Disclaimer: Like you guys really need me to say it...I do not own Falling Skies. SPIELBERG *shakes fist* Any dialogue you recognize was taken from the show (and I hope that I'm not being too unoriginal with my storytelling, but I'm going to have it follow Season 2)

Photos of my OCs are on my profile (Just copy/paste the URLs and delete the spaces)

I have also developed a soundtrack. It's on my profile as a different story. Chapter 1 is TSKoB and chapter 2 is ADToW.

Chapter 9 – Troubled Waters

When would life stop being a pain in the ass? This whole 'one step forward, two steps back' trend was really starting to become frustrating as hell. She makes it back to the 2nd Mass, she gets shot. They find a bridge, it blows up. Evelyn sat on the ragged edge of the broken bridge, gun in her arms, and feet dangling over the edge. It wasn't the most tactical position, but honestly if any skitters or mechs showed up, she would be dead before she knew any different. The rest of the patrol had gone back to camp, bringing Weaver the information. She had volunteered to be the one to keep watch, not that it would really make any difference over the edge.

Evelyn kicked her feet back and forth like a little kid. She leaned forward and spit over the edge, listening for when the saliva hit the slow-moving water below. It took about four seconds for it to make contact. Part of her wanted hop off the edge and crash into the water herself.

Sighing, Evelyn looked down at the river. She loved the water, always had. It was oddly comforting to her. Whenever her mother and father would fight—scream, shout, throw dishes—she would jump in the pool outside and do laps. The water would embrace her, and when she stepped out she was clean. Not clean in terms of hygiene, but in terms of piece of mind. Sometimes she would hold her breath and stay under the water for as long as possible. She would feel her hair floating around her face and the water moving between her fingers and toes and somehow all the conflict would diffuse out of her and into the water, like through osmosis. But she wasn't a little kid anymore, and the problems she had wouldn't go away if she ducked her head under the water's surface.

Evelyn whipped her head around to look back down the bridge towards the forest. She could hear the rumbling of engines somewhere in the distance, cars and motorbikes. Weaver's little caravan was on its way. Evelyn swung her feet back onto the solid portion of the bridge and stood up. She didn't want to get chastised for inattention or dereliction of duty. She waved once they made it into view, indicating the all-clear.

The GTO was the first to pull up and Weaver jumped out immediately, slamming the car door behind him, followed by Jamil, Anthony, and Tom. A few moments later Hal, Ben, and Dai pulled up in their motorbikes. Evelyn was ambling towards them slowly from her position on the bridge when she heard the sound of another bike approaching. All of the sudden Pope appeared, roughly shoving his way to the front of the group.

Evelyn swore under her breath. She had actively avoiding Pope over the past few days. The way he looked at her….it was like she was something for him to hunt, to gun down. When he caught sight of her, he threw his head back and groaned. "Aw, hell," he drawled out, "whose brilliant fucking idea was it to give Combat Barbie a gun?"

"You best watch yourself, Pope," Weaver's gruff voice called out. "It ain't the time for that. We got a job to do."

"Yes, sir," he spat out contemptuously with a sarcastic salute. He glared at Evelyn and rammed her shoulder as he swaggered by, causing her to stumble back a step.

"You okay?" Hal asked as he approached.

"Peachy," she replied dryly.

The whole group congregated at the gaping hole that had become the bane of their existence. Pope was crouching down at the edge, shaking his head. "You can't even walk across this thing," he said, spitting over the edge and laughing bitterly. "Dollars to donuts the beamers will bomb the hell out of your work crews ten minutes after they start to rebuild it."

"Well, I didn't say I had everything worked out," Jamil said quickly, "but this is our best chance."

Weaver paused for a moment, rubbing his eyes in frustration. "We may be better off probing for a weak point and then fighting our way out."

Pope stood up and turned back to the rest of the group. "Yeah, well, the mech and skitter columns I saw weren't carrying any weak points with them."

"And as we get pushed further and further in towards the river they forces will grow more concentrated," Evelyn added. "If it was difficult to punch through before, it's going to be impossible now."

Pope turned to her with raised eyebrows, to which she returned a withering glare. "Red here has a point," he said contemptuously, like he didn't want to admit that she was actually making positive contributions. "It'll be fucking impossible for us to break through that line."

Hal took a few steps towards Weaver. "So far we've managed to stay hidden, but they're looking hard and closing in fast. They'll be on us in two days tops."

