You Got Family?
A/N: Here it is! I've returned from my sickly long absence of posting chapters of this story. I wrote most of this before I discovered Finding Neverland and began writing fanfiction for that category, but now National Treasure's out and I finally got back in the mood to finish Chapter 7. The beginning's old, and I haven't read it. I honestly don't want to, because I'll think it's horrible. I already suffered through reading my chapter 1. But anyway, for those who absolutely love this story (and I do know there are many by how many reviews I've gotten (dances) ) here's chapter 7! Enjoy! AND SEND MORE OF THOSE DELICIOUS REVIEWS!
P.S. There are A LOT of review replies at the bottom of this, so it's not as long as it looks. Give me some more to respond though, won't you? I love you all! And I'll love you all even more if you read! Please? K, thanks.
The Jeep rumbled along the bumpy forest floor. In the back, Ben felt every bump that they hit, his hurt arm aching. He held tight to the bottom of his seat with his good hand as if he would fall right out of the car at any given time. Riley and the twins seemed to be enjoying themselves though. Ben looked out of the open window. The boulder sized tires had just narrowly missed a brightly colored lizard. They rolled over a tree root and the car jumped. Ben squeezed the cloth chair ever tighter. No one spoke a word for about ten minutes of the ride, then Liz looked in her rear-view mirror.
"You're kinda cute. You got family?"
"Who, me?" Ben asked uneasily, his voice wobbling. He was a bit shaken by the ride, and Liz's seemingly careless driving. The car swerved dangerously away from a tree. He looked out the window again, upwards. Those things seemed to be 100 feet tall, he thought. Only spots of light breaking through the canopies above, and coming down to the ground in delicate, narrow beams. The forest was all around them. Noises echoing, bouncing off everything. It was alive.
"No, your friend," Liz replied.
"Me?" Riley said, pointing to himself.
"This one may chop you up in her backyard when she's finished with you," Ben muttered. Riley elbowed him in the gut.
"Yes, you. Got family?"
"Well, uh...my parents still live in South Carolina and I haven't seen my older brother in ages - "
"Not that kind of family." Pause. The tired ground a fallen tree branch into two. Then Riley began spluttering out little pieces of words. It was impossible to tell what he was saying, or trying, to say.
"Didn't see a ring anywhere, I don't think," Liz said, looking back ahead, an almost unnoticed smile crawling playfully across her ruby lips. Riley's cheeks turned almost the same color.
"Actually, no," he replied timidly. Liz nodded. Ben looked out the window again, beginning another long silence.
"Dad, can we get a dog?" Andy piped up after a few minutes. The car went over another tree root, causing the riders to jump about two inches above their seats.
"No," Ben replied absently, straightening himself once more.
"Oh, come on. You never let us do anything," Tom said, while his father turned his head to look at him.
"Never let you do anything? I'll tell ya - if I don't see high grades in Social Studies, I really won't let you do anything. That teacher didn't look like you two here her absolute favorite students of all time."
"We do good in Social Studies," Tom grumbled.
"We'll look after him," Andy said, hoping that with that he may convince his dad with that, but he didn't give it much attention. Ben did a double take at the rear view mirror up front and noticed Liz's eyes on him, that mocking smile still stretched across her face.
"Hi," Ben said, a little uncomfortable. "So, where are we going, anyway?"
"I've got a camp a ways in the forest. A few of the guys that are with us have a ton of extra clothes. And, uh," she pushed herself up in her seat so she could get a better look of the party's clothes in the rear-view, "You look like some new clothes would do you some good."
"What about the kids?" Ben asked.
"Can't really do much for them," Liz said, "But we can try and improvise. And food - "
"What about food?" Riley said, his attention now back on the conversation. "You got food?"
"Yeah, we got food."
"Oh thank God," Riley said, relaxing.
"Don't worry, I'll fix you guys up in no time. So, anyway. What are your names?" Introductions were made, and then Liz asked what the four were doing overseas. Ben looked at Riley, and he returned the same worried look.
"I'd rather not...explain that at the moment," Ben said curtly. The Jeep continued through the forest.
They pulled in to a small clearing in the trees. Stumps dotted the area, and Riley noticed they had just been cut because of tiny bits of sawdust in the dirt. Liz stepped out of the car, closed her door, and led them to a tent. She crawled inside and found for Ben and Riley each a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and two smaller shirts and pants for the twins. Then she instructed them to go somewhere in the grass and change. Ben raised an eyebrow.
"In the woods."
"Unless you want to try and change yourself in a tent. I wouldn't recommend it. Hank tried to do that and it collapsed on him. We didn't find him for a few hours."
"We didn't ask...what are ITALICS you ITALICS here for?" Ben asked. Liz smiled.
