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23 June 2009 @ 11:33 pm
2010 :: pt. 6  
Title: 2010
Rating: PG-13
Part 6
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one in this story. Though sometimes I wish I did... Please don't sue.
A/N: This is separate from Under the Same Moon. Possibly a spin-off...still haven't decided.

The sound of rain softly beating the window and the flight attendant's voice speaking over the everyone woke Derek up. Derek glanced out the window; it was like someone had draped his window with a black shower curtain. The rain slowly continued to fall, as did his hopes for his visit here.

Marabeth had rung Derek to tell him she'd be his ride.

"I'm perfectly capable of getting there myself," Derek answered. "What about Julianne?"

"She's sleeping, Derek," his sister said, "I just want to see you."

"Are you sure she's not zonked out on us?"

"Yes," she answered quickly, "I tucked her in myself. We're still not sure about that, Derek--don't make assumptions."

Derek sighed. "How else could her pulse feel slower, Marabeth?"

"We don't know for sure," Marabeth said definitely.

There was something about the pause that followed that felt like Marabeth trying to reach out to him. Derek could already feel her warm hand on his shoulder.

"We're going to work this out. I promise." Marabeth finally said.

Derek mulled things over while watching for his luggage. He pushed his sunglasses further up the bridge of his nose and adjusted his baseball cap. Even though it was night in Nashville, he'd come prepared for any possible flashing lights. And I don't look conspicuous at all... He folded his arms and looked at his sneakers. This whole mess needed to be done with. Soon. Derek was already getting worried about Shannon....and a certain nut case.

"Derek?" Marabeth stood next to him. Her hair was in a messy ponytail and she was wearing a t-shirt and sweats with her tennis shoes. "You look like you're going to kill someone."

The boy looked blankly at his sister through his shades. "If I have to."

Marabeth stared at him.

"Kidding." Derek forced a smile and wrapped his arms around Marabeth. He felt her return his embrace with a cobra's grip.

"Oh, I can't tell you how happy I am to see you," she whispered.

Marabeth filled him in some more on their way to Julianne's house. She had found her lying lifeless on the floor of her bedroom after Derek hung up. The adrenaline and motherly instinct kicked in a blur. Marabeth remembered wiping Julianne's mouth of some drivel and seeing a pair of glazed eyes slowly closing. She carried her to her bed--she was so light, her limbs now comparable to twigs under her pale skin. The elder sister then saw light coming from Julianne's master bathroom. There, was the open medicine cabinet and the scattered wrappers and cartons that became the evidence that she, and Derek, pieced together all too quickly. Since then, if she wasn't running an errand that day, she was at Julianne's house. Her husband was looking after the kids as they drove. Marabeth retold the whole ordeal with such animation, Derek thought he'd have to take over the wheel.

"For the life of me," Marabeth kept talking, "I am not going to believe for a second that Julianne would even think of chugging a bottle of pills."

"But you said the bottle was open," Derek said. He kept his arms folded and shades over his eyes.

"I don't think it was empty, though. But, she has to stay alive.... I thought she'd be so open to the idea, the possibility--"

"Don't remind me," Derek uttered.

Marabeth made some kind of disapproving face; it was hard to see while wearing shades at night. "Derek. A life is a life."

Derek grimaced and shrugged. "Julianne is such a tiny thing...." He shook his head and frowned. "Probably wouldn't take the whole bottle to do her in."

"Darn it, Derek she's still alive!"

"Mare, watch the road!" Derek sat up in his seat.

The car screeched to a halt a few seconds after a stop sign. Another car at the intersection paused to honk at them before proceeding on their way.

"Asshole," Derek muttered.

"Derek, stop cursing, please," Marabeth shook her head.

"I have to stop a lot of things," Derek retorted. "There's something more important here, Mare."

It hadn't stopped raining since Derek arrived. The rain was letting up any more even when they arrived at Julianne's. All the lights were glowing a bright yellow from inside. Derek took off his sunglasses and left the rest of his things in Marabeth's car for now. Seeing the white house his baby sister dwelt in suddenly sent chills through Derek. Maybe it was the rain and the thunder in the pitch black sky against her bleach white house. Derek coughed some more, his throat itchy for something.

Marabeth snatched a key from under the welcome mat and opened the door. "She's upstairs."

Derek was already up the steps and walking through the second floor. He had to see her now. Julianne would probably open up to him at least. He had an idea of who could have ruined his sister. Julianne just had to confirm it, and Derek would be more than willing to bring justice. But more than anything, he just wanted to wrap his arms around his little sis again.

A hideous sound came from behind one of the many doors he passed. Derek walked in its direction.


He heard the sound again. Derek stopped and pressed his ear to the door. He didn't want to listen to what he was listening to, but it sounded like his baby sister puking her guts out. Derek felt utterly sick.

"Oh gosh," Marabeth held her breath, coming from behind Derek. "She'd be dangerously dehydrated by now."

Derek tried to keep cool. He turned the knob. "Julianne--"

"Don't!" A small voice answered. The knob started moving till it was locked still.

