|I'll Stop the World
Author: turnoffthelights PM
post Specials, pre Extras...ish? Using the device of time travel, Tally makes an impulsive decision to reenter the Ugly world in a desperate attempt to find Zane and right the wrong she's felt since his untimely death. Espionage! Ugly!ZANE yeeeahhhRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Tally Y. & Zane - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,327 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 12-08-11 - Published: 08-31-11 - id: 7340010
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Tally blinked and the world gave way. It felt as if the universe had picked itself up and moved. It swirled around her. Lights and sounds whizzed by her ears like buzzing insects. She was in a never ending nightmare, unable to move, to open her eyes, to scream. Her brain moved like sludge, nonsensical thoughts slammed against eachother. She willed herself to think. It hurt. Time, she realized. Time was moving again. All around her. Too fast, she thought frantically. No no no. Too much too fast. She painstakingly balled her hands into fists. Stop. She begged. Her mind was choking, her body wrecked with painful exhaustion. All she wanted to do was surrender to the tornado, allow it to engulf her completely. But she couldn't. She refused to come all this way for nothing. Stop, her brain commanded again. Stop. It gained intensity each time she thought it. She felt like things were slowing down. Stop, her brain yelled again.
"Stop!" Tally felt her body jerk upright. She was heaving. Big, dry gulps of air. Her eyes were open, darting around, attempting to process her surroundings. She was in a white room. White all around. So much it made her feel sick. She looked down at her hands. They were still balled up in tight little fists. She could see her legs, draped in a thin white sheet. She was in a bed. But not her bed. This place was completely unfamiliar to her. Her brain felt like a frozen turkey slowing beginning to thaw. She was with Shay...hoverboarding...and they landed back in Uglyville. And there was snow on the ground. And Zane was there. Oh, Zane. Where was he now? And for that matter, where was she? Tally began to panic. Her heart rate flew into double time and her breath grew ragged and shallow. Her anxiety attack was cut short, however, by warm hands clasping over hers.
"Whoa there, tiger." a deep voice spoke. "Bad dream?"
Tally looked at the hands covering hers. Big and awkward, the nails were yellowish and horribly unkempt. But they were so warm...and so...familiar. And that voice. Tally's fear dissipated as quickly as it came. She looked up into the concerned eyes that faced her.
"Peris." she breathed in relief. He beamed back at her. Ugly Peris was certainly a sight to see. Shaggy sandy blonde hair, acne ridden, big nose. But Tally had never seen anything more perfect in her life. If Peris was still Ugly, that meant she hadn't traveled very far in time. She sighed. "Peris. Where am I?"
"Hospital." he replied simply. "I should probably get the doctor. Since you're awake now."
"No!" Tally yelped. Peris halted, eyeing her cautiously.
"It's okay, Tal." He said reassuringly, "You just had an accident."
"What?" Tally sputtered, nearing hysterics again. "Accident? What accident? Were Shay and Zane there? Are they okay? Are they here?"
"Whoa, whoa, slow down." Peris commanded gently, taking Tally's face in his hands. "Take a deep breath. Who are Shay and Zane?"
Tally didn't have time for this. She was the one who needed answers. "The people I was with. What kind of accident was I in, Peris? Please, tell me."
Peris looked worried now, like he was speaking to a littlie about the tooth fairy and didn't quite know what to say.
"A hoverboarding accident, as it seems." he replied slowly. "Because you apprently hoverboard? Since when? And I don't know who those people are, but when you were found, you weren't with anyone. You were by yourself."
Tally sighed another breath of relief. "Wait. So what exactly happened?"
"I really think I should get the doctor now, Tally." Peris said, making his way toward the door of the all white room.
"No," Tally begged. "Peris, no. Please just don't go. You have to listen to me, please." She was on the verge of tears. "I swear I was with people, okay? And I need to find out where they are, and if they're okay. And I don't want to talk to the doctor about it, please."
