Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Terra Nova. Duh.
Author's Note: This fic is a string of ideas that popped into my head as a sort of backstory for Wash. It is based off the backstory I have given her in my fic "Worth Dying For" and is her story told as a sequence of key moments through Taylor's eyes. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, so feedback is much appreciated. Enjoy!
She's eleven years old the first time he sees her. He's thirty-two at the time, back on temporary leave to see the birth of his son, which could be any day now. He and Ayani are so excited they can barely contain themselves.
"It is good to be home," his friend Jenkins says with a wide grin as they walk down the street together. He elbows Taylor's arm. "What'd you miss the most? Besides your wife, of course."
"Well it wasn't the air, I can tell you that," Taylor says. The smog is worse than ever it seems. Especially now with the two of them coming back from a province where the airborne pollutant levels are still relatively low compared to the rest of the planet.
"You got that one right," Jenkins says. "You know they're trying to pass a law requiring everybody to wear those rebreathers?"
"It'll cost a damn fortune to make that many," Taylor says, trying to suppress a cough.
"But at least people would be able to breathe again," Jenkins points out.
"They still can some places," Taylor reminds him. "You go down to Africa the air's clear enough you can still see the stars most nights."
"Well I don't know about you," Jenkins says, "but I'm not planning on moving to Africa any time soon. Too much fighting for my taste." He looks over at Taylor, a grin on his face. "And neither are you, if Ayani has anything to say about it. You're about to have a kid to think about! You got a name yet?"
"Lucas," Taylor says, his face catching that contagious grin Jenkins always wears.
"That's a good name," Jenkins says.
"Ayani picked it out." Taylor can hardly wait to see his wife. After the last seven months sleeping in trenches with firefights raging all around him, it'll be nice to sleep in a warm bed again with his wife beside him.
"I still can't believe it," Jenkins says, giving Taylor a joking shove. "You're finally gonna be a father!"
Taylor is about to comment, but a commotion behind them cuts him short. He and Jenkins both turn in time to see a table selling newspapers flip over. A girl, the one who flipped the booth, leaps out of the way and keeps running. There's a cop hot on her heels. Child thieves are far from unusual these days, and Taylor almost turns away. But there's something about this girl that captures his attention. She's skinny with jet-black hair that's short and ragged. Her clothes are worn and don't fit quite right, likely stolen for necessity rather than size. Around her neck hangs a pair of dog tags that probably once belonged to a dead parent. She's remarkably fast for her age, somehow managing to stay one step ahead of the cop. And there's something about her fiery brown eyes that catches Taylor and keeps him from looking away.
Another cop down the street sees the girl coming and reaches out to catch her. She ducks and rams his legs, using her weight to flip him over. The force of it, however, takes her to the ground as well. She staggers to her feet just as the first cop reaches her. She struggles hard, kicking and punching and trying to wriggle free. It takes both of them to get a pair of cuffs on her. By that point one of them has a nose gushing blood and the other is limping because of a kick that nearly broke his shin.
They haul the still struggling girl to her feet and begin to drag her down the street. She looks up and her eyes meet Taylor's. For a brief moment time seems to stop. Maybe it's the fire in her eyes, he doesn't know. There's just something about her that he can't seem to turn away from. Then her head turns and the moment is gone. He continues to stare after her for a moment until she and her captors disappear around down a side street.
"Sad, isn't it?" Jenkins says. "There's so many of them with nowhere to go. The state won't help them. Most of them will eventually end up in jail." He reaches over and claps a hand on Taylor's shoulder. "Come on. Let's get you home to your wife."
"Right," Taylor says. They turn and continue walking down the street together.
Ayani is overjoyed to see him. He's barely home three hours before her water breaks, and after ten more in labor she finally gives birth to their son, Lucas Nathaniel Taylor. In the ensuing excitement Taylor all but forgets about the girl on the street. But something about her lingers in the back of his mind, waiting to resurface.
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