Title: And the Darkness Shall Disappear
Characters/Pairings: Wash/Taylor, Jim/Elisabeth, Mark/Maddy, basically all the colony folks
Summary/Note: How does life in Terra Nova continue after it all? Assumes a fix-it scenario of some kind. Slightly cracky humour fic that got a bit angsty and fluffy in parts. Songs belong to Lennon and McCartney. Title comes from an Erasmus quote, "Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself."
Taylor leaned on the railing, taking in the festivities but shifting his weight with nervous energy, his mind straying onto other matters. He heard an ungainly shuffle behind him before he felt a presence settle itself at his side. "Good to have you back Wash," he murmured as he turned his face toward hers. Even though they were out of earshot of the rest of the colony, the crackle of the fire and the joyous laughter rising into the sky above their voices, it seemed wrong somehow to give full voice to his relief at having her back at his side. Although, he reflected, if she had been at his side in the first place who knows what would have happened.
"It's good to be back sir," she replied.
"Same old Wash." He smiled but couldn't hide a slight snort.
Her eyebrows furrowed. "What's that supposed to mean sir?"
"Still following the rules, even after all that's happened to you. That's my Wash." He shook his head as he turned back to watch the celebration. "You know I don't think I've ever seen you lose it. Not in Somalia shot up six ways to Sunday. Not in the early days of the colony when we really didn't know what the hell we were doing out here but we didn't dare let the civilians catch on to that. Not while my own damn son had a gun pointed at your head. Not now. Lieutenant Alicia Washington, always in control."
"Are you sure you're alright?" Wash looked all around him with concern as if he was hiding an explanation for his behavior in the pockets of his jacket or cargo pants and she'd see it bulging out.
"Hey guys!" Jim Shannon called, bounding up the steps before Taylor could respond. He waved a stick at them, one end topped with a suspiciously charred substance. "Look what one of the teachers cooked up!"
He was met with blank stares and utter silence for several moments. "I can't even begin to guess," Wash said slowly, eying the stick as if it really was a weapon.
"Someone was talking about an old bonfire tradition with marshmallows, called...s'mores?" He was bouncing so happily that his feet almost left the ground with each movement. "Didn't really have the right ingredients apparently, but these are a big hit."
"So it would seem," Wash muttered.
"Good lord Shannon's on a sugar high," Taylor said, eyes widening in shock. He'd seen his fair share of drunk men, men driven mad by the sights and sounds (not to mention the smells) of war, but never a grown man on a sugar high.
"For some reason Reilly didn't want to let me near the bonfire though," Jim said, a puzzled look on his face. "Insisted on her and Dunham putting those additional logs on themselves."
"Remind me to give that woman a medal," Taylor whispered out of the side of his mouth, stepping backwards.
"Noted," Wash replied in kind, nodding her head as she mirrored his movements.
"You should go down there," Jim suggested brightly. "Maybe you can talk some sense into her. Make it an official order or something."
"Jim?" Elisabeth's voice called, her face coming into view as she climbed the stairs. "Zoe needs her stick back."
"Saved by the doctor," Wash murmured.
Jim plucked the marshmallow from the end of the stick and stuffed it into his mouth. "Juff a minute." He gulped and repeated, "Just a minute."
Elisabeth walked towards him, hand out expectantly. She nodded to Wash and Taylor. "Sorry about this. We were trying to make sure Zoe didn't eat too many marshmallows. Clearly that didn't work out quite as expected."
"Don't see what she needs this one for anyhow," Jim said grumpily as he handed the stick over. "Not like there's a scarcity of sticks around here."
"I believe the correct answer is, 'Yes dear,'" Elisabeth prompted, glaring at him pointedly. "Sometimes it feels like I'm raising two sons."
"Yes dear," Jim said.
"You two should come down though," Elisabeth said. "It's really quite fun. I promise you don't have to eat the marshmallows yourselves if you don't want to."
