A/n: We've reached the end of our little adventure. *sniff* And since this is the end of things, once more, for old time's sake, let's have some perspective switching fun times.
Yo, Taylor fans, let's have us some willing suspension of disbelief. Cause Wash needs to do the rescuing every once in a while. ;D
Chapter: Green Eyes
He's vaguely aware of a ringing sound. It's faint at first, then increasingly persistent. But Shannon's a determined man and he's determined to ignore it. With a vague swat of his hand, the ringing ceases, a dull thump as his comm. unit falls to the floor. Elizabeth stirs beside him, nuzzles her nose against his chin, "What was that?"
"No idea, but it's too late to call for anything dignified," she chuckles at his reply, the sound only half aware as sleep washes back over her consciousness. He feels it claim him as well, the world around him fading.
He isn't aware how long he sleeps, but pounding at his door finally does manage to rouse him. His wife favors him with a sympathetic smile as he slides from bed but makes no move to join him.
"Mr. Shannon, sir, please open up," it's Reynolds, his voice insistent.
The kid loses any goodwill he previously might have possessed.
"It's about the Lieutenant. We can't reach her or the Commander," he hears.
Shannon groans; kisses the idea of getting back to bed sometime before dawn goodbye. He leans back towards his bedroom, smirks at Elizabeth. She's rolled to his side of the bed, buried her face in his pillow. "Might want to get ready, Liz. Something tells me we're gonna need you."
He doesn't bother considering how he knows this. It's just a feeling. And if there's one thing Shannon's damn good at, it's feeling. He grabs his jacket, marches out to meet with the young soldier still shifting fretfully on his porch.
Wash's body reacts before her mind comes to.
The sound is barely more than footfall, something shifting out of place, the scrape of metal and little else. By all rights it should not be enough to steal her from her hard earned slumber, weeks of exhaustion weighing heavily upon her psyche. But it does, and the feeling of wrongness, of something she cannot put a name to is something she cannot shake even as she stares sightlessly into the darkness of her room. Years of rigid military vigilance sends each of her senses flaring into overdrive, searching, listening for the thing to come again.
It does, closer now, undoubtedly inside her home.
The heavy weight across her waist registers as an afterthought; the warmth at her back a striking contrast to the cool evening air. It's an odd sensation, but not an unpleasant one. She feels each of Taylor's muscles go taut behind her, arm tightening about her, signaling his awareness both of her return to consciousness and the intruder. The sound comes again and though her body protests she feels every fiber prepare to swing into action, the haze of sleep torn forcefully from her mind. Perhaps it's nothing (it's isn't, it's something and not a good something, she feels it in her gut), perhaps it's simply her overtired mind playing tricks on her. Taylor slides from beside her, silent as one of the shadows thrown on her walls, weaves in and out of the almost pitch blackness as he casts about for his trousers.
She frowns at the image; a stray bit of moonlight manages to break the thick cloud cover, throws the pallor of his skin in stark relief. It's gone as soon as it's come, and she's left with but a flash of white, the vibrant blue of his eyes. Something stirs inside her, a sense of dread she knows better than ignore, to dismiss as simple paranoia. Something is amiss.
It's difficult to make out in the low light, but his nod assures her he catches her nearly silent words. The man continues with his previous task, dresses. When she reaches out to touch his shoulder he pauses. Evidently, something about her current state fascinates him. He takes a seat on the edge of the bed again, though the obvious caution has yet to leave him. He's willing to humor her momentarily. She scowls, tugs the sheet up over her breasts, "Get me my clothes?"
"Think I like you better just like this, Wash."
It's little more than an attempt to distract her as they are both entirely too aware. She smirks, though she knows he can't truly see it. Before he can think better of it he brushes a stray bit of hair behind her ear, the motion oddly intimate, so simple, so mundane. It's almost like habit, a natural reaction he doesn't' even register, a testament to the level of comfort, the trust shared between them. The crash comes again, more insistent this time and he glares, gives her hand a squeeze before rising.
The dread returns.
"Wait," she swings her legs over the edge of the bed, feels around for her pants. Remembers, with more than a little frustration, that they've been left somewhere in her office. She feels the fabric of Taylor's shirt against her foot and reaches down to retrieve it, "I'm coming with you."
