Short: Caged

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She could feel his eyes on her.

No, not sense them--feel them. It was a gaze that traveled from her worn shoes up the length of her prison uniform to the messy splay of hair she no longer wished to deal with. He didn't know it, but she could see what he saw--feel the fear that he felt. She knew he was looking for her lips--her teeth. Looking to see if everyone was telling the truth...  if she really was a vampire.

"Go, or I will sink my teeth into that scrawny little neck of yours," she spat, remaining motionless from her position on the bed.

"I--I'm just bringing you your food," the new night watchman stammered, the bundle in his hands nearly trembling out of his grip. "I--I didn't mean to-"

"Just leave it on the floor."

"You think I can't break through those bars and break your spine?!" she snarled as the boy still continued to stand at her cell, gaping at her as she carefully lifted herself from the bed. "GET OUT!"

They often sent the freshest police academy graduates down to see Amelia. It had become some sort of game; they let her initiate some of the more egotistical recruits in exchange for them not coming and spitting at her during their breaks. Probably a fair trade, but it had come far too late. She had long since lost the ability to forgive them.

As he scurried away--and she dived hungrily for her food--she briefly recalled the one time she had actually wished she could have broken free.

They were cruel, her captors. Even her fellow inmates. It didn't matter that Amelia had never once pierced flesh with her fangs; the mere fact she could, that she had brought this dreadful disease into their peaceful, quaint town of Twinbrook, was enough for them to despise her existence. If she had murdered two men accidentally because of her appetite for blood, what more would she be capable of if she put her mind to it?

Much more, she savored as the juice of the sour plasma fruit dripped down her cheek.

Suddenly, Amelia recoiled from her unexpected lust for retribution; the fruit dropped to the floor and her body hurled itself against the back wall of the cell violently.

"No," she whimpered aloud. "You need to fight this... You're stronger than this!"

In a way, she was--at least, she was now. Before she'd been thrown inside this cage, she had been anything but strong. Weak, emotional, infantile... but no more. Prison had changed her, in ways that nothing else in life ever could--even this wretched virus. Every day, her humanity was stripped from her inch by inch, taking from her everything but the smallest glimmer of hope: a photograph. Her last anchor to her life outside this place.

She fell to the floor and turned to look at it, but to see that face looking back at her brought only shame. "I'm so sorry, Naomi," Amelia gasped from lips no longer able to sob. "I didn't mean to let you down."

The sound of footsteps approaching broke her concentration on Naomi's unmoving face. "What is it?" she growled when the footsteps stopped in front of her cell, reaching a hand to wipe the plasma juice from her chin.

"Clean yourself up--you have a visitor."

The "walk of shame", some called it, was something that Amelia dreaded every time she had to be let out of her cell. There weren't many inmates in Twinbrook's tiny prison, but every one of them knew her name and her crime--as everyone in Twinbrook did--and any time they got to see her they let out a ringing call of humiliating, sexist jeers. They were the kind of low-life scum that even her father would never hire.

"Knock it off, idiots," one of the cops sneered in a rather poor effort to defend her. "Don't make me tell you again."

She didn't mind so much today, though--she was willing to put up with anything, to see her.

To see Naomi.

"Heeeey, what fine minx is that?!" As she walked past each booth filled with inmates and their visitors, Naomi got her own barrage of cat-calls--but these were far different than the ones Amelia received. Heads turned almost any time Naomi entered a room, but these men had no problem offering whistles and beckons as well--but for a woman like her, they were easy to ignore.

She definitely wasn't there to see any of them, and she only had one thing on her mind.

"It is you... You came. You actually... came." Mia's voice was weak, but full of painful joy.

"Of course I did, silly... Why would you think I wouldn't?"

Amelia opened her mouth, but immediately shut it; Naomi didn't need to know about the games some of the less-that-noble guards liked to play with her.

Quickly, though, that train of thought was lost. Naomi. Naomi. In this colorless hell she'd been exiled to, Naomi was like an angel of mercy. Just seeing her face--her real face--made Amelia's heart come to life in ways she thought it had forgotten to move.

"You're lookin' a little rough there, sweetness," Naomi said with a small smile as she looked down across the table at Amelia. "Forget to brush your hair this morning?"

"I--uh--er, yeah... I'm sorry, I didn't know you were coming."

"Amelia. Honey. I'm just teasing... you look beautiful."

Naomi gracefully settled into the seat across the table. It was a little difficult to hear Amelia through the dratted speakers they had in lieu of the glass halfway between them, but since it was the tail end of the visiting hours for the day, the other inmates were quickly departing and leaving the competition for sound at least a little better.

It didn't make this any less awkward, though. "So... How you hangin' in there?" Naomi asked, trying to sound at least moderately upbeat.

