There's Always Tomorrow
Darkness. That is all I can see. Hal, Maggie, and I were out hunting skitters. We were ambushed and a gun fight had ensued. I rushed forward to stab one and was shot accidentally in the confusion. I don't know who's gun it was, I know it was an accident, but I know whoever it was would feel bad. Although I can't see much I can hear everything. Hal is carrying me back to the second Mass. Hal keeps whispering my name. He keeps saying he's sorry. Was it him that shot me? I wish Hal could know it doesn't hurt. Nothing much hurts physically anymore. I can thank my spikes for that. I'm perfectly fine. If only I could get out of this darkness. Finally we reach camp. I don't feel fine anymore. Although I can't see anything I keep blacking out and losing my other senses. It's probably from lose of blood. I hear yelling. Oh God, dad and Matt, I wish I could tell them I was fine. Then I black out again.
Day 1-HAL: Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. Hasn't enough happened to Ben. He was captured by the skitters, his spikes are doing weird things to him; he blames himself for Jimmy's death. Why couldn't I have been shot instead? It wasn't me who shot him, it was Maggie. I thought it was an accident, but then again a lot of people in the second mass would be happier if he was gone. I don't understand it. Ben is not causing anyone harm, then Maggie goes and shoots him; I can't believe I thought she was different. Doctor Glass and Lourdes patched him up, but he still bleeds off and on. Doctor Glass doesn't know what to make of it; Ben has been asleep for about a day. Please God let him wake up. I have been trying to avoid Maggie but apparently I'm not very good at it, she comes up to me when I'm out walking. I would have been with Ben but I needed to clear my head.
"We need to talk." says Maggie
"Bout what?" I ask.
"You know I didn't mean to shoot him".
"Oh, do I"
"What's that supposed to mean" said Maggie sounding offended
"A lot of people here want Ben gone, I don't know who to trust anymore" I answer.
"I can't believe you would think I would shoot someone" Maggie hissed.
"You shot Cueball and Popes brother" I retort.
"I'm not doing this right now" said Maggie storming off.
That's fine with me.
I didn't know what happened until Hal came back carrying Ben. Ben was bleeding a lot. I know every time dad Hal and Ben go out something could happen to them. I just never thought anything would ever actually happen to Ben, his spikes made him so tough. But it did. When dad got shot it was bad, but Ben is worse. He still bleeds and Doctor Glass doesn't know what's wrong. Lourdes tried to make me feel better and told me Ben probably just needed time to think. It didn't help. Hal wouldn't tell me what happened but I heard him yelling at Maggie yesterday. He said she shot him. I don't blame Maggie, I know it was an accident, but Hal doesn't think so. Hal is usually tough, he's like a soldier. But I saw him crying today.
It's true, I did shoot Cueball and Popes brother, and I never lost a minute of sleep over it. But Ben... Of course it was an accident; I don't know how Hal could think it wasn't. Life goes on, I wake up and I patrol. Captain Weaver wakes up and makes plans. Matt wakes up and plays soccer, or goes to School, even Pope wakes up and carries on his scumbag life. Ben might never wake up and it's all my fault. I thought Hal and I were getting somewhere; we were finally willing to let each other in. But he totally shot me down when I tried to explain what happened. I don't think he will ever forgive me. It makes me sad to think about no more Hal. I know me sad. But I truly am, I really liked him. And Pope only made it worse.
"Well Miss Maggie May I hear you finally shot that Mason half breed, somebody had to do it" Pope taunted.
"It was an accident" I say through gritted teeth.
"Be honest with yourself sweetheart, was it really? Maybe you thought he was getting between you and Hal. Or maybe you just thought he would ruin your chance of survival. And you shot him." pope sneered.
"No, I didn't" I said.
"Keep telling yourself that sweetheart" he laughed.
Pope then walked away, he never was one for long conversations.
Maybe I would be better off dead. I can't see anything, I can't hear anything. I want to wake up but I can't. I know a lot of people want me dead. The only people that don't want me dead are dad, Hal, Matt, and... Maggie. It was Maggie that shot me, I heard Hal say so, I can sometimes hear things. I know Maggie didn't mean to but Hal isn't sure. I see the way Hal and Maggie look at each other. I hear what they whisper, I hear everything. They like each other; I hope Hal will realize that he is wrong. I hear Matt and dad too. Matt sits near me and talks. About school, news around the camp, everything. Dad just sits there. I heard him crying. I heard Doctor Glass too. She says I still bleed and she doesn't know why I won't wake up. I wanted to wake up at first, but after three days in darkness I'm not so sure anymore. Maybe I deserve to die.
I walked in the med bus and overheard Doctor Glass and dad talking. Doctor Glass said that Ben might not make it. I ran out. I think dad heard me leave.
"Hal wait!" dad started. I was long gone. I didn't stop until I reached the edge of camp. There I saw the person I least wanted to see, Pope. I heard what he was saying around the second mass, he wanted Ben to die. I just happened to be looking for a fight. I stormed up to Pope.
"What's happening Mason" he sneered.
I punched him right in the nose. He staggered back holding his nose then sent a jab towards my face. I easily ducked. I sideswiped his leg and he was down, I started punching him. That's when I realized he wasn't fighting back. I stopped, breathing heavily.
"Why do you want him dead"? I screamed.
"The same reason that everyone wants him dead, he can talk to the skitters" Pope said calmly.
"But he's my brother" I yelled.
"Yeah? I had a brother too; we all know how that turned out. Looks like we have something in common, that girl shot our brothers" said Pope.
