- - - When Skies Are Grey - -

A/N: OC Centric - Casey Taylor

Setting: Starts at the Battle of Fitchburg (mid season 1 and 2), will continue through season 2 and into season 3.

Summary: This is an idea that spawned from my friend Jemma and I noticing the lack of Sarah and Charlotte being seen or even mentioned at all in season 2. So, I invented this fic to keep at least Charlotte alive.

Other than the death of Sarah, the first chapter details keep in canon with the Falling Skies: Battle of Fitchburg comic which I highly recommend to any fan of the show.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything except for the character of Casey, everything else belongs to the creative minds of the Falling Skies team.

Chapter 1: Northern Mockingbird

Casey Taylor barely made it behind the brick pillar she was running for when a Mech blast shot right past her head and exploded into the gutter. Casey pressed her back against the pillar gasping for breath, but she didn't get to pause for long. Aliens were closing in on all sides, the time to hide had come and gone. Now, it was about surviving the next few minutes.

"Inside, inside!" Captain Weaver screamed as he ran past Casey. He saw that she had stopped, and pulled her arm forwards. "Get inside!"

Casey trailed after Weaver towards the building in front of them. The Captain was herding what remained of the 2nd Mass into a Post Office building. Fitchburg was a place where they had planned to rest and recharge. But before they could settle, Mechs and skitters had found them out and swarmed in. They were relentless. There was nothing the 2nd Mass could do but run.

Up the front steps of the Post Office, Casey followed Dr. Anne Glass through the door and together they swerved right and began climbing the stairs behind a handful of other members of the 2nd Mass. Casey ran in step with the doctor and didn't chance looking back, she was afraid of what she would see.

Three flights of stairs later, Casey and Anne came to a breathless stop. Weaver had arrived just before them and was already barking orders at his remaining soldiers as well as the Berserkers. The civilians were all grouped together and hunched down away from the windows to stay out of the aliens sights.

"I want two-man teams at the windows!" Weaver ordered, marching back and forth in front of the huddling survivors. "Snipers on the roof; we've got incoming!"

"Anne!" Uncle Scott suddenly cried from the floor. He was on the opposite side of the room to Anne and Casey. In his arms was a wounded young man whom Casey knew only as Philip. Lourdes was beside Uncle Scott trying to bandage a wound on Phillip's arm with a strip of torn fabric. "Help us!"

As Anne fled to her Uncle's side, a loud screech wailed from Casey's right. Baby Charlotte. She was screaming from within the carrier her mother, Sarah, had fashioned for her out of a sturdy blanket. The baby had been steadily crying since the group had started running, but every now and again she would let out a shrill screech. Casey was sure the aliens heard that friggin' noise. Not much that could be done about it, though. No more than what Sarah was already doing.

Sarah noticed Casey watching her. Her brown hair had fallen from its braid and was framing the beautiful angles of her face. To Casey, she smiled a nervous smile. "Do you think we're going to die?" She asked, her voice wavering.

Casey was still trying to catch her breath and couldn't form a coherent or assuring response. "I don't know," She panted, pulling her dark brown hair away from her damp neck and up into a ponytail. "I don't know."

Sarah smiled. Her eyes brimmed with tears. She held her baby as close to her body as she could. "I do."

"Skitters!" Hal Mason screamed from the window. Beside him, Maggie began firing her rifle with a look of fierce determination.

From where she was standing, Casey could see out the window into the street as the army of skitters surged towards the Post Office. Casey moved forwards to get a better look, flattening herself against the wall and peering around the windowsill just enough so she could see. There had to be a hundred of them scuttling through the street, climbing sideways along buildings and scurrying over cars as they gathered in the square outside.

Adrenaline pulsed through Casey's veins. She couldn't catch her breath and was gripping the window frame so tight she couldn't feel her fingers. She wanted something, a weapon. Hundreds of skitters were barrelling towards her and she had nothing in her arms to protect herself. She wanted a gun, wanted to shoot and fight like one of Weavers soldiers. Before they got to Fitchburg, she had been in the early stages of training with Weaver and some other members of the 2nd Mass looking for an upgrade in responsibility. But after the devastating loss of soldiers during the strike attack on the alien command tower in central Boston coupled with Tom Mason boarding an alien ship, training had stalled. And though Weaver often said it was best to learn while doing, Casey guessed now wasn't the time to ask him how to properly hold a rifle so she didn't pinch the skin on her fingers.

"Fire, everyone!" Weaver screamed. "Open fire!" His fighters didn't need to be told twice, they were already shooting.

"Good thing someone brought back all these guns, huh?" Pope and his Berserkers were loading up rifles and shotguns they had salvaged from a weapons cache at an army depot. It had been a successful raid, every fighter in the 2nd Mass was now armed with a new gun. And Pope was keen to make sure everyone knew he and his people were to thank.

Weaver ignored Pope's comment, and addressed his other fighters. "If they retreat, they'll form another airstrike," Even with the monumental task ahead of him, Weaver managed to keep his composure. "We have to keep them in the street!"

