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Story Notes:
Disclaimer: Characters from The Lost Boys belong to WB Studios. The song "Good Riddance" belongs to GreenDay. Sammy Frog is the most recognized source of the Lost Cave name. Original characters belong to me.

Dedication: To the Lost Cave members, for their ever-lasting support.

To Keya, for keeping me interested, not only in her stories, but in mine own.

To J, for offering me so many unending words of encouragement for my writing, my dreams, and my entire life.
Not even vampires can stay together forever. No matter how many deadly situations a pack has faced together, no matter how many good memories stretch between them, vampires are like mortals. They grow up, grow apart, and get on with their lives.

The only differences are the depth of emotion and the time involved. No matter how often humans claim to have the upper hand when it comes to emotions, no matter how they try to build themselves up by claiming that no other creatures feel things, their minute feelings cannot compare to the sheer amount of time that vampire emotions have to build up.

Vampire relationships grow deeply, bound by blood and loneliness. The prospect of spending hundreds upon hundreds of years alone can be a daunting thought. Friendships are a necessity. Bonded mates are a luxury.

Both can come to an end.

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to do.
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why.
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time.

Anna slid her leather jacket on slowly, running pale fingers over each individual crease as if to set them properly in place. Never before had she given such thought to every tiny little detail of her appearance.

Not one single hair was out of place. Each wild curl had been carefully tamed until they all fell about her body in a golden halo of soft, fluffy hair. Her clothing fitted her body perfectly, each piece made for her and her alone, including the worn jacket she was still fussing with.

The depth of her preparation startled Anna herself, but when she started to question her actions, a deep-set realization struck her.

This wasn’t something that happened every day.

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

Marko ran his tongue over the tip of one finger, then pressed that finger to the crumbling page he had been trying to turn for the last three minutes. The book in his lap had come dangerously close to being torn apart numerous times, though he had started reading it in an attempt to calm his sudden burst of nerves. The difficulty he was having with each page turn wasn’t helping his temper much.

When the page still wouldn’t turn he slammed the book shut, then flung it onto a nearby table, sending a thick cloud of dust swirling up into the air. The particles tickled his nose, but he couldn’t be bothered by the sneeze.

Today was an important day, if he was to believe the whisperings of the rest of the Pack, or the words carefully recorded in the many books he had been reading lately. They were his attempt to understand just what was going on, just why his world was suddenly barreling out of control.

“You ok?” the heavy voice startled him and Marko leapt to his feet, whirling to face the speaker, then nodded. Dwayne stepped farther into the dark room, casting a slow glance at the book resting precariously on the edge of a table, then turned his eyes back to Marko’s face.

“Of course, man,” Marko forced a laugh, then dropped back into his chair. Dwayne’s silence was answer enough and he shook his head, dropping his gaze to the floor. The mosaic of swirling blue and white ceramic chips caught his attention and drew his eyes forward until he could see Dwayne’s thick motorcycle boots.

“It’s happened before,” Dwayne reminded the younger vampire. “To other vampires, too.”

“I know,” Marko sighed, tugging at his wild curls angrily. “But why to us? Why now?”

Dwayne shrugged slowly, moving forward until he could rest one hand on Marko’s shoulder. The hand remained in place as he knelt, lowering himself until his face was on the same level as Marco’s.

“You heard what David said,” was the only explanation he would offer, the only explanation he could offer.

Dwayne, known for his fits of darkness and ability to understand any situation because he listened far more than he talked, had no clue why this was happening, couldn’t explain to his friend the reasons behind this upheaval of their world.

All he could do was offer a little comfort before it took place, and offer it he did, in the silence that stretched long and taunt between himself and Marko.

And Marko was all the better for it.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind.
Hang it on a shelf of good health and good time.
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial.
For what it's worth, it was worth all the while.

“How to say good-bye?” Paul mused out loud, though he was only talking to himself, for no one else had ventured to the back portion of the interlocking caverns that made up their Lost Cave home.

His mind continued to twist around the question as he smoothed back his wild hair and prepared for the evening’s activities. Something like this didn’t happen every night, and he had to make this special, a real tribute to what was going on.

He tugged almost nervously at his tight, white pants before sliding on the suit jacket he had actually give up wearing for awhile. One by one he added the thick silver chains to the front of the jacket, insuring that his every movement would be audible when he chose it to be.

“Going out with a bang is hard,” he muttered, chewing on his lower lip as he fastened the last bright decoration into place. He still had no clue how to do what he wanted to do.

