War on the Homefront

Eight years into retirement, James Raynor is just trying to make a life for his new family. But of course, things never go how we wish them to, and with the arrival of old enemies, his recently quiet life is about to have a bit more action than he had planned on.

James Raynor was not having a good day. Eight years into retirement and an army of Hybrids lands on his doorstep seeking vengeance for the death of Amon. Needless to say, his retirement plan didn't include a firefight with the sector's worst enemies since the brood wars. Hopefully these were just the last remnants of the hybrid army, after all, there were only about 50 in total here. Nothing, compared to the army he had had to deal with in the final legs of the Xel'naga War. Still, 50 hybrids was still too much for the military force of this backwater planet on the edge of the sector to handle. Plus, they had gotten the jump on him.

Turning his head so that he could see through his armor's visor, he sighed as he looked around at what was left of his military base that he had been "assigned" to after the War. Not to say that he had been unhappy with his new day job, it had allowed him to settle down after all these years, but the base was far from a fortress. Two platoons of marines, three Vikings, two medivacs and a single siege tank was all that this planet had had to begin with, after all, who would want to attack a poor farming planet at the edge of the sector full of dust, weeds, and more dust?

All he had left was one platoon, the medivacs, a single Viking craft, and the siege tank, which was now immobile in front of the base thanks to a lucky shot from their adversaries and some lazy maintenance workers. Crap, why does this stuff always happen to him?

Raynor walked around to the front of the base where they had dug themselves in. On his way, he passed the scared forms of the civilians that had been evacuated. They had been lucky, there had been just enough warning to get most of the population into the base before the main enemy force arrived. Lucky for him the population was only about 200 people.

Raynor reached the gate of the compound and examined the damage. He had three bunkers, two missile turrets, and the siege tank left for defence. It would hold, but not for long. He turned around and looked back at the civilians again, searching for two faces in particular.

Ah, there they were, a young girl, 6 years old, with red hair and brown eyes, and a little boy, only 4, with black hair and green eyes. It had taken a lot of convincing and two years of begging, but Sarah had finally agreed on having kids. In fact, after her initial reluctance and subsequent freaking out through the first pregnancy, she was actually overjoyed at having a kid. She said it was "The first good thing" she had brought into this galaxy. They had named their daughter Claire, as Jim had thought that the name sounded as beautiful as the child was. Then, only two years later, they had their second, a boy they called Mathew, after Raynor's long-time second in command.

Raynor was still amazed that Sarah had even been capable of having kids. After all, she had been through more species jumps than anything that had ever lived. Terran, Zerg, back to Terran, back to Zerg, and then freaking Xel'naga, and finally back to Terran, well, mostly. After the whole Xel'naga episode, she had gained the ability to change from her Queen of Blades look to her de-infested Terran look. Abathur had explained it as dominant genes becoming recessive and extreme regenerative capabilities using the genes to rapidly change the phenotype, or something like that. Apparently it was only possible due to the primal Zerg mutagen being more fluid than normal Zerg mutagen. It was really all gibberish to Jim. While Abathur expressed enthusiasm in the ability's use for infiltration and camouflage, both he and Sarah had had a different idea for its use. Namely, a last ditch attempt at normal life, or at least as normal as they could ever manage. Jim was no scientist, but he knew better than to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Thank heavens for that whole switching thing, Raynor couldn't imagine being able to settle down in any colony if every time someone saw his now-wife, they soiled themselves. Plus she seemed to be happy just the way she was. With the Zerg Swarm on a tight leash, Arcturus Mengsk dead, and the Dominion reformed, she wasn't really planning on leading any galaxy wide campaigns any time soon.

Speaking of the Swarm, Sarah had basically set them to the goal of co-existence and growth and left them to work it out themselves. As she had said, she wouldn't be the Queen forever, and it was best that they learned how to co-exist with the other races on their own. Still, Sarah was the head of command and had full control over the Swarm. You should never fully trust the Zerg, even Sarah knew that. Fortunately, Zagara had taken Sarah's talks about 'vision' to heart and basically tried to rule like her "Queen" would. "For the glory of the swarm!" and all that.

