The Danielle West Saga

Ch.2: Sister Of Paradise

Author's Note: Sequel to "Haunted".

Disclaimer: I don't own "Lost In Space", the Robinsons, Dr. Smith (Bastard), or Don West (Damnit). I own everything else. (Insert evil laugh)

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Penny hovered in the doorway to the bridge as her father gave last minute instructions to Don West. John Robinson finally left the Major's side and headed for the door. "Goodnight, Penny." He said as he walked by.
" 'Night, Dad." Penny said absently. When her father disappeared around a corner Penny slid into the seat beside Don. "Stuck with the night shift?"
"Yeah."
"Want some company?"
Don turned toward her. "Penny, if your parents find out-"
"You didn't know I was up all night." She stated with a small smile.
"I don't know..."
"Oh, come on. I'm not a day person anyway." She put on her patented pout. "Please." She said in a baby voice.
"There is nothing sadder than a teenager who begs." Don said, smiling. "Alright, but if your parents find out I let you stay up all night Smith gets a break from the scut work."
Penny grinned. "Deal." Ever since she had protected his privacy from her do-gooder family, he had been very open to her, but he had alienated the other Robinson's. Her eyes flicked from the space outside the blaster shield to Don. That last part scared her a little. He had become too isolated, too much of a loner. Granted, he hadn't been much of a team player in the beginning, but now... Penny blinked. What if...? No, he wouldn't. She shook her head, forcing the thought from her mind. Luckily, Don had been too engrossed in his work to notice.

Don glanced over at Penny and smiled. Two hours into night shift and she was already asleep. She shivered slightly in her sleep and shifted over onto her back so her legs were hanging over one of the armrests. Well, can't just leave her there. He scooped her up into his arms and headed for her room.

"Open," The door chirped, then complied. Don gingerly stepped over a clutter of clothes, video equipment, magazines, make-up and god knows what else as he made his way to her bed. He gently set her on the bed and covered her with the comforter. She mumbled something, then fell silent. Don smiled and ran a hand over her hair in a brotherly gesture. " 'Night, Pen,"

Don suppressed a yawn when he entered the bridge. "Stay awake, West," He told himself. "Not much time left," He froze mistride. "What the hell?" His eyes widened. "Oh, my god," He turned around and pounded out of the bridge.

"Professor! Professor!" Don shook his head. Professor Robinson had insisted on being called 'John'. "John!" He banged on the door of the room John and Maureen shared. "Damnit, Robinson! Wake the hell up!" Finally, the door opened.
"Yes, Major?" John said in his usual calm tone.
"I think that there is something you should see," Don gasped out.

"Whatever it is, Don, I'm sure it could have waited until a more reasonable hour,"
"No, I don't think so,"
John was barely in the bridge before he saw it. It was a little hard to miss. A planet was filling the blast shield, but this wasn't just a planet. John could make out green continents and blue oceans.His eyes lit up like a childs' on Christmas morning. "I'll get the others," He ran out of the room before Don could say anything.

Soon, the entire crew, minus Smith, was assembled on the bridge. By then, the planet had taken up the entire blast shield and was coming closer. Don switched the ship over to manual navigation as they approached the atmosphere. "Everyone might want to strap in," He glanced over at John. "This could get bumpy," John nodded.
"Everyone get to their stations," His family scrambled to their stations and he activated the gravity restraints. Everyone except Don was pulled back against their chairs. Don had insisted on the restraints of his chair being deactivated. He needed to be able to move around to pilot. Plus, he hated being unable to move. Been there, done that, don't want to go back again.
The ship rocked as it hit the atmosphere. Don struggled to straighten the Jupiter. His jaw clenched and his eyebrows knit together in concentration. 'Damnit, we're coming in too fast. There's something different about the planet.' He could see the reflections of the others in the glass. 'Keep it together. Just land the ship in one piece." He pulled back on the helm as the ground came into sight. He hated big ships. They were too clunky and hard to navigate. 'Come on, come one,' He felt a jolt as the Jupiter connected with the ground. He realized that he had been holding his breath the entire time and let it out in a slow sigh.
"Well done, major," Maureen praised. John released the restraints and he clapped Don on the back.
"Good job,"
Don gave him a small smile then leaned back in his chair. It's been a long night.

"This atmosphere can support human life," Don blocked out Maureen's droning. That was all he needed to know. Now, all he wanted to do was go out and stretched, maybe take a jog through the jungle that seemed to cover the land in all directions. Don blinked. A forest that seemed to be moving.

