Disclaimer: Amblin... Universal... blah, blah, blah, please don't sue me legal cakes.
Timeline: The story begins just after the events of "Grendlers In The Myst," but subsequent chapters take place throughout the rest of the episodes (and beyond).
Author's Thanks: A hah-yuge thank you to FCBKate and Manuela for their continued support and general awesomeness.
Summary: This is a sequel to my fic "Peace Of Mind" which I'll summarize so you don't have to go back and read it. On the eve of the events which took place in the episode "The Greatest Love Story Never Told," Danziger dreamed of Devon. She'd remained silent as he proclaimed his love and told her that he wants to stay with her in New Pacifica. Neither of them ever realize that, thanks to Alonzo's meddling, they had actually been transported to the Dreamplane and everything that they'd experienced there was real.
As our story begins here, Devon and Danziger are continuing their lives as leaders of Eden Advance and both remain clueless that John has unwittingly confessed his true feelings for his (fr)enemy. But that could change if Alonzo has any say about it.
This is a series of vignettes/missing scenes which take place throughout the Winter Camp and beyond. It (hopefully) remains cohesive within the confines of the established canon. When it comes down to it, I just wanted to make Devon and Danziger's relationship even more complicated than it already was. Because it's fun.
Timeline: Those long days between "The Greatest Story Never Told" and "Brave New Pacifica"
Devon couldn't believe that it had happened yet again. She was beyond infuriated as she stormed into the main room of the BioDome, disrupting a jovial conversation between the room's only other occupants, Denner and Eben. Tension immediately filled the air and the two women exchanged an all-knowing look, easily recognizing that the source of Devon's foul mood rested squarely upon the shoulders of John Danziger. Sensing that Devon needed solitude and definitely not wanting to be dragged into a anger-fueled tirade about the mechanic, the pair grabbed their mugs of almost-coffee and hastily vacated the room as quickly as they could in search of a calmer venue.
Now alone with only her rage as company, Devon swung open a random cabinet and paused, chastising herself for forgetting the reason that she'd entered the enclosure in the first place. She remained empty handed as she loudly slammed the cabinet door closed in frustration, rattling the entire inventory of items on all of the surrounding flat surfaces.
Damn him, she inwardly steamed. Why on earth did Danziger constantly insist on pushing her so? And why did he almost always appear to be getting such pleasure from keeping her life continually off-kilter?
Of course by 'pleasure,' Devon meant 'agitation' because she rarely saw John happy about anything, beyond the quiet time spent with True when he thought that no one else was around. If it wasn't for those stolen moments with his daughter in which he exposed the kinder, more gentle side of his disposition that he rarely allowed anyone to see, Devon might have questioned whether or not he was human. In fact, on more than one occasion, she'd inwardly likened the fulfillment that John seemed to derive from antagonizing her to a snake which feasted on its prey by swallowing it whole.
Sometimes he could upset her without uttering a single word. It might only take the rolling of his eyes or a snort under his breath. It could be a simple action- or even an inaction- from John that could put her on the path to fury. Devon resented this power that he wielded over her and, until G889, she'd never experienced its equal. And she certainly hoped that she never did again.
A loud voice outside the Dome halted Devon's thoughts midstream.
"Hey, Devon!" Cameron yelled to her from his perch at the campsite's snow encrusted border. "He's back!"
The leader was immediately in motion as she burst through the double doors, gasping as the frigid night air momentarily took her breath away. Undaunted, she hurried toward the north edge of camp, squinting in the darkness to locate Cameron, who had been scheduled for the evening's second shift of guard duty.
As Devon angrily marched into his line of sight, Cameron emitted a shudder that had nothing to do with the temperature. Though he was pleased to be able to report that he'd finally located John, the crewman didn't relish the possibility of becoming the object of Devon's ire. That was Danziger's job.
Upon reaching Cameron, Devon's words came out slowly and through gritted teeth. "Where is he?"
Cameron clicked on his luma-light and directed the beam out into the blackness. The light almost immediately fell upon a shadowed figure navigating the nearby copse of trees. As the large silhouette carefully edged his way around waist-high drifts and snow-capped bushes, he looked up, temporarily blinded by the glare focused directly into his eyes.
Danziger raised his arm to shield him from the beam's path. "Hey, cut it out, Cam!" he gruffed, obviously annoyed.
Cameron began to comply with Danziger's wishes, but an ice cold stare from Devon forced him to reconsider his options. Instead, he held the luma-light on the mechanic until he had trudged the last hundred or so yards back into camp.
"Shank," they heard him curse under his breath as he noticed Devon's presence, his physical demeanor transforming from relaxed to rigid.