Amelia shrugged. "Better, I guess. Been a rough couple of weeks, but," she looked behind her, to make sure no one was listening. "My dad came to see me a few days ago, managed to have a word with some of the guards to get them to be a little more... friendly."

"Better than nothing, I guess," Naomi sighed, sending a rather dirty look through the glass at a distracted officer.

"What about you?! Did you get the promotion?" Amelia asked, the corners of her lips turning up slightly.

"As a matter of fact... They're putting me on a jet and sending me to Barnacle Bay for a bit of corporate mind-numbing brown nosing, but when I get back I get a shiny new Vice President plaque on my door."

"Oh Naomi... That is amazing," Amelia squealed, even letting slip a little bit of her Southern drawl in her excitement. "Baby, I am so proud of you. They should've given it to you months ago, but at least they finally saw what they had in their pockets all along."

"Thanks, love," Naomi responded with a wry smile. "Alesha and I are going out to celebrate tomorrow night, but... It just won't be the same, without you there."

"I... I know." Amelia took a brief pause, before asking the question that she knew Naomi dreaded. "So... Have you talked to your brother lately?"


Her heart sank. "What is it."

Naomi took a deep breath. "Well... I did talk to Lamont, yesterday. There's been some... complications." When Amelia didn't respond, Naomi's gaze dropped towards the table, where she began to carefully scratch at a small indent on the surface. "Bradley had a little bit of a breakdown. Tossed all the others out on the street. He's still working on the cure, but he probably isn't going to get much of anywhere until he lets them come back."

"No... No, no this can't be happening," Amelia murmured, her eyes frozen wide open in horror.

Naomi frowned. "Honey, I'm sure he'll come to his sense soo--"

"No, no you don't understand my brother, Naomi. He's smart, but he's also a right stubborn git. We may as well put a death sentence on me right now and get it overwith."


It was too late. For months, Amelia had built up a stone cold, solid exterior, only to be broken down in seconds with one small piece of bad news. "It's over. I'm doomed, Nami."

"Mia. You are not doomed. This is a setback, nothing more. You hear?"

"No... No, you don't get it. I've been in here for almost a year, Naomi. A year! Brad promised it'd be done in 6 months, and if he's gotten so frustrated he's even lashing out at his friends... it's hopeless."

"Amelia, don't you dare say that. There is always hope."

"But what's the use?!" She felt a tear beginning to trickle between her fingers. "I'm dying in here, Naomi. I don't know how much more I can take..."

"You can take as much as you have to. You may not think you're brave, but you are--and I'm not going anywhere. If I have to, I'll pull some strings and see if I can come see you more often, but you can't let them win, Mia. You can't."

As Amelia slowly began to nod, Naomi made a come-hither motion from the other side of the glass. "C'mere," she said with a small smile.

"I--I can't, they're right there," Amelia said softly, turning around towards the two guards talking behind her.

"They're distracted--for now, anyways. C'mon, we don't have much time left."

Amelia warily eyed the guards for a few more moments, before curling up tighter and pulling herself up onto the table between them.

Glass--it was always glass. That nearly invisible barrier between the world she once knew, and the world she remained trapped in, was something Amelia cursed every time she got to see that blessed face. It tortured her with the ability to be near, to see, but never to touch.

But it never stopped Naomi. Fearlessly, she planted each fingertip against it, and then, finally, her lips; Amelia smiled, watching the way her lover's mouth and chin flattened against the invisible wall between them.

What was left over, though, was something more than just a smudge of lipstick on a windowpane. It was more than an act of bravery, or will, or desire. In reality, it was all these things--but Amelia saw it as something much less tangible. It was an imprint of hope, like a wish upon a falling star; and, above all...

... A promise: that someday, somehow, she would receive it.

"I love you," she whispered softly, pressing her fingertips against Naomi's.
"I know," was her response, eyes still closed to hide her pain. "And I love you."

Naomi could walk a million steps in heels and still make the next one look dignified. It wasn't that she didn't feel the pain: she just didn't show it. Not with heels... not with Amelia.

Her car was back at the office, but she had no desire to face any staff that might be working late. They all always had too many questions: How was Amelia? How'd she take the news? Is the HVV getting worse? They all meant the best, but she'd rather walk 30 miles in heels than lie through her teeth to people who had no business asking about her personal life.

At least she didn't live 30 miles away.

But her head hung lower and lower the longer she walked. The more distance she got from Amelia, the more her mask faded. She would never dare to let Amelia see; she had so little hope, how worse would she be if she knew Naomi had none either? But, for years, Naomi had carried the banner as the strong one... and she was getting tired.

