posted on 17-Sep-2001 12:41:39 PM by ZooBoo
Title: Death's Advocate
Category: YA/Jake and Hamilton
Rating: PG-13
Diclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever own or have any affiliation with this show.
Spoilers: Episodes 1-8.
Summary: A deadly fire breaks out at Rawley Academy.
Thanks: To all of the Jahammers out there who help me keep my sanity while the show is gone. To Elisheva, Patty, Frannie, and Emily for their continued support and feedback. Lastly, to everyone who has given me feedback and kept this story going!!! You guys are all wonderful!
Feedback: Good!!!
Author's Note: This is the first fanfic I've ever written, so I'd love to hear what you have to say about it! *wink* Also, for anyone reading this who hasn't seen the show, Jake is a girl...but she's been attending an all boys school, and only five people have found out about her identity. Enjoy!


~Part One~

The dense sulfur cloud slipped through the crevices under the floor, tracing along the patterns left in the age old wood. It slithered along the worn carpet, bumping into various paraphernalia along the way. Finding itself at the wall, it climbed upward, greedily curling over itself to reach the top. Discovering the perpendicular angle it abruptly changed course, weaving towards the middle of the room. It gathered itself, circulating, before sinking slyly down the center and surrounding the bed like a gigantic hand grasping at the smallobject.

A shadow woke up coughing, with a thick vice grip on her lungs. The air was heavily concentrated and she strained to open her eyes. As hey fluttered to attention an abrupt burning sensation took over her vision. Small dots of red and white blurred her from continuing and she instinctively drew her hands to her eyes for protection.

Her head was clouding quickly and she rolled sideways, falling to the floor, slamming her knee against the bed frame on her way down. Curling up in a ball she cradled her injury with thick, gray tears forming on her cheeks. Where was she? At home?

The girl's thoughts were muddled as she started crawling forward. As she reached the wall, a flickering glow appeared in back of her and she turned to see it ricocheting off of the walls. The fire had found its way through and was slowly inching its way towards it's prey.

She reached up searching the wall for an escape. The dorms!!! She was in the dorms...the closet. A sinking feeling crept into her stomach as she saw the flames surrounding her. She was cornered, two stories up. Scenes of black and white started appearing from her memory. Where was he?! She leaned her head back and let the tears flow freely.

The heat of the flames pierced through her thoughts as she smelled the putrid stench of burning flesh in her nostrils.

"Hamilton!"

Jacqueline cried out in pain as the red giant crept up her legs and the numbness began to set in. The black cloud surrounding wrapped her up in a blanket of darkness as she slipped into unconsciousness.

* * *

The soft twirl of red bounced through the window like a prism against the soft hue of white. A slumbering body groaned and pinched its eyes shut before slitting them every so slightly to witness the fire flies dancing on the ceiling. A rising hum from the light brought him to attention as the pitch slowly raised then dropped in a repeated pattern.

The silhouette slid his feet to the floor, raising his hands to rub the paste from his eyes. His reluctant feet dragged along the floor, inching their way towards the window, digits suddenly meeting with a small reading desk along the wall. A tiny groan escaped his lips and he grabbed his throbbing foot, leaning on the wood for support. The pain died down and he continued, making his way to view the pattern's source.

As the silk curtains parted streaks of red flew past, curling dust up along the street. His eyes opened wide as he seemed to realize the path of these fuel driven machines.

"Jake!"

Hamilton bolted to his bedroom door, fighting with the handle until it twisted and reluctantly popped open. His speed picked up quickly as he flew down the hall, barely grazing the carpet. As he reached the stairs he took a wild leap, one he'd made a dozen times before. Just as his first foot lifted, the second one caught the carpet, sending him hurdling down the short flight. His shoulder pounded against the floor as he cried out in agony. Rolling to his stomach a voice called out from the top of the stairs.

"Hamilton?" The owner of the deep vibration was dragging itself towards the loud mishap.

"The school is on fire!" was all Hamilton could muster out before soaring out through the front door.

His hand was still grasping his shoulder as he made his way up the black path, quickly dropping his arm, driven by the need to increase his pace. The rocks and gravel of the road grabbed at his skin, catching it on their sharp, tar-ridden edges. While the coldness of the road helped to decrease the amount of pressure that was now being forced into his stiffening legs.

Rounding the corner, a hundred yards away he could see what seemed to be an army of fire trucks and patrol cars lining the Rawley court yard. The fire had taken one fourth of the school and was quickly inching its way in the direction of Jacqueline's room. Hamilton burst into a dead sprint as he began focusing on the crowd, searching for her familiar face.

"Hey Ham!" Hamilton's eyes fell upon two swaying objects amongst the multitude. He followed them down to find his friend Will apprehensively trying to draw his attention.

Hamilton's heart began to race as his feet met the freshly watered academy lawn, the wet grass wiping the pebbles from his sore heels. He slumped over after coming to a complete halt in front of his friend, in order to catch his breath.

"Where is she?" Hamilton questioned, gripping his throbbing shoulder, letting the sweat ripple down his nose and fall to form an invisible puddle underneath the surface of the turf.

"Jake...she, hasn't come out yet," Will stumbled over the words and stared at the ground, not wanting to meet his friend's gaze.

Hamilton stood there frozen, staring at Will for what seemed like an eternity, before making a mad dash for the building. With every step he took his world slowed, familiar faces becoming sudden blurs standing out on a dark canvas. The ground beneath his feet lost all of its contours and a mere step took minutes to achieve.

As he approached the barricades he propelled himself forward, forcing his legs over the foreboding hurdle. Landing on the rigid pavement his knees nearly buckled underneath the stress of the descent, barely allowing him the opportunity to elude the surrounding authorities.

Hamilton threw himself forward, flinging the front doors open with almost enough force to cripple them from their hinges. He was immediately surrounded by a suffocating fog as he entered the halls. The thick mass obscured his vision with contempt, seeming to know he came for what it wished to seize. He fought at the smog, relying on his outstretched hands to find their way to the archaic staircase, shying away phantoms of an encompassing tomb.

Hamilton fell forward coughing as he reached the stairs, dropping his head in an effort to procure even the slightest hint of fresh air. He took two mere gulps of the cool oxygen before thrusting himself upward, forcing his legs and lungs beyond their capacity. In an attempt to dissuade him, the steps had been cloaked in a massive blanket of soot, causing his feet to slip from beneath him, sending him sprawling down the stairs. He reached up and grasped hold of the black rail, pulling himself upward with only the strength of his determination causing him to gain any fraction of momentum.

He grabbed hold of the final step and pulled himself up, the violence of his coughing steadily increasing. Shaking his head free he staggered forward, using the wall to brace himself. The flames from the fire at the opposite end of the hall allotted enough of a glow for Hamilton to see the way to Jake's dorm.

"Hamilton!"

He heard a terrified scream coming from the room, clenching at his fears.

"Jake?!"

Hamilton bolted down the hall, colliding with the door frame. He pushed himself away and quickly stepped to the opposite wall, shoving himself off of it and throwing his shoulder into the looming door. The lock suddenly snapped and he was quickly reminded of his painful injury. He threw one last firm kick to the door, flying it open, the smoke nearly overtaking him on its escape.

Hamilton could barely make out Jacqueline's still body resting on the floor near the closet, through the towering flames. Without taking time to deliberate he flung himself into the corner, the huge blazes nipping at his graphite form. Jacqueline lay there rendered unconscious from the pain, her legs resembling two large pieces of anthracite from her knees down, the flames still licking at her with their orange tongues.

He quickly snatched her up, hugging her to his body as tightly as he could then hurled himself back through the enraged assassin. His knees immediately buckled underneath him and he landed with a loud thud, gouging his leg and throwing his shoulder further out of socket. His lungs finally caved as his head succumbed to the enveloping blackness.

~TBC~


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Aug-2002 11:43:06 AM ]
posted on 17-Sep-2001 12:48:18 PM by ZooBoo
~Part Two~

"Bip...bip...bip...bip"

Hamilton's head was spinning when he finally woke up from his restless sleep. He could hear the mechanical bips and whirs coming from the repetitive hospital equipment, as tubes from an oxygen tank assisted his lungs.

"Hamilton?...I think he's waking up...Hamilton, come on honey...come on honey, wake up." Hamilton's mom had been waiting in the emergency room since just after three that morning, ever since the hastened procession of ambulances had brought him, along with three others, to the ICU a few hours earlier.

The fire had taken about half of the school before the firemen were able to extinguish the ferocious blazes. One third of the boys had been forced to spend the rest of the night in the lower girls' dorms, while the girls doubled up with each other on the upper floor. There had already been one casualty and the others had all suffered from serious smoke inhalation, lucky they had gotten out as quickly as they did.

"Mom?" Hamilton's voice cracked when he spoke and his eyes were still slightly burning when he peeled them open. The room was a blurred contrast of white and his mom was sitting on the left side of his bed, squeezing his hand lightly.

"Yeah honey, it's me. How are you feeling?"

Hamilton looked over at his mom. Her cheeks were flushed and the whites of her eyes had turned a pale pink from her tears. He forced a little smile on his face. "Like a huge boulder fell on my chest." Hamilton began coughing a little and closed his eyes, wincing and tilting his head back.

"Sweetie, are you alright?!" His mom leaned in, a worried expression evident in her eyes.

Hamilton's coughing finally subsided. "Yeah, I'm fine mom...What happened?" he asked, opening his eyes and looking back over at her, the events of the previous evening still a bit blurry.

His mom turned to a short, older looking woman in the room that had been setting out various objects on the table to his right. "Could you give us a moment, please?"

"Certainly." she smiled at mother and son, then left them to talk.

His mother sighed before she began, "Well, after you ran out of the house your father came and woke me up and we headed over to the school. When we arrived Scout told us that you had rushed inside because Jake hadn't come out yet. So he followed you over and told one of the firemen where you were headed..." His mom dropped her tired head and the tears slowly came back.

She looked up at him again, cheeks wet with frustration. "How could you do something so stupid Hamilton?! Worry your father and I like that?..."

"Mom, I'm s..."

"And Jake...Jacqueline, whatever!!! Were you ever going to tell us about her?!"

Hamilton's face dropped. "Oh no, I completely forgot! Where is she? Is she okay?!"

His mom stared at him for a moment, upset that he didn't seem to have heard a word she had just said to him. She quietly stood up and turned her back towards him, taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly before speaking again. "Hamilton...your father and I have always put a lot of trust in you...and up until this year you have always been honest with us...I don't understand anymore."

His mother slowly walked towards the door, looking back at him for a brief moment. He just stammered, unable to sort everything out. Then, with a painful look of sorrow, she left.

* * *

Hamilton brought his palms up to his head and rubbed at his worn eyes. He must have fallen asleep after his mother left that morning. The events of the last 12 hours were racing through his head, one by one, as he began studying them under his minds microscope.

