"Where the Green Grass Grows"
Prompt: A family of your own choosing / Davenport and Goddard facing your past
Category: Life after Christa, D/G
Characters: Goddard, Davenport, Radu 386
Radu sat lazily in a reclining styled chair across the room. Goddard lounged along his sofa, Thelma draped across his legs, head resting on his stomach. Absently, Goddard stroked her muzzle and scratched behind her ears. A night of reminiscing, drinks, and advising had left both men tired as the sun began to peek above the horizon. After the business portion of his visit was concluded, Radu and Seth had taken to swapping stories about each other and their fellow shipmates recent misadventures.
Including, much to Goddard's dismay, the supposed adventures he and TJ Davenport were conducting on a weekly basis. Radu had seemed disappointed that some of them were not true, and that, for all that Seth did care for the woman, he had not spoken to or seen her in months. Goddard had quickly turned the topic to Radu and Elmira's impending wedding. Radu was regaling him about dress fittings.
"... and THEN she simply ripped the gown in the back to let her tail out... You should have SEEN the look on the seamstress's face! Except for THELMA, I have never witnessed an android experience disbelief!" Radu finished.
Goddard laughed hard, his tiredness making every emotion amplified. They both chuckled a bit longer, letting the last bit of humor fade away and be replaced by a comfortable silence. Thelma gave way to a large, toothy yawn, and despite himself, Goddard followed with his own. Radu smiled at him.
"Getting a bit old, aren't we?"
Goddard grunted, "Speak for yourself... I just haven't pulled an all niter in a very long time."
"Potato – potahto..." Radu said cheekily. Seth did not bother pointing out the Andromedan's misuse of the old earth verse. Instead, to his chagrin, another yawn escaped him.
Radu sat up from the recliner and stood. He had grown several inches since they first set out in the Christa, and like most Andromedan males, he had filled out with muscle, pushing any of the roundness from his features. His voice was now a deep and rough rumble, and Goddard thought it hinted of gravel when he said, "I should let an old man get his sleep then. After all, you're going to need your rest in between guests."
Seth perked up a bit and asked, "What's that supposed to mean?"
Slyly, Radu made for the door, but threw over his shoulder in a voice that reminded him much of Elmira, "I'll visit again in a few weeks. I will be off world on council errands, but... You're always very kind and accommodating to me when I'm here... Please be so to your other guests..Especially the ones who would do some good by staying."
Clearly, he knew something that Goddard did not, but before he could be questioned, the Andromedan slipped out the door and into his transport craft in the large front yard. But Goddard found himself too tired to give chase. Instead he shrugged at Thelma, and listened after the sounds of the small shuttle disappearing into the sky. Old, Hah! He thought, and then promptly fell asleep.
There was a distant buzzing in his head. Oh, I hope I'm not hungover... he mused, but did not open his eyes. Thelma was no longer on his lap, the warm heaviness of the dog obviously gone long ago. Goddard rolled himself onto his side and cracked one eye open. The clock across the room read 0900. I've only been asleep four hours... he moaned to himself. He closed his eye again and pinched the bridge of his nose, not noticing that the low buzzing had abruptly ended.
Somewhere in the house he heard the familiar click-clack of Thelma's paws on the hardwood flooring. A light scent of tea drifted to his nose, but he was pretty sure he was imagining it. The smell brought back memories from The Christa, how every morning when he entered the galley, TJ Davenport would somehow have risen before him, even when he purposefully tried to wake up before her. For him, it had become a game. I think she knew... he smiled to himself … it was her little way of thwarting me constantly at something. Goddard rolled onto his back again and opened his eyes fully, letting the memory come uncontested in the beams of sunlight coming through the font window.
Her preference of tea was of course, British Breakfast, a dark and pungent concoction that Bova despised with a passion. It always filled the galley and sometimes some of the hallway just outside the door. Goddard remembered the trials and tedious tribulations Davenport had gone through trying to get The Christa to brew tea. A weeks worth of experimentation and lots of quarreling with the ship's computer had occurred before the food wheel finally got it to her liking. He recalled vividly Davenport sniffing with disdain at a particular failed attempt saying, "Tea is more of an art form, Commander, than cold hard science. I will teach this blasted computer art, and if I can do that, I can teach anyone..."
