Disclaimer: *Sigh* I wish I could say I own them, but I don't. O well. C'est la vie. (Did I French-ize that right? *looks sheepish* if I didn't, let me know…)
Author's Note: *Looks around sheepishly* Uh… hi. Remember me? I'm the person who's really bad at updating… Umm… sorry? Please don't hurt me… *cowers in fear* Well, after a veeeerryy extended amount of time, here is the next chapter.
This is perhaps the hardest chapter ever for me to get out. I just can't get into Tom's head cause we simply just don't *see* him that much in the series. Book one he's locked up in the turret, book two he's all distant and ignoring Jenny, and then he gets captured, and then book three he's locked up in the lighthouse until the last 25 pages of the book. So please, forgive me if my writing of Tom is a piece of trash.
Hey Lotus, wanna be my beta? Your grammar/spelling/overall writing talent is much greater then mine. Let me know eventually.
And on with the chapter!
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Tom and Dee, to say the least, were freaking out when Jenny's parachute started to break. When Tom saw Jenny's emergency cord snap off in her hand, that was it. He pulled out his ever-present Swiss Army knife, somehow, considering the diving suits were one-piece and zipped up the front, and slashed the cords on his own parachute, falling viciously fast as Dee screamed soundlessly at him from a growing distance.
He could hear Jenny's screams getting louder as the distance between them closed, her body a tiny violet scrap against the brittle, unyielding ground that was beginning to get much too close for Tom's liking. Tom turned himself so his head was facing the ground, and his body was a vertical bullet of black and silver rayon speeding toward the ground much faster, now that the wind resistance wasn't so great.
His vivid violet girlfriend was falling, but he was falling faster, beginning to make out the vague designs and streaks on her diving suit. In another few precious seconds, she was within his reach. He stretched his arms and grabbed her, pulling her bruisingly tight against his chest.
He heard her gasp, clinging to him as he ripped the emergency cord, jerking the both of them up sharply. He felt some of the tension leave her body, to be replaced by a violent shaking, tremors that ran through her whole body as she clutched at his hands, and for a startling instant, Tom thought that she wanted him to let go. But the ground was a more pressing concern at the moment, rushing up to meet them, a malicious, merciless sheet of solid concrete.
Luckily for the both of them, the fall wasn't as short as it would have been. The parachute wasn't strong enough to hold the both of them at a safe speed, but it was a small distance, only about a hundred feet. Tom's feet took most of the shock of landing, making sure that Jenny was all right before he released his arms from around her waist. If she wasn't, Tom didn't think he could take it. They had shared so much, and she had always been there for him, most notably the nightmares. If he couldn't save her when she needed him the most, he would never forgive himself. Even after everything that had happened to them, she wanted to be with him, little human Tommy, even when the world was offered to her, anything that she wanted, she could've had, and in Tom's view, she deserved, and she passed it up, along with the velvet-and-silver Julian, that wicked and deadly Shadow Man with the too-blue eyes that still haunted Tom's dreams in the deeps of night.
Tom shook himself, deciding that thinking about Julian in a crisis would certainly bring bad luck. He removed his goggles and knelt down beside his shaking Jenny. When she looked up, he heard her gasp. "My God, Jenny, are you alright?" he asked, holding her close, ignoring the frantic landing crew.
"Tom? Oh God Tom!" she gave a wild half-sob and buried her face in his chest, her body wracked by tremors.
Dee, still airborne, heaved a huge sigh when she saw Tom and Jenny land relatively safely. Still, she was anxious to see for herself if Jenny really was okay. And figure out how in hell Jenny's parachute lines and the emergency cord managed to snap in such a convenient period of time. Something about all this was starting to look fishy… Every time Jenny went off on one of her wild excursions that involved heights, something went wrong. Last summer when they had all gone to Six Flags Magic Mountain and waited in line for hours to go on X, Jenny's safety harness wouldn't lock properly. If she hadn't been holding on to the metal handlebars so tightly, she would have been catapulted halfway across the park from 250 feet up in the air. When they, well… Jenny and Dee, had gone rock climbing six months ago in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Jenny's pick had snapped in half in her hand when she had barely even wedged it into the rock. They were over three hundred feet up on an almost vertical cliff-face.
Still fraught with worry, Dee didn't notice the beautiful view on the remainder of her trip earthward. When she landed, she, taking her cue from Tom, ignored the landing crew and made a beeline for the shaking couple kneeling on the frigid landing site. She knelt down and wasn't surprised that Jenny didn't look up when Dee wrapped her arms around her.
Oh god… ohgodohgodohgodohgod… Not again, no not again… Why do these things always happen to me?! Jenny's mind wailed as she tried to burrow her way through Tom's chest.
None of them noticed that the shadows around Jenny had grown thicker. What was even stranger was that the shadows were still there even after clouds had covered the sun.