((A/N: Sorry for the really long delay, but I was torn between working on three different stories and a ton of school work. XX Hence the really short and rushed chapter with a ton of mistakes in it. I had to scrap and redo the whole chapter twice, and now all the chapters I have on paper are completely useless. So, I'm gonna be delayed again after this. I need to get another chapter of my Eternal Darkness story up soon, so work is gonna be devoted to it.))

TinyXipe: 1 AM. You think the Combine would be a bit suspicious to see an 18 year old civilian sneaking through the street towards the canals? They would shoot her on site. And yeah, I know I have mistakes. I typed this pretty dang fast. And I had a ton of trouble with this chapter, so… Sorry for it not being so good this time around.


Chapter 2

Danielle heard the squeal of tires behind her as a Combine APC turned the corner and came down the very street she was on. "Oh shoot…" Danielle whispered, just as a half dozen CP officers poured out of the transport. There were hushed whispers from a civilian couple nearby while the officers questioned people nearby. When she noticed someone pointing in her direction, and the CP officer turned to face her, Danielle's heart froze. The idiot has just told them where she was.

People will do anything for rations these days, she thought to herself, but her anger was quickly replaced by fear as the officers surrounded her with StunSticks drawn. "Whoa! I didn't do anything, all right?" The officers ignored her, still closing in on her. Danielle stepped backwards and glanced around quickly, realizing that she had just backed into an alley. There was no possible way out of this mess now. She had escaped the Combine once, but not a second time.

The nearest officer took a swing at her, and Danielle ducked down under the blow. Reflexively, she brought up her fist in a hard uppercut to the chin that knocked the officer backwards a good bit. Instantly, the others retaliated. She barely had time to react before a StunStick slammed into her head and another into her side. Danielle fell to her knees, the world around her spinning as the officers continued to beat her mercilessly. She wanted it all to end, for the pain to stop. She couldn't take it anymore…

Abruptly, the attacks stopped. She could hear the faint sounds of fighting, but wasn't able to make them out clearly. All she knew was that someone distracted the CP officers. She could barely understand the voices talking above her, but she felt someone touch the side of her neck with two fingers.

"Is she alive?" a male voice asked.

"Yeah, but barely. We arrived just in time. Help me pick her up," another voice replied. This one was female.

Danielle felt gentle hands lift her up off the ground. She tried opening her eyes, but found herself unable to. She couldn't even move or speak. Her life was in the hands of whoever was carrying her. She began to panic. Who were these people? What were they going to do with her?

Well, if they aren't hurting me, then they might not be Combine. Since when have they ever cared about being nice to citizens?

Along with her confused thoughts about what was going on, there was something else. There were pictures of things she couldn't remember, but seemed eerily familiar. It was like she had seen them somewhere before, even though she couldn't recall when or where. It was like she had memories that she never knew were there.

Maybe they're my real memories. Nah, it can't be. That's crazy. I've never seen half those people, and I sure as heck haven't run into any of those freaky monsters like in my dreams. I must be losing it…

Minutes passed by until she felt herself being set down on something soft, most likely a mattress. By this time, Danielle's senses were slowly returning to normal, but she still couldn't open her eyes. Someone wiped her face with a damp rag and opened each of her eyes, shining a light in each one. Danielle squinted and blinked a few times, temporarily blinded by the light. "She's responsive," a female voice said. "Danielle, can you hear me?"

As Danielle's eyesight recovered, she saw three people around her. One was a woman, who had the flashlight in her hand and was treating Danielle's injuries. The CP officer from the night before was also there, minus the mask. The most surprising of all was Mike Steele, and African American who had been in her building when the Combine came to arrest him a few days ago. Despite being thirty, he had taken care of Danielle as best as he could and always encouraged her to cling to the hope that the Resistance would help them escape.

"Yeah, I can…" Danielle mumbled in reply, her speech slightly slurred. She found it hard to talk right, and her thoughts were all jumbled together.

"See Alyx. What did I tell you? Danielle here is one tough kid." Mike crouched down, gently squeezing Danielle's hand in reassurance. "Don't worry about the Combine anymore. We dealt with those guys, and we're about to get you to a safe place soon."

The woman, who must have been Alyx, glanced back at him. "The station is about a half hour from here. I was counting on her to still be out of it, so we didn't have to worry about her feeling too much pain as we move her. With a concussion like she received, we'll have to move way slower, and the Combine could catch up with us easily."

Danielle winced, slowly bringing up her head to feel the side of her head. The hair was sticky and matted with blood. The CP officer must have landed a harder blow than she thought. Alyx grabbed her arm and gently pushed it back down, shaking her head. "Don't try to move at all. We don't know how bad they injured you. Barney, Mike, do any of you have a medkit with some sedatives in it? Maybe even a tranquilizer that will knock her out for the rest of the trip?"

The CP officer and Mike glanced at each other. "You're the one with first-aid experience," Barney said quietly.

Mike sighed and reached into a pack on his belt, taking out a syringe. "This is the last of it, but it should be enough." He looked at Danielle, gazing into her eyes sympathetically. "Do you mind if we do this, kid?"

Danielle tried to force a small grin. "Not a kid… And I don't mind… I hurt all over right now…"

He handed the syringe to Alyx, who slid the needle into her arm. Slowly, she injected the liquid into Danielle's blood stream. "Okay…" she said, handing it back to Mike. "Once she's out, we need to get moving again. You know how bad the Combine want this kid right now…"

The words caught Danielle's interest. She tried to ask them what they were talking about, but the medicine was already starting to take effect. She slowly slipped into a doze, the pain in her body finally going away and allowing her to rest.