|Chasing The Smoke
Author: Aerilyn Dawnstrider PM
While Tally Youngblood is adventuring, Pretty Brynn Tannen and Ugly Sage Gatlen are going through their own changes as Special Circumstances attempts to destroy The Smoke. When it's gone, Tally is still causing trouble and it's up to Brynn and Sage to stop her.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Friendship - Dr. Cable & Tally Y. - Chapters: 8 - Words: 14,766 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 03-14-13 - Published: 05-15-12 - id: 8119130
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 3: Invasion
A week and a half Tally had been here, and boy, was she wonderful. She was nice enough, smart enough, and she did good work. Of course, David had taken a liking to her, leaving Shay in the dust. Sometimes, he could be heard talking about how different Tally was from the others who came—how she already understood the real meaning of the Smoke. Sage thought this was a load of shit. Croy had too, for a while, but Tally had worked with them one day and Croy had confronted her on her confusing delay. She'd nearly convinced him that there was nothing weird going on and that she'd just waited until literally the last second. Sage could almost imagine her leaving just before dawn broke the day of her birthday and rushing to get here before the Smokies thought the worst of her.
She'd said that she'd left the night before, but she must have been confused about the time. Even if she did have to wait for the Rangers a second time, that still left nearly a day unaccounted for. Unless some other horrible event had befallen her that she hadn't shared around the campfire, which seemed unlikely, she had to have left later than she'd thought she had.
The more Sage thought about it, the more it didn't make sense. He tried to talk to Croy about it one night, before lights out, but his friend had put his suspicion in Tally behind him.
"Hey, if she was going to betray us, wouldn't she have done it by now? If she didn't really want to be here, then why did she just spend the last week working her ass off?"
Sage had no argument for that, but he couldn't push his unease aside.
He blinked awake, though he was surprised to find it still extremely dark in the bunk. "Huh? What Croy?"
There was a slight giggle, "it's Shay, actually."
Sage sat up, rubbing his eyes. Since David had chosen Tally over her, Shay had been very clingy with Sage and Croy, always asking to work with them or eat with them. The boys didn't normally mind, despite her slightly annoying personality. Really, she hadn't been so bad since Tally showed up. First, she'd been ecstatic to have her friend and she'd stopped the Tally's totally coming, you guys. Then, when it was clear she and David were no longer a thing, she set out to find another thing and had become a bit more sour. Sage and Croy had happily accepted her attention, since she was cute, but it had gotten to the point where they weren't sure her pigtails and smile were worth it.
Now, though, Sage wasn't sure what to think. It wasn't often girls came into your bunk, especially in the middle of the night, and when they did it usually meant one thing. He grinned at her, one side of her face reflected in the moonlight. This side of her face was much more ferocious than the Shay he'd gotten used to when he looked at her entire face. He knew instantly that if she'd turned Pretty, that side of her would have been eradicated. It was way too serious and scary for that side of the river.
"What is it, Shay? Is everything alright?"
"I can't sleep," she sounded very pouty about it.
"How can I help?" he had an idea where this was going.
"Could you maybe come on a walk with me?"
This, he hadn't expected. "Oh, erm, sure." He slid around so that his legs hung over his bed, which happened to be a floor bed. Croy was lightly snoring above him and the other two guys they shared the small building with were fast asleep as well. "Let me just get my shoes."
As they exited the bunk, Sage whispered to Shay, "does walking usually help you sleep?"
"No," Shay threw him a grin that confused him a great deal.
"Then why are we doing it! It's cold and—"
Shay put a finger on his lips, stepping very close to him at the same time. "Shh," her body heat and the expression on her face stirred Sage and he closed his lips, his eyes twinkling down at her.
She grinned again and took his hand, leading him out of the 'city' and into the thick wall of trees behind the bunk buildings. As soon as they breached the first line of oaks, Shay turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him with a force he hadn't expected. His back pressed against a tree and he wrapped his arms around her waist, in turn.
For a moment, they kissed each other as though they had done so a million times. Then, she reached for the string of his night pants and he reached for the hem of her sleep shirt. He pulled up as she put her arms in the air long enough for him to do so. Then she dropped down so she could remove his pants.
When they were both entirely naked, Shay let him look over her, her skin seeming to shine in the light from the moon coming through the treetops. When they came together, it occurred to Sage that he was a rebound. She felt so good, though, he couldn't bring himself to care.
For nearly two weeks that stupid little Ugly had kept them waiting.
