Author's Note: This is an AU for what could have been... (TJ/Young, no season two spoilers)
She's been home a week when Icarus Base is attacked.
The news reaches her as she is sorting through the very expensive set of new medical reference texts she's just purchased (there goes two months' worth of hazard pay, she thinks to herself). Her phone rings, a restricted number, and she calls back, giving them her security code so that she can hear the message at the other end. Its Colonel Telford, his voice surprisingly subdued, telling her in no uncertain terms that the Base has been destroyed, and that a group of her former colleagues are now trapped aboard an Ancient ship, millions of light-years away. He says he just wanted her to know, just wanted to keep her informed, even if she's on leave (however indefinite that may be).
The next day, as she takes a seat in the lecture hall and prepares for the first class of her medical degree, she realizes that the reason Telford called her is because Colonel Young is one of the stranded onboard.
She's been home two months when she realizes she is pregnant.
Narrowly avoiding vomiting all over her endocrinology notes, she stumbles to the bathroom for the fourth time in two days, releasing the contents of her stomach into the toilet once more. She finds it slightly embarrassing that it took her two and a half months to figure it out (after all, she is in medical school), but that is the least of her concerns at the moment. She leans against the cold porcelain of the toilet, and suddenly begins to cry.
She's been home two months and one day when she decides the keep the baby.
In the end, it wasn't even really a choice.
She's been home seventeen weeks when he calls her, asking to talk.
The voice on the phone is unfamiliar, but the cadence, the rhythm of speech is all Everett. He tells her that he's sorry about the way things ended, and that he's happy she's gotten the chance to pursue her dreams. He tells her little snippets about Destiny, though he can't tell her much with the security clearance she has now. Even through the voice of another man, she can still tell that he is still so very alone.
She briefly considers telling him about the baby, but decides she doesn't want to place yet another burden on him. So she lies and tells him everything is just fine.
She's been home for seven months when he calls again, saying he'd like to see her.
With one hand holding onto the phone, she brushes the other one against the swell of her stomach, a round protuberance no longer disguisable in any way. She tells him no, she can't, too much work. He tells her its fine, he understands. But she can still hear the pain in his voice when he tells her goodbye.
She's been home eight months and one week when her water breaks in a washroom on campus.
She knows she probably shouldn't have still been going to class, but she wanted to accomplish as much as she could before putting her studies on hold. She calls her cousin to come and pick her up; he loads her into the car and drives furiously to the hospital, white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. Her mother meets her there, and the two wait outside, as she labours for twenty-one hours on her own. In her weakest moments, she curses his name under her breath for his absence; in her strongest moments, she cries because she knows he would have been here in an instant if he could have.
She holds her – their – daughter for the first time, and imagines his arms around them both.
She's been home for one year and three months when she lets him visit her.
She arranges to meet him at a coffee shop in the downtown, near the hotel he's staying at. Her mom is always jumping at the chance to take care of the baby, so TJ reluctantly lets her daughter out of her sight for the first time since her birth. An unfamiliar face greets her in the café, but when he speaks she knows it's him. He takes her hand in his, tells her about his divorce, about how he's missed her. They are quiet for a long time, a silence hanging between them. When he leans in to kiss her, she doesn't stop him.
She lets him make love to her, slowly and gently, ignoring the fact that his body is not his own. She still doesn't tell him about the baby. She doesn't know how.
She's been home three years and two days when she confesses that she loves him.
As he strokes her hair and pulls her even tighter against himself (or at least the body he's inhabiting), he whispers "I know."
She's been home the better part of a decade when the lost crew of Destiny comes home.
She's standing nervously in front of a hangar bay in Colorado, the family members of the rest of the crew scattered around her. She is clutching a brand new teddy bear in her arms, a gift meant for him from his daughter. She'd saved up her allowance for the last month in order to buy it, a homecoming gift for a father she's never even known.
She watches anxiously with the rest of the crowd as the wayward crew slowly exits the hangar, finally released from their debriefings and decontaminations. She sees the faces of people she once knew: Matthew Scott, Dr. Park, Dr. Rush. There are notable exceptions though, and she is sad to note the absence of Riley, Franklin, and so many more. There are a few children within the group, mostly toddlers and infants. She finds it reassuring, somehow, that even in the midst of so much hardship and so many struggles, life still goes on.
He's the last to emerge from the depths of the hangar, carried by three men on either side. Her hands grip the teddy bear so tightly that she can feel the stitching strain beneath her fingers. The men walk slowly, in formation, moving forward towards her and the waiting car.
They pause before her, silently acknowledging her presence. She moves up to them, and places a hand on the polished wood of the coffin, her hands sliding across the smooth surface.
"Hello, Everett," she whispers, and the tears start to slide down her cheeks. "I missed you," she breathes, and she catches herself before she completely falls apart.
"Are you alright, Ms. Johansen?" asks the solider on the right-hand side. His eyes are young, and kind. She tries to smile at him.
"Let's go," she says, and the men move to place the coffin in the back of the waiting car. Still clutching the teddy bear, she pauses for a moment before getting into the vehicle. She turns, looking back at the hangar, and then up to the sky.
"Welcome home," she whispers, but the wind catches her words and carries them away to places unknown.