"Uh, guys,"
"Yes, major," Maureen said briskly, interuppting herself.
"Are trees supposed to move?"
He heard the others walk over and stand behind him. The moving greenery took shape and formed strange green creatures about as tall as, and looking just like, humans.

Don fiddled nervously with his blaster as they prepared to disembark. One boot tapped an irregular rhythm on the metal floor. Penny threw him a look of annoyance, but there was also a small smile on her lips.
"Everyone ready?" John asked. Everyone simply nodded. He hit the button to lower the ramp and led the group down it. Don hung back, sweeping his eyes over the group to make sure there were no surprises. "I am Professor John Robinson, from the planet Earth," The creature, who seemed to be the leader, answered in a strange language that Don couldn't decipher.
"Wait!" Don jumped. He knew that voice. "I'm sorry. They don't speak English very well," Don walked around to the front of his group. His jaw dropped. "My name is-
"Danielle?" He whispered, not quite believing it. Her head swiveled toward him. Her dark brown hair fanned out around behind her before resting against her shoulders. Her brown eyes met his and lit up. It was like looking in a mirror. It was a miracle. It was his little sister.
"Don!" She ran toward him and threw her arms around his neck, pulling him close, laughing. He held her like he would never let her go, laughing as well and spinning her around.
"Oh, my god!" Don shouted happily toward the heavens. Penny eased her way between her dad and older sister and smiled.
'I'm happy for you, Don,'
John watched on with his own smile. It had been a while since he had seen his pilot that happy. Maureen moved closer to him and put a hand on his arm. He looked down at her and saw that she was smiling as well.
Don finally set Danielle on the ground, but didn't let go of her. "I have missed you so much,"
"Same here, big brother,"
They broke the embrace when John cleared his throat.
"Oh, sorry," Don said, still smiling. "Danielle, this is John Robinson, his wife Maureen, their oldest daughter, Judy, the middle, Penny, and the youngest, Will. Everyone, this is my little sister. Danielle West," He said her name with such pride. The Robinson's each said their greetings and Danielle returned them. The whole time, Don had an enormous grin on his face.

Don and Danielle wandered off into the forest after a feast, leaving the Robinson's to attempt a conversation with the other race. Danielle wrapped an arm around his.
"You've been here, all these years?"
"Yeah. I just woke up here. I still don't know how they got me here,"
"Well, I'm eternally grateful to them," Don said with a smile. Danielle returned it.
"So, how did they get you to pilot the Jupiter, flyboy?"
"It was more of an assignment than a choice,"
"Fun," Her eyebrows quirked up.
"Eh. You get used to 'em,"
"You promise?"
Don froze. "What does that mean?" She turned to look at him.
"You don't honestly think I'm gonna just let my brother leave without me, do ya?" She said with a small smile. He paused, then returned the smile.
"Of course not," They continued walking.
Now, it was Danielle's turn to freeze. Don took a few steps before he realized she had stopped. "What is it?"
"Drums," She ran past him toward the sound. He ran after her.
"Dani!"

They came to an open field. Danielle's forest race was on one side, and on the other side was a race of fierce looking creatures. Both had weapons. Danielle gasped. "Oh, no,"
"What is it?"
"War," The Robinson family ran up behind them.
"What's going on?" John asked breathlessly.
"They're going to war," Danielle responded almost absently, shaking her head. "They can't. They're peaceful," She swallowed. "I can't let them do this," The chief of the forest people shouted something and raised a sword. One of the other race, the leader, Don supposed, did the same. He knew the action. They were going to war. Archers on both sides aimed at the opposition. The leaders dropped their swords, and all hell broke loose.
Suddenly, Danielle was on the ground in the middle of the field. She was bleeding. Don's eyes widened. She had been caught in the crossfire. "Dani," Don whispered, taking a step toward her. "Danielle!" He screamed and ran toward her. He couldn't tell what was going on around him and he didn't care. He fell to his knees and took Danielle into his arms. "Dani," She smiled weakly.
"Looks like I won't be leaving with you, big brother,"
"Dani, no," It began to rain.
"I'm sorry I caused you so much trouble, Don. Mom and Dad still love you, I know it," Don nodded, tears biting at the corners of his eyes. "I love you,"
"Stop talking like that," He tried to sound stern, but his voice cracked.
"Don. Please," They stared at each other for a moment, then he pulled her into a hug.
"I love you, too. You know that,"
She nodded weakly. He clung to her like when he first saw her, hoping against hope that it might save her. He could feel her fading away in his arms. All too soon, he felt her arm slip from around him and fall to the mud. He closed his eyes and held her tighter. The tears escaped his eyes, melding with the rain that streamed down his face. He forced himself to pull away and gently lay her down. It was then that he finally noticed that the two warring races were still there. He stood up, his rage building. It was their stupid feud that killed her.
"Look at what you did!" Don roared, looking back and forth between the two nations. "You killed her! Your stupid war killed her!" His entire body heaved with each gasp. "You killed my little sister, you bastards," His voice broke off with a sob. He stared at the ground, trying to compose himself, then looked back up. The forest stood in front off him. Before anyone could react he raced toward the forest as fast as he could, leaving Danielle's body behind.

