Title: Reflections

By: Liz

Rating: PG

Spoilers: None. Only contains vague reference to another story of mine, Tensions

Disclaimers: I own no one Lost World, nor am I making any money off of this story.

Author's Notes: I haven't written a LW story for a long time, but this has been floating around in my head for the better part of last year. Today is the one-year anniversary of my father's death (10/3/02) and this story was written in memory of him. I've blatantly stolen some of the Lost World characters to put some of my own thoughts into words, and I really hope no one will take offense to it. My thanks to everyone over on TLW board who was so supportive when I was going through an awful time. I know I haven't been there in awhile, but I have not forgotten your kindness. Suggested listening that was inspiration for this includes "Could it be any Harder?" The Calling, "Perfect Memory," Remy Zero, "Meet You There," Simple Plan, "Monday Morning," Prozzak, "Other Side," Rancid, "Sonny," New Found Glory, and "Sand and Water," Beth Nielsen Chapman.

****

Reflections

John Roxton stepped out onto the treehouse balcony and gratefully breathed in the cool air night. The other occupants of the treehouse were long asleep, but for Roxton sleep had not come so easily. His mind was troubled and refused to allow him to find solace in sleep. He couldn't really say he was surprised, though. This time of year was always difficult, he acknowledged to himself as he settled down on the balcony's loveseat. Tomorrow was the anniversary of his brother, William's, death. Even though he had passed away a number of years ago, Roxton still missed his older brother a great deal, and every year around this time his thoughts tended to turn to William and their years growing up together.

Roxton smiled wistfully to himself as he remembered all the trouble he and William had always seemed to get into when they were children. It really wasn't their fault, he reasoned to himself; they had just been very active, very curious children. There had been that one Christmas when he and William had stolen their grandmother's mink stole from the parlor while the grown ups had been talking after dinner. They had only recently decided that they wanted to be great hunters when they grew up, and their grandmother's stole had already looked like a dead animal to the boys. Pretending it was a tiger they were hunting on the African plains had only seemed like a logical progression. Their parents and grandparents had not seen it that way, of course. Their grandmother had been so angry that her face had turned a very alarming shade of purple and Roxton knew they were very lucky to only be punished by losing a week's worth of horseback riding.

The stole incident was only one that stood out in Roxton's mind. Another one that he still remembered clearly had involved a gun, shooting lessons, and their mother's favorite crystal candy dish.

***Earlier in the day, 12-year-old William had had his first lesson in skeet shooting and seven-year-old John had been eager to hear all of the details of the lesson. John grew more and more excited as he William related the events of the morning. "Can you show me? Please?" he begged.

William frowned a moment, deep in thought. "All right," he said. "I'll go get the skeet gun. You go inside and find something to shoot."

"Something like what?"

"Remember those clay discs I told you about?" John nodded. "Well, try to find something like that."

John snuck carefully into the house, somehow knowing, even at such a young age, that the adults of the house would not approve of the boys' activities. He had only been searching a few moments when something in the main dining room caught his eye. Round, not too big, not too small. Perfect! He reached up and snatched his mother's crystal candy dish from the sideboard then hurried back outside to meet William.

"Did you find something?" William asked.

"Yes!" John was so proud of himself and he held the candy dish out triumphantly.

"Good." William was so busy preparing the gun he didn't even look up. "Now, when I say go, I want you to throw it up in the air as high as you can, understand?" John nodded seriously. "Okay." William raised his gun and took a moment to ready himself before calling out, "Now, John!"

John flung the candy dish as hard as he could into the air. He waited for William to fire, but his older brother didn't move. He had frozen, finger on the trigger, when he recognized the object in the air. Now he could only watch helplessly as the candy dish raced back toward the earth.

It hit the ground and shattered into a million pieces as the boys watched silently. Finally, John broke the silence. "Why didn't you shoot, William?" he asked innocently.

John's voice broke William out of his trance-like state and he advanced quickly upon his younger brother. "John, do you know what that was? That was mother's favorite candy dish," he answered, not giving John a chance to open his mouth, his voice rising as he continued speaking. "It was a gift to her from grandmother. And now it's ruined. We're going to be in so much trouble! Oh, how could you be so stupid?"

John burst into tears. "I'm sorry, William!" he exclaimed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to!"

William sighed. "Don't cry, John. It's all right. We'll just have to clean this up as best we can and hope mother doesn't notice."

"But what if she does?" John asked tearfully.