Though he momentarily considered bypassing Devon entirely in favor of continuing to the meal tent for a cup of coffee, John ended up deciding against it. He could tell from the leader's exasperated expression that she was chomping at the bit to yell at him, so he might as well get it over with. Plus, he had absolutely no problem with giving back just as much as he was going to get from her. If not more.
Danziger halted directly in front of Devon and both of them were clearly ready for a fight. Neither spoke as they began an intense staring match. As the seconds stretched uncomfortably onward, Cameron's gaze bounced back and forth between the two temperamental personalities as each waited for the other to flinch. Or to begin sniping at one another.
Just when it appeared that Devon was about to explode, the stand-off ended abruptly and rather surprisingly when she suddenly turned and started to walk away.
Danziger gave her retreating back a double-take. "That's it?" he asked, tossing his hands up.
Devon ground to a stop, whipping around to face him in one fluid motion. Her voice was much calmer than he'd expected, especially under the circumstances.
"Yes, that's it. There's no point in even talking to you. You obviously don't listen to a single word that I say."
Even though they weren't technically fighting at the moment, John still felt on the defensive. Maybe it was just habit.
"I listen plenty," he grumped.
Now it was Devon's turn to throw her hands in the air as she turned her back on him and reinitiated the short journey to her tent.
"Adair-" John instinctively called out.
"Leave me alone, Danziger," she spat as she stomped away. "I'm so angry that I don't even want to look at you right now."
She vanished into her quarters without another word, leaving Danziger thoroughly confused.
This was most certainly a new tactic of Devon's and Danziger wasn't sure how to deal with it. Past disagreements between the two were usually settled through confrontation and their short tempers and large egos were always the weapons of choice. To deviate from the established protocol was befuddling to John, and it was even a bit humbling. Maybe Devon had won their fight after all.
The mechanic shuffled his feet back and forth in the snow a few times as Cameron gave him a 'wow, you've really done it this time" look. With a shrug of his shoulders, Danziger sheepishly withdrew from the camp's border and slowly wandered toward the meal tent for coffee. However, blocking his entry was a smirking and thoroughly entertained Alonzo and Walman, who'd clearly been enjoying the floor show.
"So when are you two crazy kids gonna get together?" the pilot asked Danziger jovially as he nodded toward Devon's quarters, eliciting a snicker from Walman.
John was not in the mood to be teased and his prior uneasiness was quickly replaced by irritation. He answered by giving Alonzo his patented death glare which, unfortunately, had just as much of an affect on the sleepjumper as it did on Devon.
"Don't worry," Alonzo chuckled with a gleam in his eye. "I'm sure you two will find a way to work it all out."
"Hey, how 'bout a cage match to the death?" Walman suggested, almost giddily.
"Nah, we gotta give Danz at least a chance of survival!"
"Shut up, Solace," came the terse reply as Danziger barreled past them, practically ripping the doors off of their hinges as he entered.
Walman and Alonzo exchanged another amused chuckle, and they continued their good-natured conversation about Devon and John without the benefit of either leader's presence for another few minutes. As the discussion wound down and the co-workers bid one another good night, Alonzo was struck with an idea.
Though he might not have an actual cage at his disposal, there was a place with a relatively controlled environment that could provide the perfect setup for Devon and Danziger to work out their various issues with one another. Indeed, the pair's last trip to the alternate reality a few weeks before had certainly produced a bounty of useful information, even if neither leader was aware that what they were saying and doing was real, as opposed to images conjured in their own mind.
It would also provide Alonzo with another golden opportunity to hone his Dreamplane skills while the Terrians remained in hibernation, so there was even something in it for him.
And most importantly, Alonzo was more than a bit curious to know if perhaps Devon really did have something that she'd wanted to say to John after all.
Now that he'd retired to his tent for the evening, Danziger was looking forward to a few hours of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. These past few weeks had been difficult for him. Months ago, he'd been unfortunate enough to have been infected by a virus which had forced him to recall his past with such clarity that it was as emotionally painful as it had been physical.
As the very private man that he is, he was grateful that his long-time friends Alex and Les, who had also been suffering from the same debilitating illness, were the only witnesses to his many recollections. Moreover, the married couple had actually been present when most of those memories had been created so it wasn't like they were hearing anything new. And after Alex and Les' deaths, Danziger did his best to rebury those many remembrances and try to move forward. Because looking behind him only brought back the many heartbreaks of his past.
But then Dell Curry changed everything.
True had questions. Lots of them. Those implanted dreams opened a door that could never be fully shut again; no matter how hard Danziger pushed. As such, although True was more than ready to meet her mother in VR, Danziger wasn't at all prepared. To make matters worse for him, as the days became colder, Eden Advance had become virtual prisoners in the BioDome with nothing to fill their days. This gave his daughter plenty of opportunities to grill him about Elle, as well as the many nuances of John's relationship with her back on the Space Stations.