The material is halfway over her heard when he catches it, tugs it out of her grasp and tosses it somewhere. Frankly, it's one of the rare times she decides him wearing predominantly black is a damn nuisance. The material is near invisible and it's almost impossible to deduce precisely where it lands. He rests his hand on her waist, strokes a finger across her hip, "Nonsense, nothing to worry yourself over, Wash."
"No arguments, lieutenant," when he can feel her ready to protest he leans nearer to her, whispers in her ear, "I don't suppose you considered that I don't want to risk you getting out of bed?" Her silence is taken as indignation and he chuckles lowly, "Gun still in the bedside table?" She nods. There's one in the bedside table, the second drawer of her dresser, a knife behind her headboard, one beneath her mattress, another tucked behind the various knick knacks on her shelf. She's been teased (by Shannon, Reynolds, and both Taylors, nearly all the men in her life now that she looks back) that she has enough weaponry stowed about her home to arm a small mob. What can she say? She's learned from the best. From Taylor's appreciative smirk, he's as aware of it as she.
He collects the weapon, checks it briefly before moving past her. For the tenseness in his posture, the obvious wariness in his stance, his tone is remarkably light, "Be back before you can miss me." It sounds like something Shannon might say and she rolls her eyes, waves him off.
"That sounds like a challenge."
He smiles, shakes his head, "Everything always is with you." But his tone is undeniably fond, as if he wouldn't have it any other way. He shuts the door to her bedroom behind him, the silent click almost jarring in the unnatural silence.
The crash comes again.
It's well after midnight, nearer to dawn, when he manages to slip back within the colony. He doesn't doubt that someone might have seen him, that those pesky camera's might have taken note of him as he slips through one of the holes in their gate (tsk, tsk, give a girl such pertinent information and the daffy daisy doesn't even act on it) . Only he's beyond caring really, beyond much of anything. There's only one thought, one alone, desperate and burning in his gut, in the space behind his eyes.
Alicia's voice, pretty and haunting, spectral and somehow an almost physical force as it caresses his consciousness, leads him on. His jaw aches, his muscles screaming in protest as he pushes them on. Always forward, never ceasing, never, never, never. The Sixer slides through the shadows, allows them to wash over him, clothe him like a second skin. It's the most liberating sort of freedom, the most intoxicating sort of thing, to glide undetected through enemy territory. Almost like an old movie, yes. A dashing hero, rushing to the rescue of his fair lady, no amount of ill treatment, no obstacles, able to stop him.
And in the end, there are very few obstacles, very few indeed. The colony is lifeless, a ghost town, only the occasional call of a faraway nocturnal creature, lingering outside the gates. His feet lead him on, haste, frustration, urging him on. The good lieutenants home is not difficult to pick out amidst the rabble; meticulously neat and somehow simply her. It is difficult to put a name to but he doesn't for a moment doubt it; as she so often does, knowingly or otherwise, she has left a mark, an almost visible signature, on what she claims as her own.
The door is not locked (silly, silly girl, oh, any monster could simply slip inside). He cocks his head lightly to the side, considers simply calling out to her. But it would be foolish, yes. So late, so dark, and his Alicia undoubtedly sleeps so soundly. He leaves things as they are, doesn't dare disturb this shrine, this most sacred ground where the very air is colored with her scent. A bottle of wine rests on her counter, barely touched. He smiles, ghosts fingers across the rim of her glass. Imagines her lips there, imagines her lips on his again…
He's stolen from his pleasant reverie by a nearly silent click from down the hall. A bedroom door, a momentary sound nothing more than a scratch against his senses. It's nothing, but the lights do not suddenly flair into being. His Alicia does not march out, her dark hair all in disarray. No, not even a sound reaches his ears. But he feels it, feels something as it ghosts through the near blackness. He slides against the far wall, tucks himself against the corner, feels for something to use as a weapon. There's a rifle hanging not far from him, he makes for it, low to the ground.