Peris narrowed his eyes at her. "You were doing something bad, weren't you." Tally couldn't quite tell if his tone was playful or angry. He answered for her, "I don't know whether to be amused or mad you didn't invite me."
Tally's brain finally clicked into high gear. She looked at Peris meaningfully. "No, Per. It wasn't like that at all. I was out by myself, goofing around, trying some new hoverboard tricks, when I wiped out. And there were some kids near by who saw it happen. They helped me out and we just sort of...got into some stuff...for the rest of the night. It was no big thing. But I can't tell the doctor about it. So I need a story and I need you to back me up."
Peris just stared at her dubiously.
"Pleeeeease." Tally added giving him a ridiculously cheesy smile.
He smirked. "Fine. Whatever. But some friends of yours, to leave you alone, unconscious, in freezing weather."
Tally frowned. "Peris, I don't know what happened, but I'm sure they didn't just leave me. Look, it's complicated."
"I bet it is," he scoffed. "Like your new secret bad-girl hoverboarding lifestyle I've yet to hear about."
Tally reached over and forced her arms around him. "I'm really glad you're here."
He squeezed her back, chuckling. "Uh, thanks? I'm glad you're not dead, you crazy girl."
"So what are we going to tell the doctor?" Tally asked, feeling safe, snuggled into his shoulder.
He sighed, rolling his eyes at her. "I guess that you were just out hoverboarding by yourself and crashed. Seems simple enough."
It wasn't so simple, as it turns out. The doctors had loads of questions for Tally. Tally feigned fogginess and Peris did some A plus lying. After a long interrogation, the doctors seemed convinced that Tally had a bit of a habit of simply sneaking out late at night to practice hoverboarding. Which, of course, she was strongly reprimanded for, and the Doctors cheerily informed her they'd be keeping an eye on her, just to make sure she was alright.
Great, Tally thought as they finally exited the building, one day back and I'm already under their radar. At least she was able to change into more decent clothes to suit the weather, which was still biting cold.
"Um, where are we going?" Peris asked, trotting after Tally. "Our dorm's that way."
"I told you," Tally said impatiently. "I have to find the people I was with. It's important."
Peris groaned. "How important?"
"Fine." he said decidedly, "I'd like to hear their explanation as to what exactly happened, and why they left you."
"They didn't leave me!" Tally interjected, trudging toward Shay's dorm.
"It better be a good one!" Peris fired back, slapping her playfully as they advanced toward their destination.
"How much farther is this place?" Peris whined. "We've been walking for like, hours."
"We have not," Tally snapped. "And we're almost here. See? It's that dorm building there."
She could see Shay's dorm a few blocks ahead of them. Her heart skipped. That much closer to seeing Zane again. To be wrapped up in his dizzying embrace.
Peris managed to complain for the next 12 minutes until they finally approached the entrance. Tally hesitated.
"Well," Peris said impatiently. "Can we go inside? It's seriously freezing out here."
"Hold on." Tally said, peering inside the glass window. "It doesn't really look like many people are inside... let's check around back."
"Tally! I can't feel my hands." Peris rebutted. But it was too late, Tally was already meters away, making her way toward the back entrance of the dorm building. Peris caught up with her shortly, lacing his fingers inbetween hers, something he often did when he was nervous.
"This is weird, Tal." he insisted. "I feel awkward."
"You are awkward," Tally quipped, smiling back at him. "You're making it a bigger deal than it is, come on." Tally dragged Peris by the hand around to the back of the building, which was also eerily vacant. She frowned. "Where is everybody?"
"Obviously not here." Peris said, shaking his hand and Tally's anxiously. "Let's go."
Tally raised an eyebrow mockingly. "What happened to wanting to give them a piece of your mind, tough guy?"
Peris laughed and grabbed Tally's arms, pinning them behind her back. "Don't push me."
Tally squealed in annoyance. "Peris! You know I hate it when you do that! Let me go!"
"Tell me I'm your bestest friend in the whole wide world." Peris commanded, thwarting all of Tally's futile attempts at escape.
