FanFic - Other
"One Day in the Future"
Part 2
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*)

They were an hour from town when she recognized where they were. He took the back roads, through developments and over ravines. She was grateful he didn't go through Main Street… someone might have recognized them and asked her what she was doing back. What she was doing with her life. How was everything in the big city. And was it true that she was getting married? What could she possibly say in response? And how would she explain why she was with *him*?

The car bounced over the sand dunes – her knees kept banging against the glove compartment. She clutched the door handle to steady herself though it was of little help. He didn't seem bothered by the constant jostling… two days of driving and they were almost there. It was almost time.

Suddenly he slammed on the breaks and the car spun out in two widening circles. She whipped her head at him, jaw dropped and a fury brewing. She'd been patient, accepting during the entire trip and now he had lost all sense of… something. Her fists clenched up and she was tempted to slug him and run off. (She noticed that he hadn't bothered soldering the door again at the gas station.)

He got out before she had the chance. Standing at the front of the car, he looked out over the vast desert – consumed in his own little world. She watched him a little longer then joined him in the blistering heat. She'd forgotten how hot the New Mexico summers could be.

Taking her hand, he dragged her along some path only he could see – over rocks and through tight passages. They came to a place she'd been once before. He had brought her there that time, too. Only this time she didn't think he was planning to apologize. If nothing more, the last two days showed her that his mental state was way past sorrys.

" This," he nodded, " This is where you need to come. Here."

She ran her hand down the solid rock, feeling for the edge of the door she'd once entered through. Nothing. She couldn't find anything and she was almost terrified to tell him that. Not that she feared he'd do anything to her – but because she was beginning to understand just how much this all meant to him.

" Do you know where you are? Could you find it without me?"

Wobbling her head in a sort of side-to-side, up-and-down fashion, she bit her lip nervously. What was she supposed to say?

He touched the side of her head and everything went dark. Her mouth opened wide, ready to scream, yet nothing came out. Had he taken her voice as well? She flailed her arms madly, desperately trying to grab hold of something to give her a sense of balance. The threadbare fabric of his shirt was the first thing she came in contact with, and she held on for dear life.

Without another word, he started walking – she a few steps behind and still clinging to him. They walked for what seemed like hours, but were probably minutes, she rationalized. There was no way he could expect her to walk hours in this heat, in this state. Not if he wanted her to be capable of functioning on any sort of reasonably level.

" You must be able to find it without me. From wherever you are – you *must*." He uncurled her fingers from his bicep and moved closer. " I know you can do this. You are the only one," he whispered against her ear. " The only one."

Uncertain steps were made in one direction, then the other. She tried to gauge her movement by his audible sighs but when he figured out what she was doing, he went completely silent.

It was impossible. Absolutely impossible. She had counted four-hundred and sixty-two steps when she determined it was impossible. A good show was put on for another two-hundred and seven, but at that she stood in place and covered her hands with her face. Not that would help anything – it didn't even make anything darker. She dropped to her knees and faced up to the sun that was already baking her skin to a toasty red. The sweat was pouring down her body, making her clothes stick to her body in awkward ways.

She was wrong, she decided. He *was* insane. He expected her to find a place she'd been to twice, over ten years apart – while blind, exhausted and bordering on a bad case of sunstroke. He was always a bit off-kilter, but this… this was it. He wasn't looking for help, she thought. He was trying to kill her – in the slowest, and strangest way possible.

A thousand scenarios ran through her mind about her impending doom. She could no longer hear him around her and figured that he'd gone back to the car and left her for dead. At this point, she hoped that was what he did. It would be even more malicious to stand by and watch her suffer an agonizing death. She wasn't ready to assume he was that merciless – but in five minutes, she might have been.

Cold hands rested on her shoulders and she shivered from the brief relief. Her head fell back against his leg. There were no more coherent thoughts in her head aside from one – she wanted him to kill her quick and easy. As painless as possible. He could do it, she knew that.

His hands slid up her neck and smoothed her hair from her clammy face. He rubbed behind her ears with his thumbs and pressed the rest of his fingers firmly into her skull. Slowly, her consciousness came back from its state of suspension – and came back with a vengeance. Something was different, something new and intricate was suddenly in her stored knowledge base and she could feel it with every cell of her body.

Standing, she turned in place – taking in all the smells and tastes and sounds of the desert. She started off again with an unwavering pace, smiling when she heard the crunching of stones frantically trying to keep up with her.

She found it. And when he dragged her off to another spot, she found it again. And again, and again and again. He must have brought her to ten or fifteen starting places and she found it every time. And then she got her sight back.


It's been over a hundred miles and her body is making the demands now. She hits a quick drive-through for dinner and checks into the motel next door. Cash always speaks loudest at the small places and they rarely ask for a credit card. She signs the book " Joyce James" and pauses, smiles.

