John's footsteps were shaky as he moved over the familiar terrain. Something had shaken him from sleep twelve hours before, and he'd gathered up what little supplies he'd need and taken the ATV. He had clipped his gear onto his head and set out without a word to anyone other than Alonzo, who had been on watch duty.
So far none of them had raised him via gear, and for that he was grateful. He had no way of explaining himself. None that made sense. Out of the whole crew, he'd been the one to keep a sensible head about things. Until it came to her.
In a hurry to get to the pod and her, it was too late to stop himself when the terrian burst from the ground in front of him. He scrambled backwards, landing hard on his rear.
He growled, "Some warning next time." He pushed himself up. He dusted off his pants and took several breaths. The feeling that he woken with returned, and he knew this terrian was responsible for it. "Alright. I'm here. Tell me how to put this right."
Devon felt the heaviness starting to leave her, but the cold settled in. It made her ache all over, but she was frozen in place. Her fingers twitched, trying to pull herself out of the darkness by sheer force of will. "John," she mumbled. "Oh God, John. It hurts. It hurts so much!"
Her voice sounded strange to her ears. She frowned. It wasn't because her ears heard it. It was because it was in her head. The darkness remained, but she could hear sounds. And a voice.
"Shank, Devon. Don't tell me I've killed you anyway." His head fell forward, taking a tighter hold onto her cold hand. "Come on."
Anger bubbled up through him. He'd never once trusted the shanking diggers, and now in his desperation to keep Devon alive and with them, he'd let them tell him just exactly how to kill her.
He pushed himself to stand, still gripping her fingers. He looked around him as he desperately tried to remember how to reverse the cryosleep and put her back under. He'd have no way of knowing if it had been too late, but it was better to have that hope than have nothing at all.
Just as he was about to release her hand, he felt it. It was barely more than a twitch, but she had moved her hand. "Devon? Come on. That's it. Come back to me." He bent again, brushing her hair out of her eyes. "Just open your eyes." He needed to see her blue orbs to know everything was alright.
She could feel him just on the edge of the darkness. "I'm here, John. I'm here!" But again, the sound she heard was in her head. She focused on moving her fingers, and she managed to squeeze his hand. It left her exhausted, but she felt that she'd accomplished more in that movement than in her thirty plus years alive.
Most importantly, it seemed to quiet the anger she was feeling from him. She relaxed, letting the darkness take her once again. Everything was still and quiet.
He laid his head on her chest, content to have her heartbeat be his only companion. She'd squeezed his hand. He just had to be patient. The terrian hadn't promised instant results.
His eyes closed, falling into a deep sleep. He wasn't going anywhere until she was able to walk out with him.
Devon's hand came up. Something was on her chest. There were soft snores coming from the tangled mass of curls she'd know anywhere. Her fingers, somewhat stiff, moved to his head and raked through his hair. "John," she managed, all though her voice was weak and raspy.
He moved slowly, sure he was dreaming, until he felt her hand resting on his head. His head shot up as his eyes locked with hers. He was so overcome with emotion that he couldn't speak. He simply leaned closer and kissed her breathless.
Their lips parted slowly and pressed back together for a chaste kiss. "Don't you ever do that to me again," he breathed as he helped her sit up slowly. "Do you know how scared we've all been? Uly's been so brave, but he missed you. Missed you so much."
Her hand rested against his scruffy cheek. "What...what about you, John? Did you miss me?" She leaned her forehead against his as she held his gaze. There was nothing to stop them from being completely open now.
She'd almost died, almost lost this chance with him, and she wasn't about to waste anymore chances. She kissed him again, slower this time.
He pulled her slowly from the makeshift table he'd lain her on and into his lap. The kiss continued on for what felt like forever as he held her tight in his arms.
When their lips finally parted, he whispered, "Did that answer your question?" His hand tangled in her dark locks and searched her eyes. He caught her lips in a lingering, soft kiss.
"You must be thirsty. Come on. Let's get out of here." He helped her to her feet and made sure she was steady before taking her hand and leading her toward the hatch.
"John? Where is everyone else? Julia?" She squeezed his hand as he pushed her toward the opening ahead of him. "Uly?" Her lips fell into a frown.
"They're safe at camp. We...we pulled up stakes yesterday. Headed toward New Pacifica." He hesitated to tell her anymore. He didn't understand any of it, but here she was living proof that the terrians had spared her life.