"You are the biggest loser in the whole wide world!" Tally giggled, violently squirming in his hold. "Get off me!"
"Hmm," Peris mused, tighening his grip. "Nah."
"Peris!" Tally yelped, "I am going to kill you!"
"Big talk from such a little girl!" Peris taunted. "Come on, you can do better than that."
Tally laughed in spite of her annoyance and continued to thrash against Peris, finally breaking free of his entrapment, only to turn around and shove him hard. "Idiot." she snarled.
"Oh, okay." Peris laughed grabbing Tally's hands tightly. "If I'm such an idiot, then why are you the one hitting yourself?" He shoved Tally's hands toward her face as she wailed in protest. "Stop hitting yourself, Tal!" Peris chided.
"You are so stupid!" Tally screamed through her laughter, fighting back against his strong hands. "I am-
Tally and Peris stopped moving immediately. Tally's head whipped around, coming face to face with a very bewildered looking Shay. "Shay!" she gasped, her hands awkwardly falling to her side "Uh...hey."
Shay blinked. "Hey..." she said finally, seemingly at a loss for words.
"So, um. Where is everyone? We've been looking all over for you." Tally said, smiling brightly, unaware of why Shay seemed so gobsmacked by her appearance.
Shay blinked again, staring at Tally in disbelief. "There was this stupid football thing. It was pretty lame. We were on our way back to the dorm to have some privacy and-"
"We?" Tally asked breathlessly.
"Yeah," Shay repeated in practically the same tone. "Me and-"
"Zane!" Tally said when she saw his tall, undeniable figure advancing in their direction.
His eyes widened as he approached. He stopped in his tracks when he reached Shay. He looked at Shay with confusion, then back to Tally, then back to Shay again.
"Look, Zane." Shay said in what sounded to be a bitter tone. "It's Tally."
Tally tried to smile. Zane just stared at her like she wasn't possible. She could feel Peris' palms starting to sweat. She was beginning to feel a little awkward herself. "Um," she started to say. "So-"
"Where have you been?" Shay interrupted harshly.
Tally furrowed her brow in confusion. "Huh?"
"You just disappeared off the face of the Earth." Shay retorted.
Tally frowned. "What do you mean? I was just with you all last night. And then today I woke up and-"
"Last night?" Shay asked increduously. "What are you talking about?"
Tally's mind reeled. Had she made the whole thing up in her head? She looked at Zane helplessly, hoping for some sign of recognition. He just looked lost. His eyes glanced down to Peris and Tally's intertwined hands. His face contorted for a second. He bit his lip and looked at Shay again, whose eyes were burning into Tally's.
"Well?" Shay prodded for an answer.
"You don't remember?" Tally finally managed to speak. "The ruins? And the..." her voice trailed off, the memory of Zane's lips on hers now a cruel, fuzzy picture in the back of her mind.
Zane looked at her again, even more confused than ever. "Tally," he finally spoke, "that was almost a month ago."
Tally's eyes were as wide as saucers. She yanked her hand out of Peris' and wheeled on him. "I was asleep...for a month?"
Peris winced. "Did I forget to mention that?"
"Oh my..." Tally breathed, feeling rogue tears pricking at her eyes again. "I think I'm going to throw up."
"I still don't get it." Shay said, shaking her head. "Where were you? Seriously. I mean, like, we looked for you."
Tally's throat was too tight to form sounds. Peris stepped protectively in front of her. "Tally's been in the hospital." he said coldly. "She almost froze to death, thanks in part to you people."
"Excuse me?" Shay fired back. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means that you left her alone, unconscious, in the snow, for whatever reason, and she almost died!" Peris was inches from Shay face's, rage boiling inside him.
Zane stepped silently inbetween them. He looked at Tally. "That is not what happened."
"Then what happened?" Tally asked softly. She felt so stupid, so out of control. She wished this time-warping business had come with some sort of instruction manual. Why did she ever thinking muddling around with time was a good idea?
