Title: The Vacation

Author: Jos Mous

Email: wotan_anubis@yahoo.com

RATING: PG-13

PAIRING: Let me get back to you on that one

DISCLAIMER: I own none of these characters, I'm not making any profit out of this, blahblahblah.

NOTE: I'm not even sure if I'll ever finish this one, yet I'm already thinking about the sequel. It seems I too have little control over what my mind is thinking.


Day 1

Shirt.

Shirt?

Shirt?

Come on, I know you're here somewhere.

Shirt!

OK, now what?

Pants.

Definitely pants.

~~~~~

"How's it going?"

Samantha McPherson interrupted her frantic search for articles of clothing to look up at the blonde standing in the doorway.

"Hey Brooke, here to torment me?" Sam said smirking.

"Seems like you're doing a great job all by yourself."

"Don't rub it in." Sam grumbled as she continued searching for a pair of pants.

"I won't." Brooke said in that innocent tone of voice that always meant trouble. "But you might want to consider packing _before_ we leave."

"I am packing before we leave." Sam said as she managed to get hold of a pair of pants.

"What I meant was packing while you still have considerable time to do so."

Sam grumbled something incoherently as she tried to fit the pants into the suitcase.

"Need some help?" Brooke offered sweetly.

Sam glared at Brooke for a moment. Normally she would say 'no' when someone asked something like that. Especially if they used that quasi-mocking tone of voice. But not this time.

"Sure." Sam said. "See if you can find another pair of pants."

Brooke, slightly taken aback by this unexpected turn of events, overlooked the state Sam's bedroom was in. To say it was a gigantic mess would be an understatement. It was the Gigantic Mess to end all Gigantic Messes. Brooke carefully made her way into the room that was no doubt filled with all kinds of hazards. And not just the obvious fashion hazards.

"Oh, never mind." Sam said as she ducked into a pile of... well, stuff. "Found one right here."

Jane's voice suddenly rung throughout the room. "Brooke! Sam! We're leaving!"

"You heard the woman." Brooke said as she turned around and made her way out as quickly as she could.

"Tell 'em I'm on my way." Sam said as she tried to close the lid on her suitcase.

~~~~~

Five minutes later Sam slumped down on the back seat of the car, visibly out of breath. Brooke sat next to her looking as perky as ever.

Sam really hated Brooke that moment.

"You got everything?" Mike asked cheerfully from behind the steering wheel while looking into the rear view mirror.

"Yeah, yeah." Sam said quickly. "Let's just go."

Mike, big grin firmly in place, started the car and slowly drove off.

"Sure you didn't forget anything?" Brooke asked again.

"Very sure." Sam said. "The one thing about last-minute packing is that you don't have enough time to start doubting whether or not you've got everything before you leave."

"If you say so." Brooke said.

Sam looked at Brooke from the corner of her eye. The blonde looked so damn friendly, but underneath it all there seemed to be this never ending delight at torturing the McPherson girl. And she all made it _sound_ like she was really caring. If Sam would go around mocking people she'd be sure to let people know she was actually mocking them. But Brooke genuinely seemed to care.

It was maddening.

~~~~~

After checking in their luggage at the airport the McQueen/McPherson family found themselves in the waiting area. Their plane had a half-hour delay, so they still had about an hour to spend with doing nothing. Mike and Jane used this time with a small dictionary for tourists to try and pick up some words. Unfortunately for them, with no idea of how it was supposed to sound their little practice session would most likely not be very successful, but that didn't stop them. Brooke, who had cleverly anticipated the fact that there would be periods of time where she had nothing to do, had taken a magazine out of her backpack and was casually leafing through it.

It was then that Sam realised she had indeed forgotten something.

So there Sam was, with nothing better to do than to wait and look around a bit. She noticed that Mike and Jane were really very excited with this vacation. Sam couldn't even begin to imagine why. True, she didn't know a lot about their destination, but from what she did know it didn't sound like a very exciting place to be. While Sam was looking at them Mike and Jane also realised that it was a bit too late for practise, so now they were going through some brochures, pointing out interesting tourist-y stuff to each other.

Samís little study of her way too cheerful parents came to an abrupt end when three teenagers that seemed to be about her age loudly breezed into the waiting area. They were followed by two young and obviously amused women who slowly walked behind them. To Sam's utter horror the three noisy teens made their way into her general direction. And with three empty seats next to her she could very much guess where they'd end up.

"Hi there, this seat taken?"

Sam looked up at the guy standing more or less in front of her. His hair was orange, his clothes were green. He looked nice enough, but he was clearly even more excited than the parental units.

"Not that I'm aware of." Sam said casually.

"Great." The guy said as he and the two girls sat down. The he leaned over to Sam, smiling. "The name's Link, by the way."

The blonde girl sitting next to Link gave him an annoyed stare and swatted him on the arm. "Leave her alone, will you?"

"What?" Link said, trying to look all innocent. "I'm not doing anything."

"Just leave her alone."

"Oh fine." Link leaned over to Sam again. "I'm sorry about talking to you." He said.

Sam quickly looked at the clock hanging on the far wall. There were still fifteen minutes remaining before they were supposed to start boarding.

As the three teenagers descended into a _very_ lively argument about something or the other (complete with sudden outbursts of indignation and flailing limbs) Sam realised that it were going to be a very long fifteen minutes.

~~~~~

Sam breathed a sigh of relief as she let herself fall down onto her seat. Her mom, Mike and Brooke had taken up the three seats behind her so Sam had two empty seats next to her. This didn't bother her all that much when, much to her horror, three certain teenagers made their way through the aisle. Sam was very familiar with Murphy's Law, so she wasn't very surprised when the guy wearing green and a girl who had coloured her hair blue sat down right next to her. Sam mentally prepared herself for a very tiring flight as Link once again tried to get her attention.

"Link." Someone said.

Sam looked up to see it was one of the young women accompanying the teens.

"Take a hike." The woman said smirking.

"What? I can sit here, right?"

"No you can't." The woman said. "We are not leaving two of you unguarded near to a helpless fellow passenger."

"Oh come on mom. I'm not doing any harm here."

"Don't make me repeat myself." She said smiling, with only a hint of authority shining through.

Link grumbled a few incoherent sounds as he stood up and walked off.

Sam didn't really notice anything that happened next. She knew on some instinctive level that the stewardess was explaining all those life-saving precautions. She also knew at some point that the plane was in the air. But all that time she tried to wrap her mind around the rather strange situation she had encountered here. Link had called the woman 'mom' loud and clear. But the woman seemed only fifteen years older. Which lead Sam to wonder if the other woman was also 'mom'. And if so, how did they end up with at least one, but possibly three teenage kids? Having nothing better to do Sam decided to ponder this question to the extreme during the flight. It was probably some sort of foster family, but that easy conclusion didn't prevent Sam from making the whole matter very complicated in her mind.

"Excuse me?"

Sam woke up from her thoughts and looked at the girl next to her. She noticed that the girl with blue hair was looking at her with clear blue eyes. She also noticed a sudden increase in her heartbeat. She decided not to link these two facts together.

"This your first time on a plane?" The girl asked.

"No." Sam answered truthfully.

"This the first time you travel outside America?"

