A/N: Okay, so I'm going to post another oneshot! Woohoo! Some of you may have seen this one on the pic I tweeted, but I'm fairly certain most of you didn't and were instead (hopefully pleasantly) surprised to see this show up in my list of stories. Just a little plot bunny floating about in my head. My family is looking to move in the next few months so some preliminary packing was going on and, well, as a writer I can't help but think of my life as ongoing inspiration…Just so you know, this takes place as Maddy prepares to move in with Mark just before their wedding. She's packing up her stuff from her parents' house and reminiscing on what she finds. Please review!
Maddy sighed heavily as she stacked another box against the wall of the bedroom that had been hers and Zoe's for so long. It was amazing how much stuff she had collected over the four years she had been in Terra Nova. Considering that everything she had brought with her from 2149 had fit into a single backpack, the number of boxes was even more astonishing.
Most of the moving crates contained personal effects—clothing, shoes, books, notebooks (tons of those), and practical things that she would need for her new life—bed sheets, towels, and other assorted toiletries that her mother had insisted she take. She and Mark had been planning to move in together once they were engaged, and with the wedding a month away it seemed like an opportune time. She wished he could come to help her pack, or at least move the heavier boxes, but he had regretfully informed her that he would not be off-duty until the early evening. He had also advised her to leave anything heavy for him to take, but since when did she just leave enormous boxes lying around her room where people would inevitably fall over them and break something?
With the final box labeled "Maddy—Clothing" heaped atop the other three, she turned her attention to her closet, which seemed absolutely cavernous now that most of her stuff had been removed from it.
"Need some help?" her mother poked her head into the room, a broad smile on her face.
"Nope," Maddy shook her head. "I think I'm good for now."
"Are you sure you have enough linens," her mother asked. "If you don't, I could give you another set of bed spreads…"
Maddy smiled, knowing her mother meant well. It was a big step—Maddy was the first of the kids to move out. "Mom, if you keep giving me your bed sheets, what will you sleep on?
"They're spares. We never use them…"
"Keep them," Maddy insisted. "Between the two sets you gave me and however many Mark has, I think we'll be alright."
"Well alright," Elisabeth said hesitatingly, "if you need them just ask."
"Don't worry. I won't hesitate to ask if I need anything," Maddy replied, turning her attention to a small box in the back of the closet. When she looked up again, her mother had gone back to the kitchen. She had insisted on cooking dinner for her and Mark that night, insisting that they wouldn't have time to stop and cook or grab something to eat with all of the moving.
She returned her attention to the little box. She could remember putting it back there for safekeeping but she could not remember exactly what was in the box that required safekeeping. She drew it out into the light and opened it carefully, half expecting some creature to leap out at her.
She gasped at what she found instead. How could she have forgotten? She had hidden it back there for the express purpose of keeping it out of sight of any prying eyes and had inadvertently forgotten it herself.
Her mother had encouraged keeping a treasure trove since Maddy had been about six. Any small item that held significant value to her had gone into the little container and she had made sure it was the first thing she packed when she found out they would be coming to Terra Nova.
The collection had grown extensively in the first two years they had lived here. What once was just a box of odds and ends—mostly brightly colored rocks containing various minerals or seeds of fruits her father would sometimes bring back—became a box of dried plant specimens, flower petals, various science journals, and her favorite: photographs.
A smile touched Maddy's lips as she slowly took out some of the trinkets, sifting through them. The first thing she drew out was a seed—her first seed. It came from an orange and she had added it to her collection when she was seven. Her dad had brought it back, having recovered an entire black market shipment of produce along with a wide array of narcotics. The officers involved had been allowed to split the fruit among themselves. Maddy had sworn that one day she would plant that seed. Pocketing the little object, she decided she would plant it at the new house, on the off chance it was still able to grow, though she doubted it.
Several more seeds followed—various ones. Some were from oranges, a few were apple seeds, and she even plucked out an entire peach pit. That day had been a treat…She wasn't sure if any of them would grow but she figured it was worth a shot. She pulled out other plant specimens and a few newspaper clippings from 2149, as well as the Terra Nova brochures that had been sent to the family upon her mother's recruitment. But other than those, some interesting rocks (that dulled in comparison to the rocks she could find in Terra Nova), and a few academic certificates there was little else of her old life. The other seventy-five percent of the box was occupied by objects she had collected since her arrival.
