YIKES it's been a really long time since I updated literally anything! I'm so sorry!
But here is chapter three of my Pacific Rim AU!
I originally planned to make it longer before I published it, but...yeah. Anyway, here you go! I am working on chapter four, but I have no clue when it'll be done.
WARNINGS: I think this one's good.
DISCLAIMER: Again, I borrowed a lot of dialogue straight from the movie script. So if you see words or names that you recognize, they probably don't belong to me. I am just torturing these characters because I love them.
ANYWAY ON TO THE CHAPTER!
Of Tarnished Memories and Fragile Smiles
Lance rested his head on the window, watching the rain run down the glass as the Hong Kong Shatterdome grew larger beneath them.
"You look absolutely thrilled to be here," Alfor said wryly from the seat across from him.
"Screw you," Lance retorted with no bite.
One white eyebrow went up. "I see your manners haven't improved in the last five years."
The response was so unexpected that Lance laughed in spite of himself. He peeled himself off the window and turned to look at the Marshall.
"'Leave me alone'," he said. "That's all I asked, Alfor. I still feel like I'm missing a part of me. I still turn around to say something to someone that's not there anymore. For God's sake, I still wake up screaming like I'm being torn apart more often than I sleep through the night."
Alfor sighed, suddenly looking older. "I know that, McClain," he said heavily. "But I need you, son. Like I told you the day you left, we can't afford to lose you. This is the end of the road, Mr. McClain. Personally, I'd rather have someone I trust behind the wheel."
A humorless smile pulled at Lance's mouth. "Understood, sir. I won't let you down."
The chopper set down, and Lance stepped out into the rain. He looked around the landing deck. There were forklifts and people running around everywhere, and it made him so homesick for his and Carlos' little Anchorage base that it hurt.
"Mr. McClain!" Alfor called, and he jogged across the tarmac to where the Marshall was standing beneath a huge umbrella next to a young woman who couldn't have been anyone other than his daughter.
She had crystal blue eyes and pure white hair, which was expertly pinned up in a bun on the back of her head. She was tall, only a few inches shorter than Lance himself, and her skin was a rich tan. All in all, she was a beautiful young woman, but there was something in her eyes that told him that she was more than she appeared.
"Mr. McClain, this is Allura Castle, one of our brightest," the Marshall said. "She's also in charge of the Mark-3 restoration program. She personally interviewed and selected the candidates for your co-pilot."
Lance's eyebrows went up. "Oh, boy," he muttered, offering her a little smile.
She gave him a brief one in return, and tilted her head towards her father. "I imagined him a bit differently," she said in fluent Japanese.
Lance smirked. "Hey," he called, and she looked over. "Is the real thing better or worse?" he grinned at her wide eyes and open mouth.
She shook her head briefly, and really smiled at him. "My apologies, Mr. McClain," she said. "I've heard a great deal about you."
He nodded to her, a gesture of respect, and she returned it with another smile.
Castle sighed and gestured towards the Shatterdome. "Moving along. We'll get you a tour of the facilities first, McClain, and then Ms. Castle will show you to your Jaeger."
Lance couldn't tell if he was about to laugh or cry, so he just nodded wordlessly. He was also uncertain as to whether the lurch in his stomach was from excitement…or if it was his lunch making an encore appearance.
They stepped inside, and Lance's attention was immediately drawn to the containment units full of Kaiju organs almost filling the elevator to max capacity.
The Shatterdome doors were about to close when somebody started shouting.
"Wait for us, please!"
Two more people spilled inside, a bouncy, energetic young woman and a middle-aged man. The young woman had a pair of glasses sliding down her nose, and her light brown ponytail was streaked with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. The man was a thin, nervous being, who was constantly going over his papers, examining the specimens around them, and muttering to himself.
"Please stay back!" the young woman said frantically, shaking the rain off herself. "Kaiju specimens are so incredibly, exceedingly rare! So look, but please please please don't touch!"
"Mr. McClain, meet our research team," Alfor cut her off, standing at attention with his hands clasped behind his back. "Dr. Gottlieb and Dr. Geiszler."
"Aw, no," the young woman laughed. "Call me Ezor. Only my mother calls me Doctor." She shot them a blinding grin and shrugged off her coat. "Hey, Slav!" she called to her associate. "These are human beings. Why don't you say hello?"
Lance's eyes widened, and he had to bite his tongue to stifle his laugh at the sheer amount of sarcasm dripping off her words.
"I have asked you not to refer to me by my first name around others," the man said primly, turning around and pushing his hood off. "I am a doctor with over ten years of—"
"Ten years of decorated experience!" Ezor said in a wheezy, raspy voice that was clearly intended as a mockery of Slav. "I am so very sorry!" she rolled her eyes. "Geez."
She pulled off her sweater, leaving her in a tank top, and Lance immediately found his attention captured by the tattoos spiraling up her arms.
He saw one that he knew.
"Is that Yamarashi?" he asked quietly.
Ezor's eyes lit up. "Ah! You know your Kaiju! Yeah, that's Yamarashi. You've got a really good eye, mister…uh…"
"Lance," Lance gave her a smile that didn't reach his eyes. "Lance McClain. My brother and I took him down in 2017."
"Did you know that this little Kaiju was actually one of the biggest Category 3's ever recorded?" Ezor was bouncing on the tips of her toes. "He was two thousand five hundred tons of awesome!" she clasped her hands and sighed happily.
Lance, the Marshall, and Allura all just looked at her.
She stopped bouncing, dropping her hands and blinking rapidly. "Or awful," she amended. "Awful. Really, really terrible—"
"Please excuse her," Slav put in. "She's a Kaiju groupie. She loves them."
"Shut up, Slav, I do not," Ezor snapped over her shoulder. "I am fascinated by them. There's a difference, you uncultured swine." She started bouncing again. "And, unlike most folks, I actually want to see one that isn't dead. I think that would be amazing. I want to see it alive, and up close."
The elevator slid to a stop, and the Marshall and his daughter left without another word. Lance reached out and put a hand on Ezor's shoulder, bringing her excited bouncing to a stop.
"No," he told her. "You really don't."
Then he turned and walked out of the elevator without looking back.
I know it's super short and I'm really sorry about that, but hopefully I'll be publishing a brand-new story on Saturday! So keep your eyes peeled for that.
Thank you guys so much for all of your support. You have no idea just how much you all mean to me!
See you soon!