TITLE: Two Steps Forward, No Steps Back
AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I own none of these characters, I'm not making any profit.
RATING: PG-13, I guess.
PAIRING: Unsure as of yet, but it would seem I'm steering towards a Sam/Nicole. Which is pretty odd when you consider the basis of this fic.
The commander led her forces into the city. At one time it had been a monument of horrific beauty. A testament to the power of the aliens. Now, it was little more than a smoking husk. Its inhabitants had fled, but they had nowhere to run. The powerful threat that the Progenitor once posed had been undone. The merciless vendetta that had raged between the two factions of their population had made them utterly blind for the humans who were busy gathering their strength. And now it was too late for them. This did not mean the end of the Progenitor. Findings in conquered bases indicated that they posses a vast, if fractured, empire. But soon they would no longer be here, on Planet.
The commander sighed.
Soon the humans would fall apart again. Soon, the fighting would begin again. That is to say, if Brooke would be so kind as to shut up for a few seconds.
"Come on Sam, you _have_ to tell me how it went."
"Look, I told you a dozen times already. We had fun. That's it. Nothing else."
"I don't believe that. I mean, Edgar's way cute and he obviously has a thing for you."
"So? Does that mean I have to throw myself at him?"
"What? No! Of course not. But, you could give him a chance."
"Brooke, my new room's almost finished. In less than a week Edgar'll be back in Texas."
"But you could have the best week of your life."
"And have my heart broken at the end of it? I think not."
"Aha! So you DO have feelings for him!"
"What!? No way!"
"Oh come on, not even a little?"
"No! He's nice and that's it!"
"Then you won't mind me going after him."
"Be my guest. Honestly Brooke, why are you so obsessed with me hooking up with him?"
Silence. Sam turned away from the her little laptop screen for a moment to look at Brooke. The blonde looked pretty troubled. Sam decided to turn her wheelchair to face Brooke completely. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and raised a questioning eyebrow for full effect. Brooke bit her lower lip, glanced at Sam, turned around and left.
"My, my, so this is where you spend all your free time."
"You know, if I had any free time of my own I'd go to someplace nicer than this."
"There's a reason why I always come here."
"Oh, care to share?" Liz smiled ironically. "Me and the guys are dying to know."
"You're a very strange girl, Liz."
"That's why you'd practically had to beg the docs to take me with you. I never really knew there were so many people outside."
"Liz. What I'm about to tell you. You really need to. you know. be here. If you can."
Liz nodded. "I'm having a pretty good day. I'll listen. Might even remember."
"I'm not sure if I want you to remember."
"Worse, probably." Nicole pointed at the road. "What do you see over there?"
"A road. What do you see?"
"Ah." Said Liz. "Whose blood?"
"Girl named Sam."
"You did it?"
Nicole nodded, unable to speak.
"Understatement of the year."
"What happened? If you can tell me."
Nicole was silent for a few moments. "When I. I was a very different person not so long ago. A cold-hearted bitch, really. And the girl who I thought was my best frie--"
"Shut up you! I wanna hear!" Liz shouted.
"Anyway," Nicole continued as if nothing happened. "My best friend pointed that fact out to me. It hurt me. Way more than it should. I got drunk, got into my car and suddenly saw her in front of my headlights." Now, tears were starting to form. "I wasn't thinking straight. Pushed my foot down, raced towards her."
"Nicole, I get it. If this gets too hard you don't have to."
"No. You need to know. I need to tell somebody all of this. Somebody who isn't a shrink."
There were a few more moments of silence as Nicole recollected her thoughts and swallowed down the tears.
"I missed the girl I was aiming for. Somebody else pushed her out of the way at the last second."
"And I take it this is the place where it happened?"
"Oh, what do you know? Look, I don't have to take this from you! A friend needs me right now, so Shut The Hell Up!"
"I don't really know what happened after that. There was a trial, I was guilty. My mom hired the best lawyer there was. I got off lightly."
"Money. I never did see it's purpose." Liz muttered.
Nicole agreed silently.
"But soon after the trial, things got worse. It started with nightmares. Nightmares that didn't stop when I opened my eyes. I saw it every second of the day. Sam's body smashing into the windshield, Brooke shouting but not making any sound. And then. the thud of a body hitting the road."
