FanFic - Other
"One Day in the Future"
Part 1
by loki
Disclaimer: No one belongs to me. Not in the slightest. It's so, so sad, I say.
Summary: I'm not giving anything away. No.
Category: Other
Rating: PG
Authors Note: This is a bit different from what I normally write… I want to thank Elizabeth and Fionna for giving me *such* wonderful criticism which resulted in a much better fic. And to Laura, who continually inspires me in more ways than she knows (and somehow manages to keep my tenses straight *g*)

She is finishing her second cup of coffee when it happens. Her hands cradle the china, managing to control their shaking as the cup drops to the saucer. Normally she only allows herself two a day – something about the caffeine playing with already tense nerves – but now she desperately needs a reason to sit in her house a little longer.

No one else seems to notice but that doesn't surprise her. They hadn't been preparing for this, waiting for the sign and worrying if they'd be strong enough to do what was necessary. Her bones ache with a knowledge that no one should be forced to have. It has been a constant part of her life – the faint pain felt in everything she did. And that's how she knows it has happened – it is no longer faint.

Walking across the kitchen, her gliding slippers feel like rhinoceros hooves. The ache grows stronger, her hands betray her completely now as the cup clatters to the bottom of the sink. There is a small chip in the rim and her thumb brushes over it briefly. Yesterday, she would have been furious – today it's simply another physical reminder of the world she's leaving behind.

Her husband is watching television in the other room – a program on Americana. She curls up on his lap and nuzzles against his neck. He wraps his arms around her and contented murmurs rumble from deep in his throat. This is what she knows, this is what she loves. Stale cigarette smoke and peppermints with just a touch of musky cologne. Home.

She lifts her head and traces his lips with her fingers, staring at his face in hopes of memorizing every curve and crevice. She prays that he can't feel the tears on her eyelashes as she kisses him. He shifts her in his arms and she remembers just how very strong he is. And for a moment, it takes almost everything in her body not to tell him what she must do, not to beg him to come along and protect her. Truth be told, he would be of no help. She has everything she ever needed – she always has.

Pulling away from him, she stands and takes one last look. Her face is hard and she wants him to see the apologetic sorrow in her eyes. But he sees something else – the edges of his lips turn up in a smile. He thinks she is being mysterious and seductive. She lets him.

Her son is at the neighbors, she remembers as she climbs the stairs. She'll leave him be and not give herself a final good-bye. It sounds callous, she knows, but for four years she didn't let him out of her sight. She lived in fear that this moment would come and she would not be able to get to him – keeping them locked in a virtual prison that wasn't healthy for either of them. She knew that this day would come and he would have to learn to live without her.

Her daughter's room is at the end of the hall. There is the low buzz of the baby monitor accompanied by quiet, amused gurgling. She takes her child in her arms and holds her firmly to her chest. This is when she feels guilty. A few months is nothing compared to several years. It's not enough time, she thinks, sitting in the rocking chair. She balances the baby on her knees and begins to sing quietly. A song that's too old and a song that's too sad to ever sing to a child. She wonders if her husband can hear her, but reasons that he could only probably make out a few words.

He doesn't know how loudly she can sing.

She kisses her girl on the head and places her back in her crib. Her finger strokes the soft, pudgy cheeks and she smiles for what might possibly be the last time in *this* world.

In the back of her closet, beneath a pile of clothes and under several crates is a jar of money. There are several hundreds of dollars in there – perhaps even a thousand. She's been collecting for seven years and never counted. It's the only thing she hasn't done obsessively for this trip… she doesn't know why. The cash is pulled out and folded haphazardly into a small wallet and stuffed into her pocket. She glances around the room for anything else she might want to take, but grabs very little. Everything she needs is already packed.

Tossing out a quick good-bye to her husband – she worries that if she enters the room, she might never leave – she goes into the garage. On one of the shelves is a small suitcase, enough room for a daytrip. She picks it up as she walks towards the car and tosses it into the backseat. She's packed and unpacked and repacked it so many times that the corners have begun to wear down and the lock doesn't catch as tightly as it should. Two or three times a week for seven years will do that.