"That's our cue!" Pope said to his group. They all grinned and gave each other exuberant whoops.

"Pope?!" Weaver yelled in vain as the Berserkers legged it out of the room.

Casey peered around the edge of the window again and saw Pope and Tector emerge from the Post Office and each jump on a motorbike. Crazy Lee was right behind them, her wild mess of wiry hair bouncing as she ran. Boon and Lyle each hopped on a bike and kept on her tail. They all sped off towards the skitters, attracting their attention and keeping them from spreading too far from the Post Office so they couldn't return with stronger forces. But the Berserkers weren't at all frightened. They hollered and whooped like they were having the time of their lives. Casey supposed that in a way, they were.

Beside Casey, Maggie suddenly screamed. "Hal! It's Ben!"

From the window, Casey spotted the middle Mason son climbing out of a manhole in the centre of the street right out the front of the Post Office entrance. When Ben saw the 2nd Mass above him, he waved his arms gesturing at them to come down.

"He must have found an escape," Hal said as he peered at his brother through his rifle scope.

Weaver came to the window and knocked Casey aside a little. When Weaver saw Ben, his jaw clenched tighter. "Soldiers! Keep fightin'!" He yelled. "Everyone else, stay put. Hal, follow me down, now!"

As Hal and Weaver rushed past her, Casey sank to her knees intending to get out of the way. But instead she was immediately pulled back to her feet by Maggie. "You! Take this!" Maggie thrust a rifle into Casey's hands. "Point and shoot, doesn't matter if you don't hit any of them we just have to keep them busy!"

The rifle felt as heavy as a cinderblock in Casey's hands. She blankly stared at it, and then looked to Maggie who was setting up a massive and mean looking weapon that could only be a missile launcher.

"Just shoot!" Maggie ordered Casey when she noticed her watching.

With the way everyone was screaming, the lack of concern for preserving ammo, and Weaver putting so much faith in the Berserkers, Casey figured there was very little chance she was going to make it out of this building. So, what the hell? She'd wanted a gun, and now she had one. Casey stuck her rifle out the window and pulled back on the trigger.

The kickback made the rifle shudder in Casey's hands. For a fleeting second she thought she might drop it. Gripping the gun tighter, she peered down and saw the skitters trampling across the ground towards them. They moved with steady and determined speed. And that infuriated Casey. Closing one eye, she peered through her rifle scope, lined up a skitter in the crosshairs, and fired. A flare of bullets shot from her weapon joining the chorus of gunfire from the 2nd Mass soldiers. Skitters fell, but Casey didn't know if she was hitting any of them. As soon as she pulled the trigger, the recoil caused her to lose sight through the scope making it impossible for her to see what, if anything, she had hit.

And then beside Casey, with barely a word of warning, Maggie let off a missile. It whistled through the air and collided with an SUV tipped over on the road. The explosion caught a dozen or so skitters in its path and the flames spread to neighbouring cars creating fiery blasts that illuminated the square. Casey watched the skitters disappear under the waves of fire, and her adrenaline shot up again.

"Okay, Ben found us a way out!" Weaver bellowed as he burst back onto the level with the middle Mason son at his side. "Through the sewers. Small groups. I already sent one group down with Rick," He pointed at Anne. "Go with Ben. Right now!" Weaver snatched the gun out of Casey's hands. "You, too," He told her. "Everyone who isn't one of my soldiers, get to that sewer now!" He herded Anne, Uncle Scott, Lourdes, Phillip, Sarah and Charlotte and a half dozen other 2nd Mass members through the doorway and handed them over to Ben to lead downstairs.

They were at the entrance when Ben suddenly stopped still. "Oh, hell," He gaped out the window. "Mechs."

Over Ben's head, Casey saw the horizon was dotted with at least two dozen Mechs. She could hear their clunking footsteps even though they were a good half mile away. It didn't matter how far away they were, their guns had a long range. A handful had chased them into the Post Office, but not this many. And not at one time. There was no outrunning a whole squad of Mechs.

"Run!" Uncle Scott pushed everyone, including Casey who fell into Ben, forwards through the doors. "Just run!"

The smell of oil and smoke seared Casey's nostrils as she thundered down the Post Office front steps. No sooner had she set foot on the sidewalk when a bright blue Mech laser shone on the path in front of her. They weren't just coming from up ahead, there were Mech's closing in all around them.

Casey stopped in her tracks and fell heavily back onto the stairs just as Mech blast incinerated a hole in the footpath in front of her. Casey tucked herself behind a stone pillar and hoped the Mech hadn't seen her. It had, however, seen Philip who got the full blast of two Mechs. Casey watched, grimly entranced, as his body sort of folded over onto the ground. He had to have been dead before he even realized what had happened.

From where she was hiding, Casey could see that the other members of her little group had scattered. She saw some had reached the manhole with Ben while others had run back inside the Post Office. Casey watched Anne and Uncle Scott helping Lourdes run when a Mech spotted them. "Anne!" Casey screamed, but the sound of her voice was muted in the symphony of gunfire, motorbike engines and stomping Mechs.