On another positive note, the rumours that the Zerg swarm had allied themselves with the Raiders and defeated the all-powerful Amon, had earned the Swarm a little gratitude, or at least some respect. Technically, they had helped save the galaxy. That plus the fact that there hadn't been a Zerg attack on a Terran world in years and no new Terran infestations, as per Sarah's orders, meant that sentient infested Terrans, such as Stukov and Sarah, were slowly being allowed to assimilate back into society.

Added benefit to this "switching" ability that she had was that no one would recognise that she was the Queen of the swarm. No, to everyone her she was just Sarah, a soldier who had been infested by the Zerg during the war and had moved here with her husband. She had even found a job being a Zerg "consultant" at a science facility. The pay was decent and she even had a few friends. Life was good.

For almost 7 years now, they had been a happy, if odd, family. Who could have guessed that James Raynor and the ex-Queen of-freaking-Blades would make a great couple, or even parents?

Speaking of his wife, she had left hours ago to round up the brood she had based underground a few kilometres from the settlement. Jim had argued about having a hive so close to town but Sarah had assured him that it was a small subterranean hive only for insurance and that the Zerg living there would never come close to the settlement. He was pretty glad right about now that he had lost that argument, but the reinforcements should have been here an hour ago. He and his men couldn't hold out for much longer, what was taking her so long?

A marine jogged up to him. "Sir, the siege tank is as good as we can make her after that shot on her treads, but we can't make her mobile until we get replacement parts." Raynor sighed. "So she's gonna sit on top of that hill for this whole fight then… Fine, guess it's not the worst that could have happened. What about the soldiers, how are they holding out?"

The marine, Michael, if Raynor remembered correctly, looked up at him. "The men are demoralized. I mean, they just lost half of their friends to those abominations, but they could be worse for wear. We aren't quite dead yet." Mike gave Raynor a half smile, but he could tell that it was just for show, the poor guy was clearly scared for his life.

Raynor had to instill hope in these men, or the battle would be lost even before the hybrids punched through their trenches. "Don't worry private, we got some of the best reinforcements in the galaxy on the way. We just got to hold tight until they arrive, which will be very soon. Later, we can all go have a cold one in the pub. Don't you worry." Raynor put on a confident smile but sighed internally. Goddammit Sarah, where are you?

Michael looked up at Raynor again. "Sir" he cleared his throat. "You've been saying that reinforcements have been coming for the past 2 hours. The men and I don't even know what kind of reinforcements we are looking for! What kind of fleet can come to our aid in such short notice?" Mike shifted a bit uncomfortably before continuing. "I believe that you are telling the truth, but some of the other men seem to have the idea that you may be lying to us." He quickly looked down in shame.

Raynor couldn't blame him, two hours of this hell and all he had told them was that a "force" was coming to save them. What was he supposed to have said? "Oh yeah, don't worry. A giant swarm led by the Queen of the Zerg is coming to save our asses, but don't worry they are all really nice once you get to know them." Raynor was pretty sure that would have gone over just as well as if he told them that he was going to nuke the whole base. No, better to keep them in the dark for now. If only Sarah would hurry the heck up.

Raynor put on as confident a face as he could muster and looked the soldier straight in the eyes. "Listen here soldier, this battle isn't over yet and I am sure as hell not gonna let these freaks of nature destroy this settlement. Or else my name isn't James Raynor. Now I know you lot are probably scared shitless, but if I say backup is coming, then it is coming." Jim straightened up and smiled. "You know what? Tell the others that if backup doesn't come within the next half our, they can come and watch me eat my own gun, ya hear?"

At this comment, Michael smiled and gave a small chuckle. Good, Raynor thought, his men need all the laughs they could get. "Well, I still don't know about this backup, but I'll be damned if any of the boys would die now and miss the great raider king eat a gun." He chuckled again. "Okay boss, we'll keep at it, but if these reinforcements don't show, I'm bringing the hot sauce myself." Raynor smiled at the man. "Alright soldier, enough chit chat. I want to see those bunkers still standing when I get there. Hop to!" Mike gave a quick salute before jogging off to go inform the men of their new promise.

Raynor was thinking over how he could actually end up eating a gun if Sarah didn't hurry her carapace-platted ass up, when he noticed a tapping on his suit leg.