"Glad you asked. We're scientists - 'we' meaning me and the other 4 of my crew. They're not here though - off scouting. There's a disease going around the plant life in the forest. We're trying to figure out what's causing it and how we can prevent it. It hasn't been easy, though. Anyway, I recommend you go change. I've got to go, and I'll be back in a few hours. You guys can make yourself at home." She turned to leave.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Ben said, putting a hand on her shoulder. She looked at him. "See, we can't do that. We're looking for someone. And we have to find them as soon as possible."
"Looking for someone?" Liz asked.
"A...friend - well," Riley looked at Ben, trying to figure out what Ian was. "An old co-worker..."
"And he's somewhere in the Amazon?"
"Yes, ma'am," Ben replied. Liz looked thoughtful.
"What's he look like?"
"Blonde hair, blue eyes," Riley said, thinking. They hadn't seen Ian in a while. "Oh, and he's got a british accent." Liz thought again.
"He come with a woman?" she asked finally. Ben's heart jumped into his throat.
"You've seen them?" He said alarmed.
"Yeah, we've seen them. Greg and Gary have been following their route since yesterday since they discovered they were here."
"Who are Greg and Gary?" Riley asked.
"A couple of guys I'm with."
"So you're here with a bunch of other guys protecting wildlife...? Sounds a little strange to me."
"It's not, really," she said, almost completely serious.
"Where are they?" Ben asked, trying hard to ignore Riley.
"Hang on." Liz took a blue odd-shaped walkie-talkie off of her belt and held it in front of her face. "Greg and Gary. Come in. Over," she said into it. There was a slight pause and a crackle, then a voice came out of the speaker.
"Yeah, Lizzy, we're here. Over."
"How're the undesirables doing?"
"They're still in the same place. I don't like that man, though. He keeps dragging the woman along with him." Ben and Riley exchanged glances. That was Ian, alright.
"Okay, well, I found the party of four. Turns out they're looking for the pair that you found."
"Are they with you?"
"Sure, they're right here. How long do you think it would take to get where you guys are?"
"Probably a day at the very least if you don't take as many breaks as we have. We've just been following them the whole time, makin' sure they're not the source of the disease."
"A day?" Liz asked. She was hoping it would be only a few hours.
"Well we're a ways away from the camp now."
"Half the day's over."
"Then take a break to sleep. We'll follow them and update you over the radio if something changes."
"Then he caught her," Ben muttered to himself.
"What?" Riley said. Ben shook his head. He hadn't told Riley everything about the night before yet.
"Thanks, Greg." Liz stuck the radio back on her belt. "Better get dressed," she said. "If you're on a time constraint, we better get moving now."
Riley changed on one side of the small campsite, while Ben changed on the other. Tom and Andy were already finished and were chatting with each other in Liz's red Jeep.
"Hey." Ben spun around. There was Liz, as sly as ever, slipping in and out of places almost completely unnoticed. Much like someone he had seen in a movie...some butler...the name slipped his mind. Liz had moved a branch and found Ben there, his new, clean shirt around his neck.
"My pants could have been off!" he said, a bit offended, but relieved that this wasn't the truth. "God, you scared me."
"Sorry," she said.
"It's okay." He pulled the black shirt over his head, the bandages around his arm not helping with the task. He could actually take them off. The pain wasn't that horrible stinging feeling anymore. It just ached. He began to unroll the fabric, and Liz's eyes found the slowly healing gash that they had covered.
"What happened?" she asked, not in a concerned or worried voice, but as though people were injured like that every day.
"Fish bit me. On the reef back at the Caribbean," he replied, inspecting it himself. "It's happened before. I dive." Liz watched him run his fingers over it, and occasionally glanced at his face. Then she spoke.
"Is she your wife? The person you're looking for? the woman?" Ben nodded and looked at her face, finding her glancing at his gold wedding band. He looked at it as well and sighed.
"He who lives upon hope will die fasting," he said simply. Liz smiled.
"Who said that?"
"Hm." She thought a moment, then smiled. "Well, I don't think you're going to die fasting at this point. We know exactly where the two are. We just have to get there." Ben nodded. Another pause. "Amazing," she said finally, "That you'd go so far for her. All the way to South America." Ben threw his foot up onto a tree and began tying his shoe.
"Yeah well, she was kidnapped. By a...former associate."
"The blond guy?"
"Yeah, the blond guy. Ian."
"I see. Well, I still think it's amazing that you'd have the courage to go...to go to the ends of the Earth like that. I admire that." Ben shrugged and began tying the other shoe.
"I've had to use that kind of said courage before...but we won't get into that." Liz smiled.
"Too bad you're married," she said. Ben put his foot down. "I wouldn't marry anyone but Abigail. And that's a promise," he said.
"No, I understand. I'm just lookin' for someone. Does...does Riley have a girlfriend?" For some reason, Ben was taken aback by the question. He cleared his throat and put his thumbs in the pockets of his clean jeans. "No, he's...he's pretty single. No, he's very single. Very."