"Guilt. It's such a drag."
Nicole chuckled for just a moment. "And then Sam came back. She never said anything at first. She'd be sitting in a chair, reading a book. Or she'd sit down next to me while watching TV. The nightmares terrified me, and with Sam."
"You went nuts."
"So that's my story." Nicole said. "Feel free to go now."
"I can't. Have to wait for the bus. And besides, why should I go?"
"Liz, I have blood on my hands. I'm a murderer."
"Lady MacBeth was a murderer. You know what happened to her?"
"Wha.? I mean. no."
"She went nuts too. And then she killed herself. Wanna know why?"
"She didn't have a friend to talk."
"We're not friends. How can we? How can anyone be my friend?"
"Well, usually somebody gets to know you. And if that somebody likes you he or she often ends up being your friend."
"No buts, Nic. You are not a killer. You just. had it really, really bad. Now I'm not saying that it's OK to kill someone, but I doubt you'll ever do it again."
"Don't mention it. Now this Sam person. Who was she?"
"Nothing special. She hated my guts, I hated her guts. She dressed badly, hung out with losers, worked for the school newspaper."
"I see." Said Liz. "But who was she?"
"A better person than me, that's for sure. She was like Cordelia."
"Cordelia? But I thought she always dressed sharply."
"King Lear's Cordelia. Not the one from Buffy."
"Oh. Sorry. Haven't read that one yet."
"Never mind. But. err. our time's pretty much up, so."
"Back to the loony bin it is! Hey Nicole, think you can get me outside again?"
"Shouldn't be that much of a problem, I guess. Provided you stay. well. like this for a while."
"Great! I've already got a great idea for our next excursion."
"And that would be.?"
"Sam's grave of course."
"Look, I'm gonna be in an asylum all my life. And when I die, I probably won't even know who I am any more. But you, on the other hand, don't have to. I know you have a chance of getting out. And I want to make sure you do."
"But we can't go to her grave." Nicole argued, with a hysterical hint to her voice. "I don't know where she's buried. She might even be cremated for all I know."
"Well if she is, we have a problem. If she's not, then we'll find her on a graveyard somewhere. There aren't that many in town anyway and I like to look at the bright side of things."
NOTE: I was, strangely enough, listening to ‘Kefka’s Theme’ while writing this part. And everybody who knows Kefka also knows that he’s… several cards short of a full deck. As a result, this part came out a little strange, I think. But not TOO strange, of course. Still have Espers to kill and people to stab in the back and all.
Today nothing could go wrong. The carpentry crew had a day off, Mike and Jane were working, Brooke was still at school. Today Sam could FINALLY get on with her game in relative peace and silence. She eagerly started her laptop, reached for the CD-ROM and started cursing when the doorbell rang.
Opening the door Sam saw a blonde girl smiling brightly at her.
“Hi. You must be Brooke.” She said.
“No?” The girl asked confused. “But… this IS the house of a certain McQueen, right?”
“And you’re not Brooke?”
“Then who are you?”
The girl’s eyes widened. Her smile became even brighter. “Sam!?”
“Oh wow. This is even better than I thought. Hey, can I come in?”
Without waiting for a reply, the girl crossed the threshold.
Sam sighed and closed the door.
Sam found the girl again in the living room. She was looking around as if she had never seen a living room before.
“Who are you?” Sam asked.
“Huh? What? Oh! Me, well…” The girl turned to look at Sam. “I’m Elizabeth, but everybody calls me Liz.”
“OK.” Sam said. “Why are you here?”
“Well I WAS here to help out a friend of mine.” Then she smiled again. “But this is SO much better.”
“And how is this so much better?” Sam asked, feeling that her patience was quickly becoming less and less.
“Well I think that’s pretty obvious.” The girl said. “You’re not dead.”
“I know I’m not dead.” Said Sam slowly. “So what?”
“Oh, you don’t know?”
“Well that Nicole thinks that you ARE dead, of course. I mean, I understand that the two of you aren’t exactly on talking terms right now, but letting her think that you’re dead… well… that’s just rude.”
“Wait, hold up. Nicole?”