Tears fell down Penny's face as she watched, one hand over her mouth. She took a step forward, outstretching one hand, then recoiling. "Don," She said softly. She tried to run after him, but two arms encircled her shoulders before she could.
"Don't, Pen," Judy said gently, tears evident in her voice.
"But-"
"Don't," She whispered this time, but her voice was still firm. Penny subsided against her sister, crying silently.

Don burst out of the forest into a clearing. The other side of the clearing was a waterfall cascading over a rock face into a pool. He stood at the edge and looked into the water. It was a dark blue, indicating quite a depth. He laid on his stomach and stuck his arm into the water, his eyes blank and empty. He could not find a bottom. He sat back on his heels, still staring at his reflection in the water. Suddenly, almost subconsciously, he began to lean forward. The dark water and silence rushed up to meet him. He embraced it happily.

John took this chance to leap from his hiding place among the trees. He lunged forward, reaching for Don's shirt, but it slipped through his fingers. "Dammit!" He fell onto his stomach and watched, horrified, as Don plunged into the water. "Don!" He scrambled over to the edge of the water. His eyes frantically searched the water, looking for any hint of his pilot. "Don..." He whispered, tears biting his eyes. "Dammit..."

Don slowly sunk into the darkness, the last of his oxygen escaping his mouth in small bubbles. 'I'm comin', Dani,' He thought groggily. "Don," He felt a pair of slender arms encircle him. "It's not your time yet. The Robinson's still need you. The Earth still needs you," He felt himself begin to rise.
"Dani," He mumbled, losing all of his oxygen in one blast. His lungs began to scream. The darkness grew darker.
"Good-bye, Don," Something grasp the back of his shirt and the water disappeared. He didn't find the surface either. He was unconscious by then, knocking on heaven's door.

John pulled Don onto the grass. "Don? Don?!" He shook the younger man, panic clouding his mind. Then, the doctor finally kicked in. He checked for a pulse, but couldn't find one. He started compressions, throwing all of his weight onto Don's chest. "Come on, Don. Please," He pleaded with the still body. "We still need you," Without realizing what he was doing, he breathed into the pilot's mouth, resorting to a form of CPR that was still taught, but considered primitive. "Breathe, Don. Please," John was slowly loosing faith. 'He's gone. I'm not gonna get him back,' His efforts slowed, then stopped. He sat back, eyes swimming with tears again. "God dammit!" He turned away, fighting sobs. Don had become a little brother to him over the past god-knows-how-long they had been stuck out in space, but now he's gone. 'I failed him,' He rested his forehead against his fists. 'I'm sorry, Don,' A faint rustling made John jump. He whirled around. Don's body heaved up from the ground. His mouth groped for air. "Don!" He turned his pilot over onto his side just as he vomited up water. The heaves racked his entire body, making him jerk beneath John's touch. Before he could cough up the last of it, the older man gathered Don up into his arms, laughing and crying at the same time. "You're okay, it's gonna be okay," John mumured gently.

Judy stood in the door of a hut, watching Penny as she slept. It had taken awhile, but Penny had finally succumbed to her exhaustion. Judy left the doorway, taking one more glance at her little sister before heading toward the chief's hut. She pushed aside the large leaf that served as a door and stepped into the dim, cool home. The only light came from a fire in the center of the room. On the other side of the fire was the body of Danielle West. Maureen kneeled beside her, washing the wounds. Judy let the door fall into place behind her, but stayed where she was. Maureen spared a glance at her eldest child before continuing her work. "How's Penny?"
"Finally asleep," Judy stared through the fire at Don's sister. The resemblence was remarkable.
"Has your father returned yet?"
"Nope," Judy answered absently, her focus still on the dead woman. Maureen saw this, but said nothing.
"They should have come back by now,"
"Mom! Judy!" Will poked his head into the hut. "Dad and Don are back!" Both women raced out after Will, stopping just outside the door. John was walking up the "main street" of the village with Don limp in his arms.
"Don!" Judy breathed and ran as fast as she could to her father. Maureen wasn't far behind.
"What happened?" Maureen demanded of her husband while she assesed Don's condition with her trained eye.
"He's fine, he's just sleeping. Help me get him to a bed,"
"This way," Judy led her father to the hut were Penny was sleeping. By now, their kind hosts had gathered outside, watching them. The chief stood by his hut, still keeping a respectful distance between himself and the man he had hurt. All of them did that. "Pen, wake up," Judy didn't wait for her sister to comply. She picked her up and moved her to a different "bed".
Maureen and John took painstaking care when they laid Don down. "John- " The pilot muttered in his sleep, barely audible.
"I'm right here," John replied, grasping one of Don's hands in his own. "It's gonna be alright. Just get some sleep," The younger man silently consented and fell back into a dreamless sleep. John sat back as he felt Don's hand go limp in his. He gently set his hand down and stood. "Come on," He whispered, gesturing to his wife and oldest daughter. They quietly snuck out of the door and John followed, first stealing a glance at his young pilot to make sure he was still breathing.

