I finally have chapter three up after...forever. Anyway, here's more sadness.
Though his wraparound sunglasses were as dark as they could possibly be made, the sunlight still pierced through the lenses into his eyes. He hadn't set foot off seaQuest in the last five days and in truth had no desire to until he absolutely had to. And the "absolutely" wouldn't be taking place for another four or five days. So why on earth was he now standing out on the docks of San Diego?
Oh right. It was an order.
He scanned the docks, sighing heavily. He really didn't want to be out here. Technically, he didn't have to be here. It wasn't an order…exactly. More like a forceful suggestion with a little pleading and begging thrown in. In any case, it all pushed him out here...where he didn't want to be. He was perfectly fine in his quarters on seaQuest, making a trip out of his quarters when he needed to.
The suggestion to get out came from Dr. Perry. And knowing that he would ignore it, she went straight to the captain, telling him something about health and well-being and whatever. Obviously, his health and well-being and whatever; but that wasn't enough to motivate him and not quite enough to make Hudson order him to spend a little time off the sub. It was the few friends he had left that finally got him out. And that took a lot of begging and pleading.
"Tony!" Ford's shouting of his name snapped him out of his reverie. "Are you still with us?"
Tony looked at him. "Yeah…." He sighed again.
Lucas looked around at Ford, Henderson and Dagwood. Judging by the looks on their faces, he knew they were thinking the same thing he was.
Maybe they shouldn't have forced Tony away from 'seaQuest'.
Tony looked back out at the water. He could bolt if he wanted. No one would be surprised or try to stop him.
"You can go back, Tony," he heard Ford say. "We won't stop you."
You read my mind, Commander.
He was about to do just that when he swore he heard Tim say, "Don't even think about it, Piccolo."
He sighed for the third time. "Nah…." He looked at Ford. "So, where we goin'?"
So, where we goin'? Wasn't that what Tim had said the day he—
This time it was Lucas snapping him back to reality.
"Are you sure you don't want to go back?" Ford asked.
Tony started walking toward the ground shuttles. "No. I'm good. Let's go."
Lucas looked at Ford and sighed. Was this a good idea? He really wasn't sure.
Tony barely said a word through the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. By lunch, no more than ten words had come out of his mouth. Not that Lucas had been keeping count.
They stopped for lunch at a local deli and Tony had sat down and began eating his lunch as if he were the only person at the table. He didn't so much as glance at any of them and the only time he talked was when he put in his order at the counter. This wasn't what Lucas had had in mind when Dr. Perry suggested that Tony take some time off of seaQuest. But then, he wasn't sure what he was expecting. Maybe he wasn't expecting anything.
Lucas glanced over at his friend. Tony had only eaten half of his sandwich and barely touched his chips. He was now sitting back in his chair and staring at what remained of his lunch. He looked so lost; Lucas couldn't imagine how Tony really felt. They all lost Tim. But unlike the rest of them, when Tim died, Tony lost a piece of himself.
He glanced out the window, watching the cars go by. Cars. Tony would go on and on about cars. Until Tim died. Now he could barely get a word out of the man. What he had said by the moon pool yesterday was the most Lucas had gotten out of him since that day. He looked back at Tony. The guy looked like he was ready to cry. He longed to do something for Tony to help him; but in all honesty, he didn't know what he could do.
The sound of Lonnie's voice pulled Lucas from his thoughts and drew his attention to her.
Tony looked up at her, the lost look in his eyes more pronounced.
"Are you ready to go?"
He blinked a few times before answering. "Yeah…."
He lagged a little behind them, not paying much attention to where they were headed. Not that he cared where they were headed. It really didn't matter to him. He wanted to go back to seaQuest, but he wasn't about to let on. Pressing on was what he wanted to do; at least, for them. There was a drawback to that decision, however. Though at the moment, he was unaware of what that drawback was.
Thunder rolled through the sky. He had been so lost in thought from the moment they left the deli that he hadn't noticed the clouds that had moved in. Removing his sunglasses, he looked up at the sky. The cloud cover was gray, but not too dark.
It was going to rain; he could smell it.
It had rained that day, the day Tim had died in his arms. He hadn't noticed the rain pounding against the window of their hotel room when his best friend collapsed into his arms. Nor did he notice the thunder crackling through the sky when Tim drew his last breath. They had to pry the man out of his arms because he just couldn't let go. As if somehow by holding onto him, he would begin to breathe again and open his eyes.
"Tony," he heard Ford shout.
Tony blinked. He was on the ground. What was he doing on the ground?
"Tony?" The commander was at his side. "Are you okay?" Ford asked him.
"Yeah, I'm okay," he replied.
The other three were quickly at his side. "What happened?" Lucas asked.
"Don't know," he said. "Guess I just wasn't paying attention to where I was going."