"But how am I not still sick?" She leaned against the ladder, still clinging tightly to his hand. She refused to go up until she knew what had happened in her absence.
"Devon, I don't know. All I know is that I woke up in the middle of the night and knew I had to come back. Alone. It didn't make sense, but I did it." He'd have done anything in his power to bring her back.
"I got back here and there was this terrian. It showed me...I don't know how, but I knew what to do, and I did it." He swallowed back emotion.
"You mean you trusted my life to a terrian?" Devon's eyes softened, searching his for any other explanation. Her hand moved slowly up his chest and then against his neck. "That's something I never thought I'd live to see."
He closed his eyes. "This feeling, this overwhelming gnawing..." He touched his stomach and let out a hiss. "I had no choice, Adair."
She wrapped her arms tightly around him. "I'm glad." Her body trembled as he held her. "Thank-thank you." Her eyes filled with tears.
This planet was full of surprises. John Danziger being one of the best of them.
Devon's arms were around John as he drove them back through the darkness of night. He'd purposely left out Devon being healed when he'd touch base with camp. He'd wanted Uly to see her in the flesh. He'd wanted her to be a surprise. To everyone.
She gripped him a bit tighter as they turned sharply. "Alright, Danziger. You'd best get me back to my kid in one piece." She nuzzled her nose into his neck and let out a soft sigh. "I'm cold." She tried to huddle closer for as much warmth as she could.
He slowed the ATV and slipped out of his jacket. "Here. Try this." He helped her into it before they set off again. "Better?"
"Much." She rested her head against his shoulder as sleep finally claimed her.
They rolled into camp. Everything looked still and quiet. Except Julia stood off to the side, looking worried until she saw Devon. Her mouth fell open before she rushed forward. "Devon? How?" She had her pulled from the ATV, checking her over.
Devon pushed at her hands. "I'm perfectly fine thanks to John and the terrians." She glanced around. "Where's Uly?" She didn't care about anything else right in that moment. "Uly?" she called.
Uly's head emerged from the tent where he and Yale had been sleeping. His eyes went wide as he rushed forward. He was being lifted into the air and then crushed against his mother before he could even speak.
"Uly!" Devon spun him around. "I've missed you so much! You're okay? Had enough to eat and been sleeping okay?" She was grateful when he sat back in her arms and met her eyes.
"Yeah, Mom! I'm great! I knew you were okay! The terrians told me!" He hugged her again. He turned his head toward Danziger. "They told me you were the only one that could help my Mom!" He smiled wider. "And you did it!"
Daniziger stepped forward, sliding his arm around Devon's back. He met Uly's eyes. "Well, I guess those terrians are alright." He gave him a wink. The smile was wide on his face. Almost brighter than the sun.
"Daddy?" True's voice broke through the commotion as everyone that was awake gathered around. She poked her head around Bess' back. Her eyes lit up with sheer joy at the sight before her. "Oh Devon!" Her arms went wide as she came running. "We were so scared without you," she mumbled as her face got lost in Danziger's jacket that Devon still wore.
Devon's hand moved down to smooth the girl's wild curls. "I was, too. Being without Uly, you, and your Dad." Her blue eyes filled with tears. She couldn't pinpoint the exact moment that three within her reach had become the only family she ever wanted, but she was glad they were.
They were a month late in getting to New Pacifica so it gave them little time to do all that needed doing before the colony ship arrived. Somehow, they were managing just fine. The weather seemed to hold onto spring and summer like temperatures in this region a bit longer than where they had wintered. And the entire crew was grateful.
They'd taken a vote and the hospital went up first. It wasn't the size they'd originally planned, nor was it the shape or the structure type, but John, Alonzo, and Walman along with Uly had worked out a floor plan that seemed to suit everyone: humans and terrians alike.
It had been finished for just under two weeks when the planning of houses went underway. They put up Bess and Morgan's home first because they all agreed that Bess needed a proper bed being that she was about five months along. The ground was no place for her anymore.
The others hadn't minded staying in the tents, and it was decided that the colonists would have to put forth some responsibility for their own dwellings. Until then, they had plenty of other options. Tents, mostly.
Devon and Danziger were still occupying separate tents. At least they had been in the beginning. Somewhere along the way, Uly had taken to falling asleep in the Danziger tent and leaving John himself to find lodging, or at least, bedding, elsewhere.
