So, I have just discovered how fantastic Red vs Blue is--I essentially powered through the five seasons, Out of Mind, Recovery One, Reconstruction, Relocation, and what has come out so far of Recreation in about a weekend. I love this series so very much.

I also heard Loquat's "Swingset Chain", which is such a good song, and it inspired some ChurchxTex story ideas. I want to write something for them for between/around Recreation, but I tried a few times and it just wasn't coming out right, so I decided to run with this first.

Takes place after the end of Reconstruction, but before Tex and Church conceivably come back in Recreation. They were in the trailer, so we can hope they're actually there.

RvB's has also inspired me to try to find one of the Halo games for the PC and try to actually play it. I guess I'd need a mouse to play it on my laptop, though.

Bungee and Microsoft own Halo, Rooster Teeth owns RvB.

Tucker: So, the military put this program in her head, and that program made her a killer. But underneath it all she's really just a sweet, down-home girl?

Church: Oh hell no. She's always been a rotten bitch, it's just now she's a rotten bitch with cybernetic enhancements.

RvB: Blood Gulch Chronicles: Episode 13--"Human Peer Bonding"

He can't quite remember the first time he met Allison. They could have been children, but maybe they were older. It all got so fuzzy the farther back he tried to go. Church supposed this made sense--after all, if Washington was right, he was searching through memories that didn't belong to him. They belonged to an old, broken man who could do no more.

Church hadn't tried to find him. He reasoned if he'd found the Director, he would have just stood there, nothing left but anger and confusion. What memories belonged to that man in charge, and what belonged to the grunt killed by his own teammates?

Somewhere between what was the Director's and what was the Grunt's was Tex. Was Allison.

If it's childhood, there's the barest sense of her in his face, excitedly declaring their adventures for the day. Wisps of former classrooms, and a playground where she yelled for him to follow in mid-winter before she slipped and broke her arm.

She hadn't cried. She'd gotten up, quiet, and asked him if he'd walk with her to the nurse's. It's the kindest memory of her he can find. He goes back to it when he's truly afraid. Like when she died.

There's a commotion outside and Church remembers where he is. He can see Wash, barely conscious, but alive. There are guards coming, and their footfalls are echoing down the metal hallways. It's disconcerting. Church feels like he should do something, but he can only flee.

Maybe they'd met in high school. Maybe he'd been minding his own business, and somehow they'd met, and she was fire and a smile that he couldn't refuse. It was possible her family wasn't military, and his was. It didn't matter, because she always had talked about joining the Corps. This was when the first murmurs of something dangerous crept across the stars.

Maybe Church had fallen so hard that he found that he wanted to be in the Corps too (Something in his mind tells him that the 'real' Leonard Church had always been too sickly to ever be of use to the military. He ignores it). He can remember her being so hard to catch.

He wonders where the memories begin to diverge between him and the man who claims that he's the basis for him. He finds the records of conversation between the Director and the Chairman, and tries not to form his own conclusions.

Tex had never really been a terrible bitch until they had broken free of high school. Church wanted to stay, she always wanted to go. More often than not he'd woken up alone. After a while, it stopped stinging so badly. He tried to make himself care enough to make her leave for good, but he couldn't. Sometimes things looked up, other times she'd leave with another man right in front of Leonard.

He felt like an idiot, but he couldn't ever bring himself, no matter how much he screamed at her, to tell her to leave. They fought, they made up, she left and came back. There was a strange, erratic pattern to it after a while, as they struggled through the motions of 'higher' education while they waited their turn to ship out to basic. They goof around, they visit friends. One time they try roller blading.

Church slipped in the rain and almost took out two teeth. Tex had laughed, and leaned down to brush her fingers along his cheek.

"Not too much damage done," she smiled, pressing a kiss to his bruised lips. He hadn't understood, still didn't. She was so odd, so flighty, but he was continually pulled back in.

Fate worked in its own way, and Church was first to leave. She shrugs and says it's okay. The lease was going to be up on their apartment and she is not leaving too far after him. His fingers curl around the velvet box in his pocket, but he says nothing. They keep talking. His fingers brush through her hair and he remarks that it's going to be a shame for her long hair to go. She ruffles his and says he needs a hair cut anyway.

They are supposed to spend the night together before he leaves for basic. She arrives home late, already partially drunk. Leonard had let her sleep on the couch, eyes already stinging. He had kissed her forehead, knowing it was as much of a goodbye as he was getting or was going to give.

She didn't see him off. He hadn't expected it. The ring got packed away with his belongings, stuck in storage.

It wasn't as if he had been the kindest man, or the most loyal. But he had always waited until they weren't seeing each other to see someone else--some nameless, faceless person who couldn't compare to her. As the bus leaves the station, he remembers drinking with her, watching a meteor shower. They were stock still in the grand rush of everything, and he reasoned that's when he'd known he wanted to marry her.

(Elsewhere in his mind he gets the sense that he'd known Tex for only a year or so before she was ripped away from him, before she lay bleeding on the cold ground in early spring. He ferverently pushes away this though, too stung by the rush of memories he insisted were real)

It's too quiet at night, besides the sniffling of one or another homesick soldier every now and then. Church would lay awake, trying breath by breath to forget about her. There was always the chance they could meet again, but he knew better. If she could find a way out, she would.

They meet again, for just a moment, and somehow in the throes of battle he can talk to her. She's signed up for a program that she won't really talk to him about.

Old habits die hard and he almost admits that he loves her. But he can't say it.

He won't see her again until Sidewinder, where she decimates what is left of forces there, but spares him.

Looking back, maybe that was Omega that stopped her. Omega knew, even if neither of them did.

Then Blood Gulch had happened. He died, she showed up, and for a little while things were a little more interesting. She was loathe to shed her armor--though, with Tucker around, Church understood. Church, however, still was amused by the fact that he could take his armor off, even in this spectral form. When she sees his face, pale and transparent, she cocks her head and stares for a minute.

But only a minute. He tries to ask her why, but of course she doesn't answer.

He sees her sleeping once, and remembers their first night together. It was speed and heat and she molded to his hands. He feels a pang of loss that he hasn't for a while--that he can't be near her, or really even touch her. He sighs (though he really doesn't know where the breath comes from for it), and moves on to another room, wishing he could sleep.

Authorities show up later, and Church can see Wash being led away on a stretcher, his armor peeled off and the sub-armor cut to ribbons. Cuts and bruises whirl across the exposed flesh, and Church already knows one of the ribs is broken.

There are many conflicting memories in Church's brain. When he comes across Tex again, neither of them want to talk for a while. There are too many questions that they don't want the answers to. He's not even sure it's really her, there's really someone else there.

And then they're at Valhalla, and he is complaining. She does what she's always been good at--makes him answer.

"So then, we're done?"

Caboose is running around, on fire. Church feels like putting a round through him, but that'd probably be a bad idea. It's kind of embarassing that the idiot on fire below them is the reason why he's no longer living.

"No," he sighs, "no, we're not done."

He can almost feel the smile as she responds.

"Well then, if we're not done, then let's get started."

Leonard cranes his head back to look at her. He wonders if she can feel the glare he is giving her through the helmet.

"Hey, have I ever told you how helpful you are to me? You're so full of fucking wisdom. What would I do without you?"

"I try my best."