Ford let out a sigh. He wasn't going to say it, mostly because it didn't really matter at the moment; but it looked more like Tony's knees had buckled underneath him. He decided to let the others think Tony had tripped; he was right next to a bench. Ford was positive that Tony didn't realize that his knee's buckling was what had actually happened.
He let it go, helping Tony to his feet.
"You sure you're all right?" he said to Tony, just to be sure.
"Yeah, I'm okay." Tony looked at him. "Really, I'm good."
Ford nodded and they continued on their walk.
A few minutes into the second leg of their walk, the one thing that they knew was the last thing Tony wanted to see came into view.
The hotel. The one they had all been staying at for a good chunk of their shore leave. Lucas had forgotten the hotel would be on this route and he was kicking himself for it. Any moment now, Tony would notice. Lucas deliberately walked behind him—just in case—and he nearly plowed into him when Tony stopped suddenly.
Lucas looked up.
There it was. The hotel.
Tony stared up at the eighth floor, right at the window of the room he and Tim had shared. The events of that night flooded his mind.
Tim stared out the window of their hotel room at the courtyard below. It was empty. "Tony. Are you ready yet?" he asked, still staring out the window.
"Not yet," Tony shouted from the bathroom.
Tim rolled his eyes and shouted back. "You take longer in the bathroom than most women."
He grinned as he moved away from the window.
Tomorrow was Tony's birthday, but because they were shipping out in the morning, they were all celebrating tonight.
He squeezed his eyes shut. Another headache was coming on. He hadn't been feeling well the past few days, but he didn't want to ruin Tony's birthday by being confined to medbay for it. Tony had told him he had to be there. It wouldn't be the same without him. Besides, what was one more day? When they got back to 'seaQuest' he would go see Dr. Perry.
Tony stepped out of the bathroom. "Hey, Tim. Does this shirt look—"
He stopped abruptly when he saw Tim leaning onto the small wardrobe, holding his head.
"Tim…?" He walked over to his friend and placed his hand on the man's shoulder. "Hey. You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Tim replied softly.
Tony grimaced. "Tim, look at me."
Tim turned to face him. His eyes were glazed over. Blood oozed out of his right nostril. Tim stared at him; fear was in both of their eyes.
"Tony," Ford shouted, finally breaking the ensign from his trance. Tony turned to him. "Hey. Are you—"
"I wanna go back to seaQuest now," Tony said.
Ford patted him on the shoulder. "Alright."
"I'm sorry, Tony," Lucas said as they began to walk away from the hotel.
Tony didn't acknowledge him. Once again, he was lost in his own thoughts.
Thunder continued to blanket the sky. Tony looked up. The clouds had grown darker in the—ten minutes?—since he had originally made note of the cloud cover. He pursed his lips and his gaze fell back on his friends in front of him. He let out a heavy, sorrowful sigh.
Lost in his own world, his pace slowed and he fell behind the group. A single raindrop fell on him, sliding down the side of his face. He dropped his gaze, watching the ground slowly become wet, falling farther behind.
"Tony." Tim called to him from a few feet ahead. "Would you please pick up the pace?"
"Yeah, yeah…. I'm comin'." He adjusted his hat. "Hold your horses."
"I am," Tim replied, grimacing. "And they're also getting wet."
It had gone from a nice, sunny day to a near torrential downpour in less than twenty minutes.
"Welcome to Seattle," the lieutenant said under his breath.
"What's wrong?" Tony said as he caught up to Tim. "You gonna melt if you stay out in the rain too long?"
He glared at the ensign, but only received a typical Piccolo grin in response. Tim shook his head and picked up the pace. He liked the rain—as long as he wasn't caught out in it. They were still some distance from their hotel and while they could call for a cab, there was really little point in it. They were already soaked, so grabbing a cab to stay dry was pointless. It would get them to their hotel faster, but they would still have to wait for one. And since they were out in the open, they would be just as well off waiting out the rain in one of the stores nearby.
Tim stopped when he realized Tony had fallen behind again. "Tony! Come on!"
He glanced to his right. There was a covered bus stop, so he ducked inside. Tony was still taking his time. Tim rolled his eyes and decided he would have to step back out, grab gill-boy, and drag him into the bus stop. He reached out for his dawdling friend, grabbing his arm.
"Sorry, Tony," Dagwood said as he pulled the lieutenant under the music shop's awning.
"It's okay, Dag," Tony said, wringing the water out of his hat. "Don't apologize. Ya ain't the first one ta do that to me."
Dagwood stood up straight and said, concerned, "Somebody else did that to you."
The rest of the group gave him a curios look.
Catching their expressions, Tony said, "It was in Seattle." Lucas couldn't help snickering. "Shut up, Wolenczak."
Tony sighed. He would rather be standing out in the rain right now. He liked the rain. Especially, if it rained hard. Because if it rained hard enough, maybe, no one would see his tears.
I hope you liked it. And hopefully, I won't take as long to get the next chapter up.
Please drop a review.