"Well... yeah." Sam admitted.

"In that case you might try to get a little shut-eye. There isn't gonna be a whole lot of night during this flight."

"I know that." Sam said in a tone that made it very clear there could be no argument about the statement she had just made.

"Fine." Said the girl. "See you tomorrow."

Sam tried to get a little more comfortable in her chair and pointedly directed her attention at the small window next to her. She soon closed her eyes and tried to indeed get some sleep. She had this vague idea that if she were to stay awake her thought processes might lead her to the colour blue.

And she really wasn't interested in blue. Or so she told herself.


Day 2

Sam didn't remember much about the flight. Mainly because she had slept through most of it. She was now fully awake while the sun slowly crept over the horizon. She was currently seated in the back of the rented car they would use the entire holiday with Brooke sitting next to her. The blonde didn't look very good, her eyes continuously fluttered shut as she tried to stay awake. Clearly she had not got any sleep during the flight. The parents were (obviously) sitting in the front. They showed no signs of fatigue, but Sam didn't know if that was because they had slept or because they were so pumped full with raw enthusiasm that they could keep going.

Sam suddenly felt something press on her shoulder. As she looked she saw that it was Brooke. She had finally fallen asleep and was leaning against her. Sam didn't mind all that much even though she was slowly getting squashed against the car door.

~~~~~

After a boring drive of an hour or two, maybe three the car pulled up in front of the small cottage they would own for the coming days. Jane and Mike quickly left the car and took a moment to look in awe at the surroundings. Not that those surroundings were very exciting since the cottage stood at a street filled with more cottages.

Parents could be so weird sometimes.

Sam carefully nudged the blonde still resting against her.

"Brooke, wake up." Sam whispered.

Brooke's eyes slowly opened. She looked up at Sam smiling back at her. The blonde quickly bolted upright and looked outside.

"We're here?" She asked yawning.

"Very much." Sam said. "Come on, let's not keep the parents waiting."

Brooke simply nodded. She was clearly still sleepy.

~~~~~

The inside of the cottage was simple, but effective. As you entered through the front door you almost immediately stepped into the small living area. It consisted simply of a fireplace that -according to the brochure- provided that nice, comfortable feeling of warmth and protection, two benches, a low table and a TV. The kitchen was immediately adjacent to it. So much even that it simply seemed to be part of the living room. The kitchen too was small, simple and contained everything that was needed. Besides the front door and the glass doors that lead to a small lawn that was in serious need of mowing there were four more doors. Two for the bedrooms, one for the bathroom and one for the toilet. Simply put, everything that was needed was there, but that was about it.

Jane walked out of one of the bedrooms. She was still smiling. If she kept smiling any longer it would probably stay frozen there forever. Maybe that had already happened.

"Isn't it great?" She asked excited.

"I guess." Was Sam's first response.

"Can we see our bedroom?" Brooke asked.

"Of course, it's right through that door." Jane pointed out.

"Are the beds already made?"

"Yes, why do you want to know?"

Brooke shrugged. "No reason."

The blonde then proceeded to the room pointed out to her and closed the door behind her.

"Iíll bet you we won't be seeing her before the end of the day." Sam said.

"Why do you think that?"

Sam smiled. "Just a hunch."

Mike entered rather noisily trying to carry every suitcase in one go. There was something slightly maniacal behind his eyes that told Sam that she was going to be very embarrassed by her parents' behaviour.

"Where's Brooke?" Mike asked.

"Sleeping. Or at the very least, trying to." Sam answered. "So I'd best wait before unpacking my stuff. Wouldn't want to disturb her, now would I?"

"Oh, well, right, well, in that case, err..." Mike started.

"Is this ever going to find its way into a vaguely coherent sentence?" Sam asked.

"Well, since you don't have anything to do right now, why not just, you know, go out exploring a little?"

"Exploring?" Sam asked. "Mike, this a bungalow park. There's not a lot to explore here."

"Oh." Said Mike. "Well I suppose you could just sit down and watch TV while you wait for Brooke to wake up again."

Sam looked over at the TV standing neatly opposite to one of the benches. Go walk around a little or stay in here to watch Dutch television? Or maybe the question should be: Go walk around or stay here watching the parents be all excited over everything?

"OK then." Sam said, clapping her hands together once. "I'll see you later then."

~~~~~

The bungalow park turned out to be very much like Sam expected. The small roads were often neatly lined out around an artificial lake and trees were planted here and there. The whole idea had probably been to give people the idea that the park was situated in a little piece of nature, but everything was simply too planned to be convincing. Though Sam had to admit she rather liked the trees hanging over the path. It was somewhere in the middle of spring and the leaves were a nice lively green. The sky, on the other hand, was not a clear blue, but a patch of grey. Sam gambled it probably wasn't going to stay dry for very long.

~~~~~

Sam slowly sauntered forward, walking between the lines of cottages and trees when she noticed someone walking in front of her, heading in her direction.

"Oh God." Sam muttered to herself. "This isn't happening."

The girl with blue hair that had sat next to Sam on the plane flight approached Sam with a very surprised look on her face.

"This can't be a co-incidence." The girl said as she walked up to Sam.

"You're right." Sam said smirking. "You're stalking me. Admit it."

The girl smiled. "How do I know the roles aren't reversed?" She answered. "I'm Ruto." She said, holding out her hand.

"Sam." Sam answered, briefly shaking the offered hand.

"Sam?" The girl repeated. "What kind of name is that for a girl?"

"It's short for Samantha. And besides, I could say the same thing about yours."

"True." Ruto said with a shrug. "So, you escaping an overly enthusiastic family as well?"

"Just the parents. My darling soon-to-be stepsis is probably snoring her head off right now."

"Lucky you." Ruto said. "My parents are an oasis of calm. It's my..." She halted uncomfortably for a moment before she proceeded. "Siblings... that I'm running away from."

Sam started walking again, simply because she didn't feel the need to be standing still. Ruto more or less followed her.

"So, this your first time here?" Sam asked. She wasn't really interested in the answer, she just didn't want everything to fall silent.

"Depends on how you define 'here'." Ruto said. "Here in this bungalow park? Yes. Here in the Netherlands? No. Here on Earth? Possibly."

"You one of those types how believes in the divine and reincarnation and stuff?" Sam asked.

"Not really." Ruto answered. "But I also don't exclude the possibility. I do believe in the 'everything happens for a reason' line of thought, though."

"I don't."

"Suit yourself." Ruto said. "But I've seen a lot of bad stuff already, yet somehow it all worked out fine for me. That's more than enough evidence for me."

"What kind of bad stuff?" Sam asked.

Ruto briefly looked at her. Behind those clear blue eyes a steel wall had suddenly been erected.

"Not my business." Sam said quickly.

Sam looked up at the sky, mainly so she didn't have to look at her companion. Although she barely knew the girl her presence did cause a lot of confusion on Sam's part. Confusion caused by matters Sam simply did not want to face. The sky, on the other hand, did not provide that kind of distractions.

"Do you think it's going to rain?" Sam asked.

When in doubt, talk about the weather.

"Nah." Ruto said. "If it's gonna rain every time the sky turns a little grey this country would've disappeared beneath the sea years ago. Trust me, I speak from experience."