"Don't worry, I'll think of something," William promised.

And he had. It may not have been the best solution, especially as far as William was concerned, but he never broke a promise to his little brother. When their mother noticed the missing dish a few days later, William took the blame, saying he'd knocked it off of the sideboard the day before and broken it into little pieces. Their mother was furious and punished William by taking away skeet lessons and riding for a week and sending him to bed without supper.

Later that evening, John smuggled William a plate of food, prepared by a cook with a soft spot for the two young Roxtons. "I'm sorry I got you into trouble, William," John apologized while William hungrily shoveled down his dinner.

William shook his head. "It's okay, John," he told him. "I'm your big brother, it's my job. I'll always be there to look out for you or get you out of trouble." ***

"And you always were, William," Roxton murmured to himself.

He was deep in thought, but his hunter's instincts had let him detect familiar footsteps approaching, so he did not jump when he felt a hand rest lightly on his shoulder.

"I missed you," Marguerite said quietly.

"I'm sorry," Roxton said, looking back at her. "I didn't mean to wake you up."

Marguerite shook her head. "The empty bed woke me," she replied, gently stroking his hair. Roxton was silent, enjoying the feel of his wife's soft caress. "You're thinking about William." It was not a question.

Roxton reached up and caught Marguerite's hands in his, gently pulling her around to the front of the loveseat. He tugged lightly on her hands and she sat down next to him, snuggling up against his side as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "Yes, I was."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"I guess I was doing a bit of reminiscing. I was thinking about some of the things we got up to as children. It all seems like it was in another lifetime now. I mean, so many things have happened since I lost him. So much has gone on in the world. If he were to come back today, he wouldn't know about any of it."

Marguerite held Roxton's hand in both of hers, rubbing comforting circles on the back of his hand with her thumbs. "He doesn't know how things have changed in society and government. He would be so surprised at how common automobiles were beginning to become when we left for the plateau. The Great War would have horrified him, had he been here to see it. But he doesn't know about any of this, and that's something that has always been in the back of my mind since I lost him. Every time something would happen that was new or innovative, for the longest time my first thought would be 'I wonder what William will think about this.' But I'll never know how he feels about any of it."

Roxton took a deep breath and released it in a heavy sigh. "And there are so many things about me that he'll never know, as selfish as that may sound. I've changed so much since he's been gone, he'd never believe that I'm the same wild younger brother he once knew. He'll never know about the plateau or about Challenger, Summerlee, Malone, and Veronica. He'll never meet his brilliant, beautiful sister-in-law." He tightened his arm around Marguerite's shoulders and pressed a kiss against her hair. "He'll never know his niece or nephew." His voice caught momentarily and he laid a gentle hand on her stomach. "And our child will never know his or her Uncle William."

Marguerite raised her head from Roxton's shoulder and reached a hand up to gently stroke his cheek. "Trust me, John," she said softly, "William knows. He knows about all of this because he is always there with you, in whatever you do. And as long as you keep his memory alive, he'll never truly be gone." She settled herself back against his side again. "So you don't have to worry about our child knowing him. We'll make sure she knows all about her very special Uncle William."

Roxton raised an eyebrow. "She?"

Marguerite pulled back and raised an eyebrow of her own at him. "She," she affirmed with a smile. "Trust me."

Roxton chuckled softly and pulled her back into his arms. "Thank you," he whispered against her hair. Marguerite squeezed his hand gently in response.

They sat wrapped in each other's arms for a while longer, silently looking out over the peaceful jungle until Roxton heard Marguerite trying to stifle a yawn. "I think it's time for us to get back to bed."

Marguerite only nodded sleepily as Roxton rose and helped her to her feet. "I'll be right in," he promised, pressing a tender kiss to her forehead.

She smiled sleepily at him. "I'll try to wait up." She squeezed his hand then turned and walked back into the treehouse to their bedroom.

Roxton walked to the edge of the balcony and leaned against the railing for a moment. Staring up at the stars, he thought back over everything Marguerite had said. She had been right, he knew. As long as he kept William's memory alive, his brother would never really leave him. And he was looking forward to teaching his daughter all about her uncle. His daughter. Roxton smiled to himself - now Marguerite had him believing it.

"She's going to know all about you, William," Roxton said, gazing up at the canopy of stars above him. "And she'll love you just as much as I do." As Roxton turned to go back into the treehouse, he could have sworn he saw a star, burning brighter than the others, twinkle at him. He smiled. "Goodnight, William."