Taylor smiled. "Maybe we will." Maybe some harmless fun was just the right thing.
"See you down there then," Elisabeth called as she headed back with husband in tow.
Taylor stared after them for a moment before turning to Wash. "What do you say Wash?" He nodded down to the people below. "Up for a little mingling?"
She shrugged. "Why not?" Her casual attitude couldn't keep a smile from reaching her eyes.
Taylor followed along behind her, one step short of hovering anxiously. He smiled as they passed happy colonists (one colonist looking a little too happy for Taylor's taste, leaning against a building with a goofy grin on his face and a bottle in his hand), nodding as they called out greetings.
"Lieutenant Washington!" a young voice called. Zoe Shannon ran up, arms outstretched, and barreled right into Wash, knocking her slightly off balance in shock.
Taylor's hovering proved useful as Wash teetered back into him for a moment before she regained her footing.
"Zoe!" another voice called from further in the crowd. Maddy Shannon and Mark Reynolds burst out, the latter immediately looking embarrassed at the situation.
"I'm sorry sir," Mark apologized. "We promised Dr. Shannon we'd keep an eye on her for a little bit."
"Zoe honey," Maddy said, drawing her back. "Lieutenant Washington is still healing. You've got to be gentle."
"No harm done," Wash assured them, though she stood a little closer to Taylor than she had before the 30-odd pound missile had crashed into her.
Once he was sure Wash wasn't hurt Taylor chuckled. "I am well acquainted with the power of a Zoe Shannon hug." He smiled at her and pointed to the stick in Mark's hand, marshmallow drooping off the end. "See you got your stick back."
"Yup," Zoe nodded, apparently unaware of her father's behavior. "I made that one for Mark."
"I helped," Maddy mouthed reassuringly over Zoe's head. "Fire."
"That's right, you did," Mark said. He plucked it from the end of the stick and swallowed it whole. A brief flicker of a grimace showed before he grinned and pronounced, "Crispy but delicious!"
Zoe wrinkled her face and giggled. "Boys are silly."
"It certainly seems like it sometimes," Wash concurred, her mouth beginning to curl into a smile as a full-on grin threatened to shatter her pensive expression.
"Well Zoe," Maddy said, turning her body back toward the crowd as if she could physically steer the conversation elsewhere, "Speaking of silly boys, how about we go find Josh, okay? Didn't he promise you a little concert?"
Taylor's ears perked up. "Concert?"
Maddy shrugged. "It's a bit generous to call it a concert really. Josh promised to play some of Zoe's favorite songs now that he has a proper guitar, such as it is. Not quite the same on a plex. Some of her classmates have never seen a real guitar so I figured it would be an excellent opportunity."
Mark smiled proudly. "Always thinking one step beyond."
"Don't often get opportunities for live music," Taylor agreed. "At least anything beyond Dunham's caterwauling in the barracks showers."
Wash nodded sympathetically. "How he can drown out the noise of the water I'll never understand."
"In any case," Taylor continued, "I would enjoy hearing some real music." He held his arm out for Wash to take. "Shall we?"
Mark mimicked his commander, offering an arm to Maddy and Zoe.
"It seems I've been beat," Taylor said with a wry smile as they followed after the Shannon-laden Reynolds.
"Quality not quantity," Wash reminded him. "No offense meant to the girls of course."
They passed by the spot where Reilly was still keeping a close eye on the fire, though clearly enjoying herself as she laughed at Dunham's joke. "Hello sir!" she called out as they passed. "Good to see you up and about Lieutenant."
"Feels good to be moving again," Wash agreed, stretching out her right leg with a wince as she stood at Taylor's side.
"I understand that we have you to thank for Shannon not burning the colony down," Taylor said.
Reilly grinned. "I can't say that was an entirely selfless act sir. I like my home intact just like the next person."
"Well I don't want you working too hard," Taylor told her. "This celebration is for everyone."