Evelyn's rubbed at her forehead. Two days to repair the bridge? It would be difficult, but it was possible. That is if they started that very second. To her this seemed like a 'fire to the frying pan' scenario. She had escaped the skitters and found the 2nd Mass only to be taken by the skitters again. Evelyn appreciated irony, but for some reason she didn't like it so much this time.

"Why don't they just nuke the whole damn city and be done with us?" Anthony spat bitterly. Evelyn couldn't help but agree with him. They were such a technologically advanced race and were so close to finding them, she really didn't understand the hesitation. Not that she didn't appreciate it or anything, but it just didn't make sense.

"We might not be worth it," Hal said, interrupting her reverie.

"Well that's offensive," she muttered, earning a half-smile from him.

We haven't seen them drop neutron bombs in months," he continued. "Not since Boston."

They won't need a nuke if they trap us on this side of the river," Weaver said bitterly. "What about that boat you liberated from the sporting goods store, Jamil?"

Jamil gave a half-hearted shrug. It really didn't look like he was all that enthusiastic about that option. "It was rubber, seats five, no motor. Best guess it would take forty minutes round trip to cross the river."

"No," Tom said weakly, still pressing his hand on his abdomen, against the wound Evelyn knew was still plaguing hi. He shouldn't be here. He should be in bed resting, not exposed to enemy attack on a broken down bridge. But he was here and he had opinions, and they should all probably listen to him. "We can't rely exclusively on the boat," he continued. "That would take way to long to get everyone across, plus we'd have to leave the vehicles and all the heavy weapons. The wounded, supplies—Captain it seems our best and only option is to rebuild the bridge."

"We don't have to rebuild it," Jamil said in a low, almost comforting voice. "We could just patch it up. The supports look like hell, but I think they'll hold. We can build decking, bridge it over these gaps and drive across. It doesn't have to last forever, just one night."

"Hell," Evelyn said, taking a few steps toward Weaver, "it would probably be better if it didn't last. We don't want the mechs following us."

Weaver didn't look at her or Jamil. He just continued staring across the river. It was like if stared long enough, the future would play out before his eyes and he would know exactly what to do. Unfortunately, none of them were gifted with that sort of foresight. He took a deep breath and paused a moment. Evelyn did not envy him his position. "We have no choice," he said stoically. "Start building the decking, Jamil."

"What about the beamers," Anthony asked anxiously.

"It's too bad they figured out our jamming frequencies so quickly," Dai added.

"We could try setting up anther diversion," Evelyn interjected. "It worked well enough last time, but I'm not sure they'd fall for it again. But none of this matters if there's something on the other side of that river."

"She's right," Dai said in a frustrated voice. "We have no idea what's in that forest. It could be an ambush."

A sort of dead silence hung in the air. It was like everyone was thinking about the exact same thing, but nobody wanted to talk about it. And since nobody else would, she would have to. Evelyn gnawed on her fingernails for a moment before she responded. "There probably is something big over there, or at least I think there is," she said quietly.

"What the fuck are you talking about, Red?" Pope asked harshly.

Evelyn threw him an angry glare and continued. "Well, I mean every bridge other than this one has been destroyed, right?" Hal, Ben, and Dai made small noises of consent, so she nodded and continued. "I've been thinking about it since we found this place. At first I thought they were setting a trap, you know? Pushing us to a single location so they could take us all out in one fell swoop."

"That makes sense," Anthony replied, turning back to face her. "I mean it would be easier for them that way, to isolate us in a single location."

"Yeah, that's what I thought at first too," Evelyn continued, nodding and gesturing wildly to emphasize her point, "but that's just it isn't it? Why did they blow up the bridge when they did?" She knew that she must look crazy, glancing between all those men with wide, enthusiastic and/or deranged eyes.

"I think you're going to have to spell it out for us, Evey," Ben said in a firm voice.

"I swear, men can be so dense," she said rolling her eyes.

"Just spit it out!" Anthony yelled angrily.

"Okay, okay," Evelyn said, raising her hands in submission. "I just find it strange that they sent airships out to the bridge when they did. If it really was a trap, and if they were really trying to draw us in, why would they launch an attack on a few bikes on the bridge? What's the use in that? They didn't know that the ship would collide with the bridge. They didn't know it would be rendered non-functional."

"What are you saying, Evey?" Tom asked from his position at the railing.

Evelyn bit her lip and looked back at them all. "Have you every seen a mech ford through water? Have you ever seen a skitter swim? They're too dense for that—even the skitters can't defy the laws of physics. I don't think they were trying to thwart by attacking the patrol, I think they were trying to protect something. I think that bridge was still there because it was the last avenue to something important. Something that they need to be able to get to."

