Okay, OKAY, here's chapter eleven. No, this isn't a recovery, it's pointless plot filler and random crap and stuff. I tried to turn it into the recovery but I needed to explain what recoveries are and how they differ from raids and as I started writing it I realized it was gonna need its own chapter.
So here. Aypoingoaiupo.
Recovery probably won't even be in the next chapter. That'll be something else. I don't know when that will be up. I have a ton of stuff to do before the semester ends in a week and I'm stressin' out over it. But I got this out of my system and nowwwww I'm gonna go work on my final project for my English class.
Out of curiosity, if any of you readers are fans of The Hunger Games and have seen the movie, do you think it's plausible to compare the District 11 riot that happens immediately following Rue's death to the Occupy Wall Street protests that went on a while back? I have to connect a sci-fi movie to real life events and that's about all I got at this point. Like, the Capital is the 1% and the districts are the 99%. I'm a little brain-fried right now.
Speaking of sci-fi movies, I don't know if any of you have noticed this. But I've been having fun with minor character names. Starting in chapter eight, virtually every minor character name I mention (excluding Lars) is a name I've taken from a relatively well-known science fiction movie. If you can correctly guess what names come from what movies, leave them in a review. I'll think of something to do if someone guesses them all correctly. And yes, I'll be adding more names in as I go.
Btw if you're reading this like six months after it's been completed, don't do that, I probably won't be checking reviews for this as carefully as whatever I'm working on at that point. Sorry. ):
Long A/N. Sorry. If you're still reading it, good job, trooper. That's all I got so here we go.
I don't own Danny Phantom.
May 3, 2013
Danny closed Valerie's door as quietly as possible, relishing in the way the wood muffled Tucker's angry words. He peered up through his messy hair, watching the way Sam ran her hand through her own hair distractedly. She glanced at him and he could see her worry and fear like storm clouds in her eyes.
She glanced up at him and he felt his heart skip a beat. "C'mon," She motioned for him to follow her. He rounded the table immediately, following her toward the other side of the dining room, swallowing hard against the lump that rose in his throat when he realized she was leading him into her bedroom. She pushed the door open and stepped to one side, glancing back at Valerie's door worriedly as he passed her.
Her room was an explosion of what he could only describe as her. He could see traces of Tucker here and there, but it was obvious that Tucker no longer spent much time there with her anymore. The air was thick with her perfume, and he had to remind himself to keep his mouth from gaping. Two twin beds were shoved on opposite sides of the room, one neatly made and sporting a few centimeters of dust, the other a tangled mess of ratty blankets, pillows, and a t-shirt or two. A battered desk sat at the foot of what was obviously her bed, with a flickering lamp with a blue lampshade precariously balanced on the corner. The space of wall just beside the door proudly displayed a rather dusty wooden bookshelf, which was absolutely bursting at the seems with dozens of well-worn books. There was no dust on those books. At first, Danny was overwhelmed by the fact that her entire wardrobe seemed to be hanging from every piece of furniture in the room. But as he stepped further in and turned slowly on the spot, he realized that every available surface was littered with dusty trinkets and cracked picture frames. She obviously developed a habit of collecting items that caught her eye while out on missions. Worn, faded baseballs and tiaras with a few missing rhinestones peeked out at him beneath shirts and pants; a battered wooden cross with the word "faith" messily carved into the surface hung on the wall above a rusty metal menorah caked in old, yellowing wax centered on the desk. A hopelessly tangled slinky was sitting forgotten on top of a closed, wooden antique vinyl record player proudly boasting several chips and scratches . A rather impressive collection of vinyl records leaned against one of the legs of Sam's bed. Breathlessly, his eyes scanned over everything in the room, memorizing the exact layout as quickly as he could. He wondered if this was what starving men felt like when they were offered a loaf of bread.
He moved closer to the desk, already attempting to see through the thick layer of dust coating the frames, only faintly aware of Sam closing the door and crossing the room to her bed. His stomach flipped when he noticed dried, brown drops of blood dotting the edges of a few of the frames, but he pressed forward regardless. Each frame featured pictures of people he did not recognize; for a moment, he wondered if these were the stock photos featured in the frames at stores. But as he got closer, he realized that there were no advertisements over the pictures. They were real, the families and friends photographed were all really families and friends. His heart ached for them, for the reality of the fact that most of them were probably dead. Every molecule in his body froze, though, when he spotted a picture of people he recognized. It was a smaller frame, a simple metal square, and the glass was cracked on the lower right-hand corner. He lifted it carefully, holding this breath as he brought it closer to his face. The picture was faded and creased, but their faces were still visible.
