Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me (yadda...yadda...)
A/N: Short author's note this time: I'm pretty sure I got Laura's last name right. It was in the credits but I'm not quite sure, so don't sue me. This takes place before Sam goes with the others to the ship to get the medicine. So, review and let me know what you think!
"Or what?" Sam Hall questioned again, looking over at the mousy librarian who was shrinking behind the medical text in her hands as though she was afraid of him. "Or what?" This time he could barely get the words out. He knew or what...he knew what would happen if Laura Chapman didn't get the medicine she needed to counteract the blood poisoning flowing through her body. But somehow, he needed someone else to say it, as though to prove that he wasn't a horrible person for thinking such things.
The librarian cleared her throat. "Or she'll die." She whispered, closing the book with a loud clap. Sam sighed and turned away, running his fingers through his hair and peering through the frost covered window and down into what used to be New York city.
"What are we going to do?" Asked J.D., the kid from the prep school Sam and his other two teammates, Laura and Brian, had flown to New York to beat in the decathlon. "She can't..." He wasn't willing to say the words out loud.
Sam turned back around. "Of course not. I'm not going to let her die." His eyes fell on Laura, who was in layman's terms unconscious because of the blood poisoning in her blood stream, oblivious to their discussion. Her beautiful lips were dry and swollen, her eyes ringed with bruise-colored shadows and her skin was an unnatural waxy color. Sam figured Laura would have something to say about her condition, since she was the only one who had paid attention in health class, after all; he wished that she was still sitting up and making jokes like she had done those days ago.
"What choice do we have?" Asked the skinny man with round glasses that made him look like an owl as far as Sam was concerned. "There's no medicine here, at least not that kind." He hugged the Gutenberg Bible close to his chest and Sam wondered if he cared more for books then people. The woman sitting next to him, the one with a cousin in Memphis, seemed to agree.
Sam sighed. "I don't care!" He snapped and the owl man held his book tighter. "I'm not going to just sit around and let her die."
Brain rested his hand on Sam's shoulder in a sympathetic, comforting gesture. "I know man but there's not a lot we can do. Unless that snow melts in the next twelve hours and a rescue team comes...I don't know what choice we have."
Sam sighed again and pulled away from his friend, walking closer to Laura. Even from across the room he could hear how shallow and ragged her breathing was and it was worse standing next to her. She didn't stir when he put his fingers on her forehead, which was a mixture of hot and cold at the same time and gently trailed them down her cheeks.
Brain was right, it didn't look like they had any other choice. But Sam didn't think they were looking hard enough.
Night had fallen again, though it was often difficult to tell the day from the night when the sun was hidden behind the thick mass of the swirling clouds that only brought their own death's closer with every passing second. In the large meeting room, the fire crackling in the antique fireplace was the only thing that provided constant light and heat and looking at the leaping flames had often made Sam feel better in those days and nights when it seemed like he would never see the outside of this room again. But that was when he had had Laura to sit up with at night and watch the flames as they consumed the books and had to be constantly fed. But now Sam sat up alone, watching the fire, while everyone else had managed to slip into a sleep of some kind; owl man was still holding his Bible, curled up like a child afraid of the dark. J.D.'s sleeping face was pale and stretched, as though he was having a nightmare and Sam didn't blame him; he'd be having his own nightmares if he had managed to sleep.
But, on top of being too worried about Laura to even shut his eyes, he had volunteered to keep the fire from going out until someone else woke and took over. Sam was sitting on the couch that had become Laura's makeshift "hospital" bed with the sickly girl laying against his chest, something she hadn't done when she wasn't dying from blood poisoning. Sam prayed that they'd get the chance to spend more evenings in front of the fire -in much different circumstances- but together nonetheless.
Laura's chest rose and fell slightly and Sam could feel her heart beat quickly against his chest; his mom was a doctor, so he knew that a speedy heart beat was never a good thing. And last time he had checked her temperature the thermometer had informed him that she had a fever of 104 degrees. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, Laura was going to die if he couldn't think of a way to get her the Penicillin that she needed.
Sam trailed his fingers down her cheeks almost absently as he watched the fire to make sure that it was burning strongly before returning his gaze back to her face. Even in her current state, with her face nearly drenched with sweat, he thought that she still looked beautiful; that horrible plane ride up to New York was well worth this moment.
"You know," Sam whispered aloud, speaking mainly to the sleeping Laura, but also to get rid of the silence that seemed to have settled over the whole world. "This isn't exactly how I expected this trip to go." Laura was still motionless in his arms, his voice not reaching down deep enough to stir her. "It's not like I expected to sweep you off your feet while we were gazing down at New York from the top of the Statue of Liberty but I expected something a little different from this."
A gaze outside, peering through the window, was enough to tell Sam that no one was going to be looking down at New York from the crystallized Statue of Liberty any time soon.
"But I did have anything planned out, you know." Sam continued, unwilling to stop himself now that he actually had more courage to form whole sentences in Laura's presence. "After you won the decathlon for our team, because let's face it, we both knew you'd win, I was going to take you out to dinner to celebrate. We'd talk about the usual stuff, parents...whatever and then I'd causally say 'How 'bout a carriage ride back to the hotel?'
"Since you've loved horses since you were a kid, well, in my plan you did anyway, you'd agree right away and we'd go riding through Central Park, looking up at the stars. I'd offer you my jacket, you'd take it and when I leaned over to put it around your shoulders, I'd give you a kiss. It was going to be perfect." Sam sighed and Laura seemed to sigh in her sleep as well. "But I guess we're not going to be taking an carriage rides any time soon."
Silence filled the room again, aside from the occasional crackle coming from the fire, which was in need of another book. Unwilling to move from his spot with Laura cradled across his chest, Sam lowly leaned forward enough to snatch another paperback and hurled it into the fireplace. The flames consumed it instantly and the fire rose again.
"That's what I've been trying to tell you ever since I first joined the decathlon team. I really like you, Laura and I don't know why I've never been able to tell you." Sam sighed, pursing his lips. "You must think I'm a total loser, not being to tell you how I felt before."
Again, there was no response from Laura, stuck deep in the sleep of someone who was dying without even being aware of it. Sam wondered if she did know, perhaps, in her subconscious; was it possible that Laura knew that she might never wake up?
"I'm not going to let that happen." Sam said, now more for his own benefit. "I'm going to find a way to get that medicine...so I can tell you how I feel, when you can actually hear me."
Laura mumbled something and Sam was surprised; she hadn't spoken or moved for nearly twenty-four hours and though a mumble wasn't much, it was something. Maybe she wasn't going to die after all, maybe he had time to get her medicine, more time then they had first thought.
Sam brushed Laura's sweaty, matted hair out of her face. "And I want you to know, Laura, that everything, the plane ride, the flood, the snow, being suck here, it's all worth it, just to be able to actual spend some time with you." Sam thought for a moment. "Not that I'm saying I'd do it all again but...going through it once is definitely worth it."
Laura shivered in his arms and Sam pulled the blanket higher around her shoulders and rubbed his hands up and down her arms, trying to generate a little more heat. It was now carriage ride, that was for sure.
Despite his attempts to warm her, Laura continued to shiver and Sam held her closer against his chest. "Don't worry, Laura, you're going to be okay." He assured her.
Sam couldn't believe there was any alternative.