There was a short silence that followed that proclamation. "Well someone put their thinking pants on this morning," Pope growled.

"It doesn't change anything either way," Weaver sighed. "The fact remains that we need eyes on the other side of that river. Someone needs to cross the river for a looksy. Anybody up for a cold swim?"

"I'll do it," Hal said with a nod. "Evey and I will take the boat, we'll go across, we'll check it out."

"No," Evelyn said shaking her head. Hal turned to her with an expression of mild betrayal on his face. She shot him an apologetic look and turned back to Weaver. "There are too many variables with the boat. It's big, bulky, slow and overall way too visible. And what if a skitter finds it while you're out looking? I could swim the river and be back in no time. Faster and quieter."

Weaver looked at her skeptically and crossed his arms. "You sure you're up for it?"

"Wouldn't have volunteered if I wasn't," she replied, giving a firm nod. "I took the stitches out this morning. I'm all healed up and ready to go. And I'm a strong swimmer. I could cross that river in under ten minutes by my estimation."

"I'll go with her."

Out of the corner of her eye, Evelyn saw Tom's head snap around to look at Ben. His eyes showed a mixture of confusion, anger, worry. "Really," he said in a voice that sounded almost disappointed. "You're going to with her."

Evelyn glanced between the two Masons. The tension building up between them could be cut with a knife. Ben looked over at his father with a sad expression, like he was offended by his father's incredulity. "You've been away dad," he said steadily. "This is what I do."

"He's right, Tom," Weaver said, stepping forward. He looked distinctly uncomfortable. As he should. Between Tom Mason and his sons was a dangerous place to be. And he would have to tread carefully until her managed to crawl out of the line of fire. "Ben's the best….man for the job." He turned to face her and Ben. "You two take Jimmy with you to cover your route to the river bank. You go tonight."

"Yes, sir," the two of them murmured.

Weaver nodded absently, like he was still mulling over his options, even though there really weren't any. He scratched his head and turned back to them. "Alright, then. I think we've got just about everything covered. Let's pack it up and get back to camp."

Evelyn readjusted the gun strap on her shoulder and walked down the bridge back to her bike. The wood creaked and groaned beneath her feet. It was kind of funny if you thought about it. The lives of over a hundred people depended on those planks of wood, on that stupid, broken down bridge. She wondered if the designer had ever thought that it would one day his or her bridge would be that important, because right now it was a life line.

There was a sound of heavy boots hitting the ground somewhere behind. "I'd say you're being an idiot," Hal said falling in line with her, "but history suggests you'd get mad and start yelling."

"Your learning curve isn't all that steep," she replied with a small smile, "but it's nice to know you're getting it."

Hal let out a bark of laughter and scratched at the back of his head as they approached the bikes. "Yeah, well I couldn't look at that angry face of yours. You get all red and splotchy. It would be cute if it wasn't for the spitting. I always wound up feeling like I should be carrying an umbrella."

"Look at you with the jokes," she said in a patronizing voice and patting him on the cheek before swinging her leg over her bike. "Keep at it and you might even manage to get a legitimate laugh from me one of these days."

Hal rolled his eyes and climbed onto his bike as well. "Hey, I'm funny. I'm all kinds of funny."

"Oh, my poor sweet Hal," she returned with a look of pity on her face. "He's cute, but he's not very bright."

Hal blinked and widened his eyes a bit as she smirked back. When he opened his mouth to retort she kicked her bike into gear so that the roaring of the engine would drown out his voice. Hal glared at her and shook his head, so she smiled and winked, revving the engine.

"And away we go," she muttered under her breath. One by one, they all pulled out and moved down the road. Evelyn smiled into the wind as it whipped through her hair. She loved that bike and she loved that road. She loved it because as she zoomed back and forth on that road, she felt like she could fly.

(*)*(*)*(*)*(*)*(*)*(*)*(*)

It was always strange coming back to camp after a mission. For Evelyn it always required a bit of a paradigm shift. You could never escape the reality of this post-apocalyptic shitstorm of this world, not really, but things were different with the civilians around. It was like things were sadder and happier at the same time. No. That wasn't the best way to describe it. It was more like there was an overwhelming sense of nostalgia all the time.