"Maybe she died," someone at the table suggested during the meeting Dr. Cable had called about their predicament.
"The tracker would have been set off if it had been damaged."
"What if it wasn't damaged?"
Dr. Cable frowned, something none of the Specials liked to see her do. "I have complete faith in Tally to succeed in her mission. She wanted too badly to be Pretty to let a little thing like death get her."
Brynn hadn't known Tally Youngblood, but even as a Pretty, she hadn't much liked the idea of the squashed-nose girl. She seemed like nothing but trouble (and not the fun kind).
"Doctor?" a woman bustled into the room without knocking. Dr. Cable frowned again and everyone tensed. "We've got the location."
Suddenly, everything was a flurry of motion.
Before Brynn knew it, she was in a very loud hovercar, flying across the wild toward the Smoke.
The next morning, Sage woke up later than usual, what with his late night excursion and all. Croy was already dressed and prepared to go to breakfast, so Sage quickly clad himself and didn't have time to tell his friend about what had happened.
As they sat down with their food, Sage finally felt like they had enough privacy, as they were the only ones at the table. "You're never going to guess what happened to me last—"
"Hey guys," Shay's voice jingled as she sat down beside Sage. "How's your morning so far?" She didn't look at Sage, though he had been expecting a knowing smile.
"Fine. Sleepy-head over here nearly made us late for breakfast."
Shay giggled, but before anyone could say anything else there was a terrible ruckus outside. A number of people rushed to the doors of the mess hall and looked up, only to find giant hovercrafts, with helicopter blades on their bottom, landing around the Smoke. There was a great deal of shouts then and Sage saw Shay's face fall.
"Tally," she murmured.
"What?" Sage frowned, unsure what to pay attention to—the Specials outside or Shay's accusation.
"Tally did this."
"How do you know?" asked Croy, even as he stood and looked for a way out other than the front door, where Specials were already grabbing the kids who'd gone to look outside.
"I just have a feeling. She came here, even though she didn't want to at all when I left, she had that locket and said her new boyfriend gave it to her, but then she takes David from me."
"That seems like quite a leap. Anyway, I would love to stand here and discuss this with you, but maybe we should run," Croy shouted over the blades outside and the screams of the Smokies. He heard a crackle and a thump somewhere not too far off and he knew from experience that it was the sound of something on fire falling in on itself.
Suddenly, a Special was standing before them. She was hardly older than Shay, though her black eyes were much more sinister and womanly than her figure suggested. Still her muscles bulged as large as Sage and Croy's and her teeth, exposed due to her evil grin, were sharper than many of their tools. He was immediately afraid of her, despite himself.
"Come on, little Smokies. Play time's over," she grabbed Sage and Shay by the arm, her partner, a hulking man with a giant scar down the side of his face, snatched Croy, who protested. "Time to go home."
"I am home!" cried Shay, striking out at the Special. The woman immediately retaliated, twisting Shay around by her arm with one hand and handcuffing her wrists before Sage could even consider taking advantage of the distraction and run away.
"We don't want to hurt you," the man said, "but we will if we have to."
He and the girl exchanged slight grins that suggested the former of his statement was not the case at all.
The three of them were deposited in the old animal pens, where another man took them. As he was being transferred between Specials, Sage swung out with his leg, trying to knock the man over. He succeeded in making the man stumble, but the woman held tightly to him, throwing him down on the ground, making him eat dirt, as she handcuffed him as well.
Croy tried a similar tactic and the three of them ended up in a section of the pen made specifically for the Smokies who had acted out upon capture. Not long after that, Tally was thrown in with them. She looked rumpled and was without shoes.
"I knew it wasn't you!" Croy said.
Tally turned to look at them, but she was met with a near-glare from Shay. The brown-haired girl frowned at the girl who had been her friend, the reason she had come here to the Smoke. Sage almost felt bad for her.
Brynn had finally rounded up all the Smokies she could find. She returned to the pens with Rip and Blair to scan the captured and start the sorting. A few times she had to make the Smokies sit still so that she could get a proper scan.
When they got to the Troublemaker section, Brynn recognized a few faces from the mess hall. She was a bit more violent with them, grabbing their faces harder than necessary and letting her plastic nails scratch them.
"Hey," Rip said from beside her as she scanned Sage Gatlen, who turned out to be from their city, as were the other boy and girl who'd been with him. "It's her."
She looked over at a plain girl who looked more than a little dirty. The girl's face fell and she went very white.
For the first time, Brynn looked into the face of Tally Youngblood.