"Hm," Liz responded, gazing vaguely over her shoulder, hands on her hips. A butterfly flew past her nose, bringing her back to Earth. "Anyway. We should get going if we want to make some time." Ben nodded, gathering up his muddy clothes. He wasn't even sure what to do with them once he got home. The mud was caked on, yes, and could be taken off, yes - but it might have stained. It wasn't worth it.
She and Ben moved the branch and headed to the Jeep. Riley was leaning back against the car, his heels digging into the dirt next to the cloth sack.
"Hey, Ri," Ben said, closing in on it. He shoved his own dirty clothes into it, picked it up, and threw it in the trunk. "Kids in the car?" he got in the front seat.
"Yeah," Riley responded, getting in next to Andy. Liz climbed in herself and started the car. Riley leaned in forward in his seat, elbows resting on the back of Liz's and Ben's chairs, poking their shoulders. Ben looked puzzled at the alien and intrusive body part, his right eyebrow slightly raised.
"When are we eating something?" he asked, looking at Liz. She thrusted a sandwich in a Ziploc bag under his nose.
"Here's yours," she said, smiling. Riley took it and looked at it.
"This is it?" He said. "When I asked if we were eating something, I was referring to actual food."
"Well, what were you expecting, Ri? We don't have a whole lot." Ben buckled his seatbelt, remembering the colossal bumps on the forest floor that they had encountered. Liz started up the car and with a lurch they were off.
"I don't know...whatever." He tossed it absently over his shoulder and leaned forward. "So what do we do once we find Abigail? I mean, our helicopter isn't exactly in the place we would all like it to be, is it? Unless, you know...you want it at the bottom of the sea..."
"Same way we left the Arctic, remember? We find someone with a helicopter."
"Somehow I don't think someone random guy on the street's going to be keeping one folded up in their pocket, Ben." Liz let a tiny smile go, and she looked at Riley in the rear-view mirror.
"Yeah, I know that, but - "
"Dad, maybe one of the scientist guys has one," Tom said. Ben, Riley, and Andy looked at him.
"He's right," Andy said.
"Yeah, I wonder where he gets that from," Riley said.
"I'm not sure if that was a compliment or an insult, Riley, but I think he's onto something. Liz?"
"Hm?" She was still smiling. Ben looked at her. He asked the question, though knowing he didn't really need to by the look on her face. "Do you have a helicopter?"
"Yes, I do."
"Could we borrow it?" Riley asked her.
"Yes you may. In fact, I could drop you home after you get to finding your wife." She glanced vaguely at Ben, making sure he could tell she was directing that to him. Riley's smile nearly tore his cheeks apart, and Ben and the boys looked just as excited with him.
"These few days might not be as bad as I thought." Riley leaned back in his seat, closing his eyes, and the Jeep rumbled on.
Ben sat in front of a campfire late that night, thinking hard about how he'd have to conduct himself and the others. He hadn't seen Ian in a very long time, and in just a few days, the short meeting he'd have with him would determine the entire rest of his life. If he didn't get Abigail back, he wouldn't know what to do. He looked in the direction of the Jeep, where he had heard, just a few moments before, Riley's long, drawn out snores. But they were quiet now.
Liz offered the tent that she had in the trunk of her car to Ben and Riley, but Ben insisted (looking at the offended face of Riley) to her that she should sleep in her tent, and they'd sleep in the Jeep. The boys had camped out on a pile of leaves a few feet away from the campfire, and were now fast asleep, their soft snores echoing off of the trees that towered high above them. But, Riley's weren't heard at all. He must have woken up. This wondering was answered, when he emerged from Liz's tent, a smile on his face that could only be on a man who had just gotten something he had really, really wanted...
"Hey, chief," he said, plopping himself drunkenly down next to his best friend.
"Hey," Ben responded, picking the bark off a twig.
"Feelin' down again?"
"Nah, not really, just...just thinking." Riley swung his arm across his friend's shoulder.
"Yeah." Ben looked at him funny, and explained why he had.
"What's your problem?"
"Oh, nothing. No problem with me at all." He gave a little giggle like a five year old girl and walked back over to the Jeep. "Night," he said over his shoulder.
A/N: Can anyone tell me the movie that Ben was referring to? LOL. I bet a lot of people can, cause it's a great movie.
If you didn't like this chapter much, don't worry, there's more on the way! I'm determined to finish this. So, stay with me and send reviews!
REVIEW REPLIES FOR CHAPTER 6: (and there are a LOT of them..look for your name!)
