A/N: I watched the season premiere on my DVR and I think this may be my new favorite show (stupid FOX cancelling Terra Nova and stuff). I was a follower last season and now I'M A BELIEVER! (Did that sound as corny as I think it did?) Anyway, I'm over caffeinated right now and my head just formed a bazillion ideas for a Hal/Lourdes story. Yes, that's right, I ship Hal and Lourdes. There's just so much potential and their fleeting interactions have way more chemistry than Hal and Karen ever did. (Just so you know, I hate Karen a lot so I'm sorry if you Karen-lovers are offended). Anyway, I'm taking the advice of my reviewers and I'm gonna go for it. Wish me luck. And review, definitely do that. I have to know if you people think I belong in the Falling Skies forums or if I should just go back to trolling WRITING FOR the dearly-beloved (but sadly departed) Terra Nova.
PS: This is set in the three months between Tom's departure and his return. There wasn't any real interaction between Hal and Lourdes yet BUT I'm of the opinion that with everything else going on they may have just…been occupied with other things. Survival first, romance second and such. Also, I'm going to just ignore the web-comic and that mechanic guy with the dreadlocks who's SUPPOSED to be Lourdes' love interest. It just bothers me. Hopefully they'll kill him off in some heroic number that shatters poor Lourdes into a million pieces, forcing her to crawl into Hal's arms for comfort and…you know what I'm just gonna shut up now. So here goes…
Pain. It wasn't a new sensation for Lourdes, but still unfamiliar because she wasn't in pain before…before what? Slowly, she sat up, gingerly rubbing the back of her head because it throbbed. There was a good-sized bruise forming there, the bump sore and tender. She winced, withdrawing her dirty hand, covered in dust, debris, and…blood! Immediately, her mind raced. Where was the blood coming from? Was it her own? And if it wasn't, whose was it? And where was she? What was this ringing in her ear? Why couldn't she remember…
And then it all snapped into focus. The ringing stopped, the throbbing stopped, it seemed for a moment that the world stopped and suddenly she could remember. She had ventured out of the safety of the camp when Anne had made an offhand remark about their IV fluids and antibiotic stash running low, not to mention the lack of ibuprofen that could cure the most simple of aches. That's what had made her decide to sneak off on one of those motorcycles—the ones she had no clue how to ride. And that's how she ended up like this now, scrape and bruised, with a badly damaged Yamaha on its side beside her. It was daylight, which was disturbing because when she'd left it was still night. Had she been out for that long? And what if it was more than one day? She spoke a silent prayer of thanks that the skitters or the mechs hadn't discovered her lying out here or she would have been utterly defenseless.
Slowly, rising to her feet, she surveyed her surroundings. She wasn't exactly familiar with this area, but she estimated she hadn't gone more than twenty miles outside the camp's radius. But with everyone occupied and so few fighters to spare, she doubted anyone was looking for her. They'd probably written her off as dead by now, with only Anne and possibly a few others left wondering where she'd disappeared to.
She felt a sting in her chest. Lourdes wasn't the definition of outgoing, not by a long shot. She was timid, naïve, sheltered. What had possessed her to come out here and try to scrounge up medical supplies from the remains of drugs stores or hospitals? Why had she left the safety of the camp, where she could have rendered medical aid, in order to face the potential of being captured and harnessed or even killed?
The answer was simple. Hal Mason. Hal Mason, with those deep-set, hazel eyes that could be green, or blue, or grey seemingly at will. Hal Mason with his trim but powerful build and a gun slung across his torso. Hal Mason, with those rugged, devastatingly handsome features he seemed to have inherited from his father. Hal Mason, who despite being two years her junior was still so much more mature than her, so much braver. Hal Mason, who she longed for and pined after every day and night but would never be able to attain.
She had done it because it's what Hal Mason would have done and she had always wanted to be like him. Hal was confident and powerful and courageous. He didn't shrink into the ground when things looked bad. He didn't hide or cower like she did. And while she clung to religion and the Bible to get her through, Hal clung to his rifle in one hand and a spare clip in his other and he made things happen. He wasn't afraid. And she'd done it to prove to him, to herself, and to everyone around her that she wasn't afraid either.
And look where it got her. She took a teetering step forward and fell, and in that moment she realized that her leg was injured, too. She couldn't see the damage through the leg of her jeans and in truth she didn't want to. She'd look later but right now the sight of her own injury would just make her feel weaker, hinder any chance she had of making it back to camp alive. Back to Anne alive. Back to Hal alive.
