What Could Have Been

Summary: With the defeat of the Chosen, the Mallrats believed that their city was finally at peace. A new threat is on the horizon and it is unlike any enemy they’ve faced before. As they are once again forced to fight for their home, they are reunited with some faces from the past.

Notes: In this story I have played with the timeline of season three. The story takes place directly after the city election. Salene has already left to try and find Ryan, Jack is back at the Mall and mostly locks himself in his work shop. Tally and Andy will not be in this story, I felt that they were a poor substitution for Cloe and Patsy. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Chapter One- Keeping the Memories Alive

  Amber let out a sigh as turned over to lay on her back and opened her eyes, her movement was careful as not to wake Bray. The Mallrat leader was sound asleep on his stomach lightly snoring into his pillow. She had lost count of the nights she spent lying awake as sleep eluded her, ever since her return to the Mall she had been plagued with nightmares of the whole ordeal. A few minutes passed, before she gave up on trying to sleep and carefully rolled out of bed and pulled on her robe before she left the room.

“This seems to be a daily occurrence.” Tai-san greeted from where she sat crossed legged on the fountain her eyes stilled closed, “Maybe it’s fates way of saying you should join me in my early morning meditation.” The healer added as she opened her eyes.

“I would be rubbish at that.” Amber disagreed as she took a seat on the steps across from the fountain.

“It may help clear your mind and find the true source of the disruption in your energy field. But, for the meantime I will make some tea.” Tai-san decided as she stood from her position and stretched. She offered a hand to the blonde and the two made their way towards the café.

“I know the source of my problems and it starts and ends with the Guardian.” Amber answered as she took a seat at the table closest to the kitchen, “Every time I close my eyes I am back in that room.”

“Talking about your fears will ease them. I know that you think you need to be a beacon of strength for the tribe, but no one would fault you for needing help.” Tai-san urged as she set her kettle on the hot plate, “This isn’t a burden that you need to carry on your own. We are all here for you and will
help in any way that we can.”

“I will get over it in time.” Amber insisted as she felt a sharp pain run down her side and let out a hiss of pain.

“Are you okay?” Tai-san questioned as she hurried towards her friend, she set the mugs on the table before she kneeled on the ground in front of Amber.

“I am fine. I have just been getting a twinge every know and then. I think it’s just the baby growing.” Amber dismissed.

Tai-san shot Amber a disbelieving look before she got up and moved to the chair across from Amber, “Stress and exhaustion aren’t good for you or the baby.” Tai-san advised as she took a sip of her own tea, “I know a mix of herbs that will help you with the pain. I will go out and find the leaves this afternoon. You will have to drink it three times a day.”

“It seems that you’re not the only early bird Brady.” Trudy cooed as she walked into the café with Brady on her hip, “She’s got her first tooth coming in.” The purpled haired woman explained as she juggled the toddler on her hip.

“A damp cloth will help sooth her.” Amber offered, “It always worked magic with my little brother.” She added.

“Would you mind?” Trudy asked as she nodded towards Brady.

“Not at all.” Amber answered as she held her hands out for the little girl. Trudy smiled gratefully as she handed the girl off and headed towards the kitchen.

“We might as well get started on breakfast.” Trudy added as she headed back to the table with a damp cloth in hand, “Would you mind watching Brady?” She added as she saw Amber wrinkle her noise at the mention of food. There was a reason that Amber was no longer on the chore list to prepare food, she had grown a very sensitive stomach.

“I think that is best for everyone.” Amber agreed as she took the cloth from Trudy and settled Brady on her lap, so she could place it on the gums. Tai-san quickly finished her tea and then moved to help Trudy.

“Do you think that pursuing the idea that Ebony was behind our kidnapping is a good idea?” Amber questioned as she watched her friend move around the kitchen to start breakfast.

“Are you having second thoughts?” Trudy countered as she took the plates down from the cabinets.

“I just think we need to approach this situation with caution. Ebony is city leader now and we would be putting a target on our backs.” Amber answered honestly as Brady played with her hair. Since her return to the Mall, Amber had taken her hair down from her Zulu knots and wore it in a fishtail braid.

