Okay! So I watched Blood Diamond, loved it(LEONARDO!) and cried like a baby. I really wish he didn't die. Why must Leo always die! First Titanic, now THIS? Good lord! Anyways. Here's the alternate ending I brewed up with my little head, and I hope you enjoy! Or not...
Disclaimer: Yes. I own Blood Diamond. That's why I'm writing this fan fiction instead of making the actual movie the way I'd want it to be. Because the movie's all mine.
Jesus, I'd never ever ever EVER imagined myself turning into some romantic sap that writes her feelings in a journal. The kind of romantic saps I laugh at when I see them in movies, or the kind that make me gag whenever they speak in their sticky, sweet little voices.
I'm a journalist. I write about pain and suffering and then I try to find solutions to the problems I come up with. I use names, and numbers, and addresses, and facts. I have a steady head on my shoulders, and I have a brain, unlike most women nowadays.
I'm careful with my work. Everything is done with the utmost careful precision, and everything, in return, is perfect. Or as far as my work, in terms of writing and presentation, goes.
I pick and choose where I head out to. I don't just pick up and go to Africa because I think it would be fun. I saw something suspicious- a country with no diamonds shelling out two billions worth of them, while a country right next to it, full of the rocks, is coming out empty.
Something was fishy, and it wasn't the overwhelming mass of sharks.
Vital Affairs Magazine had no problem shipping me out. In fact, they were delighted, because the last time I went overseas to India, not only did we find dozens of child slaves and prostitutes, but, well, the magazine received international fame, praise, and awards. And in return, I got a raise and free reign to travel wherever I see fit, as long as it wasn't for my pure enjoyment and it bought some kind of world crisis to attention.
And believe me, as much as an African Safari seemed positively lovely, trying to catch diamond smugglers wasn't exactly a dream vacation, if you know what I mean. But it was exciting, and it fulfilled my need for adventure, which was really all I ever asked for.
From the second I saw him standing there across that bar, I just... he looked so...unreal. White, in Sierra Lione, with an such a threatening aura that you would cower from across the room. I, of course, smiled slyly and turned away.
But as time passed and we spent it together, raiding jungles with Soloman, or talking our way out of deadly inhabitants, the more I got to see through his air of indifference, that "I-don't-give-a-shit" attitude that he always seemed to wear. Except of course, when he was about to pull the trigger of a gun. Then he changed a tad, from careless to downright deadly.
Danny Archer was quite the enigma. But, like I said, as time passed, his walls started becoming see through to me, and I learned to find the hidden meanings in his little episodes, and I translated what he said to what he really meant. Especially after that night at Benjamin's. Especially then, when he had told me about the tragic death of both his parents.
It was so painfully obvious right then, that he didn't want anyone's sympathy, or any compassion, and by the look in his eye, for a moment I had thought whether or not it was because he felt he was undeserving. Nevertheless, however, I still held his hand when he began to cry.
Why he cried, I don't know why, but I suspect it was probably from how depressed he must feel after saying that God gave up on the world a long time ago. I mean, I'd probably feel dreadful if it was me in his shoes.
Archer didn't cry like a bitch though. He didn't shake and sob and wail. His eyes filled with water and then he covered them with his free hand, attempting to hide himself from me. For some incomprehensible reason, I wanted to comfort him, to take away his pain, so I took away his hand from over his eyes, and forced him to look at me, hoping to show him that it's okay to feel something other than resentment.
We sat like that for I don't even know how long.
When I had to leave, I remember very clearly that goddamn look on his face. He didn't want me to go, that much was obvious and although it should have made me feel all special and tingly inside, I wanted to vomit.
"You should get on that plane," he had told me, his lack of confidence filling his voice. Then he took me hand in both of his, and gently shook it, our awkward little hug. I refused to move and he repeated himself, even more softly than before.
I wanted to go into that jungle with him, I wanted to face those rebels together, and if he died, then I died, although it would all be so totally stupid if that happened, because mind you, this was all over a diamond.
He wouldn't come back to America with me over a goddamn rock. He was going to die over a stupid piece of pretty coal.
I never wanted to cry so much in my life. He was feet away from the plane, from safety, from a life, and he just turned away from it, from me.
I gave him all three of my numbers, getting him to promise to call, even though I knew the chances of that were slim to none. However, I didn't let that fill my mind and I focused on the positives.
