Washed Ashore


Summary: Jack waited, wondering what, if anything, had fought its way out of Rapture.

Jack had come to the shore as often as he could in nine years since he'd escaped Rapture. Usually he went at night, when the girls were asleep and there weren't any people there to stare at the scarred mess that the voice modulator had made of his throat. He was at the shore almost every night now that both he and the girls were through with their therapy (he'd had to relearn how to speak and the girls had had to relearn damn near everything).

The house that he and Tenenbaum had bought was only a short walk from the ocean and was on the farthest edge of town. They'd been left mostly alone and were grateful for it.

Now, Jack stood at the shoreline and stared eastward out at the horizon. The tide was coming in and washing over his sandals, but he paid it no mind. Last night he'd been out with the girls and they'd said that they saw flashes of light in the water. Nothing had happened and he hadn't seen anything, but the girls had much better senses than he did and who was he to say that something wasn't stirring in Rapture's remains. If anything, the direction was right.

So he waited, wondering what, if anything, had fought its way out of Rapture.

Hours later, when the water had come halfway up his calves and he was about to leave, Jack caught sight of lights near the horizon. Whatever it was came almost to shore before it stopped (Jack guessed it had run aground) and something (someone?) slipped off of it.

It (they) stumbled to shore minutes later and Jack realized that it was a girl as he caught her hand as she nearly fell forward. If anything she looked like she had just come from Rapture, she was wearing a pieced together diving suit and what he could see of her seemed worn. She leaned against him for support seemingly not realizing that it was a person she leaned on.

"Are you alright?" Jack asked, his voice low and quiet as it had been since he'd learned to speak again.

The girl jerked away from him and stared at him wide-eyed.

"Miss?" He asked again.

"I'm fine; I'm just a bit winded." She was watching him as if he might suddenly shoot lightning out of his fingers, and given where she'd come from Jack wasn't surprised. He backed off a few steps.

"I don't mean any harm, Miss." Jack made sure to keep his hands in view. "I'm Jack Ryan, and if you came from where I think you did then me and the girls would be glad to help you onto your feet."

"I heard about you, Mr. Ryan."

Jack winced at the mistrust in the girl's voice and in the stance she took. It had been a long time since he'd fought anyone let alone someone who'd probably been strengthened by Rapture's gene tonics and he hoped it wouldn't come to that.

"Miss I'm not going to force you into anything. If you've heard about me, then you know I've dealt with enough people trying to use me for an entire lifetime, and I don't have any intention of doing the same to anyone else.

"All I'm offering is a place to stay while you get your legs underneath you."

The girl stood uncertain. She looked out to sea where the lights of whatever she'd ridden to the surface and watched as the waves washed over it. Eventually she faced Jack again, this time much more openly, and held out her hand.

"Eleanor Lamb."

Jack took her hand in his, "It's good to meet you, Miss Eleanor."