It is Taylor, the wicked, wicked, wicked Commander who emerges from the good lieutenants bedroom, a brief, most unfortunate stream of moonlight illuminating him. The impressive man, the very figure of heroism given life, has a gun in hand (and Cillian fights to the urge to giggle to himself; foolish, silly man, as if such a little thing might save him in the dark) blue eyes little pin pricks of light in the darkness. It summons a loathing that threatens to tear his soul asunder, burn what little remains of his control, his awareness, to see the man in his Alicia's home. Her voice simultaneously hisses and purrs in his mind, so miserably suggestive, taunting. How beautiful the Commander is, how terribly arresting and how could beautiful Alicia resist such a thing? Had it not been something he had taunted the other man for. His nightmares are given life.
His grip tightens on the weapon in his hands, the heavy weight soothing, comforting, cool against his heated flesh.
Cillian doesn't believe, no, not for a second, not one little second, that he would last against the other man in a fight, most certainly not a fair one. No not a bit, not for a second. But Cillian is not so proud as to demand a duel for his ladies honor. Dead is dead is dead however he meets his end and so the method matters so terribly little in the grand of schemes. Tightens his grip on the cool metal sitting in his lap. Doesn't breathe, doesn't dare breathe, lest the great predator, the hunter, turn his attention here.
Taylor (wicked, wicked, cruel) moves nearer, obviously alert, eyes scanning the darkness. Given another second he might have discovered him.
It doesn't take a strong man to swing effectively and Cillian is not so weak. Perhaps the only thing that saves the older man is his preternatural awareness. He turns before the blow connects, manages to get an arm between them. The rifle connects with a dull thud, doubles the man as it connects with his ribs.
The follow up strike to his head isn't enough to kill (no, no, no, it'd be poor form to kill him, hmm? Very poor indeed, too quick, too easy) but his vision swims, the darkness of the room traded for the blackness behind his eyes.
The Sixer cackles to himself, gives a hard shove and kneels on the Commanders chest, dangles a pair of cuffs in front of his face (his own, ooh, the very same he'd worn for so very, very long), "You aren't supposed to be here, Taylor, sir, no, no, not here. Shame, shame, shame."
Tis indeed a shame. He frowns as the bigger man tries to struggle free. He takes another swing, delights as his captor, his tormentor, slips into unconsciousness.
The sound of laughter from the other room has her on her feet before her mind finishes processing the sound, her fingers automatically reaching for the knife behind her head board. It comes loose with a tug. She feels about for Taylor shirt, finds it quickly and pulls it over her head, never pausing. Her nerves, usually so steeled, so composed, are humming, the heated energy tearing through her control, orders her forward.
Light burns her eyes, thrown abruptly from absolute darkness to the warm orange glow of the chem. lights. It isn't as horrible as it might have been, but the sensation momentarily causes her pause. She rounds the corner.
Wash considers herself a fairly composed individual. She handles stress well; she handles the severity of situations with aplomb. Perhaps it's her training, perhaps simply something intrinsically part of her being. She's grown accustomed to a quiet calm overtaking her when danger, death, anything, rears its head.
There is only rage now, perfectly pooled in her gut, spreading to warm the entirety of her body. A desire to leap into action before thinking, act without reason; it's dangerous and she clamps down on the sensation, forces herself to remain rooted in place. Her grip on the knife behind her back tightens until her knuckles are an ashen white, the metal biting painfully against her skin.
Cillian is there, a look of surprise momentarily flitting across his features, a knife dangling precariously from his grasp. It matters very little to her. Her attention is fixed entirely on her Commander. An ugly purple bruise is beginning to blossom across his forehead, a matching one across his ribs, marring pale skin that had been perfect not moments before. She's used to the irrational reaction the man inspires in her but the absolute hatred is something she isn't braced for. His head is lolling forward, chin resting against his chest. There's no blood that she can see but it does little to assuage her.
"Alicia!" The Sixer is purring to her, taking in her appearance with more than the appropriate amount of interest. He winces under the heat of her gaze, wilts a little, "You are angry?"
"I am," strange, how cool her tone remains, no emotion, no wavering.
"Then Cillian apologizes," he frowns, taps the knife lightly against his lower lip, "For arriving too late. I tried so hard, very hard indeed, to return quickly. But not even Cillian moves quickly enough it seems. Taylor was faster, miserably fast, miserable man." The green eyes burn with absolute loathing; the knife is suddenly winging forward in a deadly arc.
