Twilight and Shadow

by

Numb3rsfan

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, possible AU with possible OOC connections

Disclaimer: I don't own the show The Partridge Family and am in no way affiliated with said tv show. This fic is purely for fun.

Long Summary: The Partridge's are heading home from a concert when they stop for a picnic. Shortly thereafter Keith is bitten by a copperhead rattlesnake and Chris who was exploring the area falls through some rotten boards that used to cover an abandoned oil well. The Partridge's are miles from any town. How will they get help to Keith and rescue Chris before time runs out?

Summary: During a picnic, Keith is bitten by a rattlesnake and Chris falls in to an abandoned oil well. Miles from any town, how will the rest of the Partridge's get help to Keith and rescue Chris before time runs out?

Chapter One: Long Way Home

Keith Partridge yawned as he drove the Partridge Family bus down a dirt road that would...in the long run...get them home to their comfortable house in San Pueblo California. They had just gotten through with four concerts in three days; what a nightmare, having to deal with a sound system that didn't want to work half of the time and the fact that on their first concert, a few rowdy kids had run up on stage and tried to play Keith's guitar, Laurie's piano and Danny's bass...while they were preforming.

Needless to say the parents of the children were embarrassed by their kids behavior, but the Partridge's were also slightly embarrassed by the interruption; the chuckling of the crowd not helping matters.

"How are you holding up?" Shirley Partridge; mother of Keith, Laurie, Danny, Chris and Tracy, asked her eldest son.

Keith shrugged; his hands still on the huge steering wheel. He had been driving for several hours now with no stops; not that he really minded.

"Okay I guess. A little stiff but eh..." he replied.

He heard Laurie put down a magazine...or was it a thin book? Before suggesting something that got a warm rise from everyone else.

"Why not stop for lunch mom? It's already 12 o'clock, plus I think Keith'll faint if he doesn't get some food in him. I can hear his stomach growling from back here." Laurie said.

Keith rolled his eyes and gave an unamused look in to the rear view mirror.

"Har har." Keith replied, knowing that his growling stomach would be the cause for some 'playful' banter from Danny at some later date.

"Hmm, I think that's a good idea. Keith pull up over there." Shirley said, pointing to a large oak tree that was by a small river.

Nodding his head, Keith pulled the bus to a stop at the requested place; gripping the handle before pushing it to the right which opened up the door of the bus. He then put the brake on and shut off the engine, turning in the seat to watch Laurie gather up the large picnic basket while Danny, Tracy and Chris headed out. Standing up, Keith pocketed the keys to the bus just before his mother handed him the large blanket that they would spread out on the ground.

For once Keith was glad Reuben wasn't there; not wanting to hear the older man complain about not wanting asphalt or some other such rock in his meal. Once was cute; twice was annoying and three times...well...it was getting old in a big hurry.

Heading out of the bus, Keith took a good look around. There really wasn't any good place to set up 'camp' in the immediate area; perhaps down near the water there would be an open, grassy spot?

Heading down the embankment at an angle, Keith spotted the perfect spot no more than a half block away.

"Laurie, over here." Keith called, knowing Laurie had the more important things in her hand; namely the food and drinks.

He waited until Laurie had caught up to him before leading the way to the small patch of grass near the embankment; unfolding the blanket and setting it down once he got there.

Going back to the bus, Keith quickly grabbed his guitar and headed back out. By the time he got back he saw that the others were already on the blanket, watching as Shirley got out the sandwiches, salad and drinks which was just water. Where Shirley had found the time to make the sandwiches and salad none of the kids knew or cared; they were all hungry.

Waiting his turn to grab some food, Keith sat back on the blanket; his guitar in his lap. Glancing at the frets, he placed the fingers of his right hand on the correct frets, before strumming the opening chords to Somebody Wants to Love You. As he began to mumble the opening verse, he heard Danny whistling along and Laurie and Shirley also humming along.

Glancing up, Keith couldn't help but grin at them. While Danny wasn't a good whistler, you wouldn't know that especially when Keith's guitar was practically drowning him out.