Not that he wanted this to happen, but perhaps it was for the best. Paul shook his head roughly and amended the thought as soon as it became clear to him. No matter what the others said, no matter what the books said or didn’t say, he knew the truth.

This was for the best.

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

“Well, here we are,” Anna murmured when she entered the main cave. She was the last one to arrive, and took a moment to gaze about the room, her eyes sweeping over each individual.

A soft sigh escaped her lips when she glanced at Laddie, who sat between Star and Michael, holding one hand of each of them. Both Star and Michael looked excited, though they tried to hide that fact. This was a game to them, a time to try to act like a real family, with their very own son. Their trembling smiles kept appearing despite their attempts to banish them.

“Here we are,” David echoed, slowly rising to his feet. The others quickly followed suit, though they remained standing in one place while David crossed to one of the dark corners of the room.

Anna was the first to break the stillness that settled over them. She crossed to Dwayne’s side slowly, almost hesitantly, though she had no real reason to stay away from him. He lifted his arm and waited for her to slide up against him, then dropped it onto her shoulders. She snuggled to him, nuzzling her head against his shoulder for a moment, and then slid her arm around his waist, though she questioned the appropriateness of both their actions.

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

David returned, carrying a tray of wine glasses and his ornate bottle. He set the tray down on the edge of the fountain in the center of the room and slowly began to pour the blood-wine into the glasses. Every eye was focused on his movements, but he didn’t hurry, moving as calmly and methodically as ever.

Once everyone had his or her glass, David lifted his into the air. The others mimicked his actions a moment later. The stillness remained unbroken, weighing heavily on them, until finally Paul spoke.

“To Rilly,” he mumbled. “For not choosing to become a vampire, and instead choosing a mortal death.”

“To Shauna, who taught us who to trust,” Anna was the next to speak and she shivered at the memories that swept over her.

“To whomever. . .or whatever. . .gave us a second chance,” Dwayne’s voice rumbled in his chest and Anna tightened her arm around his waist, leaning into him even more. This was proving more difficult than she would ever have imagined.

“To the Frog brothers,” Marko and Star said as one. Star offered him a small smile, then motioned for him to continue with the toast. “For being so damned tenacious.”

“To Adam and Victoria,” Star spoke again, adding a full toast to the line. “May they never impact with a silver bullet.”

“To Max, Lucy, and Grandpa,” Laddie whispered. “Each who gave us something grand.”

“To my brother Sam,” only now did the half smile leave Michael’s face. “For his beautiful death. . .” his voice broke off and he had to blink rapidly to drive away the tears that threatened to fall.

“To my Pack,” David began, then immediately changed the words. “To our Pack. For all the blood we share. And to our Pack, for its death.”

As one they lifted the wine glasses to their lips and flung the thick blood down their throats.

“To its death,” they murmured, echoing David’s words and slowly stepping apart. Only Michael, Star, and Laddie planned on remaining together. The others were taking the separation more seriously, distancing themselves from all the others.

“You’ll know when to return,” David told them quietly as they approached the entrance to the cave. . .or in this case, the exit that would spill them out of the life they had known for so long.

“Don’t go taking up sunbathing now,” Paul called out as he leapt into the air. “I’m not worth those suicidal tendencies.” His words, as inappropriate as they were, brought a round of laughter to the others.

“Guess I’ll have to practice calling you mom and dad,” Laddie told Star and Michael as they hurried up the slick wooden steps towards their new car. All the bikes were stored away in the cave for the time being, and a lovely Ford Taurus had taken the place of the roaring vehicles.

“Be safe,” Marko called out as he disappeared.

“My blood is in your veins,” David reminded Anna and Dwayne, the only two left. “Never forget that.” He was gone before they could reply.

An awkward silence descended on the two remaining members of the once powerful vampire pack. Finally Anna could take the quiet no longer, and found herself rambling on.

“I hate good-byes,” she murmured.

“Then don’t say it,” Dwayne told her calmly. “Good-bye insinuates that it might be the last time we’ll see each other. You know that’s not true.”

“You sound so sure of yourself,” Anna whispered. Goosebumps raced along her pale arms and she rubbed them thoughtfully.

“Of course I am,” he replied. “We’ll be back here soon enough. Enjoy your freedom.” He smiled down at her sadly, then shook his head. “Just not too much.”

“I love you,” she whispered, lifting her head and brushing her lips across his desperately. She stepped away, then took another step, tumbling down towards the crashing waves before she caught herself and rose up into the sky and out into the night.

“And I love you,” Dwayne breathed, lifting his own body into the air with ease. “And we will return.”

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right.
I hope you had the time of your life.


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