[Fandom] Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
[Rating] PG for mild sex references.
[Notes/Summary] Riley/Jessie. Riley can't believe she's found her way into this heaven.
Jessie had brought her to paradise.
Here the sun shines and it's always warm and the air smells of flowers or clean clothes or the sea. Or food. There's so much food. Riley has to pinch herself sometimes when she thinks how as long as you've got money in your pocket (or even if you haven't, if you're sneaky enough) you can walk in off the street and get as much to eat as you want. Take it slow, Jessie said to her. I get it. You want to eat it while it's here. It's gonna stay here. For the time being.
Jessie shows off the world like she's the one who made it. Well, not all the time. There's a mission and Jessie sticks to what's meant to be done. But she took Riley for a walk when they first arrived, bought her a cinnamon bun, let her see kids running around laughing and playing chase, took her to the mall and watched her try on clothes, bought her nail polish and lip gloss. Riley wanted to cry, she was so scared it was going to disappear any minute. After a while that feeling stopped but she still wanted to shove it all into her mouth, swallow it down so it couldn't vanish, so all the good things would stick with her forever.
Jessie took her back to the hotel and ran a hot bath in the big white tub. Water full of bubbles. So hot it sank into Riley's bones, made her believe for a few moments she'd never be cold again. Jessie washed her hair for her, fingers strong on her skull. Kissed her wet forehead and then her lips. The water was warm and Jessie, sinking into it with her, was even warmer. And Riley was hungry again and this time Jessie didn't tell her to take it slow, this time she did things that made Riley even hungrier and told her what to do to eat.
Riley thought she'd never be hungry again. But you always are. You can starve anywhere, you can die from wanting no matter how much everyone else has got. She finds this out later and realises she should have stayed scared of losing it all.
[Title] Setting Sun
[Fandom] Sarah Jane Adventures/Battle Royale
[Rating] PG-13 for death
[Notes/Summary] Rani, Luke and Clyde are trapped in a fight to the death. They can only hope Sarah Jane will find them soon.
Rani is watching herself. She is watching her own hands pouring boiling water into two chipped mugs, as if she's at home and volunteered to make Mum and Dad coffee.
No no no she's not going to think about Mum and Dad she promised herself –
She is making coffee. The mugs were dusty and she had to boil the kettle on a tiny portable stove, but coffee will keep them awake and maybe if they can clutch a hot drink then they'll feel like things are going to be all right.
She stirs each drink with a tea-stained spoon and carries them over to where Luke is sitting against the wall. “Here.”
He takes it, manages a smile.
The window opposite them is uncurtained and the sun is setting. Glorious orange light slides across the bare walls, the smears of paint. From here, you can't see most of the surrounding buildings, the grimy concrete and the graffiti and the broken windows. You can almost pretend you're looking out from Sarah Jane's attic.
Rani's letting herself think about Sarah Jane but only because Sarah Jane is never scared of anything and always stays calm and does the right thing. So if she were here she'd be telling them not to worry, that they were going to be all right, they just had to keep their heads...
It was stupid to have mentioned heads. Of course now she’s re-running what happened when they woke up in the room with all the desks. The whole class staring round and none of them had noticed the collars at first and then – then the video had started playing and Adam, who never sat quietly or listened to anything, was already yelling whatever, I'm out of here and he'd yanked at the collar, trying to get it off, and the next thing Rani knew there was warm rain pattering onto her face only – only –
She takes a deep breath and pretends it's so she can blow on her coffee. Tears slide down her face anyway. If Clyde were here he'd start making jokes about how could she possibly cry when the one and only Clyde Langer is here to watch her back. Luke says, “Mum will find us. As soon as we didn't come home from school she'll be on the case. She can find out anything and she's got Mr Smith and they'll work out where we are and they'll come and find us.”
He sounds like he's reading it off a script, but he's right, and Rani needs to stop being pathetic. She nods, rubs a hand across her cheeks. “Yeah. I mean, at least we're still on Earth this time. I'm pretty sure aliens don't drink Nescafe. Probably some builders left it behind. Shame they didn't give us some Digestives to go with it, right?”
Luke manages a smile.
“Do you think we should stay here?” he says. “Or keep looking for Clyde?”
“Keep looking. When... when Sarah Jane gets to us, we'll need to find him anyway. It'll be dark soon, so it'll be easier to keep out of sight. And... and maybe most other people will be asleep.”
It sounded stupid as soon as she said it.
“Those who are trying to win probably won't be,” Luke says, in his reasoning-it-out voice. “If you're... if you think that's the only way out, to – to kill everyone else, then you'll want to do it quickly. Before you get tired yourself. Also, if that's what you're doing, then you're probably hoping the same as us. That you can sneak up on people who are asleep –”
Rani wants to scream at him to shut up. Going ahead and spelling it out isn't making things any better and, what, does he want to rub it in how bad things are? Half the class are dead already, so some people have certainly decided there's no other hope. And there's no reason to think Sarah Jane will find them before someone else does. She didn’t arrive in time to help the people who’ve been killed so far, did she? There’s no reason to think Rani and Luke’ll find Clyde before – god, what if Clyde's dead out there already, what if that's it and they don't even know –
Luke is staring miserably at her and saying, “I'm sorry. I should have... I was trying to help. I'm sorry, Rani...”
She shakes her head. Stay calm. Do the right thing. Clyde wouldn't have started freaking out. He'd have said something like, Yeah, Luke, thanks for cheering us up, but...
Something like that.
“I'm fine,” she says. “Just... tired.” A gulp of coffee. “You're right, but it doesn't matter. If people are looking, they might come here. Plus if I stay still, I'll probably fall asleep, I don't know about you. And anyway... we need to find Clyde.”
Luke nods. Rani can see fear crossing his face. Probably thinking the same as her about what if they're too late. He presses his lips together, swallows.
“Mum says you can't give up.” His voice shakes a little. “No matter how bad things look or how scared you are, there still might be a way out. You can't give up.”
“Right. And we've faced things just – just as bad as this.” Rani isn't sure whether that's true, but it's something else comforting to believe in. “Okay. Let's finish this coffee. Then we go and rescue Clyde.”