A/N: I read this book *counts on fingers* four years ago. Sixth grade, Table Rock Middle School, Mrs. Holland's class. Whew. THAT was a while ago. Buddy, if I liked the books I read now as a sophomore in high school as much as I liked reading The Giver in sixth grade, life would be great.
Alas, that doesn't seem to be the case. I actually saw this category about mid-March and decided to write a fic. See, I had always thought of fanfiction for it but I never actually wrote it down. This is the most detailed story that I kept in my head throughout the years and so I typed it up and posted it.
And another thing; Jonas was probably 13 when the book ended (email me if you have questions about that and I'll explain myself more) and in my opinion really acted older than that the entire book. I suppose it was because it was a solemn novel. Anyhow, I know the age will seem young for the things Jonas will do in this story but, hey, I'm continuing from the book. And if Lois Lowry wants to make him 13 and I want to pick up right where she left off, then by Zeus I have to make the guy 13 too.
I also disclaim certain portions of this chapter because they are quoted directly from the novel. ^_^
Enough of my talking; here's the fic. I'm a avid supporter of Jonas and Fiona--just warning you ahead of time. ^_^
Cold. It was achingly cold. That was the only thing he could think of at the moment.
And Gabe. He was a bundle of cloth against Jonas, his small face hidden from view. The snow fell around them still but it was different now. The ride down had been fast, the snow whipping and near cruel against Jonas's skin. Now he was walking, having left the sled at the bottom of the hill. Now the snow fell in peaceful flakes, drifting down to the ground beneath his feet.
The houses were close, full of lights just as he had somehow expected. The sight was heavenly, golden and he almost wished he could freeze the moment forever. The singing was still distant but audible and getting closer with every step.
"See it, Gabe?" he whispered to the bundle in his arms. "The lights? We're finally here."
He knew the child didn't hear him, lost in deep slumber the way he was. Jonas sighed, breathing in the cold air, blowing his breath into sight the way he had in his memory. With the last bit of strength he possessed he took another step forward, keeping his gaze on the small house closest to him.
Another step. So close--barely ten feet from the front door. He could make it. He HAD to make it. Shifting Gabriel in his arms, he ascended the few steps on the front porch and took a moment to simply stare at the large wooden door. It was mesmerizing; coming this far for this moment.
Lifting his left arm, he balled his fist and brought it against the wood twice. The knocks were insistent and audible on the other side of the door but they were tired, long knocks and his fist lingered a bit on the door after the second knock. He seemed ready to collapse at any given second.
Vaguely he heard scuffling on the other side of the door, faint voices. His eyes were locked on the doorknob as he watched it turn 180 degrees. A moment later, the door was pulled open and he looked up to meet the eyes of his receiver.
Maybe it had been the cold, his temperature rising as he fought the pounding headache inside of him. Maybe it had been his genuine surprise at locking gazes with the girl who had answered the door. He never knew. But in the instant before he collapsed against her, he could only find the strength to utter her name.
Eve faltered under the dead weight of him and the child he carried in his arms. Finding that she wasn't strong enough to stand and support them at the same time, she slowly dropped to her knees, carefully taking the baby from his arm. The sleeping bundle didn't stir.
"Diana! Mom! Quick!" she shouted again, briefly turning her head toward the den where her sister had been watching the television. The sound of running feet followed as her older sister reached the foyer.
"Oh my--" she cut off as Eve held her arm out to her.
Wordlessly, she took the baby from her and looked down to the floor where her younger sister sat, a boy no older than fourteen out cold on the floor, his head resting in Eve's lap.
"What's going on?"
Both girls turned to see their mother come into view, drying her hands on a dishtowel. When the older woman saw them, she quickly disposed of the cloth. "What in the name of--"
"Ask questions later; carry him in now," Eve instructed, lifting the boy's head from her lap.
The older woman obeyed, coming to help. With some effort they managed to roll him over, Eve supporting his upper body, her mother carrying his legs. Taking initiative, Diana closed the door after they had moved him out of the way, the baby beginning to stir. She shook him slightly, shushing him and wondering who he was.
When the older boy had been carried to the sofa, the three women stood back, looking at him and taking in the situation.
"So who is he?" Diana finally voiced, still rocking the baby in her arms.
Eve lifted her shoulders in a bewildered shrug. "I don't know; he didn't say anything. I just answered the door and he fainted into me."
She stopped suddenly, remembering. He HAD said something. His eyes had widened, his face clearly recognizing her though she had no idea who he was. His phrase was muffled, gasped out in his last breath before he collapsed but she had heard it. He had called her "Fiona." Did she look like someone he had known? Someone he perhaps had even cared for? The look in his eyes when he had said it was unmistakably a deeper longing.
"Odd," her mother said, sitting on the sofa beside him. "Well, he's out cold. Go and get me some hot water... and a clean cloth."
Eve obliged, quickly making her way to the kitchen. Diana gently set the baby down on a separate couch, making sure to put him in such a position that he couldn't fall off. Then she moved to help her mother remove the boy's shoes.
"He was out in this weather with only a long-sleeve?" Diana asked aloud, not actually directing the question to anyone. "He's crazy."
"He probably wasn't prepared for it. Something tells me he came a long way to get here and it wasn't easy for him," the mother replied, patting random places along his face and neck to see if it was possible he had hypothermia.
"Here," Eve said, returning to the den with a steaming bowl of hot water in her right hand, a white cloth in the other. When her mother had taken the items, she stood looking over the boy her age, arms loosely crossed. His hair was brown in color, though she could see hints of blond peeking through. His eyes were blue as the sky on a summer day, brief as the chance for her to see them had been. Now his long lashes settled against his skin, his lids never fluttering. He must have been exhausted.