“She thinks I’m dead?”
“Well yeah. I mean, she hit you with a car. Most people get dead after that, I hear.”
“And how do you know that she thinks I’m dead?”
“Well, I’m her best friend of course.”
“You’re her WHAT?”
“Best friend. You have heard of that concept, right?”
“Yeah, but not when it comes to Nicole. Who ARE you?”
“Haven’t I told you that yet? Sorry, that was rude of me. I’m Liz.”
“Yeah, you already told me that.”
“I did? Then why did you ask?”
“It was more of a rhetorical question.”
“Ah.” Said Liz. “But anyway, you’ve gotta come with me.”
“And why should I have to do that?”
“To let Nic know you’re not dead of course. Because, trust me, it’s gonna shatter her entire world to pieces.”
“Well, as much as I’d like to see the look of disappointment on Nic’s face when she finds out I’m not dead after all, I can’t.”
Sam gestured towards her wheelchair. The girl looked at it for a few moments, as if she noticed it for the first time.
“Oh.” She said. “Do you go to school?”
“Are you brought?”
“Taxi service, why?”
“No reason.” The girl quickly scampered towards the phone. “What’s the nu… Oh, never mind it’s here.”
“Hey, what are you…”
“Ssssh! I’m trying to make a phone call here. Hello? Is this Blake’s taxi Service? Great! Hey, look, can you send one over right now? You can? Great! OK, the address is… err… Do you happen to know where the McQueen house is? You’ve got it registered somewhere? That’s pretty helpful. Well, see you shortly.”
As Sam was being pushed through several hallways she became aware of a nagging suspicion. Or, to be honest, she was pretty damn sure of what it was the she suspected.
“This isn’t by any chance an asylum, is it?”
“What was your first clue?”
“And Nicole is here?”
“Because she’s nuts, that’s why. Why else would she be here?”
“I mean, what’s wrong with her?”
“I’m not telling you that. It’d be a lot more fun if you found it out for yourself.”
“You’re a strange girl.”
“I know. That’s why I had to sneak out of this place.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m not allowed to leave on my own. Hell, I’m not allowed to leave period. Nicole really had to beg to get me out for a few hours. So please don’t tell anyone that I was the one who brought you here, OK?”
“OK then. We have arrived at Nicole’s room. She’s just through that door. Good luck, I’ll be leaving you now because I have a feeling there will be a lot of staff needed in the following minutes. Have fun.”
And with that Liz scampered off. Sam stared at the girl for a few moments, then looked back at the door. The door where Nicole Julian was behind. The very same girl that put her in that wheelchair. Sam felt that she should be really angry right now, but was surprised to find that she wasn’t. It probably had something to do with the setting. Sam took a deep breath and opened the door.
Nicole was standing with her back turned towards the door, looking out the window. Since she didn’t seem to notice her, Sam took her time to look at the small room. There wasn’t a lot to see. The word ‘Spartan’ came to mind.
“Hi Nicole.” Sam said, thinking it was a pretty good way to start a conversation.
Nicole kept staring out the window. “Go away.”
“OK. That wasn’t the response that I was expecting.”
“Look, I don’t want to talk to you right now, so could you ple--”
Nicole turned around.
Her eyes became large.
Her face turned pale.
“Sam?” She said, looking at the girl in the wheelchair.
Then she looked at an empty area of the room right next to Sam.
“Sam?” She said again.
“Err… Nicole?” Sam tried.
Nicole looked back at her. The look in her eyes made Sam wonder if she could really see her.
“What’s going on here?” Nicole asked. “Why are there two of you now? Wasn’t one enough already?”
“Nicole, what are you talking about?”
“No. No, no, no, no, no, this isn’t right. This… this isn’t… Why are there two of you?”
“Nicole, I’m here all by myself.” Sam tried. “Just me. I don’t have a twin.”
“Who are you?” Nicole shouted angrily. “Sam is dead! How dare you look like her like that!”
“Hey, I’m not dead!” Sam said.
“Sam’s dead!” Nicole insisted. “You’re not real!”
“Look, I’m not gonna sit here and let you keep on insulting me.”
“Sam’s dead.” Nicole repeated, desperation creeping into her voice.