Oh wait, har har, there were no positives.
I cried on the plane, but I managed to get myself together and collect my emotions in time for the dinner, just when, oh the irony, Archer happened to call.
And I knew, it was just one of those moments, the second I heard his voice, despite the crack in it, that something was dreadfully wrong. He shouldn't be calling me so soon. His voice shouldn't sound like sandpaper. He shouldn't gasp for air halfway through saying my name, which by the way, isn't that long.
He didn't have to outright tell me, but I knew he was dying, and quickly. I fell to my knees just as he was explaining to me how Solomon has something with him, and although I didn't know what, I could just imagine it being the diamond. That would be hysterical, in that bitter sort of way. Although I could see where he would have no use of it if he was dying.
"I'm really glad I met you, Maddy," he told me feebly.
Stubbornly, I shook my head to myself. "Don't you do that, Archer, don't you do that! Don't you tell me goodbye," I warned him, tears threatening to spill down my cheeks.
I heard him sigh painfully over the phone, and I clenched my hand around it tighter. This needed to be traced, I knew, if Archer had any chance of staying alive. Which meant I needed to hang up on him.
"Archer? You there?"
There was silence, and I found my breathing hurry.
This was one of those moments where I just wanted to scream "motherfuck" at the top of my lungs, but I didn't. Instead, there was work that needed to be done.
My fingers moved over my contacts in a blur, and seconds later I was instructing headquarters to trace a call that I had with a "left behind mercenary." My voice was rough and unsteady, but I kept that to a minimum and tried to be as calm as possible, for both mine and Archer's sakes. I wouldn't be much help if I was a sobbing mess.
Luckily, and more like, "Thank-God-ily" the call was traced quickly, with in a matter of minutes, and the area was quickly filling up with civilians, who were quite ignorant as to Archer's true identity and more than happy to help in the search for a left behind mercenary.
I went back to my table and told my co-workers that there was a situation(to put it midly) and that dinner would have to be put off, which thankfully, they took with grace, because I think that if they dared question my motives I would stab them with a fork.
On my way to the airport, I got a call from our South African headquarters and I was told that Archer was found by two civilians, and he was being taken to a makeshift hospital camp in the middle of the war zone. Although the location wasn't ideal, I wasn't complaining, although the fact that they didn't know whether or not Archer would make it, of if he was even alive right now for that matter was eating away at me from the inside.
I also called Vital Affairs and settled the arrangement with Solomon, transferring another journalist to take over the article for a little while, so I could go and find Archer with out that on my back. The article would just be pushed back a month and a half, which I was perfectly alright with. I would write it from here and instead of doing all the work myself, I would just send my document to my editor and she would do the rest. She was reliable and brilliant. I knew my article was in the best hands possible.
Just because the article wouldn't be published right away, it didn't mean Van Dee Kap wasn't getting it's ass sued, or that what was happening in Sierra Leone wouldn't rise to international awareness. I didn't spend nearly half a year in Africa, in the middle of a war zone for just nothing.
I found it hard to think about that, though, for more than a few minutes, a thought-stopping panic just filling me completely. I was useless to do anything there but fidget.
And even though I was only a few hours away from Archer, I was like a wreck on wheels. My face probably looked like an old tomato, blotched and red and the skin sagging from behind pulled due to the stress of the past few minutes.
I was absolutely terrified and I hated the feeling of it, especially the fact that Danny Archer was the one to make me feel that way. Although, honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I can't even describe our relationship, because I don't have any clue where it stands, and right now, that he's on the brink of dying, I should even be thinking about things like this.
If it wasn't for the black-white-black pattern I saw, I wouldn't have any clue as to who the person between the two civilians, or should I say angels, was. He was literally behind dragged between them, his legs barely moving at all, his head resting squarely on his chest. But the blond hair and the figure I knew all too well showed, even though he was yards away, and I knew the man in the middle of them was Danny Archer.
I started running to him as quickly as I could, and he must have been awake and seen my flying legs come into view, since his head lifted ever so slightly and half closed blue eyes looked up. His clothes were caked in mud, and sweat, and the entire left side of his torso was drenched in blood that I prayed didn't belong to him, although somehow, I knew it did.
"Maddy," he breathed.