Sometimes Evelyn would just sit and watch the people go about their business. Kids would play, adults would talk and go about their work—it could have been a really big block party if it wasn't for the dirt and the blood and the stink. Afterwards she would hurt a bit. There would be a sort of ache in her chest. Here these people were—accountants, librarians, college students, mechanics—trying their best to stay brave, to stay happy, but she knew that from experience that there days, even at your happiest, there was always a part of you that stayed sad. But she liked that ache. It was substantial. It was real. And more than anything else it was constant. Everything around her was in a perpetual state of flux, but that—that was something that stayed with her no matter what.

Evelyn walked briskly through camp, weaving back and forth between the people. When she finally made it to Max's tent, she quickly brushed through. "Hey, Max," said, walking in. "I've got to—"

The wind was knocked out of her as a hurricane with curly blonde hair collided with her. Evelyn looked up, bemused. Max and Cecelia were at the card table, eating dinner, and Max was grinning like an idiot. She rolled her eyes at him and looked down at the little girl whose arms were wrapped around her waste. "Hey there Marjorie," she mumbled, encircling her arms around the little girl and kissing the top of her head. "How was your day?"

Marjorie released her and looked up with a huge smile on her face. Her front tooth was missing, but for some reason that just made her even more adorable. She was bouncing up and down on her feet, vibrating with excitement. "It was the best day ever, Auntie Eve!" she said excitedly. "First I played soccer with the two Sams and I scored a goal and then I played checkers with Mr. Tector."

"Did you leave Mr. Tector a crying mess?" Evelyn asked, kneeling down to bring her to eye level with the girl.

Marjorie bit her lip and nodded happily. "I most certainly did."

Evelyn lifted up a hand for a high-five, and Marjorie gave her six of them. Evelyn felt a smile creep up on her face. Marjorie always seemed to have that effect on people, making them happy for a while. The only downside about it was that it always had to end.

"Good for you, Sprout," she said, pushing the curls out of her face and kissing her on the forehead. "You can tell me all about your glorious victory tomorrow, but for now I need to have a meeting with Max. Is that okay?" Marjorie pursed her lips and her shoulders slumped. She was disappointed. Evelyn put a hand on Marjorie's shoulder and looked her in the eye. "I promise."

Evelyn stood up fully and gave Max a meaningful look. He nodded and kissed Cecelia on the cheek before she stood up and ushered her little girl out of the tent. "You two don't get into too much trouble," she said as she stepped out the tent. The words were innocuous enough, but in combination with that poignant look she gave them it carried more weight than face value would saddest.

"She worries about you when you're in the field, you know," Max said, wheeling his chair towards her. "After your three month vacation every time you go she keeps asking if you're coming back."

Evelyn stared at the ground and started pushing the dirt around with the toe of her boot. For some reason Marjorie's worry made her feel guilty. "What do you tell her?" she asked quietly. "When she asks, what do you tell her."

"That there's no skitter big enough or bad enough to keep Auntie Eve from getting home."

Evelyn snorted and kicked some dirt at him. "You flatter me."

"Only on Tuesdays," he replied with a smile. He clapped his hands and rubbed them together enthusiastically. "Okay, so I'm on pins and needles here. What's up with the bridge? When are we getting this show on the road?"

Evelyn sat in Cecelia's empty chair and began digging into the leftover food. "Jamil's starting to build decking to cover up that hole. We should be leaving tomorrow night."

"Do we know what's on the other side?"

Evelyn swallowed heavily, forcing a mouthful of crunchy rice and mushy beans. "We don't know yet. Ben and I are going to swim across the river tonight and check it out. Which is why I'm here." She cleared her throat and pushed away the plate. "I'm going to need a gun, and I can't exactly swim with an assault rifle. I'm going to need a handgun. Call me sentimental, but I'd like to have my old one back—your old one, I guess. I was wondering if you might know where it is."

Max exhaled sharply in a sort of smug laugh. He turned and wheeled himself towards a trunk that was sitting in the back left corner of the tent, prying open the lid and fishing around. "Hal brought it back," he mumbled as he rooted around. "He said you'd want me to have it. Smart boy, that one."

"He is," she said quietly, "don't ever tell him I said so, though. I would never hear the end of it."

Max closed the trunk with a loud clank. "You know, I'm still hoping you two crazy kids get your shit together. All this Sam and Diane crap is starting to give me an ulcer."

"Who the hell are Sam and Diane?"

Max rolled his eyes. "I forgot. You're young and naïve." He rolled back towards her and held out the box. She took it and ran her hand over the smooth, wood surface. She opened it and pulled out the gun. The cool metal felt good in her hands, and the weight just felt right.

"Should I leave you two alone?" Max asked with raised eyebrows.

Evelyn let out a soft laugh. "Just getting reacquainted."