“How many times---”
Nicole slid to the floor and started sobbing hysterically.
It was fifteen minutes later and Sam had questions. First a few orderlies had drugged Nicole and had put the sleeping girl on the bed. A few moments later one of the doctors had appeared in the room and had politely, yet firmly, requested that Sam come with him. Wanting to find out what was going on, Sam really had no other choice than to come with him.
“So I take it you’re Sam.” The doctor stated.
Sam nodded. “What’s wrong with Nicole?”
“Getting straight to the point, I see.”
“That’s the kind of girl I am.”
“Well… to put it simply… Nicole is consumed with guilt.”
“Guilt?” Sam asked. The day had just got stranger.
“Nicole believes that she is an inherently evil person. She has found this fact confirmed by her upbringing and her conduct at school. She is, of course, not evil.”
“Opinions on that vary.” Sam muttered.
The doctor ignored her. “It’s a rather tragic case, really. For every ‘evil’ act Nicole has done, she felt guilty. It is, of course, perfectly normal to feel guilt. But most people manage to deal with it in some form or the other. Nicole was not able to. So she repressed those feelings and continued to behave in the way she always behaved. This is, of course, an unhealthy state of affairs. It was simply a matter of time when things became too much.”
“Let me guess.” Said Sam. “This has something to do with me being hit by her car, right?”
“Exactly. It was that that drove her over the edge. She saw it as the unmistakable truth that she was evil. She couldn’t deal with it. And that resulted first in nightmares and then in delusions.”
“What kind of delusions?” Sam asked, having a feeling that she already knew the answer.
“You. Nicole has created… well… you to act as her conscience. Seeing ‘you’ every single way she looks helps her finally deal with her emotions. And not just the guilt.”
“And is that a good thing?”
“Partly. Yes, Nicole has found a way to deal, but lately she has become more and more dependant on her creation. We tried everything we could, but it was really only a matter of time before the only person Nicole would be speaking with is her imaginary conscience.”
“And now that she found out I’m still alive, what happens now?”
“Difficult to say, really. You might say that her world, which was, in a way, comforting has shattered. Nicole is once again completely adrift. So she will try to piece her world back together again. It is more than likely that she will try to forget ever seeing you and will go back to how she has been recently.”
“Oh.” Said Sam.
“Now then, because Nicole’s worldview has just been smashed away from under her we have an opportunity to make her sane again. To make her deal with everything the world throws at her in a more normal fashion.”
“And I take it you need my help for that?” Sam stated.
“Yes. Like I said, Nicole is clinging on to you. If she now clings on to the real you we would have a much better chance at curing her.”
“Nicole following me around everywhere I go does not sound like a very good idea to me.” Sam said.
“I realise that. It will be hard for both of you. On the other hand, you do have a magnificent opportunity to redeem a person’s soul.”
Sam looked at the doctor. He grinned at her.
“Soul? I didn’t think you guys work with that.”
“We do. Whenever it suits the occasion.”
Sam stared at the man for a few moments.
“So you’re saying that Nicole is a good person?”
“And that I am the only person who can get that good side to show?”
Sam sighed. “Fine. I’ll do it. I’ll help.”
“Splendid! Can you start tomorrow?”
“I guess. What time?”
“Doesn’t really matter. After school, I suppose. Just come here and talk to Nicole.”
“Is that all?”
“This is going to be hard.”
The doctor grinned again. “I hope so. Now then, unless you have any further questions I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Sam said, without much enthusiasm.
Most people believe that distance is something that can be measured. And very often, it can. But sometimes there are situations where the concept of ‘distance’ takes an entirely different meaning. Take Sam and Nicole, for instance. They are both in the same, small room. Sam sitting against the wall next to the door, Nicole sitting on her bed across the room. The physical distance between them wasn’t very large, but looking at them made you feel like the two were a few light years apart from each. It didn’t really help this situation that neither girl was talking, or even looking at each other.
Nicole looked at her hands and studied the ways her fingers could intertwine with each other. Sam looked up to study any irregularities in the ceiling.
"Did… did I… you know…" Nicole briefly looked at Sam, then at the ground.