Ruto's experience turned out be right. The sky retained its grey colour all day with the sun barely managing to shine through. But not a single drop of rain fell.

Sam and Ruto wandered around aimlessly for quite some time, talking about absolutely nothing. Sam used this time to look more closely at the girl. The first thing that became apparent in a very obvious way was that she liked blue. Not only had she painted her hair blue, her clothing was just as blue. It wasn't a very bright colour of blue, it was more of a shadow-like colour. The colour made her not stand out. Which, in a way, was very odd. People with unusual hair-colours often do stand out in a crowd.

What Sam also noticed was that the girl was really very pretty. If Sam had been very religious she would believe that God had spent quite some time on perfecting her. Unfortunately God had then made the mistake of placing the girl in what Sam could only guess had been a very bad place. Ruto acted very cheerful, and Sam believed it was genuine, but there was something about her that clearly indicated that she had seen a little too much for her age. Sam really wanted to know what it was, but since she was only just getting to know the girl and didnít want to drive her off with painful questions she remained quiet on that topic. Besides, it wasn't like she would ever see the girl again after the vacation was over.

Right?

~~~~~

"Is it usually so quickly dark here?" Sam asked.

There was no reply.

Sam looked around, but saw nothing. It was dark all around her. It wasn't exactly a threatening kind of dark. It was simply there, just as she was simply here. Where ever 'here' was. Sam started walking, but without direction. Darkness was all around her and Sam had no idea where she was going.

"Lonely, isn't it?"

Sam sharply turned around. She couldn't quite make out who it was talking to her. The shape of the other person was rather blurred. The only thing she saw clearly were the blue eyes looking right through her.

The figure stuck out her hand.

Sam took it.

~~~~~

In the darkness Sam bolted upright. At first she didn't recognise where she was, but that didn't last long. She was trembling slightly and breathing loudly. In the other bed, standing against the opposite wall, Brooke slept quietly. Sam's breathing slowly returned to normal.

"Get a grip McPherson." She said in order to calm herself. "You hardly even know her."

((Then why do I get all worked up about her?)) She thought. ((And why do I all of the sudden assume that that dream was about her in the first place? I know lots of people with blue eyes!))

"I'm not gay." Sam said to the darkness. She just had to hear it out loud. As if saying it meant confirming it.

But as Sam lay back down she couldn't stop herself from thinking.

((Why am I suddenly confirming my sexuality? I've never been uncertain before, have I?))

Sam wrestled a bit with the sheets and turned onto her side.

((This doesn't mean anything.)) She told herself. ((Yeah, she's nice and pretty. But it doesn't mean anything. And if there is something it's nothing more than some holiday crush!))

((But she's still a girl.)) That small part of Sam McPherson's mind that was unwilling to be fooled by any sort of wishful thinking pointed out. ((And you're starting to have pretty heavy thoughts about your own sexuality because of her. Big accomplishment for some girl you barely even know, huh?))

"It's nothing." Sam said, but without a lot of conviction.


Day 3

It was raining. Hard. Very hard. It was the kind of rain that you could barely even see through. If anyone were to stand outside for five seconds or longer that meant that he or she would not get dry again for the rest of the day without the heavy use of towels.

And yet the parentals had decided to go for a walk on the beach.

Sam was now convinced that they were indeed criminally insane.

She was now also convinced of her complete boredom. Sam flopped down on the couch next to Brooke, who was equally bored, but had tried to fight her boredom with watching TV.

"What're you watching?" Sam asked.

"I haven't got a clue." Brooke answered. "I don't understand a word of the language."

"God, I wanna do something." Sam said, reaching that critical time when boredom starts to get lethal.

"We can always go swimming." Brooke said.

"Swimming? In this weather?"

"Well, it's a pool with a roof. And besides, if we're going to get wet we might as well have fun while doing it."

"Good point." Sam said.

"And besides, it beats sitting around here all day."

"I already said 'good point'." Sam snapped. "No need to go on about it."

"Well excuse me." Brooke snapped back. "I didn't know there was a word limit imposed."

"Sorry." Sam quickly, but less than heartfelt, apologised. "It's just... I've got something on my mind right now. And combined with the boredom I get a little, well, snappish."

Brooke shrugged and stood up. "I'll go get the swimsuits." She said.

~~~~~

As predicted Sam and Brooke were soaked long before they even entered the swimming pool. As they entered the glass dome they found that 'swimming pool' might not have been the right term. It was a bit too large to be simply called a swimming pool. Oh sure, there was _a_ swimming pool, but there were also saunas and bubble-baths. The whole complex was enclosed by a large glass dome. The lighting inside was bright, which made the outside of the dome look very dark, creating a rather strange effect. The sound of rain beating down on the dome enhanced that effect even more.

~~~~~

Brooke quickly made her way past the pool and into a small alcove-like area where people could lie down under lamps to get an artificial tan. Brooke lay down the towel she had brought with onto one of the chairs and lay down. Sam, who had followed Brooke out of curiosity and because she had little idea of what she was planning to do, looked at her in amazement.

"You're going sunbathing?" She asked.

"Yeah." Brooke answered, her eyes closed.

"Jesus. And just when I thought you might not be so shallow as I thought."

"There's nothing shallow at trying to get a tan, Sam." Brooke said.

"I don't see why you need it." Sam said. "You're pretty enough as it is."

Brooke looked up her with a surprised expression, bordering on amazed. "Thanks."

Sam shrugged. "It's true. No need denying it."

Brooke looked at Sam for a moment longer, then returned to sunbathing.

Sam quickly turned around and headed for the large swimming pool. Suddenly a dive in a whole lot of cold water seemed like a very good idea to her.

Unfortunately for Sam taking a dive in cold water didn't help her much. She just kept thinking about what she said to Brooke. Saying someone is pretty doesn't _have_ to mean anything. But with her recent doubts in mind it could've meant anything.

Sam's thoughts slowly ebbed away as she concentrated more and more on the swimming itself. That is, until a very clear image suddenly made itself known. It was Ruto in a skin-tight bathing suit. Before Sam could panic over what her mind was doing to her now she briefly wondered what it would look like in reality. Then she realised she wasn't supposed to entertain _that_ kind of thoughts.

