A/N: I love writing Fan Fiction. Suddenly everything is a story idea to me. But, as I have no idea if that's good or bad, I'm just going to put a disclaimer here to break up the awkward silence.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pendragon. *bows before D.J. MacHale*
NOTE: I'd suggest listening to "Prayer of the Refugee" by Rise Against before reading.
"Mark, what was Second Earth like? Was it anything like… this?" Eight-year-old David Henderson gestured with his arms wide at everything around him. He was always desperate to learn more about his birth territory, seeing as he was only three when he was pulled into the massive flume at Yankee Stadium- over three thousand years ago, apparently. He sat dejectedly, hunched over, staring into the crackling flames he shared with four or five others- people he'd known his entire life, and yet he still barely knew them. When you're constantly afraid for your life, it puts a damper on small talk, he guessed.
Mark Dimond sighed and slid out of the shadows created by the fire in front of him. He sat down slowly, careful not to wake David's sleeping brother on the ground. With difficulty, he extracted his arm and put it around David's shoulders. "It was… amazing, Dave. I'm sorry you can't remember it, but I know you would've loved it. Maybe someday you'll be able to see it for yourself…." He felt his throat close up, and stared off into the depths of the underground tunnel he and his group occupied. It was dizzying to him, infinite and completely black. "We all loved it, back then."
Dave's brother sat up from where he had obviously been listening. "But what was it like? Like, was there trees, and birds, and grass and stuff?"
Dave scoffed. "Shut up, sissy."
"Dave, be nice." Mark ruffled the kid's hair slightly.
Warm yourself by the fire son,
And the morning will come soon
I'll tell you stories of a better time,
In a place that we once knew
"Actually, there were trees and grass and things," Mark said. "But, a lot of people were doing all this stuff that was bad for the environment, like cutting down trees, and using too much gasoline, and one time there was even this really big oil spill. But the people of Third Earth, before all that changed, they had formed a perfect world without all that bad stuff in it and, well, knowing that Earth would eventually get it right, it made everything a little easier…."
Before we packed our bags and left all this
Behind us in the dust
We had a place that we could call home
And a life no one could touch
"Now get some sleep, guys. Big day ahead of us."
Mark knew the stories he told about Second Earth were endlessly fascinating to Dave and his brother, but the fact that they both yawned at the same time seemed to indicate to them that they should, in fact, get some sleep. As they settled down for the night, Mark stood up, and walked slowly down the tunnel, going nowhere really, until the firelight was simply a glow in the distance. He stopped walking, took a few deep breaths to steady himself, leaned on the grimy tunnel wall and swore to himself.
He always pretended he was so tough, psyching up the others, preparing them for whatever Ravinia threw at them next- but he was still a regular guy. A creature of Halla, with all his flaws and all their fears resting on his shoulders. Just Mark Dimond, and while he might've been more to the exiles on Third Earth, inside he was still that lonely, geeky little boy, waiting for his chance, feeling as if life had passed him by. Even though he knew that it hadn't. Not by a long shot.
He missed Courtney.
Don't hold me up, now,
I can stand my own ground,
I don't need your help, now,
You will let me down, down, down,
Saint Dane, Mark thought, it all goes back to Saint Dane. He was the one who played off people's worst instincts. He was the one who offered the easy way out, and then turned it around on the people all across Halla. Now the select few prospered- the elite, the enlightened- and the masses suffered.
We are the angry and the desperate,
The hungry and the cold
We are the ones who kept quiet,
And always did what we were told
Mark reached into his back pocket, pulled out a tiny box of matches, and shook it slightly. By the sound of it, he had a little less than half a pack left. He took out a match and lit it carefully, its tiny flame leaping into existence in the darkness. He looked around as if seeing his surroundings for the first time, which in a way, he was.
"WHY?" someone had scrawled in the dirt on the tunnel wall. The symbolism as much as anything else was remarkable, Mark thought.
It was a good question though, and it had occupied Mark's thoughts since the day he received his best friend's journal Number 1. Why had any of this happened? Why was Saint Dane so fixated on this sadistic mission? How could he possibly think what he was doing was right? Who was he? Who was Bobby? Where was Bobby? And for that matter, where was Courtney? Why had any of this happened?
But the question was not why. The question was what are you going to do about it?
But we've been sweating while you slept so calm,
In the safety of your home
We've been pulling out the nails that hold up
Everything you've known
Mark knew what he was going to do about it. He looked back in the direction he'd come from, thinking of David and his little brother. Two kids- kids!- who'd done nothing to deserve this.
So open your eyes child,
Let's be on our way
Broken windows and ashes
Are guiding the way
Keep quiet no longer,
We'll sing through the day
Of the lives that we've lost,
And the lives we've reclaimed
Switching his nearly-done match to his other hand, Mark quickly wrote his answer below the simple word left by a forgotten refugee...
A/N2: The song actually goes on for longer than that, but to me it seemed like a logical place to stop, no?