She pulls out and checks to see if there is enough gas. There always is – her husband teases her about her maniacal need to have a full tank. How could he understand that she had to be ready to go at a moment's notice? That an extra second wasted could mean permanent disaster? That if she had extra seconds, she wanted to spend them with him?

There is a map in the glove compartment, but she doesn't bother to look at it. Maybe when she gets closer, or her body gets too tired from driving and wants to take a break. It will be a good mental distraction. She merges onto the highway and leans her elbow against the window, her palm helps to prop her head up. The road ahead doesn't register, instead she sees the movie of her life roll out in front of her eyes.


She was coming home from the market when he grabbed her. There she was, in her own little world – still awestruck that the man she loved had just proposed – when one hand clamped down over her mouth and the other dropped across her chest and dragged her into an alley. She should have been scared, terrified that someone was trying to mug, rape, or murder her. But she wasn't. She was just angry. Angry that someone had dared intrude in the happiness she had managed to carve out for herself.

Her wide eyes sought out for another soul to come and help, but no one would glance her way. A car was a few feet from them and he threw her into the passenger's side and slammed the door shut. She furiously yanked at the handles but it didn't budge. Later, she learned, he had soldered it before getting in himself. It was too dark to see anything and she jumped a little when the other door opened. When her attacker slid into his seat, she turned to look at him – to memorize every single detail of his face and body so as to give a clear report to the police. But when she caught his profile, she swallowed hard. (She refused to give him the satisfaction of a gasp.)

Sitting next to her was the one she knew better than herself. Or, at least, at one time did. It had been many years and now the person a mere foot away was a shell of the boy she once knew. His nails dug into the steering wheel and he was breathing haggardly, even though the car wasn't moving.

" I just, I just, I just have to show you something…" He stuttered and stumbled.

Never had she heard him like that. She wasn't sure if he was waiting for an answer, but either way she wouldn't say anything. Grasping her grocery bag, she glanced out the window. Apparently he took that as something and sped down the alley, onto the street – and out of the city.


She looks at the clock and realizes that two hours have already passed. He's probably starting to wonder where she had gone off to, but isn't concerned. Yet. But she doesn't want to take chances and gets off at the next exit. It opens into a mall, which is better than a gas station because no one pays much attention in a large parking lot. She turns everything off and heads to the back of the car. Crouching, she snaps the suitcase open and takes out a license plate and pliers. In less than six minutes, it's changed. That's what seven years of practice will do. The quickest was four minutes, twenty-nine seconds. But that wasn't under 'real-life' circumstances. She is surprised that her hands don't shake more.

Wrapping up her old plate, she pops the trunk and tucks it under the spare tire. In another town, another state, she'll toss it, but for now it's safe. She rips open a handi-wipe and scrubs the dirt from her hands. No one has thrown a single look her way. She puts the suitcase back in the car and heads out again.


As they crossed the border, her hunger became more demanding. She reached into one of her bags and pulled out a box of breadsticks. They were for dinner – her boyfriend ~fiancé~ had a thing for nibbling while he cooked and she brought him different kinds each time. Consumed by the towns flying past, she didn't notice him eyeing her food until the box was near empty. He was probably starving, he hadn't seemed all that healthy when in the brief light she saw him in. But she refused to offer him anything until he asked. He never did.

Her mouth was dry so she set the box back down and opened a small jug of water. She rationed herself sips, however, because she was not going to ask him to pull over. Sometimes she could play the game better than him.

When the sun came up, she estimated that they'd been driving for almost ten hours. The tank was near full again – he must have stopped after she'd dozed off. A can of Coke sat in the cup holder and some crumpled up wrappers littered the dash. She rubbed her eyes and tried not to move so much – her bladder was already complaining.

She decided to look at him - *really* look. He had hardly changed his position since they took off – still clutching the wheel for dear life, hunched over so he could see that extra two feet of road ahead. Or maybe it was that he was still running from whatever had him so worn out and he was trying to keep two inches ahead. His cheeks were sallow and sunken, there was a two-inch scar not far from his ear. He kept narrowing his eyes like it hurt to see – which had to be difficult enough with so much hair falling into them. She watched him for ten minutes straight and he never brushed it out of the way. In fact, he barely budged at all.

