinctively hold his arms tighter around my waist, bending his head down into the crook of my neck and shoulder.

"They're just another color. We're all colors. People are colors that change and grow into many shades and tones of light. Sometimes we're bright, sometimes we're dim." He chuckled, "Sometimes… it's hard to tell if we have light or are carrying the absence of it."

I was listening now, watching the colors slow their swirling and begin to spread out again.

"People are all sorts of colors, Lily… Don't take out all the other colors in the world, because it's all of us that make the world."

I thought of Kiki, Pierce, Aldin, Scarlet, Detective Coop… so many people I've met.

So many colors…

"Red, purple, blue, magenta… it's not bad. None are adherently bad. It's what makes us human. Let yourself be human, Lily. Let yourself be more than just black, grey, and white. Be something much more fun and beautiful. Be colorful. Express them all at different twists and turns in your life. Don't just force yourself to stick to all of them, none of them, or some of them at the same time. Give the world it's colors, Lily. Give yourself to the world of light."

His calm, soothing voice brought me understanding I had been searching for. A purpose. To protect the colors and help them fit where they belong.

Dr. Ram said Shade could have had a wonderful life with his talents,… there must be many who need someone to help them belong on the candle that helps their light to shine the most.

The colors all flew back to where they belonged. People on the ground sluggishly looked around and at themselves, seeing the color return to their faces, eyes, clothes, and their world around them.

I fell into Aldin's arms, looking up to him with tears still prevalent in my eyes. "Can you show me?" I submitted completely, "Can you show me all the different colors of this world? And help me find where I belong?"

I could see the shift in his eyes, the subtle twinkle of joy from having been allowed to save me.

I listened. I decided to change my point of view.

For the first time, I looked out at the world with a smile. There was no longer hate and animosity. There was a promise to make this world a better place, see it in a better light.

I didn't know exactly how to fix it yet, but maybe…

I should start with me.

Start figuring out what light I wanted to be.

What colors I could fill my life with.

ARCHIVE REPORT: The Full Historical Account of C.A.T.S Purpose and Mission Standards.

So, Lily stood outside her parents home, clutching Jet's hand and deciding to confront her past, so her future could be full of light.

Her family had seen the reports, heard the news, watched her on t.v. With Jet's help, she gained the courage to visit her family and make things right again.

Dr. Ram's brain was reported to have been wandering the unknown universe before finally self-combusting, creating—incidentally, an entirely new nebula. Many speculate that the combustion just helped the surrounding elements, but many believe this 'big bang' was the essence of Dr. Ram's power, and that wherever he had obtained it from, was certainly where many people wanted to investigate.

My name is Pierce, and this account I give is true. I later was given permission to perceive Jet, or rather Aldin's thoughts on this event too, as well as Dr. Ram having allowed me access to his brain well before the events of this occurred. As to all other Points Of View I hope you can forgive me for my lack of writing, perception, or even the small incidents where nothing makes sense. To these individuals, there were many times it didn't.

This report was asked to be made by the officials here, in this organization known as C.A.T.S. Created on the foundation of Colors's new purpose, the Collective Assistance To Supers strives to rehabilitate documented Villains into a task force that can do much good. These individuals known as M.I.C.E, for Mighty Inner Change Experiment are those reformed villains who choose to find a place in this world and do much good.

This was the wish of Colors, or rather Lily, who dedicated her life to saving all who would listen to her. Promising a life for them in this world that would welcome their abilities and talents without the need to destroy the world or anything in it.

This document contains different accountings of the beginning of these ideals, or to be more specific, the retelling of Colors's Origin Story. Thus, you may know why we do what we do.

These are to placed in the archives of the company, but I perceive this to be a prequel if you will to something much more grander in the works…

Someone has been born of Lily's bloodline. Someone with extortionary powers much like Dr. Ram's. Many people are curious as to where the alien known as Sparkles gained her amazingly unlimited power, and where they might exploit it.

To stop this conspiracy for the search of ultimate, universal power and to protect the lives of those fallen into deceptive and villainous, criminal lives—we here at C.A.T.S dedicate ourselves to Colors's vision and motive:

We strive to save the colors of this world, this galaxy, it's people and creatures, and find a place for all sources of light to coexist in utter and blissful peace.

This child,… I have picked up on her brain signals, similar to Lily's but constructed like Sparkles to where I can't fully dive in to read her thoughts exactly… but I predict this child is the key to unlocking the unlimited power that D.O.G.S are after. Invented to rival C.A.T.S, Dastardly Organized Goons Society, has dedicated all their villainy in the pursuit to claim these alien powers as their own.

We must find her. We must protect her. If all must comes down to it, we must reform her.

The only thing I could fully read from her, which is taxing and vague for the most part of it, is that she goes by the name…

Aerial Ace.

This is only the beginning.

The opposite of Fin.