Sam quickly got out of the pool and left in a hurry. In such a hurry that it could almost be considered fleeing.

~~~~~

((God McPherson, what is wrong with you?)) Sam angrily thought to herself as she hurriedly walked back to the bungalow. ((You're starting to imagine her in a _swimsuit_? What's next? Erotic fantasies? NO! Forget I thought that!))

Sam was so lost in thought she didn't notice anything else. She didn't even notice that it had stopped raining. She also didn't notice three persons walking on the same road in the opposite direction. And of course the fact that one of those three had her hair painted blue.

"Hey Sam."

Sam looked up and stared straight into those eyes she had been trying desperately to forget.

"Hi." She said nervous, wondering how long it would take for her brain to realise that she did _not_ find the girl in front of her the most beautiful being in the world.

"Sam, is it?" The only guy in the small group said. "How'd you get that out of her?"

Ruto looked at Link, thereby looking away from Sam so that the brunette could get some semblance of thought back. All she could think about, however, was the fact that she wanted Ruto to look back at her.

"It's really simple to get someone's name Link." Ruto said smirking. "You just don't have to be you and everything else follows after that."

Link smacked himself in the head. "I _knew_ there was a reason behind that."

Ruto turned her attention back to Sam, who once again found her thought process derailed.

"You already met Link, right?"

Sam nodded.

"Well, the only one you don't know yet is Zelda." Ruto said, indicating the blonde girl.

"Hi." Zelda said, sticking out her hand.

"Hey." Sam greeted absentmindedly.

"So... err... we were gonna go swimming." Ruto said with a rather strange and sudden shyness. "Wanna come?"

((This is your lucky day Sam. Let's find out if she really does look as hot in a swimsuit as you seem to think.))

((Shut up!)) Sam shouted to herself. ((I don't need schizophrenia to add to my problems!))

((Problems? Why could falling for probably the most beautiful girl in the world be a problem?))

((I said...))

"Sam?"

"Huh? What?"

"You OK?" Ruto asked, slightly concerned.

"Yeah. I just... had to think of something."

"So, do you wanna come?"

"You know, I just came from the pool. So I fear I have to decline the invitation." Sam said. Some part of her mind yelled loudly at her for saying it.

"Oh." Said Ruto disappointed.

"I'm sorry. Tomorrow maybe?" Sam said.

"Oh, yeah, well, maybe."

"I'm sorry."

"It's OK." Ruto said.

The trio started to walk off again, leaving Sam standing alone on the road, thinking.

((Ah, what the heck. If I'm going to fall anyway...))

"Ruto!"

The girl turned around and looked at Sam.

"Yeah?"

"Maybe we could... you know... do something else... sometime?" Sam offered hesitantly.

Ruto smiled. "I'd like that."

As Ruto and the other continued their way the swimming pool, Sam headed back home, feeling strangely pleased with herself.

((Sam, I'm proud of you.))

((Shut up.)) She thought happily.

Even that annoying part of her that was always right couldn't dampen her mood now.

~~~~~

"Brooke?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I tell you something?"

"Now?"

"Now. Because, if I tell it _now_ you won't be sure if this was real or just a dream when you wake up tomorrow morning."

Brooke yawned. "Fine, what is it?"

((Might as well put it bluntly.)) Sam thought.

"I think I'm gay."

"You think you're WHAT!?" Brooke exclaimed, fully awake now.

"Brooke, keep it down." Sam hissed. "Do you _want_ to wake the parentals?"

"Forget them. Sam, how can you be gay all of the sudden?"

"I don't... I don't know. I'm not even really sure myself."

"You're not sure? How can you not be sure? I mean, God Sam, how can you even think you're gay?"

"What the Hell's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing." Brooke snapped. "Just answer me."

"I'm attracted to a girl Brooke. Homosexuality works that way. Well, if you're a girl that is. And before you ask, or even think it: No, it's not you."

Brooke shook her head. "I can't deal with this now."

"Brooke..."

"Sam, no. Not another word. You don't just dump this stuff on other people, you know."

"I'm seriously not liking this side of you, Brooke."

"Sam, you know I don't have anything against homosexuality, but..."

"But just for so long as it happens to other people. People you don't know, is that it?"

"No Sam. It's just... Not now, not yet. I need time to... adapt or something."

"Brooke, it's still me. I'm not any different or something."

"I know. On some level I know that. It's just that the rest of me needs a little time to work it out, OK?"

"Fine." Sam said grudgingly.

"See you tomorrow." Brooke said as she turned around under the sheets, ending any further discussion.

"Whatever."


Day 4

Brooke was not talking to her. That much was obvious. She wasn't exactly ignoring her, though, but it was clear she wanted to have little to do with her. Although Sam wasn't exactly thrilled by this she could understand the reaction. After all, she freaked out too when she found herself attracted to a girl. So Sam wasn't too upset with Brooke not talking to her for the time being. She was freaked and she needed time to deal. Sam accepted that.

It also gave Sam some time think about her own reaction. She wondered why she had denied being attracted to Ruto. At first she thought it was about her not willing to admit she gay. 'Gay' meant 'outsider', no denying that. But that wasn't it. Not really. After a while Sam came to the conclusion that she had been scared. Really, very scared. But of what, she didn't know. Nor was she very willing to find out.

~~~~~

Right now Sam was sitting inside the small bar the park had. She was nervous. She was also wondering why she had done something she considered silly and pretty transparent in the first place.

~~~~~

It had started that morning. After a breakfast -where Brooke's 'I'm-not-talking-to-you' policy became apparent- Sam had wandered around rather aimlessly for a while. She had met Zelda doing pretty much the same thing. The two girls had talked for a while. Sam had tried to get something out of the other girl concerning the three of them in general and Ruto in particular. What Sam had managed to find out was that she, Link and Ruto were not related to each other and that they had been pulled out of orphanages and other state institutions a few years ago and were now living quite happily with their two 'moms'. But other than that Sam had not managed to find out a thing. After the conversation had more or less dried up and the two girls were about to split up Sam had impulsively asked about Ruto and what her plans for the day were. Zelda had smiled and asked why Sam would want to know something like that. Sam, realising a little too late that she was being painfully obvious, tried to cover up by saying that she really wanted to sorta hang out with all of them, but that she knew Ruto best and automatically asked about her first. During Sam's bumbling attempt at an excuse Zelda had not stopped grinning. Then the blonde had told her that Ruto liked to get a drink at the bar around one. Then Zelda walked off, but not without wishing Sam good luck.

Somehow, that made Sam feel a lot happier inside than she should. And she already thought she should be very happy.

~~~~~

So that was why Sam was now sitting at a small table inside the small bar. The clock on the far wall indicated that noon had just begun. She was looking around, still feeling very silly, very nervous and she was about to start doubting due to too much thinking when Brooke entered.

The blonde looked around and then saw Sam. The brunette had expected her to turn around and leave immediately again. Instead, Brooke walked up to the bar, ordered a drink and started flirting with the first guy she saw of about her age.

Sam's starting doubts were quickly evaporating and being replaced by anger. Brooke didn't want to talk to her? Fine, no problem. But Sam could not deal with this sudden flirtatious Brooke. After all, Brooke wasn't the flirtatious type. No, this was Brooke's petty little way of saying: 'See? Some of us did not turn gay overnight!'

~~~~~

Sam was about to get up and leave, even risking missing Ruto, so that she would be spared of Brooke's sudden re-affirmance of her heterosexuality. Her plan was thwarted, however, by a pair of blue eyes.

"Hi Sam." Ruto greeted.

"Hey." Sam said smiling and feeling awkward, but with Brooke already forgotten.

"Zelda said you wanted to see me?"

"Well, sorta."

"Sorta?" Ruto asked smirking. "I can leave again if you want."

"No!" Sam said hastily. "Please... sit down."

Ruto sat down.

((Stage 1 of the Master Plan completed.)) Sam thought. ((What was Stage 2 again?)) Then she remembered. ((Oh yeah. Remember to talk, be friendly and most importantly: breathe.))

"So what do you want?" Ruto asked.

((You.)) Sam thought. Then: ((God, I can't believe I actually thought that.))

