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There and Back Again

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I.
May the bridges I have burned light my way back home

The first thing that Lourdes sees when she wakes up is light. Lights encircling her body, and covering her from head to toe, and covering everything around her. At first she thinks that this is it, that this is the great beyond, and that God has decided to not damn her to Hell like she feels she so strongly deserves.  Just as quickly as the light appear it disappears and everything goes dark. Lourdes opens and closes her eyes a few times and looks around. When she sees the white of her hair, she thinks she knows what’s going on.

Lourdes is sitting in one of those pods, like the one that Anne described to her when she got to Chinatown, like the one that Lexi was in for a while before she killed her, though, Lourdes guesses that she did not really kill her at all. Lourdes spins her body around so her feet are touching the cold and hard floor of what she thinks might be a warehouse. She opens her mouth to speak, but no words come out. Lourdes clutches a hand to her throat and rubs and massages it, hoping that will help. She goes to speak again, and once again nothing comes out.

“Hey, hey it’ll be okay. Don’t try and talk.” Lexi says, walking over to her and putting an arm on Lourdes’ bare shoulder.

Lourdes flinches away from her, she does not trust Lexi anymore, not after she made her believe she was dying, made her believe she was deserving of death. Lourdes thought that she would die without telling Hal how she felt, and now it seems like that might still be true, but at least now she has a chance. For once, Lourdes finds herself feeling like she should take that second chance that she was told she had, by Hal, those few months ago, when the blade of that rusty knife looked so much more appealing.

“Your vocal cords, that damage I couldn’t undo, but you’re fine now Lourdes. This was the only way that I was going to be able to take you with me. Don’t you see that?” Lexi steps closer to her. Lourdes realizes how her eyes are too blue and how everything about her just looks wrong now. She scoots away from Lexi, she just wants to go home now, and get back to the 2nd Mass, get back to Hal and Anne and Anthony and Tector; even Pope and Maggie. She realizes that she never truly wanted to go with Lexi to begin with. Lourdes shakes her head at Lexi and that must tell her everything she needs to know, because Lexi just looks at her sadly and shakes her head right back, and everything goes dark again.

When Lourdes next opens her eyes she’s in a field, she thinks it’s the field where they all got separated to begin with. It’s night time, but if this is where she thinks she is, she knows how to get back to Chinatown, back to where she needs to be. She pushes herself off the ground and wipes the dust off of her pants and tank top (Lexi must have changed her clothes and she didn’t notice before), she sees a pack on the ground next to her and she pulls it up on to her shoulders, a note falling out.

Lourdes,

I’m sorry.

Lexi

Lourdes crumbles the note and puts it in the backpack, finding a jacket and a map alongside some rations inside. She puts on the jacket and looks at the map, when she realizes it looks familiar she smiles a little bit. When she starts walking she knows exactly where she needs to go. 


 

II.
And I miss you in the June gloom, too

Hal misses her, he doesn’t realize how much until the first spring flowers pop up and he remembers that very first spring they all had together. It was after the first fall when the Espheni invaded, and by that point Lourdes was basically one of them, an unofficial member of the family, but one who acted like a friend that had always lived next door and not like a sister. Hal remembers her pointing out all the different kinds of flowers while they were walking to him and Karen, and while Karen did not really seem to care, he remembers the smile on Lourdes’ face, something that didn’t happen very much then, and sure didn’t happen very much before Lexi killed her.

He and Maggie are walking through the flowers after they manage to get to the Moon and bring down the walls on all the ghettos. The 2nd Mass sent out a radio transmission to every frequency they could, telling anyone that was able to meet them in Richmond, where they will spend as much time as they can planning before they take on the Espheni in a final offensive. When Hal sees the flowers he stops worrying about where his Dad is, and instead he thinks about Lourdes and he thinks about the flowers and he looks down at his wrist, and sees those words, the first ones she ever said to him etched forever in his wrist. He should have told her that night. When he looks away from his wrist, he sees Maggie staring at him, watching him, when he looks in her eyes, he can tell that she’s known the whole time, maybe even longer than he has.

“It’s okay to miss her Hal.” She says, as they keep walking, past the tulips and dandelions.

“No it’s not.” He answers, scratching the back of his neck

“Yes it is. She’s your soul mate. It is okay for you to miss her.” Hal just looks at her, and he can feel the sadness pooling in his eyes, but he pulls it together as much as he can. “Did you ever see The Princess Bride?” Hal shakes his head. It was one of his Mom’s favorite movies, but he had never actually watched it with her. “They were always playing it at the hospital when I was there. It’s about these two people who love each other so much, and the Princess, she thinks that the man she love is dead. And then she finds out he wasn’t and he tells her that ‘death cannot stop true love, all it can do is delay it for a little while’.”

“Maggie, Lexi killed Lourdes, we all saw it happen. She’s dead Maggie. She’s dead and I didn’t even tell her.” He stops dead in his tracks, ever since Maggie got the spikes, she’s been different. Hal knows that it was really just a long time coming. There’s only so long a time that a person with a soulmate can stay with someone without one, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, it just means that he may have seen it coming a bit more than he thought.