"Ham...Ham...Hey Hamilton!"

Scout and Will had come to see how their two friends were, letting themselves in and finding Hamilton completely lost in thought.

"How many times do we have to go over this? X-ray vision just won't work unless your standing on your head."

"Funny." Hamilton said to Scout, who simply smiled at him and strolled over to the bed.

"Hey man." Will followed Scout over to where Hamilton was laying down, "You look like crap!"

"Again, funny."

"Alright, alright." Scout cut in. "We were on our way to Friendly's for some breakfast and thought we'd stop by to see if you wanted anything."

"That is if it's aloud." Will piped in, not wanting to get Hamilton in trouble with the doctors.

"Um...no thanks man, I'm really not that hungry." Hamilton stared down at the sling on his right arm and rubbed his shoulder, remembering when he dislocated it ramming into Jake's door. "Hey, can you guys do me a big favor?" he asked still not looking up.

"Uh, yeah...sure." Will answered a little confused. "What is it?"

. . .

"I can't believe you talked me into this." Will said, dragging a wheel chair into the room.

"Yeah, well I'm just glad they put me on a portable oxygen tank this morning."

"Okay, so how exactly are we pulling this off?" Scout asked.

"Simple, Will sneaks me out of my room, down the hall, and into Jake's room, while you stay here and cover for me."

"Okay...and you can't go by yourself because..." Scout questioned sarcastically.

"Because a patient, stumbling down the hall, carrying an oxygen tank might look just a little suspicious you idiot."

Will just rolled his eyes at the two. "Well let's get going then."

Will poked his head out of the door and looked around, making sure no one was watching. His head went back inside the room as Hamilton's two feet were forced out, along with the rest of his body, propelled by two large and two small wheels on a metal frame. The two boys strolled down the hall as casually as possible, making their way towards Jake's room.

Hamilton had asked every nurse that came into his room that morning how Jacqueline was doing and none of them could give him a straight answer. Now he was going to find out...and he was scared.

As they rounded the corner anxiety hit him hard and he was sent into a coughing fit, merely waving Will to continue. They finally reached the room and Hamilton put up a hand. "You guys go get breakfast...I need to see her alone." They gave each other a small hands hug and then Will left.

Hamilton pushed the door to Jake's room open and wheeled himself in, the sights and smells of the previous evening rushing back to him like lost souls. He wheeled along the straight pattern of tile, slowly making his way towards the bed.

There were wide tubes running from a machine to Jacqueline's mouth, pumping clean oxygen into her lungs. Although her legs were covered by sheets, he could still envision the black charcoal burns eating at the tissue. The air in the room was stuffy and lingering as if waiting for death to come.

He finally made his way to her bedside and stopped just short of the sheets. Her arms had been bandaged and her pink hands rested at her sides. Hamilton reached out and gently caressed her fingers with his thumb, afraid of touching anything else for fear it would do further damage.

"I'm so sorry Jake...so very, very sorry." His voice came in a whisper as a single tear slid down his cheek, "So sorry."

Hamilton's head fell to his arm as he stared into the emptiness, minutes rolling by. Suddenly he could feel a slight shaking coming from the bed and he looked up to see Jacqueline's body going through what appeared to be a seizure.

"Nurse...NURSE?!!!"

Hamilton started pounding repeatedly on the call button to the side of the bed. He could hear the heart monitor slowing in the background.

"Bip..bip...bip....bip.....biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii..."

~TBC~

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Aug-2002 11:44:52 AM ]
posted on 19-Sep-2001 10:23:34 AM by ZooBoo
Part Three

"NURSE!!!" Hamilton started propelling himself towards the door with his left arm, moving barely inches with his forced effort. Suddenly a nurse burst through the stiff door. Taking in the scene she turned around and shouted for the doctors.

"...iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii..."

Hamilton looked back at Jacqueline. Her body had stopped shaking and the fear that he had felt before entering her room crept through him like an unforgiving plague.

"What is he doing in here?" a doctor asked the nurse, indicating towards Hamilton, as he stepped through the door.

"I don't..."

"Well, get him back to his room!" the doctor ordered, immediately heading towards Jacqueline's bed. The nurse had already made her way behind Hamilton and was pushing him out the door as the other surgeons entered.

"...iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii..."

Hamilton's world began spinning uncontrollably and all he could do was watch over his shoulder as the doors to the Emergency Unit swung closed behind them. Every inch of his being wanted to scream out and make this hideous nightmare come to an end. It wanted to be back in his bed just waking from a peaceful sleep, getting ready to meet Jake for their first Saturday ride through town after her being back to school for only a week. He brought his hands up, running them over his forehead and through his hair, the panic evident in his freshly tear-glazed eyes. Letting out a slow breath he brought his head up, meeting the gaze of a horror-stricken woman.

Mrs. Pratt had just arrived from the airport after her long flight from London. She had met the dean at the airport, who had been so kind as to offer her a ride to the hospital, knowing it would be too difficult to try and call a cab in the small town. They had just entered the hospital and she was inquiring about her daughter when she saw Hamilton being wheeled down the hall. She knew from the devastated look in his eyes that he had just come from Jacqueline's room...and that something was terribly wrong. Even after he had been wheeled into his room she stood there stunned, unable to force herself forward.

"Mrs. Pratt?...Mrs. Pratt, is there something else I can do for you?"

She snapped out of her daze as the receptionist inquired. "What?...Oh...uh, no...no thank you." She slightly smiled before heading in the direction of Hamilton's room.

The nurse had already helped him back into his bed and switched his nearly depleted oxygen tank before Jacqueline's mom appeared in the door way. After the nurse left she made her way to the chair next to his bed and sat down. Looking into his speechless face she took his left hand in hers, waiting for the vague news. Minutes passed by before they heard a knock on the doorframe. They both look up to see Hamilton's father walking into the room with an uniformly solemn expression on his face.

"Hamilton."

"Dad?"

"Your mother asked me to stop by and see how you were doing. She told me you two..." he stopped at the sound of a man clearing his throat behind him.

"I'm terribly sorry to interrupt." the doctor said walking into the room. "I'm Dr. Blake. The receptionist just informed me that you had arrived Mrs. Pratt, and you must be Dean Flemming." he said extending a hand toward's Hamilton's father.

"Yes, I am." the dean said, taking his hand.

"Good, I wanted the chance to speak to the both of you...If you'll follow me." The doctor turned around and walked towards the door, with the dean following reluctantly at his heels. Jacqueline's mom turned towards Hamilton and smiled tenderly before getting up and following them.

The dean and Mrs. Pratt followed Dr. Blake down the hall and into a small room. He indicated towards two chairs leaning against the wall and pulled a round swivel chair from beneath a desk, sitting down in front of them.

"How is she?" Monica asked, trying to conceal the worry in her voice.

"Well," the doctor began, "she has about a twenty five percent surface area burn on her legs. Now with burns as serious as hers, there is a lot of fluid loss from the body caused by damaged blood vessels. Your daughter's body lost an exceptional amount of fluid this morning and at about the time you arrived at the hospital, Mrs. Pratt, she was sent into shock, and her heart stopped."

"Is she..." Mrs. Pratt paused, unable to finish the sentence.

"No, we were able to resuscitate her and her situation is currently stable."

Jacqueline's mother let out the breath she had been holding in for the last ten minutes. "Is she in a lot of pain?" she asked looking down at her hands.

"Actually, with third degree burns, such as the ones your daughter has, the skin as well as the nerve endings have died leaving her experiencing very little, if no pain at all."

"So what happens now?" Monica questioned, looking back up at the doctor.

"Well," Dr. Blake began again, "with surface area burns that large and deep we have to perform a procedure called skin grafting. Because her burns extend circumferentially around her legs, and burned tissue shrinks, we already had to do an escharotomy, to surgically release the pulled tissue."

"So how long will the procedure take?"

"Uh, that depends on a few things, Mrs. Pratt. First we will have to clean her wounds to make sure that no germs or bacteria enter her body. The skin is the first defense we have against infection and a lot of burn victims can die because of catching pneumonia, or because their body's own immune system ravages their organs."

"After we have cleaned her wounds we will have to apply collagen to the wound area, which will act as a bottom layer of skin as well as a glue. We will then apply an artificial layer of skin made of silicon to the wound which will perform as a temporary barrier against bacterial invasion until we are able to culture enough skin, from a skin sample we took, to cover her legs. That should take about four weeks."

"Four weeks to grow skin?" the dean asked, a little surprised.

"Yes, and after those four weeks we will take off the artificial layer of silicon and apply the cultured skin, along with fibrin that will also act as a glue for the new skin. After the skin has been transplanted we will have to monitor her for a few weeks to make sure that there isn't any infection and that the skin has adhered properly."

"Then, if everything goes well she can start attending classes again, but she'll have to come to the hospital in the evenings for checkups and physical therapy. She will also have to deal with a wheel chair for a few months until her legs are healed. So if she can pull herself through all of that, I'd say she has a good chance of coming out on top of this."

"That's so good to hear you say Dr. Blake." Mrs. Pratt confessed, a large weight seeming to lift from her shoulders.

"She is one lucky girl." the doctor replied, getting up from his chair and walking towards the door. "If it hadn't been for your son pulling her out of that corner Mr. Flemming, we wouldn't have reached her in time." The doctor then turned into the hall and left.

. . .

Hamilton laid back after Mrs. Pratt and his father left. He wanted so desperately to know what the doctor was saying, to know if Jake was alright. After a few minutes of staring at the ceiling, the elderly nurse that had been in his room when he had woken up that morning appeared in his doorway.

When he finally realized she was there and turned towards her, she simply smiled and said "She's awake now...and she's asking for you.”

~TBC~

Alrighty, there's part three. Hope you're enjoying it *happy*


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Aug-2002 11:43:56 AM ]
posted on 24-Sep-2001 10:54:17 AM by ZooBoo
Thanks so much for the feedback Karina! Here's part four for you *happy*

Part Four

A half smile appeared on Hamilton's mouth and made it's way quickly to his eyes. He threw the bed sheets back and put his feet firmly on the floor, ready to run straight to Jake's room.

"Uh, uh, uh," the nurse stopped him in his tracks,"you had it right the first time." With that she smiled and pulled a wheel chair into the room that she had brought with her. Hamilton waited until she reached the bed, then quickly slid down into the chair not wanting to waste a second.

The nurse grabbed his oxygen tank and pushed him along the floor, out into the hall amongst the traffic of patients and doctors.

"How is she Emma?" Hamilton asked, looking up at the elderly nurse.

"You'll find out soon enough Hamilton." she said reaching up and tousling his hair a little, chuckling to herself. He sighed and looked forward, waiting anxiously on the ride to Jake's room.

