Sun. Frith. Up there, higher than any bird could ever fly, far, far away. Fiver could see it, sending pure streams down to the earth, warm rays that encased both him and the world beneath him.

There was laughter in the air. Though not a rabbit custom, it was familiar. He welcomed it. He embraced it. He loved it.

She ran past him, arms stretched out wide and head dipping down low. Her feet barely touched the ground before lifting off once more. As he watched her go by in wonder, she lifted her head to look at him: a freckled nose, clear blue eyes, soft red curls flying behind. She looked at him. She laughed.

Fiver tried laughing. He couldn't. He tried to follow her. He couldn't do this either. He called for her.

"May Belle!"

She smiled, and then she was gone.

He woke up.

"Ashton!"

There were noises all around her as she ran, down the alley, past graffiti, not stopping until she hit the car that sat empty and alone. She sniffed, putting her forehead to the cool glass of the window. "Ashton," she choked again.

Footsteps echoed from behind her, and, even before she turned to look, she could tell whom it was just by the musty smell lingering all around him.

"Jane," said the voice, a rough hand on her shoulder. He was smiling; Jane could hear it in his voice.

"Le—Leave me alone, Manuel. Go away."

The hand didn't move. It gripped tighter, actually, as Manuel laughed. He spun Jane around to look at him. She flinched, her heart beating fast.

"Don't be upset about it," he purred, bending down to her level. "But it is true, you know. Your brother's gone."

Jane screamed, angry and frustrated and… hurt. "Shut up shut up shut up! You're lying!"

Manuel closed his eye and shook his head. "Jane. Dear, dear Jane, no one's lied to you…" He paused. "Well, unless Ashton promised he wouldn't get caught and be arrested. In that case, you would have been lied to."

Jane grit her teeth and punched the car behind her, but she did not cry. No, she would absolutely not cry. She wouldn't, she wouldn't. But she did scream again. "No! God, no! I don't get it. He's… he's never done anything. He's not a bad person. Why would he be arrested! Lord, no!"

"Yes," he said, his voice sounding not exactly melancholic.

Jane closed her eyes tight and covered her ears, sinking to the ground with her chest tightening more and more. A yellow light danced in her choked-off sight. "No. No. NO!"

Shooting up her hand, she opened up to the shotgun seat of the car, and launched herself inside as she heard Manuel laughing. Locking the door behind her, the girl curled up into a ball, inky black hair falling into her swimming vision, as her voice was lost to another scream.

"…Ow."

There was a small trace of blood as the young woman picked up her hand and saw a piece of glass pricking into her palm. It hurt a lot, especially as she picked it out, muttering aloud, "Alright, who the HELL leaves a broken bottle on the counter?"

She looked up, finding there to be no response, as Jack did not seem to hear. "Jack!" she snapped.

Jack's head swung around, cigarette clenched between his teeth. He gave her a nod of acknowledgment as she glowered. Then he turned back to talk with Mike. The woman's bloody hand clenched into a fist. "Can we just go?"

Jack didn't seem to notice her saying this, but Mike did, and he laughed, shoving Jack playfully. "Hey, Jack," he said with a smile. "You should really keep yo' bitch on a leash."

"You did not just fucking say that!" screamed the woman, standing up and wiping off the blood onto her short black skirt. A couple of diminutive laughs and "oohs" could be heard from guys of the Gunplay Gang, urging her on, and more than one eye-roll could be seen from a few of the women who saw nothing wrong with Mike's comment.

"Yeah, show him who's boss, babe," shouted one guy, knocking a glass off the table in the process.

"Whip his ass, May Belle!"

Jack, however, didn't join in, and grabbed May Belle's arms as she attempted to claw out Mike's eyes. "What's the matter with you?" he said, cigarette still perfectly balanced.

"Me?"

Jack stepped back and released his grasp, trying to pick up his collected smile as he took the cig out of his mouth to speak. "Calm down, May Belle, seriously. Mike's only joking, weren't you Mike?"

Mike smiled slightly and pretended not to hear Jack's question. Jack shrugged and turned back to his girlfriend, running a pale hand through his dark colored hair. He smiled, as if trying to swoon her. "Whatever. Just loosen up, will ya?" he said sweetly. The smile seemed to have no effect.

"Jack, come on, I—" but whatever May Belle was about to say was cut short when Jack dropped a can of Corona in her hand.

"Now go have some fun, tight ass," he said, still not giving up the facade. "Hang with Minnie, or whatever."

The woman's face went into a deeper frown. "Minnie's a slut."

Jack shrugged and turned away, becoming absorbed once more in a conversation with Mike, who seemed to have a lot to laugh about. Bitterly, May Belle surrendered and sat back down, timidly popping the top to her can.

Hazel could see that Fiver was dead set on his decision, and would not be swayed. The thing was, nobody really opposed it, because they understood what he'd meant, but it certainly was inconvenient the way that he thought they should avoid raiding Nuthanger Farm after certain incidents that had taken place.

