By: Kiralee Smith
Based on: Across the Universe.
Copyright: Beth Revis.
Hey. I'm not sure what reactions I'll get from this fanfic, but I hope they're good. I hated Harley's death (I think he was the best character ever) and somehow thought of this. I'll add more, unless there are negative reviews. If you guys think it's not a good idea I won't post more. Constructive criticism is welcome and if you want to see something, just say the word.
I stare at the control pad, unable to move myself. Should I? Should I not? The temptation eats away at me as I glance once more at the stars through the thick glass in front of me. I so desperately want to be closer to them, to be amongst them. To be them.
My painting lies on the floor beside me. Orion refused to take it. When I confronted him on his decision he told me I wasn't going to die. I wasn't going to do it. Whether he thought I'm weak or am too scared to go through with it, I don't know. I do know it insulted me. I'm determined to prove him wrong. I'm not weak. Not when it comes to the stars.
Courage gets the better of me then, and I lift my large fist to smash it into the control panel. Before going through with it I imagine myself sending my hand through the molded metal and ripping out the wires. Since seeing the stars, they've been on my mind constantly. I can't even bring myself to leave the cryo-lab, afraid I may never get the chance to lay my gaze upon them again. They glow brightly, nothing to get in their way. They're carefree. Bright. Beautiful.
In one swift movement I bring my hand down, but stop it midway. Only mere inches from the frexing control panel, my hand hovers as I inspect what it was which made me stop.
A sound. I know I had heard it before. Problem is: where? The memory nags at my mind for a while, my face turning into an expression of curiosity and puzzlement. I almost don't notice the soft, barely-there footsteps, running away and back to the elevator with speed and, undoubtedly, guilt.
That's when it hits me.
Someone's being unfrozen.
It still takes me a while before I can get over the initial shock and command my feet to move where I want them to. I turn the corner slowly, padding along, creating echoes from my steps. As I amble a few more steps I see it. Somewhere down the aisle marked 75-100, a box lies out in the open. I look to the elevator, but whoever it was had a head start and is already gone now.
I run. I don't waste any more time, as I know it is of the essence. My hand flies to my left ear and I com-link Elder. "Harley?" he answers. "What's wrong?"
"Check who was down here in the past five minutes," I say, running out of breath a I race past the doors of countless frozen people. I don't know how long the mystery person had been here, but he's got to be somewhere in that time window.
"What do you-"
"Now Elder," I say commandingly, taking advantage of the fact that I'm older than him.
He grows silent for a few moments and speaks up again when I reach the frozen woman lying in wait. Something about her puts me on edge and makes my heart skip a beat before picking up again in double time, though I can't place what it is about her. "Just you. Why? What happened?" Elder says slowly, cautiously.
"Someone else has been left out here," I tell him. Something about his answer puzzles me, but I push it to the side for the time being.
"Who?" Elder asks. I can hear him breathing hard, telling me he's running through the ship to find me.
"Number 84," I tell him quickly.
"How awake are they?"
I look down the woman's frozen body for signs of life. Her fingers and limbs twitch rapidly, signaling that her body is waking up. "She's moving, but isn't completely awake yet. Is it too late to put her back?"
"Maybe," Elder says in a rush," but I'm getting Doc now. He should be able to help us."
With that he disconnects and I'm left staring at the young woman in awe, but also full of panic. Her hair is brown — though not dark like everyone's in the ship is — and has lighter streaks running down the length. Her body is curvy and short, her skin a mix of pale and the monoethnic shade of mine. Her cherry lips are luscious, inviting. Her breasts are small, but most of her body is covered in a hazy frost, obscuring her lower features from view.
And then it hits me. The reason she makes me heart beat faster.
She looks like Kayleigh.
She's younger — probably around 18 years of age — but the likeliness is uncanny. Her almond shaped eyes, the curve of her jawline, the gentle slope of her nose. Even the way her hair looks, floating in the ice, reminds me of Kayleigh's spread over her pillow on lazy days in the hospital.