A pang of guilt entered his chest, a feeling he had not felt since sending out his report to her. Goddard could not help feel sad that it had been a few weeks with no reply. He thought he had been quite infuriating enough to at least rouse a heated couple of words in response, but perhaps, with all the media still trying to dig them both out of hiding, she had decided to stay away. Now that her work was complete, perhaps she did not feel the need to even argue with him anymore. How I would like to see her, he thought and sighed heavily.
Just then Thelma entered the living room and sat at the end of the couch, panting and smiling contentedly. Goddard's nose crinkled as the smell of tea became stronger, filling the room with its signature thickness and he felt a third presence enter his space. He tilted his neck so that he was looking at the entryway. She was standing there in the threshold, upside down to him, holding a mug of tea, the spirals of heat rolling up from the cups opening. Goddard quickly rolled over, righting her image, and rose to his knees on the sofa.
He saw her tense, hands tightening a bit around the mug, but other than that neither of them moved. TJ Davenport stood stiffly staring wide eyed at him from the hallway her lithe figure seeming very natural along with the stairwell behind her and the gleaming hardwood flooring beneath her bare feet. Goddard took her image in slowly. The past few months had no doubt been kind to her physically, she had grown more toned in places, places he could not help notice as she sported a blue flower printed sun dress that left her shoulders and mid thigh down bare. Her skin still held it's milky, years in space glow and she appeared to be wearing less make up than he had ever seen her – just a light hint of powder and eye shadow. Her flaming red hair had been allowed to grow to chin length, and was perfectly curved in beneath her jawline, accentuating her long neck in the most frustrating way. Goddard's knees felt suddenly weaker underneath him.
Davenport felt like a small animal in the headlights of a landing space pod. She had not meant to wake him up, but there he was, staring wide eyed at her. He must think me awfully rude, she cringed inwardly all of the smugness and righteousness she had mustered during her flight here dissipating like the dew on the grass outside. He was much the way she remembered him, the latter part of the war he participated in remolding his body into muscle and hard angles. His usually regulation kept hair, however, was mussed in the back and a few dark circles dug beneath his eyes. He was still as terribly handsome as she remembered, however, his shirt loosely wrinkled from sleep, and sweatpants hanging a bit lower than appropriate from his made dash to sit up. A very clear image of his well defined abs was exposed to her where the t-shirt had been pulled up too. A hint of stubble speckled the lower part of his face, accentuating his jaw and neck in the most frustrating way. Davenport's heart flipped like the wings of a moth as it ran into a solid wall and lost altitude.
They both jumped when Thelma let out a sharp bark. Goddard turned to his dog and snapped, "Thelma!" The mutt had the nerve to look unfazed and began to pant happily again.
Goddard turned back to his guest, who had taken that moment to take a sip from her mug, not entirely successful in concealing her smile. He opened his mouth several times but could not think of anything to say. Davenport filled the awkward space for him.
"The house let me in..." she muttered past her tea, eyes trying to find something different to look at, they settled on a small lamp in the corner of the room.
The crisp accent seemed to break Goddard's revere, and he relaxed, standing up off the sofa. He took a moment to adjust his shirt and run a hand through his hair. His eyes came back to Davenport and he heard Radu's voice in his mind, Please be so to your other guests...
Goddard smiled largely, "The house is an excellent judge of character."
Much to Goddard's approval, his words seemed to relax her. Shoulders dropping and fingers unwinding a bit from the mug Davenport replied, "How kind of it to think so of me... I apologize, still. However, in the report you did suggest I find someplace sunny and quiet to have my vacation. I thought it would be good to get your opinion on my vacation destination, since by your report, you seem to be such an expert."
Nothing has changed, Goddard grinned in relief. The easy-going companionship they had shared in the last years aboard The Christa settled about the air around them. He thought, I may have been eluding to my own home with out even knowing. Glancing out at the sun drenched yard he said, "I've had a couple of guests recently, but of course, you are more than welcome to stay."
They both watched as Thelma crossed between them, wandered passed Davenport and sat by two small suitcases that stood at the bottom of the stares. She pawed gently at them and whined.
