"I Toured the Light : So Many Foreign Roads"
A/N: I don't own any of the characters found in the "V" tv series. Just what I make them do here. There are spoilers up through the season one finale. Things go a little AU from there, but not much. Title is from Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago." Song lyrics are from Corrine Bailey Rae's "Like a Star." I can't help but ship Joshua and Lisa. They've only had like five scenes together but those scenes just crackle with chemistry (especially when in comparison to the season-long worth of scenes Lisa has with Tyler that just crash and burn in my opinion). Anyway, this was born out of those feelings.
you've got this look i can't describe
you make me feel like i'm alive
when everything else is a fade
Slowly, deliberately, his hand reaches up and brushes the side of her cheek.
Her eyes grow wide as she takes a step back, his hand returning to his side.
"You touched me," she half whispers.
He looks directly into her eyes and to see anything, no, something there.
So he responds. "I wanted you to feel."
She turns and walks out of the room.
"I can't do this."
"Yes, you can. You have to."
"This plot. My role in it. It's all too risky." She's pacing now. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth, as if her steps can release all of the anxiety she's feeling.
They are alone in the medical ward, their meeting place for several months now.
Finally she stops and looks at him. "She could skin me alive."
She doesn't expect to see pain in his eyes. He walks towards her, his voice fiercer than expected. "You think I don't know that? Of course I do. That's the risk we take every day."
"How do you do it? Knowing that when you start every day, that this day could be it. Your last one."
He shrugs his shoulders, but doesn't shrug off her question. "Some things are more important than my life."
Her bottom lip begins to quiver, so he asks "Are your human clothes readily available?"
Confused, she mumbles something that sounds like yes.
"Good, go change and meet me in my quarters." He walks out and doesn't look back. She trusts him.
He meets her in the hallway before she makes it to his quarters and doesn't say anything but motions for her to follow him to loading area. A crowd of humans and Vs are entering the shuttles and she still doesn't understand what's going on. Quickly, without looking anywhere but the small ship that will take them to earth, he grabs her hand and pulls her into the group. They board the shuttle.
"Where are we going?" she asks, quietly, but he just shakes his head.
"What is this place?"
They are standing on a hill overlooking Central Park. The flowers are in full bloom; vibrant and strong against the wind, they know nothing of the impending danger and she is envious of them.
"This was one of my first moments on Earth. My first trip from the ship was as part of Anna's Public Relations campaign. She did the appearances as usual and I managed to sneak away for just a few minutes. And this is what I saw," he turns to face her now. "That was the moment that I knew with absolute certainty that I had made the right decision in joining the Fifth Column."
She looks back at the landscape. In the distance two young boys are tossing a football back and forth. The wind blows gently and she inhales the fresh air.
"Don't you see?" he asks, softly. "This is all worth saving."
He knows she is thinking of Tyler, of how he left, disappeared, when he found out the truth about them. He knows it affects her more than she is willing to admit.
And in some small part of his conscious, he is disgusted by him for not being willing to stay.
They walk in silence as they make their way to her quarters.
Finally, she looks at him. "Thank you for today."
He waves his hand, as if it was nothing.
But she shakes her head. "It was something."
They stand for a few more moments, not speaking. She's starting to memorize the curves of his face, how his eyes, usually so steely and guarded, grow soft when he looks at her.
"Will you do something for me?" she asks, looking away.
"Anything, you know that."
"Will you stay with me tonight?" She raises her head and looks at him. She doesn't mean sex. He knows that. She just doesn't want to be alone. And he understands that.
"Yes," he says, following her into her room.
She lays down on her bed, without even removing her human clothes or shoes, and curls up within herself, as if trying to become smaller and smaller until non-existent.
He's unsure of what to do for a moment. But only for a moment, before he lies down next to her. Slowly, like before, his hand reaches over and touches her arm. She leans into his touch and he moves closer, until his body is pressed up against hers. Her hand reaches back and pulls his arm over her. It's the first time she has ever initiated contact and he tries to ignore the warm feeling in his stomach.
They lie there for a while, the constant soft hum of the ship the only noise in the room.
Until he hears her soft sobs. She's gently rocking back and forth and her tears have begun to dampen the sheet.
"You must think I'm weak," she says eventually. "How can I be a Queen, lead anyone anywhere, when I can't even control my own emotions?"