That particular night, Devon had turned in early, and by midnight, John was poking his head inside. "Hey, Adair. You awake?" He wrinkled his nose as he saw her on her side and turned toward the tent wall. He frowned. It would have to wait.
She turned slowly. "Hmm? I'm awake. Something wrong?" she mumbled with a sleep filled voice.
"No. Nothing's wrong. Get on your boots. I need to show you something." He had to stoop in the tent's doorway to meet her eyes. "Hurry," he prodded as he gave her a boyish grin that was usually reserved for when him and kids had gotten into mischief.
She managed to wiggle out of bed and slip on her boots. "John, it's late. You'd better be dragging me out at this out for something good." She hadn't been sleeping well lately, and she had finally managed to doze off an hour or so before he'd barged in.
"You'll be glad I did, Devon. Now hurry." He didn't give her time to do anything else as he reached toward her, grabbed her hand, and pulled her behind him. "Just no more questions. It's about ten minutes from the colony."
Devon didn't mind the walk. It was a balmy night, and she was almost tempted to shrug off her boots and walk barefoot through the sand, but the sharp rocks jutted out in places no human would expect so it was safer to keep their boots on until they reached the sandy shore. "Danziger, are you sure you know where you're going? Can't this wait until morning?" She clung tighter to his hand as she tried to keep up with him without stumbling and falling flat on her face.
"No, it has to be tonight. Right now. Before it's over." He turned to face her then, letting her catch her breath. "It's beautiful, Devon. You'll love it." He caught her other hand and pulled her close. Their lips met in a tentative kiss.
It still amazed her them both that they were together. Kisses still felt like the first ones they'd ever shared. And even though they'd shared a tent and a bed, they hadn't been together yet. They'd wanted to take things slow. Now feelings were twisted and tangled, and she felt like she was going to burst if he didn't make a move soon.
He pulled back from the kiss and whispered, "I want you to wear this." He produced a strip of dark cloth and motioned for her to turn around. "I don't want you to see it until it's perfect. Okay?"
She gave her nod of consent and allowed him to place the blindfold across her eyes and tie it securely behind her head. He then took her hand and very slowly lead her toward whatever it was he was so desperate for her to see. She trusted him with her life. Her heart felt like a jackhammer in her chest. "John..."
"Almost there, Devon. Just a few more steps." He slowly positioned her to stand in front of him. He had one arm slung around her waist, holding her back to his chest and the other slid up her arm and slipped the blindfold down from her eyes to rest around her neck.
There before them lay a little inlet that held a glowing pool. He leaned into whisper into her ear, "The terrians told Alonzo that this only happens one night every season and that tonight would be perfect for you to come here." He left off that Alonzo had specifically said that both she and John should come there tonight. "Of course, I had to come and make sure it was safe first. Can't have either of us getting hurt or anything... But Devon it's beautiful. It's perfect."
He moved from behind her and took her hand. "The waters perfect for swimming." He released her hand to shuck off his shirt and throw it aside on the damp sand. He toed off his boots, starting to undo his pants when he turned to look at her. "What are we waiting for, Devon?" He dropped his pants, baring all for her to see in the glow from the pool. He turned then and took several running steps before he dived into the pool.
Her breath caught in her throat. The last several minutes seemed to be going in slow motion, and she wasn't sure if this was real or a dream. She felt her heart skip a beat as the sound of his body sliding into the water hit her ears. She was fumbling with her own clothing, trying desperately to rid herself of it so she could join him. Dropping her pants and toeing off her boots, she stood completely naked in the twin moonlight.
Her arm covered her breasts as she took several steps toward the edge. She bit her lip and glanced upwards and let out a nervous sigh. "Are you sure it's safe? And it's warm?" Her legs started to quake, but then suddenly, she was slipping down into the hot liquid that seemed to awaken her.
His hands were at her hips, pulling her close. The water seemed more like a hot oil massaging their skin than water. He whispered, "Haven't we waited long enough?" Her eyes looked like they were on fire in the glow from beneath them. He kissed her long and slow. His body pushed hers to the edge of the pool where there just happened to be a flat surface against the wall. His lips moved along her ear and down her neck.
He lifted her gently from the water and lavished the same attention onto her breasts. He took her nipple gently into his mouth as he flicked his tongue eagerly over one hardened peak then switched to the other.