But what was the use? Her leg was beat up. She couldn't walk. How would she get back? Crawling? Dragging herself twenty miles in God-only-knows what direction? The feeling settled on her, thick and terrifying. She was going to die here, on this deserted, desolate fragment of road, painfully alone. It was funny how in accepting death, she could only see Hal. See his brilliant, radiant smile that rarely made an appearance. See the ferocity in his eyes when he encountered or even mentioned a skitter. Hal Mason was a fighter and a protector, and knowing he was around made her feel safe despite the fact he barely acknowledged her, hardly even knew she existed. And without him there she felt vulnerable and scared now.
A tear fell from her eye, hit the gravel beside her as she lay helplessly on her back, looking up at the sky. The words were leaving her lips before they even registered. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. .."
But her heart had left the prayer, returned to Hal. He didn't have a rod or staff, but rather a gun and an army knife. But the effect was the same: she was comforted by the presence.
No. The thought struck her quickly. No, no, no, no, no! "No!" she cried out to the sky, uncaring whether or not the skitters heard her. Let them come. "No, Lourdes! You are not going to die out here!" She rolled over, determination and pain seizing her at once. She set her jaw, bit her lip, swiftly rose to her feet once more, and hobbled a few steps before falling over in agony.
Sharp sobs overtook her as tears spilled from her eyes. She was gripping her leg, lying on her side in a near fetal-position. "No!" she screamed, a wet, teary cry . "No, dammit!" The gravity of the situation hit her. She never swore, never liked to. And dammit, though hardly a swear word compared to others, was not something she said. But the pain, the anger, the frustration at being so helpless and scared made her scream it again. "Dammit!" It couldn't end this way. She didn't want it to end this way. But it hurt so much and she was just too scared to go on, too scared to meet a skitter face to face and die at its hands. If she was going to go, she would prefer it to be peaceful. A final token of just how cowardly she truly was. She cursed herself mentally.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…" Her lips moved slowly, the words deliberate as the pain dulled to a steady, agonizing throbbing in her swollen leg. She fingered the Rosary beads around her neck. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Thoughts started flowing to her now. Her grandparents' home, just outside Boston. The rolling hills and the shady oaks and maples that turned such beautiful shades in the autumn. "He restoreth my soul, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." She'd been called to help the civilians of the 2nd Mass. through healing them, using what little pre-med talent she had to help. But now, her time helping was done. God was calling her home and though it was painful to leave so many friends behind she supposed Heaven was better than here. It was such a cliché to say her life was flashing before her eyes, but the visions of everything she'd known and loved came and left before she could will them away.
"Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil for Thou art with me." But it wasn't true. The beads were comforting, God's presence with her almost tangible, but she was so deathly afraid of dying. She was scared as hell and she whimpered even as she uttered the sentence. "Thy rod…and Thy staff…they comfort me." She wished Hal were there to hold her, to tell her not to worry like he had the night she'd brought him food and Karen had mocked her, not knowing she could hear, not knowing that she'd continued to force a smile. "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…" The thought of her being unafraid in the presence of the skitters was comfortingly unrealistic. But it was a nice thought to have before dying, she supposed. "Thou annointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over." She paused to consider the good fortune she'd had in assisting 2nd Mass. all of these months. She'd gained friends, experiences. She'd lived a short but genuinely fulfilling life.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever. Amen." She spoke the last bit with finality, determined to have the prayer be her dying words. It was an appeal for mercy, leniency from God. It was a prayer of praise to Him, thanking Him for all that he'd provided for her in her short life. It was, in short, a final preparation before leaving Earth behind for better or for worse. And with these thoughts to comfort her, Lourdes allowed herself to fall asleep and wait for death to claim her.
It was dark. That was the first thing she was aware of and for a brief moment she thought she really was dead. But then she felt the pain in her leg, the gravel, rough and abrasive against her cheek, the ground vibrating. Groggily, she rubbed her leg and glanced around, taking in the crumbling buildings and shelled-out cars. Wait. The ground was vibrating. Which meant… "Someone's coming!" She breathed the words to herself, if only to hear her own voice and prove to herself she was still alive. Disappointment seized her as she realized that, in all likelihood, her end would come at the hands of a skitter. Or tentacles, as the case may be. She forced herself to roll onto her stomach, wincing. In the distance, she could see a single, circular light moving toward her.