“I think we should keep an eye on her. I think that we shouldn’t show our hand just yet.” Trudy offered, “What really matters is that we’re safe and together again.”

“Karma will take care of Ebony in its own time.” Tai-san agreed as the rest of the tribe began to filter into the café.

“Morning.” Bray greeted as he walked up to Amber and placed a kiss on her head and pulled a chair up to the table, “I didn’t feel you get up.” He added as Trudy placed a plate in front of him and was about to place one in front of Amber.

“I’m good. I will take care of Brady, while you eat.” Amber shook her head, the idea of food was not too appealing right now, “I was having trouble getting back to sleep and didn’t want to wake you with my tossing and turning.” She added as she turned her attention back to Bray.

“That is when I want you to wake me. Are you okay?” Bray questioned as worry washed over his face. He gently placed a hand on her slightly swollen stomach in an effort to comfort her.

“I’ve been having nightmares, I honestly just think that it’s my minds way of trying to process everything.” Amber answered as she shifted a wiggling Brady on her lap and placed the damp rag on the table, “A small part of me is afraid that all this is just a dream and I am going to be back in that room.” She added as Tai-san and Lex joined them at the table.

“You’re safe and no one is going to take you from me.” Bray promised, “We are going to get to the bottom of this.”
“Why? Can’t it just be enough that Trudy and I are back.”

“I thought that we agreed to question Ebony?” Bray questioned as he looked around the table. A few days after Amber and Trudy were found the three of them plus Tai-san, Lex and Pride had all discussed that it seemed too much of a coincidence that Ebony just happened to be in the same area as the two female Mallrats.

“Is that happening today?” Lex questioned with his mouth full and Trudy joined them at their table.

“No.”

“Yes.” Both Amber and Bray said in unison.

“Well that clear it all up then.” Lex replied sarcastically as he shoved a spoonful of food into his mouth.

“I think what Amber is thinking is that we really aren’t going to get anywhere if we approach Ebony
about her involvement.” Trudy chimed in as she looked at her friend.

“Ebony is very good at deceiving people.” Tai-san agreed.

“Think about it Bray, she is city leader now and that means she is more powerful then ever. If we go after her now we are only putting a target on our backs.”

“Is this what you two want?” Bray asked after a moment and looked from Trudy to Amber, who both nodded, “Okay.”

“That works for me and will cause me less trouble.” Lex nodded as he grabbed his sheriff hat and pushed away from the table, “I need to go find Pride and head to the hotel. We’re training the new recruits today.” He added as gave Tai-san a quick kiss and left the café.

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For the first time in months, the Mallrats had a chance to breath and not always prepared for battle. For so long their sole focus had been on defeating the Chosen and had no time or energy to focus on much else. That included taking the time to mourn their lost friends. After celebrating their freedom, it had become apparent that there were gaping holes in their tribe.  Tai-san had brought up the idea to set up a memorial in horror of their missing friends. She believed that it would keep their spirits close and their memories alive. 

Later that afternoon Amber and Cloe had taken it upon themselves to set the memorial up where the two staircases met at the center of the mall across from the fountain. The others had gathered pictures and other mementos that once belonged to their fallen friends. At the center of the collage was the amulet that Dal had found on the farm, all that time ago. 

“Which one do you think is better?” Cloe asked as she held two pictures out for Amber to see.

“I think you should use the one of the two of you.” Amber smiled as she pointed to the picture in Cloe’s right hand, that had the two girls grinning and placed her own picture on the wall. She gently ran her hand over Dal’s grinning face, the picture had been taken right after Lex’s first bachelor party.

“I was hoping that she would have found her way back, like Jack and I.” The preteen frowned as she placed the picture next to one of Bob.

“I know.” Amber sighed as se reached her hand and gave it a light squeeze, “You know we all became a tribe because of you.” Amber offered as she sat down on the bench and used their linked hands to bring Choe down next to her.

“What do you mean?” She asked as she scrunched her face in confusion.