John sat on one side of the fire while the rest of his family sat on the other. He stared into the fire, trying to keep his eyes off of the woman beside him because she looked too much like Don did when he..was...
"John?"
He blinked. "Hmm?"
"You were saying...?" Maureen raised an eyebrow at him.
John stared at her blankly for a minute, not remembering where he had left off. "Well, what does it matter?" He stood and began to pace, gesturing wildly. "He's alive, isn't he?"
"Yes-"
"Than let's just let it go,"

Penny slowly awoke. The sun was setting, casting an orange glow across the room. She sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and yawning.
"Hey kid,"
Penny jumped. "Don?" She squinted at the dark form across the room. He chuckled wryly.
"I think so,"
She walked over and kneeled beside him. "What's that supposed to mean?"
He pushed himself up onto his elbows. "Never mind," A silence hung heavily between them. They looked at everything but each other.
"I'm sorry about...Danielle," Penny finally said quietly, staring at her hands.
"Thanks," Don responded even quieter, staring out at the fire painted across the sky.
"How ya doing?" Both of them turned as John came in. Don smiled slightly.
"I've been better,"
John nodded. "Penny, I need to talk to Don for a moment," He didn't take his eyes off of Don's face. Penny silently got up and headed for the door.
"I'm glad that you're okay," She said before disappearing outside, casting silence into the hut once more. Don kept his eyes on the window, then finally gave in and dragged his eyes to Johns'.
"What?" He finally said. John didn't respond, just stood there, staring at him. "Damnit, John, what do you want?" He stood up. His surroundings dimmed and spun. "Woah," His knees buckled. John steadied him by grabbing his elbows. Don shook his head furiously, trying to clear it. He looked up when the world stopped going psycho and froze. Were those tears in John's eyes?
"I don't want anything," John finally said quietly. "I'm just glad you're okay," Don immediately felt a pang of guilt.
"John, I-" Before he could continue, John pulled Don to him and wrapped his arms around him. Don froze, shocked, then slowly returned the fatherly gesture he had never received. He buried his face into John's shoulder and finally began to cry for his sister.

Don stood back by the ramp while the Robinsons said good-bye as best they could. "Don?" He looked up. John gestured to him. Don sighed, but walked over to his commanding officer. "He wants to say something," John looked over at the Chief. Don scoffed. 'There's a trick,'
"We are truly sorry," Don blinked, shocked. Had this thi- uh, creature, just spoken English? "We never intended for your sister to become entangled in our war. But, she has not given her life in vain. There is now peace, in her honor,"
Part of Don was still enraged. Like this would bring her back! But, nothing's going to bring her back. Not this time. Don bowed stiffly, at the waist. "Thank you," He said quietly, then stepped back. He wanted to leave as soon as possible.
The creatures raised their hands in a sort of wave. "Farewell," The Robinsons returned the gesture, then they started toward their ship. "West," Don turned. The Chief stepped forward and held out something to him. Don took it. "Danielle insisted this be given to you," Don stared at the item in his hand.
"Her tags," He whispered. The Chief nodded.
"May you finally find peace, Major West,"
Don stared at him for a moment, then nodded. Before another word could be said he turned and jogged up the ramp into the Jupiter. He hit the button to close the door and turned. Penny was standing behind him.
"Jesus!" He shouted a little louder than intended. "Don't do that to me," Penny wasn't fazed. She merely stared at him. "What?" He asked, half amused, half annoyed.
"Your hands are shaking," She finally said.
"No, they're not," Still, despite himself, he looked down. His hands were shaking. They were also covered in sweat, which was weird because he was freezing. He clenched his hands into fists. "It's nothing," He said sharply, more to himself than her, and walked past her toward the bridge.