"No, Maggie didn't mean to shoot Ben" I reassured myself.
"I think you know she did" said Pope.
I got up and walked away.
I let him hit me; take some of his anger out. That kid needs a therapist. Was I really glad that the razor back got shot? I don't know. I don't trust him, I don't trust anyone. And do I really think that Maggie could have shot him? No I don't, she doesn't have it in her. Sure I know she could shoot someone, she shot my brother. But not someone innocent. I also can't believe that the skitter boy could get hurt. I thought his spikes made him indestructible. Guess nothings what it seems anymore.
I've given up. It probably hasn't been that long, but it seems like I have spent forever in my own head. It's like I'm suspended in limbo. I can't see anything, I can't feel anything, and I can only hear bits and pieces. It was worse than when I was harnessed. Maybe the harness is the reason I'm going to die. It was cut off but the spikes are still there. I can't deny that they glow, or that I can sometimes do things only skitters can. I deserve to die. The only thing holding me back is the thought of dad Matt and Hal. I think I have the choice to let go or not. I think that's how it works. I'm undecided so I'm stuck in limbo. Do I want to get this over with, save everyone from myself. Or do I want to live for dad Hal and Matt? I know they love me but sometimes I feel like I'm alone in the world. I sure do feel like that right now.
I was thinking about what Pope said, about Maggie meaning to shoot Ben. I was also thinking about what I said back, did I really believe she didn't. I was so confused. Usually in this situation I would talk to my mom. But she's dead. I went to the second best.
"Hey dad" I said while climbing into the med bus. I went and sat beside him, near Ben. Neither of us spoke for a minute.
"Do you think Maggie meant to shoot him" I blurted out.
I could tell dad didn't know what to say.
"Do *you* think she meant to?" my dad questioned. I think he knew the best thing he could do in this situation was let me rant.
"I didn't, and then I did... Now I don't, or I do..., or I..."
"Hal stop, why would Maggie shoot him?" he asked.
"A lot of people want him gone" I reminded him.
"Be rational Hal, has Maggie ever had anything against Ben, has she ever said anything about him. She thinks of him as a good fighter, and as your brother, but that's all. I think you're just looking for someone to take your anger out on" dad said.
He's right, I realized. I'm angry as Hell that Ben got shot and not me, that anyone got shot at all. And I took it all out on the easiest target.
"By the way, I thought you liked her". Dad pointed out.
"I do..." before I finished what I was saying I had dashed off of the bus. I had to go find Maggie. It had just started to rain. I ran all around camp looking for her, randomly stopping to ask people if they had seen her. Finally I spotted her. She was walking away from me with her back turned.
"Maggie!" I call out.
I knew he was there; he scrapes his heels when he walks.
"Maggie!" Hal calls out.
I don't want to speak to him, I keep walking. I hear him running to catch up.
"Maggie" he says again.
I jerk around. It's pouring now and our clothes are soaking wet. His hair is drenched and falling into his eyes. Damn why did he have to be so cute.
"What, what could you possibly want?" I yelled.
"I'm sorry Maggie!" he said
"What" I asked
"I sorry, I know you didn't mean to shoot Ben. I don't know how I thought you could have, I guess I've been listening to Pope too much" he confessed.
I wanted to forgive him but was not going to let it go that easy.
"So you expect me to let you call me a murderer, then ignore me for almost a week, and then I'm just supposed to forgive you?"
"No Maggie, I'm just... I'm sorry" he tried.
"Is that all you can say?" I yelled at him.
"No" he said. "There's also this".
Then he kissed me, and I kissed him, and we were kissing each other. It was amazing, it was perfect. And I realized it was what I had been wanting for a while. I slowly broke apart then tilted my head forward to lean my forehead against his.
"We're kissing in the rain you know" I asked.
"Typical, I like it" Hal replied.
I like it too.
"It's been six days" I heard Doctor Glass say "the bleeding has stopped, it's up to him now". So it was up to me, I thought so. I don't know if I want to go back, I think everyone will be better off without me. Just then I heard my dad talking.
"Ben" he said. "I think I know why you don't want to wake up. You feel like nobody loves you, like everyone would be better off without you. I love you Ben. Me and Hal and Matt, we need you. Please wake up."
Wake up. Yeah, I want to wake up now. I'm done here, I miss dad and Hal and Matt, I want to wake up now, please please let me wake up.
Next thing I know my eyes fluttered opened. The first thing I see is my dad. He is sitting right next to me with his head in his hands. I smiled.
"Dad." I said
He picked up his head.
"Ben? Ben! I'm so glad you're awake!" he shouted with joy. He picked up one of my hands and held it with both of his.
"You know you were asleep for six days?" he asked.
"I know, I had a lot to think about" I said.
"I love you Ben" dad assured me.
"I know Dad, I love you too"
Just then a soaking wet Maggie and Hal came walking in. There were holding hands and smiling, I was glad they looked so happy. Hal saw me.
"Ben!" he said, coming towards me, Maggie lingered in the doorway. I saw Maggie's hesitation.
"It's okay Maggie" I said. "I know you didn't mean to hurt me".
Maggie smiled. Just then Matt came through the doorway.
"Ben!" he yelled. Maggie slipped silently out the doorway. Hal and Matt bombarded me with questions and comments and news. I was tired; dad must have seen it on my face.
"Come on guys, let him rest" dad said "there's always tomorrow".
Special thanks to TimeShard13 who was first to review on my other Falling Skies fic 'A Better Day', and for inspiring me to actually post this.