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Primeval/Malory Towers

There's been rumours”, the strange edge to Betty's voice stopped Alicia's movements and she carefully set down the pile of books she had been carrying on the end of her bed.

About me?”, and her mind raced through what she could possibly have done to attract someone's attention, “I rather thought I'd been on my best behaviour recently”.

No, about Darrell and Sally”, Betty replied. Alicia's chest felt tight and she struggled to make her actions seem natural as she sat down on her bed and began to sort through the books.

Oh?”, was the only word she could muster and it sounded strangled to her own ears.

About just how close their friendship really is”, Betty's voice sounded just as unnatural as hers and Alicia could barely breath, “Someone claims that they saw them...well what they were doing was more than friendly”. Alicia's hands trembled and she dropped the book to the floor, and winced at the noise that bounced around their small room.

So?”, Alicia managed as she bent to pick up the book, “It's their business, they're not hurting anyone”. She regretted looking up at Betty because there was a look that crossed over her face, only for a second, that felt like a punch to the stomach.

It's not right though is it? Two women? I know you're all for non-conforming Alicia but still...”, Alicia couldn't understand that these words were coming out of Betty, her best friend, the one person that she thought she might be able to talk to...

I just don't see how it affects me is all”, she finally shot back flippantly, “I don't care what they get up to in their spare time...”. She wondered if Betty could hear the lie beneath her words.

-

Alicia paced the cave, each step only served to make her more and more frustrated as she tried to force memories back into the past where they belonged. It was impossible to focus on the notes in her hand with thoughts bombarding her every minute. Even though she knew it was illogical, she worried that if she started to reminisce then it would show the universe that she had given up on the future and that Darrell would...

Of course that sounded ridiculous when she started to think about it, but she was beyond the point of rational thinking.

The explosion of frustration and rage inside her erupted without any warning and she threw the notebook across the room before she knew what she was doing. The need to hit something coursed through her body and she clenched her fists and pressed them hard against the sides of her head as she paced and became more frantic with each step. Just as quickly as the rage arrived, it overwhelmed her and she crumpled against the closest wall and slid into a ball as tears shook up through her body.

Alicia hated crying. She was scornful of anyone who broke down into tears because, after all, what did crying achieve? Who did it help? But even as she berated herself internally for her tears, they burst through. Every thought she had tried to suppress since they had gone through the anomaly raced through her mind. She cried for the family she might never see again, for the life she might never get to lead, for dragging Darrell into this mess...

She had no idea how long it lasted, but eventually her breathing slowed to an erratic gasp before it settled back to as close to normal as she was going to get. Her eyes stung and her cheeks felt raw from the onslaught of emotion. She rubbed her face with the sleeves of her jumper and swallowed the lump that had settled in her throat.

Then she got up and walked across the cave to retrieve the notebook, where it lay sprawled amongst the rubble. She gathered up the pieces of paper that had fluttered out of the book as it had landed and put them back inside the notebook, one by one. As she focused so closely on restoring the notebook to its former state, she felt the tension leave her body and she finally sat back and placed the book on her lap.

Silence.

Then she heard it. A gentle scratch. The scraping of something moving on top of loose stone. She turned, dropped the notebook from her lap as she did, and crawled over to Darrell. She felt a shiver run up her spine as she watched Darrell's uninjured leg move, as her fingers scratched against the cave floor.

“Darrell?”, Alicia barely contained herself, her hands stopped just short of grabbing the other woman by her shoulders, and she suppressed the desire to shake Darrell awake. Darrell's injured leg jolted against Alicia and there was a noise from the back of Darrell's throat – a pained squeak.

“Don't move, you're really hurt Darrell”, Alicia felt the tears return to her eyes as she cupped Darrell's cheek and ran a thumb over her cheekbone.

Then the movement stopped as Darrell drifted back into unconsciousness. Alicia gripped Darrell's hand with her own and squeezed it. Somewhere underneath all the misery from earlier, she allowed herself a brief glimmer of something more positive before she rose to go out and search for food.

-

Alicia shivered as she crawled back inside the cave, heavy raindrops running down her back and clothes clinging to her in a chilled grip. She dragged the rock back across the crawl-space and hurried over to light the lamp.

“If only I'd thought to bring a change of clothes”, Alicia muttered to herself, wondering if she should be concerned that she had resorted to being sarcastic with her, as she stripped off her t-shirt and trousers and hung them on the rocks near the lamp, “Must have slipped my mind when I was packing”.

“I'm going to steal your pillow, because I'm freezing. I'll give you your bag instead.”, Alicia commented as she took Darrell's jumper from beneath her head and pushed the satchell under instead, “I can't imagine it's much less comfortable”. She pulled Darrell's jumper on and wrapped her arms around herself. She shivered again and grabbed her own coat from her sleeping spot and pulled it over. With a creak of protest from her muscles, Alicia lay down beside Darrell and put the coat over herself.

“I don't envy you lying here all the time”, Alicia said, “I never thought I'd miss my own bed so much.” She felt stupid talking so much but it helped to ward off the overwhelming sense that her own emotions were about to assault her once more.

“It wouldn't even need to be a bed...a wood floor would be an improvement over this”, Alicia wiggled, not that it would help.

“You...talk too...much”, Alicia froze for a moment and then scrambled onto her side.

“Darrell?!”, she grabbed Darrell's shoulder in her excitement and watched as Darrell's eyelids flickered and then opened.

“You're...you're...”, Alicia stumbled over her words, over what she wanted to say and felt a different kind of tears threaten her eyes. Without thinking Alicia wrapped her arms around Darrell and hugged her.

“I thought you were...”, and her voice shook, “I thought I'd lost you”, Alicia pulled back and scrubbed at the unwelcome tears in her eyes, “what were you thinking?”

There was the tug of a smile at the corner of Darrell's lips, “I guess I wasn't”, and the weakness of her voice shook Alicia.

“You're going to be okay, you're awake now...”, Alicia said as she lay back down and wrapped her arms around Darrell, “Don't leave...”, and she fell silent. Her cheeks burnt with the realisation of just how emotional she had been. Just as she tried to formulate a way to take back some of the sappiness that had poured out of her, she felt Darrell shift slightly and then a gentle kiss was pressed against her forehead.

“It's alright”, Darrell said, “I'm okay”. Alicia knew it was a lie, but she pretended to believe it anyway.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
versipellis
Feb. 7th, 2016 05:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay! Nice to see another installment of this, and to see both Alicia's despair and her happiness. I really want to know how they're going to get home, and I like the different emotions that Alicia is keeping pent up!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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thesoulofchaos
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