Her fingers passed over the thin envelope that she knew contained all of the photographs she had—at least the ones printed on real paper. The rest were stored away on a hard drive. She deliberately set them aside in order to view them later, instead reaching back into the box and drawing out a small chain of strung-together seashells. She gasped as her fingers slid delicately over the object, memories flooding back to her.
It was from the first time Mark took her down to the coast. They had gone to a little, sandy cove less than two kilometers from the colony. They had gone wading for a bit, at least until she had a run-in with a prehistoric hermit crab. Over lunch, she had expressed her interest in the little shell fragments that washed up on the shore. Of course he had to help her collect as many as possible before day's end, and he had taken them with him under the guise of getting them cleaned for her. He had shown up the next day with them not only cleaned, but also strung together in a necklace. She wore it for a while but after the clasp broke once she was too afraid of it happening again and instead put it in the box with all her other keepsakes. Smiling fondly at the recollection, she set the necklace back in the box and pulled out the next memento.
This one took her back. A dried dayflower. It had been plucked a mere ten minutes before an asteroid ruined their first date. She had picked it with the intent of pressing and preserving it, and she did just that when she had gotten home. The flower was preserved in a laminate casing and it carried so many memories for her—first unsupervised date, first kiss, first mud bath (admittedly, that one hadn't been too pleasant), first time sleeping in a tree, first time sleeping in her now-fiancé's arms…
She drew out a few science journals that had been distributed in the labs. Most detailed new species of plants and animals that had been discovered. Some had full-color illustrations and diagrams while others were full of pencil sketches. She set them aside, pulling out more trinkets from her new life—some twine jewelry that she had bought herself, a few uncut gems she had discovered lying about, a slasher tooth that her dad gave her after the monstrosity attacked him OTG, and a ceramic doll, carefully wrapped in a rag, that Mark had won for her at the Harvest Festival a year ago. There were a slew of new dried plant specimens as well. Glancing at the clock on the wall, Maddy realized that she needed to get a move on if she wanted to be able to take most of the stuff to Mark's place…her place now, too…when he got back. Slowly, she set the trinkets back into the box and closed it back up, leaving it at the end of the bed that she once slept in every night, now stripped bare aside from the quilt.
"I'll miss you," Zoe whispered, hugging her sister tightly. The ten-year old was getting taller and Maddy was reminded of this fact whenever she hugged her sister. Mark and her father were loading the rover up with the last of her possessions and she was taking as much time as possible to bid farewell. She wasn't going away forever, but her heart skipped a beat every time she realized that this wasn't really home anymore. At least not in the sense of a permanent residence.
"I'll miss you too, Zo. But we'll see each other a lot!" she squeezed Zoe tighter. "It's not too far…"
"It's on the other side of the colony!" Zoe reminded her.
The Shannon family had received an M7 module, whereas Mark lived in a smaller M3 unit with only two bedrooms—usually occupied by members of security or people who didn't bring more than one dependent. The M3 units were in the residential section on the other side of Terra Nova, a good number of kilometers away. Not much of a distance by rover, but it was impossibly far for a ten year old to walk.
"True," Maddy admitted, "but it's not like I'm going away forever. I'll be back here often and you can always come visit me in the labs after school."
Zoe nodded, hugging Maddy tighter for a few seconds before relinquishing her and doing her best not to cry. Maddy offered her sister another encouraging smile.
She moved to Josh next. He was standing a bit solemnly to one side, just observing. "Bye," she whispered, not waiting for an invitation or permission to hug her older brother. He seemed to falter for a minute before returning in kind.
"What, you aren't going to miss me?" she asked, drawing back and frowning at him teasingly.
Josh scoffed. "Of course I'll miss you, Maddy. You're my little sister. But you'll be back, right?"
"Couldn't stay away if I tried," she responded. "Take care of Zoe for me? She's not used to sleeping in the room by herself."
"I'll do my best," Josh promised before pulling his sister in for a bear hug. "Love you, dork," he whispered, smiling.
"Love you too, doofus," she replied, returning the sentiment. She gave her brother a reassuring smile and felt tears threatening at his expression—the one he was trying to hide behind a half-smile that was just a bit too forced to be genuine. She hadn't seen him like this since…well since he lost Kara. He seemed to be like this whenever he lost a girl he cared about, be it friend or family.
She turned to her mother who was beaming proudly and sadly, both emotions warring for dominance on her usually serene face.
"Bye, Mom," Maddy whispered as the older woman pulled her in tightly.
