tanaquiljall: (Default)
[personal profile] tanaquiljall
Title: To unite us all
Fandom: Killjoys
Rating: General
Word Count: 1480 words
Summary: As the dust settles after the bombardment of Westerly, Pawter is forced to examine her reasons for staying, and finds some surprising common ground with Alvis.
Disclaimer: This story is a transformative work based on the Temple Street Productions/Bell Media/Universal Cable Productions/Space/SyFy series Killjoys. It was written for entertainment only; the author does not profit from it.
Author's Notes:Written as a Yuletide treat for [personal profile] galfridian, who wanted to see something centered on the relationship between Alvis and Pawter. Thanks to [personal profile] scribblesinink for the beta.

oOo


"Keep it dry, and come back and see me tomorrow." Pawter finished applying the dressing over the sealed wound on the woman's shoulder. "And send the next patient in."

The woman dipped her head in thanks and scurried out of the tiny infirmary and into the wide hallway that ran the length of the bunker. Though things had quieted down from earlier, the hum of many voices still drifted in through the door, providing a constant low-level accompaniment to her work that was occasionally punctuated by a shouted order or an angry argument.

A slight headache had started to nag behind Pawter's right temple and, as she turned away from the gurney toward the instrument trolley, she put a hand to her back and stretched her stiffening spine. Reaching for the sanitizing gel and pumping a squirt of it into her hand—at least the place had been well-stocked and everything she'd found so far had been in date—she heard movement in the doorway behind her.

"Take a seat, I'll—." She turned back, automatically working the gel over her skin, to find Alvis standing in the doorway. "You're hurt?" Last she'd seen, he'd been busy directing the stream of refugees who'd trickled in ever since they'd thrown open the doors to the bunker, and exploring what other resources the place held.

He shook his head, while he made his own careful examination of her. "You should take a break, doctor."

"There are still patients waiting." And she knew the cure for fatigue; it was sitting right there in her bag.

Alvis shook his head again. "My people can handle it." When she started to protest, he put up a hand to stop her. "They're all minor injuries. We're used to dealing with this kind of thing." He touched a hand to his own chest, as if unconsciously remembering old pains. Then he stood aside from the door and briskly waved in another saffron-robed Uncle.

The man pressed his hands together in greeting and dismissal. "I'll call you if there's anything serious, doctor," he promised.

Pawter, still hesitating, looked back at Alvis. He gestured again, this time for her to follow him outside. "You need something to eat," he said, the words somewhere between a reminder and an order.

She was hungry, she realized. With a nod to other Uncle, she followed Alvis out into the hallway and along to where a large area had been turned into a dining hall. Trestle tables and stacking chairs had been set out across half the space, while at the far end two men and a woman wearing Company support service uniforms were dishing out food. Another man was bussing the largely empty tables.

Pawter and Alvis got their metal trays of various kinds of slop—Pawter recognized the food as standard Company worker rations—and sat down opposite each other at the end of one the tables. Alvis watched her as she took a first tentative mouthful and then, her hunger really kicking in, rapidly spooned down the rest of the contents of her tray, while he ate a few small, measured bites from his own serving of stew. When she was done, he pushed his tray toward her. "Have the rest of mine."

She blushed, shaking her head, but he laughed. "You'd be doing me a favor. Bodily denial and all that." He held his hands wide in a self-deprecating gesture.

She hesitated for a moment longer, and then accepted the tray, acknowledging she was still hungry. She waved her spoon at the contents. "So what is our food situation?" Clearly they'd found some stores down in the bunker, but without regular supplies coming in from Leith, they'd only be able to feed everyone for so long.

"Given our current numbers, about two weeks supply." Alvis rested his steepled hands on the table. "But now the bombardment is over—for now—I have teams out looking for more survivors. So likely less than two weeks. The more immediate problem is finding them somewhere to sleep. There's plenty of room but too few beds and blankets. But we'll have to look at rationing supplies pretty much immediately, as well as bringing more in."

"There may be other bunkers? Or stocks at Company facilities that haven't been too badly damaged? I'm sure the Company considers everything on Westerly a complete write-off." Pawter finally finished eating and dabbed at her mouth with a paper napkin. She looked up to find Alvis regarding her thoughtfully.

When he did speak, he ignored her suggestions. "So..., your family's one of the Nine...." His blue eyes bored into her.

"And you're a Westerlyn rebel with a temple full of stolen weapons," she shot back at him.

Not that calling him a rebel was much of an insult. People like her family needed rebelling against. If they'd kept their promises and honored the seventh gen accords, then maybe that wouldn't be the case. Sure, life would still have been pretty shitty for most people, but at least there would have been hope for a better life for some of them. Now, there wasn't even that, all because a few rich, spoiled brats like her hadn't wanted to give up an inch of their pampered lives.

She shrugged a shoulder, not in a mood to defend her upbringing. "Anyway, I don't have a family. I have people who send me a shipment of pure Jakk every few months to ease their consciences. And I probably don't even have that any more." She didn't know what her mother had said to Johnny, but if there'd been even a hint of reconciliation, Johnny would have mentioned it, instead of telling her comforting but entirely unbelievable lies. "But yes, my mother is one of the Nine."

Alvis inclined his head in acknowledgement. "And yes, I'm a rebel," he confirmed. "So are you, now. Though my weapons stash may well have been destroyed. I'm also a tunnel rat." He jerked his head to indicate the bunker around them. "Right at home down here. Even if it's a bit more luxurious than I'm used to."

Pawter glanced about her. "I think it beats upstairs at The Royale as well," she admitted dryly. "Though don't tell Pree I said so." She brought her gaze back down and saw Alvis was looking faintly amused, although he was still watching her intently.

"You could have gone with Dutch and Johnny. Been safe." The unspoken Why didn't you? hung in the air between them.

She hadn't really had time to think about why. She'd just been sure it was the right choice.

Alvis waited patiently while she considered her reasons. At last, she said slowly, "Did Johnny tell you what else I am?" When he shook his head, she plunged on, "I'm a screw-up, with rich parents who protected me when I messed up, because having me stripped of my medical license and sent to jail would have been too much of a disgrace—for them. Being sent to Westerly was meant to be a punishment. But it... redeemed me, I think. Oh, not from having screwed up as a doctor; that can never be made right. But it maybe redeemed me from having grown up as one of them. Taught me how to be something other than a self-centred princess who didn't care what happened to anyone but herself. Sometimes, at least."

Alvis was silent, his gaze now turned down to his steepled hands. She wondered if he was judging her and what verdict he'd reach.

Finally, he spoke, his voice low enough that only she would be able to hear. "You know, when I joined the Scarbacks, I didn't have any kind of religious calling. I was just looking for a square meal and a warm place to sleep. Figured I was getting enough cuffing around from the Company assholes and petty criminals I ran into that a little ritual pain couldn't be any worse. And then, then I received... blessings, you might say. Kindness and family—real family—and God's peace and, eventually, a cause." He shook his head slightly, as if the turn of events still mystified him. He glanced up at her. "The seeds can travel between worlds in the strangest of ways; and the roots can grow even in the most unlikely soil."

There was silence again between them. Then, to her surprise, he reached out and took her hand and lightly traced a line down her palm with his finger. "One mother tree to unite us all."

"And the roots grew," she answered softly, the familiar words suddenly seeming new again and filled with fresh hope.

Alvis let go of her hand and sat back, smiling at her. "I'd like you to help me review some of the stores we've found, if you don't mind. And then I'll show you where you can sleep. Tomorrow's going to be a long day."
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