A/N: I am so sorry about the wait on this. I have all intentions of finishing it and I'm in the process of re-reading both LJH and MOY in order to get the voices right since it's been so long since I've played in Fred and Lizzie's world.
This chapter is short, only half what it was meant to be, but I'm putting it up as a show of good faith and also because I need you guys to encourage me. I know how everything turns out, but real life (and a rabid plot bunny for Dukes of Hazzard) hijacked this story last year.
"Hold my hand and we're halfway there,
hold my hand and I'll take you there,
Somehow, Someday, Somewhere."
"Are you okay?"
Lizzie's voice startled him out of his reverie and he sighed before answering. "Just remembering."
She grinned knowingly. "It's probably a lot more fun here if you're invisible, huh?"
"Unfortunately," he agreed. "Can't we go somewhere else?"
"What time is it?"
Fred checked the watch he'd put on that morning. He'd set it on Eastern time for New York so he had to do some quick math before answering, "Um, almost eight."
"Oh good, we only have about 45 minutes. I guess we should get off when it stops again at our terminal."
Fred hopped up out of his seat. "No way, that's three more stops! I'm not going to be able to control my alter ego if I have to sit here five more minutes."
As they walked through the wide corridors, Fred kept looking around as though he were trying to see something out the windows as they passed by each gate.
"What are you looking for?" Lizzie asked him.
"A flight that's just come it but hasn't unloaded yet."
"There's one over there." She pointed to a British Airways that had just taxied up to its gate.
He noticed that the guy manning the desk there was young, probably very new. He grinned and pulled a slip of paper from his pocket. "Perfect." He handed her the pack he'd brought with him. "Here, take this. I'll be right back." He left her and went over to the desk at the gate. Putting on his best serious face, he walked up to the guy at the counter.
"Can I help you?" the man asked politely.
"Yeah, hi," said Fred, anxiously, "I'm supposed to be meeting some people on this flight, but I have no idea who they are, I'm just the driver that the company sent to pick them up. Problem is, I'm supposed to be meeting two more people at Terminal 4 in about fifteen minutes. Would it be possible for you to page them for me when the flight unloads and have them meet me there?"
"Oh sure," the guy said, "not a problem. What are their names?"
Fred handed him the slip of paper, and the guy did a double take. "Yeah," said Fred, "don't even ask me how to pronounce them. Big corporate meeting with the money bags overseas I guess."
"Well, I'll do my best."
Fred turned and went back over to Lizzie.
"We'd better get moving."
She stopped, but he pulled her along with him. "What did you just do?" she hissed.
"Why do you think I did something? ...Move faster."
"Because no matter how serious you pretend to be sometimes, you're still Drop Dead Fred."
He just grinned and walked on. They were halfway to their own gate when the airport PA system came on.
"Ayneeda Pissquik and Malexa Krost, please meet your party at Terminal 4."
Lizzie turned to him, her eyes wide with disbelief. "What did he say?"
"Something about needing to go take a piss, I think. Hope he gets there in time."
She punched his arm. "You're awful! You're going to get that poor guy fired."
"I prefer to think of it as teaching him a lesson in not trusting strangers with weird announcements."
The announcement was made once again and Fred burst out laughing. "Come on, let's go catch a plane."
After the de-icing truck had finished showering the wings of their plane with whatever it was that kept them from icing over during their flight, it was almost 9:00 am in London. The plane took its place in the queue of others slowly rolling down the tarmac towards the south runway and its eventual destination on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Lizzie found their seats and plopped down in the one next to the window.
"Hey," complained Fred, "you don't get the window the whole time. I'm not sitting over here looking at the back of people's heads for seven hours."
"We'll switch halfway." She rummaged through the brochures and travel magazines in the pocket on the seat in front of her and sighed. "You should have told me we were going to be on a plane, I would have brought a book."
"If I'd told you where we were going, you wouldn't have come," he reminded her. "Besides...," he opened his pack and took out a rather thick book and handed it to her. "I got you one the other day when I was here."
She looked at the cover. "Jane Eyre! I love this book."
"Figures, I asked the lady at the bookstore for something sappy and girly that would make me want to vomit." He ignored her rolling eyes. "Oh, here you go, she said she heard this was a good one, too." He took another book out and set it in her lap, trying not to laugh at the expression on her face, which had paled noticeably.
"Uh..." She picked it up and ran her thumb along the side, flipping through the pages until she stopped suddenly and opened the book to the page she'd just passed, redness creeping over her cheeks. "Um...isn't she a little...under dressed?"
"I dunno. What do you think appropriate attire for having a baby is?" he laughed.
She shut the book and handed Natural Childbirth, the Bradley Way back to him. "I don't think I'm ready to read that, yet."
He turned to face her, his eyes changing subtly with his demeanor. "It'll be fine, Lizzie," he assured her. "It's just another journey, and I'll be right beside you."
The flight itself was uneventful, and Lizzie nudged Fred awake as they neared New York.
"Hey, we're almost there."
"Riiight..," he yawned, "trust me, we'll be circling for half an hour. Wake me when we start descending."
Instead she elbowed him. "Don't go back to sleep, tell me where we're going."
"Well I have to know sometime. What time is it here?"
He glanced at his watch. "10:45...am," he said, closing his eyes once again.
Lizzie sighed and turned to the window. The sun shone brightly over the Atlantic, and she could see the shore of the United States in the distance. She remembered another trip, coming back from a meeting that Charles had attended overseas.
That life seemed so far away now. She had fallen in love so completely with her life in Underland, with Fred, and with those she'd met in Marmoreal and Southern that it felt like she was the stranger now, and this world as alien to her as Ephyne. As the polished metal and gleaming windows of the New York skyline came into view, she found herself longing instead for her cabin in Witzend.
Fred leaned against her and rested his chin on her shoulder, catching her thoughts. "It wasn't always like that, you know," he said, quietly. "I remember when most of what you see now was a lot more like Underland."
"You've lived a long time."
He looked past her, down over the sprawling metropolis. "Being alive and living are two different things, Lizzie," he murmured.