Emma had been the only company he'd had after his mother left that morning. She would come in frequently to visit with him and assure him the doctors were taking good care of his friend. He found himself telling her all about the situations Jake and he had gotten themselves into. She just laughed, finding it terribly funny that they had been able to pull it off for so long.

"So, are you ready?" Emma asked, stopping in front of Jacqueline's door.

Hamilton took a deep breath and closed his lingering eyes. "...Yeah."

. . .

Jacqueline lay in her bed gazing through the window, longing to be outside on such a warm, clear day. It was getting closer to winter and there wouldn't be many more days like this before the snow hit. She looked down at her covered legs, her smile fading a little, knowing she wouldn't be able to enjoy even one.

Emma poked her head in and smiled brightly at Jacqueline, who had immediately looked up from her legs at the light knock on the door. Jacqueline simply couldn't help but smile back at Emma's highly contagious grin.

"You've got a visitor Miss Pratt." Emma said, a sly grin appearing on her face. "But I'm not sure I should let him in...he looks a little suspicious." She tried to contain the laugh that was forcing it's way into her throat, but it broke through as Hamilton started to jokingly grumble behind her. Emma opened up the door and pushed Hamilton along the glazy floor to Jake's bed.

The oxygen tube Jake had been relying on earlier was now replaced with a smaller one, similar to the one which Hamilton had been hoping to get rid of. A thin I.V. was dripping a clear liquid into her seemingly sun burnt arm, while her heart monitor was relaying a more comforting rhythm. Her face looked worn and pale, and she fought at the lingering temptation to let her eyes rest.

"Emma," Jacqueline coughed, a little unsure, "isn't this a family only visiting area?"

The tiny nurse just walked towards the door and turned her head, eyebrows raised as if she hadn't heard a word Jacqueline has said. A mock innocent grin appeared on her wrinkled face and she winked with one playful eye, slipping out the door.

"She is somethin' else!" Hamilton laughed after Emma left.

"Yeah." Jacqueline's voice had almost been reduced to a whisper and the strain in her breathing was evident when she spoke.

"You know, you look..."

"I know how I look," Jake quickly cut him off, shaking her misted head, a smile still lingering on her lips,"and I don't need you to tell me."

"What?" Hamilton looked at her innocently. "All I was going to say was...totally foxy."

Jacqueline began to laugh, but quickly stopped with a brief reminder of the sharp pain in her chest. She gritted her teeth and tried to hide the tears that had been creeping into her eyes. After a few minutes she finally let out a slow breath and grinned. "So...do you use that on girls?" she turned to look at Hamilton's worried face as it softened.

Hamilton gazed at her, drawing on her strength, with a genuinely serious expression in his smile. "Just one."

They silently smiled at one another until Jacqueline's eyelids drifted slowly down to rest upon their soft pillows, her breath slowing to a quiet rhythm. Hamilton just let her sleep, watching the rise and fall of her chest. After a few moments he quietly leaned forward and kissed her forehead gently, not wanting to wake her. He leaned back in his chair and took in the scene, smiling, before turning towards the door and slowly wheeling himself out.

. . .

Mrs. Pratt sat on her chair in the small room until long after Dr. Blake and Dean Flemming had left. The production in London she was currently performing in still had three performances left and she had just spent the last thirty minutes on the phone with her producer canceling every one of them. She loved being a part of a drama she could walk away from after only a few hours, but her career meant very little to her if she lost her daughter and after the last ten hours, it had been the farthest thing from her mind.

Monica had just left for the theater when the harrowing call came from Consuela. The kind woman who tended her house when it was ghostly dormant and always help her to keep things in perspective was now frantic with worry, speaking half in English, half in Spanish. Every fear that had ever entered her soul was brought back in that one solitary phone call. Her driver almost didn't hear her when she directed him to the airport.

It took literally hours to find a flight out of London with an empty seat, every second of the plane ride haunted as a painful reminder of just how easily her world could collapse. Now she was in the hospital, a few mere feet away from a gift she never anticipated loosing. Picking up the small purse next to her, she stood up, ready to face the demons she had eluded for so long.

. . .

After stopping in for a few brief moments to make sure he was alright, Hamilton's father had left, under the pretense that a lot had to be done at the school in which he was to supervise. Hamilton had asked his father before he left if Jake was going to be thrown out of school. His father simply skirted around the issue stating that he didn't have the time to discuss it right then.

Even after Hamilton had visited Jake, he stilled worried whether or not she was alright. He had never seen her face so pale, or witness the energy drain from her so quickly as he had in those brief minutes. He knew she would never admit how torn she felt either, which fed his growing fears.

The doctor had told him that he would have to stay in the hospital until the following morning and that he would need to stay in bed for the next two weeks to recover. After his mother's performance that morning he knew he'd have no chance of checking up on Jake, let alone visiting her. He would simply have to reside in his bedroom, giving up the freedom he lived off of.

Hamilton sat in bed, staring at nothing, the commotion of the last hour haunting his consciousness, slowly drifting to sleep.

. . .

"Bip...bip...bip...bip..."

Jacqueline's mother sat in a small chair at the side of her daughter's bed. After her long talk with Dr. Blake Monica Pratt had let herself into her daughter's hospital room to find her in a restless sleep. It was clear from the heavy sweat on Jacqueline's forehead that Dr. Blake had been imprecise about her experiencing little, or no pain.

Mrs. Pratt had stayed at her daughter's bed side while she slept, dabbing at the perspiration with her handkerchief. The nurses had come in periodically to check up on Jacqueline's condition and offer an occasional drink to her jaded mother. She had just started drifting off when her daughter finally began stirring.

"Mom?"

"Oh Jacqueline, honey how are you feeling?"

"Glad to see you here." Her voice was still drained and took it's occasional turn to scratch in her throat. She reached up and pulled her mother in for a long, warm hug, both savoring the moment together. "Did Consuela come with you?" she asked, after pulling away and laying back down.

"She had to make some hotel arrangements and take care of a few things, but she said she would be here later tonight." Monica paused a moment looking at her beautiful daughter, wiping the hair gently from her face. "So you've been attending Rawley Boys, have you?" one eyebrow raised, what was meant to be a scolding gesture but came out in a fit of muffled laughter.

Jacqueline just groaned and shut her eyes, "I know, I know...not one of my finer hours."

"Well, it certainly does explain a few things."

"That I would love to forget!" Jacqueline was reminded of that dreadful parents' day weekend and hoped her mother wouldn't pull any of it out from the settled dust.

Monica stared at her daughter, noticing the tension that was quickly seeping into the room. "Well, visiting hours are almost up and I haven't had a thing to eat since I got in. I'm going to meet Consuela and check in for the evening and I will see you back here bright and early tomorrow...how does that sound?"

"Perfect." Jacqueline smiled and gave her mother a big hug and kiss before settling back down to recapture her vanished energy.

. . .

Hamilton rubbed at his foggy eyes. The night had seemed almost endless to get through and his constant worry certainly influence his excessive tossing. He wasn't even certain what time it was when he finally fell asleep, but he knew it couldn't have been that long ago.

"Hey stranger, how are you feeling?" Emma was just making her rounds and stopped in to bring Hamilton some warm breakfast.

"Tired." was all he could muster out.

"Your mom just called." Emma picked up the food tray and plopped it down on his lap after he managed to sit up. "She'll be here in ten minutes to pick you up."

"Thanks Emma." Hamilton said, scooping a fork full of scrambled eggs into his mouth and taking a large bite of toast.

"Alright, I'm off to make my other round," she stated cheerfully, "...and just because you're getting out of here doesn't mean that you won't be visiting this old lady every now and then, you hear?"

"I wouldn't have it any other way Emma!" Hamilton laughed, watching the tiny nurse slip out the door. Hamilton's mother walked in just as he was finishing his meal and she handed him a change of clothing she had brought, knowing he wouldn't want to go home in his hospital gown. Not much more than 'hellos' were spoken between them as he changed and gathered his things. After the morning before, he just wasn't sure what she wanted to hear.

"Mom would it be alright if I..."

"Hamilton," his mother turned towards him as they were leaving,"I have a lot I need to do today, and we need to get home."

"But I just wanted to stop by..."

"Hamilton." his mother glared at him, a stern look on her face.

"Sorry."

The trip back home, although very short, seemed to last forever in their silence. Hamilton resigned to gazing out of the window, regretting not being able to have said good-bye to Jake.

Hamilton went straight to his bedroom once they reached home, although the doctor's orders had nothing to do with it. The thought of spending two weeks without speaking to Jake disappointed him, but he knew his mother would never budge. He laid down on his bed admitting defeat.

~TBC~


There's part four! I'll have part five out soon.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Aug-2002 11:42:35 AM ]
posted on 27-Sep-2001 1:24:57 PM by ZooBoo
Part Five

"There...we...are...Could you wrap this please?" Dr. Blake turned from the nurse he was speaking with to face Jacqueline. "Alright Miss Pratt," he said, snapping off the white latex gloves on his hands, "we have just put on the temporary skin and the nurse will wrap your legs for you." He pulled a small chair out of the corner to sit by Jacqueline and her mother.

"You're going to have to be very careful with your legs for the next three weeks while we get your new skin ready. So if you want to leave your room you'll have to have a nurse assist you. We have to make sure that you legs don't get infected so the less you go out, the better off you are, okay?" Jacqueline nodded her head in compliance.

"What happens if her legs get infected?" her mother questioned.

"Well, if they get infected the skin won't attach itself to her legs and we'd have to explore some other options," he stated.

"What other options?" Mrs. Pratt asked concerned.

Dr. Blake looked back and forth between mother and daughter before answering, "Let's not worry about that unless the situation comes up." He smiled at them, pushing himself up. Setting the chair back against the wall and walking towards the door, he pulled on the handle and turned around, "I'll see you tomorrow. If you need me for anything, Mrs. Pratt, the front receptionist can page me." The door shut quietly behind him.

After he left silence flooded the room, hovering over the uneasy atmosphere. It was like a corrosive tension, infiltrating the confined space. "So, how's Hamilton?" Jacqueline's mother asked, attempting to break the unearthly silence.

"I don't know," she stated, a little distracted by the thought. "He never stopped by before going home."

"I sure he wanted to honey," her mom said tenderly.

"I know...So what happened with the play you were doing?" Jacqueline looked up, changing the subject.

"Oh, that." her mother stumbled a little in her reply. "I got Consuela's call right after the last performance, so everything's fine." She thought it almost pointless to worry her daughter about the fines she had received due to her breach of contract. The money meant very little compared to what she could have lost and the time she now had to spend with her daughter was worth it.

. . .

Transparent raindrops trickled down the smooth plate of glass. A small puff of cloud formed on the window, slowly retracting itself and reappearing rhythmically a few seconds later. Moisture toppled out of the trees in large droplets, forming individual puddles on the sidewalks and streets.