"Julianne!" Derek knocked on the door. "Jules--" He turned to Marabeth. "This is her bedroom, right?"

"She's been there all day practically," Marabeth answered. A haunted look was plastered on her face.

Derek felt cold sweat forming. He heard another round from Julianne and cringed. "There's gotta be something I can do now, Mare."

"I'm sure there is..." she barely whispered.

"Hey. I think you should take a break, Marabeth," Derek turned to his sister and held her shoulders. "I can handle it from here."

Marabeth suddenly embraced him. "I trust you, Derek."

Derek gasped, but he squeezed and pecked her on the cheek. "I'll holler if anything happens."

Marabeth walked away back downstairs. Now it was just the two of them. The way it should have been, Derek thought. He went to knock again.

The door opened halfway, and Derek saw for himself what Marabeth described.

Julianne looked at him with horror in her eyes. Emotion seemed only to show through her eyes, the only parts of her that had any semblance of life.

And the door closed in his face.

"Jules--!" Derek turned the knob with luck. She forgot to lock it. He took one step, and the door was coming back at him. He saw her, pushing the door with what might she had left. "Jules, it's me, Derek," he said. He reached out to touch her.

She gasped and pulled her hand when his fingers were inches away. Derek, completely taken back, didn't see and couldn't stop her shutting the door again.

"Julianne, what are you doing?" Derek sank to his knees.

"Don't touch me!" he heard her start crying.

"What...?" He put his hands on the door. "Jules, I'm your brother."

"I know," Julianne kept on crying. "I....I can't touch you."

"Julianne," Derek said, "I just wanted to hug you. There's nothing wrong with that."

She started sobbing softly against the door. "Derek," she choked.

"I'm here, Jules."

"I'm sorry," she murmured against the wood.

Derek ran his fingers down the fine grooves of the wooden door. His oringial raging storm of anger had subsided into a light drizzle. But he couldn't understand why Julianne wouldn't let him come in. He sat hopelessly against the door and listened for more from his little sister.

She wasn't sobbing anymore, that was good. But it was awfully quiet.

"Jules?" Derek pressed his ear to the door, then looked through the thin crack between the door and the floor. He didn't even see her shadow lying there.

She was gone.

"JULIANNE!!" Derek sprang up and grabbed the knob again. She had locked it this time. This was getting out of hand. Whoever the bastard was has hell to pay....

He kicked the door down, making a louder noise than he thought it would. He could already hear Marabeth coming back up the stairs. Quickly, Derek entered the room and looked around. The bed wasn't made, and her closet door and drawers were open to a crack; the bathroom door, however, was oddly ajar. Derek felt his heart thumping against his rib cage.

He went inside the bathroom. Above the bathtub was a wide window with curtains that billowed in the rainy wind that came through the open pane.

He spun around to see the mirror and medicine cabinet. Opening it, he saw a few prescription bottles, cold medicine, a pink bottle, and a few other things. Derek then saw what he was looking for in the disposal bin, but he didn't need to take it out. Its blue indicator and feminine packaging stuck out like a sore thumb.

"Derek!" Marabeth jogged in and stood next to him. She froze when she saw the window. "I thought you could handle it!"

"So did I," Derek covered his face with his hand. Now the anger started to boil again. He could name a number of things he was angry at but he was mostly frustrated with himself.


Derek's eyes bulged.

"That can't be..." Marabeth held onto him.

Derek bolted out the bathroom. Marabeth didn't stop him.

He ran. Ran all the way outside and stopped at the porch.

A flash of light, followed by a bullet of red and blonde zoomed from the side of the house and onto the street. Derek started running after her again. But at his pace, he knew he couldn't keep up with her. Water kept splashing in his face and everywhere from his shoes. And the rain showed no mercy.

"JULES!!" he screamed. But to no avail. His feet wouldn't let him move on. So he stood in the rain and watched in agony and disbelief...

...Julianne riding off into the stormy night, on a motorcycle he'd never seen before. Helmet and all.

Derek didn't know how long he'd been standing exposed. He probably stood there for an eternity, because Marabeth's hand on his shoulder felt like the sun. He didn't notice at first that she'd tried catching up with him and puffs of warmth from her exhausted lungs.

"She's," Marabeth heaved, "she's....going to hurt the--"

"She's gonna hurt HERSELF!" Derek shouted. A flash of lightning branched across the sky.

Julianne was turning at the very end of the road, in the corner of Derek's eye.

"And since when did she have a motorcycle for Chrissake?"

It was amazing what two women could do. Shannon never thought she could even lift Derek; this little, dirty man was probably much lighter than him anyway.

Shannon gave her number to Cheryl and sent her on her way.

"He's so different, Shannon," she whispered in their embrace.

Shannon squeezed. "I know." She patted Cheryl on the back before the dancer walked to her car. "Be safe, Cheryl."

Once Cheryl drove away, Shannon turned to the door. An indescribable feeling started brewing in her chest, and she couldn't tell if the shape her lips were making was a positive one. She couldn't control it now; she slammed the door and headed for the living room.

"Now..." Shannon spoke ominously. "What am I going to do to you here?"