"Cillian!" The sharp quality of her tone causes him pause, the blade pausing before it breaks skin. She feels something sickeningly similar to fear boiling in the back of her mind as he presses it gently against the flesh of his throat, a thin, delicate line of red marring the skin there. Calculates how quickly she moves, whether she could intercept him before the strike is fatal. To her chagrin, no matter how she figures it she'll be a fraction of a second too slow. But his focus remains on her and so she forces her tone to smooth, to pacify.
She takes a step towards him, holds a hand out wide. For the moment, he remains placid, head cocked curiously to the side. The knife remains but it's ceased its forward motion. "Do you love me, Cillian?" Funny, how easily the question returns to her. Familiar and easy, detached as if another woman asks it.
The question leaves him visibly torn, letting out a displeased whine as he glances between the fallen Commander and the lieutenant. The knife wavers momentarily and she takes another step forward, lessens the distance between them. She pauses between steps, allows him to adjust to her proximity, "Yes." The moment the word leaves his mouth he nods as if hearing them somehow reaffirms them in his mind, clears aside some strange fog. "Cillian loves you, pretty thing." Her smile (too toothy, too feral to every be anything other than false) inspires an echoing one in him, "And you will come with me and be safe, yes?" Pleading.
"I can't leave here, Cillian." Another step, another step closer.
"Lies, lies, lies."
She holds out a pacifying hand, her right still resting behind her back, finding the knife there. "It's going to be alright." And it is.
His eyes narrow as she draws nearer, fixes on the rapidly forming discolorations across her skin, purples and blacks originating near her clavicle trailing lower. Their origin is fairly obvious and it has the Sixer snarling, "Taylor did this! Taylor hurt you, broke poor Alicia!" He rounds on the fallen man, green eyes blazing.
"Hey, hey, focus here. Alright. Everything's alright. I need you to breathe." She reaches out, fingers brushing against his shoulder.
For all his sick affection for her, he whirls on her, the contact snapping some delicate balance. The edge of his blade leaves a long gash across the palm of her hand, crimson blossoming from the wound. It's surprise more than pain that registers. Even still, she retains her calm, forces the pain to an acceptable thrumming.
Horror floods his face and he clutches at her desperately, the knife clattering to the floor as he drops to his knees, clutches her to him desperately. He buries his face in the fabric of her shirt, moves her hand to his cheek, howls a little as her blood stains his skin, "Poor Alicia, poor, beautiful, angelic Alicia, forgive me, forgive me, forgive me."
She brushes hair back from his face, a wan smile turning her features; right hand tightens on the blade still tucked safely behind her. "Cillian…"
"Do you love me?"
"Yes, yes, yes, my beautiful, perfect, angel. Always, always, always!"
"And you'll never leave me, will you?" She know the answer before she asks the question, but a part of her demands she voice it. Needs to hear the answer, needs to assuage something (not guilt, never guilt). With her blood trickling down across his skin, the red leaving streaks down the side of his face, down the bridge of his nose, the green of his eyes is only rendered brighter. More alive, more mad, more desperate.
A wobbly smile turns his features, he holds her to him more closely, murmurs against her skin, "Not as long as Cillian breathes."
And she doesn't for a second doubt him. She glances towards her superior officer, feels the rage turn in her stomach as she takes in his wounds once more. Takes an infinitesimal step back, tightens her grip.
"Wash!" Shannon hears the panic in his voice, too far gone to care how he sounds to anyone else. It's a far cry from his usual composure and a few civilians poke their heads out, curious as to why their sheriff is tearing down the colony streets in the dead of night as if the devil is on his heels. He nearly collides with her door, pounds on it. Her home is unnaturally silent and it sends a cold pang of fear through him, nerves fraying with each passing second, "C'mon, Wash, open up. Is everything alright?"
No answer. His fingers curl around his weapon, the familiar weight a comfort in his hands. The door is unlocked; he's willing to risk her ire. He nudges it open, frowns at the darkness. It's unfortunate; the night is cloudy and there is very little natural moonlight. It spills through the door, dyes the inside of her home a sallow grey. The familiar iron tinged smell of blood instantly greets him, permeates the very air.