Hamilton gazed out of the long bedroom window, watching a few miniature robins swooping down from the trees, tugging on worms that had made their way to the surface for the rain fall. A small boy appeared from across the street hopping back and forth between the new puddles, pouncing on them just as they collected themselves back up, laughing and giggling.

Hamilton was drawn from his thoughts as he heard a light tapping on the door. It slowly opened as his mother peaked around the corner, finding him leaning against the windowsill.

"Hamilton?" she paused a moment, knowing that he was upset but she still hoped for a response. After a few seconds of momentary silence she continued, "You have a couple of visitors sweetie." When once again she received no sign of an answer she opened the door, allowing Scout and Will to walk passed. She took one last glance at her son before walking down the silent hall, leaving them to talk.

"Hey Ham, what's up?" Will said, bouncing down onto Hamilton's bed.

"Hey." Hamilton's tone was dry and he continued to stiffly look through the window, not turning to face his friends.

Scout sat down next to Will, "So we heard you were going to be stuck in your room for two weeks and thought we'd drop by to see how you were holding up."

"Fine," was all the response that came.

The three of them sat in silence for the next few minutes, the tension building in the room. Hamilton finally turned around to face them, sitting in the chair near his desk. "Have you been to see Jake yet?" he asked, picking up the camera on his desk and setting it in his lap, using his left hand to inspect it.

"Well," Will began, scratching the back of his neck, "we stopped by the hospital but they wouldn't let us see her. I guess they have a family only policy where she is."

"Yeah and the long lost brother bit didn't seem to work," Scout said chuckling to himself, quickly being shot down by Hamilton's glare.

"No offense guys, but I really kind of feel like being alone right now," Hamilton said, setting the camera back on his desk, staring through the window again.

"That's cool." Will said, standing up. "Besides, I've got a ton of homework to catch up on at the dorms." Scout and Will both started heading towards the door.

"Hey, guys?" Hamilton asked, looking back "If you do see Jake soon, could you tell her my mom grounded me for a month, so I won't be able to see her for a while?"

"Sure man," Scout replied, walking into the hall.

"Hey, if you need anything just let us know." Will said, before walking out and closing the door.

* * *

Jacqueline winced at the pain that was coursing through her legs. The surface felt like pin pricks with every serge of blood that pumped through them. She bit at her bottom lip, tasting the salty sweat as the nurse finished applying silver sulfadiazine cream to her wounds.

For the last week and a half a nurse had come in twice a day to torture her burnt legs. They were always as gentle as possible and offered her stronger pain medication, but she couldn't stand the feeling of clouded ness she received when she would take them. It reminded her too much of the day of the fire. So she endured through the pain, never showing any signs of the stinging sensation she felt, with only the silent tears trickling down her face to betray her.

Jacqueline's mother sat next to her, talking on and on about the wonderful sights and sounds of London, trying to keep Jacqueline's attention away from the pain. Her mother paused a moment as the nurse finisher re-wrapping her legs. "You know what you need?" she asked standing up, walking to grab the wheel chair from the wall.

"Oh, no Mom. Please," Jacqueline replied, shaking her head in refusal.

"Come on, it'll make me feel better," she said, tilting her head and batting her eyelashes.

"Fine," Jacqueline said as the nurse walked around, helping her into the chair. "How do I let you talk me into these things?"

. . .

Hamilton stared at the patches of fresh lawn flying by through the window of his mother's car. He fidgeted nervously in his seat, counting down the minutes until he could leave the confined space.

"Hamilton, I need us to be able to talk about things," his mother said, glancing over at him. She knew he wasn't paying attention to her, stuck in his own thoughts. He had been like that the entire trip without one word, just staring out into the street. Hamilton began rubbing his right shoulder, glad that he finally had mobility in his arm. The sling had been taken off two day ago and he had never been more grateful for the full use of it.

"You won't be getting an allowance for the next three weeks from all of this," his mother said to him jokingly.

He finally turned his face to meet her glare, "Fine."


~TBC~

Okeday, there's part five for you all. *big* Since I won't have a comp for the weekend, I'll try and get part six out today too.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Aug-2002 11:41:49 AM ]
posted on 30-Sep-2001 11:32:34 AM by ZooBoo
Part Six

Jacqueline and her mother had taken practically a complete tour of the building, stopping a few times along the way for Monica to answer her cell phone. She never took very long, but it still bothered Jacqueline to be simply sitting there, waiting on an outing she never wanted to take.

They had just reached the lobby outside of the hospital ward when her mother stopped again. "Do you want anything to snack on honey?" her mother asked.

"No mom, I'm fine," she answered exasperated.

"Oh...well, let me just grab a cup of coffee really quick, okay?" she asked, then headed towards the table it was sitting on before Jacqueline could answer.

She had just begun to pour the coffee when her phone rang again. "Hello?...okay...w..I'll be right there." She hung up the phone and left her cup sitting on the table. "Well, it looks like Dean Flemming needs to talk to me, so I have to go meet with him," she stated, pushing Jacqueline back towards her room. "I shouldn't be gone too long."

Jacqueline blew a deep breath out, relieved to finally be heading back to her room. She closed her eyes letting them rest from the tired view. A sweet floral fragrance encircled her, wrapping her up in it's warm solace.

She opened her eyes to find them dancing with delight. Her room had been filled with beautiful assortments of flowers, covering the walls. There were at least five dozen roses scattered on her bed and balloons lined the ceiling.

The door slowly closed behind her as a body walked up and crouched down at her side. "I thought you might need a little cheering up," a familiar voice whispered in her ear.

Jake turned her head and smiled warmly at Hamilton. "So this is why my mother was suddenly so interested about the many unexplored aspects of this hospital."

"How else was she suppose to stall for me?" he asked smiling at her. He leaned forward giving her a soft, slow kiss. "Besides, you know you liked it," he said cracking a half smile, raising his eyebrows up and down. She couldn't help laughing quietly at his gesture.

Hamilton walked over to the bed, clearing off the roses on top, placing them neatly on his coat. Sticking one playfully in his teeth, he strolled towards her making a large bowing motion. "A rose for you," he said, taking it out of his mouth and handing it to her.

She couldn't contain the laughter any longer as it came pouring out. He walked around to the back of the chair and pushed her the remainder of the way towards her bed. Bending down at her side he picked her up, placing her gently on the sheets, sitting down in the chair next to her.

"Everything is beautiful," Jacqueline said, containing her laughter.

"I'm glad you like it," Hamilton said, picking up her hand. "So how have you been holding up?"

"It's been lonely without you," she replied. "But I've really enjoyed spending time with my mom. We've gotten to know each other a lot better and I think I'm not quite as upset with her about not being around so much."

"It's good that you've finally worked that out," Hamilton stated. "So how long until you come back to school?" he asked since he'd never really found out what was happening with her treatment.

"Well if I'm able to come back, it won't be for at least another month," she said, her eyes saddening a little.

"I'm sure we'll get you back somehow," Hamilton reassured her.

"So how much did this all cost you?" she asked changing the subject, indicating toward the groups of flowers and balloons.

"Oh, about three weeks of allowance," he said smiling.

. . .

The halls of Rawley Academy were bustling with the echoes of students newly released from classes. Signs of the fire had been cleared completely away the previous two weeks and the sterile scent of cleansers hovered in the air.

Hamilton turned the corner towards his Biology class, strolling down the bare corridor. He had just passed his father's office when her heard him calling. "Yes sir?" Hamilton asked poking his head through the door.

"Sit down, I need you to do something for me after your next class," he said, keeping his eyes locked onto his desk, sorting through papers.

Hamilton reluctantly walked into the room, sitting in the hard chair across from the dean's large desk. He shifted in his seat, waiting for a response, while his father continued sifting through the sheets of paper. After a few minutes he finally cleared his throat and looked up at his son, "I need you to pack up everything in Jacqueline Pratt's room. I'm having it moved out in a few hours and I need someone responsible to take care of it."

Hamilton's heart dropped, his stomach tying into knots, "But dad, you just can't kick her out!"

"Hamilton, I don't have the time for this!"

"Where is she suppose to go to school while she's recovering?!"

"Hamilton!" his father said standing up. "This is not open for discussion!" He stared at Hamilton, slowly calming himself down. "Now get back to class, I don't want you to be late."

Hamilton glared at his father, gritting his teeth as the dean sat back down, picking up the papers and looking at them again. "Yes sir," he stated walking out.

. . .

Jacqueline's eyes sat on the brilliant colors that still wall papered her room. The fragrance of the flowers lingered sweetly, carrying a charming reminder of the day Hamilton had surprised her with them. The balloons by this time had long since fallen and a few of them still hovered in the corners, barely keeping themselves afloat.

She picked up a single rose that sat on the night stand, the rose he had offered to her. It had surprisingly lasted much longer than the others, although it was now quickly fading. The petals were limp, and the stem was rigid, but the fragrance was still as pure as the day it was cut.

Consuela had been with her to make sure that she didn't worry too much, stepping out for a few minutes of air. Dr. Blake was scheduled to arrive in a few minutes and Jacqueline had to prepare herself for the rigorous next few hours. The new skin was ready, three weeks as scheduled, and the doctor was certain it would transplant itself very nicely, due to her quick recovering. Her mother had left for New York that morning to take care of a few things, but promised she would return that evening.

"Miss Pratt," Dr. Blake said, knocking on the doorframe, "the big day....Are you ready for it?" he asked, walking to her side as two nurses entered the room. She closed her eyes and nodded. "Good, at that rate your going, you'll be back to Rawley by the end of the month."

She smiled thankfully at him, "You know, I actually think I will."

. . .

Hamilton sat in his desk as the other students filed out of the room. He pick up his books, trudging down the hall towards the stairs, a few passers knocking his shoulder along the way. His Biology class had been a complete blur, not hearing a thing his teacher said and barely noticing when the other students left.

Trudging up the stairs he brushed his hand against a tiny smudge of soot, rubbing it back and forth between his finger tips as a small reminder of the night three weeks ago when fate played its hand. He made his way towards Jake's room, pausing at the door, sorrow running it's cold fingers over him. The door slid open as he stepped into the dormant space. He could see the burn marks left on the walls in dance patterns, seared through the wood surface.

Hamilton made his way to the small closet, carefully pushing it open, a hint of smoke making its escape. He found a small suitcase in the bottom and picked it up, gently setting it onto the bed, throwing the top open. Grabbing the first hanger he tossed a shirt onto the covered bed.

~TBC~

Okay, there's part six for you. Hope you're enjoying it thus far. Part seven will be here soon.


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Aug-2002 12:03:59 PM ]
posted on 17-Oct-2001 1:25:41 PM by ZooBoo
Here's part seven for everyone. Hope you all enjoy it *happy*

Part Seven

Hamilton slowly closed the worn suitcase, running his fingers down the sides and pushing the silver latches shut. Jake's clothing had been neatly folded and packed away, after being pulled from the blackened closet. He glance up, scanning the room for anything that could be salvaged from the gray dust.