Zane looked at her intently. "You don't remember?" Tally shook her head.
"We landed." Shay said, still eyeing Peris furiously. "In Uglyville. All safe and sound. I turned around to ask you where your dorm was, and you were just...gone."
"Gone?" Tally asked. Shay nodded.
"We all thought we were crazy." Zane said, his mouth twitching into a forced smile. "But we tried to find you." He took a step closer to Tally, his gaze softening. "I tried to find you."
"Zane..." Tally didn't know where to begin. How could she possibly explain? She finally settled with, "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen."
His eyes bore into hers. "What exactly did happen?"
"I don't know." Tally whispered sheepishly. It wasn't a total lie.
"Tally," Zane said her name for the second time, taking yet another step closer to her, making her heart careen against her ribcage, "Do you want to go somewhere and talk?"
"What?" Shay screeched indignantly. "Zane!"
"Yes." Tally breathed immediately.
"What?" Peris echoed Shay's disgust. "Tally..."
"I'll be fine," Tally said looking at Peris. "And Shay," she looked at her ruefully. "I'm really, really sorry. I know it's crazy. I can't even explain what happened. But I never meant to disappear on you guys. That night was the best night of my life. I would never just leave you."
The fire in Shay's eyes dimmed. "And we would never have left you out to freeze to death." she said, shooting a look toward Peris. She looked back at Tally seriously. "We really had no idea." And after a long moment. "I'm...I'm glad you're okay."
Tally smiled softly and Shay returned the gesture.
"Peris, keep Shay company." Tally said, looking at Zane. "I'll be back soon."
"Where are you going?" Peris asked, giving Zane a look of general displeasure.
"I was going to take Tally inside," he said calmly to Peris. "So we could talk in private."
"10 minutes." Peris said in an attempt at an authoritative voice.
Tally scoffed. "It's fine, Peris. It's all just a big misunderstanding. I'll be back soon."
Zane and Tally made their way toward the dorm entrance, leaving Shay and Peris grumbling in their wake.
Once they were inside, Zane broke the horrible silence. "So your boyfriend's pretty upset." he smirked at Tally as they boarded the elevator.
"Oh, no." Tally said quickly. "He's not-"
"I understand," Zane cut her off. The elevator jolted into motion, crawling upward. "I'd feel the same way, were I in his position."
"No." Tally said, "I mean. He's not my boyfriend."
"Oh." Zane said quietly. "It just...seemed like he was."
Tally couldn't bring herself to believe the situation at hand. Was Zane jealous? The thought made her stomach feel weird. It was an emotion she'd never seen on him. Pretties didn't get jealous. And it's not like he had any room to be, as they'd spent every waking moment together back then...or rather..not yet? Her mind was still spinning.
"He's my best friend." Tally continued, "He's just being over-protective."
"I'm glad." Zane said, looking down at Tally.
"That he's over-protective?" Tally asked, confused.
Zane smirked. "That he's not your boyfriend."
The elevator sputtered to a stop and the doors opened. Zane stepped out casually and Tally followed closely behind. "So, where are we going exactly?"
"My room." Zane said coolly.
"Oh," Tally squeaked.
"Is that okay?" he asked, glancing back at her. He dropped his voice to a whisper. "I hacked the dorm minders, they don't hear anything. Pretty cool, huh?"
Tally could only nod in response. Being alone with Zane in his room brought up intimate memories that made Tally's legs feel heavy.
Once they were inside, Zane immediately kicked off his boots and crashed onto his messy bed. Tally looked around at the bare walls and minimal decor. The complete opposite of his room in New Pretty Town. Still, she wanted to drink it in. It smelled like him, somehow, even though that was silly. It couldn't possibly smell like the cologne he wore when he was Pretty. Tally wondered again briefly if this was all some terribly long fever dream.
"Are you just going to stand there?" Zane asked, propping himself up on one elbow. He smiled at her from the bed.
"Oh, um." Tally looked around and realized, "There's no where to sit."
"Yeah." he said, looking away. "I know."