"I told you I was coming to get you," I told him, and relieved one of his escorts, taking up some of his weight for myself. He was heavy, but not overly so. He was made entirely of lean muscle, held together by golden tan skin.
We continued walking, trying to go as smoothly as possible with out any halting movements purely for Archer's sake and so his wounds wouldn't get further torn, but it was nearly impossible with the uneven and cluttered land below us. Eventually, though, we managed to make it to the set up with out any casualties.
"Thank you so much," I told the civilian. "You're incredible."
I began removing Archer's shirt but the doctor interrupted me, saying that I could infect Archer even more and create more problems. This frightened me, and although it pained me to leave the tent, I couldn't stand being responsible for hurting Archer even further.
The doctor didn't take as long as I was fearing he would, and I got to see (a heavily drugged) Archer just as the moon settled into it's spot, high above us.
Before I walked in though, the doctor said, "He'll live, if you're both careful for a while. No strenuous activity for about a year. He's lucky his lung didn't collapse. If he hadn't been helped in time, there's no question to it- he'd be dead right now. The bullet tore through his stomach."
I asked him to elaborate, resisting a shudder as I imagined those ocean eyes closing forever.
The doctor pointed to his stomach, right in the middle of his left ribcage. "Here's where the bullet pierced him." His finger moved upwards by half an inch. "This is where his lung is."
My eyes widened a little bit. That was really close. If he had been standing slightly to the right, then he would be breathing right now. He'd been so close...
But he's alive. He's alive. That's all that matters.
"The bullet went deep into his stomach," the doctor went on. "It tore through some nerves and veins. He lost a lot of blood."
"Is that it?" Because as if what he already has wasn't more than enough. I just wanted to be sure, though.
The doctor gave me a soft chuckle. "That's it."
"What'll I need to do?"
"Well," the doctor said, "Breathing and talking is going to hurt for a while, the first few weeks. Then he should be okay to move around and speak, but no running or jumping or rock climbing or whatever it is he does."
"He's a journalist," I pointed out. I would have to start with my little fabrication from now so that if I was asked about his profession by a more threatening official, I could have it easily roll off my tongue.
"Still, though, he managed to get shot. Try to stay away from guns for a little while," he suggested.
"That'll be kind of hard," I said. "We're in the middle of an open fire."
The doctor shrugged. "The entire world's an open fire nowadays. Keep him bulletproof, if you must. Another injury will be too much for his system to handle and he could fall into cardiac arrest."
"Oh," I said, cringing.
"Keep away from any activity that requires heavy breathing. Just take it easy for a little while. You two should hit a vacation, take a few months of for him to heal."
"We'll try," I said. "Thank you, doctor."
The doctor gave me one last smile, wished me goodnight, and left, meaning Archer was all mind for the night.
He mumbled something totally loony and inaudible as I did nothing but laugh at his condition. Archer looked so utterly confused it was priceless. While I wanted to speak to him, I also wanted to him to stay like this, demented as he was, because it gave me comfort in knowing that he was numb and couldn't feel the agony of the bullet. But then, I knew how pretty soon he'd be fully alert and screaming for morphine, and I dreaded the arrival of that time.
His eyes were closed and his breathing was slow, letting me know that he was asleep.
I threw a bunch of blankets on him, trying to keep him warm and fever-proof as I settled myself into the cot next to him. I wasn't planning on falling asleep.
I was just looking over his features, relaxed as they rested, his strong chiseled jaw line-
A pained groan escaped from Archer, jolting me up to my full attention. I had been dozing off, but that was no longer. Looking to the side, I saw that Archer's eyes were in fact open and rolling back into his head.
Quickly, I rested my hand on his forehead. I had no clue what to do, so I just tried to comfort myself by making me think I was being productive.
"Archer?" I asked, worriedly.
He moaned again, clutching his side. The wound. I didn't know whether or not I should pry his hands away, so I just said, "Come on, Danny, don't touch it, it'll get infected."
He looked at me in understanding and removed his hands, leaving them at his side under the bundle of blankets I draped over him. He shuddered.
Archer nodded, shivering again.
He probably had a fever. His forehead was on fire. He might even have pnemonia, and it would really be a waste if he died from a stupid cold right now. I crawled under the blankets, getting next ti him, aligning my body with his. He was hard underneath me...
Not in that way, you perverts. There wasn't an ounce of fat on him, is what I meant. He was made up of pure muscle, shaped by the African plains and the bullet wars of Sierra Leone.