Carefully stepping around the bed, Hamilton made his way to the desk, picking up Jacqueline's laptop. It had been melted by the fire with dripping plastic frozen to its curled surface. As he wiped at the black, flaking exterior a scattered pile of personal photographs inched into his view. He looked over at them, trying to piece together images through the smudges and burnt corners.

Hamilton crouched down, reaching for one sticking slightly out among the rest. He blew off the dust, sending a small cloud of silver into the air only to dissipate, leaving a thick aura behind. It was a picture his friend Henry had taken a week before the end of the summer session. Hamilton had his arms wrapped around Jake, pulling her to the ground laughing as she tightly clenched a football, refusing to give it up.

He stared at the photograph, trying to sort out his thoughts. As he drew in a deep breath, his eyes closed letting two small tears escape, falling down his pale cheeks. "Jake, I'm sorry," he whispered in a hush.

. . .

Jacqueline sat up in bed writing in a small notebook. The sun had nearly set and patterns of a soft pink reflected through the window. She had just spent the last two hours under a microscope and was relieved to finally have a little time to herself.

Though the surgery had been a success, she could still feel the fluid pain pulsation through her legs. Her thoughts had been racing and she needed desperately to write them down, and since she had no computer available, she had settle for a small notebook and pen.

"Hey sweetie, how are you feeling?" her mother asked quietly, after letting herself in.

"Mom!" she said smiling, after setting the paper down. "I'm doing good. Did you get everything taken care of in New York?"

Monica walked over to the bed and set her purse on the small table, sitting down. "Um, everything's taken care of," she said smiling, pausing shortly. "So, what are you writing?" she asked, picking up the notebook.

"Oh, nothing...just thoughts," Jacqueline said, eyeing the small object.

"Do you mind if I read it?" her mother asked, indicating towards the poem.

"Uh...no, no go ahead," she replied biting her lower lip.

Orange mass creeping above thickened thistles
Before which passing through branch a wind whistles
Upon from what red streaks catch to soar
Over green hues seen from afore
Endless nothing beyond back


Her mother read the poem, her temperament fading, becoming more serious. She pierced her lips after finishing, looking up at Jacqueline, a realizing uncharacteristic concern on her face. "Do you want to talk about this?" she asked, raising the notebook to Jacqueline's view.

"Um...no...no, I'm okay," Jacqueline said, unconsciously shaking her head back and forth.

Her mother nodded, slightly looking away. "Jacqueline," she said after a few moments of silence, "I'm...sorry...I haven't been around for you. I guess after your father left, I just never realized how much you might need me." She looked down, ashamed at her admitted guilt.

"Mom," Jacqueline began quietly, "I think we both drew away from each other." She leaned over, taking her mother's hand, smiling passed the years of lost misunderstanding.

. . .

The sun was setting slowly down the side of the trees, throwing long shadows onto everything as Bella walked into Friendly's. Will had been sitting on a stool at the counter, speaking with Scout, when she entered. As the door opened it pushed on the small bell hovering above, sending it into a swaying motion to announce her arrival.

"Hey Bella," Scout said smiling as he looked over.

"Hi guys," she replied casually, walking over to the booth in the corner, sitting down.

"Hey," Will nodded over with a grin.

"Could you get me a burger and some fries Scout?" Bella asked scooting into the corner.

"Sure," he replied back, heading to the kitchen to place her order.

Will stared at the counter for a moment before sliding off of his stool, making his way over to where she was sitting.

Bella eyed him as he sat down very slowly, grimacing when he finally reached the seat, letting out a small sigh. "What's the matter with you?" she asked, laughing lightly because of his seemingly stiff movements.

"Finn somehow got it in his head that we've been slacking off ever since Hamilton and Jake have been gone. So he decided we needed some extra practice today."

"And lots of it!" Scout added, walking back to the counter from the kitchen, holding his back as if to emphasize his pain.

"I thought Hamilton was back in school though," Bella said confused.

"He is," Will replied, leaning forward onto the table, "His dad's just requesting that he not participate in any of the more strenuous activities for the next couple of weeks."

"Oh," Bella stated, shifting her gaze to her hands, "So how are Jake and Hamilton doing anyway?"

"Hmm?" he asked, slightly dazed, but quickly snapping back. "Uh, I'm not quite sure." His eyebrows crinkled as he seemed deep in thought.

The bell above the door rang suddenly as Hamilton walked in, a somber expression on his face, hands buried deep inside his pockets. "Hey," he replied as the other three greeted him in turn. Setting himself down next to Bella he stared at the salt shaker on the table, picking it up and rolling it over in his hands.

"I think I'll go get our order," Will said to Bella, who knowingly glanced at Hamilton as Will walked over and sat at the counter.

"Hey," Bella said, leaning over and nudging him a little with her shoulder. "Everything okay?" she asked him, waiting for his response.

Hamilton set his elbows on the table and brought his hands up, running them through his hair, then resting them on the back of his neck. "My dad asked me to pack up Jake's stuff yesterday," he replied softly, not wanting the others to hear.

"Is he kicking her out?" she asked, lowering her voice to his.

"Of course he is," Hamilton replied, bringing his hands back down to the table. "Why wouldn't he?! She broke the rules, and we all know how he feels about the rules," he stated sarcastically, setting his forehead down on his hands.

Bella put her arm around his back, placing her hands on his shoulders, giving him a small hug. "I'm sure you'll be able to figure something out Hamilton," she whispered to him, placing her chin on the hand closest to her. "It'll be okay."

. . .

"...so he completely freaked out and started wiping off my lipstick." Jacqueline chuckled, causing her mom to start laughing hysterically. "I'm pretty sure no one saw it though." she smiled remembering the event.

"I can't believe you were on that boat and I never even knew it," her mom said smiling. "Well, that's what I get for not paying more attention, I guess."

Monica Pratt had decided to stay with her daughter until she recovered enough to go back to school. For the passed three days, ever since she had returned for New York, they had spent the entire time talking about school and her mother's productions, as well as the time that they had missed over the years.

"Well, it would seem Hamilton is quite taken with you to go through all of that trouble," Monica stated, sincerely.

Jacqueline smiled, thinking of the things Hamilton really had gone through just to keep her there. "Yeah, well the feeling is definitely mutual."

"Oh....my baby is falling in love!" her mother swooned, teasing her.

"Agh, I don't know why I'm even telling you this!" Jacqueline said, covering her face and shaking her head.

"Alright, I'll stop teasing," her mother replied, tapping Jacqueline's arms down.

"Thank you," she said sarcastically.

"So, do you want to go on an ice cream run?" her mother asked mischievously, after a few moments.

"Mom, I'm not suppose to leave the hospital," Jacqueline said, eyeing her mother.

"Oooh, look at who's suddenly into not breaking the rules," her mother laughed. "Besides, it's just in the cafeteria," she said, standing up and grabbing her purse. "I hear they make a mean Starlight Mint!"

"Lead the way!"

. . .

Hamilton sat in the small kitchen of his house staring deeply into a small glass of orange juice. He watched as the pulp swirled then dipped and reemerged above the covered surface. When small shuffling noises sounded behind him he continued to glare at the cup, tipping it slightly towards him.

"Hey sweetie," his mom said, after walking into the room. "To what do I owe this pleasure? You haven't been home right after school since last year, well, and your grounding." She walked over to a set of cupboards and opened them, pulling out a few extra art supplies obviously kept there for special use. After no response she turned to face him, seeing his dazed state.

Hamilton's mother opened her mouth to speak, stopping when Hamilton raised his head. "Mom," he asked, wiping at the perspiration that had formed around his fingers, "do you believe in fate?"

"Well...I guess that all depends. I believe that there are some things you don't change because you're too afraid," she said walking over and resting her hands on his shoulders, "...and then there are those things you can't change because it's not up to you to change them."

"So how do you tell the difference between the two?" he asked, setting his cup down on the flat surface of the table.

"Ah, that's the hard part...Sometimes, though, your heart will quietly tell you...good or bad, you just have to listen." She stood there for a moment, rubbing his tense shoulders. "Well, I have to get back to school, so I'll see you later," she said, then kissed the top of his head, grabbed her supplies and walked out of the room.

. . .

Jacqueline had just fallen asleep as a light tapping came at her door. "Come in," she said, shaking herself awake. Hamilton popped his head in, quickly entering the room and closing the door quietly behind him. "You know, one of these days those nurses will stop pretending that they never see you sneaking in here," she chuckled as he walked over to the bed, leaning over to give her a soft kiss.

"Yeah, but I've had plenty of practice, don't you think?" he asked, stealing one more quick kiss, raising an eyebrow playfully as he sat.

"Well, all the practice in the world doesn't make a bit of difference now that your dad knows," Jacqueline replied, chuckling at his cocked grin, her laughter dying down at the dry expression that pierced his lips. She gazed at him for a moment before speaking again, "You know, you've been like this for the past week."

He abruptly turned to her, clearing his throat, "Like what?"

"Like somebody just ran over your dog," she said, rolling her eyes and staring back at him, waiting for an answer.

"I've just uh...I've had a lot of homework to catch up on, and it's been a little crazy at my house with the fire, that's all," he replied, swallowing.

She looked at him with a smug, disbelieving expression. "Yeah, well how are the repairs coming with the school?" she asked, deciding to change the subject.

"Good, they should be done here in the next week or so. Although I must say, Finn sure doesn't mind having the excuse to hold all of his classes outside," he said, smiling again.

"Oh, I have to tell you, the doctor said that if everything follows as planned, I should be able to come back to school in about a week and a half!" Jake said, excited at the possibility.

Hamilton forced his smile to remain, taking her hand, "That's great."

"Now I just have the deal with everyone knowing I'm a girl," she said, looking down at her hand as his thumb brushed against the back.

"Actually, I don't think anyone knows yet," Hamilton replied matter-of-factly.

Jacqueline wrinkled her eyebrows, "How could they not?! I was in my pajamas when they pulled me from the building."

"Well, according to Scout, we were both so black with soot by the time they pulled us out that he could barely tell it was us, let alone the fact that you're a girl."

"I guess they're in for a big surprise!" she said, leaning forward to place a small, lingering kiss on his lips.

"Yeah," he said, looking down again, trying to smile, "they are."

~TBC~

Okeday, working on having the next part out really, really soon. *big*
posted on 17-Oct-2001 7:21:49 PM by ZooBoo
Told ya I'd have this out soon, lol.

Part Eight

Swirls of white clouds cluttered the sky's edge, pushing down the encrusted patches of green shrubbery lining the horizon. The sun stood firmly in the middle of the ocean blue canvas, enveloping the earth at it's highest point. Stretches of small houses pushed away as a small car freed itself onto the peaceful country side.

"Remind me again why we're doing this." Hamilton said to his mother, turning from the transparent window to face her.