"Well, I... I thought we could maybe... I dunno... hang or something."

"Hang?" Ruto asked sceptical.

"Well, you know. You seemed kinda disappointed when I couldn't go swimming with you so I thought I should... you know... make it up to you."

((And the Award for Lamest Excuse of the Year goes to...))

"Let me get this straight." Ruto said smiling. "You are burdened with a guilty conscience because you didn't get to see me in a swimsuit?"

"Yes." Sam said without thinking. "NO!" She quickly yelled after that. "No, it's not that. Really it's..." Sam fell silent for a while. "Zelda told you, huh?"

"No." Ruto said. "But it's pretty obvious."

"It is?"

"You bet." The blue-haired girl said. "You seem to be a pretty confident gal, Sam. So when you start bumbling it can only mean that you're really nervous about something."

"I'm sorry." Sam didn't really know why she said it, but it sounded right at the time. "It's just... this is my first time, you know? The first time..."

"The first time you like a girl?"

"Yeah."

Ruto smiled. "Guess that makes two of us then."

Sam's face lit up. "You mean...?"

"I mean. OK?"

"Oh yes."

Ruto stood up and offered Sam her hand. Sam eagerly took it.

"Is this the part where we blow out the candle?" Ruto asked.

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves."

"Good idea."

~~~~~

"So girls, how has your day been?" Mike asked, after excitedly finishing the tale of the many fun things he had done and seen today. Strangely enough it had contained lots of windmills. Mike was apparently an expert in seeking out places that confirmed his stereotypes.

"It's been OK." Sam answered. That was a blatant lie, of course. She and Ruto had been walking around all day in their private little happy bubble where nothing could ever even hope to bother them. Sam would normally have had some questions with the almost instantaneous depth of her feelings, but right now she was too happy to even remember times when she hadn't felt like this.

"Yeah, I'll bet." Brooke muttered just loudly enough for Sam to hear.

Sam's happy bubble suddenly deflated. Screw giving Brooke some time! She could not just let a comment like that slide. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Girls..." Jane said, knowing where this was about to lead.

"Oh, like you don't know!" Brooke all but shouted.

"No, I don't!" Sam shouted back. Of course she knew, but she wanted to hear it.

"Girls, please." Jane tried in vain.

Brooke ignored her. "Yesterday you weren't even sure, and now you're flaunting it about for the whole world to see! That's not fair, Sam!"

"Fair? Fair to who!?"

"Girls!" Jane shouted. This time she succeeded in shutting the both of them up. "We are on vacation." Jane said calmly. "So there will be no fighting from you two."

"Say that to her." Sam grumbled. "She's behaving like a close-minded prick."

"At least I'm not the one using people to get rid of my own insecurities!"

"What are you talking about!?" Sam screamed. The No-Fighting rule had been thrown out the window faster than even Jane had expected.

"You're not sure, so you're using her to find out! And when you do find out you're just going to dump her! I won't just stand by and see that happen!"

"Are you nuts!? I love her!" Sam yelled. "I..."

Things got quiet.

"I love her."

~~~~~

"Can I come in?"

Sam looked up to see her mother standing in the doorway.

"If I said 'no', would you listen?"

"Probably not."

Jane entered the room and sat down on the bed next to Sam.

"Do you want to talk?" Jane asked as calmly as she could manage.

"Not really." Sam said.

"Sam, what's going on?" Jane asked.

"I think you can make a pretty good guess." Sam said.

"I think so too, but I want to hear it from you." Jane said.

Sam looked her mother in the eye.

"I'm in love with a girl, mom."

Jane nodded, but didn't say anything.

"Funny thing is, I only met her a couple of days ago." Sam sighed and leaned back against the wall. "Maybe it's just some holiday thing and it'll all just pass when we get back." She said sadly.

"Do you think so?" Jane asked.

"No." Sam answered. "Maybe. I hope not."

"Does she love you too?"

A smile slowly crept over Sam's face. "You know what, I think she does."

"Well, if that's the case..." Jane started, unsure of how she was going to finish. "Then I suppose there is nothing I can do, except wish you luck."

"Thanks mom." Sam said smiling. "How's Brooke by the way?"

"She's shocked. After you suddenly fled the table the only thing Brooke seemed to be capable of was sitting in her chair and looking shocked." Jane said, smiling weakly. "Of course, me and Mike were in a very similar state."

Sam grinned. "Yeah, well, I seem to be very capable of shocking people. And I didn't even try this time."

"But I think she's dealing. I think she now knows what's really going on inside of you."

"Good." Said Sam. "Because I really did not like her the way she was today."

"Don't hold it against her."

"I won't." Sam said. "I'll just write a nasty article about it when we get back."

"Sam!" Jane all but yelled.

"Kidding." Sam quickly said.


Day 5

Breakfast was uncomfortable. Not that it had exactly been a walk in the park yesterday, but at least then the parents had been chattering happily. Now they too remained silent. Both Mike and Jane looked like they had no idea how to handle all of this. Sure, Jane had given Sam her support, but still...

Brooke wouldn't even look at her. She averted her gaze every time Sam looked more or less in her direction. But Sam caught her looking at her a few times out of the corner of her eyes. Her eyes weren't filled with the burning hatred and venom of yesterday. Instead they almost looked apologetic. But Brooke clearly wasn't ready -or willing- to do something about it.

At some point, while nearing the end of the eerily quiet breakfast, Sam was fed up with it.

"So, this how we gonna spend the rest of the vacation? With not talking?" She said in her most casual voice.

"What is there to talk about?" Mike asked with a nervous chuckle.

Even a large neon sign over his head saying 'I'm in massive denial!' wouldn't have been as obvious as that remark.

"Well, nothing apparently. Since we're all not talking." Sam said.

"See? Nothing. There's nothing."

Not even a psychic would be able to read what was going on in Mike's head right now. And if he did he wouldn't be able to understand one bit of it.

"So, do you have any plans for today?" Brooke asked, looking at Jane. Or, more accurately, not looking at Sam.

"Well, we were kind of planning to going to this theme park and taking you with us." Jane answered, doubtful.

"And now you're not planning that?" Sam asked.

Brooke looked at her briefly. Too briefly for Sam to really see it, but not briefly enough to go unnoticed.

"Well..." Jane trailed off.

"Cause I don't see any problems." Sam said. "Do you Brooke?"

Brooke looked at her. Somehow she didn't like what she saw, but it wasn't Sam. It was pretty hard to guess what she was thinking. Maybe even harder than trying to figure out what Mike was thinking.

"No. No problems."

"Good." Jane said. "Good. Sam, would you... would you like to... err..."

"Bring someone?" Sam asked.

"This girl you met." Jane said carefully.

Brooke stared at Jane in disbelief.

"Any particular reason?" Sam asked. Her voice sounded normal, but those who knew her knew that they were now entering a large field of very thin, very slippery ice.

"If this is... real then I want to know about it. You are my daughter after all."

Sam smiled. "Thanks mom."

"It's just simple parent behaviour." Jane said. "My attempt at seeming to be open-minded is in reality a ploy to keep a very close eye on the depraved sodomy of my daughter."

"This isn't something to be joking about." Brooke muttered almost inaudible.

