"I didn't expect to see you here, Wash." Taylor says, coming to a stop a few feet behind her. She's sitting with her back to him, cross-legged atop a freshly dug grave. Alicia turns her head, casting him an amused glance over her shoulder. "Didn't expect to be here, sir." She flicks her hand in annoyance at the headstone and his features harden. That wasn't what he meant.
Alicia presses two fingers to the stone, tracing over the etched letters. "Wash," Taylor says heavily and she can hear the pain in the way he spoke her name. "Don't sir," She stands and turns on her heel, facing him. "It was the only way. You know it and I know it, so just…don't." She finishes, uncertainly.
Taylor rocks back on his heels, shifting his weight, trying to settle into a more comfortable position and finding none. He crosses his arms across his chest, then sighs and they're back at his sides. Alicia Washington smiles up at him sadly. "Disappointed , sir?" Taylor hears the disappointment she has in herself, that she didn't live up to his standards, that she thought he's disappointed in her choices of surrendering the colony after twenty six civilians died.
"No. Thought Shannon told you." He raises an eyebrow. The smile falters and the corner of her lip is twitching upwards; she's trying to regain composure. "He was a little busy keeping his family alive, sir."
"That he was." Taylor agrees and they lapse into an uneasy silence. Wash glances over her shoulder at the stone again, her mouth settling into an annoyed line. "Something on your mind, Wash?"
"Granite, sir? Really?" Her tone is skeptical, disbelieving.
"It suits you. Damn fine soldier, tough as nails, unshakable as that rock right there. That's what you are."
The sad smile is back. "Was. That's what I was."
Her words hit him in the gut harder than the fire from a pulse gun's charge. He blinks, slowly, eyes shut for a moment and agrees. "That you were." When he opens them again, she's gone. Taylor walks over to the headstone, boots sinking in the soft earth and goes down on one knee. He fixes his stare on the name and reaches out to touch it, hand faltering at the last second and dropping half an inch before the cold headstone. Dawn breaks, golden light filtering through the clouds, illuminating the etchings. Alicia 'Wash' Washington.
It's unnerving, seeing that name set in stone. It solidifies the fact that she's really gone.
He stands. The Colony would be buzzing with activity by now, and he's certain that someone is trying in vain to hail him over the comms.
Taylor gives the field one last look over his shoulder before climbing into the rover and shutting the door.
Wash left the field before dawn. With a smile, he remembers that in life, she was always out and about before the sun broke over the horizon.
Some things never change.