It was an older picture, taken during the winter break of their sophomore year. The night before Sam's parents would be flying their entire family to Paris to visit distant relatives, Danny and Tucker insisted that she join them for a bonfire with the extended Fenton family outside the city limits of Amity Park. The picture was a snapshot of the three of them laughing, brandishing red Solo cups filled to the brim with soda (or in Sam's case, water) in a silent, frozen toast. Danny had his arms thrown around each of their necks, pulling them into his sides despite Sam's hand firmly planted on his chest pushing him back and Tucker's strangled half-shout, drowned out by his laughter. He could clearly remember that night, how the air nipped at his exposed face and the smoke dried his eyes out. Sam stuck close by his side that night, politely introducing herself to his aunts and uncles and cousins. The flurries of snow drifting peacefully from the sky caught in her hair and eyelashes, giving her a heavenly glow as she talked and mingled and laughed.
The realization that his recognition of the picture was probably causing a visible physical reaction hit him. He tightened his grip on the frame and cleared his throat. "Is that you?" Danny asked hoarsely, suddenly aware of how closely Sam was watching his examination of the photo.
"Yeah," Sam said quietly. He glanced up at her to find her eyes unfocused and her face lit with a soft, serene smile. "Me, Tucker, and the friend we lost that night. The one that looks like you."
He let his eyes fall back to the picture, trying to ignore the ache in his chest at the sound of the pain in her voice. He busied himself with remembering how warm she was that night, tucked into his side as they watched the last embers of the bonfire slowly burn out. Her hair smelled like lilies and vanilla, a combination so lethally intoxicating it still made his knees weak over two years later. He clenched his jaw. "It's weird, isn't?" She asked, bringing him hurtling back to the present.
"What's weird?" Danny asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the photograph.
"How much you look like him," Her voice was soft again, almost melodic. Danny peered over the edge of the frame at her, watching her shoulders slump forward and her eyes slide in and out of focus, her entire body falling limp as she lost herself in memories. He was content to continue staring at her in this presumably rare moment of peace, but the sound of the back door slamming shut made them both jump. Danny quickly reclaimed his diligent study of the photo while Sam subtly shook herself out of her reverie.
"We should talk about recoveries." She sighed. He quickly replaced the picture, careful to avoid disturbing her other belongings, before crossing the room and perching on the edge of Tucker's bed. A cloud of dust rose up around him as he sat. She waited until he settled before closing her eyes and sucking in a deep breath. "Do you have any idea what a recovery is?" She asked, opening her eyes to gaze at him.
"Um...no," Danny said, feeling himself blush a little at his own inexperience. "Sorry."
"That's okay. I wasn't really expecting you to." Sam braced her fists at the base of her back and arched, her brow furrowing as her spine popped. She stretched her arms out before her, back still arched, rolling her wrists until each one popped. She slumped back down and popped her neck from side to side, before opening her eyes and giving him a smile that did not touch her eyes. "A recovery is a lot like a raid, except recoveries happen during the day and there are a lot fewer parties involved, and the parties are made up of two people only. Recoveries are raids designed for larger bounties, like vehicles or fuel."
"You guys can still find fuel?" Danny asked incredulously.
"You'd be surprised at how many of these ranches have reserves overflowing with fuel. But, yeah. And we're getting low, it's about time for a fuel recovery."
"Okay," Danny said slowly. "So why are raids at night and recoveries in the day?"
"Since more people are involved in raids, we use night as a cover. I'm not saying that raiders aren't trained, but some of them aren't...ah...varsity, I guess you could say. Recoveries are reserved for the varsity raiders. Me and Tucker, Valerie and Lester, Theo and River, Simon and Kaylee, and Dom and Arthur are the only ones that go on raids...until tonight. Tuck and Val are out, which means I need to find two more raiders to join the recovery team. You're one," She pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and index finger. "And I'll probably see if Mal's interested in joining, she always gets so pissed off when Dom goes without her, but she's only gonna want to go if she can be with Dom which means Artie'll need to find a new partner and I don't think he gets along great with Lester..." she trailed off, glancing out the window between the two beds and chewing the inside of her cheek as she lost herself in thought.