"It's not loaded. Didn't want anybody else to use it. For some reason it just didn't seem right."

She looked back at Max and offered up a soft smile. "Thanks, Max. I don't know what to say."

Max sighed and scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "Yeah, well—don't go getting all sappy on me. Just make sure I didn't lie to Marjorie just now."

"Wouldn't dream of it, Ponch," she said, placing the gun in the waistband of her pants.

"You can make a 'Chips' reference, but you don't know 'Cheers'?" he asked in wide-eyed disbelief. "That makes absolutely no fucking sense."

Evelyn had started laughing—a real, genuine laugh—when all the sudden Cecelia stuck her head in the tent. There was something in her face that Evelyn just didn't like. It was the sort of face people make when they're about to deliver bad news. "Hey, um, I'm not interrupting anything important, am I?"

"Nope," Evelyn said popping the 'p'. "Max here is just being an idiot, so it's pretty much the same standard stuff." She looked down at her watch and pursed her lips. "And I've got to head out nowish to get myself ready for the patrol." Cecelia kept opening and closing her mouth, like she was trying to say something, but the words just wouldn't come out. "Is there something you need to tell up, Cecelia?" she asked hesitantly.

"I—I went to visit with Anne, to help her clean up the bus. It's just been so busy there lately, she really needs the help."

"What is it, Cece?" Max asked soothingly. "It's okay. You can tell us."

She sighed and ran her hands through her long, blonde hair. "Tom collapsed. Hal showed up, dragging him. I just—I thought you should know."

Evelyn didn't bother with any goodbyes. She flew out of the tent and sprinted all the way to the medical bus, nearly taking out two or three pedestrians on her way. She skidded to a halt when she finally got there, almost like a cartoon. She spun around looking for—hell, she wasn't sure what she was looking for. A solution to the problem, maybe. But it seemed like every time they solved a problem, another would crop up and ruin her day. Evelyn ran her hands down her face and tried to collect her thoughts which were running rampant inside her head. After the blood stopped pumping in her ears she heard familiar voices. It was a hushed whisper, but she would recognize that voice anywhere.

"—Look, it's Dad," Hal said quietly, "those old fishheads couldn't change him if they tried. He escaped their ship didn't he? He found his way back to us" despite everything they did to stop him. He's going to beat this too."

"You bet your ass he is," she called out, pulling aside the fabric of the medical tent that separated her from the voice. She walked up to Hal and put a hand on his shoulder which he then covered with his own. Matt looked really small in his chair, like he was huddling into a ball like he was trying to hide. "He's going to be okay, Matt. Really, he is. All those months on the road taught me one thing. The love that man has for his boys is a hell of a lot stronger and more unrelenting than anything else out there. You understand me, little man?"

Matt folded his arms across his chest and scooted back in his chair, somehow managing to make himself look even smaller. "Yeah, yeah, I understand."

Evelyn crouched down to the ground and took Hal's hand in hers. He sat up straighter and squeezed her hand. "Hey," she said softly so that Matt couldn't hear, making his eyes snap to hers. "What happened? Tom was doing fine at the bridge. We've been back what? Fifteen minutes?"

Hal paused for a moment and looked back at Matt, who was staring out into the distance, wrapped up in his own little world. He turned back to her and jerked his head, indicating for her to follow him. The two of them ducked out of the tent. Once they made it outside, Hal bent over at the waist, braced his hands on his knees, and took several deep breaths. He had been holding it together in the tent for Matt, but he was freaking out in a big, big way. Evelyn rubbed circles on his back. "Hey," she whispered in his ear, "hey, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

Hal cleared his throat and stood straight, slapping his cheeks like he was trying to wake himself. "No, I'm good," he said in a determined voice. "It just—it just happened so freaking fast. I mean, we weren't even here ten minutes when—He just, he freaked out, started yelling, and then he just collapsed on the ground. There was—" he paused and stared at the ground. "There was blood coming out of his eye."

"Fuck," she muttered under breath. She tried to find something comforting to say, but for the life of her she couldn't think of anything to say.

"Yeah, that about sums it up," Hal replied bitterly. He rubbed his eyes with the heels of her hands, like he was trying to clear away a disturbing image. "Evey, could I ask you about something my dad said. About him. About the time he was …away"

Evelyn frowned. "I'm not sure if I'll have an answer for you. You Masons seem to be a complicated bunch."

"Yeah, we're a bunch of freaking enigmas," he sighed, shoving his hands in his pockets. "My dad said that there were big gaps in his memory from when he was on that ship. Do you know anything about that?"