She barely even registered when a cab slowed, its driver calling out to ask if she needed a ride; naturally, she declined. Naomi never took help, even when it was offered.

What's the use, though, she asked herself behind clenched teeth. You can't do this alone, forever.

She entered their empty, quiet house and tossed her keys onto the table by the front door. The lights all flared up at once, but even the array of colors that Amelia refused to get rid of didn't give the sense of warmth Naomi needed tonight.

With a heavy sigh, she kicked off her heels and stretched. It'd been almost a year, and Naomi still hadn't gotten used to making meals on her own... Delivery again tonight, it would seem.

She made a quick call to Hogan's diner for that pizza she knew was going straight to her thighs--and then let out a small gasp when she took a long look at her coffee table.

"I'm so sorry, Hootie, you must be starving," Naomi consoled Amelia's fondly named blowfish as she dumped in more fish-food than poor Hootie knew what to do with. "Mia'd kill me if she found out I forgot to feed you..." ... if she even still remembered he existed.

Things had changed so much since Amelia's trial--Amelia herself most of all. Every time Naomi saw her, something was different; from the smallest dimples in her cheek to the fact she didn't even remember that Naomi's birthday was only a couple of days away. The old Amelia would never have forgotten...

At what point did she know if the girl that had entered prison was still going to be the same one that exited? No--that idea was preposterous. She definitely wouldn't be the same... but would Naomi still be able to love this woman?

Naomi tried to imagine it, but it was simply impossible. Even though Mia had begun to grow in many good ways--she was definitely much less fragile than she used to be--there were still so many things she couldn't predict. Their relationship had withstood so much, but there was a breaking point for everything.

It was worth holding to, though. Beneath the pain of the empty home was still the memories lurking beneath it's surface: the sunburn Mia had gotten her first time falling asleep on the deck, when she popped her scooter's tire and together they had to try and figure out how to fix it... even the first time they lay underneath the sheets together, watching the stars through their window.

"I miss you more than you know," she spoke aloud to the forest surrounding their home.

Naomi turned and walked inside. The piano... it had stood silent since Amelia had gone. Part of the joy of their relationship was the music they created together--without the sound of her guitar, the keys felt cold under Naomi's fingers.

But as she sat down, fingertips draping the ivory and her bare foot clutching the pedal, Naomi couldn't bear the silence any longer.

Her mother taught her never to cry. Amelia had accused her many times of being emotionless, vapid, and cold... but her piano knew her better than that. For Naomi, music was her sobs and her tears--but tonight, she would be the only one to hear them.

Her, and those stars.

(Best viewed in HD.)

Naomi's hands fell away from the keys--and for the first time in many, many years, she began to cry.

Amelia was there in every room through Naomi's memories, but she couldn't help but feel that every moment, Mia was beginning to fade further and further away.

Maybe Mia really was dying slowly inside her cage--but where no one else could see... Naomi was as well.


Sharrie N. October 12, 2011 at 11:56 PM  

T______T Wah these two. It's just so so sad.

Amelia_Bedelia,  October 13, 2011 at 12:31 AM  

Wow, looking back at season 5, Amelia looks like a completely different person. You can really see how much of a toll everything's taken on her! Poor thing. I can't believe how some of those cops treated her though! (Or maybe I can, but it certainly sucks.) It's awful that she has to go through this because you can tell she'll never really be the same, even when/if she gets out.

I love Jeb for trying to do what he could, though! I can't imagine how crappy he's feeling lately :(

Super mad at Brad for making the cure even longer (which is ironic, given that his apparent reason for throwing them all out was because it wasn't fast enough). But you make it so hard to be mad at your characters! He's being so selfishhhh but he doesn't even realize it because he's probably turning all SUPERHERO/VILLAIN because of the splosion! Sigh.

Absolutely love the Han Solo-esque ending to their little meeting ("I love you." "I know."). It was so sweet/sad at the same time.

ASHKDJSA. The blowfish is named Hootie. That's awesome. XDDD Don't overfeed him though, Naomi! That's how Rachel killed our fish.

Gahhhh. *wipes away sniffles* That was such a beautiful post, Kaleeko! I think there's a difference between just plain drama and really well written drama that makes the latter so much more beautiful, and every time you write about these two that's what I get from it. They've always been my favorite couple in your story, and I really hope they get a happy ending, eventually! Nothing's ever been easy for them, so more than anyone else in DS, I want to see them living in a small house in the middle of nowhere playing music and raising kittens. But my favorite part of the post was that in addition to showing the sad, heartbreaking consequences, you also put in a lot of hope. After reading this I really feel like things are going to get better for them despite all the sadness, so I hope that they do!