"Alright kids eat up so we can get back on the road. We want to be home before nightfall." Shirley said, sitting back on the blanket. She watched as Keith, Danny and Chris grabbed at the food first, followed by Tracy and Laurie. When they all had a plate of food and were slowly munching on it, Laurie looked up at her mother.

"Why nightfall mom? What's so important about nightfall?" She asked.

At first Shirley was confused; not knowing what Laurie was talking about. When she recalled her earlier comment, Shirley nodded her head and swallowed what was in her mouth.

"I heard the earlier weather reports before we left Las Vegas. A big storm system is supposed to hit the surrounding area stretching all the way from San Pueblo to the Nevada desert. I didn't want us to be caught in it. The weatherman said there is supposed to be damaging hail and a chance of tornadoes." Shirley said.

"Tornadoes? Here in California?" Danny asked.

Tornadoes in California were a real rarity, hardly ever being heard of; they just didn't happen. To even have the threat or tornadoes, the storm system must be a bad one! Normally tornadoes formed in Tornado Alley, namely Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, eastern South Dakota and the Colorado Eastern Plains.

"I was as shocked as you are Danny, but that's what the weatherman said. While I doubt we'll actually see any tornadoes, I don't want Keith or anyone else driving in softball size hail." Shirley said. Hearing the predicted size of the hail, Danny's eyes lit up with expectation. Serious storms were a real rarity in California, and when they did happen he was almost always close by studying the rain and lightning; he liked lightning and thunder.

"Cool!" he exclaimed, a smile on his face. Shirley sighed and shook her head. Her son and storms!

"Not cool. I for one don't want to be around when the hail hits." Laurie said after she took a swig of her water.

"Oh come on Laurie, you just can't appreciate the beauty of nature." Danny said. Keith had to chuckle at Danny's choice of words. Since when did Danny care about nature?

"Beauty of nature huh? You wouldn't know the beauty of nature if it bit you on the..." Keith began, pausing when his mother cleared her throat.

Okay, that comment had been a little much. Seeing Danny giving him a look, Keith just put his water glass to his lips and took a sip. Shirley did allow Keith to badmouth Danny but only if it was in good taste, but Keith's latest comment was so far out there and disrespectful that it wasn't allowed.

The Partridge's then settled down and enjoyed the rest of their lunch. Once they all finished eating they listened to Keith play a few songs, including some he had just written before they had left home. They were all good; everyone had to admit they were real gems, though Keith apparently wasn't happy with a few of them; the look on his face telling the others that fact.

"Okay kids pack up." Shirley said after an hour of listening to Keith play. Nodding his head, Keith put down the guitar and helped Laurie and his mother package everything; leftover food and dishes in to the picnic basket. While Laurie took the basket back to the bus and Shirley folded up the blanket, Chris and Tracy ran off towards the hills on the other side of the road. Since they were probably going to be pulling out in the next few minutes, the two youngest Partridge's knew it was now or never if they were going to be able to explore the area.

Keith, wanting to clean his hands, moved towards the waters edge. He knelt down and dipped both hands in to the cool water, letting the waters flow remove the crumbs and small dab of mayo from his fingers. With clean hands, Keith splashed some of the cool water on his face before wringing his hands a little; small droplets of water falling back in to the stream.

He was making to stand when a sharp rattling noise stopped him. Freezing, hands in mid air he looked to the side. There, coiled up by his leg was a copperhead and it was mad! How had he not seen the snake? More importantly, why had the snake not used its rattle before? Keith would have backed away and left it alone, but with the snake so close to his ankle...Keith could do nothing but hold still.

However the snake wanted Keith gone; it saw Keith as the intruder and so it treated him as such. Launching out at Keith's semi exposed ankle, the snake bit down on the exposed flesh; it's fangs going deep in to the warm skin.

Keith let out a surprised yelp, falling back on to his butt and backing away when the snake let go and coiled up, ready to strike again.

"Keith? Are you okay?"

That was Shirley, having heard Keith yelp.

"Mom!" Keith called out in a genuinely frightened voice; the type of voice that scared Shirley to death. She hadn't heard that tone in his voice in a very long time.

Looking up towards the embankment, Keith was never more glad to see his mother than he was at that moment.

Looking around for the snake, it didn't take Keith long to find it. The snake had actually moved; coming closer to him now. Just what was wrong with the snake? Since when did they follow things that were bigger than they were?

