Today it might apply more to me than to the story.
You can go back to A here.
Everything was lit up and perfect, and the candles sparkled perfectly against the glass panes in the windows. There were chairs against the wall, and she could see the corner of the punch table, the servants had done an amazing job putting things together at the last minute.
But she wasn't going to the ball. She wasn't supposed to be there. She was supposed to be...
There was a loud bang, and something sprinkled against her. She looked up at the chandelier, concerned it was starting to drip wax. "It's warm in here, we should open the windows."
There was another bang, and a splintering sound, and she felt a rush of air. The heat intensified, and she coughed. Blue eyes appeared to her, and her heart skipped a beat. "Brody..."
He smiled at her, gently brushing something off her shoulders and her face. "Is anything broken?"
"The chandelier is..." Libby's brain caught up then, and she realized that wasn't candlelight on the windows. It was fire. Her room was on fire. There'd been a weird smell, and she'd gone to check on it and then...
"Did you take another knock to the head?"
"No." Libby coughed, struggling to sit up. "Gas. Knocked me out."
"Good." Brody hauled her up off the floor, and grabbed a towel off the floor, putting it over her head and shoulders. "Let's get out of here."
It wasn't just her room that was on fire. She could hear people yelling, and the sound of emergency crews coming. Her lungs were still burning, and everything swam around wrong and loose. She started to lose her balance and he pulled her closer under his arm. "Stay with me."
"Dizzy, can't breathe," Libby managed.
"And we'll worry about that in a minute," Brody said, shouldering open the door to the stairs. They were filled with smoke, but there didn't seem to be any fire yet. "But I need to get us out of the burning building first."
They went down the dark stairs, and Libby was sure she'd never have made it through them if Brody hadn't been doing most of the work. She stumbled along with him and before she'd even realized what they were doing they were back into the lobby. The fire prevention systems were going, there was a fine film of foam over everything and she slipped and slid across the tiles until Brody gave up and lifted her up.
"Injured at the corner," the manager yelled in the doorway. "If you're not injured please join the receptionist across the street so we can be sure everyone is accounted for!"
Brody made a beeline for the flashing lights of an ambulance. "Still with me?"
Libby coughed, her lungs burning, but managed a quiet "Yes."
"Bring her right here," someone called. Libby saw the gleaming white of an ambulance, and Brody stepped right into the back of it and sat her on the gurney.
"She's got smoke inhalation, but I think she was dosed with some kind of gas before the fire." Brody met her eyes. "Can you tell me what it smelled like, Libby?"
They put an oxygen mask on her, and she laid her head back. She still felt like they were moving, like the world was rolling around her.
Brody frowned. "Are you dizzy?"
She nodded, and about threw up.
"Don't nod," the paramedic muttered. "That might be general lack of oxygen. But her bp is a little high, and her temp seems to be going up."
Brody checked her arms. "You're sure there wasn't anyone in the room with you?"
"Yes," she managed, despite the elephant sitting on her chest.
"Do you feel like you can't breathe because you want to cough, or because your lungs aren't working?"
"Something on my chest."
The paramedic frowned. "That sounds like an opiate reaction."
"Fentanyl gas." Brody cursed. "Treat it like a fentanyl overdose."
"I can do that," the paramedic said. He pulled out a syringe and gave her an injection, while he set up some fluids. "But you stay right there and watch her because she's clearly having an adverse reaction and I can't be sure what that's going to do until it does it."
"I'm not going anywhere," Brody said, watching her. "Relax and let them work, we're okay."
Libby felt something warm crawling through her system, and her chest started to ease. Her head stopped swimming, and she realized she was just laying there watching the drip.
"Should we be going to the hospital?" Brody asked softly.
"We're blocked in. If it was an emergency we could, but she's got what she needs, we might as well just sit here."
"I'm looking for Captain Brody Halliday," Inspector Hussein shouted, over the din outside.
"I'm in here," Brody shouted, and Libby could see him stepping out of the back of the ambulance.
Inspector Hussein grabbed him in a full body hug, nearly lifting him of the ground. "Scared me half to death, Brody. How hurt is she?"
"She's fine, I'll take her off everything here in about ten minutes when this IV bag is done," the paramedic said. "She'll need to rest someplace quiet. And I won't give you the drug abuse lecture because if she'd done that to her self she'd have died the first time."
Inspector Hussein crawled into the ambulance and squeezed Libby's arm. "I'm setting up protective custody. You rest and focus on breathing and we'll take care of the rest."
"I didn't see anybody," Libby said, she had to swallow twice, her voice kept cracking.
"This time?" Inspector Hussein asked.
Brody scoffed. "I'm not sure they care anymore, Lib." He looked at Inspector Hussein. "I saw someone though."