A/N: Please note that since no specific ages are given during the show's run for the characters I'm making my own guesses so please forgive me If I'm not accurate. Will deal with themes such as sexual abuse, depression, drug abuse, self harming. Please do not read if you are uncomfortable.
Disclaimer: Do not own the show, characters, etc. Only thing I do own are the plot and OC's.
The cranberry colored 1989 Mercury Cruiser sputtered twice before coming to a rickety stop about fifteen feet from the stop light before giving one last defiant sputter and promptly dying a few seconds later. A low popping sound emitted from the hood and a few wet smacks. Thin lines of white smoke slipped out from underneath the hood. Luckily it was around five thirty in the morning and there weren't many cars on the road, especially in the town of Glen Oak. Clutching the wheel with white knuckled fingers, Hige Watanabe swore under his breath. He snapped the ignition off and checked the rearview mirror with a scowl.
"Yo, the car died…. Again."
Silence. The girls were slumbering on each other's shoulders, every once and a while, Ruthie would mumble something incoherent and her left foot would twitch as she dreamt. Meanwhile, Rosa would snort, and sometimes would end up drooling on opposite woman's shoulder, leaving Ruthie with a wet jacket.
"Hello! I said the car died! Damn heavy sleepers."
Next to Ruthie, William rested with his head against the window pane, using a sweatshirt that doubled as a pillow, cushioning his face, which was red from the cold he had finally been able kick after a grueling week of sneezing and coughing.
"Oh for the love of….." Hige checked for traffic- none yet. With growing resolve, he promptly turned and gave his blond haired friend riding in the front passenger seat a hard punch in the arm.
"Simon! Are you gonna drool on me too or help me push?"
Hige nearly ripped off his seatbelt and threw the car door open, jumping out and making his way to the front, and lifting the hood.
"The. Car. Broke. Down. Again! I'm sick of trying to fix the damn thing!"
Simon wiped his sleep encrusted eyes with the back of his hand and then wiped his mouth and opened the door sleepily and stumbled out of the car, the dewy morning breeze slapping his stubble lined cheeks. He stretched, looking around hazily.
"We… uhhh…. Where are we?"
Hige, bent over the guts of the car's engine, and currently poking a smoking tube inside and muttering under his breathe shrugged his shoulders.
"I dunno… some small time California town or something. Glen…. Brook? Glen Moat? I dunno, but I hope they have a good repair shop here….this baby ain't gonna last much longer."
Simon glanced around, with a slow realization striking him. The town had obviously changed in their time away, but some things….the main street, the corner coffee shop, the high school. These things would remain unchanged.
"Glen Oak…." Simon whispered throatily. "This is…. Our hometown… Ruthie's and mine….we're home…."
"Shit…seriously? You're not joking? This is really your hometown?" Hige wiped his oil slicked hands on his shirt.
Simon crossed his arms, eyes narrowing. "Why would I lie? Trust me…. Some things look different yeah, but this is definitely it. Ruthie and I…. grew up…. God… only a few miles away from here."
Hige poked at a few more wires, and once satisfied closed the hood. He looked at Simon's worried face, and nodded slowly.
" how long has it been… since…. You know?" Hige pressed gently. Simon ran a hand through his hair, and looked around.
"Damn… I don't remember…. Fifteen…. Sixteen years? You mean the day…. We were….."
"Taken?" Hige cautioned.
Simon blew air slowly out. "Yeah."
Hige clucked his tongue, checking out his handiwork.
"Well… good news is, I got the old girl to keep going. Bad news is, this'll be her last leg of the trip… and we're looking at least two grand in repairs…. And that's minimum." Hige reached into his pocket for his cigarettes, offering Simon one.
"Thanks." Simon took it, and lit it, inhaling deeply. Both men nursed their cigarettes quietly for a few moments.
"The girls and Will are gonna wake up soon. Plans? Ideas?" Hige questioned. Simon kicked at a stray leaf on the sidewalk.
"I don't know…. God…. I… we never expected to get home. I have no idea what my family's been up to or if they still live here…. Hell, they probably think that Ruthie and I are dead!"
"Dude… don't be pulling the angst card on me. You weren't dead. Just… missing." Hige said, tossing his cigarette on the ground and crushing it under his heel.
" Oh come on, Hige." Simon muttered. "We disappeared over ten years ago. We've got to be closed or cold cases by now. Plus…. How can we go back to our old life now? I mean… really? Seriously? With the things we've done…? Our father was Minister…. Having us show up…. With all our baggage?"