"So that's all recoveries are?"Danny asked hesitantly. Sam's familiar gaze fell back on his face and his heart suddenly swelled.
"Well, that's what most of it is. Tucker and I tended to explore a little while we were out there. I don't know that that's the best idea for you and I on our first go, but -"
"I mean if you want to explore..." Danny interrupted. "I'm okay with that."
Sam arched an eyebrow, a quizzical look on her face. "'Kay," She said slowly.
"Really, I'm okay with it. It might actually be kind of fun. I was always kind of scared to explore when I was on my own, but now that I'm with people that actually know what they're doing, it could be fun."
"I don't think it's a great idea to explore on your first trip. Tuck and I didn't start exploring until about four months after we started recoveries, and even then it was only for a few minutes at a time. But," the left corner of her mouth curled upward in a crooked grin. "It is fun." She said, nodding slowly. "We have to be really careful, but...once, we found an abandoned music store, and we spent two hours destroying the guitars and just wailing on the pianos."
"Was that the time that you guys dropped a piano on a zack?" Danny asked, leaning forward in his excitement.
"Yeah!" Sam laughed. "How'd you know about that?"
"Valerie told me about it, that is so awesome! How did you guys manage to do that, though?"
"Well, we heard him coming, so we decided to have a little fun with him. We noticed on the way in that whoever left the place had a piano on the roof to grab attention from people passing on the freeway. We climbed up there and realized that it was an actual, working piano. I guess he thought if he sat on the roof and played the piano it would make people want to come in and shop. I dunno, these rednecks were so stupid. Anyways, we lured him right up to the front door and we just shoved the piano over the side and it was like a bullseye," Sam mimicked the motions of pushing a heavy box as Danny laughed. "It was pretty much the greatest moment of my apocalypse life,"
"Sounds like it was amazing," She nodded vehemently in agreement.
A sudden silence swelled between them. Danny dropped his gaze to his knees when he realized Sam's smile was fading. He looked back up when she cleared her throat. "We'll go out tomorrow morning to do a few practice drills. You should get some sleep before then."
He nodded. They stood at the same time. Danny smoothed his shorts awkwardly as Sam crossed her arms over her chest and scratched the side of her nose. "Well, um..." He rubbed the back of his neck and coughed awkwardly. "G'night," He said softly.
She watched him move toward the door. He had the door half-open when he heard her boots scuffing quickly along the wooden floor. "Seth, wait," She called.
Danny froze, one foot before the other. He felt a slight rise in temperature behind him as she approached his back. He turned toward her slowly, holding his breath. "Yeah?"
"Would, um...I mean, I just...it's not like you...um..." She brought a slightly trembling hand up to her forehead. "What I'm trying to say...or ask, really, is -"
The backdoor swung open and Tucker lumbered in. He was muttering to himself, his anger radiating from his body, but the moment he caught sight of Sam and Danny, the color drained from his face. He froze on the other side of the table, nostrils flaring and fists clenched. Veins stood out against his forehead and along his forearms.
"Nevermind." Sam said quietly. Danny could not tear his gaze away from Tucker. Without a second glance, Tucker stormed the rest of the way around the table and vanished into Valerie's room. Danny closed his eyes against in a lousy attempt to ignore his best friend's shouts of renewed anger. "I'll see you in the morning."
He tried to agree, to wish her a pleasant evening, but he found that his voice was gone.
"Hey," Danny groaned slightly at the fingers prodding his right arm. He turned slowly, opening his right eye a fraction of an inch to stare at the man in the cot beside him. "I've just realized I haven't introduced myself properly," He said in a striking British accent. He brushed a lock of blonde hair out of his green eyes and gave Danny a toothy grin. "M'name's Eams,"
"Da-uh...Seth," Danny reached across the gap between their cots and shook Eams' hand. His previous irritation at the nearly two hours he'd spent staring at the stars, waiting for fatigue to finally reach him being prodded away in his last moments of consciousness vanished at the prospect of making a new friend.
"Nice to meet you, Seth," Eams beamed. "Sounds like you come from the northern states, am I right?"
"Yeah, Wisconsin. You sound British." Danny said. He closed his eyes at how dumb he sounded.