Hope surged through her. The beamer's lights were blue, these were yellow. These were motorcycle headlights! This was a person! Dismay seized her yet again when she realized the likelihood of the rider being friendly was slim to none. In all likelihood, she'd be robbed and murdered within the next few minutes. With a shuddering breath, she hunkered down and waited, squeezing her eyes shut and not daring to look at her own fate.
The motorcycle drew up close to her, displacing a few rocks in the road. She heard the loud hum cut out. The rider had killed the engine, and in a few seconds he'd kill her too. She heard the crunching footsteps come closer, felt the presence of someone leaning over her. She squeezed her eyes shut tighter but something wasn't right here. This person that was above her was somehow familiar to her senses and she realized it was his smell. A combination of musky cologne, a bit of aftershave, sweat, and a lot of grime. It was unmistakably the scent of Hal. But how could it be?
She felt the rider lean close to her ear, felt a warm blast of air as "Lourdes" was whispered urgently. She didn't need any further confirmation. Her heart soared because Hal was right there with her now and she began to wonder again if this was really happening or if she had died or if she was hallucinating. Nonetheless, her eyes snapped open and there he was, face streaked with dirt, hair disheveled, gun slung across his chest, looking concerned, eyes searching.
"Hal?" she questioned, as if to ascertain his existence.
"Lourdes! Oh my God, are you okay?" he asked urgently, looking her up and down, then looking over his shoulder. "It's not safe here. There are mechs closing in, we gotta get you back to camp. Here," he offered her a hand.
"Hal!" the grin spread further across her face. "I'm so glad you're here."
"Yeah, it's nice to see you too but can we talk on the way? We really need to get you out of here, give me your hand."
It was nice while it lasted. Sadly, she shook her head. "No, Hal. I can't."
He was stunned. "What do you mean you can't? You can't just stay here! The mechs will be here any minute."
"I can't stand," she said. "My leg's fractured or broken…I can't tell. But I'll only slow you down. Just go." It was hard for her to say it, especially with the promise of being killed by a mech, but she would never forgive herself if she got Hal killed at her expense.
"Don't be ridiculous, I'll help you. Come on!" There was an urgent pleading in his tone. "Lourdes!" he was shouting now. The pounding of mech footsteps could be heard, getting closer. Everything was shaking, including her.
"I can't…Hal…" she hissed, tears blurring her vision. "Go."
Hal shook his head in exasperation, rubbing his temple and looking to his right as the mechs closed in. "This is freaking ridiculous, I'm not leaving you Lourdes!" Suddenly, she felt his strong, firm arms wrapping around her torso, lifting her off the ground. "Can you sit on a bike?" he asked, his voice close to her ear.
"I…I think so…" she murmured, still stunned at the sensation of Hal Mason holding her.
"Good," he said, setting her down gently on the back of his motorcycle, using the weight of his own body to stabilize it until he sat down himself. Looking back, Lourdes could see the mechs' searchlights now. They were coming straight for them.
"Shit," Hal cursed. "That's the only way back to camp."
"What do we do?" Lourdes asked fearfully.
"Hang on," he ordered, and as soon as her grip tightened around his waist in a way that made her blush, Hal gunned the bike.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"Not sure, but I'll let you know when we get there!"
He weaved dangerously around bombed out cars and buildings, shots from the mechs ricocheting around them. Though the robots had good range, the motorcycle had speed in its favor, easily distancing itself from the death machines. Lourdes wrapped her arms tighter around Hal's waist, partially afraid of falling off and partially afraid that if she loosened her grip, he'd disappear. Using aerodynamics to justify her actions, she allowed herself to settle her cheek against his back and with the wind whipping through her dark hair, the sensation of speed, and the feeling of security Hal afforded her just by being there, she felt invigorated and renewed.
A/N: So there's chapter one. What do you think? Do I have the characterization down? What needs work? Improvements? Suggestions? Let me know in a review! It's like 2:30 AM so I'm posting this and going to bed. Next chapter will be more Hal-centric since this chapter was Lourdes-centric. It'll pretty much work itself out like that if I decide to continue. And what makes me decide to continue? FEEDBACK! I seriously want to know what you think. So thanks for reading, guys, and hopefully I'll be in contact soon via updates! Peace.
PS: For anyone unfamiliar with the prayer Lourdes was saying, it's Psalm 23, also dubbed the 'Shepherd's Psalm' which is where the title of this fic comes from.