Looking down, he saw that it was none other than Claire, looking scared out of her mind. She had obviously been crying. Close behind her was Mathew, looking equally worse for wear.

Jim bent down to get closer to eye level with his kids. "Hey munchkins. Why aren't you with your friends? It's not safe for you to be here." Claire sniffed a bit and Mathew clutched her hand a bit tighter. "Well… *sniff* we got scared, and we don't know what to do, and we can't find mommy anywhere! Is she okay daddy? Did she get hurt? When is she co…coming back?!" Claire burst out into hysterical sobbing and the rest of what she said was unintelligible.

Jim tenderly reached out and pulled his kids into a slightly awkward hug. That was when Mathew spoke. "Daddy… Where is mommy?" He looked up at him with big eyes while Claire was shaking slightly. Damnit, Sarah was always better with comforting the kids. Mom's intuition he guessed.

He put on the most reassuring smile he could muster and told them. "Mommy just had to go and get some help. Don't worry, I'm sure she's fine. If anyone could take on these hybrids, it would be her. Just you wait, when she gets here, the fight will be over before you know it. Your mom is pretty strong you know? Did I ever tell you that she single-handedly defeated two hybrids at once?" Claire smiled a bit at that. "Daddy, you have told that story a billion times! And mom always tells you to quit it. It's getting old."

Raynor beamed at that. Yes, he always bombarded his kids with stories about the war. It was a way to make sure that they understood what it was like. He hoped that they never had to live through anything like he had.

Sarah and Jim had agreed early on that it was best not to hide their pasts from their kids. Any sort of deception, no matter the intentions behind it, would likely come back to bite them in the future. So Claire and Mathew had grown up knowing full well that their dad had been the leader of the Raiders and that their mom was technically leader of the Zerg. Luckily, both of their kids had understood the meaning of the word secret and had yet to tell anyone about their in-famous parents. Thanks the heavens for that. Jim couldn't imagine having to uproot the family and move to a different planet. It was kind of funny, these two small kids probably had a better idea of what kind of "help" was coming than the rest of the soldiers here. Maybe they will be the only ones not shitting themselves if a hundred hydralisks came slithering to the rescue.

"Well, just like I told the nice marine earlier, you just have to wait a bit longer. Now remember what mommy and I told you. Stay together and stay safe. Now go back to the rest of your friends okay?"

Finally, Claire seemed to have composed herself enough to talk. In fact she smiled up at Raynor and giggled. "But daddy, we want to know how you plan to eat your gun!" Both she and Mathew giggled at that. Gee, word travels fast in a locked down military base.

Jim was about to answer when the sound of an explosion rocked the base, and the marine from earlier came sprinting up to the commander. Jim shooed his kids back towards the refugees before turning towards Michael once again.

"Sir! The enemy has broken through the bunker line! They are coming this way!" He gasped, trying to catch his breath.

Damnit, they were toast... Only one thing to do.

"Listen here soldier, I want all of the refugees loaded onto medivacs! We are going to hold the line while they…" Jim was interrupted when the ground heaved violently. The adjutant for the base suddenly broke out on the communication lines. "Warning, Warning. Unclassifiable psionic wave signature detected."

Jim smiled to himself. "On second though soldier, tell the men my gun is not gonna be my last supper. Our backup just arrived." The marine looked concerned. "Uh… sir?"

At that moment two nydus worms burst out of the ground at the base's entrance and unleashed their payloads of hundreds of zerglings onto the unsuspecting hybrids, pushing them back just before they broke into the base. The sky darkened over the marine's heads as overlords bearing banelings dropped their "bombs", thinning out the army of hybrids even more.

Suddenly, a voice in Raynor's head broke him from his astonishment. Sorry I'm late. I hope I didn't miss the party.

Jim chuckled to himself. "No darlin', you're right on time to be fashionably late, but maybe you shouldn't cut it so close next time." Next to him, Mike looked scared and confused. "Your, backup… was a Zerg swarm?!" Raynor turned to the soldier and looked at the man while trying to keep a straight face. "Only the best Zerg are my backup soldier."