But Sam heard it. And she wondered what it meant.

~~~~~

"Will you stop that?" Brooke asked in her most annoyed tone of voice.

Sam looked at her surprised. Brooke was talking to her? When did that happen?

"Err... stop what?" Sam asked uncertain.

"Looking behind." Brooke said. "You constantly turn around, bumping into me and squeezing me against the door. It's not fun."

"Sorry." Sam muttered.

"Well, they're still behind us and they're gonna stay behind us, OK?"

Sam sank a little further down in her seat. She looked out the window to see absolutely nothing of interest. Freeways are very boring in that respect. She suddenly felt compelled to look behind her again. To see if their car -with _her_ in it- was still behind them.

After Sam had appeared on the doorstep of their bungalow and had worked up the courage to actually make her presence known she had indeed invited Ruto to come with her. Of course, the residing parents had found it a very good idea. They had even decided to all come along. Sam suspected their was something more behind it, but quickly dismissed the ideas because she didn't want to start getting paranoid.

~~~~~

You can identify the nature of a theme park by its entrance. The entrance of, say, Disney Land says something along the lines of 'hey kiddies, come here and let your parents spend lots of money!'. What the entrance to this park said, on the other hand, Sam didn't know. Of course, her arm was around the girl she now knew she loved and that hampered her thoughts, but still. The entrance was a rather strangely-shaped wooden building. Funny as it may sound, Sam almost felt as if going through that entrance meant stepping inside a completely different reality.

"Nice, isn't it?" Ruto asked.

"Yeah." Sam said. "Wait... what are we talking about here?"

Ruto laughed. "The entrance. Though I admit you being close to me is very nice as well."

"Well, savour it while it lasts." Sam said.

"Why?" Ruto asked.

Sam nodded at Mike, who was busy buying tickets. "He's in denial." Then she nodded at Brooke. "She is having problems with it." Lastly came Jane. "I think mom's OK with it, but still needs a little time."

"Good for me I don't have those problems." Ruto said, indicating her own mothers. "I think I'd be in trouble if I came home with a guy."

"Yeah, I was meaning to ask you about that..." Sam started.

"I already told you. We got adopted. End of story." Ruto quickly cut her off.

"Yeah, it's the end of the story, but I don't have a clue what the beginning is." Sam said.

Ruto looked at her. "Not now. Please."

Sam sighed. She mentally reminded herself on practising to deny those eyes when they looked at her.

"Fine." Sam said. "Not now."

"Thanks."

~~~~~

Mike was finished buying the tickets and he and Jane walked towards the small group consisting of Link, Zelda, Sam and Ruto. And technically maybe Brooke, even though she was clearly keeping her distance. Sam quickly broke away from Ruto, regretting it immediately. She carefully stuck out her hand and took Ruto's into her own.

"Ready?" Mike asked, back to his excited old self again.

"Ready as I'll ever be." Sam said, smiling faintly.

"Brooke?" Mike asked.

Brooke shrugged.

"Brooke, please." Mike said. "At least try to... at least try."

Brooke glared at him. "Fine." She said grudgingly.

"OK, let's get going."

"Could we please wait for our parents?" Link asked. "Besides, the gates open in, what, half an hour?"

Mike looked at him, as if realising for the first time that it wasn't just his family that was here.

"Oh... right... of course."

~~~~~

The gates were indeed still closed as the group arrived there. However, that had not prevented a large mass of people to gather in front of them.

"Wow, I never even knew so many people lived in this country." Sam said.

"You're kidding, right?" Ruto asked.

"Of course. Well, OK, maybe not completely..."

Ruto rolled her eyes. It was almost as if it was to say 'Americans'.

Sam looked at her mother and Mike. The two of them were chatting with Ruto's parents. She wondered how the situation would be like to Mike. Maybe in his mind they were sisters and Ruto, Zelda and Link were cousins or something. Sam gambled that her mother knew all too well about the two women and Sam found the fact that she showed no disapproval in any way very hopeful.

The gates opened and suddenly people took off in a dash. OK, that was an exaggeration, but everyone was pretty quick all the same. Sam was practically dragged along. Looking behind she saw that the rest of the McQueen/McPherson household were following, looking just as surprised as she was.

"Where are we going?" Sam asked as she managed to adjust to the pace.

"Droomvlucht." Ruto answered in nearly fluent Dutch.

"The what now?" Sam asked.

"Err... Dreamflight would be the literal translation."

"You've been here before." Sam concluded.

"Every year." Ruto said. "Come on, or there's going to be a line."

"What, already?"

~~~~~

So, after having stood in the line for about fifteen minutes -which had been proclaimed as being really very short- Sam now found herself in a sort of cart next to Ruto. There was room for three, but the two of them had been given a little privacy. The cart was attached to an overhead rail and moved slowly into a black corridor. Soft music played. It was rather sad and melancholic.

"OK, now what?" Sam asked, being short of patience.

"Sssh." Ruto hissed. "Watch."

"Watch what?"

The cart entered a room and Sam knew what to watch. Castles on asteroids. It was the only way Sam knew how to describe it. Castles, built on asteroids floating lonely through space. The underlying music gave the scene an extra hint of loneliness.

"Wow." Sam said. Her mind couldn't really come up with anything else.

"Beautiful, huh?" Ruto whispered.

Sam merely nodded. She knew somewhere that anyone could build castles and place them on asteroids. But somehow, the person who had made this managed to make it believable and rather breathtaking.

The strange entrance suddenly didn't seem so strange any more.

But the ride moved on and the cart disappeared into another black corridor. Small white lights could be seen here and there, almost giving the impression that they were moving through space.

The next room was fairly similar to the first. This was sort of a close-up of one of the floating castles. And Sam still found it beautiful.

The music suddenly shifted from soft and sad to a louder and a great deal more cheerful tune. The cart moved into a forest where fairies danced and played. It was painfully obvious that the fairies were machines, all capable of a maximum of three different moves. But again, it had all been done in such a way that it was quite pretty. It didn't have the sad beauty of the castles, but it was pretty all the same.

"Last stop." Ruto muttered. "Please hold on to your seats."

"What are you talking about?" Sam asked.

"Nothing." Ruto said smiling.

Up until now the ride had been slow moving along a chain or something in the rail above them. Now, however the cart was detached from the mechanism that had kept it moving slowly and was spiralling down at a fair speed. It came as a complete surprise to Sam and she couldn't suppress a shriek.