He doesn't understand how she could possibly think that, but doesn't know how to make her understand either. So he just gently rubs small circles on her back. He feels her sigh.
After a few minutes, she shifts her body so they are facing each other.
Face to face, he can see that she needs reassurance.
"Showing your emotions doesn't mean you're weak, Lisa. It means that you have a greater capability than others. Even your mother. You will be an effective leader. And I'll be here to help you."
Her face looks almost hopeful at his words. "Thank you, Joshua." She likes the way her lips feel as they form his name.
Things began to fall apart.
And so does he. She meets him in their usual place, the deserted medical ward. But he is not the picture of calm that she is used to and has come to rely on. And that scares her the most.
He has discarded his gray medical jacket, his hair is slightly askew, and he refuses to meet her eyes. She outmaneuvers him, however, and bends down to make eye contact. He looks scared.
"What is it?" she whispers.
"We're not going to win this."
"How do you know?"
He turns his back on her. He can't be looking at her when he says what's next. "She gave me my orders."
"And?" she asks, taking a step closer to him.
"And they're to skin you alive. She knows."
She staggers back at those words. He finally turns to see her reaction. He half expects her to be crumpled against the wall, sobbing like before. But she's not. She standing tall and she gives a small nod.
"What do the rest of the Fifth Column think?" she asks, looking at her hands.
"They don't know yet. No one else does," he shakes his head, confused. "What are you—?" She stops him with a lift of her hand.
"If this is what's best for the Column, then you will do it."
"No." He says firmly. "You cannot sacrifice yourself in this way."
"Why not?" she asks, a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "A wise man once told me that some things are more important than his life. Well that's true for my life as well."
"No, it's not!" His voice is rising with every word. He slams his fist into the medical table. She winces at the severe noise it makes. "We need you. The Column needs you. I . . ."
He sighs a heavy sigh and begins rubbing his now injured hand. She walks over and holds it in her own, examining it carefully. The skin has begun to turn a bluish tint, yet he doesn't seem to notice.
"Joshua, I think several of your bones may be broken."
"They're fine," he states, coldly, trying to retrieve his hand.
She resists, grasping tighter and ends up pulling on his broken hand. He inhales sharply, a flash of defiance on his face.
He is surprised to see the look reflected on her own.
"Let me help you," she orders him.
A harsh laugh escapes from his throat. "I thought it was supposed to be the other way around."
She doesn't say anything, but picks up a medical tool, the same one he used to heal her legs after her mother had destroyed them.
Slowly, she brushes it over his skin. The bones don't seem to be returning to their proper places.
"You need to move it up and down several times," he says, slightly defeated.
She does as he instructs and his hand returns to a normal color.
"Thank you," he says quietly.
They stand there for a few moments, not wanting to face what must come next.
"I won't do it."
"Then what do you propose we do?" she asks.
He pauses for a moment, thinking. "We have to get you off this ship."
She looks doubtful. "But what about what's best for the Column?"
"We don't know what's best right now," he replies simply. It's the truth. Living aboard the ship, they have very little communication with the Fifth Column on Earth.
"But what about your cover? If you do not do as she instructs, she will know that you are Fifth Column as well."
"Then she finds out."
"Are you sure this is what's best?" she asks directly. He smiles slightly to himself. She will be a great leader.
"And your loyalties to me are not clouding your judgment? You are the person I trust most, Joshua. I need you to be honest."
"How can your death be what's best for the resistance? It can't. You are too important of a part. So yes, I am sure."
"What about the others?"
"The other Fifth Column members here on the ship. Will they be able to carry on without you here?" She knew there were others on the ship but did not know their identities.
"Yes, Francis and Michael have been Fifth Column for about as long as I have. They will still be able to provide us with the information we need."
"Well, okay then."
"Okay," he says, using the colloquial human term. He's acutely aware of how different he still is from them. He wonders if she notices it too.
She takes a step closer to him. With purpose she places her arms softly around his neck. His hands naturally find her waist and she buries her face into his shoulder. He's surprised by how well they fit together as his cheek gently brushes against her hair.
"Thank you," she says.
Erica sets them up at a safehouse. It's a small cottage, decorated in country patterns and it's so unlike the cool smooth surfaces of the ship that they aren't quite sure how to live there.
She's better at it than he is, though, and decides to make them omelets.
He's not even sure what an omelet is, but it tastes wonderful. He notices how things taste now. He's learning.
