“We’re friends,” Wash offers hoarsely. “We were friends. At Freelancer.”
Maine’s back – and that means everything
“Your name is Michael.”
The way he says it, it’s like he’s struggling through, like it doesn’t come naturally to him, and Maine waits for him to stop staring at his hands, stop winding his fingers together and twisting, twisting.
“Your name,” Washington croaks again, “is Michael.”
Maine tilts his head at him, frowns at the way he’s driving his nails into his palms, frowns at the droplets of blood beading between his fingers. He reaches out, pauses, pauses, and clasps his wrist. Stop.
Wash snorts at that but doesn’t tug away, just glances at the grip like he doesn’t believe it’s real. “We’re friends,” Wash offers hoarsely. “We were friends. At Freelancer.”
He remembers that, remembers a smile and a laugh and not the dark, haunted eyes. Maine rests a hand on his shoulder and Wash’s head snaps up to meet his gaze.
“What do you remember?” he asks, barely a whisper.
A grin, a hug, bubbling glee. Loud and bright and scared but brave, so brave, and racing and raging free. Always moving. Always talking. On fire inside, on fire all the time, never burning alive. The world is merciless, the world is hell, but Wash leapt and never fell.
Ripping rage, thundercrack roar. The sky blazes, the sky breaks, and Wash’s beside him, bleeding, then Wash’s on the ground, dying, and his chest twists and his heart screams and he wants to charge, wants to make them pay, but David’s down, David might not live to see another day, so he lifts him and he sprints and he begs him to stay.
The Chorus medbay smells the same but this time, he’s in the bed. This time, Wash is waiting for the silence to break. This time, there’s no one to look at him like they’re going to send him away.
What’s the Spartan doing here?
He shuts his eyes and Wash’s chest is barely moving, up and down, but he’s still breathing, he’s still here, so he holds his hand and wills him to keep on.
David Church has never given up on anything in his life.
Mornin’, Big Guy.
You’re an idiot.
You could just say ‘thanks for the save.’
Family, Maine growls, and the truth of it rings in his chest. We’re family.
David has never looked at him like he was ever anything less.
Something in Wash’s shoulders relaxes. Some of the tension drains away. “Yeah, buddy,” he manages, and that old light flares to life. “Yeah. We’re family.”
Maine holds out a hand and Wash takes it, squeezes fiercely. Family, Maine repeats, and David nods, nods, and holds on.