To err if human is forgive the wine
Summary: Alonzo forgives Julia for what she did, but can the rest of Eden Advance forgive her, too? set sometime shortly after "Redemption"
A/N: Is it just me or did the group seem way too nonchalant about Julia's betrayal (after her return in "Redemption")? I would have thought they'd take a bit longer to forgive her. We never got to see the fallout from the rest of the group, hence this fic.
Julia sat in the medtent, alone. She was supposed to be analyzing the latest batch of plant samples Zero had gathered. She'd scanned over seven samples already but hadn't recorded a single finding on her medical gear log. So this is what mother meant by going through the motions.
She'd apologized repeatedly to everyone she could think of – Devon, the Martins, Alonzo, even Uly. Even to Walman, who she'd knocked out with the sedaderm while he was on guard duty that night.
But except for Alonzo and Uly (who hadn't really understood what Julia had been doing), all she'd met with were vacant-eyed, polite acceptances from the other advancers. Mumbled 'that's okay's as they stared at their feet. Even Bess Martin, kind, sweet-natured Bess, had barely looked her in the eye.
Well, what did you expect after you attacked her husband and left him tied up out in the middle of the woods somewhere?
She shook her head, trying to refocus. Picking up a yellowish plant with waxy, broad leaves, she powered up the medical log and forced herself to make a few notes but the thoughts in her head kept niggling away. You were working for the very people who tried to bomb the ship, who sabotaged the cargo pods. They're never going to forgive you.
Julia dropped the plant on the table and put her head in her hands.
Alonzo came into the medtent. "Doc? Where were you this morning? I didn't see you at breakfast."
"I ate in the medtent." Julia's reply came muffled through her hands. She'd been eating in the medtent a lot lately – going out of her way to avoid the others whenever she could. Slowly becoming Eden Advance's first career recluse.
Alonzo gently removed her hands from her face, tilting her chin so she looked up at him. "You can't stay in here forever. Everyone'll think you're up to something again," he said. "Come on, come and eat with us."
"I'm – I'm not hungry, Alonzo," she said feebly, but he grabbed her hands and yanked her to her feet.
"You are hungry, and you're not spending another second alone in this tent," he said firmly, pushing her outside as she opened her mouth to protest. They walked to the tent where Cameron had set up lunch, Julia wishing with each step that they'd never arrive there.
The silence as they stepped inside was deafening. All conversation stopped. Several of them, led by Walman and his ops-crew friends, pointedly walked out of the tent as the others, embarrassed, looked down at their plates.
Not all the ops crew had left. Julia noticed Danziger remained seated along with True. However, both were suddenly steadfastly staring down at their food.
It got worse when the reached the head of the line and Julia realized whose turn it was to dish out the food. Morgan's.
The bureaucrat blanched visibly at the sight of her, but his gaze mollified when Alonzo glared at him. Morgan wordlessly handed them both their bowls. "Thanks," said Julia stiffly.
Morgan scraped the last of the semolina into this own bowl, then went to Bess's table. "Let's go and eat in our tent, Bess, honey." He grabbed Bess's elbow before she could respond and practically dragged her out of the tent. To her credit, Bess shot Julia a mildly apologetic look as she left.
More awkward silence. Danziger briefly looked up at her, his eyes sympathetic. Mazatl cleared his throat loudly, as if trying to cover up the silence.
Tears threatened to sting Julia's eyes. Alonzo reassuringly squeezed her arm.
"Julia?" Yale's voice interrupted the deafening tension. "Would you like to sit with us?" He gestured to the table he was sharing with Devon and Uly.
Alonzo shot him a grateful look as he and Julia joined them.
"How's your shoulder?" Julia asked the cyborg with genuine concern. Worm bullets had a nasty way of leaving behind damage that took long to repair. Like the damage done to a reputation of someone revealed as a Council spy.
Yale gave her a wan smile. "Much better, thanks to you. The pain block helps."
"Julia?" Devon. "I'd like you to look at the scar on Uly's neck after you're done eating," she said briskly. Catching Julia's guilty look, the other woman softened her tone. "I just want to make sure he's okay after what, um, happened."
Julia could tell that the original end of the sentence had probably been "after what you did."
"Of – of course, Devon. I'll get right to it."
Devon glanced at Danziger, who'd finished his meal and come up to the table. "Make sure you check Danziger's incision, too. So I know I didn't scar him for life," she said wryly.
"You mean, any more than already have, Adair?" The mechanic quipped, grinning. Devon made a face at him. In spite of the situation, Julia smiled.
"Adair, I'm gonna head out with Zero, scout around a bit, see if we can find a better path to get the vehicles out of here," said Danziger. He nodded toward True, who was still finishing her semolina. "Keep an eye on True for me?"
"I will, John," said Yale. "It's time for her and Uly's lessons anyway."
"Great," said Danziger. He handed his empty bowl to Cameron and left.
"Dad, wait!," yelled True. "You forgot to take your gear!" She grabbed it, running after him.
Suddenly, Julia realized something. "Excuse me," she said, ignoring everyone's puzzled glances as she ran out of the tent.
Julia found True outside, waving goodbye to her father as he left on his scout. Slowly, she approached the second-youngest member of the group. "True?" said Julia cautiously. True's head snapped around to look at the doctor. "May I talk to you for a minute, please?"
"Uh, yeah. I guess so," said True uncertainly. She looked around camp as though to make sure she wasn't alone.
Julia hunkered down on the ground to True's height. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry for scaring you the other day, when we were outside of camp."
"It's okay, Julia."
"No, it's not," insisted Julia. "I shouldn't have run after you like that and I shouldn't have called you a liar. I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Julia, really," said True sincerely. "I'm not mad at you anymore. I'm just glad everything's okay now." Hesitantly, she gave Julia a small smile.
Julia smiled back. But her smile faded as she glumly noticed Baines walk past her, giving her a wary glance as he walked on. "They're all mad at me, aren't they?"
To Julia's surprise, True reached over and patted her on the back. "Some of them still are. But they're not going to be mad forever. Yale said 'To err if human is forgive the wine.'"
Julia blinked. "What?"
True screwed up her face in concentration. "I don't know, it's this silly saying Yale told me they used to say back on earth." She shrugged, embarrassed to admit that she sometimes didn't pay attention during her lessons. "Yale said it means everyone does stupid things so you have to forgive them because one day you'll do a stupid thing, too, and you might need them to forgive you."
True looked away. Julia suddenly wondered if she was thinking of a certain penal colonist and an escaped horse.
"It's a very good saying, True." Julia smiled. Oddly enough, she felt better. She extended her hand to True. "Come on. Let's go back so you can get to your lessons and learn more good sayings."
The two joined hands and walked back to camp.