"Look at you," Elisabeth whispered, still smiling. "My daughter's all grown up now…" There was a wistful note in her voice.
Maddy nodded. "But not too grown up to visit her mom and dad. I'll be back."
"You better be," Elisabeth chuckled despite herself. "Good luck, dear. I know that you're going to be very happy with Mark," she cast a look at her future son-in-law, who was just loading the last box into the back of the vehicle.
Maddy wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and nodded, speaking a final goodbye to her mother before joining her fiancé and father where they stood expectantly. She pressed herself against Mark's side, his arm encircling her shoulder as he pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Ready to go?" he asked.
"One more thing," she replied, pulling away from him and launching herself at her father. He caught her, if only barely, in a tight hug. Of all her family members, her dad was the hardest to say goodbye to. She had always been a daddy's girl and they had a special bond that only a father and his eldest daughter could have.
"Goodbye, Daddy," she whispered, not even bothering to try and stop her tears.
"I'm proud of you, sweetie," he responded.
"I'll miss you," her voice was a few notes higher than ordinary, choked with tears. She glanced back at Mark for a moment, but he only smiled patiently in understanding, hands clasped behind his back as he waited.
"I'll miss you, too, Maddy," Jim replied and her grip tightened on her father. "You better come see us often, okay? I mean it. Or I'll go over there and drag the two of you back, understand?"
Maddy let out a watery laugh. "Don't worry, Daddy. We'll be back as often as possible."
"Good," Jim smiled and she could see that there was water welling up in his eyes. She hadn't seen her father cry in years—not since they had been granted one final visitation before leaving for Terra Nova, when they were convinced it was the last time he would ever see his wife and children again.
"I love you, Daddy," she kissed his cheek.
"I love you, too, sweetie. Good luck, okay?"
She nodded, pulling away from her father reluctantly and rejoining Mark. "You'll be alright?" he asked, his arm finding its way round her shoulder once more.
"Yeah," she nodded, smiling while wiping the tears from her eyes. "I'll be fine."
"Need another minute?" he offered, looking at the rest of the Shannon family as they stood together, waiting to see the couple off.
She considered it a moment but knew that any more lingering would probably result in both of them staying there for the night. "No," she finally decided. "We're coming back here for dinner tomorrow, remember?"
Mark shrugged. "Okay, your call." He headed around to the passenger side, opening the door and helping her into the rhino before crossing to the opposite side and starting the motor. They waved goodbye to the family as the truck pulled off.
"Look at this one!" Maddy giggled, holding up a photo with her and Mark making two very funny faces to the camera. She was sitting in his—their—living room, in his lap, rummaging through the old photos from her treasure trove.
He laughed too, hand settling around her waist and squeezing there.
"What about this one?" she asked, twisting around to look at his amused expression. The picture was from the waterfalls, taken just seconds after he had doused her with cold water. She looked both amused and peeved in the photograph, hair and bathing suit sopping wet. He was clearly laughing in the background.
"I remember that day," he murmured, gently easing her back so that she was reclining flat against him on the couch. "You pushed me into the water a few minutes after that…"
Her eyebrows arched in amused recollection. "Well you didn't expect me to just take that, did you? Do you remember these?" she held up another series of photographs taken at the surprise birthday party Mark had thrown for her. The first frame was of her and her lit birthday cake, followed by her blowing the candles and finally him feeding her a bite of cake.
"Of course I remember," he said, eyeing the photos with a smile plastered to his face. "You nearly died of shock when everyone jumped out and yelled surprise."
She snorted. "Well no one ever threw me a surprise party before," she defended.
The last picture she held in her hand was perhaps the most special and she waited a moment before she showed it to him. His eyes lit up at the photo of the two of them at dinner, a sparkling ring clearly visible where he held her hand on top of the table. It had been taken a few months ago.
He kissed the back of her neck and she lay back against him once more after setting the picture back in the box with the others. "We really should add another one to the collection," she said, her head resting in the crook of his neck.
"Of what?" he asked curiously.
"Of us. At home. Our home."
A/N: Aw, I got all sentimental and stuff. I was watching reruns on Hulu AGAIN and felt inspired by the state of disarray in the den…see what packing does? And we aren't even sure we're moving yet! Anyway, hope you liked this oneshot. I've got others planned but that's it for this particular one. Please review. I may be persuaded to chase after the plotlines I introduced here—there's plenty of them to pick from. Thanks!