"So what are you saying then, Fiver?" asked Hazel as he, Bigwig, and Fiver were talking off on an otherwise deserted patch of the Down. "I can't think of another farm within walking distance at this time. Look, Frith's already beginning to set in the sky."

"I'm not too keen on a long journey either," sighed Bigwig. "But flay-rah would be nice."

Fiver thought a few moments, trying to find a solution for all of them. His head slightly rocked from side to side as he watched the sky, before finally something else came to him.

"Hold on, didn't Kehaar mention something earlier about a patch of apple trees just a short journey out?"

"I suppose he did," said Hazel, recalling the memory himself.

"Apples…" said Bigwig, thinking for a few short seconds. "Well… Apples wouldn't be all that bad. Not flay-rah, but…"

Fiver relaxed a little more as Hazel broke away for a moment to flag down Kehaar. After a short discussion, the gull agreed that he would lead his friends to where he'd found the apples. "Ees nice," he'd commented aloud while preparations were made. "Apples… dey nice change of pace."

"Yes, I think so," agreed Fiver.

The journey wasn't exactly a long one, but it wasn't too short either. Because it was getting dark, Hazel hadn't called for too many rabbits for fear that he may lose some of them. In the end, it came to a small group of himself, Bigwig, Fiver, Hawkbit, Dandelion, and an excited Pipkin who nearly begged to come along. ("The Originals" Bigwig had joked, to which Hawkbit had replied, "The important ones, that is," and received an annoyed stare.)

After hrair minutes of traveling, the group came upon a stream that seemed to get deeper the farther that they traveled alongside it. Kehaar landed beside his friends and looked around absently. "Hrmm," he muttered under his breath, eyes jumping from here to there. "Should be close."

"Should be?" asked Bigwig, sounding a little surprised. "Kehaar, you're not serious. You told us you knew the way!"

Kehaar shook his head fast and shouted, "OF COURSE, of course. 'E knows the vay. Ees… thees vay." Before anyone had a chance to respond, Kehaar lurched forward again, leaving the rabbits with no other option but to follow.

As the night grew darker, and the rabbits grew less eager for apples and more for their burrows, Bigwig sighed and turned to the group, his disappointment clearly shining through the moonlight. "It's getting dark," he muttered, as if the rabbits couldn't see it for themselves.

"Should we turn back, then?" asked Hazel.

As Bigwig opened his mouth to answer, Fiver felt a chill run up his spine, and he looked up at the night sky, which, oddly enough, seemed to have turned a funny shade of red.

"Yes," replied Bigwig. "Hold on, wait here, I'll get Kehaar. He's the only one who'll be able to see where to turn away from the river."

"Hazel…" Fiver whispered under his breath, too soft to be heard. His eyes were growing wider with each passing moment.

Bigwig made his way out, calling for Kehaar, leaving the rest of the group to themselves. Looking to his side, Pipkin noticed the stream that bended round to so that it was almost directly beside them now and turning into a pond with only a small opening on the far side to exchange water with. Enthralled, he inched his way closer to the water, looking in deep and spotting two fish the circled each other near the surface, completely oblivious to the rest of the world.

"Hlao-roo, don't get too close," said Hazel, a hint on concern in his voice. "You don't know how deep that goes. Look, it's so murky, if you fell in we'd never be able to get you out."

Pipkin smiled affectionately. "No, it's okay. I'll be careful, I just wanted to—"

"Pipkin!" Hawkbit snapped, losing his patience, angry at no one in particular because of Frith knows what. This sudden outburst, however, was the perfectly wrong thing to do, as it startled Pipkin. Everyone could see it in his face: the young buck losing balance, terror suddenly taking over and an instinct to bolt put into action. The sudden movement of trying to scramble forward only worsened his balance more, and he tumbled into the pond and seemed to be almost pulled under by an unseen pair of hands.

Looking mortified, Hazel could feel his heart falter for the little buck that he'd grown rather fond of. "Pipkin!" Hazel shouted, worried out of his wits like a proper chief tends to get. He went towards the pond himself in hopes that Pipkin was just beneath the surface and he would be able to pull his friend out, but there was nothing to bee seen through the murk except for two fish, swimming round in a circle as if nothing had happened. "Pipkin, where are you!"

Hawkbit and Dandelion were there, too, searching the water in a frightened frenzy for the young buck. "Where is he?" asked Dandelion. "Why didn't he swim to the top?"

"Hey, what's going on?" shouted Bigwig as he, too approached and could feel the panicky tension in the air. His eyes darted from rabbit to rabbit as he took Pipkin's absence into account. "What the—Hawkbit, what did you do?"

"Why do you assume that this was my doing?" asked Hawkbit angrily, feeling more guilty than anything, and Bigwig's instant accusation was not helping to ease the weight that settled on his chest with Pipkin's fall. However, if Bigwig was going to answer, he never got the chance to, because at that moment—

There was a moaning of the wind in Fiver's ear as the world became lifeless, meaningless scribbles that inched towards him like worms, slowly settling in his paws, ears, eyes, but, most abundantly in his head. He could not move.