“If you hadn’t had been in the middle of the street with that café, all of us would have never met. Dal and I planned on leaving the city for good.” Amber smiled.

“I never thought of it that way.” Cloe grinned, “I think that I still would have agreed with being called the Dolphins.” She laughed as she thought back on the memory, “We never did actually find out what happened to Bluebell.” She added as an afterthought.

Amber let a laugh of her own out, as the sound of footsteps caused the pair to turn their attention to Pride who hurried down the stairs. He didn’t spare the two a glance as he stormed across the first floor and towards Lex and Tai-san’s room, “That can’t be good.” Cloe muttered as she turned her attention back to the box of pictures.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” Pride’s raised voice echoed from the bedroom and then
was followed by a muffled noise before both Lex and Pride ended up sprawled out on the floor outside the entrance of the bedroom.

“Hey.” Amber called as she pushed off the bench and hurried towards the two. Lex hurried to his feet, just as Pride moved to punch the sheriff, who quickly anticipated the move and took a step back just as Amber moved to stand between the two. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as Pride realized too late that Amber now stood in his path, he quickly lowered his arm, but still managed to bump into the blonde and sent her stumbling back towards the ground.

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I just found this story and really like it so far. I do hope Amber is okay and not hurt!

Good Story, i like it. I too hope Amber isn’t hurt either.

What Could Have Been

Chapter Two: Lines Drawn in the Sand

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“What is going on?” Bray questioned as he was drawn from his room and hurried to look over the railing at what was causing all the noise. He froze as he saw Amber step in-between Lex and Pride and then watched Amber tumbled to the ground, he took off down the stairs with Tai-san and Alice on his heels.

“Amber.” Pride muttered as he took a step back just as the other three gathered around them. Alice gently grabbed Pride’s arm and pulled him back, as Tai-san moved to help Amber to her feet and Bray pushed Lex towards his room. The former Eco looked at her for a long moment before he freed himself from Alice’s grasp and turned towards the exit of the mall. All the while Cloe just stood with her hands covering her mouth as she watched in horror.

“Cloe, why don’t we see if Ellie needs help with lunch?” Alice offered as she walked to the girl’s side, “Amber just needs some peace and quiet.” She added with a forced smile as she ushered the younger girl towards the stairs.

“Are you in any pain?” Tai-san asked as she gently guided Amber so that she was sitting on the base of the fountain. Amber just shook her head no as she placed a hand on her stomach as Bray came to her side and kneeled in front of her.

“I’m okay.” Amber promised as Bray placed his hands on her knees, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You aren’t the one that needs to explain anything.” Bray dismissed as he rose to his feet and turned his attention back to the doorway that Lex had disappeared through. He gave Amber a once over before he placed a kiss on her forehead and headed towards the room.

“It may look like we need to break up two fights today.” Tai-san mused as she stood and helped Amber to her feet.

“It’s beginning to feel like old times.” Amber joked as the two headed towards Tai-san’s room. The pair stopped in the doorway and listened to Bray and Lex’s headed discussion.

“How am I supposed to know what got Tofu boy all bent out of shape?” Lex defended a she plopped down on his bed and paced his arms behind his head, “Maybe his favorite plant died or someone ate his furry friend.”

“Lex.” Tai-san scolded as she shot her husband a look before she moved into the room and pulled out the stool from her vanity so that Amber could sit on it.

“Pride isn’t one turn violent for no reason.” Amber pointed out once she was seated.

“Come on Bray, you have to admit that you’ve had the urged to punch nature boy in the face.” Lex pushed, “I mean I know I do, and he was never involved with my woman.” He added.

“Do you want to get punched for a second time today?” Bray questioned, “Because you are the only one that I have the urge to hit at the moment.”

“Let’s just say that Pride and I had a little disagreement over how to handle those who betrayed the tribe.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Bray asked not sure that he wanted to know the answer.

“May isn’t going to be a problem anymore.” Lex shrugged as Tai-san took a seat on the end of he bed, “I got tired of waiting for your mind up about her and took matters into my own hands.”

“We agreed that it wasn’t fair to punish those who went along with the Chosen.” Amber interrupted.

