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         Alexis, stood still, her eyes darting between the door, and one obviously shaken Deanna Riker. She swallowed nervously before asking in an unsteady voice, "You okay?" When Deanna didn't respond, the tension Alexis was feeling doubled. She knew she shouldn't leave Deanna like this, but --"

 

         Just then, the office door hissed open. Alexis couldn't decide whether she should hope that Lana had realized that she had come in her transport, and had returned, or if she should be grateful that she was gone, and that she hadn't come back to make the situation worse. Whatever the situation was, at any rate.

 

         "What's going on in here?"

 

         Alexis turned at the sound of the confused and somewhat frightened voice. "Amanda!"  She moved slowly away from the still unresponsive Deanna. "What are you doing here?" It was an absurd question at the moment, who cared why she was here, so long as she was. "Listen, never mind that. I need you to do me favor, all right?

 

         "What's wrong with my mom?" The fear grew in Mandy's voice as she asked the question. She felt like a little kid who woke up from a nightmare to find herself all alone in the dark.

 

         "Your mom will be fine, hon." ~ I hope... ~ "I'll explain what happened later, right now, I need to go find someone. Stay here with your mom, get her to sit down and see if you can get her to talk to you, OK?"

 

         Amanda nodded with far more conviction then she felt. She started to say something reassuring like 'no problem', when she realized that her mother was now the only other person in the room. ~ Great, so now the only question is, how do I get my mom out of Fantasy land? ~

 

*  *  *

 

         The lift couldn't go fast enough. Alexis would have paced the whole way down if she hadn't been so intent on exiting the moment the doors parted. She needn't have worried.

 

         Lana Andrews sat just outside the lift, facing the doors. Her legs were tucked up under her, and she was staring at the now open doors, her glazed eyes never actually seeing Alexis, or for that matter much of anything outside her own tortured mind.

 

         However, Lana Andrews didn't need sight, or for that matter sound, taste, smell or touch. She already knew. Just like always. That damned sixth sense of hers was always telling her twice as much as she wanted to know.

 

         The thick, angry voice that left her mouth then startled them both. "Why'd you always have to follow me around, kid?"

 

         Alexis moved out of the doorway then, allowing them to hiss shut. Cautiously, she crossed the narrow hallway and slid down the wall to sit next to the woman ho, once upon a time, had been her only friend. "I don't really know. I guess because you were nice to me. I could tell you things without being afraid something bad would happen to me. You were a trusty." She gave a lopsided grin at the forgotten childhood phrase. Where had *that* come from?

 

         Lana looked at her then, really looked, with an expression of pain, anger, and pity. "Why the hell did you have to be different? You weren't to them, and you weren't supposed to be to me. Don't you get it, Al? You were never meant to be anything more than a meal ticket."