Ha ha very funny Jim. Now are you going to tell your troops to fight or at least move out of the way? Or am I going to have to shove them to the side myself? Sarah interjected. "Right on it darling." Raynor opened his comm link to his troops. "Okay men, guess Christmas came early for you all, so get your wounded buts inside the compound while our friends here clean up our mess."

The marine just looked at him dumbfounded. "With all due respect sir… What in the blazes is going on?! First we get attacked by the legendary hybrids, then our reinforcements turns out to be the Zerg?! Please tell me I'm dreaming."

Ok, serious time, Raynor had to get the situation with his men under control or he may very well have friendly fire on his hands. Man, never in his life did Raynor ever think that one day shooting Zerg would be considered friendly fire.

"Look soldier, I will explain everything to you boys in the base, but I promise you that these Zerg are on our side in this fight. Just like they were during the Xel'naga war. They were much quicker to call on such short notice than the fleet, and before you ask, yes they are stationed here with the government's permission. Also let's just say that I happen to be close with their leader." He could practically feel Sarah snort as he said that last part. You could say that again.

Michael looked at Raynor questioningly at first, but then relented. "Sir, after what I have seen today, I'd believe just about anything you say. I just hope that these 'allies' don't turn us into mindless slaves when our backs are turned."

Raynor patted Mike reassuringly on the shoulder. "Don't you worry about that private. I trust these guys just as much as I trust you lot, and believe me, I have more reason to hate the Zerg than most. Dismissed."

With that, Raynor's bewildered men withdrew into the base. Raynor even overheard Michael mutter something about hell freezing over. Skepticism was something Raynor could deal with, outright fear wasn't.

The sounds of fighting were dying down outside the base when Kerrigan psionically contacted Jim again. I think that's almost the last of them. I'm just going to send my swarm back to the hive before I drop in. "Ok, we'll be waiting darlin'. I don't need to tell you what would happen if you came waltzing in looking all zergy." Jim felt Sarah laugh again. Yeah, me and trigger happy rookies tend to get off on the wrong foot if you know what I… She paused. Jim something's wrong. Sarah broke off. "What is it?" Jim questioned. I can suddenly feel the civilians' fear again. A hostile may have snuck into the base!

Raynor broke into a sprint. Shit, the civilians were in danger. Hell, his own kids were in danger! He should have told the marines to stay with the civilians after they withdrew.

He rounded a corner and saw exactly what he feared most. A hybrid was holding his little girl by the neck while the other refugees watched on helplessly. The hybrid seemed to be making a speech of sort, but it seemed to be at its finale. Dammit, he wouldn't make it in time, and even if he did, the hybrid would most likely kill Claire before he could fire a single shot.

"We may have been defeated here today, but Amon's legacy will live eternal! We will not be silenced! Watch how even in your moment of victory you stand helpless against my might!" The hybrid brought its claws closer to Claire's throat. "Any last words little Terran?" The hybrid hissed in glee. Claire sobbed as the hybrid loosened its grip ever so slightly to let her speak. "Mommy! Daddy! Help me! I don't wanna die!" Claire screamed.

Raynor put on a new burst of speed trying desperately to reach his little girl. He watched in horror as the hybrid raised its claws and let out a triumphant roar. It brought its claws slashing down… only to stop suddenly halfway down its swing.

If a hybrid could looked surprised, Raynor imagined that this one was looking that way right now. Dropping Claire as its severed arm fell limply to the ground, it looked down at the bone-like wings protruding out of its chest before dropping to the ground, dead. Behind it, stood Sarah in all her Zergy glory. "That's what you get for messing with my kids." Sarah practically spat at the dead hybrid. Raynor sighed in relief, but also filled with dread. This was good news for Claire, but bad news for Sarah. Now, how to explain this to the rest of his men and the refugees. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. At least this situation didn't involve angry all-powerful alien warriors. Oh… well, at least not ones trying to skin him alive.

"Mommy!" Claire wailed as she latched herself onto her mother's spiny leg. Mathew broke into hysterical sobbing and followed suit. It was a very odd sight, the Queen of the Swarm with two sobbing Terran children clinging to her for comfort. A cold day in hell indeed.

Ignoring the frightened protests from the refugees, Sarah reached down and gently stroked her children's hair with her clawed hands. "It's okay, you're safe now."