"Wash?" He holds the sonic blaster at the ready, listens intently for any sound of movement. There's nothing. Nothing at all. No wind, no nature, no breathing; just the smell of blood, the cloying scent of death hanging like a shroud replacing the earthy quality that usually flits about her home. He stifles the desire to panic, to tear the house apart searching for her and summons his rationality. Wash is a strong woman; if something had happened there'd be far more than just the scent of blood. The damn stuff would be everywhere.
A part of him knows it's a desperate rationalization; the rest of him doesn't give a damn. He runs a hand along the wall, searches for the lights. It takes a moment but his fingers brush against the switch, flooding the room with the familiar low orange glow of the chem. lights.
The genesis of the smell is obvious immediately. Their Sixer friend lies face down in a pool of his own blood, the sickening liquid spilling across the once immaculate tiles. He takes a long breath, nudges him with the toe of his boot. It's more than evident that he's dead; green eyes stare lifelessly forward, the glassy quality more than slightly disturbing. He frowns at the gore but cannot deny that it brings him a sense of relief. As desperately as Elizabeth opposes "frontier justice," Jim cannot deny that some men are better off dead. The Sixer is one of them and he cannot mourn his passing.
He holsters his pistol, glances about. There are signs of a struggle but none of the house's mistress. The sheriff cocks his head lightly to the side; there's a smear of blood, not terribly noticeable, leading down the hall. He follows it, calls again, "Wash, you here?" The door to her bedroom is closed. He raps lightly against the surface.
A tired voice, one he vaguely recognizes as his friends, replies from the other side and he suffers the most irrational surge of relief, "It's open, Shannon." He's inside the room almost before the words finish leaving her mouth, searching for a danger no longer present. The man takes one look at her state of undress, the half naked entirely unconscious Commander on her bed, the corpse in her living room, opens his mouth, shuts it. Then simply shakes his head, "Do I even want to know what I've walked in on?"
"There's a dead man on my floor, Shannon, what do you think happened?"
"Sometimes I just don't know with you, Wash," it has the cadence of a joke, but his face grows uncharacteristically serious. She looks, if he's being generous, like hell. A goodly portion of the color has been stolen away from her skin, exhaustion ebbing her natural grace. The dark hair is matted to her head, angry purple splotches begin at her neck, dip far lower. He simply ignores the fact that she's basically naked, the Commander's shirt barely covering her. Even that is covered with a goodly portion of blood. She sitting on the edge of the bed, tying a bandage around her hand. Without bothering to ask permission, he takes a seat beside her, "You alright?"
"It's nothing I haven't dealt with before."
"That isn't what I asked."
The stubborn woman simply shakes her head, offers him a smile (and he knows she tries to repress the expression from the way it wavers near the corner of her lips). She offers him the fabric, holds out her hand. An ugly gash is spread across her palm, the cut undeniably awkwardly placed. It's enough to appease the man and he doesn't push again, simply takes the bandage and begins looping it about the laceration. It's going to need stitches, but she certainly can't treat herself and, despite his wife's impressive medical talents, Shannon is in no way qualified to assist her. Wash lets out a sigh as he goes about the task.
"Want to tell me what happened?"
He smiles, "That's my girl. Was worried about you for a second there," she rolls her eyes but her spirits do seems a little lighter. Shannon purses his lips, tosses a glance towards the sleeping Commander. He doesn't ask about their undress, or the marks across her skin, the cuts across Taylor's shoulders (their origin is obvious), because frankly, he doesn't give a damn what they do together, regulations or otherwise. If they're happy, he wishes his friends all the luck in the world. And while it's in his nature to tease (and it's undoubtedly his god given right to harp on this until doomsday doth come, till Wash is furious and chasing him into the jungle) Shannon knows when to prod and when to let things lie. This is something too new to taunt her over. So he simply asks, "Is our fearless leader doing alright?"
She silently thanks him for his selective words; he nods his acceptance, "A few bruises to his rib cage, maybe a slight concussion. He'll need medical attention but from what I can tell it's nothing serious."
"Always good to hear," he ties off the bandage; all things considered it doesn't look half bad. He stands, extends a hand to her despite knowing she won't take it. Her eyes flash with amusement and she stands, gently bats his hand aside.
"Come on, Shannon."
"Come on what, Wash? Haven't I done my duty as a friend?"