"Of course we'd both enjoy company..." Goddard added raising an eyebrow at the dog, "There's a spare bedroom up the stairs and off to the right. Also a separate bathroom that is directly accessed from it."
"That sounds lovely," she said softly, watching Thelma continue to paw at her luggage.
"Thelma, stop it. Get away from there..." Goddard warned deeply. However, Thelma kept scratching at the smaller of the suitcases until it tipped over. Goddard breezed past Davenport and grabbed Thelma by her collar, dragging the mutt off the luggage. "Seats!" He commanded, and the dog obediently sat still, still eying the blue fabric intently.
"I'm sorry, we're still working on manners," he said sincerely, still holding onto Thelma.
Davenport smiled at him mischievously and slightly embarrassed stuttered, "I don't mind, it seems this Thelma too knows a suspicious cargo when she sees it... I -um- I have had to, unfortunately, bring along another crew member... There was no one available to care for him in my absence." She crossed to the suitcase and before unzipping the front flap looked up at Goddard, "But you seem to have an affinity for strays... Captain, Thelma, this is Gizbot..."
The suitcase unzipped, both Goddard and Thelma craned their necks to glimpse the contents. A hiss escaped as a ventilator shut off, and a cage door swung open. A gray lump of fur slowly crept out of the opening, took one look over its shoulder at Thelma and immediately hissed, darting away down the hallway. Completely caught off guard, Goddard was unable to hang on to the collar as Thelma yelped and raced off after the cat. Goddard gave chase to the dog. Davenport quickly placed her mug of tea on the entryway table and uttered an "Oh Dear" before taking off after him.
There was a loud cacophony of noise in the kitchen, and just as she came to the entrance, Gizbot swept between her legs back down the hall, Thelma knocked into her knees on her way by, and she fell hard into Goddard's arms as he tried to skid to a stop. Seth took a moment to right her and perhaps lingered longer than necessary with his arms around her shoulders. Davenport felt the pounding of his heart and looked up into his face, which was grinning and slightly out of breath. But his smile was infectious and she began to smile herself.
"As always, never a dull moment," he laughed, letting his hands slide away from her.
Then he took off once more after the two animals which were just rounding the stairs and heading up. TJ Davenport thought, that's for certain, and followed. There were several exciting minutes of the four of them running around into each room of the upper portion of the farm house – the cat yowling, the dark barking, Goddard shouting, and Davenport trying to call the cat. It all came to a sudden stop when the cat flew beneath the bed in the spare bedroom. Thelma came to a halt with her nose stuffed under as far as her face would fit, still whining and yipping. A low growl could be heard from beneath the mattress.
"Thelma! Out!" Goddard commanded, directing the dog away from the bed.
Thelma, calmly backed away from the bed, trotted out the doorway, down the stairs, and Goddard heard the door swoosh open and closed. Out of breath he muttered, "Well, I didn't mean ALL the way out..."
With the dog gone, Davenport reached beneath the bed and pulled out a wide-eyed gray cat, and began to pet it softly while sitting on the mattress. Goddard stood by her with arms folded across his chest.
"Gizbot huh?" He commented with a raised eyebrow.
TJ set upon him her familiar rye, lips pursed, expression, "Thelma, huh?"
The irony of their respective pets settled down on both of them. We miss that life aboard The Christa, they both thought. Shyly they glanced in separate directions. Silence descended on the house once more. It was Davenport that broke it by muttering, "I'll understand if you've changed your mind."
Goddard unfolded his arms and stared back at her with mild shock, "Are you kidding me? Of course not. TJ, that was the most excitement I've had since moving in!"
The use of her first name caused her to look at him again, where she saw the genuine look of amusement on his face, his breathing now returned to normal. "Well, then. Shall I have the okay to get settled, perhaps finish my tea?"
"You may. I think you, in a round-a-bout way, just got the tour of this place, so make yourself comfortable, I'm going to shower. Radu was here this past evening, I'm afraid you've caught me unprepared for company."
With that, he disappeared from the room and into the bedroom across the hall. Davenport stroked Gizbot's head and ears before setting the cat on the bed next to her. He is so easy going about all of this... she mused. Perhaps I was not wrong and wasn't reading too deeply into that report.