"Should I put some soup on the stove?" she questioned warily, shooting glances to her mother and sister.
"Yeah... keep it warm too," Diana answered, looking up briefly.
Eve nodded and looked one last time down to him. Her curiosity grew. Who was he? Shaking her thoughts, she turned and headed again for the kitchen.
"I go in here, Jonas," Fiona told him when they reached the front door of the House of the Old after parking their bicycles in the designated area. "I don't know why I'm so nervous," she confessed. "I've been here so often before." She turned her folder over in her hands.
"Well, everything's different now," Jonas reminded her.
"Even the nameplates on our bikes," Fiona laughed. During the night the nameplate of each new Twelve had been removed by the Maintenance Crew and replaced with the style that indicated citizen-in-training.
"I don't want to be late," she said hastily, and started up the steps. "If we finish at the same time, I'll ride home with you."
"I looked for you yesterday," Fiona told him, "so we could ride home together. Your bike was still there, and I waited for a little while. But it was getting late, so I went on home."
"I apologize for making you wait," Jonas said.
"I accept your apology," she replied automatically.
"I stayed a little longer than I expected," Jonas explained.
She pedaled forward silently, and he knew that she expected him to tell her why. She expected him to describe his first day of training. But to ask would have fallen into the category of rudeness.
"You've been doing so many volunteer hours with the Old," Jonas said, changing the subject. "There won't be much that you don't already know."
"Oh, there's lots to learn," Fiona replied. "There's administrative work, and the dietary rules, and the punishment for disobedience-did you know that they use a discipline wand on the Old, the same as for small children? And there's occupational therapy, and recreational activities, and medications, and-"
They reached the building and braked their bikes.
"I really think I'll like it better than school," Fiona confessed.
"Me too," Jonas agreed, wheeling his bike into its place.
"Do you want to go for a ride along the river, Jonas?" Fiona asked, biting her lip with nervousness.
Jonas looked at her. She was so lovely. For a fleeting moment he thought he would like nothing better than to ride peacefully along the river path, laughing and talking with his gentle female friend.
Eve blinked, removed the cloth from his forehead with a confused expression. Regardless, she kept her silence as she watched his eyes flutter, those blue eyes of his that she had caught a glimpse of before. He had murmured the name again-that NAME that he had called her. Eve sat in her chair primly, thinking about it. This Fiona must have meant a lot to him.
They had moved him to the spare room and discovered more injuries. He had slept two hours then, Eve looking over him for the last thirty minutes before he finally murmured, probably from troubled sleep.
His eyes finally opened and found her, sitting by his bedside, staring intently at him with her own blue eyes.
Jonas blinked and shook his head. He had been dreaming about her... and now she was sitting right next to him... no, it couldn't have been her. What would she have been doing here? And for that matter, where was HERE? Where was HE?
"Is that the only word in your vocabulary?" Eve asked softly, tilting her head with a smile.
Her voice. It had changed. It used to be soft, gentle just like she was. Though her tone quality had stayed very much the same, her pitch was lower, her voice deeper and more mature-sounding.
"Fiona?" he said again, looking at her, taking the sight of her in.
Eve leaned back in her seat with a shrug. "Apparently so," she answered her own question. Then she looked at him again, a hint of sympathy in her eyes. "I must really look like her."
Jonas squinted, confused at her statement. What did she mean? He opened his mouth to ask her when she held up a hand, shushing him.
"Don't talk now; you're too weak. You've got a half-healed twisted ankle, half-scabbed knees..." Eve shook her head. "You're lucky you made it through this snow without catching pneumonia or hypothermia."
The words were unfamiliar to him. He could only stare at her blankly.
She looked at him, looking at her and suddenly felt rather shy. He had the stare that made her uneasy. He wasn't looking at her evilly by any means but he gazed her with his eyes, every emotion possible showing through. Confusion, recognition, relief, disbelief....
"Um... my name's Eve. Do you remember anything?" she asked him warily, setting the cloth back in the bowl of hot water beside her on the night table.
Before he had the chance to answer, the door to the room opened, making both thirteen-year-olds look to the entrance. In the doorway stood Diana, her hand still on the doorknob, her other hand gripped rather tightly around a baby blanket.
She gripped the furry cloth so hard that Eve could have sworn her knuckles were turning white. Worried, she stood from her chair.
"Diana? Something wrong?" she questioned.
Her older sister took a moment to look down at the blue softness in her hand before returning her gaze to Eve. Her eyes held something Eve had never seen before.
Diana's stare traveled to Jonas. He was awake and staring back at her, his expression concerned as he saw what she was holding.
"Gabriel," he said suddenly.
Diana arched an eyebrow. "Is that his name?"
After a moment, Jonas nodded as best he could, lying down and facing sideways.
Again, Diana looked to the blanket in her hands and for the first time Eve saw what her older sister was actually staring so intently at. She had folded it so that the corner could be seen; on it, a sewn patch depicting a symbol. Silently, Diana looked to Jonas again.
"He's doing fine." A pause. "Are you well enough to walk?"
Jonas slowly nodded again, his eyes flickering to Eve for a brief moment.
Diana nodded. "Good," she replied shortly. Eve narrowed an eye in confusion. Diana removed her hand from the doorknob and ran it lightly over the patch. Then she looked to Jonas. "We have much to discuss."
A/N#2: Well! What do you think?