Author's Note: Huzza! I am creating the first multi-chapter 'The Day After Tomorrow fanfic… okay, Tessa's mine, Laura's mom is kind of mine, but nothing else (so far) is.
Dedicated to: SparkingDiamonds; read her stuff! Needless to say, it's better than mine (and more in character ;))
I keep asking why
I can't take it
It wasn't fake
It happened, you passed by…"
This isn't exactly how I expected to get home…Laura Chapman's thoughts eased as the blades atop the rescue helicopter began to accelerate, picking up a few snowflakes from the enormous drifts of it that buried New York City. A slight shiver convulsed through her body, causing her to pull the warm wool closer to her skin. She tore her eyes away from outdoors as the plane ascended, looking at the group of scruffy-looking survivors. She, like the others, was completely aware of how close death had brushed by her. In fact, Laura had almost died twice.
Well, this isn't exactly how I expected this trip to go, either, she added silently. Sam was in the seat to her right, and surprisingly enough, not obsessing about his fear of flight. He actually had a sense of calm about him. But after what he had been through the past week or so, nothing really seemed to scare the crap out of him. Not right now, anyway.
"Where are we going?" Laura inquired, her voice distant and absent as her brown eyes fell onto the window again.
"The U.S. Embassy in Mexico. They have a refugee camp there." Jack replied instantly.
Laura's ease crumbled. Oh, God… I hope Mom and Tessa are there, she hoped, her mind focused on her family. She pictured them; her normal, intelligent, supportive mom and her hyperactive, ten-year-old kid sister.
Her eyelids slowly fluttered closed as she rested her eyes. It was then when she really realized how tired she was. Sure, she had gotten some sleep during her stay in the Big Apple, but didn't seem real… it was hard to explain. Only someone really crazy could sleep there comfortably.
Laura felt her hand link to Sam's, but this time, it was on Laura's own accord. She smiled as blissful unconsciousness settled in…
"We're here… Laura… we're here…"
The black oblivion of sleep dissipated, courtesy of Sam gently waking her with a nudge on her shoulder. She groaned a little and rubbed her eyes. The images around her were faded, then came clearly into focus. Light flooded in through the helicopter's windows, and it was… warm. Laura shed her extra clothing freely; the heap of wool blankets and coats sliding to the floor. The copter was hovering over a legion of large, greenhouse-like tents, tiny little people that looked like bugs doing their new little routines. They came closer and closer to the ground, beginning to land on a cleared-out patch of bare ground with somewhat of a target-shaped symbol painted on it. There were hordes of people skirting its perimeter, although Laura couldn't distinguish any of the people as friends or family.
The possibility that they were dead suddenly hit her like a sledgehammer against a watermelon. Laura tried not to think something like that, but her commonly pessimistic mind wavered a bit. She attempted to erase the thought, but it remained, tightening her stomach into a knot.
The rescue vessel neared the earth, and then landed with a slight jolt that fully awakened all of the passengers. One of the crew moved swiftly to open the doors, looking back at the weary group to smile an almost sly grin. He said nothing, but then proceeded to help each survivor out of the chopper one by one. As Laura exited, she put a hand to her forehead, blocking the bright light of the sun that seemed willing to burn her eyes out of their sockets.
Some people pushed through the crowd encircling the landing area, one of these being Doctor Lucy Hall. She grabbed her husband and son, holding them in a very uncomfortable-looking, tight embrace.
Another figure—one Laura recognized—emerged from the masses of strangers. A woman with bright green eyes and chestnut, shoulder-length hair threw her arms around Laura, and she hugged back with an even harder force. "Mommy…" Laura whispered, lapsing into the informal. After a few moments, she reluctantly pulled away from her mother and asked, "Where's Tessa?"
Michelle Chapman turned a shade whiter. It was a question she feared her eldest—now her only—daughter would ask…
It was a horrid day.
Laura shifted in her seat in the front of rows uncomfortably, linking her hands together. The funeral service for Tessa was painful, and her tears hardly ceased falling. She never cried this much before, not since her father had abandoned her mother, Tessa, and herself…
Dead. Tessa was dead. The moody preteen sister who always annoyed her, yet she loved so much was gone. It was unfair. She was ten, for God's sake! Ten! She never deserved death, and there was so much she hadn't done yet… so much she didn't do. She looked to her right, where Sam was seated. Laura gave a simple nod to him, although that couldn't even begin to thank him for his support.
After they all left the tent that served as a chapel, they all walked about a half of a mile to a plot of bare ground that served as a cemetery. Laura shuttered as she looked at the large fields of crosses and mounds of dirt, knowing that this was only a small fraction of the perished.
The burial service was a million times worse than the funeral. The wind was so strong; it had blown the casket's top open slightly, reveling the pallid little girl, her chilled purple lips parted slightly into a smile. Laura wanted to scream and cry and curse God. But she held her walls of reserve up as long as she could, until her sister's casket was lowered into the trench. She shut her eyes and buried her head in Sam's shoulder so as to not she Tessa go so freely.
Even after the service, after even her mother had departed to be alone, she remained, and so did Sam. She couldn't leave; she didn't have it in her heart to go.
"Sam?" she whispered under her breath after they had remained there for a while.
"Thank you…" her voice was shaky and barely audible, still choking with tears. "… for everything." And she leaned in to kiss him. It was strong, but brief, then he held her to his chest, resting his chin on the crown of her head.
She didn't protest or say anything as he took her hand and led her from the cemetery. Words weren't needed.