After what would feel like endless hours of relaying stories and details of a life that he'd done everything possible to forget, Danziger was left physically drained and emotionally raw. Though he somehow managed to keep it together for his daughter's sake, when the interrogation was complete, the mechanic took the first available opportunity to escape camp. Of course, he knew that it was dangerous to be out by himself at night, but he rationalized that it was more than worth the risk. It was imperative that he spent some time alone to allow him to process the feelings that recalling those memories evoked in him. At times, he felt like his very sanity was at stake.
After checking to ensure that his daughter was asleep, Danziger removed his boots and climbed into his cot fully clothed. As he shut his eyes, his thoughts drifted to Devon. She was obviously furious at him for ignoring her orders and leaving camp again, but he really didn't see what the big deal was. And she'd get over it eventually, he inwardly concluded. After all, she should be used to him breaking the rules by now. It would also be a huge help to everyone if she remembered that, technically, she was no longer the boss. Perhaps he'd remind her of that fact the next time he saw her.
Danziger felt as though he'd barely closed his eyes when a rustling sound originating from somewhere near the entrance of his tent jostled him back awake. He pried open his tired eyes and forced himself upright in bed. Immediately, he noticed several oddities such as True's conspicuous absence, the significant rise in temperature and much brighter surroundings which suggested that it was daylight, though his chronometer relayed that sunrise was several hours away.
However, he wasn't at all worried about these drastic changes in circumstances because he'd quickly realized that this was familiar territory for him. As a matter of fact, he'd experienced this exact scenario the day prior to his departure on the scout in which he'd ended up lost and delirious due to a spiking fever, only to be rescued by an underground commune of supposedly reformed penal colonists.
This was where he had dreamed of Devon. His mind and his heart had obviously been conflicted about her and it was here that he'd been able to verbalize for the very first time the myriad of emotions that he'd secretly harbored where she was concerned. He'd told her that he'd loved her and that he'd wanted to make a life with her in New Pacifica. The dream had even culminated with a kiss, something else he would never dare to attempt in real life.
It had indeed been helpful to have a safe forum in which to vent his feelings about her without the worry of repercussion. Of course, the apparition of Devon never showed any reaction to his confessions or actions which was an added bonus.
He wondered what he currently needed to work out in his head which prompted his subconscious to return him here. Curious, he shoved his feet back into his boots and made his way to the tent's threshold, pulling back the fabric to reveal the identical field that contained patches of taller grass and shrubbery. And the same generic tent situated about two hundred yards away. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who would be showing up very soon.
He was momentarily distracted by what sounded to him like the snapping of a twig, just beyond his line of sight at the rear of his tent. But before he could investigate the source of the noise, there was a whirlwind of activity at the opposite end of the field. Dream Devon came flying out her quarters and was making a beeline straight for him. And she didn't look happy.
She had immediately begun yelling at him from the moment she'd exited the enclosure. However, even the formidable Devon Adair's voice only carried so far and he missed the first few seconds of her tirade. But that mattered little in the long run. It wasn't like he hadn't heard it all before.
Why in the hell did his mind decide that he needed to endure this, John griped to himself. This was just too damn much. Maybe this is what he should have expected for the unholy trifecta of being overly tired, drinking stale coffee and eating Mazatl's cooking.
He remained just a few steps outside of the tent's threshold and squinted to shield his eyes from the sun's glare, as well as from Devon's fiery expression as she rapidly approached him.
Hell, thy name is Devon Adair, John thought to himself as he readied himself for the verbal onslaught.
"I thought that you had nothin' to say to me," he wisecracked in a futile attempt to cut off her tantrum.
"Oh, I have plenty to say!" she hollered, stamping her feet so hard into the dirt as she marched toward him that she left near-perfect impressions of her shoes.
"You're a rude, arrogant jerk! You're void of the most basic of manners! You don't have an ounce of respect for me and for how things run around here!"
Danziger shook his head as the insults continued to spill out of the vision of Devon.
"You know what you are? You're a bully! You don't- you won't- listen to anyone else! I've never met anyone so incredibly full of themselves!"
You mean, besides yourself, he inwardly noted.
"I can't believe the nonsense you pulled tonight! Have you gone completely insane?" her rant continued. "Do you have any idea how worried I was about you tonight? I swear, sometimes I think you do this to torture me! It's like some sick, twisted thrill of yours!"
"You know what Devon? It's not always about you!" Danziger felt the need to remind her as he became increasingly annoyed. And why the hell was he dreaming this again?
