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Memory Lane

Memories of Pain

~~XX~~

When by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
Anyone's any was all to her

~~XX~~

The next few hours flashed in and out of her mind.

She knew that they were in a hospital, and that they were talking but she could barely make out a few words. She got enough to know that nothing was going right.

"…baby's heart rate is low…"

"She's going into premature labor!"

"We have to stop it…"

"…Get an obstetrician, now! Tell them…"

Then, for a while, it was quiet as she was put into a drug induced sleep. Then, after an unknown amount of time, she opened her eyes and looked up at the blaring light of the hospital. She heard one conversation that would haunt her for the rest of her life.

"Is he…?"

"He's dead."

After she heard that, she might have screamed. She might have cried. She doesn't remember.

She was just… empty.

~~X~~

Simon paced.

Chloe watched him.

Tori was staring out her window.

Chloe watched her, too.

"Why should we trust him?" Simon demanded suddenly, whirling around and fixing Chloe with his gaze. Chloe jumped at the speed of his movements and the sudden volume of his voice in the previously silent room. She blinked and placed a hand over her thumping heart, looking at Simon as he continued. "I mean, he was one of the people who attacked you guys, what would he gain by helping you? Nothing, that I can think of. I don't trust this. Or him."

"Me either." Tori chimed from her place at the window. Chloe licked her lips and nodded, acknowledging both of their disagreements.

"I don't either, but it's got to have something to do with the reason he came back." She said. Simon and Tori both made faces.

"Why would he come back if he knew that someone was trying to hurt him?" Simon inquired slowly, as if he was worried that he was offending her intelligence. Chloe chewed her lip thoughtfully.

"Maybe they didn't just out right say; 'Hey, come to the dark alleyway tomorrow. Alone.' Maybe they sort of, I don't know, tricked him. Used one of us to get him to come here. Pretended that they had one of us in custody or something." She was just taking random stabs in the dark, but she had to come up with some reason.

Any reason.

"Maybe they sent something to him pretending to be one of us." Chloe tried again. Tori made a noise.

"But, Derek's not an idiot," Tori pointed out again, shifting so that she could look over at the other two. "He would be able to smell who's handled the paper and know if it really was one of us or not."

"Maybe it wasn't a paper letter," Chloe pressed on. Simon nodded.

"Maybe they sent an e-mail." He agreed. Tori shook her head.

"Still, why would he accept mail or be anywhere near a computer? I thought he was in hiding." She pointed out. Chloe tapped her finger on her leg.

"Only from us. And the people who know us." She clarified. "Just because we can't find him doesn't mean that he's disappeared off the face of the Earth."

"Yet."

Chloe jumped and turned towards the same ghost of one of their attackers that had been bothering her at her house. She fixed him with a glare and he cocked his eyebrow at her.

"If you're just here to give and/or make ominous threats in my ear than go away. Or I'll make you go away." Chloe warned. He chuckled.

"Of course not. That would just make you angry." He pretended to pout. "And we don't want that, do we?"

"More you than me." Chloe corrected, rolling her eyes at her audience who had, after a few confused looks around, figured out that she was talking to a ghost. "What do you want?" She demanded after a frustrated sigh.

"Well, I have more information for you."He said, puffing up his chest like he thought he was so important. Chloe scowled at him.

"I'm sure you do." She said, her voice laden with sarcasm. He frowned at her tone of voice.

"I don't think that I like your tone." He told her. Chloe whirled on him angrily.

"And I don't trust you!" She snapped, her volume rising slightly. She sighed and calmed herself as Simon stepped forward, scowling in the general direction where Chloe was looking.

"Is he giving you trouble?" He asked. Chloe looked at him, suddenly very tired.

"They all do. It's nothing I can't handle." She assured him. Simon nodded and stepped back again, glancing at Tori who shrugged helplessly.

"I never asked you to trust me." He told her, his tone sounding almost hurt. Chloe rolled her eyes.

"No. You just hoped that I would be stupid and naïve enough to just blindly skip off after every clue you drop at me." She said with faux optimism. She dropped her façade and scowled again. "While you probably got a good giggle out of it the first few times, I'm done listening to your 'Leads'"—she made finger quotes around the word—"and I'm going to follow my own. Go away."

He made a disgusted face at the fingers she flicked in his direction and turned towards the door. He stopped before he walked through it and turned to her.

"I'm not coming back. Not even if you beg me." He warned her. Chloe smiled.

"I won't. I assure you." She told him waving her hand at him again, motioning for him to go away. He gave her an ugly look and then stepped through the door. She grit her teeth against the feeling that she had just made a big mistake and turned to Simon and Tori. "Sorry."

"It's fine." Simon said, brushing away her apology. She gave him a soft smile and rubbed her eyes sleepily.

"Now what?" Tori asked, repeating her question from earlier. Chloe looked to her.

"Now we decide what to do." She clarified. "Are we going to go to the Bus Station and wait for him or do we just brush it off as another rumor and ignore it?" After she gave them their options she leaned back on her heels and chewed on her lips in anticipation.

"I say we go to the station and wait for him." Tori said, breaking the silence and giving Chloe a smile. Chloe smiled back and the two of them turned to Simon.