The Mech trained its blue lasers on Lourdes and Anne's backs. Casey's scream caught in her throat as she saw Uncle Scott shove Anne and Lourdes forwards and put himself in the direct path of the Mech blast. It hit him full in the chest. Anne was watching in horror as her Uncle's torso exploded and the rest of him crumpled in a heap. She moved to help him, but Lourdes said something to her that made her keep running for the manhole.

Casey knocked her forehead against the pillar, swearing to herself. Uncle Scott was dead. He was a perfect member of the 2nd Mass. And he had just been obliterated. Casey suddenly realized maybe Sarah had been right, maybe they were all going to die here.

The blue laser lights took a sharp turn and the Mechs marched towards a couple of the Berserkers who were swerving their bikes through motionless cars and skitter bodies to belay their attention. Casey was preparing to take a run for the manhole when she heard that friggin' screech beside her. She quickly turned and found herself staring right into Sarah's frightened eyes.

"Run," Sarah urged Casey. One arm locked her child to her body, the other reached out and clutched Casey's fingers. "Run!"

Casey nodded, closed her eyes for a second to silently ask her mother to help her out, and then bolted from behind the pillar yanking Sarah along behind her. Casey focused on the manhole and nothing more, she just ran.

"Casey! Sarah!" Anne was screaming their names over and over again. She had made it inside the manhole and was keeping the cover open for them.

Casey didn't dare look back, but she could see the blue lights out of the corner of her eye. The Mech's had spotted her and Sarah, she knew it. A series of deafening thuds peppered the ground as Mech's fired and fired. Behind her, Casey heard Sarah make a strange gurgling noise. The ground shuddered so violently from the Mech blasts that Casey lost her footing and her grip on Sarah, then fell face first into the road.

Casey's cheek skidded on the street and instantly her skin burned. Her head felt light as she tried to roll over, her body ached in fierce, throbbing waves. An attempt to push herself up caused her chin to instantly hit the asphalt as her left wrist gave way. "Dammit!" Casey clutched her arm feeling the awkward angle of her broken bone beneath her skin.

White-hot pain radiated through her veins, but Casey forced herself up onto one knee when she heard that friggin' screech again. She turned and once more found herself staring into Sarah's eyes. Only this time they were wide open, frozen in shock. Lifeless. Sarah was lumped on her side, her neck twisted on a strange angle. The wound from the Mech bullet that had hit her back was still smoking. Charlotte had tumbled out of her mother's iron grasp and was lying on the street half out of her baby carrier.

The thunking of Mech-steps continued to shake the ground. Casey could see the bright blue Mech light bouncing around, searching for a moving target. Charlotte was screaming, the Mechs could surely hear the racket. Mech blasts would soon hit them.

A loud roar ripped apart the sky as an alien ship flew overhead. Casey caught sight of it a second before it dropped the bomb on the Post Office. The world went silent, and then exploded as the top half of Post Office was annihilated in a cloud of fire and ash. The pulse from the blast blew debris in every direction. Even the Mech's nearby lost their bearings. They stumbled on their feet and a couple even fell over.

Sensing her only chance, Casey reached out, unlooped the baby carrier from Sarah's neck and tucked Charlotte back inside it. Ignoring the pain of her broken wrist, Casey held Charlotte tight in her arms and ran towards the manhole where Anne was still waiting. As soon as Casey skimmed into the sewer and latched onto the ladder, Anne pulled the manhole cover closed. The sound of Mech's firing restarted above them. It seemed even louder than before.

Casey clung to Charlotte with the forearm of her broken wrist and edged down the ladder one handed. There was a small group of the 2nd Mass waiting when her feet hit the wet floor; but not nearly as many people as she had expected to see.

Lourdes looked tearfully from Charlotte up to Anne. Though she had clearly pieced together what had happened, she still asked, "Sarah?"

Anne, also tearful, shook her head. "She's gone," Anne sniffled. "Philip, Uncle Scott and Aunt Kate, too. And half our group ran back into the Post Office, who knows if they got out?"

Casey stared at Anne; she hadn't known Aunt Kate didn't make it out. Both Kate and Scott? What the hell?

"What about the others?" Lourdes asked. "Weaver, Hal, Maggie, all the fighters? The Berserkers?"

"They're still fighting," Anne said, wiping faint tears from her eyes. The woman radiated strength in combat.

A handsome man with long, long black dreadlocks stepped forwards. Casey didn't recognize him as a member of the 2nd Mass. "We wait," the man said. "Those things saw us come down here, we gotta run before they follow."

"This is Jamil," Ben introduced the man. "He's okay, he helped us find this way out."

Anne nodded. "Well, Jamil's right, Weaver would kill us all if we died waiting for him," She gestured for the group to follow her. "Let's move, fast."

Casey slipped the strap of the baby sling over her neck so Charlotte nestled against her body. The baby finally seemed cried out and instead made fussy little grunting noises. Casey wondered if she had any clue what had just happened. The kid was only a few weeks old. What a way to enter the world, having intergalactic bastards kill your mother. At least on that level, Casey could relate to her.