While Raynor was relieved by this new development, he could see that the refugees were absolutely mortified. He was pretty sure that some of them would have preferred the hybrid over this. He knew that despite appearances, Sarah was really a good person, even if she was sarcastic and somewhat callous. However, explaining that she really wasn't the villainous Queen of Blades anymore would be like trying to convince the civilians that the Devil had decided to adopt homeless bunnies and start an embroidery club. If only he had thought to guard the civilians after the attack, then Sarah wouldn't have had to step in so suddenly.

Before Raynor could formulate a proper approach to the situation, someone in the crowd spoke out. "Sarah?! God, is that you?"

A woman pushed her way to the front of the crowd. One of Sarah's friends from the lab, Gwen, Jim believed. The woman was a geneticist that specialized in Zerg ecology. She wasn't exactly tall, and had dirty-blonde hair that she always wore in a bun. Plus she had the thickest glasses that Jim had ever seen.

Sarah looked up at her friend. "Uh, hi Gwen." Sarah scratched the back of her head, looking embarrassed.

Jim face-palmed as he finally reached the civilians. Wonderful social skills Sarah, really. Still, it could have been worse. He was pretty sure that Sarah felt just as tense as the civilians. Not exactly a situation that either side would have liked to be in. Jeez, talk about being caught with the proverbial 'pants down'.

Gwen's realization had sent murmurs through the crowd. Looks as if Sarah wasn't the 'nobody' that she had thought she was on this planet. Makes sense. An infested Terran tended to get a lot of attention.

Raynor cleared his throat loudly, and everyone turned to look at him. While Sarah looked relived at the redirection of attention, the refugees looked expectant, as if waiting for a fight. Well, they were going to be surprised again.

"Ahem. Civilians, Gwen" He gave Gwen a nod. "I know that you all have just been through what, for most of you, was one of the most terrifying hours of your life, but let me be the bringer of good news by telling you that all hostiles have been eliminated."

Some of the civilians looked relieved, but of course, other's looked confused and some even furious. One in particular, voiced what most of them were thinking. "Well what about that?!" Said a man named George, who pointed accusingly at Sarah. Everyone turned again to stare at Sarah, who still had Claire and Mathew clinging to her legs.

God, Raynor hated George. Every settlement had at least one paranoid whack-job, and George filled in that role for this one. Right from day one he had been vocally against Sarah's mere presence on the planet, as she could quote "spread the Zerg infestation and enslave us all!" He called her spy, traitor and freak among other things, and openly slandered her to anyone who would listen for half a second. Most people ignored his wild antics, but he still stirred the proverbial pot just the same. That was when he thought she was just another infested Terran, he must be having a field day with this new revelation. Of course he would be the one to start spewing shit now.

"You mean to tell us that the threat has been neutralized when the Queen of Blades herself is standing not 6 feet from us?! Have you lost your mind Raynor?! I knew it! Your so-called wife has brainwashed you! I should have known she was the leader of our enemies! This was all just an elaborate infiltration plan wasn't it?!"

People were starting to murmur louder now. "You tell us that everything is fine and dandy and that we should all just go home while the Zerg corrupt this planet and enslave us one by one! Even your children have been taken by them, and still you say that everything is fine?! Have you no soul?! That vile, disgusting thing is going to kill us all, just as she slaughtered entire planets during the Brood Wars! Just another hundred to throw on the pile of billions of people that she has killed!"

Some of the refugees were visibly scared now. Whatever George was doing, it had to stop, or Jim may very well get a lynch mob on his hands. Plus, it was getting harder to try and ignore all of the insults George was throwing at his wife. Thank god Sarah was keeping it together, or he may actually have to resort to force.

George took another deep breath. "Well I'll be. The great James Raynor, just another puppet for the Swarm. I bet that she just uses you like a whore for her beck and call. Is that it?! That sadistic bitch is better left to die in a…"

Raynor stalked up to George and loomed over him, yelling in his face. "You can insult me, you can insult my choices in life, hell, you can even insult my authority, but you may not call my wife a villainous sadistic bitch!" Raynor was seething now. He turned George to face Sarah, "The woman you see standing before you is not the Queen of Blades, and I would be more than happy to show you how villainous I can be to people who insult my family! That so-called evil Zerg Queen just saved all of your lives and killed a hybrid single-handedly just to save a child. So please, tell me again that she should be killed!"