And she set about finishing her tea and unpacking the few items she had brought in the other suitcase.
At 1100 hours, Goddard relocated his guest in the kitchen. As he entered, she was carefully sitting in one of the chairs at the table, one leg folded primly over the other, fresh tea in hand, and scowling at the view screen. Once more, he was struck with how natural the scene appeared to him. Even the scowl, he laughed inwardly. The house, once more anticipating his needs, had a freshly brewed cup of coffee sitting on the counter top as he made his way into the room. He lifted the brew to his mouth and took a sip while allowing the sound from the screen finally breech his ears.
"... after their beach vacation and romantic rendezvous, it seems both of our favorite star crossed lovers have disappeared. We can only speculate as to where they have run off to next..."
Davenport shifted forward in her seat, setting the tea on the table top and turned her scowl upon him. The first thing she noticed was that, though he had shaven his stubble, his hair was still wet, spiked out here and there from a quick towel drying. The graying at his temples standing out against the darker color of his wet brown hair. He had changed into fresh t-shirt and khaki pants. The light scent of his soap enveloped her, but she kept up her scowl.
Goddard tried to disarm her with a toothy grin and in a mimic of the inquiring reporter asked, "Indeed, where have they gone too now?"
The only reaction he received were the downward slanting of her eyebrows and the narrowing of her eyes. The view screen, sensing danger, turned to a weather station rapidly. Goddard slowly sank into the chair at the end of the kitchen, out of her arms reach, and tried not to burst into flames under her glare.
Awkwardly he ventured, "So, uh, what have you actually been up to Miss Davenport? I haven't seen or heard from you since that ball."
She seemed to simmer as she hotly stated, "Working. Trying to make an accurate historical account of this adventure so that later generations will have something to learn from should those horrible Lumanians return. For the past few months I have been compiling memories into reports, reliving the whole exhausting ten years of my life. Stuffed into a small Mars apartment under the excuse that the seclusion would allow me to work faster..."
The guilt returned, as he was sure her outburst had meant it to. He scrutinized his cup of coffee intently avoiding her blue eyes as he muttered, "Well, based on the report I received you did a good job of it..."
She took the compliment and continued, "I should have also completed the project a month sooner had I not been fending off paparazzi. I assume you've had no issues with this. They are rather tenacious and clever. I'm honestly surprised none have found you yet." Her last sentence somehow felt like a threat.
Goddard faltered for something to say, "That's all you've been doing? Either stuck in a tiny apartment, or in a tiny office room?" The guilt he felt came through unwillingly, and he cringed a bit.
"I have been going nuts behind a desk," she gently finished.
His eyes quickly looked up to her in surprise. A smirk was tugging on her lips as she sipped from her tea. It occurred to Goddard then that her entire fowl mood had been a farce. Revenge for his comforts and her obvious trials and tribulations. But it appeared that she held no real anger toward him for it. Ruefully he raised his mug again to drink and steadied his gaze back at her.
"I believe those words were once spoken to you. Words of warning, of wisdom."
She sniffed disdainfully and pointedly ignored his statement and let her eyes wander around the room. Finally she said, "This is a very lovely place. I see your punishment was well planned and thorough, Captain."
"It seems so. Except that I can't fathom why they built a space so big for just one man," he paused and the cautiously added, "And I think I have you to thank for all of it."
Once again, he fell under the scrutiny of her eyes, "How do you come by that opinion?"
Flatly, he answered, "It was a very good report, TJ."
He saw her flush momentarily and straighten in her chair, suddenly very interested in the small patterns on the table. She began to chew a bit on the corner of her lip, a movement Goddard had long known meant she was experiencing some inner, personal turmoil. Keeping her gaze on the table she replied, "It was all just truthful accounting."
Seeing her discomfort, and for the first time in a long time, finding no pleasure in it, he changed the subject, "After maybe something to eat, I can show you the rest of the property. I don't know about you, but I am famished."
"That sounds good."