"You broke into my house. The least you can do is help me get the Commander to medical," both of them fight valiantly to repress their smirks, enjoying the pointless banter. She demands he assist her, knows he'd intended it from the start. He fights, already having set his heart on accompanying her, whether she wants him to or not. It's a familiar pattern and they fall back into it with relish.
He slings one of the older man's arms over his shoulder, waits for Wash to prepare herself on the other side. Taylor groans but doesn't speak, "I'll get some guys over to clean up your um…work." She snorts but doesn't protest. The last thing she needs to come home to is a living room full of blood.
When Shannon doesn't move immediately she rounds on him, "What are you waiting for? Let's get moving."
He shifts to take more of Taylor's weight, makes an idle motion indicating her figure with his free hand, "Not that your legs aren't lovely or anything, but you might want to consider adding a bit to your outfit. Like pants, pants are always good. Just, you know, an idea." Wash doesn't look in the least embarrassed, simply scowls. She disappears down the hall. When she returns a moment later she's donned the fatigues she'd been wearing earlier in the day. He notes with no small amount of amusement that she's still clad in her superior's shirt, the collar hanging open perhaps a little wider than propriety dictates. No words are exchanged as they leave her home. They are, in fact, halfway down the street before he speaks again, his tone dripping with undeniable mischief.
"Nice hickies, by the way."
He throws her a sideways glance. She's trying valiantly to summon something like embarrassment to the fore. Instead, she simply looks unabashedly amused. And perhaps a little proud.
"Shut up, Shannon."
He can't help but smile; that's his girl.
About an hour later, Elizabeth discharges them, declares them both entirely healthy. She advises Taylor to take things lightly for a few days to spare his bruised ribs (and scowls at him fiercely when he purses his lips, posture denoting he's taking offense to his suggestions), and stitches Wash's hand. The cut isn't terribly bad and gives them little trouble. Snickers over the marks across the lieutenant's chest and abdomen (Wash is fairly certain she's never turned as red as when the doctor gives her a cheeky smile and mutters, "Well done, Commander Taylor.") and advises she wear something with a higher collar for the next few days.
Taylor refuses to allow Alicia to assist him as they leave his pride undoubtedly still smarting from being overtaken by the smaller man. She'll tease him about it later but at the moment she's feeling uncharacteristically merciful.
They pause briefly, and she looks miserably down the road towards her home. The lights are all on, more than a few shadows moving about, attempting to clean up her, as Shannon so delicately put it, work. She feels Taylor clasp a hand on her shoulder, regards him with a raised brow.
His voice is still tinged with something she recognizes as exhaustion. It's little more than a subtle shift in tone for the composed man but she's known him long enough to catch it, "You're welcome to stay at my place a while, Wash. Until…" he motions airily, "That's finished."
The offer sends an almost irrational pleasure through her, most undignified for a woman of her rank. So she resorts to a more defensive tactic, teases, "Oh yeah? What'll that cost me?"
"Considering it making up for your last boyfriend clobbering me with your rifle."
She snorts, "You place enough blame in that sentence, sir?"
"One of the perks of being Commanding Officer," she shrugs lightly.
Jim and Elizabeth simply shake their heads, watching the pair head down the street. When they believe they are safely out of sight Wash slips her hand into the Commanders, leans her head ever so slightly against his shoulder. It's a simple movement but it's undeniably fond.
The sheriff of Terra Nova wraps an arm around his wife's shoulder, lets out a withering sigh, "Those kids have issues."
"Personally, I think it's adorable."
Shannon chuckles, presses a kiss to her forehead, "If you say so, sweetheart."
They stare after the departing duo a moment longer, neither able to conceal their smiles as their friends duck inside the Commander's home.
A/n: Cheesy ending is cheesy but I regret nothing. AND LO! We're done. It's finished. And to think, it was going to be a one shot. Boy was I wrong. I'd like to thank all you lovely beings for sticking with me through all this craziness. It's been a pleasure talking with all of you. And here's hoping that Monday turns out well for us. And if it doesn't…. (*readies pitch fork*) Well, it'll all be good.
Now if you'll excuse me…I do believe I've got a collab with Inu to tend to. And a Lucas/Wash hatemance to develop just to tick the aforementioned Inu off. xD Because I'm evil like that.
Once again, thank you all. You're all so wonderfully, perfectly excellent. It's been a delight.