"Where did you learn how to do this?" he asks between bites.
She clears her throat. "Oh, Tyler taught me." She looks away and begins scrubbing the frying pan.
He knows that was the wrong thing to ask her. They don't speak of Tyler. Ever. He hopes this will someday get easier.
She finishes the pan and returns it to the cupboard she found it in.
"So what do we do now?" she asks.
"Erica said we wait."
She looks at the ceiling. "I'm so tired of waiting."
"I know," he speaks quietly. "I am as well. They agree with me. The Fifth Column. One of the main priorities is to keep you safe. As the future queen."
"But isn't there something I can be doing now? Some sort of planning or something?" she asks.
He pauses for a moment to think. He has to believe that this will all turn out like they are hoping it will. That Anna will be removed from power. That Lisa will be made queen. That humanity will be saved. He has to believe it, so that she will. He knows that.
"Yes, we could start talking about what things you will change when you are crowned," he offers her.
She nods and then shakes her head. "I fear that I have no idea what I am doing, Joshua."
He reaches over and touches her hand. This has come to be an often occurrence. Her fingers curl around his automatically. "Then let's talk about it."
They sit on the couch and talk about the future for hours.
They take to baking. In between discussions of how Lisa will change the Vs political structure, they make muffins, tortes, pies, cookies, anything really.
It relaxes her and she loves the exploding sensations that sugar leaves on her tongue.
He doesn't seem to mind much either. Today's project is a layer cake.
"Next, we need the butter. I think we can melt it in the microwave," she instructs.
He takes the bowl she hands him and places it in the small box called the microwave.
"I just feel like a system of check and balances is necessary," she says, continuing their conversation. "It ensures that no one person within a government is too powerful."
He doesn't answer and is instead staring at the microwave. "I've been meaning to ask you. How does this microwave thing work?" He pushes a few of the buttons, and it beeps twice and then falls silent. He looks helplessly at her.
And she laughs. It's the first time in a long time and it feels so good. He begins to laugh as well.
She walks over and presses a few buttons and the microwave springs to life. She smiles at him, a little proud that she knows something that he doesn't.
He grins back. "I know everything there is to know about medicine and yet I can't make a common household appliance work."
She looks at the toaster. It's still covered in black dust from when he tried to make toast that morning. He follows her gaze and begins laughing again.
"I really am terrible at this," he says.
She shakes her head. "No, it's perfect. All of it." She looks up at him. "Oh, you have some flour right there. . ." she says, reaching up and brushing the white powder off of his cheek. The flour comes off with one easy stroke, but she doesn't stop touching his cheek. She can't.
He reaches up and holds her hand in his own.
"Lisa. . ." he says, as if he is out of breath. They stare at each other for just a moment, before something flashes in his eyes. She can't tell what it is, but the microwave beeps and it makes him step away from her.
He opens the door, removes the bowl and dumps its contents into the mixing bowl.
"I think a system of check and balances sounds like a great idea," he says, looking back at the recipe. "But are you sure? It would mean relinquishing some of your power."
She walks to the other side of the counter. "Yes I'm sure. I've been thinking a lot about this. We need to be preparing for more than just our generation. We need to be preparing for the Vs after us and the ones after them. We need to fix things so that an Anna situation can never arise again."
She becomes impassioned whenever she speaks about how she would do things differently than her mother and he knows that she will accomplish everything she speaks of.
The layer cake tastes amazing.
A phone call in the middles of the night changes things again.
He answers immediately and heads to her room. She's sitting on her bed, waiting for him.
He finishes the conversation and places the phone on her nightstand. He sits next to her.
"Well?" she says impatiently. She's concerned that it's bad news. As usual, his face betrays nothing.
"It was Erica. They did it. The Fifth Column. Hobbes and Jack were able to get onto the ship and they killed Anna. Jack was killed in the process and Hobbs was severely injured. But they did it," he says.
She takes a moment to process this. The plan had always been to remove Anna from power and install Lisa as the new leader. And now, here they were. The next step was waiting for them.
"I'll go pack our things," he states, always so matter of fact.
"No," she says. "Will you just stay with me a moment?" He does as she says and sits back down next to her.
She turns and looks at him. "Everything is going to change."
"So just give me this moment," she says, leaning into him. He wraps his arms around her and she lets a few tears fall. Tears for Jack and Hobbs, who sacrificed so much, tears for the past, before they ever arrived on Earth, and a few tears, he suspects, for her mother, and for all the things she should have been to Lisa, but wasn't.