"Oh, come on. We haven't gone on a family picnic for ages. Besides, we hardly get to spend time together as a family anymore." she replied, directing the last statement more towards her husband.

"I was beginning to think that was the point." Hamilton countered, jokingly.

"Alright wise guy, we're her any how." his mom said, turning around as they pulled into a small parking lot.

Hamilton heaved a large sigh before opening the door and stepping out of the car. "This place looks a lot smaller than I remember it." he said surveying the small grassy hillside, lined with trees that no longer seemed to scrape at the sky.

"Of course it does." his father replied, stepping around the car next to his son, "You were only nine the last time we came here."

"Munchie, could you come back here and grab the picnic basket please?" his mother asked with her head looming inside the trunk.

"Sure." Hamilton walked to the back of the car and grabbed the wicker basket as his mother pulled out a neatly folded blanket, closing the trunk behind them.

They walked into the tall grass, finding a lightly shaded spot before deciding to settle for lunch. "Hamilton," his mother said as he set his load down, "why don't you go explore while we set everything up."

"Thanks mom." he replied, beginning to walk away. "Before you go, I need to tell you that we're having someone from the school board coming to over see the completion of the repairs. So I'm going to need your help next week for that, as well as for the open house I'm setting up for the committee, and one for the parents." his father said, helping his mother set down the blanket. "Also there are a couple of new students coming in a week from Monday, so I'll need you to show them around. They're from the Girl's Academy, so you might have to miss a few classes."

"Fine dad." he said absently, leaving to re-explore his past.

. . .

Jacqueline sat by her hospital window, watching a few children climbing on the play ground at a park just across the street. She had pushed the window open a few inches and was drinking in the sound of their laughter, taking long breaths of the warm fall air. The weather was beautiful with small cotton balls dotting the edge of the horizon, slowly drifting away, carried by the slight breeze. It had been five weeks since flames had taken part of Rawley Academy and she was more than ready to return to the life she had become so very fond of.

"Sneaking about again, are we?"

Jacqueline spun her head, startled by the sudden intrusion into her thoughts, smiling when she found Emma standing in the doorway, balancing bandages and treatment cream for her legs. "You know I wouldn't be happy just lying in bed all day long."

Emma set down the items and helped Jacqueline back into bed, beginning the ritual of removing her bandages to replace them with new ones. "I heard you might be able to go back to school soon." she said warmly, twirling the used gauze wrap as she spoke.

"In a little less than a week and a half, if everything runs according to schedule!" Jacqueline replied excitedly. "I can't wait to get back. You know, when I first came to New Rawley, I never dreamed that I might want to stay."

"You can be certain you belong somewhere when you know you'll miss it the moment you leave." Emma stated, watching the smile on Jacqueline's face grow.

"Wow that's cold." Jacqueline stated as Emma began applying the cream to her legs.

"You can feel that?" Emma asked, rubbing more against the new skin. Jacqueline nodded her head, shivers running down her spine from the sensation. "It looks you're starting to get some feeling into your legs. With any luck, they'll be as good as new in no time." she stated, this time the excitement coming from herself.

"You mean my legs could be healed soon?!" Jacqueline asked, watching as Emma re-wrapped her legs.

"Well, it takes months or years for everything to heal, but off of the record, I'd say you won't have that many more months to wait!"

. . .

Hamilton sifted his hands through the tall grass, letting his arms come to rest underneath his cushioned head. His eyes drifted shut, tracing a picture of the blue sky into his memory, the soft aroma of the settled morning dew tickling his senses. "Jake would love it here."

After a few minutes he forced himself up from the pleasant green bed, walking down the hill towards a small structure he could barely make out in the distance. The shade thickened as he made his way down, more trees gathering at the bottom. A small stream crept into his view as he approached what seemed to be a bridge...the bridge.

"I can't believe this is still here!" he said to himself, laughing. "I wonder..." He made his way onto it, peering off of the side in which the land had been blocked off by a tall stone wall many years before. "It is!" A large smile crept onto his lips and he turned, walking back up the hill.

. . .

Hamilton stopped at the top of the stairs, collecting his withdrawn breath, staring down the dormant hall. He picked himself up, after a moment, to enter a large classroom a few feet to his left. The room was bustling with workers, bringing in sets of chairs and adding final touches to the flowing white paint and equally perfect floors.

"Here you are sir." he said, directing his statement to a man in a business suit, apparently supervising the other men in the room, then setting a few large bags onto the desk closest to him.

"Thank-you Mr. Flemming." the man replied, turning back to the work at hand.

"I'll just be across the hall if you need anything else." Hamilton stated, turning on his heels without waiting for a reply.

For the past four days Hamilton had served as a runner of sorts for Professor Conrad, the man sent from the school board to over see the final repairs. He was sent out with messages, asked to retrieve various items, along with many other tasks that would have normally seemed ridiculous to perform...including getting lunch. It wouldn't have been as bad, he told himself, if he didn't have to keep up with all of his classes at the same time, leaving him with a lot less free time.

Hamilton made his way over to a desk in the corner of the empty room and sat down, pulling out a book from a backpack that had obviously been there for a while. He heaved a sigh, opening to a marked page, "Back to History."

. . .

Bella walked through the corridor of New Rawley Hospital, shifting her eyes back and forth between the rooms down the hallway. She wrinkled her brows, walking back up to where she had begun, obviously looking for something that was no longer there. After pausing for a brief moment, she walked down again, turning the corner towards the receptionists desk.


She had only gone a few paces when a small nurse emerged from a room directly to her right, barely giving her time to stop before crashing into the woman. "I'm so sorry...Emma?" Bella's face immediately brightened when she recognized the aged nurse.

"Bell! How are you darling?" Emma drew her in for a long, tight hug.

"I'm doing great! How are you?" Bella asked, pulling back from her smiling friend.

"Busy, as usual. But I'm guessing you're here to see Jacqueline...hmm? They just moved her to another room a few days ago." she said, walking down the hall.

"I see everyone still tells you everything around here." Bella replied, laughing.

"How else is this old broad suppose to get any adventure?!" Emma stated, leading her down another hallway. "Here she is."

Bella gave her another quick hug before knocking lightly on the door to Jake's room.

"Come in." Jake said, peeking over the top of her novel.

"So, I heard you've been talking about me." Bella said grinning as she walked into the room.

"Bella, hey girl!" Jake replied, setting her book to the side, giving her friend a long hug.

Bella stuck her hands into her pockets after breaking away and sat down on the edge of the bed facing Jake. "Sorry it's taken me so long to visit you again. My dad has been gone, so I've been swamped at the gas station. So how have things been going with you and your mom?" she asked bring one leg up underneath her.

"You know, I just can't believe how good she's been the last few weeks." she answered, shifting herself into a better sitting position. "It's like she's finally become the mom I've always wanted her to be."

"That's so great for you two." Bella said sincerely, smiling.

"Agh, I can not wait to get out of this hospital and back into school!" Jake said, fidgeting again.

"Now that's something I don't think I've ever heard." Bella stated, laughing. "So how are you and Hamilton handling everything?" she asked on a more serious note.

Jake looked at her, slightly confused. "Handling what?"

"You know, the whole getting..." Bell paused for a split second when she realized Hamilton hadn't told her yet, "...to go back to school thing." she finished, stumbling over the last words.

"Oh, I know it'll be weird at first, but it's definitely worth it. Besides, I have too many friends here now, it would be hard to have to just get up and leave everything."

"Yeah." Bella replied, looking down at her hands. She took in a short breath, looking up, "So, do you want to get out for a minute?"

"I thought you'd never offer." Jake said, throwing off her blankets.

. . .

Hamilton stared into the large reception area, full of stuffy board members and teachers. The school's repairs had been completed that day under the supervision of Professor Conrad, perfectly on schedule. So Hamilton's father had set up an evening to ensure the committee that the school was indeed completed in it's repairs...and Hamilton was stuck playing the perfect son at another boring dinner.

"Mr. Flemming," Finn's voice came from behind him, "I hope you have your English paper ready for tomorrow."

"Seeing as how the only thing I've been doing this week, besides running favors for Professor Conrad, has been homework, I can honestly say that I am prepared." he replied with an underlined sarcasm.

"Good to hear." Finn said, placing one hand on his shoulder. "Well, I'm off to mingle." Finn stood for a moment gathering his composure before heaving a large sigh and walking towards the guests.

. . .

Hamilton turned on the small shower faucet, letting the warm spring run down his back, a few small streams trickling their way down various paths along his face. He stood under the spray, letting it pierce through the nostalgia, forcing him awake. The weekend had finally arrived and he was grateful to be rid of the utter chaos of the last few days.

After pulling himself from the soothing shower and getting himself dressed, Hamilton wandered downstairs, pushing wet hair back from his face. "Hey mom." he said, spying his mother pulling cereal from one of the cupboards, after walking into the kitchen.

"Morning sweetie. You're up awfully early for a Saturday, aren't you?" she asked, jokingly.

"Ha, ha...No, I wanted to go spend the day with Jake." he replied, looking at her for permission, giving her his best pleading face.

"You know that doesn't work with me." she said, Hamilton tilting his head and raising one eyebrow at her. "Okay, not always anyway." his mother laughed.

"So can I go, please?!" he asked aloud, dramatizing his request.

His mother just smirked at him, "Oh, you already have me so you can dropped the puppy dog look."

Hamilton just grinned, giving his mom a quick kiss on the cheek, "Thanks!" Then he headed out the door.

. . .

"I thought I was going to die from laughter when Bella almost ran us into that really old, cranky man on the third floor, it was so funny!" Jacqueline said to her mom, laughing through her words.

Monica looked at her daughter, trying to stifle her own laughter, "Well, if you keep racing down the halls like that, you're going to..." She was abruptly cut of by the sound of someone knocking on the door. "Come in. You're going to need that..." she turned towards the door as Hamilton stepped inside, smiling at them both. "Hamilton, it's good to see you. I heard you've had quite the busy week."

"Um yeah, we just finished the repairs on the school, so the classrooms will be opened back up on Monday for the students." he said, walking to the end of the bed and tucking his hands inside of his pants pockets, looking straight at Jake.

"Oh fine, I'll leave you two alone." Jacqueline's mom said, looking back and forth between the two of them, rolling her eyes and chuckling to herself. "I'll go get some breakfast and be back in an hour." She picked up the small purse lying next to her on the floor, draping it over her shoulder and walked towards the door. "I'll see you guys later." she stated, shutting the door behind her.

"Hey." Hamilton said, walking over to the side of the bed.

"Hey handsome." she replied back as he leaned over, drawing her in for a long, deep kiss. After a few minutes he pulled away and looked at her, with a seemingly sullen expression on his face. "What was that for?" Jake asked, wrinkling her eyebrows, with a small grin. "Does it have anything to do with why you've been so distracted lately?" she asked as he sat down next to her.

