Title: Escape the Fate
Rating: PG-13 (for one bad word)
Disclaimer: don't own them don't sue.
Pairing: Davenport/Goddard… kinda.
Summary: Response to Fic-a-thon prompt "You can't fight fate"
Escape the Fate
"Light Reading" by Late Night Alumni
Some light reading, the last pages, clearer now in certain places. But you're hovering, half empty, and I'm leaving, but you've left me. Please just listen to reason, these aren't chapters, they're seasons. I heard from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, you've closed the book on your end. If you pick up, pull out, does it have to be now? I tear out those last few pages, less time; more places. I've read all the way to the bitter end to the end. You outlast your friends. If you pick up, pull out, does it have to be now?
He marched as fast as his injuries would allow him, away from the Medlab, away from the uncertain stares from the younger members of his crew, and the one absolutely certain stare from his second in command. Never had he so desperately wanted to escape a conversation – avoid a conflict that he knew would come about some day. Goddard's stomach churned in time with every heart beat that raced adrenaline through veins, turning his wound once more into a burning center of numbing fire. He could feel blood beginning to pound into the center of his ribs, soaking the fresh bandage wrapped neatly around his chest by Rosie. The sudden rush of pain brought on by his inner turmoil caused him to stop and lean against the wall, his breath hitching sporadically while he tried to catch up to it.
It was all the time she needed to catch up to him.
"I'm not done with this, Commander," Miss Davenport nearly hissed through her clenched jaw.
Goddard's tone mimicked hers as he opened one eye to look at her. An ironic 'hah' escaped him as he thought of how close he had been to reaching his quarters – of how he had never ran from any woman, but now of all people, he wished to run from her. And his body had failed him. 'So be it,' he thought, and then he spat, "Space hates arguing in front of the children."
Her eyes narrowed this time her fists clenching with her jaw.
"You haven't considered this crew to be comprised of children for a few years now. That, I am sure of. I will have an answer to my question, Commander, whether in front of the crew or not."
The silence that filled the hallway between them thickened almost as rapidly as the blood that was seeping again out of the laser shot wound now residing on Goddard's right side. Slowly, still clutching at his lower ribs, he turned to face Davenport, leaning back heavily against the veined walls; he opened both eyes and took a better look at her. There really is no getting away from this one, he thought taking in her determined face and standoff body language. Her appearance only seemed to prove to him that his decision was the right one. Somehow, this little added conviction to his own argument boosted his confidence – how many arguments have I suffered through with this woman – one more wasn't going to kill him.
"I'm sorry, what question was that, again?" He tried to assume the playful grin that he knew usually disarmed anything she would throw at him. Too late he realized it had too much of a wince to it, as he tried to straighten himself up along the wall and pulled at the wound.
Her face darkened further.
"I believe I had asked for your opinion on what it is I am supposed to do when you finally get yourself killed taking the fall for one or more of the members on this trip?"
When she spoke, her eyebrows drifted upwards, sending wrinkles of worry all around her forehead, mostly noticeable because she had yet to wash the filth of battle from her face, and Goddard briefly remembered why he was in this uncomfortable situation to begin with. Too often now they were encountering the Spung, and too often they were now trying to find ways to avoid their weapons – and they aren't being polite about it anymore – no more warning shots - just timed and aimed laser blasts.Such was the case earlier that day, and one of those shots had been very accurately let loose on Miss Davenport. Goddard found it incredibly ungrateful of her for being angry. It had been his own body that he placed between her and that deadly round of fire.
"I had to do something. You would have been killed," was all he could finally muster in response.
"And you knew you wouldn't be killed?!" the exasperation finally crept through her voice, taking away some of its ice.
"No one ever knows something like that Miss Davenport, I just-"
"You are the most selfish person I have ever met!" she interrupted him, a hint of hysterics edging in on top of her exasperation. Goddard was speechless. His mouth parted but nothing but air offered itself up to her outburst. "Every time there is trouble, every time we get into the deepest shit I think we can possibly get into, it's you who we have to drag back – you we have to stitch up – you we have to keep alive. On that godforsaken planet it was you we nearly lost for good. Tell me, what do I do when you finally tempt fate too many times? Tell me- Because it is going to be me that must figure out the rest once you are gone."
With every you and me that came out of her mouth Miss Davenport had advanced upon the Commander. Now she stood well within his personal boundaries - their space mixing – she could feel his breath on her cheeks – he could feel the last of her heated words resting just beyond his lips. It was then that Goddard noticed the glossy reflection in her eyes, indicating unshed tears and he finally spoke what she could not directly.
"You're afraid of doing this by yourself…" a pause, "…again…"
Davenport stiffened at his revelation, "I don't believe it to be your fate to be a sacrifice to this journey."
"Fate or not, Miss Davenport, you've already taken care of this crew without me. You've already proven your capability in such an event." Their close proximity forced his words to a whisper.
"I never want to have to do it again. I-," she whispered back, standing her ground.
Another ironic smile crossed his face as he countered, "I never want to do it at all… Call me selfish all you like, but if the roles were reversed, I'm not sure I could do this by myself. I don't have that kind of faith in myself, but I have it in you."
The admission finally out, Davenport remained silent, weighing the obvious compliment with the sudden realization that she might not have wanted to know his fears - fears that were clearly the same as hers. She was very sure of only one thing, and that was Seth Goddard would not listen to reason on this subject; he was going to continue putting himself in between danger and the crew he unwillingly was placed in charge of. He had somehow, long ago, placed all his hopes on her should his fate inevitably find him. She realized he had stopped fighting his fate and already said his goodbyes – perhaps it was time she did the same.
It didn't take long at all for Miss Davenport to clear the space between them – ignoring the danger of her actions – and say goodbye the only way she felt she could. With the pressure of her lips on his own, Goddard's entire body relaxed. His wound began to burn in a different way, or perhaps he was simply less aware of it as her hands gripped the front of his shirt – preventing any chance he might pull away. She pressed him further against the ship's walls, causing him to gasp when she applied pressure against his bandage. Taking advantage, Davenport used the opportunity to taste him. And just as he ran his hands along her sides, just before the kiss could become its own beast, she pushed away taking several steps backwards. Goddard didn't follow her.
Almost inaudibly she said, "You can't fight fate…"
Davenport smoothed a hand through her hair, brushed any wrinkles from her shirt, and without a second glance retraced her steps back down the hallway. Knowing this conversation - this opportunity - would never happen again; Goddard let her disappear around a corner, and then slowly, sorely, walked the last few feet to his quarters. The swish of the door could not remove the bittersweet taste of her on his mouth. The day finally took its toll, and he felt the remnants of energy leaving him as quickly as she had. He couldn't even muster an ounce of his previous irony when he dropped onto his bed and said to the ceiling, "You can't fight fate…"