Dream Devon was unfazed by John's comment; probably because she was too busy trying to grind him into mincemeat.
"You don't think about anybody but yourself," she admonished. "That beautiful girl of yours needs her father! And you're off traipsing through the woods in sub-zero temperatures doing God knows what while there's a maniac out there who hunts humans for sport!"
John's eyes narrowed to slits. "Whalen's no threat to us!"
Devon responded by shaking her head so violently that, if this had been real, Danziger would worry that she was endangering the health of her neck and spine.
"There's no way for you to know that! Just because Dell Currey's dreams are no longer haunting him doesn't mean that he's back to normal! The man is unbalanced! He didn't hesitate to string up Morgan and that was after he got the information he needed! What do you think he'd do to you if you two accidentally crossed paths?"
Danziger had to admit that Devon had a valid point. The members of Eden Advance had seen hide nor hair of Whalen since disengaging the hologram that projected those dreams into their subconsciouses. The group had collectively stayed clear of his cabin and everyone involved seemed to employ an 'if you don't bother me, I won't bother you' approach. However, there was really no way to know if that outlook would continue indefinitely, though Danziger certainly hoped that they'd seen the last of the crazed mountain man.
As John realized this, he also surmised that this must be the reason that he was dreaming about Devon again. Deep down he knew that, as much as he appreciated the privacy that leaving camp afforded him, he was continually putting himself at too great a risk and he had to stop.
And for some ridiculous reason which he consciously chose not to explore, he'd needed those warnings to be screamed at him by the vision of a woman with a God-complex to end all God-complexes. Danziger had no idea what that strange detail said about him as a person, but the lesson about venturing out at night had been learned nonetheless, he supposed.
Despite this breakthrough, the mechanic's expression remained one of hostility. Meanwhile, Devon continued to shake life a leaf. A really, really angry leaf.
"Anything else?" he scoffed, his tone practically challenging her to another round of verbal combat.
He crossed his arms smugly while Devon seemed to become enraged. She took in and then exhaled a string of large gulps of air, putting her on the brink of hyperventilation. Her entire face reddened and she exhibited a volcano of emotions as both of her hands clenched into tight fists. Danziger barely had time to process that it appeared that he was about to be punched in the jaw when Dream Devon lunged at him.
But to John's great shock, instead of instigating an act of physical violence, Devon's hands wrapped around the back of his neck and roughly yanked him to her, plastering his lips against her own. Rather than focus on his surprise and confusion, John allowed instinct to immediately kick in and he returned the sentiment, matching her intensity. After several seconds of frenzied, uncontrolled passion, Devon pulled back just enough to break their kiss.
"I'm in love with you, John," she confessed in a breathless whisper, sounding as desperate as he'd ever heard her. "And there's a part of me that hates you for it."
Before Danziger could decipher what the hell Devon was talking about, their mouths were rejoined in an ever deepening embrace. Desire reigned supreme as their arms pretzeled around one another in a quest for mutual exploration. Hoping to continue this new, rather enthusiastic trend back in his tent- or, more specifically, on his cot- John took a few small paces backward, silently urging Devon to match his movements. She complied, and when John felt the brush of nylon against his back, he unsnaked one of his arms from Devon's waist in order to part the fabric and sweep it open enough to permit them entry.
But just as he crossed the threshold, the vision of Devon suddenly tore free from his hold. He was barely able to maintain his footing as he was propelled backward several steps, partially obscuring his face in the room's shadow.
"Devon," John croaked out, attempting to regain his physical and emotional equilibrium.
He took a step toward her, prompting a backward step from Devon, keeping them equidistant. Both were still struggling to slow their rapid breaths and wildly beating hearts as an obviously flustered Devon retreated even further. Her bewildered, desirous eyes remained trained on John as she stumbled back several paces before ultimately swiveling her body around and hightailing it back across the field without another word.
John stood there dumbfounded as he watched her vanish into the faraway tent. He briefly considered following her or, at the very least, calling out to her to reconsider her actions, but decided against it. It was obvious to him that there must have been a very good reason for his subconscious to decide that Dream Devon had to leave. He hoped that one day he'd figure it out. Because he'd been really looking forward to seeing where his subconscious would have taken them; though he had a pretty good idea.
However, all in all, the latter part of his dream more than made up for all of that screaming at the beginning and it was good to end on a high note, Danziger concluded as he ripped off his boots and tossed them across his nearly empty tent.
He stretched out onto his cot, hoping that he woke up soon. He was certainly going to have to make good use of the freezing winter temperature, since there were no cold showers available.
As he shut his eyes, his mouth arched upward into a sideways grin.
Heaven, thy name is Devon Adair.