After a late breakfast prepared by the all knowing kitchen appliances, Goddard and Davenport took to walking outdoors. Thelma sneaking inside as the exited the home, immediately heading for the stairwell. Seth paused with a concerned look on his face as the dog disappeared into the guest room, but Davenport kept walking, assuring him that Gizbot was capable of fending for himself. She seemed immediately preoccupied with the fresh summer air, a light breeze keeping the heat at bay. Fall was approaching faster than Goddard had noticed, but found these thoughts became fleeting as he watched the wind rustle Davenport's dress and hair. She tucked one side of her hair behind an ear and waited for him on the gravel sidewalk that lead around the side of the front porch. Emotions he had long been suppressing began to creep up inside his chest and he swallowed and took a deeper breath than he meant to before setting off the steps in pursuit.
It was more pleasant than he had been hoping for, seeing her after so long. They both walked slowly as he showed her various nuances of the property; the forest path that lead to a small stream, complete with old tire swing into a deeper swimming hole, the taller grassy area at the back of the house that he explained contained an entire civilization of fireflies at dusk, and of course the barn that was not a barn, but a holding building for a small shuttle craft. Davenport laughed at him when he divulged the truth about a timer on the shuttle. It ticked down the months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the shuttle would become unlocked and usable. Humbled he explained that part of the punishment was that he could not return to space for a year. Davenport gently pointed out that the timer only had six months left on the display and that after ten years, that was not a long time to wait. Goddard playfully replied that if he continued to receive such great visitors, he might just forget to return to space. She flushed again, and kept walking.
They sat then, the rest of the afternoon, on the back porch, catching up with what they had heard of the rest of the crew's antics and arguing over some of the historical accounting of her report. They took turns infuriating one another during the conversation, both expertly knowing what buttons to push, and taking great amusement when the other would abruptly become aggravated. Like an old married couple, Davenport tried to conceal her smile. It was too late, however, because Goddard raised an eyebrow in her direction.
She looked off toward the long grass, the sun already heading for the horizon. She inhaled deeply the dying heat of the day and said, "Nothing. I was simply wondering if I will ever figure out where I am going from here."
Goddard joined her at the edge of the porch, noticing that some of the fireflies were starting to appear early this evening, "Well, since it was my idea, why don't you stay here until I figure it out."
Turning to look at him, she dryly said, "I wasn't just talking about the vacation... I was making a general query about the life left ahead of me."
Goddard opened his mouth but she cut him short, "I think I may take a bath. I love the summer time, but its been quite an adventure of sorts the past few hours. Thank you." She disappeared indoors.
When he was certain that she was upstairs and in the bathroom, Goddard ventured into the living room. Thelma and Gizbot lay curled together on the sofa, the cat purring softly into the chest of the dog. Of course, he thought and smiled. Unwillingly, he stood in the doorway, thoughts unburied themselves, rising around the door he had tried to place over them. As he gazed on the two animals, he thought of how ironic their names were, and started to wonder if, for all their differences, if he and Davenport were not actually feeling many of the same emotions. There was something he wanted to do for her, to thank her for his now peaceful existence. That's right, I did want her here...
A feeling of contentment rested finally over him, as the thought finally formed in full. The thought he had been wrestling with and building on since her face had appeared on his kitchen view screen weeks ago.
I want her here...
Now, he needed to figure out if she wanted to stay. All though, something he remembered from Radu's voice gave him a confidence that he didn't have to worry about it.
After her bath, Goddard heard Davenport come down the stairs and exit the front door. He also heard the door swish open a second time as Thelma and Gizbot, their nails clacking in sync, followed her. He walked slowly out onto the front porch his sense of peace settled deep into the farthest corners of his chest. What was left of the setting sun made the sky an ocean of dark blue to the west, stars began to peak out of the blackness of the sky overhead, the full moon dared to appear in the east, brilliantly white washing the front lawn. She stood in the middle of all of it looking up at small specks winking to life above. Her hand rested on Thelma's head as the dog quietly sat next to her in the grass. Davenport's eyes never left the sky as Goddard started off the porch toward her; a life tethered between the earth and space. He could not help notice she had re-dawned the blue sundress after her bath, or the long bareness of her legs and feet as she continued to watch the sky.
Davenport's bare shoulders relaxed as she said, "I have to admit, I think I am going to miss this place."
Goddard stopped a short few paces from her and waited for her to continue.
