Dear Readers, if there are any of you still around. I know it has been a very long time, a year, maybe more. It feels like an eternity. I'm not going to make excuses as to why I have neglected my writings here, just know that I have had a very busy absence. I lost my best friend and gained a new baby brother. My hair is blonde now. I quit soccer and started taking karate classes instead. I originally intended to complete this story, but it looks as though that may never happen. I offer you my sincerest apologies along with this update, hoping you will enjoy it, but not promising there will be more, however hard I may try to please you. Hello to all my old friends, if any of you are still here. I hope you're well and have stayed out of trouble. Here we go, again.
Chapter Thirteen; Déjà Vu
The sun was irritating Artemis' eyes as he stood waiting for the bus with Rebecca. She looked upset, which made Artemis wonder exactly where they were and how anyone, besides himself, could be so miserable on a rare sunny day in London. He decided against asking for the moment, the rational, sympathetic part of his mind overruling the inquisitive part.
"Just for future reference," Artemis stared pointedly at the bright red Double Decker bus that pulled up to the curb where they stood, "I absolutely detest public transportation." Rebecca did not reply until they had paid their fare and were seated at the back of the first level of the bus, away from the few other patrons.
"I didn't get my license until after Danny died," she muttered, gazing out the window at the passing London skyline.
"Oh," Artemis' lips turned down at the corners, "I'm sorry." Again, Rebecca said nothing, choosing to stare unblinkingly at anything that was not the pale teenager beside her. Artemis knew she was trying extremely hard not to let herself cry and he felt pity make his stomach turn. He couldn't help but to ask, mentally berating himself as the words flowed from his lips.
"Is that why we're here?"
Finally, Rebecca turned to him, her eyes reddening with the strain of holding in tears, making Artemis instantly regret his insensitivity. She nodded curtly, biting down on her bottom lip to stop it from quivering. Artemis was unsure of what to do and any comforting words he thought up seemed to do the situation no justice. Of course, he knew how it felt to lose, or think you had lost, someone dear, yet he did not believe his experience in the matter would comfort Doctor Velez in the slightest. Instead, the morbid conversation fell into tense silence, with Rebecca resting her head against the cool glass window and Artemis going over the laws of physics in his head to pass the time as the bus rollicked down a bumpy road. After what seemed like an eternity, he felt Rebecca rise beside him, her arms hanging limply by her side.
"Our stop is coming up," she told him dryly, her frown even deeper than before. Artemis nodded absentmindedly and stood as the bus slowed to a stop. The pair exited through the open doors and Artemis found himself standing on a residential street lined with small, quaint looking homes. It would have been a welcoming scene had Rebecca not been staring at one whitewashed house in particular, her eyes distant and cold.
"Where are we?" Artemis asked, partially sure his hypothesis was correct and the question was unneeded.
"Spitalfields," Rebecca replied, "Hershey Street. We lived there." She pointed to the house across the road. Artemis nodded and followed as she began to cross the street, which was strangely void of cars. He could practically see her heart hammering in her chest as they crept up the front lawn and looked into the window beside the door, the blinds of which were hanging slightly open. Rebecca gasped slightly, immediately ducking out of sight.
"That's him," she told Artemis, her face considerably paler than his. The boy looked into the window and saw a handsome young man talking on the phone, a large grin on his well-chiselled face. He laughed as he ran his hands through his messy dark hair, the sound travelling through the thin walls of the house. Artemis looked down at Rebecca, sorrow in his eyes. She had her own eyes closed, leaning against the wall, a pained expression on her face.
"He's talking to me," she whispered. Artemis took a moment to process the revelation before he patted her shoulder awkwardly, suddenly understanding why Rebecca had chosen to return to this moment in time.
"What happened?" he asked quietly, hoping she wouldn't mind the question.
"He's going to leave the house in about ten minutes," Rebecca looked stressed, "And drive out to the grocery store to pick up milk, because we're running low. He's going to grab some dinner too, probably Chinese food because I'm craving it and he wants to make me happy. He'll go to the bank first, I guess, because he hates using his stupid debit card. While he's there, someone desperate will be there too, pointing a gun at the teller, and she's only a kid, about your age. And Danny, he's going to want to be a hero. So he'll go at this guy and get himself shot three times. He'll die before the paramedics arrive. And I'll get a phone call at work. And…"
Her voice hitched in her throat and tears began to fall from her eyes.
"My God," Artemis was horrified, "Rebecca, I'm so sorry." He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, feeling her shake with silent sobs. "You know," he said, almost as if it were an afterthought, "We could always…"
"No," Rebecca's voice was surprisingly strong, "I didn't come here for that. I only wanted to see him smile one more time."
"I can't explain it, Artemis," she muttered, her shoulders tensing. And it was the truth. Rebecca had worked tirelessly for years to unlock time's secrets just so she could hold Danny in her arms once more. But now that she was here, in the moment and so close to changing it, she simply could not bring herself to think about doing it. "Call it déjà vu or something."
Artemis nodded knowingly. Her subconscious was dredging up memories of their earlier experiences with meddling in time. However, Artemis was unsure of whether or not he should be annoyed with the Doctor's selflessness. He vaguely wondered that, if Danny were still alive and well, could this entire mess have been avoided? Which reminded him of one fiery elf who unfortunately had no idea who he was.
"We should get going," Rebecca mumbled, "We don't want to get caught."
"My thoughts exactly," Artemis said gently, "Well, almost exactly." He and Rebecca snuck to the side of the house and waited for Danny's beat up old car to pull out of the driveway and turn off of the street. Rebecca watched him go with glassy eyes.
"I can't believe I let him do that," her voice rang with defeat. Artemis did not reply, a sudden horrified thought having complete control over him. "Artemis?" Rebecca looked over at him sideways.
"We have bigger problems," he looked her straight in the eyes to emphasise his point, "In all our, um, excitement…we forgot to hold open the portal. We're stuck here."
Author's Note: I think I've lost my touch…