~~~~~

The group found themselves outside the 'Dreamflight' soon after that. The McQueens and the McPhersons all had an expression of strange bewilderment. They were still trying to process everything they had seen. The other part of the group were in a considerable better state and quickly led the stunned family to the next ride.

~~~~~

The afternoon progressed smoothly. Everyone enjoyed themselves, even Brooke. Despite the initial run on the 'Dreamflight' the park had a relaxed sense of tranquillity. It was as if it didn't matter if they got to see everything, just as long as they enjoyed themselves. They were now walking along a path next to a lake. Where they were going Sam didn't know. She didn't care either.

"Sam?" Ruto said.

"Yeah?"

"Talk to her."

Sam knew who Ruto was talking about. She reluctantly let go of Ruto's hand, smiled faintly at her and walked over to Brooke who was a little further ahead.

"Hey." Sam greeted.

Brooke looked at her. "Hi." She said, her mood already dampened somewhat.

"How are you?" Sam asked, knowing she had to talk, just not knowing what to say.

"I'm OK." Brooke said.

((And the Pope has converted to Paganism.))

"That's nice." Sam said sarcastically.

Brooke looked at her. Then she looked away again.

"What's bothering you Brooke?" Sam asked.

Brooke looked at her again. Then she looked behind. Sam followed Brooke's gaze.

"I don't think the parents can hear you now." Sam said.

"Promise to keep this to yourself?" Brooke asked. Her voice had an almost begging quality to it.

"I promise." Sam said. "Just tell me what's bothering you."

"I'm in the closet." Brooke said. "And I don't want to come out."

Sam reeled. "Brooke, are you saying...?"

"Yes, I'm saying." Brooke hissed. "And keep it down."

"H-How long?" Sam asked.

"Long." Was the short answer.

"Is that why you... you know... freaked?"

Brooke nodded.

"But... why?"

Brooke sighed. "Sam, I've been struggling with this for years. I've been hiding it, denying it for as long as I can remember. I was deathly unhappy for so long. God, I still _am_ deathly unhappy. And then you meet this girl on a plane and a few days later you're out like it's no big deal. It just... I just couldn't deal with that."

"I'm sorry."

Brooke chuckled. "Don't be. I blame it all on myself." She chuckled again, this time with a little more humour. "And society at large."

Brooke looked behind her again, this time at Ruto. The girl in blue was talking to Jane, while Mike was taking pictures of the surroundings.

"Do you love her?" Brooke asked.

"Yeah." Sam answered.

"Then go be with her." Brooke said. "Because if there's one thing I've learned then it's that happiness is very rare and sometimes doesn't last very long."

"I know." Sam said. She looked back at Brooke again. "You should just come out, you know."

"I can't. I can't 'just' come out. Maybe if I find someone..." Brooke sighed. "But certainly not before."

~~~~~

Night had fallen a long time ago and Sam and Ruto were walking over the deserted paths of the bungalow park. It was cloudy and only the moon could occasionally shine through.

"Had a nice day?" Ruto asked.

"Very nice day." Sam said. "You?"

"Me too." She answered. "And I think your mom likes me. Though I'm not really sure what to think of your dad."

Sam laughed. "Mike's a bit strange sometimes. And he's not even my stepdad yet."

Ruto chuckled. "Yeah... well..."

Silence overcame the couple, walking together through the dark. Sam looked up at the clouded sky and took a deep breath.

"Ruto..."

"Yeah?"

Sam stopped, faced Ruto and took her hands into her own.

"There's something I really have to tell you."

"What?"

"I..." Sam looked up at the sky again. Saying it to others was easy. Saying it to the person who was meant to hear it was quite another. Sam looked at Ruto again and immediately got lost in her blue eyes.

"I love you."

Ruto's smile faded, her eyes became panicked. She quickly let go of Sam's hands and stumbled backwards.

"No." She whispered.

"Ruto..." Sam started, confused and hurt.

The girl didn't seem to hear her. "No, no, no, no, no, no..."

Ruto turned around and ran off.

Sam's dream fled.


Day 6

Sam's pillow was wet. It took her a while to realise why this was again. Then it struck her again. She remembered seeing Ruto's form running away from her. Remembered the pain that came with it. Remembered crying herself to sleep. Tears filled her eyes again. Why had she woken up? What was the point in waking up?

Sam tried to shake away the thoughts as best she could and got up in a sitting position. She leaned back against the wall and looked out the window. As she had already expected the sun was shining brightly.

"It's better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all." Sam muttered. "Whoever said that didn't have a clue."

She closed her eyes and leaned back against the wall. She soon felt tears streaming hotly over her face again. At that moment she would have given everything to make the pain go away. If she died right then and there she would be happy. If she went to Hell, she would be delighted. Nothing could be worse than what she felt now.

It was then that she realised that she had long ago reached the 'I can't live without you' stage of being in love. And she probably would never get out of it too.

"Brooke, please."

Samís eyes flew open. That was her! Ruto, she was here! Sam jolted upright, gathered her clothes and was still trying to put them on as she stumbled towards the door.

"Do you have any idea what you've done to her?" Sam heard Brooke hiss.

"I can explain, please."

Sam ran the three or four steps required to reach the front door.

"Sam!" Ruto shouted.

Sam practically pushed Brooke out of the way and embraced Ruto tightly. She had already seen the girl disappear once, she was not going to let that happen again. Something inside of her told her that she should be angry with Ruto for running away like that. Everything else in Sam told that part to shut the fuck up.

"We need to talk." Ruto said after a while.

~~~~~

The sky was still a clear and bright blue. Just a short while ago Sam had considered it a cruel mockery. Now she thought it very appropriate. The two of them walked in silence. When people need to talk they always try their best to not do it.

"I guess you're wondering why I ran away?" Ruto asked suddenly.

"Not really." Sam said, smiling wryly. "Last night I was too busy contemplating suicide to wonder, and now... Well, now you're here so why wonder about then?"

"Suicide?" Ruto asked shocked. "Tell me you don't mean that."

Sam looked at her.

((To lie or not to lie?))

"No, I didn't mean it." Sam said.

Ruto looked back at her for a while. Sam guessed that she didn't really believe her. She had every right to.

Ruto cleared her throat. "Well, anyway, I still want to explain why I freaked."

"Was it what I said?" Sam asked, her voice shaking.

"Yes it was." Ruto said. "But not in the way you're thinking."

"Then what?"

Ruto took a shaky breath and looked up at the sky. For some reason tears had already started forming in her eyes, indicating louder than words that whatever was about to follow was not going to be pleasant.

"It has something to do with why I'm living with in a foster family."

Sam nodded, not wanting to interrupt the girl.

"My... my mother died while she gave birth to me." Ruto started. "My father always blamed me. Said I'd killed her, taken her away from him. Said I was evil, not worthy to live." Her voice was toneless. Ruto tried to block out every emotion as she talked, but her eyes were filled with tears.

"Ruto..." Sam started.

"No, let me finish. It gets better." Ruto said. "Like I said, I was the cruel heartless _thing_ that slaughtered my mother. So I had to take over her tasks. Each and every one of them." She looked at Sam, trying to convey what she meant with 'every task'.

"Jesus." Sam whispered, getting the message loud and clear.

"And he called it love." Ruto concluded. "Every thing he said, every time he beat me into a pulp, every time he..." The girl with the blue eyes halted and broke of the sentence, not able to get another word out.

Sam drew the girl close to her, tried to whisper soothing words, knowing that against years and years of whatever the girl had to go through those words were fairly futile.

Ruto slowly stopped crying. That is to say, she was able to say a few coherent words.

"So I hope you now understand why I can't really deal when people say..."

"I understand." Sam said. "And I'm sorry."

"Don't be." Ruto said softly, but resolute. "It wasn't you. And besides, this story has a happy ending."

"It does?" Sam asked incredulously.

"Oh yes. After about twelve years the social workers pulled me out of Hell and placed me where I am now." Ruto paused. "With you." She added.

"There had got to be easier ways to get here." Sam said.

Ruto chuckled. "The end result is the same."

"Except that now I don't get to tell how I feel." Sam said.

Ruto shrugged. "I know how you feel. Is it really that big a deal to also have to tell me?"

"Yes, it is."

"Then I suggest you find a different way of saying it. Having to relive my youth is just as hard for me as seeing me running away again must be for you."


Day 7

NOTE: Sorry it's not such a great ending. I didnít really know how to bring this, the muse who is in control of this fic has taken a vacation. To make matters worse the Muse of Ridiculous Cross-Over Fics is back with a vengeance.