She shrugged her shoulders in response. "I know about as much as Tom does. I wasn't conscious the whole time, but I knew we were on that ship for weeks. When Tom came out, he seemed to think that it had only been a few days, a week tops."

"So you think they could have done something to him?"

Evelyn closed her eyes and rocked back on her heels. She had been afraid of something like this, of that kind of topic being approached. Especially with Hal. But she would answer anyway, because he deserved that much at least. "It's more than possible," she mumbled quietly. She didn't want Hal to hear, it felt too much like a confession for her as well. "They could have done something to me, too." It was almost the truth, but she couldn't make herself take that extra little step past the line of doubt. She was still too weak for that.

From the way that Hal was twitching she could tell that he hadn't gotten all the answers he wanted just yet, but his hesitancy was making her nervous. Her hands went straight to the dog tags around her neck, running her thumb over the grooves in the metal. "If there's something else you want to ask, Hal, just ask it. You always start scratching when you want to ask uncomfortable questions."

Hal exhaled sharply and folded his arms across his chest. "The thing is….Dad asked me to watch him, to make sure that he wasn't acting hinky or doing anything that could hurt the 2nd Mass. He asked me to stop him. With lethal force if necessary."

"I don't see a question in there, Hal."

Hal's jaw twitched a bit. He wanted to ask this question even less than she wanted to answer it. "My question is do you know why. I mean, I'm trying to understand, but I just can't. Who would ask something like that?"

"I would," she replied shortly.

Hal's mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. "Evey, what the fu—"

Evelyn took a step forward and looked at Hal steadily. "I talked to Weaver about it, told him if he saw anything…hinky…that he shouldn't hesitate to shoot me between the eyes."

Hal buried his face in his hands and let out a strangled, frustrated cry that made her shudder. "What the hell, Evey! What the hell is wrong with the two of you? You are literally asking people to kill you! Why would you do something like that?"

"Because it's better than the alternative," she said. She tried to keep her voice steady, but that angry, vibrating feeling had already started in her extremities.

"What alternative could possibly be worse than that?" he demanded, throwing his hands in the air in frustration.

"That I kill you!" she screamed loudly. She closed her eyes and took a breath, only opening them again when her heart rate slowed back down. "The alternative is that I kill you. Or Ben, Tom, Matt, Anne. I'd rather be dead than have that happen. Which is why, if I start acting hinky, I want someone to kill me. And if I felt like I was going to hurt someone, I'd do it myself."

Hal bounced up and down on his heels and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Why didn't you ask me to do it?" he asked quietly. "Why did you go to Weaver first?"

Evelyn sighed heavily. "Would you have done it? If I asked you to, would you have said yes?"

Hal gave her a sad smile and shook his head. "No. No, I wouldn't."

"That's why I didn't ask you. I didn't want to make you agree to something like that."

He let out a sad laugh and stared out at nothing. "Well, thanks…I guess."

"Hey," Evelyn said leaning her head down so it fell into his line of vision, making him look at her. "I'm not saying it's going to happen. To me or to Tom. In fact, I really hope that it doesn't."

Hal looked at her with a strange expression on his face. It was sad, but there was something else in there too, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to know what it was. "I don't want you to go away again," he said quietly. He shook his headed and plastered that cocky smile back on his face. "It takes forever to train a new partner, and I have no patience for nubes. They trip over and make way too much noise."

She stepped forward and punched his shoulder awkwardly. "I'm not going anywhere, Hal. I'm sticking with the 2nd Mass like a bad rash."

Hal let out a genuine bark of laughter and opened his mouth to respond when a loud shout cut him off.

"Walsh!" Dai's voice rang out from a few yards away. "It's time for you to suit up! Weaver wants you, Ben, and Jimmy out of here in fifteen!"

"Got it!" she shouted back.

Hal raised his eyebrows sardonically. "Looks like you are going somewhere," he said with a sort of dark humor.

Evelyn rolled her eyes and pulled him into a hug. "But I'm coming back. I'll always come back. And it won't take me as long as it did last time."

Hal snorted. "That's not saying much."

Special thanks to JDMlvr1, LucyRider17, BookWorm0001, MoonlitSorrows, Niamh O'Mahoney, CalaisForever, and my old chummy, old pal LMScatterbrain for reviewing. You guys are the best.

Also, you should really check out the story 'From Your Lips' by LMScatterbrain. It is a seriously interesting story, with loads of creativity in terms of point of view. I'm serious, check it out.