He finally noticed her staring and met her eyes. Confusion. That's all she could read. She knew he didn't plan to harm her, but it seemed like he was still confused as to why he grabbed her. Or perhaps he didn't remember it at all and had no idea why she was there. He furrowed his eyebrows and looked back at the road.

" You're awake." "

Once again, she didn't respond and he swerved the car over to the shoulder.

" Drive."

He got out and opened the door for her with a wave of his hand. She went to the other side of the car without pausing to check the area for landmarks. She had no idea where they were. He waited for her to get in before he did, and then only repeated his command.

" Drive. Just keep going on this road. And don't try to turn around or anything, I'll know."

There were few cars on the road and the sound of the tires thumping against breaks in the asphalt was hypnotizing. She kept looking in her rearview mirror at the sunrise, picking out a new colour each time. It helped keep her awake.

He, on the other hand, allowed himself to get some sleep. It was the first time in weeks.


Thump, thump, thump. She shakes herself out of her stupor and switches on the radio. There is no news – no word of them coming. Her bones ache more and she knows it's just a matter of time. It's always been just a matter of time.

Her husband's probably worried now. Probably called all her friends, her mother will be next if not the police. But she hasn't been gone twenty-four hours yet so they can't do anything. He'll beg, plead… she would never just run off and leave, she has two young children, you know… she seemed fine this morning. He'll stay up all night and her son will find him crying on the couch in the living room. And he'll have to tell him that mommy is gone.

She takes a deep breath and runs her fingers through her hair.


Three hours went by and he still didn't wake. But she knew that he wasn't completely out. Should she turn off or slow down, he'd be up in a heartbeat. She listened to him sigh in his sleep and wondered what had been done to him, what had brought him to this point. She wanted to ask him about the others and even phrases the words in her head. She doesn't, though. She couldn't.

The gauges started dropping, though, and she read a sign that says 'Next station -- 32 miles.' It's a small mom-and-pop place and the last bastion for weary travelers. He opened his eyes as they drove in, annoyed. Tossing him the keys, she walked into the shop and back out towards a side door. He was pumping gas when she exited the bathroom, leaning against the car. She felt like she was sixteen again – making a pit stop on 285 South.

She continued to stare, even after he caught her. He knew what she was thinking, and for a moment let himself feel the same way, too. Neither one smiled.


The radio is getting annoying, so she returns to the silence. She taped a piece of paper over the clock so that she couldn't watch the minutes tick away. Her eyes are feeling heavy so she starts to make deals with herself. Four more miles and she'll pull over. Fifty more miles and she'll get food. A hundred more miles and she'll stop for the night.

She'd taught herself to get by on less sleep – or rather, her children had. It was a combination, really… she didn't want to waste a single moment sleeping when she could be watching their beautiful faces. Her husband often found her in the baby's room, rocking in the chair and cooing to her daughter. She loved the different smiles she could evoke with every new song, and how her little girl's eyes would open in utter surprise every time she poked her nose. She didn't need pictures or videotapes – those images were in her mind forever.

Gabriel and Winter. She knew that people thought she was insane for giving her children such names – even her husband tried arguing with her. But she played the hippie-mom card and reminded him that she was one doing all the 'hard work.' Not that she meant either one, really – it just helped her get her way. Both names came to her on sleepless nights, when she was awoken with images of terrors from far away and the not-so-distant future.

She named her son for an angel – one of strength and inspiration; her daughter in remembrance of the quiet serenity that comes when the earth is blanketed with a soft white snow. In a way, she thinks of them as two parts of one whole – where lines are constantly blurred and potentials are multiplied exponentially. That's how she loves them – without boundaries or limits, seeing their capabilities and achievements in every moment of every day.

One day, she hopes they will understand that and learn that two together are powerful, that two together can change the world.

Index | Part 2
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