She breathed in the summer night deeply, "I think you were right that day you told me I wouldn't want to be behind a desk after this adventure. But after so long, I don't believe space holds the same appeal it once did, either." But she never removed her gaze from the sky. Thelma whimpered softly and turned her shaggy head around under Davenport's palm and looked at Goddard.
He remained looking at the mutt as he quietly stated, "You know... You can stay here as long as you want."
Goddard could hear the smile on her lips when she responded, "That's very kind of you to offer, but... I think that I have imposed upon you and your home long enough."
A couple of steps closer to her and he remarked trying to make himself clear, "It's a big home, Miss Davenport. Bigger than a man and his stray dog really need."
She turned around, ripping herself from the sky, and removing her hand from Thelma's head, and fixed him with her signature rye expression – no longer suspended between above and below, her feet planted very firmly in the grass. "And you would be telling me that you have room for two more strays?" The smirk pulled at the corners of her mouth.
Goddard allowed himself to move a few steps closer still as he bluntly acknowledged her dig with, "What can I say? I seem to have an affinity for strays..." A memory flashed before him and he smiled as he continued, "Besides, after ten years spent with someone, after spending so much time with someone, you grow so accustomed to their presence..."
Harlan's words drifted between them and Davenport walked right through the remaining space and the words, quite boldly invading Goddard's in the process and cutting his sentence short. But it did not matter because she finished it, "Why bother being apart after all that?"
Goddard's smile widened and he mockingly rolled his eyes, "It's like we just don't get it..."
Davenport muttered, "Or do we?"
At that moment a firefly lit up the space between them and zipped away just as quickly, as if ashamed it's light had somehow ruined the moment. However, in it's brief illumination Goddard glimpsed the steadily rising blush on Davenport's face that the moonlight had been so cleverly hiding. Suddenly feeling very brave, Goddard closed the space between them, pressing a hand to the small of her back.
"I'm not sure... but I think we may be starting too," he felt her hands come around and grip slightly at his shoulders.
"Well, what do you suggest, Captain," her voice had become a whisper, a shyness he had never experienced with her before.
Goddard took a moment to look past Davenport to the rest of the lawn that stretched out behind her. He grinned noticing a gray figure pressed to the ground very silently stalking Thelma's wagging tail.
"I recommend more time," he said finally, looking back to the woman pressed gently against his chest. "These things should be studied carefully and in great length."
"Another ten years you think? I'm certain that would be a 'by the book' statement," she raised an eyebrow.
"If that's what it takes... But knowing my own character very well, I was thinking more along the lines of indefinitely."
"You do evolve rather slowly..." Davenport conceded and Goddard was pretty certain that her face was somehow closer to his own than it had been previously.
He titled his head a bit to the right, raising his own eyebrow, a hint of his signature smugness coming through in his voice, "And what do you recommend, Lieutenant? What does the book actually have to say on the matter?"
Her face was inching closer as she said, "I don't think the book has an adequate answer for this... we will just have to wing it."
The smirk that was about to cross Goddard's face was lost when Davenport's mouth pressed gently against his. He could feel the heat from her blush as his eyes slipped closed and he knew she was probably aware of his heart racing in his chest – and yet she leaned closer still. The kiss deepened when he tightened his hands around the small of her back, erasing any remaining space between their bodies. Davenport tightened her own grip around his shoulder blades. Air was no concern to either. The light from several nearby fireflies blinked against their closed eyes. The flashes becoming more frequent and brighter as the kiss lingered.
Thelma suddenly yapped loudly as Gizbot finally found the perfect moment to strike her tail. The noise pierced the silent lawn and all three of the other occupants jumped at the sound. Goddard and Davenport pulled away slightly but remained in each others embrace, small smiles spreading across their lips. Another, bright firefly flash blinked to their left, and both turned to look.
A young man stood by the forest at the edge of the property, camera in hand, the dull light from the flash still dwindling away. Silence descended on the lawn once more. The man's face spread into a grin as Davenport and Goddard's both faded into shock.
"I'm gonna be rich!" he exclaimed to the yard and made a mad dash back through the treeline and brush. The sound of his crashing began to fade instantly.
"Well..." Davenport commented.
"Huh..." Goddard agreed.
No one made a move to pursue him.
Thelma began to chase Gizbot around the lawn.