George seemed to redirect his fear at towards Jim at that moment. In fact, the refugees seemed to have forgotten about the Queen of the Swarm, and were now focused on Jim and what he would say next.

Jim sighed and composed himself before continuing. He had to show these people that they were safe and that George was full of bull, just as he always was.

"I understand that you are all scared right now. It has been one hell of a day, but right now you have to trust me that you are no longer in any danger." He motioned to the gate of the base. "Look, all the hybrids and Zerg are gone. You can all rest easy." He walked up to Sarah and put his armored hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him. Both Claire and Mathew were still clutching her legs for comfort. "You got this Jim." She said encouragingly.

He turned to face the crowd once again. "Listen, I know that you all think that this here is the Queen of Blades" He motioned to Sarah. "but she isn't. No more than I am a terrorist. Most of you know us, work with us, hell, some of you are even our friends. All I am asking you for is a little trust that we are the same people that you have gotten to know these past years. Zerg or Terran, we are all a community here."

He pointed at Gwen. "Gwen, remember when those zerglings escaped from their holding cells and started wreaking havoc on the lab?" Gwen nodded. "Yeah. Sarah came in and calmed all of them down while we got them back into their cages. I guess I didn't think about it then, but infested Terrans aren't really supposed to be able to control other Zerg are they?" She looked to Sarah for confirmation. "No, they aren't" Sarah confirmed.

This news seemed to relax some of the refugees, encouraging Raynor to keep going.

"And Gary, when you needed primal Zerg DNA samples for experimental vaccines, who was the one that got them for you?" Gary, another lab technician at Sarah's workplace, who was working on a way to prevent pathogenic infestation, spoke up this time. "It was Sarah. She brought me a piece of Carapace that had a combination of Zerg and Human DNA in it for me to base the vaccine on." He turned to his friends. "I don't see why the Queen of Blades would want to help prevent infestation." He turned back towards Sarah. "And I guess that you gave me a sample of yourself?" Sarah looked embarrassed again "Yeah. Sounds kind of gross when you put it that way."

Raynor knew of at least one other instance when Sarah helped her colleagues, and this one was the real kicker. "Hank, when the lab caught fire from a faulty electrical connection, who was the one that dug you out of the burning rubble?" Hank was the janitor for the lab. He had been working late one night when the lab caught fire and he became trapped under 4 feet of burning concrete and rebar. Luckily for him, Sarah had also been working late and had dug him out using her psionic powers and superior strength, even without being in her Zerg form.

Hank looked up at Sarah, who nodded at him to continue. Hank then tuned to face the crowd. "Yeah, I almost died that day. If Sarah hadn't dug me out I wouldn't be here right now. I mean like, I have seen some stuff in my days, but a single woman moving 2 tonnes of rubble with her mind? Crazy. I never really knew her before that day, but hell, she and Raynor even let me sleep on their couch that night so that I wouldn't have to be alone in the aftermath. I mean, if that had some sort of evil ulterior motive, I don't see it. She didn't have to save me. I couldn't give anything in return, and yet she still did." He raised his voice again so that everyone could hear. "I don't know about you but that doesn't seem like the Queen of Blades to me."

George was red in the face and looked as if he would burst. Fuming, he walked right up to Sarah… and punched her in the face, hard.

Everyone held their breath, waiting for a reaction. Sarah didn't even try to dodge it. She just took it, straightened up, and looked George right in the face. "I get that you hate me, you have every right to, but you're going to have to do more than that to make me hate you back."

That just made George angrier. "You bitch! You think that you can be all nice here and that will make up for all of the hell you put the entire human race through?! Will that bring back the billions you butchered?! Will that bring back my wife!? My kids!? All you Zerg are good for is killing things! Where was all that mercy when you burned my town to the ground and infested all of my friends!? I hate you! All of you!"

He punched her in the shoulder this time, but he was getting weaker. "I… hate you…" He choked out, and that was when the tears started to roll down his face. He just sunk to the ground, crying. Claire, bless her soul, cautiously walked out from behind Sarah and put a small hand on George's shoulder.