She stops twitching, but her movements tell me nothing other than she's getting more aware of herself waking up. She pulls her eyes open and looks me in the eye. I'm sure she can't see me clearly, but I can see her clear as day. Her eyes are a light brown with lighter flakes scattered across it's canvas. She's not as exotic as Amy is, with her bright red hair, green eyes and pale skin, but every bit as beautiful, if not more.
Her gaze abandons the light, lazy feeling, adapting a new one: fear. They dart from side to side, probably trying to find a way to get out. Her arms move slowly though the light blue liquid and she rests her palms on the glass lid. She pushes up, forcing her back into the bottom of the box as she tries to free herself from the closed-off space. Her arms are thin and obviously not strong enough to lift it, but she tries helplessly. All I can do is stand here and watch. It's horrific. When she starts grabbing at the tubes in her mouth I finally snap out of it.
I am trying to rip the lid from the container as she pulls out the tubes. They're long, probably reaching down to her stomach. She succeeds at releasing them, pulling out along with a mixture of red and sickly yellow. Her face is obscured. I can only lift the lid a few centimeters, and it doesn't go much higher with het help.
I'm just about out of ideas as Elder and Doc race through the halls and meet me at number 84. "What is he doing-" Doc starts.
Elder interrupts him with a commanding, "We don't have time for that now. One thing at a time."
They both look down into the melting ice — mostly water by now — and I can see Elder immediately notices what I've seen too. He looks to me, then back to the girl. Doc, on the other hand, doesn't notice a frexing thing.
The girl's mouth is wide open, as if she's screaming for her life. "Get the other side," Doc says to either me or Elder. "We have to lift the lid off before she drowns."
I immediately move to the side of the box and lift, using so much strength I know my muscles will hurt later on. We lift it high enough for Doc to throw it back to his side and drop it to the ground. It cracks into two uneven pieces and gives the metal floor a bluish tint through it.
I reach into the liquid after the girl, dampening my sleeves in the process. I pull her out with ease since, compared to the glass lid, she's significantly lighter. The blue specked cryo-liquid seems to try and pull her back with its icy grip, but I hold her to my chest, out of its reach.
Her arms, weak from disuse, wrap around my neck in what I can tell is her strongest embrace. My grip tightens around her naked body, shielding her curves. Doc points to a small examining table, metal and stainless. "Put her there. We need to inspect the damage."
I nod, obeying him. Two long strides later and I am placing her on the table. The small of her back touches the metal and instantly her grip tightens and her body jerks upwards. "So cold," she whispers in a raspy, unused voice. She sounds so different from anyone on the ship, but doesn't sound like Amy either. There's something about her accent that portrays innocence. I'm sure she whimpers once before falling back into silence. I know she's keeping herself awake, going on her ragged breathing and trying not to burst into tears in the process.
"It's okay," I tell her in a whisper. "We need to check on you."
I can feel her head shake lightly. "It's okay," I say again. "Nothing is going to happen. What's your name?"
She pauses. "Nikki." her voice is worse, and I can tell it gives her pain to use it.
"Nikki, nothing's going to happen to you. I'll make sure of it."
" ... Don't let go," she says after another pause. I place her down but keep my hand on hers. I nod to Doc, who looks less than amused by both my performance with the previously frozen girl and my appearance in the cryo-level. He steps forward and places drops into her eyes before he rubs some cream he had gotten from inside the desk behind him into her skin. He places it on the desk when he's finishes, next to a small bottle, which he then picks up. He forces her chin down and her mouth open before pouring it down. The liquid is thick, and when the girl closes her mouth in protest it rolls down her cheek and chin.
I lean down to her ear and whisper, "It's okay. Let him. You'll feel better."
She seems to understand me, because she nods once and opens her mouth, accepting the liquid. When he's done, Doc wastes no time slapping a medpatch on her arm. In a matter of seconds her breathing slows and she's asleep.
Wrapping a gown around her, Doc picks her up and faces us head on. "I'm going to take her back to the hospital. I'll deal you two later."
Once he's gone, Elder and I stand in silence before I finally speak up. "Are you sure it was just me down here?" I ask him skeptically, my eyes still on the elevator doors.
"I'm sure." he says.
"That... Can't... Be right," I say slowly, more to myself than him.
"Why not?" Elder asks, genuinely interested.
"Orion was here with me."