"Oh you know me sir," she replied. "Anything that sparks, lights, or explodes is my specialty. But Ramirez promised he'd relieve me for a bit so I'll be fine."
"Have a good night Corporal," he called as they walked away. Once they had gotten a good distance away he turned to Wash. "Was it the heat haze from the fire or did Dunham seem to jump away as we walked up?"
"I don't gossip sir," Wash stated evenly. "Especially not about those under my command. And I didn't think you did either." She smiled and added, "Though just between you and me I think your vision's perfectly fine."
"As long as he follows the rules I don't really think I'm in a place to begrudge anyone a little happiness," Taylor said.
Wash stopped near where Josh Shannon and some of the younger kids were gathered, but stayed off to the side out of the main fray. "Anyone else."
Now somewhere in the black mining hills of Dakota there lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon.
"I'm not sure what you mean by that," Taylor said, tilting his head at Wash's puzzling remark.
"Don't think I've forgotten about your...singing my praises earlier," she reminded him. "Following the rules, being in control and all that."
Rocky Raccoon checked into his room only to find Gideon's Bible. Rocky had come equipped with a gun to shoot off the legs of his rival.
Taylor cringed. He had rather hoped she had forgotten about that. Heaven forbid he have a rare moment of emotional expressiveness. He turned away, watching the kids dance to the song, trying to come up with some explanation that didn't sound pathetic. Luckily he was saved when she spoke again.
"For someone who seems so fond of my supposed stoicism," Wash said, "And I think your statement was a little over-generous, but it's a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black don't you think?"
"Whipping out the old idioms, you must be serious," Taylor said under his breath.
The doctor came in stinking of gin and proceeded to lie on the table. He said Rocky you met your match and Rocky said, Doc it's only a scratch, and I'll be better I'll be better doc as soon as I am able.
Wash glared at him, evidently having caught that.
"Can't believe Shannon let Zoe listen to this song as a toddler," Taylor said, filling the silence with the first thing that came to mind. "Don't really think of the classic ballads as children's music."
Wash exhaled, clearly frustrated, though whether it was with him or her own inability to get her point across he wasn't sure. Cheers and applause stole their attention for a moment, as Josh finished up the song and nodded at his appreciative (if young) audience. "Now this one comes by special request," Josh said. "Although the last one did too. Different special request." Off to one side a calmer looking Jim Shannon affectionately squeezed Elisabeth's shoulder, making it clear exactly who made this request.
Hey Jude don't make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better. Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better.
"Talking has never been either of our strong suits," Wash said with a shrug. Without further comment she turned to Taylor, placing one hand on his arm to steady herself, and leaned into him, brushing her lips over his.
Taylor brought his free hand up to touch Wash's face as he drew out the kiss. When they broke apart he looked at her silently.
Fear slowly started to seep into Wash's expression, though she hid it well. "Say something?"
He smiled. "Now that the situation with the Sixers and the Phoenix Group has been sorted it seems like we've got all the time in the world doesn't it? But you're right Wash, who am I to deny myself, yourself, ourselves, a little happiness?"
"Not sure where that came from sir," she said, "But it just seemed right, even after all this time."
"Nathaniel," he told her. "At least right now. Don't mind if I still call you Wash though?" He grinned. "I kind of like it."
She flicked him on the arm, packing quite a punch for such a small action. "Kind of? It was your idea in the first place."
"Exactly," he said, dropping a quick kiss on her lips. "Alicia suits you, but Wash has been and will always be my name for you. Everyone else just borrows it." He looked past her at the crowd for a moment before whispering, "Don't flinch now but the small fry is watching."
Wash turned back around towards the music and leaned back into Taylor's arms. "Let them watch."
"Oh shut up, not like that," she admonished. "Guess what, I'm human just like everyone else. And I'm tired of caring."
"All the time in the world," he echoed, swaying with her to the music, "But some things just shouldn't wait."
Na na na, na na na na, na na na na, hey Jude.