Keith wanted to call out to his mother; warn her to stay away but he was afraid that if he did then the snake would strike again.

"Keith?" Shirley called again.

The snake was startled at the call; so startled that it struck out again, biting once more at Keith's leg. Keith attempted to grab the snake and he actually did but he grabbed it in the wrong place. The snake reared up and bit Keith's wrist. Keith yelped once more before flinging the snake in to the river.

By that time Shirley had reached her son. "Keith are you alright?" Shirley asked.

She didn't like the way her son looked; not having seen the snake she had no idea what had happened to him.

When Keith shook his head no in answer to Shirley's question, Shirley's worry meter began to go off.

"I got bit by a rattlesnake...twice." Keith said in a shaky voice. He showed his mother the bite on his hand and then his ankle.

Shirley was quiet for just a moment. It was impossible! Keith couldn't have been bitten by a snake; it just couldn't happen, but the small, pinprick dots and the swelling skin told her otherwise.

Okay what to do, what to do? Attempt to suck out the poison or bleed the area? No good. Who knows if she'd just make things worse. No the best thing to do was let a professional doctor deal with it, but the nearest hospital was at least forty minutes away; in San Pueblo.

"LAURIE!" Shirley shrieked. When Laurie came over, Shirley didn't explain anything to her daughter. Instead she just instructed her to help Keith towards the bus. Standing up, Shirley saw that Danny was already in the bus; good...at least one of her kids was where they were supposed to be.

"CHRIS? TRACY?" Shirley yelled. When no answer came, she called again. Charging towards the bus, Shirley nearly ran in to her youngest daughter who had come running down the hill after hearing her mother's call.

"Mommy mommy!" Tracy said, running in to her mother's arms. "Tracy, go get Chris. We need to get Keith to the hospital now." Shirley said.

The tone in her voice told Tracy that her mother wasn't playing. Something was wrong with her oldest brother, but even so...getting Chris wasn't going to be as easy as all that.

"I can't go get Chris momma." Tracy said in a simple tone. Shirley, who had been turning back towards the bus asked, "What? Why not?"

"Because he's fallen in to a big hole. It's big and dark." Tracy said. Shirley thought her daughter was playing, so she told Tracy to get on the bus. Glancing back Shirley saw that Laurie had Keith up and was slowly moving towards the bus. Keith looked like he was going in to shock which wasn't all that surprising given the amount of venom he probably had coursing through his system, but that didn't make it any less dangerous.

Instead of obeying her mother, Tracy just shook her head and grabbed her mother's hands, tugging her towards the hill. "Follow me mommy!" Tracy called.

Sighing, Shirley decided that following her daughter would be the faster way to find Chris, so she followed Tracy up the hill. Just up top and through a thin layer of trees there was indeed a black hole surrounded by rotten boards and leaves; an old, chain link fence had been set up surrounding the area but it had been torn down by passersby and or the slow decay of time.

"Down there." Tracy said, pointing to the hole.

Shirley paused, slowly approaching the hole. When she got close enough to glance down she called out, "CHRIS?"

Shirley didn't dare stand on the broken boards, not wanting those to collapse as well because if they collapsed because Chris was standing on them, they would definitely fail if she stood on them.

In the back of her mind she hoped that Tracy and Chris were playing a game; that he wasn't down there, that he was hiding somewhere close by; trying to give his mother a heart attack but shortly after Shirley called out, a tiny cry shattered her heart.

"Mom! Help! Get me out'a here!"

Oh no! Could this day get any worse? Not only was Keith suffering from a rattlesnake bite but now Chris was stuck in some sort of hole; obviously abandoned.

What to do, what to do, what to do? Shirley knew she had no way to reach her son but she couldn't just leave him! And what about Keith? If they stayed Keith wouldn't get help. No one else could drive the bus! It was a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario. Whatever choice she chose, one child would suffer.

The question was...which child would she choose?

Author's Note: So I wanted to do another Partridge Family fic but didn't have any clue what to write about. Guess it kinda shows in this story. So like before; major cliff hanger. Does this story interest you? Should I continue it? Please read and review or PM me if you have any questions.