Title: If I Run
Summary: As it was, they'd shaved three days off their original route. No body died. That was the big picture that Devon Adair couldn't see. Sure, it was kind of hairy there for a minute, but it also reminded them they were still learning how to survive this planet.
A/N: This one is for Natalie and John. You know why.
Devon Adair wasn't pleased, and that was an understatement. She glared daggers into the back of John Danziger's head. After all, he was mostly to blame for this. He insisted this passage would be safer for the vehicles, but it had damn near cost Morgan and Baines their very lives.
Yet, she held it together for the sake of their crew. New Pacifica was on the horizon. It was so close that they could almost taste it. Losing her cool now could fracture their already physically and emotionally drained ragtag team of survivors.
He'd catch hell. Eventually.
It was hard as hell to pretend he didn't feel the piercing blue eyes staring a hole into his head, but they all had work to do. There would be no dilly dallying about. Not until the vehicles were in the clear. She'd have to like it or lump it.
As it was, they'd shaved three days off their original route. No body died. That was the big picture that Devon Adair couldn't see. Sure, it was kind of hairy there for a minute, but it also reminded them they were still learning how to survive this planet.
He turned his head, eyes hidden with his shades, as he fought the urge to smirk. She already wanted his hide. No need to make things worse. He pointed to the dunerail. "That won't unpack itself, Adair." He set about to finish his work on the ATV.
The camp had been hastily put up in the wake of their current predicament. It was pushing nightfall and traveling in the dark was definitely a must not. Something they all agreed on early on and stuck to.
Danziger was just finishing up the repairs on the ATV. He groaned as he saw a familiar pair of boots approaching. "Not now, Adair," he muttered nowhere near loud enough for her to hear him. "Just finishing up," he promised the faceless co-leader.
"Good. We have to make it through this passage tomorrow or its going to take twice as long to go the other way." She fought so hard to leave off that it had been her way in the first place. She tasted a bit of iron in her mouth as she bit down hard on her tongue to not say anything more.
"Devon, even if we have to turn around, we're still going to make it in plenty of time." He pushed himself out from under the vehicle and stood in front of her. His hands were grimy from the overused lubricant beneath the carriage. He wiped his forehead on his arm and gave a grunt. "Besides, we're over three-fourths of the way through. Be stupid to turn around now."
He grabbed up an old rag and began to wipe his hands. "So it ain't happening. Took a vote while you were off climbing that cliff with Alonzo. Nobody wants to turn around." He made his finger spin around in a circle in the air near his head. "We'll make do."
Devon's hands flew to her hips, and the daggers she'd been throwing his way multiplied time a thousand. "Who gave you the right?" She demanded, stamping her foot.
"Uh, you did. Remember?" He gave a snort, tossing the rag aside and gathered his tools. "You were half dead even after Julia gave you that cure. You weren't fit to lead. So you put me in charge, and never really revoked my leadership privileges."
Shank. He had her there. Her lips drew into a tight line as she stomped passed him, needing away from him before she committed bodily harm. "Fine." Her feet carried her away from camp and through the low underbrush and trees that covered the cliff facing. She needed some time away.
In truth, camp life had proved more difficult since getting her wind and being back at the head. She realized that the others respected John as much as they did her, and they saw no real reason to not have both of them in charge. It had been that way all along. Now it was just more official.
She didn't hear anyone coming after her until his hand reached to grab her right above the elbow and spin her to face him. Her heart leapt into her throat as it pounded mercilessly. "Danziger! What are you doing?"
He snorted and released her arm with a soft shove. "Keeping you from ending up with the same fate as Morgan and Baines. You wanna have made it this far and die?" He moved his hand roughly through his hair. "Shank, Devon! Use your head."
Things between them had been strained since roughly right after they'd pulled her out of cryosleep and injected her with something that helped ease her symptoms and then eradicated them entirely. That was over a month ago.
She shoved at his chest, catching him off guard and causing him to stumble slightly. "Don't you dare talk to me like that, Danziger!" Her eyes felt moist as she fought tears. She wouldn't let him see her cry.
"How else am I going to get through to that thick head of yours?" His anger had simmered down to a high boil, but he knew she could push his buttons like none other.
"Try talking to me like I'm your equal. Not some shanking know nothing imbecile, for one!" Her hands balled into a fist as she stepped forward.
He watched her hands, prepared to block if she decided a good knock to the head would do her justice. "You are my equal, Adair. And you know it. You're just too busy having a shankin' pity party to notice."
That was all it took. Her left fist swung out and cut toward his chin. He grabbed her wrist just before she connected and jerked her forward so she fell against his chest. "Gonna have to do better than that." He caught her right wrist a second too late and the resounding slap of her palm against his cheek left him stunned.
She stood there, half against him. Her blue eyes wide. Stunned was the only word she could use to describe her reaction. "John," she whispered, and he cut her off.
"No. No. No. You don't get to talk." He pushed her backwards until her back pressed against the cliff facing. He pulled her tight against him, using the wall as leverage to hoist her up like she weighed nothing.
His mouth fell hard onto hers, kissing her breathless. And yes, they were kissing. Her mouth and body pressed harder into hers as he finally released her wrists to let her tangle her arms around his neck.
And before they knew it, clothing was tugged here and thrown there. They were naked against the hard surface, and she found she loved it better that way.
He was inside her now, driving her closer and closer to the edge, and he didn't care that this was their first time for everything. She was perfect. It was perfect. They didn't let one another go until they'd each fallen over the edge and could feel their breathing starting to slow.
His lips pressed into her shoulder. His teeth were next. They beat a path to her ear. "Devon, I..."
"No, John. No. Please?" She was terrified he was trying to let her down easy. "I know you and True are leaving. I know this can't be more than it is..." Her throat felt tight and scratchy as she tried to fight the emotion.
"You think I could leave now after everything? Devon, you should know me better than that by now." He lifted her chin gently, searching her eyes as the last remaining bits of sunlight ebbed away. "There's nothin' back there to go home to. My life is here. Our family is here. Uly and you are here..." He felt his lips parting slowly as he breathed out, "I want to be here."
Her mouth moved to his, kissing him softly. "Promise?" She felt him nod as he kissed her again. Her lips parted, taking his mouth and tongue deeper with her own. Her teeth grazed his upper lip. "Good. Thought I might have to strong arm you when it came time for you to go."
He chuckled softly. "But listen, lady, you try and punch me again, we are goin' to have a serious problem." He gave her a smile and then hugged her close.
He had a pretty good idea that everything between them would be alright from here on out, or they'd just have to find a way to settle their differences. Something along these lines sounded perfect to him.