I set my arm over his stomach, feeling the smooth surface under my hand, until my fingers traced what was the edge of the bandage that held his torn skin together.
Archer didn't reply, for he was asleep.
Not that I got any of that, that night. My palm was either next to his bullet wound or over his heart, as a reminder that he was still alive and breathing. And in the dim moonlight that managed to make it's way through the slits in the wood that made up the ceiling, I was perfectly content to lay awake and memorize every little detail about his face.
Morning came quickly, and the hospital slowly began filling, not with patients, since they were all evacuated by now, but with doctors and reporters and journalists. I got out of the cot quickly, a blush filling my cheeks, until one of the doctors gave me a pointed look that said, I-know-what-you-slut-puppies-just-did, and I said, "He has a bullet wound. I doubt he's in any condition to screw me."
The doctor looked embarrassed and walked away, needing to go, "fix the shades."
The doctor from last night, who I learned was Dr. Mazi, came back and greeted me warmly.
"I take it you spent the night here?" He gestured to my cot.
My cheeks felt a bit hotter than they were supposed to. "I did," I said. "I had to make sure..."
He waved his hand. "That's fine. In fact, Miss Bowen, I'm glad you did. Now, if you'll excuse me..."
I smiled at him. "Go right ahead."
Dr. Raze moved towards Archer, still asleep, before turning around and telling me almost apologetically, "I'm afraid some people are outside, and they want to see you."
"Reporters," the doctor corrected me. If I didn't know better, I'd say he sounded ticked. Yeah, well, so was I. Someone had said something, and that something involved me, Danny, and us becoming entertainment. No.
I walked outside, before a bunch of cameras from all around me flashed.
I covered my eyes, sheilding them from the blinding light, before I looked around. A good five people stood around me, circling, with a video camera and a microphone.
"Who the hell are you?" I asked sharply, putting my hands on my waist. "And what right do you have to be here?"
"We're uh, we work for the newspaper, for the government, and we were just wondering-" A black man, with the mike began to speak, but I cut him off, not wanting to here one word.
I took three threatening steps forward, just inches away from being in his face. "Wondering my ass. I don't care who you are or who you work for but what's happening in here is none of your business."
"We heard that you had affiliation with Van Dee Kap-" a man next to him said. Inwardly, I groaned. Wonderful. Now that Van Dee Kap knew what was going on, no doubt they would send folks to come and try and shoot Archer's head off before my story gets published. He'd only be safe once they were all in prison. And even then, we might need some Witness Protection. And they only way to do that was through the FBI, assuming Archer came with me to the states. Here in Africa, he wcould do whatever he wanted, but he was as good as dead. But say he came, what was I going to say? "Hi! I'm Maddy Bowen, you probably know about me, and this here is Danny Archer, a mercenary turned smuggler turned hero. He killed a whole bunch of people, oh, but look! He has a diamond!" While there was no doubt that if it wasn't for Danny, Solomon and Dia would be dead, I'd be dead, a lot of people would be dead, and we wouldn't have evidence to convict Van Dee Kap, the blood on his hands was more than enough for a good long sentence in jail, unless by some miracle, we talk up a deal.
I'd really hoped things would have come to that extreme, and for a moment, I worried they did. But I didn't want to rush into any conclusions.
"What do you know about Van Dee Kap?" I asked him. "And what does anyone here have to do with anything?"
"We think that Van Dee Kap has been using smuggled diamonds," he said. "And we think that you might be able to answer a few questions so we can figure out who did it."
I let out a sigh of relief. He didn't sound suspicious at all. He just sounded like he wanted some answers, along with most of the population in this country. I mustered up a smile, and tried not to let my utter relief show. As of right now, there wasn't a price on Archer's head, as I had so been fearing. The Feds wouldn't ever have to know that Archer had been the one smuggling diamonds. Sure, Van Dee Kap might accuse him in court, but that would just show up as trying to put the blame on someone else, and it would be believable too, since Archer was the one that forked over the diamond that sent them off. As of right now, Archer was fine.
"I can, but I don't think that's a good idea," I said. If I answered their questions, Van Dee Kap would get their hands on whatever articles they wrote, and they would come after me before the truth about them was exposed. "Wouldn't it be better if this was all on the down low?"