"I've just had a lot on my mind." he stated, staring down at his leg. "...and I missed you." Hamilton forced a smile to his lips and looked back up at her.

"Well, I've missed you too." she replied, leaning forward and giving him another soft kiss. "So how was the open house?" she asked, straightening herself up.

"Ugh, I thought I was going to die from boredom!" he said, rolling his head back. "Talk about the perfect way to put me to sleep. I swear if it weren't for Finn being there, I would have bolted."

Jake chuckled to herself as she watch Hamilton overdramatically fall back onto the bed then drape his arm over her legs, propping his head up onto his hand. "Well, I'm glad you at least had some company."

"So what have you been doing to keep yourself busy?" he asked, taking her hand.

"Well, aside from the phone calls I've been getting from you every night," she said as he grinned, "I've been making frequent ice cream runs to the cafeteria. Bella stopped by too, the other day, and I think we almost gave one of the nurses a heart attack racing down the halls."

"I'm glad you've had something to do then." Hamilton replied cracking up at the last statement.

"Yeah, but I still can't wait to get out of here." Jake stated, reaching over and pushing back a small strand of hair that had fallen into his eyes. "The last time Dr. Blake was here, he said that I should be able to leave on Wednesday. So my mom said that she was going to go talk to your dad on Monday and arrange everything."

"That's great." he said, forcing his smile to stay in place. After just a couple of moments Hamilton sat back up and pushed himself off of the bed. "So, you want to go scare some more nurses?"

Jake just laughed, looking at the mischievous glare he was giving her. "Let's go Batgirl."

~TBC~

There we go. Part nine will be out here pretty soon too. ;)
posted on 22-Oct-2001 1:30:30 PM by ZooBoo
Part Nine

Jacqueline stared at the small, gray laptop that was now sitting in her hands, running her fingers over the top of it. "This is so great, Mom!" she said as she opened it, revealing the flashy screen. "It's like the latest version too."

Monica smiled at her daughter, thrilled that she was happy with the gift. "Well, I knew you would need one for school when you go back this week, so I had Justin find one for you and send it express mail. Since I, of course, know close to nothing about computer brands I thought it would be better if he picked it out."

Jake set her expensive, new computer down onto her lap and looked up at her mother. "Thanks mom, I really do appreciate this," she said, leaning over and pulling her mother into a warm hug.

Monica held on tightly to her, happy they were a family again. After a few minutes they pulled away, wiping at the invisible tears that were forcing their way to the surface. "I'm glad you like it....but no more hacking into my e-mail, deal?" she said, raising one eyebrow, trying to stifle her laughter.

"Deal."

"I'm sorry to intrude upon you Miss Pratt, Jacqueline," Dean Flemming said while walking through the door.

"Dean Flemming, not at all. Come in," Monica said smiling.

"I understand they'll be releasing you soon, so I thought I would stop by to discuss the situation at hand."

"I was planning to drop by, so I'm glad you came," Monica replied, after standing up and shaking his hand.

"Let's sit down," the dean said, then pulled an extra chair from the wall, seating himself across from mother and daughter. "Miss Pratt," he began, turning towards Jacqueline, "I have never had to deal with a situation quite like yours before. You broke countless rules, and that can't go unnoticed."

Jake could feel a small lump in her throat that was slowly starting to grow. Throughout the entire time she had been in the hospital, she had forced the idea of not going back to Rawley to the back of her mind, hoping that if she didn't think about it...it wouldn't happen. Now her fears were resurfacing, swirling into a sea of confusion and chaos, as she felt her heart fall.

"I am especially upset with the fact that my son knew about this, and you asked him to keep it from me. It was his decision, I will grant, but you both should have known better and he has to learn that rules are rules. I've been thinking a lot about the situation, whether or not to admit you back...You can not continue attending Rawley Academy......"

. . .

"Mom I'm home!" Hamilton shouted from the living room as he walked through the front door.

"I'm in the study!"

Hamilton walked through the living room, trudging up the stairs to find his mom shuffling through paperwork, occasionally making marks on one with a red pen. "Where have you been?" his mother asked, looking up from her busy work. "I've been trying to find you all day."

"I just needed some time alone to think. I was up in Jake's old room," he replied, sitting down on a box against the wall.

"I thought there was already another student in that room," she replied, ruffling her eyebrows.

"No they don't come in until tomorrow." Hamilton sat there in silence as his mother went back to putting a few red marks on one of the papers. "So why were you trying to find me?" he asked, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Oh, right," she said looking up again. "Jake's been calling for you." His mother looked down again, twisting the pen in her hands.

"Thanks mom, I'll go give her a call," he said, standing up and turning towards the door.

"Your father got a phone call from the hospital today." Hamilton stopped in his tracks, forcing himself to turn around, a stricken look plastered on his face. "He left a few hours ago. The hospital released Jake early this afternoon and..."

Hamilton didn't wait for her to finish, bolting straight for the door.

. . .

"Jake! JAKE!" Hamilton said, skidding through the door of her hospital room. The room was completely vacant, with no trace of its former patient, save for one single, dried up rose resting on the bed on top of a small folded piece of stationary.

Hamilton stood there for a moment, catching his breath, then turned towards the doorframe, resting his head on his arm. "No!" he scowled, pounding his fist against the wall.

After a brief minute Hamilton pulled himself up, turning towards the fate which awaited him. Forcing himself towards the bed he reached out, gently caressing the fragile stem, then carefully pulled the small note from beneath it.

Dear Hamilton,
I'm sorry I couldn't stay and wait for you to get back. My mother was offered a part in a production a few days ago and had to leave for the airport this afternoon. I have to make this note short as I am being ushered out, but I'll get in touch with you as soon as I can. I love you.
~Jake~


Hamilton slid down the side of the bed, clutching the letter in his hands. How could his father do this to him?! How could he tear away the best friend he'd ever had?!

. . .

"HOW COULD YOU?!!!" Hamilton bellowed, slamming through the front door, taking no notice as it crashed into the wall, wobbling on its hinges.

His father looked up immediately from the piles of paperwork on the desk in his home office as he heard Hamilton barreling up the stairs.

"How could you do that to her?!" he almost shouted, as he threw open the study room door.

"Hamilton th..."

"Do you realize just what she was willing to go through to stay?!" Hamilton implored as he towered over the wooden barrier. "What she's already gone through to stay?!"

Dean Flemming immediately shot up from the chair he was seated in. "Hamilton, I have far too much work to be discussing this with you right now! If you want to talk about it, you can come to my office tomorrow after school is out," he said, glaring down at his son.

"I won't just..." Hamilton began.

"AFTER SCHOOL..." his father repeated, forcing his voice not to rise, "Or we won't discuss it at all."

Hamilton glared at his father, clenching his jaw. After a few seconds he dropped his gaze, then turned around and walked out of the room. Without uttering a word he headed straight into his bedroom, falling onto his bed, simply staring into the cold darkness.

. . .

"Beep....beep....beep....beep...."

Hamilton blindly reached over to turn off his alarm clock as his gaze shifted from the ceiling to his bedroom door. He hadn't slept at all the previous night and his eyes were slightly blood shot from the lack there of. With as many thoughts that were racing through his head, how could he have slept? Jake was gone and the only thing his father would say is 'We'll talk about this tomorrow'?!

Pushing himself off of the still-made bed Hamilton dragged his feet towards the closet. He knew his father wouldn't let him skip school, even after everything that had happened to him in just the last few days. How could he be so heartless to everyone around him...even his own son?

After shrugging into his clothes Hamilton headed downstairs, glancing at his mother as he walked into the kitchen. "We've been meeting each other in here a lot lately," he remarked as she pulled a few items from the cupboard.

"I wanted to remind you about the new students that your dad needs you to show around today." Hamilton groaned, setting his forehead down on the table. "It's a good thing I did too, apparently."

"Mom, does he always look for ways to make my life miserable?"

"You know that this was planned before everything that happened this weekend," she replied, gathering everything together.

"I know, it just always seems like he wants to punish me for every little thing I do," Hamilton stated, pulling his head back up.

"Well, you'll be able to talk to him tonight after school gets out...and don't forget because he set a meeting back for it," she said, walking towards the door.

"He set a meeting back for it, I should feel privileged," he replied in a mock tone.

"Alright smart alec, I have to get out of here so I have time to set up this stuff for my class. I'll see you tonight."

Hamilton watched as his mother walked out the door...It was going to be a very long day.

~TBC~

Alrighty, there's part nine. Hope everyone's liking it so far *happy*

I'll have part 10 out here pretty soon.
posted on 31-Oct-2001 3:34:44 PM by ZooBoo
Happy Halloween everyone!!! Okay, so I just love this holiday and had to spread my joy, hehe. Right now I'm just sitting here sporting my nymph ears and stuff. Anywho, here's part ten of the story for you all. I'd love to hear what you think about it *happy* Thanks everyone for reading!!!

Part Ten

"I never thought I'd hate this place so much." Hamilton said to himself as he walked up the stairs to Rawley Girls. The halls were brightly lit, with sun shining in from the long window in the corridor. He took in a deep breath, slowly releasing it, then plastered a smile on his face as he prepare to enter the common room.

A blonde girl dressed in a lavender pleated skirt with a matching tank top and white button-up sweater was seated on the couch just opposite the door. She looked up just as Hamilton entered the room, smiling and standing to meet him. "Hi, I'm Samantha Veigh." she said, extending an arm.

"Hamilton Flemming." he replied, shaking her hand. "Um, I though that there were two new students to take around today." he said, a little confused.

"Oh, yeah, she was just finishing up on her unpacking. She said that she'd be down in a minute."

"Great. So when did you get in?" Hamilton asked, crossing his arms in front of him.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

Hamilton and Samantha both turned towards the door where a girl wearing a pink, turtleneck sweater and a loose-fitting pair of black slacks now stood. She was grinning mischievously and supported herself on a pair of hospital crutches.

"Jake?!"

"Man it took me forever to get down those stairs on these things." she replied, keeping her eyes locked with his.

"How...I.." Hamilton shortened the gap in between them with two quick strides, taking her up in his arms, and holding her tightly to him.

"Ouch, okay careful," Jake began, as her crutches clattered against the hardwood floor, "or you'll have me back in a wheelchair..."

She was immediately cut off as Hamilton pressed his lips to her's, slowing drawing back. "Promise you'll never leave me again." he said to her, the pain of the last few weeks sweeping through his eyes.

"Promise you'll never let me go."

"Which would be a good idea, right now, considering her crutches are lying on the ground." Samantha said, walking forward and bending down to scoop them up, handing them to Jacqueline.

"Thanks." she replied, chuckling.

"So let's get this show on the road, shall we?" Samantha said, strolling into the hallway.

"Alright..." Hamilton began, following Jake out, "First we have the illustrious tour of the campus, and by then our third period English class should just be starting."