In her room, she nibbles on her food while dialing her cell. She can't call her house – it would be too painful to hear her husband's heartbroken voice. Instead she calls the number she memorized two years ago. It can't be found in any phone book or Internet search – a stranger handed her a card one day with a knowing look. She was on a busy street – rushing to pick up the dry- cleaning before she got her son from preschool – and this man stopped in front of her and handed it over.

She often wonders how he'd known… that particular day she had been questioning it all and starting to think that her trip to the desert was all a flight of twisted fancy. Not that she fancied it at all. But she was on the verge of deciding it was just a game he'd played with her head and nothing more. Until this stranger handed her a card with a number on it.

One look from a stranger – one sympathetic and deliberate look – and she knew she wasn't alone.

There is a click on the line and a harsh, " Yes?"

" It's me. M-D-L. Please send it now."

" It will be done." Click.

She hangs up and tosses the phone on the bed. The television is a source of little distraction, however she decides to wait up for the news. It will probably only cover the bigger deals – newspapers are much better for the smaller stories and it's too early for those to be out yet.

The water in the shower is finally warming up and she peels off her clothes and gets in. It's too hot – scalding her skin – but she turns in circles until she can't stand anymore. The unbearable heat reminds her of him… his despair and desolation. It reminds her of his stammering and his gruffness and blind stubbornness.

She leans against the wall and glides down the wall until she's sitting. The water is cooler down here. She hugs her legs to her chest and gives into the berating spray. Reaching over, she pushes the lever to the " C" side. Within a minute, the steam disperses and she can breathe again in the sub-zero temperature. The temperature of his hands. Hands that gave her knowledge and put her on a path she can't escape from.

Her skin is ice-cold and her teeth are chattering uncontrollably. She figures she has a few more minutes of reprieve before it starts back up. Soon her bones will ache so much so that she won't be able to do much more than curl up in bed and moan. But not cry.

She doesn't do that anymore.


He looked at her so proud and there was a sense of hope bubbling in him. She couldn't help but smile back – even though she was still infuriated with his over-inflated expectations of her. It wasn't over, and each step was much more difficult than the previous one… and the previous one near killed her.

" Now," he said, placing her hand over a non-descript point on the wall, " You just have to open the door."

Closing her eyes, she concentrated with all her being. She visualized the rock cracking open and sliding to the side. When there was no sound – she reviewed everything her mother had taught her about meditation and tried harder. And harder. Still, nothing happened.

She let her hand fall to her side and sought him out with regretful eyes. He only shook his head and said, " Try it again."

But it still didn't work. She waited for him to touch her again, to give her that extra oomph that she needed to open it. He continued to lean on the rock wall a few feet away. She quieted her mind, focused her thoughts and envisioned the door totally dissolving. Once more, it stayed solid.

Sighing, he walked up behind her and pressed his body against her. His hand covered hers and every hair on her arms stood at attention. She could see his hand glow and cells in her palm began to sizzle.

The door remained closed.

" Concentrate," he demanded and the light appeared for a second time. She returned to her visualization exercises and made herself as open a conduit as humanly possible. It made no difference.

" Try, dammit, try!" He growled and wrapped his arm around her waist.

Every last breath was being squeezed out of her. An involuntary whimper escaped and he immediately released her. He kicked one wall and punched another in defeat. She stood still, following his pacing with her eyes. It dawned on her that she still had no idea what he wanted her to see and what he needed her to do. He had driven her hundreds and hundreds of miles from her home – maybe more – without any explanation. And it was all too possible that she would never get one.


There is a diner down the road from the motel and she eats a small breakfast there. Nothing concrete was on the news last night – just a brief mention of a peculiar string of fires that were set in the Everglades. They weren't having much luck in fighting them but they were positive that fires would be out soon.

She knows they're wrong. She knows it's only the first stage.

A complimentary copy of the paper is on each table and she flips through each page, scanning it for pertinent details. Three bodies were found in an apartment in Arkansas, dead. They had burned to death – although there was no sign of fire in the room and they hadn't been moved. The ache throbs a little stronger.

She sips her coffee – her first cup – and thinks about her best friend. She never did tell her about the trip… about him kidnapping her and dragging her back to Roswell, unwavering in his decision that she was the one. When she got back, it was the first thing she thought of. But as every number was dialed, frantic hesitation grew. Her finger wavered over the last button – she stared at it, willing it to dial itself because she knew she couldn't. Instead, she hung up the phone.

She almost told Liz on her wedding day. It was a hectic day filled with relentless craziness and it didn't help that every other second, she was worried that she'd have to take off and drive to Roswell. For one second, she wanted to be unburdened of that promise and truly enjoy herself. When her friend came in to fix her hair, she stared into the mirror and wanted to confess. Confess all that had been holding her hostage in a little place in her mind.

Liz wouldn't have understood. It would have quickly changed from " he did *what* to you" to " why didn't they take me?" Her friend would have babbled on about how *she* was the one that was saved, and *she* was the one that was changed…

After a lifetime of living on the outskirts of a self-centered life, she didn't want to get dragged back into that role all over again.

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