I’ve read through this story and I think that it bears testament to my slightly dark outlook on life this past month. I apologize, lol, I had planned to keep it light and funny but my characters develop issues all by their lonesome. The newspaper article is a salute to Meleart’z fiction. You can find it here.
To Fame’s surprise, the doctor released her into her personal care and drove her to her apartment after her shift ended. The idea was that she would drop Fame off at home, run some errands for herself, and then return to take her back to the hospital. Fame wasn’t sure whether it was legal or allowed but she didn’t care. It would give her a few, precious moments by herself in a place she felt safe.
In theory, she could’ve summoned Lara back while she was still at the hospital, but after EPR’s questioning, she had been totally freaked out and frightened of being discovered.
On some deep, instinctive level, Fame knew that her powers had changed and that she would be considered a lot more efficient now than she was a couple of years ago. The shift hadn’t come in her own powers but rather at the development of technology and graphics in the console world. She didn’t want to get involved with EPR in any way. She really just wanted to be left alone.
The mere exertion of going to the doctor’s car had exhausted her and after explaining to the woman how to get to her apartment, she dosed off until the woman touched her leg to wake her.
“We’re here,” Dr. Walker said when Fame blinked at her. “Amy, should I come up with you?”
Unsure of what she was going to find, Fame shook her head sharply and looked at her apartment. She rented a room in the outskirts of town above a charity shop. It used to be old offices but was now rented out as oddly build, one or two room apartments. Getting out of the car, ignoring the pain in her shoulder, Fame thanked the doctor and remained on the curb until the woman pulled away. Then she turned around slowly and went round the back of the building because she had to use the fire escape to go to her apartment. It didn’t bother her normally but today, the wet metal staircase loomed in front of her, daunting. Closing her eyes, Fame steadied herself against the railing. In the sling, she turned on her PSP and waited until she felt steadying hands on her shoulder.
“Fame, where have you been?!”
The young woman opened her eyes to see Lara Croft look down on her, her dark eyes lined with worry. “You haven’t called me in days!” She continued her tirade as it started raining. “I have been beside myself! The last thing I saw when that bloody thing turned off was you slipping away into unconsciousness. And then, you just didn’t call me back! What was I supposed to think?!” She trailed off suddenly when she saw the expression on the young woman’s pale face, how she barely managed to keep from crying. The brunette seemed to sag inside herself and shook her head, pinching the bridge of her nose. She still wore her black cargo pants and tank top but this time she had a jacket on as well.
“Let’s get you inside,” she said gently and put a careful arm around Fame’s back, half pushing, half guiding her up the steps. “We can talk about this after you’ve had a nice, warm cup of tea.”
Fame chocked back a laugh as she shook her head, hoping that she had remembered her apartment keys in the bag that she packed at the hospital. She had been in such a hurry to get home she didn’t bother thinking about how she was going to get inside. When they were at the top Lara took her bag from her and dug through it until she managed to procure her keys. Fame remained silent until they were inside the narrow entryway of her apartment. There, she pressed herself against the wall and, to Lara’s surprise, sank down to the floor and started crying. Unsure of what to do, the Tomb Raider sat down beside her and carefully held her until she quieted down. They remained still for several minutes when Fame finally pushed herself up, rubbing at her eyes, looking very embarrassed.
“Sorry,” she muttered, not looking at the woman. “It’s been… crazy.”
Sighing in a suffered kind of way, Lara shook her head and stood up, gently patting her on the back. “Let’s get you some tea,” she said. “The world will be a better place after that. Where have you been Fame?”
The young woman grimaced and looked around her apartment to see if things were as she had left it. Her mail had piled up by the door but for the rest everything seemed fine. It came as no surprise to her that her plants looked better than they have when she left and there were even two new tomato plants in her windowsill. Hawk always pretended to be very blasé about his power but he truly loved plants. He had also pinned a newspaper article to her fridge which read:
‘Rogue London telepath kidnaps child, foils robbery in the process.’
Underneath it he wrote: ‘See, we don’t all have to be subtle to save the world.’
Fame didn’t find it very funny.
“In hospital,” she replied to Lara’s previous question. “They wouldn’t release me.”
The Tomb Raider raised an eyebrow as she put Fame’s old, battered teapot on the hob. “I’m surprised that they’ve let you out now,” she said as she watched the young woman search for her television remote. “You don’t look well Fame.”
The young woman snorted. “Ah am well enough, thank ye kindly,” she muttered. “The doctor, she’s going to come an’ get me later. Ah’ve just been temporarily released, ah have. Have ye seen me remote?”
Lara stepped out of the open plan kitchen and went to the umbrella holder by the door, fishing out Fame’s television remote and turning the set on from the passage, giving Fame a very strict look before she walked to the television and stood in front of it.
“That doesn’t sound like a normal course of action,” she pointed out. “And, this is no time for games Fame.”
The young woman glared at her and motioned to her Playstation 3. “Ah have to summon The Wanderer,” she said. “Ah got Hawk t’ turn of the system so tha’ she could go back and check up on Dogmeat. That’s why I needed to come back, to see if he’s alright.”
The flicker of worry in Lara’s eyes was so quick Fame almost missed it. With a suffered sigh, the woman stepped away from the television and went back into the kitchen where the pot was starting to boil.
“Don’t overexert yourself,” she said, not looking at Fame. “And be ready for anything. The Wanderer’s very attached to her dog.”
Fame grimaced and nodded as she turned on her system, waiting for the game to load.
She summoned The Wanderer and Dogmeat from a game called Fallout 3. It was a first person shooter, role playing game. It was set in a post-apocalyptic nuclear war environment, where The Wanderer had to leave the shelter of her home – a vault protected from the nuclear wasteland, to find her father whom had disappeared under mysterious circumstances. She was a volatile character with a lot of guns and Fame wouldn’t have summoned her at all if it wasn’t for Dogmeat. Where the canine liked Fame, its mistress and the gamer had a shaky alliance at best.
When she got the game loaded, Fame paused it immediately and took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she touched the television screen. She barely had time to open her eyes before she was suddenly knocked the floor with an anguished cry.
“You killed my dog!” The Wanderer yelled as she leapt onto Fame despite the young woman’s pained shout of protest. “He’s dead! Dogmeat’s dead!”
To Be Continued…