Tally's heart pounded. She slowly walked over to Zane's bed, tentatively sat down on the edge of it, and started to take her own shoes off. "So," she said shakily. "Here we are."
"I really missed you, Tally." Zane said suddenly. Tally shifted on the bed to face him. He was looking at her in that impossible way again.
"I missed you, too." she said tucking a nonexistant strand of hair behind her ear.
He smirked. "Yeah, but. You got to sleep through all that time, right? I've been missing you for weeks."
"Please don't make me feel worse than I already do." Tally groaned, looking down at her hands.
"That wasn't my intention." he said softly. He reached out and gently grabbed one of Tally's hands. "It was just so weird, you know? You were there and then you weren't. At first I just thought Shay was being dramatic. The way she said you 'disappeared'. But then we looked and looked and couldn't find you anywhere." He paused, rubbing his thumb along Tally's pale knuckles. "Then, I thought maybe in my crazed lonliness I just sort of, made you up."
Tally giggled. She bit her lip and looked up at him. "You were lonely?"
"Yeah." he said, taking his hand away and resting it on his chest. "I didn't even really realize until after I met you. It was just so easy to be around you. I felt like you understood me in way that other people just don't. I felt like, I don't know Tally, you just felt so right to me. And then you were gone."
Tally frowned. "You're doing a horrible job at not making me feel bad."
He chuckled. "I'm sorry." Then he said, "Come here."
"I'm right here." Tally said, her voice catching in her throat.
"No, come here." he patted the space beside him.
Tally shifted awkwardly into a semi-laying position beside Zane.
He sighed. "You're holding back."
"What?" Tally felt herself blush.
"You're acting different." he said, taking her hand in his again. "Like you do around everyone else. I want it to be like it was last time. You were so honest with me. It was amazing."
Tally squirmed. "I'll always be honest with you, Zane."
He pulled her down so she was fully laying beside him, their faces centimeters apart. "You can relax around me, Tally." he said barely above a whisper. "You know that."
Tally closed her eyes and took a deep breath. If only he knew how much she couldn't relax right now. She had to make sure what happened last night or a month ago wouldn't happen again. She had to stay focused. But then she felt Zane's lips against her ear. Then she felt his lips dangerously close to her own. And then the door suddenly burst open, startling them. Tally jumped back.
"Zane!" Shay exclaimed wildly "We saw a-oh..." she trailed off when she realized what she'd walked in on. "Sorry..."
Zane sighed heavily rolling onto his back. "So much for privacy."
Shay snorted. "Yeah, I'm sure there was lots of really awesome talking going on, but this is way more important."
Footsteps echoed throughout the building followed by Peris joining Shay in the door way. "Thanks for waiting," he panted.
"Yeah, no problem." Shay was buzzing with adrenaline. "We saw a signal."
Zane sat upright. "What?"
Tally looked around at the three of them, feeling out of the loop. "A signal?" she asked.
"Are you sure?" Zane looked at Shay warily. "What exactly did you see?"
"A flare." Shay answered evenly. Zane still looked unconvinced.
"From this far away?"
"We definitely saw something." Peris interjected excitedly. "Shay seems to think she knows what's up. I think it's worth investigating."
"You don't even know what we're talking about." Shay sighed, rolling her eyes at Peris. "But you're right. I do know what's up."
Zane gave Tally a sideways glance. "Are you up for another trip to the ruins?"
"Now? In broad daylight? Why there?" Tally asked. "What's going on?"
Shay plopped on the bed beside Tally. "While you and loverboy were busy talking, we saw a pink light flash in the sky, out of nowhere."
"It was faint, but it was there." Peris added eagerly.
Tally stared at Shay, still not piecing the painfully obvious puzzle together. "And that means...?"
Shay broke into a ridiculous smile. "It means it's a signal from the Smoke. Something has to be going down, especially for them to signal at this time of day." She grabbed Tally by the shoulders. "Aren't you excited? You're finally going to get to meet David!"