Mercury Gray - I'm not sure I know what you mean. The huge chunks I hope are good because...I'm trying to be a little bit more descriptive because if you read the beginning chapters over, you'll notice it's mostly dialogue. The Gates open part was the thing i was telling you about! "Nic, your Cage is open," "Ben, your Gates are open" IT'S FUNNY! lol...anyway. Thanks for reading again!
elvenrarehunter - hahaha! I sent a review to one of your fics to give you the picture website. You didn't have an email posted on your profile, so I just used that. I'm glad you liked it! Yeah, she nabs him in the stomach. I had to...AND YES HE DOES DESERVE IT. Going and stealing people like that. Naughty naughty. You should lock him up in a cage in your room and never let him go. I'm sure you'd get some enjoyment out of that anyway. Ha! Anywho, I'm happy you enjoyed, that's what I'm aimin for! Thanks!
(you said you reread: ) I'm glad you reread it! It's nice to see people liking this! I'm glad the picture did work, I was worried it might not.
Liz - Eh heh...yes I did put your name in the story. But she's definitely not you. As you can tell. Thanky much for readin!
Lia-L-Leonardson - Yay! I'll read it when you post! And that's a promise! I'm always happy to read the fics of reviewers because they took the time to read and review mine. I'm glad you liked it, there's more to come! STICK AROUND!
DragonTamer - Heh I'm glad I am pleasing you. Your reviews are so fun to read lol. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I might have told you that before...or someone else. I don't recall. ANYWAY, thank you for being the faithful reader that you are!
(You checked up on the NT category and sent another review:) Yeah, I figured that would happen. Pretty smart, aren't I? (wink) Hope you enjoyed the update.
Like A Wind - Thanks for all the great comments! Yeah, Ben and Abigail are the reason Tom and Andy are so smart and junk...Re: to the Haiti people...I mentioned that at the beginning of the chapter. It depends what part of Haiti you're in...I went there on a Caribbean cruise and everyone at the part we visited were super duper friendly. Whereas as in other parts, you could easily get shot in the street. ANYWAY Thank you so much for reading! I was so glad to see a review from a new reader!
P.S. thanks for adding me to Author Alert too! That makes me HAPPY! o)
Wolfgirl64 - Yay! I'm glad you're likin this! I thought you might. I just watched Monk. Oh man. LOL KoRn. Anywho, thanks for readin as always!
EViv - WOW. YOU WIN BEST REVIEW IN THE WORLD. haha! That he is! Thanks so much for reading!
(You reviewed my author's note:) Yes, NT does rock. lol hope you liked the update.
Scifirogue Kane - Hmm, someone change their pennname? ;-) Thank you for all the nice compliments and such! Yeah, that's what I do too with stories on There's one author - I read her new chapters usually before I go to bed because they're not too exciting (not in a bad way - I mean, not a lot of action and stuff) and I don't have to look for Ben everywhere because it's all about Ian. I usually don't like stories centered completely around Ian, but hers is very good. You might want to check it out - it's called An Artist's Touch by: Mercury Gray. If you see this, Merc - I hope you're honored I'm recommending your story! Anyh00 - thanks for reading! Good luck on those chapter questions, I know those things - they're SO boring.
SwirlStar - Thank you so much for reading! (and reviewing - which I love) When people review and ask to read their stories, I always oblige, because it's a nice thing to do if they took the time to read yours! I like your story a whole lot so far, and I hope you like mine!
Lycanthropia - Hahaha gotta love Riley. Sorry for the super slow update...
Ari: Well, you know me...nothing I do is good enough...that's ok, as long as YOU like it. And about the mental image you got of Riley swimming in the nude...I don't think it was interesting...I think it made ya kinda horny. hahaha! luvya.
Ithilien Dreams: And I have carried on writing this! I hope that you saw this update and decided to read. Yeah, the twins will be in it more as it goes along; from writing Finding Neverland I just remembered how fun little kids are to write! Thanks for reading!
EMBER91: Wow you sent me a lot of reviews. Here I go...
For Chapter 1: The war thing...I had no idea how to present them, so that just kind of came out of my head haha! Happy you enjoyed it!
For Chapter 2: You'll just have to see if Abi will be okay. (wink) And yes, Ian has many problems. haha
For Chapter 4: I get excited myself when writing exciting parts haha that's probably cuz the rest of my life is boring lol
For Chapter 5: Yeah, they're oaky. haha.
For Chapter 6: lol THE MYSTERIOUS WOMAN IN THE BIG RED JEEP. That was funny, I should have named her that.
Thanks for reading and reviewing! I hope I see a review from you for this chapter!
Skwerl Hugger 15: Aww thanks. I guess I kinda do have a gift, considering the writing of other people...I won't name names. (no, Ari, in case you're reading this, I don't mean you.) Thanks so much...I hope I see a review from you for this chapter!
Moonjava: lol thanks, I'm glad you think so! Hope you read this chapter! (REVIEW! lol I LOVE reviews)