"Guys," He said, hesitantly. "I really want to believe that this is Derek but… I'm not sure." Chloe felt her heart sink at his words. Simon didn't want to go. Tori snorted.

"Really? You're not going to go look for your brother because you think that it's just a rumor?" Tori asked scornfully. Simon frowned in confusion before his face broke and he shot Chloe a smile.

"I don't remember saying that I didn't want to go." Simon corrected. Chloe smiled back at him and Tori was taken aback before she recovered and grinned also. Simon sobered. "But, I was trying to say, that we shouldn't get our hopes up too high. We don't even know what he will do if he sees us."

From the tone of his voice, Chloe can tell he's wondering the same things that she was. Tori shrugged and started walking towards the door.

"Who knows," She threw over her shoulder as she pulled her coat on. "One way to find out, though. And it does take a little while to get to Buffalo. Don't want to miss him, now, do we?" Chloe nodded and moved to pull her coat on too, while Simon moaned behind her.

"That would really suck." He informed them.

Chloe agreed wholeheartedly.

~~XX~~

"Oh, my God." Tori grumbled, thudding her head back against the wall impatiently. Simon looked over irritatedly and Chloe felt like she wanted to echo the sentiment, but she could hardly make herself move.

As soon as they had gotten to the Bus Station, the acknowledgment of what was going to happen hit Chloe like a slap in the face. Her throat got all constricted and dry and her heart sped up and her hands got all clammy. And they hadn't stopped. She had been on edge for the whole fifteen minutes they had been here.

Though, it did seem like way longer than that.

"Is it impossible for you to just sit there patiently and wait?" Simon snapped at Tori, though he was obviously impatient, too. He kept fidgeting around and flicking his eyes towards the doors.

"Well, yes, it is." Tori responded. "But I can only do it for so long, you know. Not everyones as good at meditation as you are, Confucius." Simon cocked an eyebrow and turned to look at her.

"Tori," He said, as she met his stare full on. "Did you just make a racist comment?" Tori rolled her eyes.

"Really, Simon?" She said, before she started to smile. "If you had to ask, it obviously wasn't a very good one." Simon returned the smile, realizing that she didn't mean to be cruel with her jab and that it was just meant to lighten the mood.

"You're lucky that I'm not sensitive." Simon sniffed. Tori scoffed and Simon smiled.

"Of course you're not sensitive. And I'm not a woman."

"I knew it." Simon claimed, snapping his fingers and pointing at her. "There is no way that a woman acts like you and gets away with it."

Tori rolled her eyes and went to continue the banter when a person came on over the system and announced that a bus had come in. Everyone, in their group, got deathly quiet and turned towards the door in anticipation. Chloe's throat felt tighter, if possible.

Then people began to come in.

They were all carrying their luggage and looking tired, like most people who have been travelling do, smiling when their family came to greet them. Passenger after passenger filed out and Chloe sat perched on the edge of her chair, ready to leap up on a moment's notice, if necessary.

Her fingers absentmindedly found her wedding band and began to fiddle with it, twisting it around on her finger as she sought something to distract her from the torture of unknowing.

Finally, the people stopped coming in.

Chloe swallowed and waited, clinging onto the hope that maybe he was just lagging behind because he didn't like people that much. But no. He didn't come in.

Chloe felt tears prick at the back of her eyes and her throat no longer felt tight, just constricted. She breathed shakily and cast her eyes down. Her eyes caught on the same wedding ring she had been fiddling with and now just sat on her finger. She felt her hope starting to fade.

"Maybe he just…left something on the bus." Simon hurriedly said, noticing Chloe's reaction. Tori nodded emphatically. Chloe shook her head sadly.

"No. He's not here." Her voice gave away her tears and she flinched at how pathetic she sounded. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Simon reach for her hand. She jerked it out of the way and shot to her feet. "I'm going to go for a walk. Stay here in case he's on a later bus." She said, though she didn't believe that he really was.

She left without waiting for them to agree or disagree.

Outside the station's doors, Chloe stood in the night and stared at the parking lot. The wind drifted through the trees, causing the leaves to rustle. She impatiently brushed her hair out of her face.

She knew the spot. It wasn't that far away. Probably only a twenty minute walk. She needed the fresh air anyway.

So she started walking.

She reached the spot exactly where she remembered it to be. She knelt down at the bottom of the hill where she remembered falling and stared at the leaf covered floor of the woods. All around her the night gave off sounds, some more creepy than others. She ignored them. She looked up and saw a hole in the canopy of trees that gave her a good shot of the night sky.

She sighed and lay on her back, looking up at the moon. She swallowed again and felt one tear run down her face before she angrily wiped it away.

"No." She rasped, scolding herself. "Crying won't get you anything. It won't help you. Don't." She rolled over so that she was curled onto her side facing the hill. She looked up at it and clenched her jaw against the urge to cry some more. She closed her eyes and covered her face.

A crack echoed through the forest and Chloe sat up quickly, muffling a noise of surprise. She looked around trying to pinpoint where it came from and saw a familiar figure at the top of the hill. She sighed. Of course Simon would follow her. He wouldn't let her be alone after—

The thought died in her mind as she got a better look.

"D-Derek?" She whispered through numb lips.


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