"It's okay mister. I'm sorry that you lost your wife and kids. That must have been really sad, but, I don't think that is something that my mommy would do."

Sarah reached down and pulled Claire back. "Claire, you don't know that. I was living and doing stuff long before you were born. You don't know what I was like before you were around. It's just, really complicated okay? Leave him be."

Claire just stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. "But you wouldn't do something like that! Not the mommy I know!" Claire turned and yelled at the rest of the crowd. "Stop bullying my mom! My mom is not a murderer! She is the best mom in the world and I don't want you hurting her anymore!"

The crowd looked pretty dumbfounded that the little girl had just said all of that, and equally astounded that George the Zerg-hater had burst into tears in front of his most hated enemy. Raynor was equally impressed, he knew that Claire was pretty outspoken, but that was a whole new level. To his and everyone else's surprise, it was actually George that spoke out next.

"No, I guess your mom isn't who we thought she was." He muttered as he stood up and turned to Sarah. George sighed and seemed to let all of the anger and hate flow out of him.

"All these years, I blamed you and all of the Zerg for the death of my family. It was just easier to pin all the blame on you than believe that the Zerg had just been under the control of that old deity Amon. But seeing you now, I can't keep telling myself that you are the same person I saw all those years ago."

He sighed again, composing himself. "I saw you on the day that my family died you know? Our eyes met as I was cowering under some rubble. I just can't convince myself that the eyes of that monster are the same ones that I am looking into right now. I mean, on that day all I saw was rage, hate, and that stupid smug smile, but now, looking at the face I thought belonged to my worst enemy, I just see sorrow and regret." He chuckled a bit. "Plus I'm pretty sure your eye were orange before, not green and purple. No, I have to let go of the past and move on with my life. When you moved here, I thought that I could just use you as my scapegoat for the piece of shit my life has become, and that was before I knew you were the leader of the Swarm. But if I'm honest with myself, my life being shit is just my fault." He reached out a hand "I… Forgive you, Sarah Kerrigan, no, Sarah Raynor, for everything. The Queen of Blades however, can go burn in hell." He smiled a bit "but from what I can tell, I think that she already is."

Sarah smiled and took his hand in hers. "George, I really am sorry for what happened to your family." George let go of Sarah's hand and walked back to the crowd, muttering to himself, "Yeah well, that wasn't your fault anyway."

The refugees seemed to relax for the most part. They were still wary, but truth was that most of them knew Sarah or had heard about her. Some of Sarah's closer friends, like Gwen, Gary, and Hank, even approached her with apologies and questions. Raynor relaxed. He was pretty sure that she could handle curious civilians, especially her friends.

Claire and Mathew were now standing next to Jim, as they had migrated away from their mom when the other adults approached her. "Daddy?" Mathew asked, "Is mom really the Queen of Blades that all of the people at school talk about?" Raynor looked at Sarah again. She looked flustered and a bit confused, but not scary at all. At least not to him. He caught her eye and she gave him a weak smile, giving him a clawed thumbs up that everything was okay.

Jim looked down at his kids again. "Mathew, if your mom was the Queen of Blades, then I wouldn't have married her. Now go wait by the van, I'll drive you home after I get this armour off. I'm pretty sure you mom is going to be here a while."

The kids started to walk to the minivan while Raynor gave one last glance at the mass of refugees. They were starting to gather there things and meander back to their homes. Most of them gave Sarah a very wide berth, but some didn't seem to mind her presence. This had turned into a nice tidbit of Public Relations. Oh well, so much for normalcy and a calm retirement.

Yes, Hybrid attacks had never been a part of the retirement plan he had dreamed up years ago, but hey, neither was marrying the Queen of the Zerg.

As Raynor took one last look at his wife, drowning in a sea of questions, and his beautiful kids, waiting patiently and playing in the dirt by the van, Raynor made the realization that in all honesty he wouldn't have wanted his retirement to be any other way.

Hey, perhaps this day wasn't so bad after all.


Hey people! Thanks for reading my first fanfiction ever. I hope you liked it! Please rate and review. I think I will make this a series of one-shots based on the universe I have set up in this story. I tried to make the characters as close to the real ones as possible, but as always, character personalities are somewhat left to interpretation, so please give me your feedback.