“Hal, we live in a world where aliens came down from the sky and invaded. We live in a world where a good percentage of us get tattoos of the first words our soulmates ever said to us on some part of our body when we turn eighteen. Anything is possible.” 


 

III.
I said I’d never miss you

It takes Lourdes a while to find a group to travel with. It takes her even longer to figure out a good way to communicate with people now that she doesn’t have her voice anymore. But when she finds them they are kind, and they are survivors, and she can’t help but to think that they are the kind of people that the 2nd Mass would love.

It is spring when they get the radio to work. When Lourdes sees the dandelions and tulips scattered across the mountainous part of Virginia they are in she smiles, remembering one of the few times that she smiled all those years ago. When she hears Hal’s voice going over the radio, telling them to come to Richmond if they want to help end all of this, she can feel her heart rise in her chest.

She told herself a month ago, when the 2nd Mass weren’t where she thought they should be, that she wouldn’t miss him, that he was gone and she would not get to get him back. But it seems the universe is throwing her another curve ball, like God is really giving her another chance. That night when the leader of their little group asks if they think they should try to go to Richmond, Lourdes stands up and starts to try and signal with her hands. When they see the mark on her arm and play Hal’s voice again, and she smiles like a little kid on Christmas they all know and nod. She is going to tell him this time, even if that just means showing him the mark on her arm. 


 

IV.
And all my thoughts of you, they could heat or cool the room

Lourdes and the others get to Richmond on a Tuesday. She only knows that it’s a Tuesday because it is one of the little girls in their make-shift camps birthday. She finds it ironic that it is a Tuesday because that is the same day of the week that all of this began. Lourdes stays in the middle of the group when they walk into Richmond, she doesn’t want to draw attention to herself in case Hal is not actually there. But he is.

“Everyone, my name is Hal Mason, this is Dr. Glass, she will look over you quickly and then we’ll get you to work.” He says.

The moment Lourdes hears his voice, her heart drops to the ground and she runs to the front of the group. Hal doesn’t see her, but she waits. When Anne sees her, she starts to cry and calls Hal over.

“Lourdes, but, but, Lexi killed you.” He says, looking awestruck and just a little bit scared. Lourdes notices for the first time that his wrists aren’t covered. Without a second thought, she takes his left wrist and holds it up to her face so she can read it clearly, there in plain ink are the first words she ever says to him.

She opens her mouth to talk, which happens every now and then, she forgets briefly that she cannot speak anymore, and Hal looks at her, tears ready to fall at any moment, gleaming in his eyes. She pulls up the sleeve of her jacket on her left arm and holds it up to him, when he sees her forearm she just keeps looking in his eyes. They don’t change. At some point when she was ‘dead’ he must have seen it. Hal just brings her closer into his body into a huge hug, and they’re both crying now, but neither of them care. It isn’t every day that you encounter a miracle. 


 

V.
In between being you and being right, you were my Versailles at night

It is not the eve of the last battle, not quite yet. But it is a day when people have come back from the dead. Shortly after Lourdes showed up, Tom appeared. Telling a story to everyone about a different kind of Espheni and how they tricked him into believing they offered peace, and how he escaped. After Tom’s story was over, everyone wanted to her Lourdes’, it was hard for her. She cannot talk anymore and she does not know sign language, and even if she did, none of the 2nd Mass do either. Eventually they found paper and a pen and she wrote it out, everyone taking turns reading it until it got to Matt, he just stood on top of a table and read it aloud for everyone. Anne and Tom are worried about Lexi, but in the end, both are glad that Lourdes made it back to them, and that maybe their daughter is not quite as alien as they were starting to believe.

Hal and Lourdes spend the night together. Ben leaves the tent to go talk with Maggie and when Maggie picks him up at the door she winks at Hal. He tells Lourdes about what she says, and Lourdes looks more shocked that he hasn’t seen The Princess Bride, than anything else. They lay next to each other. Hal traces the tattoo on her forearm and tells her all the stories she’s missed, and she traces the tattoo on his wrist. There’s something about them now that feels so easy, easy where it did not feel easy before.

They stay awake the whole night, just lying there, in the tent together. They watch the stars through the small bit of mesh on the top of the tent. They develop a sort of sign language that Lourdes can use and he can use until they get a hold of someone who knows ASL to teach her. When the sun rises, they stare into each other’s eyes, and in the moments before they fall asleep Hal leans in to kiss her and she kisses him back.

“I think I love you.” Hal says, and he knows it seems too quick, and there is shock in Lourdes’ eyes, but he’s waited long enough, and life is too short these days anyways.

Lourdes touches her chest and then touches his and nods. He gets it, she loves him too. Hal moves closer to her and wraps his arms around her. Lourdes buries her head into his chest and breathes a sigh of relief. She watches him fall asleep and as his eyes give her one last hazy look of love she realizes something. She was never a monster, not really, and this is her second chance, and sure the world may end tomorrow, but at least she was in his arms tonight, and her redemption has already begun – she’ll find it in him.