—Hazel looked at Bigwig in fear, almost as if his look could explain everything. Perhaps in attempt to illustrate what had just happened (or maybe he was hoping to be throwing Pipkin a lifeline, never mind that fat lot of good something to grab onto would be for a creature without thumbs) Hazel put a paw beneath the water before him, his mind racing frantically. "It's Pipkin, he's—"

Instantly, the submerged paw gave a strong jerk, and something seemed to almost grab hold of Hazel and drag the unprepared chief in, as well. Everyone gasped.

…A bright white light at the end of a tunnel, coming closer and closer like the eyes of a hrududu charging for you in the night. Fiver knew that he had to jump out of the way for his own good, but he was hypnotized. His body did not obey the command.

"Hazel!" Bigwig shouted at the water, which only continued to gently churn, just about mocking the captain of Owsla. Ha! I have your chief! What do you plan to do about it, Thlayli? Looking from side to side frantically, Bigwig made a split second decision, throwing back his ears and narrowing his eyes as he tensed.

"What are you doing?" demanded Hawkbit, seeing that Bigwig was about to perform something foolish. It was obvious, though, that the plan was in motion, and nothing would sway the determined buck who half believed he could achieve anything if you fought hard enough. Dandelion sucked in a breath beside him, radiating fear and confusion.

Offering no answer, Bigwig swam in after Hazel, showing a fearlessness that was hard not to admire. Almost immediately he began to sink like a cinder block, and the last glimpse that either Hawkbit or Dandelion caught of him with his white and brown tail being pulled beneath the surface alarmingly fast.

Moments passed as only Hawkbit, Dandelion, and Fiver were left there, waiting with tension for something to happen. No one had noticed that Fiver was locked within himself. As his paws moved slowly and roboticly to the waterside, an argument that had broken out between an anxious Hawkbit and a distraught Dandelion kept them too distracted to see anything wrong with the little rabbit.

"This… this is my fault!" exclaimed Hawkbit, the situation being too much for even his stubbornness and extremely select acceptance of reality to fight off. "What should we…?

The two stood terrified as Fiver came by their side and peered in, seeing past the murk and into the light in his head. "They're gone," he whispered eerily quiet.

"Well I can see that!" snapped the annoyed buck, his gray ears drooping in defeat. Dandelion looked at him for just a second, as if irritated, before shaking his head.

"Would it be any use to go after them ourselves?" suggested Dandelion after another moment of silence. "Perhaps there's something down there that they're fighting, and they need our help."

"Dandelion, that's insane," muttered Hawkbit as Dandelion hovered a paw just above the water, waiting in the stillness, unprepared.

Trapped inside his mind, Fiver was thrashing in his own world, trying desperately to regain his stolen control. He was screaming, too, for help that nobody could offer. "Don't do it," the buck began to shout. All around him, water was pouring in, drowning him, squeezing the breath from his lungs and the life from his eyes. "Help," whispered Fiver.

…But, in the water, Fiver did not see death.

Fiver saw future.

The water suddenly reared up and in a tiny wave, encasing Dandelion's outstretched paw and dragging him forward with a powerful strength—unlike any Dandelion had ever faced. Hawkbit gasped and immediately, without any thought, threw himself after his friend, unwilling to let him slip away as the rest had. That left only a trapped Fiver there on the surface, staring into the water as it settled back to its calm lapping.

Invisible drums were pounding in Fiver's ears as, now, his legs began to quiver, and his shoulders began to relax. "The world has just opened up for you," said an unfamiliar voice in Fiver's mind, and within himself he searched for the source, but found nothing. All became still as the grip on Fiver's mind and body was loosened. The voice only spoke once more before going silent. "Use it wisely."

The last thing that Fiver saw before fainting was the water rushing up to meet him.

XXX

Covering the basics: This is a sequel to my original fic, May Belle on Watership Down, which, if you want, I could name all of the things I now hate about it. I desperately want this sequel to redeem myself after that. That being said, I guess I'll bring up the real thing that's been on my mind as I typed this: I'm feeling a sense of unease about this entire fic in general. Sure, I'm confident in my writing and all, but my real wonder is: can you still convey the ideals of Mr. Adams's original and brilliant plot of the fantastical world of rabbits on Watership Down if one of the multiple conflicts, and definitely the rabbits' main one, is that they are no longer rabbits, nor are they on Watership Down? PERHAPS I'm thinking this because all of the other fics have the rabbits as, indeed, rabbits and not humans, and have I missed some sort of unspoken rule that we keep the rabbits as RABBITS and ON Watership Down? Opinions in reviews would definitely be appreciated. -.- But I'm still writing this cause my redeeming thought is: "What the Hell? If worse comes to worse, I'll delete this and pretend that I never wrote it. Ingenious, right?" Ha! Well, whatever happens, I wish this story the best, and I hope you have all enjoyed it. I'd LOVE to hear from you guys, so please review! Second chapter should be up next week, if not earlier, unless something terrible happens! Fingers crossed!

Ciao, lovelies!

~Journalist793, aka Amy.

PS: I'm nervous!