"Great." Jake said, stopping in the hall. "So you're telling me I have until then to prepare my 'I'm a girl' speech?!"

"Yeah, pretty much." Hamilton replied, scratching the back of his neck.

Jake pinched her eyes shut, taking in a long, deep breath. After just a few seconds her eyelids slid open again. "Let's go."

. . .

"Wait, wait, wait..." Samantha spun around and began walking backwards on the grass in front of them, "he actually used the word foxy?!"

"I still don't see what's wrong with it." Hamilton stated, throwing a mischievous half smile at Jake.

Samantha just rolled her eyes and turned back around, slowing a bit to match her roommate's pace.

After walking a few steps Jake stopped, looking over to the group of trees where the awaiting English class now sat, listening to the clear lecture Finn was giving on their new reading assignment. "Why me?"

"Come on, it won't be that bad." Hamilton urged, giving her an encouraging smile.

"Besides, we'll be right here with you, and you did say you had other friends who knew."

Jake stood there for a brief moment,"You're right, I can do this." After just a few seconds she pushed herself forward, making her way to the small patch of lawn.

Ryder sat on the edge of the lawn, apart from most of the group as he paid little attention to the discussion that was being held. He found his eyes easily wandering as his concentration had been drawn to a group of three people approaching the patch of students. "What the..." Ryder sat up suddenly, desperately blinking his eyes into better focus. "Well, well." he began, resting back on his elbows as he plucked a blade of grass from the lawn, placing it in his teeth. "Welcome back Pratt." The rest of the group turned their gaze at the mention of their previously hospitalized peer, almost all eyes widening in shock.

"Ms. Pratt, it's good to have you back." Finn stated, purposely giving the students no time to comment. "I took the liberty of bringing a chair for you, as I knew you would have a hard time pulling yourself up from the ground." he said, grabbing a small chair that was previously leaning against a tree and placing it slightly back from the rest of the group.

"Thanks." she said, slowly making her way to the chair, avoiding everyone's gaze. Hamilton and Samantha followed her, sitting on the grass on either sides of her, while she set her crutches down, taking hold of Hamilton's hand.

"Alright, back to our discussion of Othello..."

. . .

After most of the class had already left Hamilton helped pull Jake up from her seat as Samantha handed her the stiff crutches. "Thanks guys." All three started heading back towards the Girls' Academy, in search of their next class.

"Jake," Finn said, strolling over to where she now stood. "Here, you're going to need a copy of Othello to catch up with the rest of the class." He handed her a small paper-back copy of the literature, pulling another from his bag. "Here is one for you as well Miss Veigh," he stated, directing his attention towards her.

"Thank-you," Samantha replied politely, taking the book from him.

"I apologize for not introducing you to the rest of the class. I'll do that tomorrow." Finn said, then turning to again address Jake. "It's good to have you back Pratt. We haven't had a decent coxswain since you left." After a brief smile he turned and started heading back towards Rawley Boys. "Oh, and Jake," he began, turning back around, "you'd better start getting ready for next season. The dean insists you be in good shape for the meets."

Jake watched as her teacher walked away, dipping his hands inside of his pockets. "Thanks Finn," she said quietly, beginning their stroll to the next class.

"I can't believe he's letting you stay on crew," Hamilton stated, catching up to her.

"Finn...or your dad?" Jake asked, looking over at him.

Hamilton's eyebrows furrowed at her question, while he contemplated what had been confusing him all morning. "So what happened yesterday?" he asked, watching the path in front of him. "When I finally got to the hospital and read your note, I was certain that my dad had kicked you out."

"That's what I thought too, when he told me that I couldn't continue at Rawley," she replied, as Hamilton glared at her even more confused. "Until he continued saying 'At least not the boys' side'."

Hamilton's face dropped. "Hey, uh, you know how to get to Miss McBride's class, don't you?" he asked, stopping them.

"I'm not sure," Jake said, trying to remember.

"I know how to get there," Samantha replied, as they both looked at her confused. "I met her in the hall this morning just before heading into the Common's," she laughed, as the two nodded their heads in understanding.

"Okay, well you two go ahead. I have something I need to take care of really quick, so I'll catch you after class."

"Alright," both of the girls replied, before Hamilton gave Jake a quick kiss.

"Aww, Kodak moment," Samantha said, producing an imaginary camera. "We'll have to add that one to the 'foxy' album," she stated jokingly before turning to head towards Rawley Girls.

Jake just laughed as Hamilton smiled, shaking his head, walking off in the direction of the boys' school.

. . .

Hamilton stared at the door for what seemed like hours. So many thoughts were now racing through his head and he just wasn't sure what he would say to his father. He'd been so upset with him over the passed few weeks and he'd said so many things to him that he wished he hadn't. Now all he wanted to do was to say he was sorry. Taking a deep breath Hamilton knocked on the door.

"Come in." Dean Flemming looked up as a familiar figure entered the small area. It was just as you'd expect to see from a dean's office: a large desk situated in the middle of the room with two chairs placed in front, filing cabinets on either side and mounds of paperwork stacked to the ceiling. "Did you need something?" he asked as he saw Hamilton entering the room.

Hamilton didn't reply to his father, he simply walked over to where he was seated and bent down, giving him a long hug. "Thanks Dad," he whispered after a few minutes. Then pulling himself back up he turned to head back out the door.

"I love you son," his father replied, with the slightest smile appearing at the corners of his mouth.

"I love you too Dad."

. . .

"Ugh, I hate it when guys call you baby!" Samantha replied, sitting down on a bench near the steps of Rawley girls.

"What's wrong with baby?" Jacqueline asked, chuckling as she lowered herself down next to her.

"I don't know, it's just so...ew!"

"Hey ladies." Hamilton said, walking up to where they had situated themselves, giving Jake a small kiss.

"Where have you been?" Jake asked, raising one eyebrow. "You were suppose to meet us after class."

"Yeah, sorry about that. You made it to all of your classes okay though, didn't you?" He stood in front of her, trying his best to look apologetic.

"Thanks to Samantha here."

"Hey, I'm just lucky that they make maps to this school," Samantha replied. "Well, I've got to get some other things unpacked so I'll let you guys have some time alone."

"Thanks Samantha," Jake said as she stood up, waving good-bye to them both.

Hamilton and Jake watched as Samantha went inside of the building. "So, how did your day go?" he asked, after sitting down and wrapping his arms around her.

"Well, I got through it," Jake replied, chuckling as he attempted to keep his legs from touching hers. "Since the rest of my classes weren't co-ed I didn't have to deal with any of the guys, and although Lena acted a little bit upset with me I think she's going to be okay with it."

"Good, I'm glad. So you think you might be too mad to go somewhere with me?" Hamilton asked, giving her a crooked grin.

Jake stared hard at him for a few minutes before breaking down. "Agh, you're just too good!" Hamilton's smile spread across his face as he laughed. "Well, let's go then."

. . .

"I still can't believe your mom let you borrow her new car," Jake said, as they pulled onto a long back road covered with a shifting, green canvas.

"What can I say, I'm very persuasive," Hamilton said, stealing a glance at Jake who simply crooked an unbelieving eyebrow at him. "Well, that and I promised to help her with her spring cleaning when it came around again."

Jake just shook her head at him, smiling. "So where did you say you were taking me again?"

"I didn't," Hamilton replied, giving her a sly grin.

"Well, I had to try," Jake laughed, leaning her head onto her arm.

Hamilton simply smiled as he steered the car down the thin gravel road. After what had seemed like hours he pulled of into a small parking lot, adjacent to the road. "Well, here we are."

Jake looked out onto the grassy hill just in front of them, "You brought me to a park?"

"Nope," Hamilton replied, opening his door and making his way around the front of the car, pulling on her door handle. "This is just the entrance point."

"Entrance point..?" Jake stated, swinging her legs out and pulling herself up with her crutches.

Hamilton closed the door and pointed them in towards a small stream that was creeping along the bottom of the green hills. "Yep."

They waded through the cool grass as they watched the sun begin to make it's decent down the edge of the sky. The lawn had just freshly been watered and Hamilton could feel the moisture lapping at his ankles as they sifted their way through the green carpet.

"Okay," Hamilton began, as the found themselves at the edge of the stream. "You have to close your eyes."

"Close my eyes?" Jake asked suspiciously. Hamilton simply nodded in response. "Alright," she replied, shaking her head back and forth. The moment her eyes slid shut she could feel Hamilton's arms wrapping around her as he began carrying her into the water, letting her crutches fall into the soft grass. She could hear the running ripples sloshing against his pants as he brought them further down stream.

"When I was a kid my parents used to bring me here every week during the summer time," Hamilton stated. "I remember wading up and down the stream, letting the currents push me all the way down the banks until I reached the bridge that leads over to the playground area. Then I'd grab onto the edge of it and pull myself out of the water and run back upstream to let it pull me along again."

Jacqueline could sense the sunlight being shut out as they reached the bridge, Hamilton leading them both underneath it. "It was like a game I played...seeing how far I could go before I had to reach out for the wall. Well, one day as I was stretching my arm out, I missed grabbing hold of the wall."

She could hear his feet reach the shore as Hamilton walked up onto the grass. After only a minute of walking he set her down onto a long, fallen tree log. The surface of the wood felt smooth as though the bark had been stripped of to make a suitable seat. "That's when I found this," he said, curling her up against him. Leaning over towards her ear he whispered softly, "Open your eyes."

As Jacqueline opened her eyes the color that had first been blurred began separating into dozens of shades, pasted onto a blue and pink canvas. Hundreds of flowers tickled her senses as she took a deep breath of the meadow's perfume. "This place is beautiful!"

Hamilton smiled to himself, watching as small puffs of clouds fell off of the horizon's edge. "I knew you'd like it here."

The two sat in silence as they watched the sun drift down to bed, its rays stretching as to loose themselves in sleep. Jake sighed as the last drop of orange was soaked into the earth, finally allowing itself to rest.

"You know, I never got to say thank you," she stated, leaning back into his warm arms.

Hamilton tilted his head to look at her, placing a soft kiss on her cheek. "For what?"

A small smile crept to her lips as she lowered her head back onto his shoulder, letting out a contented yawn. "Walking through fire for me."

~The End~

Well, that's it! The whooooole story. Hope you all liked it!!! Thanks everyone who read it. Cya when I Cya ;)
posted on 9-Aug-2002 11:54:07 AM by ZooBoo
hehehe, aww the memories of writing this fic. It was the first fic I'd ever written, and I don't know how many times I've had to go through and edit it, lol. It was actually just suppose to be the very first scene and end there, but everybody who read it told me I couldn't kill Jake off, so I continued it. It was written in first person perspective at first too, but I had to change it to match the rest of it. Took me about three months to write, I think.

So yeah, hope you enjoy the rest of it. *big* Thanks for the lovely feedback!!! *MUWA*