Her hands were everywhere. She didn't know quite what to do with them so she let them do as they pleased. First, they tangled in his hair. Then her nails raked down his neck, marking his back as she dug them in a little to deep as the feel of his teeth on her nipple. "John," she moaned as she wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him flush against her.
She could feel his need for her as it pressed against her core. She let her head fall back as she shifted. She could feel every inch of him as he slid home. Her fingers were back in his hair, tugging his head back as she lavished her tongue and lips and teeth along his jugular. "Yes. Yes. Yes..."
Their bodies connected over and over. She felt the ripple of pleasure as it started from deep inside her and spread throughout her body. She couldn't have made a noise if her life depended on it. The feeling was enough to make her eyes shut tight as her hips ground against his over and over. She wanted to will her body to hold onto that feeling for as long as she could.
He held her close as he himself reached the point of no return. He felt himself exploding inside her, taking her deep and hard as he thrust upward. His face was buried into her neck, lips moving along her pulse point. "I love you, Devon."
"Oh, John." Her hands moved through his wet hair, lifting his head so she could look deep into his eyes. Her own filled with tears. She kissed him softly. Her voice was barely a whisper when she spoke. "I love you, too."
Devon sat up from the gurney that Julia had her laid upon while she examined her. "Six weeks? Is that what you said?" She reached for Julia's hand and pulled the diaglove back across her stomach. "Tell me. Is it a boy or a girl?"
"Boy. Seems to be developing at a normal rate." Julia looked up at Devon then, surprised to see a look of sheer delight cross Devon's face. "I take it this is happy news. John should be pleased, too, I take it. Devon, if I didn't know better, I think you already knew before you came in here today."
Devon's lips twisted up into a grin right before she gave Julia a nod. "I've known it all along." She touched her stomach with both hands. "But I wanted to wait just to be sure." She slid off the table and pushed her shirt down. "John's thrilled. He wanted to come with me, but the kids have him off somewhere building a fort or something. Something they found in Yale's databases about Earth. Another son," she almost danced from the room. "Thanks, Julia. I'm going to go and find John and Uly and True."
John looked up from where he and True had been clearing small trees and underbrush. They'd finally picked their spot, now all they had to do was get it cleared away and get to work building the structure that Uly was in charge of designing with True's approvals of course. He saw her at a distance. "Hey, True. Why don't you run and help Uly with the lunch he was supposed to be gathering?"
True dusted her hands on her overalls and nodded. "Sure, Daddy. Bring some back for Devon, too?" When he nodded, she scooted off toward home, zipping past Devon. "Hi, Devon! Bye, Devon!"
Devon chuckled softly. "Hi. Bye. See you soon." She reached the small clearing in which he stood and stopped to just drink him in. "Well, Daddy, how do you think you'll handle three children underfoot?"
He grinned from ear to ear as he approached her with arms outstretched. "I'll handle it just fine." He slid his arms around her, pulling her as close to him as he could get her before spinning her around. He kissed her deeply before putting her back onto her feet and taking her hands and stepping back.
"Woah," she whispered as her head spun. She was grateful that she was back on her feet. She squeezed his hands. "A little boy."
"Elliot James Danziger," they said in unison before they embraced once again, losing themselves in kisses and gentle whispers about babies and making memories and being a family.
Neither of them noticed when the children returned until True spoke up. "So when are you getting married? I mean, you've got the kid on the way and all, and you've done it all backwards. Doesn't mean you can't still get married, right? And do what Morgan and Bess did and do the forever thing."
Devon stared at her. "How did you know..."
True pointed at Uly. "He told me weeks ago. Said the terrians told him. I told him he was bonkers." She rolled her eyes. "But I guess the kid knows his stuff." She rubbed Uly's head of curls and gave him a rib nudge.
John squeezed her side. When she looked at him, he gave a slight shoulder shrug. "Kid has a point, Dev."
Devon kissed him then, moving her hands into his hair and tugging his head back as she gave him a wink. "And what if I say no? Then what?"
Uly rolled his eyes. "You ain't sayin' no. C'mon, Mom. Let's do this right. A dad, a mom, an annoying big sister, the perfect son, and the little peanut of a brother. Why would you wanna say no to all that?"
"Why indeed." She kissed John again, slowly rolling her tongue along his and then they parted slowly. Her breath hitched in her throat. "Why not? Let's get married."
The kids rushed forward. True hugged Devon. John picked up Uly and bear hugged him before they all ended up in some sort of family huddle.
And they all lived happily ever after.