She clutches his arm, as if holding on for life, and he presses a small kiss to the top of her head. For just a moment it's just the two of them and that's exactly how it needs to be.
She looks increasingly nervous as he turns the shuttle he used to get them off the ship into the loading dock.
"What if. . ." she starts.
He reaches over and places his hand over hers. "Michael said that none of the Vs even knew about Anna's intentions to kill you. She explained your absence by saying you were doing some peace keeping visits."
"Good thing you are such a good actress." She gives him a half smile as they walk onto the main deck of the ship.
Erica and several other FBI agents are there. Erica walks up to her and takes her arm. "We're here to provide any necessary security. Just go with it."
Lisa nods and looks at the crowd of Vs forming. These are her people now. She must be the one to protect them. A small feeling of panic creeps over her, but then she finds Joshua's face across the room. He's talking with two of Erica's fellow agents. His eyes meet hers and she exhales.
She can do this.
She addresses the Vs within an hour of her arrival and works on preparing a worldwide statement. She finds a surprising ally in Marcus, who helps her through these appearances.
She knows she can't change everything right away and that she must first gain the trust of both the Vs and the humans.
Without Anna's bliss constantly calming fears, the ship seems like an unstable place. The Vs are expressing emotions like never before. And it is chaos, but she knows it is right.
Her high council meets every day and within a week they have supported her idea of forming a Parliament.
Erica serves as a human representative and Marcus has proven to be an effective number two.
She is busy but things seem to be falling in place. She walks the hallways and talks to the people on her ship. She needs to know what they are thinking. How they think things should be improved.
She walks alone one afternoon and finds herself in the hallway leading to the medical ward. Without thinking, she opens the door. He is there, alone, working on some new data.
He turns when she shuts the door.
"Your Majesty," he says, giving a small bow.
"Joshua," she says, slightly scolding. "You do not need to call me that nor do you need to bow."
He looks solemnly at her.
"Come now. After everything we've been though. . ." she trails off.
His face grows a little softer. He's thinking of their cottage, of the weeks spent there when all they had was each other. She is too.
"I haven't seen you in a while."
"I know," he replies. "You've been busy."
The space between them feels slightly out of place, like there is much more there than three feet of invisible oxygen.
"Erica informed me that Tyler has returned," he says finally.
She nods, "Yes, she informed me of that as well."
"I suppose that will make you happy," he says, trying to sound happy for her.
"I have opted not to see him. I have many duties here now and our relationship was strictly for Anna's purposes," she says, looking over his medical tools.
Something in her words opens a dam within him. "You know that's not true, Lisa. You loved him. And that's okay."
She looks up sharply at him. "I didn't love him. But I did feel something for him. I suppose I should give him the credit for setting me on the path towards feeling."
He's not sure if he believes her, but he gives her the benefit of the doubt. "Are you sure you don't want to see him?"
"He hurt me," she says simply, "when he left. He hurt his mother too. He was scared and I understand that. I was scared too. But it doesn't mean we have to go back to what we were. My job is here now. I need to be here for my people."
He nods. "I would hate for him to cause you any more pain."
"He can't. I've moved on."
"Oh?" he asks, questioningly.
She looks at him with sincerity. "Yes."
They stand there for a moment, neither speaking.
He turns back to his work. "I should be getting back—"
"Don't you understand?" she says, taking two steps towards him. "If I had to make the choice over and over again, I'd still choose you."
He turns back to her. "I know that this is unusual. Queens don't usually take a partner, but somewhere between you pulling me into the Fifth Column and me brushing flour off of your face, I've figured something out. You are my other half. And I don't want to do this without you, Joshua."
He stares at her, not speaking.
"I know I can be an effective Queen. But I also know that I can do so many more great things with you by my side. Please just stay with me. . ."
"Stay with you?"
"And be with me."
"And be with you."
"Yes," she looks up at him hopefully.
With two long strides, he crosses the room and takes her in his arms, kissing her passionately. She's kissed before, but he never has, so she takes the lead. And it's long and it's fast and it's the scent of the flowers at Central Park that day and it's the sound he made when he licked the cake batter off of his fingers and it's the circles he rubbed on her back when she was crying and it's the warm feeling she gets in her chest when she looks at him and it's everything.