"Baggage? Uhhh… I don't recall trying to survive baggage, man." Hige shot back crisply. Simon chuckled darkly.
"Whatever you say man."
"No, listen. You and Ruthie got a raw deal all those years back, I know that. Hell… Will, Rosa, and I were in the same damn compound as you! We made it through! We escaped together! Those sick bastards can't hurt us any more."
"Oh really?" Simon snarled tersely. "You can honestly say you weren't affected by all that shit all those years ago? The beatings? The starvation? The rape? Huh?"
Hige turned, meeting his friend eye to eye, voice tense.
"I did what I had to do to survive. You did. We all did. We have blood on our hands, and so what? We wash it off and we move on!"
"I'm not looking for forgiveness!" Simon spat. Hige leaned back against the side of the car.
"I didn't ask if you were, Simon."
Simon spat on the ground, and shook his head. He leaned into the car, smacking Ruthie on the head gently.
"WhatsamatterI'mwake….what the hell, Simon?" Ruthie's eyes snapped open languidly, taking in her surroundings with a puzzled expression. Her older brother's face looked dazed as he removed his head from the car.
"Uhhh…..we're home." He mumbled.
"What…? No….. No. Can't be…. No."
Ruthie shifted so Rosa's weight wasn't pressing down on her, and was careful to not disturb Will. The young man scratched at his face, then resumed his uninterrupted slumber. Hopping over the gear shift and out Simon's open door, she planted her feet firmly on the sidewalk.
"Oh my god…we're home." She breathed, in awe.
"Duh. Told ya." Simon shot back.
"We…. I haven't…. I never thought we'd see this place again." Ruthie whispered, taking in the altered but familiar streets, the sights and sounds of her almost forgotten childhood.
"Neither did I. Car's busted and we…. Gotta stay here till its fixed." Simon said, patting the hood gently.
"Damn…." Ruthie spun on her heel, looking up and down main street with a rising panic in her voice. Their brother? Their sisters? Their parents?
"Simon…. I wanna… see mom.. and dad… and Matt… and Lucy…. And…..I wanna go home." Her face scrunched up, eyes moist.
"I want to go home too, Ruthie… but…think about…. Would they believe us? Would we fit into their lives again after all this time? Plus….we don't' know if anyone's around anymore. Hell, our old house could be gone or there could be new people it in."
"Mom and dad wouldn't have forgotten us!" Ruthie fired back, eyes narrowed despite the tears that were building up behind them. "I know they wouldn't until they had proof! I wouldn't give up unless I saw my own cold dead body."
"Maybe… or maybe not. Who knows what the papers or the police have done during our…. Time…away." Simon said, refusing to use the word kidnapping. Ruthie paced up and down for a few moments, muttering under her breath.
Hige shrugged. "Well, me an' Will an Rosa got no place to go, so whatever you two wanna do is fine by us."
" You're forgetting about Carlos… we can't stay here even if we wanted to." Ruthie said, looking at both men with concerned eyes. "He'll find us again… always does."
"Yeah, nothing like a gang boss with a vendetta to make you feel loved." Simon growled. Hige waved the woman's fears away.
"Puh-lease. We taught that bastard a lesson, and he's still licking his wounds. He never came up against the likes of us."
"Yeah because when we worked for him, and then stabbed him in the back, he'll just take that lying down." Simon said bitterly. "Right."
"Uhh this the first time in about four years I don't have to sleep with one eye open and a glock under my pillow. Don't ruin the moment for me. Please." Ruthie begged, taking her brother's arm.
"Sorry kid…." Simon soothed, smiling playfully. Hige shook his head.
"Well c'mon… I'm starved and tired, since I did all the driving. I vote we find a cheap motel and crash somewhere and then plan our next move. Deal?"
"Sounds good. I'm beat…. There was this nice place a few blocks up… dunno if its still there or not, but we can look." Simon said, gesturing for Ruthie to go first so she could squeeze back in between their friends.
"I'd kill for some chocolate chip pancakes." Ruthie whispered, wiggling into the back seat again. Simon made a weird face.
"Ugh. That's so nasty."
"You never tried them!"
Hige climbed in behind the wheel and turned on the ignition. The car sputtered to life and with a press of the gas, ambled on down the road.
To be continued…