“Those who went along with the Chosen, not those who sold us out.”

“Is Trudy going to be next on your hit list?”

“No, she had her brat to worry about and I can give her that. May was looking out for herself and it costed Dal his life.” Lex disagreed.

“What did you do?” Tai-san demanded as turned to face her husband.

“I did what they did in the old days.”

“You can’t just tar and feather people, Lex.” Amber shook her head in disbelief.

“It was molasses.” Lex corrected, “I came to you two first and you said that it wasn’t fair to pass judgment on May because we wouldn’t do the same thing to the others.”

“We wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt.” Bray insisted, “People can do bad things when they’re scared for their lives.”

“May wasn’t afraid. She knew what she was doing, she wanted to get the in the Guardian’s good graces.” Lex shook his head, “I was tired of waiting and to be completely honest I saw your way of punishing people and how well that worked out.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“You decided that the Guardian was insane and that meant that he couldn’t stand trial, then you let Luke off to live with his guilt. Where are the two of them now? The Guardian was playing you the whole time and ever kidnapped your woman and the blue haired freak is who knows where.”

“You need to make this right with Pride.” Bray ordered, he knew that there was no arguing with Lex about this because they were just going around in circles.

Lex just stared at him for a long moment before he gave a slow nod, “I am not going to apologize because I didn’t do anything wrong.” He added as Bray held his hand out for Amber and took her hand, before the two left the room.

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“I don’t even know why I am surprised.” Bray confessed once the two were in their room, “Lex is the same person that he was when we all met.” He added as he moved to the box that rested on the wall across from their bed, “He’s just gotten better at covering it.”

“I don’t agree with the way he went about it, but maybe we should have held May accountable.” Amber reasoned as she took a seat on the bed.

“Amber.” Bray started as he stopped opening the box that contained a crib and turned his attention to the blonde.

“The others joined the Chosen for their own reasons; Cloe and Patsy are children and were terrified, Salene had her unborn child to worry about and Tai-san did what she did to protect the tribe.” Amber explained, “Trudy may have been the Supreme Mother, but she was clearly brainwashed and worried for her daughter.”

“I think that you’re angry at May for the part she played in Dal’s death.” Bray insisted as he joined her on the bed.

“She betrayed us to the Guardian to try and gain favor with the man.” Amber sighed, “She is the one that ratted Patsy out to Luke about being a spy. She manipulated Salene and Ryan and that ended with him being taken away.”

“May is a survivor and that is what she was doing. I think that we need to remember that everyone went through difficult things during the Chosen’s reign.”

“I just wish that Dal was here especially now.” Amber confessed as Bray wrapped his arm around her and laid her head on his shoulder.

“I happen to be an expert in this field.” Bray smiled as he tried to lighten the mood.

“You delivered one baby three years ago.” Amber playfully shoved Bray away from her, “I think there needs to be more than one of anything to be considered an expert.”

“We will see in a few months.”

“Tai-san has offered to act as my midwife. She’s been reading up on the subject and even has some herbs that might help manage the pain during labor.” Amber responded as she leaned back on the bed, “Trudy also brought up an interesting idea too.”

“What would that be?” He questioned as he pulled Amber to his side, so that she was laying her head on his chest, “Did she offer to set the crib up for us.”

“We have plenty of time for that now that things are finally calmed down. I even think we could get Jack to help out with that if we bring up the idea of needing a Godfather.” Amber mused.

“What did Trudy want to do?”

“She wanted to organize a baby shower, like the adults used to do. She thought it would be a good way of celebrating the Mallrats being reunited.” Amber answered as she tilted her head so that she could see his reaction, “It would be coed.”

“I think that is just what we all need right now.” He agreed as he placed his arm on her slight bump.

The couple had fallen into a comfortable silence, when there was a knock at the door before Trudy pushed the curtain back and entered the room, “Everyone’s gathered in the café for a meeting. It got around what happened to May.” Trudy announced with a frown.

“Let’s go face the lions.” Bray sighed as he slid from the bed and lea

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Thank you for the new update.