~~~~~

"Dawn of the Final Day. 24 hours remain."

Sam blinked a couple of times against the sunlight falling into the room.

((Why did I just say that?))

"Morning Sam." Brooke said.

Sam opened her eyes a little further and looked over to the other bed.

"Morning." Sam greeted, yawning.

"Sam?" Brooke asked, propping herself up on one elbow. "Can I ask you something?"

"Shoot." Sam answered. "But don't expect an overly coherent answer." She yawned again as if to accentuate the statement she had just made.

"You and Ruto... how is it going to go on?"

"What do you mean?" Sam asked.

"We're heading back home tonight, remember?" Brooke said. "And I'm not even sure if you know her address."

Sam groaned and buried her head in the pillow. "I was trying not to think about that."

"Sorry." Brooke said. "Just thought you should think about it."

Sam sighed. "I know, I know. I just hate to say goodbye. I don't want to say goodbye." She looked back up at Brooke. "I really love her. I can't say goodbye."

Brooke shook her head. "Oh, Sammy." She sighed. "Looks like you've got an even bigger problem than I do."

~~~~~

The day progressed fast. Too fast. Way too fast. After a measly five hours after she had met up with Ruto it was already in the middle of the afternoon. And the worst part was that Sam had been unable to really enjoy those five hours. All she had done was look at the girl and realise that she wasn't going to see her again in a hurry. She had also noticed that Ruto had that exact same look about her.

"So..." Sam said suddenly, breaking the silence that had been both comfortable and uncomfortable. "You... have an e-mail address or something?" She asked.

Ruto chuckled. "Most people ask for phone numbers."

"We're living in the computer age now. Phones are just so outdated." Sam said smiling. "And besides, e-mail is far more practical."

"It is?" Ruto asked sceptical.

"Sure it is, e-mail can be reread, phone calls cannot be reheard."

"Yes, but e-mail lacks proper communication."

"That's why chatting was invented."

"You know," Ruto said. "We're just saying that we'll never see each other again, aren't we?"

Sam sighed. "Yeah. I mean, I don't even know where you live."

"I lived at about a two hour drive from that airport where we met. God, what was the name of city again?"

"Wait a minute, I live in that city!" Sam shouted. "Just two hours away! I can... come over for weekends or something!"

Ruto smiled. Very briefly.

"You said 'lived'." Sam suddenly realised.

The other girl nodded.

"Well... where do you live now?"

"Remember when I said that I have been in the Netherlands before?" Ruto asked, avoiding the question somewhat.

"Yes." Sam said.

"Well, there's a reason behind that. One of my mothers is Dutch. She moved to the States when she was twenty-five."

"And now she wants to move back here." Sam said.

Ruto nodded. "They both want to, really. They can get married here. I mean completely, officially married. They can even do it on TV if they want."

"Good reason." Sam said.

"But a reason that's going to keep me away from you."

"Damn those parents of yours." Sam muttered, smiling half-heartedly.

"Hey, don't worry." Ruto said, leaning further into Sam. "It'll all work out."

"Oh yeah? How?"

"I don't know." Ruto said smiling. "It's a mystery."

Sam briefly chuckled. "You know I just remembered something."

"What?"

"You once asked me to go swimming with you."

"So I did." Ruto said. "And you refused."

"Would this be a bad time to take you up on that offer?"

"Hah." Ruto scoffed. "You just want to see me in a swimsuit."

"Yes I do." Sam said. "I've already imagined it quite a few times. I just want to see if my imagination can stand up to reality."

Ruto got a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Well, I suppose there's just one way to find out."

~~~~~

It was quiet at the airport. Yes, there were plenty of people running around trying to catch their planes, and yes people did have conversations in volumes that ranged from loud to very loud. But to Sam, somehow, it was very quiet. She felt somewhere between one place and another. Moving from one reality to another. It could probably be compared to waking up. At first you don't know exactly where you are or what is real or not, and at that time the world always seem to be fairly quiet.

Sam walked quickly through the halls with the rest of her family. It took her a while to notice that Brooke was trying to get her attention.

"What?" Sam asked, a bit harsher than she had intended.

"How are you?"

"Fine, fine." Sam said.

Brooke nodded, not believing a word of it. "I would think you would be a little sad."

"Nah." Said Sam. "Not until reality hits, anyway. I'm still thinking that tomorrow I wake up in the cottage and that I just have to walk a few streets and there she is." She looked at Brooke. "Please don't burst that bubble for me just yet."

"I won't." The blonde answered. "But... can I ask one more question. And then I'll shut up on it."

"Shoot."

"Why didn't she come to say goodbye?"

Sam briefly chuckled. "It's fairly simple Brooke. She didn't say goodbye, because we didn't say goodbye."

~~~~~

Epilogue

"Sam?"

Brooke looked around the room to find it empty. That is to say, void of any human beings except herself.

"Sam?" Brooke asked again.

Sam walked out of the bathroom and into the room. She seemed rather cheerful. That is to say, as cheerful as she could be considering she had just got out of an huge depression a few weeks ago. Brooke knew Sam was still hurting, but she also knew she was not the right person to take that hurt away.

"Hey Brooke," Sam greeted. "How was your day?"

"Pretty good." Brooke said. She rather nervously fumbled her sweater. "Sam... can I... ask you something?"

"Sure." Sam answered.

"Can I borrow some of your clothes tonight?"

"Yeah, sure." Sam said. "May I ask why?" She added smiling.

Brooke's nervousness did not increase significantly, but she did start to blush a little. "I'm... going out tonight and... well... none of my clothes really seem appropriate."

"Brooke, are you going to a gay bar?" Sam asked teasingly.

Brooke's blush increased. She simply nodded.

Sam's smile broadened.

"Uhm... there was one more thing I wanted to ask." Brooke said, after she had got her blush under control. "Because, I know it's senior year and we should start looking for colleges, but..."

"But I haven't started yet?" Sam asked.

"No, it's just that you only seem to be interested in Dutch universities."

"Oh." Said Sam. "So you found out, huh?"

Brooke nodded. "Can you tell me why, exactly?"

"Do you really have to ask that?" Sam said, sadness creeping back into her voice.

"I guess not." Brooke looked Sam in the eye. "Is she really worth it?"

Sam remained quiet for a moment.

"Have I told you that she can't deal with people telling her that they love her?"

"Yeah," Brooke said. "What's that got to..."

"I found a way a few weeks ago. Around the same time my depression started to lessen."

"I thought that was the medicine."

Sam shook her head. "Do you know what she answered?"

"What?"

"I do."

END


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