"Put me in a wheelchair?" Sam finished the sentence.
"Oh? That's it? Oh?"
"I can't say that I'm sorry."
"Why? Because you're happy about it?" Sam was getting angry now.
"No." Nicole said, still carefully studying the floor. "I can't risk you forgiving me."
Nicole looked at Sam. "Does that sound stupid?"
"I'm not sure."
"Does it hurt?"
"Does what hurt?"
"Well, that's good. I guess."
"Why are you here?" Nicole asked suddenly.
"To help you."
"Because the docs asked you to."
"I figured as much. I don't deserve help. Especially not from you."
"And why is that?"
"Do you have to ask?"
"Because I don't deserve it."
"You already said that. You still haven't told me why."
"If I'm not mistaken we've already determined that I am, in fact, still alive."
"You're dead Sam. I killed you."
"You really didn't."
"How do I know? How do I know that I'm not seeing things? Again."
"How do you know that I'm not real?"
"You're dead Sam!" Nicole shouted. "You have to be dead! I ran you over with my car, ground you into the asphalt until you were nothing more than a bloody pulp! You're dead! I need you to be dead! So get out and stop lying about being alive!"
"Why do you need me dead?" Sam asked, trying to remain calm.
"Because…" The anger drained from Nicole and she sat back down on the edge of her. "Because you can stop me."
"Stop you from doing what?"
Nicole laughed. "Yeah, I knew it. Maybe YOU are alive, but you're not Sam. Sam knows me, she knows what I've done. She wouldn't have to ask."
"Hey, I know who I am. I'm Sam, there can be no question about that. But right now… I'm not really sure who you are."
Harrison was not a stalker. He was very convinced of that. Stalkers are sick people and Harrison knew that he was not a sick person. He was just following Sam to find out something that would make her forgive him. He had been through such a lot already that he really had already been forgiven. Sam saying it was nothing more than a formality and then everything would be all right again. Sam would like him again, Carmen would like him again, Lily would like him again, Brooke would want to date him again. All he had to do was to prove how much of a good person he really was. Because he was, after all, a good person. And to prove his inherent good nature, he had to protect Sam first. And to do _that_ he just had to show Brooke that Sam was mentally ill, so that Brooke would ask him to make her sane again. And then, of course, he would make Sam sane again. And then Sam would forgive him and everything would be all right again.
The doors to the asylum opened and Sam went outside. Harrison quickly grabbed his camera and started taking pictures.
RATING: NC-17 for language. Cover your ears kiddies and run, run, run. This part has a very bad word in it and hints of unethical, immoral and downright wrong behaviour. (This warning was brought to you by 'Right Wing Lunatics Inc', making the world a better place to live in. That is, if you're white, blonde, with blue eyes, patriotic, heterosexual, Christian, healthy, rich and several other things we can't really think of right now. If you are not ALL of the above (and those several others we've forgotten) you can count on us to make your world a living Hell. Thank you for your time. Please do not continue reading this story. If it were up to us we'd have banned this story and put the author of this insidious piece of propaganda in jail. After that, we'd have read this fic extensively so that we could explain to others why this has to be banned. Unfortunately it is not up to us.)
PAIRING: Sam/Nicole. And I'm finally getting there.
NOTE: Though my little rant at the rating may suspect otherwise, this is in fact, not a very silly part. It might even be serious if it weren't for the fact that the writing is crap.
Lunch time at Kennedy High. Traditionally this is a time to eat and to talk with fellow students. At the current time and place, Brooke, however, was doing neither. There was something nagging at the back her of her head. It was one of those things that you _know_ there is something not quite right, but you have absolutely no idea of what it actually _is_. To make matters worse, when you really try thinking about what it is that's wrong you end up blocking yourself and get even further away from the solution. Which leads to a lot of frustration.
Needless to say, Brooke wasn't in a very happy place right now.
The happy place she wasn't in suddenly got a lot further away when, with great commotion, the horde of Mary Cherry approached the table. The head Texan herself stopped in front of the table, head held high, hands on her hips.
Brooke, Lily and Carmen were not impressed.
"Ah wish to sit here." Mary Cherry announced, much to the dismay of the occupants of the table.