"Oh, yeah, I come from 'cross the pond. I was visiting family last year in Missouri when the virus hit. I'd say I spent a good two months squatting in the basement of an old shoe outlet store when Val and the gang passed through and picked me up. We headed this way and we've been here ever since," He chuckled. "How'd you end up in Texas? You're new to the group, aren't you?"
"Well, yeah, but I was already here with my mom. We were visiting family in the Dallas-Fort Worth area when the plague hit and my mom and I were the only ones to survive. We came down this way and..."
"Say no more, I got you. Well, welcome aboard, at least,"
"Eams!" A female voice hissed from Eams' other side. A pale face framed with ringlets of shockingly red hair appeared over Eams' arm, eyeing Danny curiously.
"Relax, Kee, I'm making friends," Eams gestured to Danny proudly. "This is Seth, he hails from Wisconsin!"
"Hey, Seth," Kee grinned and waved over Eams' shoulder. "Don't feel bad if you ignore him, he has a bad habit of talking while people try to sleep."
"Oi! Woman, I don't appreciate that much," Eams grumbled, rolling onto his back and mock-glaring at her. "I was just havin' a right nice chat with my new mate -"
"Goodnight, Seth," Kee interrupted, smiling at Danny again. Danny grinned back, listening for just a moment more to Eams complain to Kee before rolling to his left side and staring at the empty horizon before him.
Eventually Eams stopped talking and the world around Danny fell silent. There were no crickets chirping or frogs croaking or any of the usual sounds he heard in the night. It was as if the mute button was pressed, allowing the scene to play out in complete and utter silence. It was unnerving. He realized fairly quickly after noticing this that he probably would not be getting any sleep that night.
He guessed it was about three o'clock in the morning, about an hour after he met Kee and Eams, when he heard quiet footsteps crunching through the dirt by the house. He turned his head slowly and spotted a feminine figure ghosting through the shadows cast by the house beneath the full moon. He waited until she rounded the corner to stand and slink along behind her silently. Peering carefully around the edge of the house, he spotted a girl with raven hair done in a messy braid down her back wearing a familiar white t-shirt approaching the apple tree he examined the night before. He held his breath as her steps slowed. She knelt down at the base of the tree, reaching for something in the dirt.
He felt his heart come to a full stop when Sam turned slightly, giving him a clear view of the apple he dropped the night before in her hand.
His feet were moving before he was aware of making a decision. Before Sam even had a chance to turn her head, he was back in his cot, on his left side, eyes firmly closed and chest rising and falling evenly. His ears were pricked, catching her footsteps moving toward him before she was even around the house. Despite the urge to run, he forced himself to breathe slowly and evenly and tried to loosen all the muscles in his body to imitate sleep. His heart thumped uneasily against his ribcage as she approached him.
Sam moved up to him, all the way to the edge of his cot. He felt her kneeling, bracing herself with one hand on the edge of the cot. She was so close to him, he could feel her breath washing over his face. He had to work hard to keep himself from reaching out to her.
He nearly jumped out of his skin when her fingers brushed along his hairline. She brushed his hair out of his face gently and even though every nerve in his forehead was suddenly a live wire under her fingertips he could feel her closely examining his face.
"No," She whispered. "You're not. It's not possible." Precisely four seconds of utter silence passed before she released an angry sigh and he heard her fall onto her rear with a small huff. "Pull it together, Sam, you're acting crazy! It's not, he's not. You're crazy. You're stressed out and Valerie and Tucker are making you crazy and your imagination is just going crazy. That's all it is. Fucking crazy."
It took every ounce of will-power to resist screaming that she was wrong. He did release a low growl, though, deep in his chest, before rolling onto his back. Sam fell silent at his movement. Several moments passed after he stilled before she sighed and hauled herself up to a standing position. A hollow thump hung heavily in the air until her footsteps alerted him that she was walking away. He waited until she was a safe distance away before cautiously opening one eye.
The apple with a single bite taken out of it was lying in the dirt beside his cot.
Guess the movies each names belong to and I'll do something. Idk what. But some names come from the same movies. So one movie could provide several names. There's one name that's in two different movies. That one's confusing. I'll count either movie correct for that one name.
Yeah. Okay. I'm gonna go now.
Thanks for reading.