"But you are writing this in a newspaper, no?"
"Magazine," I corrected. "And that's after I get back to America, where Van Dee Kap won't be able to hurt me, and they won't be prepared for the blow."
I paused, and once a look of understanding crossed his face, I continued. "If you publish anything about the diamonds right now, they'll ruin any evidence they have, and they'll cover up, and this entire thing will be pointless. But once I get my article out, Van Deep Kap will be shut down right away, because one of my colleagues has a diamond that we can use to convict."
"When do you think that will be?" the man asked.
I smiled sympathetically. "Listen, I know you need help, and my team and I are doing our very best to do that. But I'm being honest with you. The article was supposed to be out this week. But that can't happen since one of my team got injured. The article got pushed for about another month, give or take. But that doesn't mean Van Dee Kap isn't going to court. I've got facts and that's all I need for a case."
"Are you sure?" the camera man asked. He didn't doubt me, he just doubted how his fate would turn out.
"Positive. Now, I don't mean to be rude, but I think you should go before you get caught up in a mess with rebels or R.U.F.," I suggested, raising my eyebrows towards the distance. I saw the had bought a van with them.
We talked for a few more minutes before they thanked me, picked up, and left. I thanked God that Archer wasn't in any major trouble at the moment, but I knew that if we didn't leave what was soon to become a battle ground, both of us were as good as road kill.
While the doctor worked on Archer, I called headquarters in South Africa and told them about my current situation, and they believed my fabrication with out a second doubt. I told them how we needed a plane right away, but luckily for me, they were fully briefed on and following the mayhem ensuing in Kono, and they had taken the liberty to send out a plane a few hours ago, and it should be reaching us any second. That relieved me greatly, because the sooner we got out of Kono and somewhere where Archer could heal with out having to worry about a bullet flying through the wall the sooner I could start breathing well again. I was informed that we would stay in a little cottage in Cape Town, more specifically right on the Cape of Good Hope, where we would have a perfect view of the Atlantic meeting the Indian. That was something I'd wanted to do since I was thirteen, and being told that we'd be spending the next few weeks in utter peace in one of the most beautiful places on the planet really made me quite excited.
I spent a few hours with a sleeping Archer, the doctor being long gone. I couldn't blame him. A few officers were sent down for security, but I wasn't holding my breath for them either. I knew that If given the chance they'd make a run for it.
With my fingers playing with Archer's rough, but at the same time, soft short golden hair, I heard a plane descend and I began to wake Archer.
"Archer," I said, shaking him gently by the shoulders, careful not to nudge his side. "Come on, Archer, there's a plane."
He mumbled something, so I kept on going, "It's time to get out of here."
Then, as if something inside him just snapped, his eyes flew open and he gasped, and if it wasn't for the obvious injury in his side, he probably would have jolted upright, but halfway through it he let out a short cry of pain and fell back down.
I don't think he recognized where he was, because he looked like he was about to kill someone, but then his eyes roamed over the room, roamed over me, and his face relaxed, his features falling back to their natural position. Still, though, he looked shaken.
"Archer?" I asked tentatively, "Are you alright?"
"Bad memory," he mumbled, his words sounding a bit like mush.
I knew there was more to it, but we in no place to have a conversation about anything right now, so I said, "We're going to leave, wakey wakey, sunshine."
He smirked at me and said, "Of course, mummy."
I giggled- giggled at him, and said, "We're going to miss the plane, Archer, do you want to stay here? Because I'm sure as hell leaving."
"No, Miss Bowen," he said, mockingly. "How am I boarding the plane, then?"
As if on cue, the two guards from earlier walked in, carrying a stiff white stretcher.
Archer looked at it, and then at me, with begging eyes. "Do I look like a genie?"
"Hysterical," Archer said sourly.
"Come on, Archer, just let them do their job," I pleaded. I could just see it now. The men holding Archer, one by his head and one by his legs, trying to maneuver him over, and then he punches one in the face.
As the men moved around him and gripped him tightly, Archer's eyes darted back to the stretcher and he said, "Fucking bullet. Goddammit, Maddy, can't I just walk?"
Alright! That's chapter one. I don't intend on ever leaving this story, updates will be regular, and there will be no haitus, unless, knock on wood, something terrible happens. Gimme reviews, please! Thanks! See you all next week(or earlier, depending on my motivation)