Kaleeko,  October 13, 2011 at 12:46 AM  

Yah, it really really is... But in all tears lies a sparkle of hope. T_T <33

Kaleeko,  October 13, 2011 at 3:54 AM  

Wahooo! *swims in spamplosion* x_x <3

To be honest, I almost made Amelia more changed than I did! I really did want her to look and feel different, to give a solid contrast to her old self and how Naomi may be 'falling out of love' with the changed Mia, but the more I tried to write her as vicious and cold, the more it felt... wrong. She's definitely changed, but not quite as much as I originally intended! I'm glad it sticks out still, though! :D

Jeb may not have been the greatest dad for Brad and Travis, but his little girl is his world... I'm kinda excited to get to him and Mere's short down the road--it doesn't involve Mia much, but it'll show how much he's grown as a man. It was def important to throw in a bit about how he's been there, tho--because he definitely would be!

I honestly wanna smack Brad upside the head right now, LOL. I generally find his ego endearing, but he's gonna figure out real soon that his problems are affecting eeeeveryone around him.

HOOTIE THE BLOWFISH. How could I have them have a blowfish named anything else?!

Waaaaah~! *tacklesmooch* Awww, you give me so many warm fuzzies, girl!!! Thank you so much! Don't tell the others, but... These two... gah. Their love is something totally unparalleled in anything else I've ever written. Their struggles make them stronger--and honestly, once they reach the end of their journey... it will make it all the sweeter, after what they had to go through to get there. In all things, there is always hope. :) <3

PS: They will have kittens. Lots and lots of kittens! Just for you. ^-^

admin email,  October 14, 2011 at 8:05 PM  


Kaleeko,  October 14, 2011 at 8:14 PM  

T____T Thank you, Christina!!! lkahslgkhsg *tacklesmooch*

Also, I still have NO idea why you are jealous--your stuff is flipping amazing, lol. But, srsly, thank you!!!

Tender Wolf,  October 14, 2011 at 10:51 PM  

Poor Mia! I feel so bad for her. She sure doesn't look happy. Of course, I don't blame her. And Naomi is very brave but it's good that she gave into her emotions. It's not good to bottle them up inside. :( Oh, and I love their house! The last picture, with Mia fading in and out, is awesome! I may have to reinstall my program that lets me do that. teehee Oh, and where did you get the pose Naomi is using as she's leaning against the railing outside? Thanks! Great short chapter, I was wondering how Mia was doing. I hope she gets a cure soon!!!

Kaleeko,  October 15, 2011 at 1:12 AM  

Ya, Mia's in a rough spot, isn't she? :( I don't think anybody is happy in this situation, that's for sure! Hehe! But I def agree with you--it's about time Naomi let loose a little. She's been so tough for so long...

As for the pose for Naomi--took me a while to find, but it's the first one from this pack: -- I did have to do some minor photoshopping to her face to change her expression from a smile, though. ^^

Thank you, TW!! *squeeziesmooch*

Jennifer ~,  October 15, 2011 at 3:22 AM  

Gosh, I am so close to tears right now. :(

This was tragically beautiful post Miss Kaleeko. There were so many lines and words that really stood out and were a hit to the heart.

"Suddenly, Amelia recoiled from her unexpected lust for retribution; the fruit dropped to the floor and her body hurled itself against the back wall of the cell violently."
Just one of many sentences you wrote so beautifully in this update. I really feel for both of them but possibly Naomi the most. She seems so afraid that Mia will not be the same women that she knew before all of this terrible mess happened. I don't blame her either because I think Mia will definitely be different when or if she ever gets out. And wow, she's been in jail for a year. :(

Gosh damn, Bradley! Hurry up and discover that cure would you!

Love your shots in this too. That angle you always use is very effective!


Jennifer ~,  October 15, 2011 at 3:37 AM  

P.S. I thought your vid was so touching too. It made me want to cry even more! Absolutely loved it!
Your almost tempting me to try and create one for The Drifter. lol

I love the gif image too! :)

Nicarra October 16, 2011 at 2:18 PM  

Oh, the poor girls. Mia has to put up with so much.

But the tragedy is that her rock Naomi is so close to shattering to fragments. The girls need a miracle soon or their lives are ruined forever.

Althea quin,  October 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM  

Stunning and so sad. I am literally tearing up over here. The machinima was amazing and that last image had my jaw dropping

Callie,  October 24, 2011 at 7:55 AM  

Ahh I'm sorry I didn't read this til now, that was bloody amazing!! So so sad. Breath-taking. You are a genius with words, and you have a way of telling stories that really makes them spill over with emotions. Fabulous!!

Necolyne Willow Raven,  May 27, 2013 at 2:03 AM  

That last picture is just so beautiful...

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