At once the horde of Cultists started moving and making noise as the ever-present throne was carefully placed under the Texan's behind.
"Leave us." Mary Cherry said.
There was a sigh of resignation of the Cult. With their shoulders slumped and faces facing the ground they left the safety of the table and awaited the first items of foodstuffs that would inevitably be thrown in their direction.
"So, we meet again." Carmen said.
"It is not us who're meeting. Ah wish only to speak to Brooke."
Carmen grumbled something incoherently, which sounded a lot like 'Hey, I'm a Glamazon too, remember?'
"What do you want?" Brooke asked, with an overwhelming lack of interest.
"How's dear Spammy's room comin' along?" Mary Cherry asked.
"It's finished, she's happy with it."
"Ah see." Said Marry Cherry, grinning widely. "An' how's tha girl doin' in tah other fields o' interest?" She asked, winking heavily.
"Do you have something in your eye?" Brooke asked, not getting the fact that Mary Cherry was trying to give her a subtle hint, since the subtle-hint-giving wasn't quite subtle.
"You know…" Mary Cherry said, with an even heavier amount of subtle winking. "Tha romantic interests?"
"Why do you care?" Brooke asked.
"Well if it wasn't for me thar would be no field o' romantic interest to speak of, now would there?"
"Hold it." Lily said. "What do you mean by that?"
"Well, we all know that Spammy is incapable of achieving any form o' happiness by her incapabilitating circumstances. So Ah thought Ah'd help her out by tha best o' mah abilities."
"You didn't hire a gigolo for her or something, did you?" Carmen said.
"Why Ah'd NEVER do such a thing." Mary Cherry said. There was more winking. "Ah might just have 'encouraged' someone slightly."
"You did WHAT!?" Lily yelled in a fit of possibly justified, yet slightly self-righteous outrage.
"Edgar." Brooke said, getting her mind sort of back on track. "You hired Edgar."
"Well, Ah…" Mary Cherry started.
"I can't believe it." Brooke continued. "She didn't fall for it, but I did. _I_ fell for it. Probably because I see Sam the same way you do." The blonde got up from the table. "Oh, this is… I mean… I have to..."
And so Brooke went, leaving Carmen, Lily and Mary Cherry behind.
Mary Cherry looked at the other girls. "Who's Edgar?"
It was still lunchtime, albeit at a different school. Sam was here, sitting in her wheelchair as always. She was trying to talk and eat at the same time. Which was not a winning combination, to say the least.
"Hey can I ask you a question?" Sam asked, after having completely finished her lunch and becoming a lot more serious.
"Shoot." Said one of the occupants of the table.
"Does any of you know how to deal with mental patients."
There was a slight snickering.
"I mean _serious_ mental patients." Sam said. "Patients that are _completely_ incapable of dealing with reality."
"Well, when you're talking defects of all kinds we're probably just as good as the experts."
"OK, the thing is, there's this girl…"
"Sam, you never told us you swung that way."
"Shut up, it's not like that."
"A guy can dream, can't he?"
"OK, you I am ignoring for the rest of this conversation. Anyway this girl is the reason I'm in this wheelchair. And before that she had the loving nickname of 'Satan' bestowed upon her by me."
"Not a nice girl then."
"No, not a nice girl. But now… she's been put into a mental institution. The docs say that she's delusional, caused by repressed emotions or something. And these delusions were all founded on a very strong belief that I am dead."
"I think I know where this is going."
"Where it is going is, that she doesn't want to admit I'm alive. I've talked to her a few times, but somehow she always ends up yelling at me. She needs me dead. She wants me to be a construction of her imagination."
"According to her, I, that is to say, the image of dead me helped her stay on the straight and narrow."
"You can do little harm if you're locked up in a mental ward all right."
"Now, believe it or not, but I actually want to help her. But first I have to prove to her beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm really real. So how do I do that?"
"I already said I wasn't listening to you."
"Look, physical contact is probably the most convincing. Not even the most delusional delusions can really touch you. And kissing is one of the biggest touching sensations known to man."
"You know, you actually have a point."
"Of course, if you'd fuck her brains out, I bet she'd be REALLY convinced."
"OK, not listening to you any more."
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