Disclaimer: I still own nothing. Just the hyperactive plot bunnies, which can sometimes be rather hard to catch.

Author's Note: I apologize for the severely unnacceptable ammount of time it has taken me to finally post the final chapter to this piece. The plot bunny escaped and refused to come back. So I concentrated on other projects until he finally came home on his own. Then my internet malfunctioned and I spent most of the day trying to fix it. Anyway. All of that to say, here is the final chapter. I do have two more smaller stand-alone Skye pieces in the works and hopefully those will be finished very soon, so keep your eyes open for those. But until then, I hope you enjoy this final chapter. :)

When the Smoke Clears

"So I took your hand and we figured out that
when the time comes I'll take you away."

"Dr. Shannon? Do you have a moment?"

Elisabeth turns away from the nurse she has been instructing to see Deborah Tate standing behind her. She's looking much better than when she arrived, although she's still a bit weak.

"Of course," Elisabeth says warmly. "What can I do for you?"

"It's about Skye," Deborah says carefully. "She hasn't been herself the last few days. I... I think she still blames herself for everything that's happened. I've tried to talk to her about it, but she's spent the last three years protecting me and it's a hard habit to break. But she really respects you, and I was hoping..."

"That I could talk to her," Elisabeth finishes. Deborah nods. Elisabeth takes a quick look around the infirmary just to be sure everything is taken care of before turning back to Deborah. "I was actually just about to take a break. Do you know where she is?"

"She said she was going to see her dad," Deborah says quietly. Elisabeth nods.

"I'll see what I can do," she says. Deborah gives her a grateful smile.


... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

It's a short walk out to Memorial Field. That, combined with the fact that no dangerous animals ever seem to come near the place, means that Elisabeth has no qualms about walking out there alone. Even before she reaches it she can see Skye standing amongst the wooden crosses and other various markers that show where loved ones have been buried. Only a few days ago they added Lieutenant Washington's body to the graveyard, along with the other soldiers killed during the takeover and rebellion. But there's just something very beautiful about the grassy plain covered with flowers and surrounded by trees.

As Elisabeth nears Skye she suddenly realizes that it isn't her father's grave that Skye is standing in front of. It's Lieutenant Washington's. Skye looks up just before Elisabeth reaches her and gives her a small smile.

"Hey, Dr. Shannon," she says.

"Your mother said I might find you out here," Elisabeth says. She stops beside Skye and together they look down at the cross that marks Wash's grave. A pair of dog tags hangs around the top just above the crosspiece, and leaning against the foot of the cross is a smooth metal plaque that reads:

Lieutenant Alicia Washington
2113 A.D. - 0007 T.N.
Soldier. Hero. Friend.
We will never forget your sacrifice.

For a moment they're both silent. Then Elisabeth looks over at Skye.

"You okay?" she asks. Skye lets out a long breath.

"It's my fault," she says finally.

"What?" Elisabeth asks.

"Everything," Skye says, refusing to look up. "This whole mess. If I hadn't taken Lucas' stupid calculations to the Eye, none of this would have happened."

"You don't know that," Elisabeth says gently. "Sooner or later Lucas would have managed to check them himself and it would have happened anyway. Only then we wouldn't have had any warning. In a way what you did is a bit of a blessing in disguise."

Skye doesn't look convinced.

"If we hadn't known, then all our men would have still been in the colony," she points out. "Lieutenant Washington would still be alive. So would a lot of other people."

"You can't spend your whole life wondering what might have happened," Elisabeth tells her. "You have to keep moving forward. It's true that you may have accelerated the arrival of Phoenix, but their coming was not your fault. And you've more than made up for your actions. You helped our family escape. You risked your life to ambush Lucas and help get Jim through the portal. And you saved Commander Taylor's life."

Skye looks back at Wash's grave and Elisabeth lets her think for a moment before continuing.

"Nobody blames you," she says firmly. "Especially not Lieutenant Washington. She made her own choice. And the best thing you can do now is to honor that choice by living out the life she died to give all of us. Okay?"

Skye slowly looks back up at Elisabeth. Then she nods.

"Okay," she says finally. Elisabeth smiles at her.

"Let's go home, yeah?" she says.

She holds out her hand and Skye takes it. The girl takes a few steps forward, and when she gets close enough Elisabeth lets go of Skye's hand and instead wraps an arm around her shoulders. Together the two of them begin to walk away from the markers and back toward the colony. The battle has come and gone, and Terra Nova is still standing. For now, at least, the fighting is over.

It's time to go home.

A huge thank-you to everyone who has reviewed this story. Reviews seriously make my day. So if you could kindly leave just one more, I would be much obliged. :) Thanks again!