Summary: Moments in time. Young/Rush AU
Notes: Happy birthday, solidi! Here's your adorable Rush and Young in Novusverse fic.
It almost amazes Everett when the entire town shows up to TJ’s funeral, given all the new little faces that have arrived over the years, but it only goes to show how important she was to every single person on Novus. The ones still left from Destiny.
Despite all of the people there gathered around the grave marker (joining others, the numbers slowly but steadily rising due to age or illness), he still manages to single himself out, to feel, for a few cold but freeing moments, alone with only his thoughts and his feelings. But even then, he isn’t entirely alone, not with the closest man in his life standing right beside.
Nicholas is trying to keep as stony as he is, never one to care to show a lot of emotion. All the kids are behaving, and Nick’s youngest is clinging to his leg. She might not even remember the mother that took her into her already full family when she’s older. Tamara was a lot like a mother to all of the young ones; she had been instantly drawn into natural motherhood. The thought makes a tight smile pass over his face.
Nick notices. “They won’t blame you if you don’t want to speak,” he says quietly, even though they both know he’ll suck it up and do his duty in the end. Everett nods, and they share a quick, more natural smile. “I’ll make sure they don’t run off.” The older children will stay huddled by Nick, and they’ll be completely safe standing mostly in reverence.
It’s strange how the three of them made their odd little family unit work when most have only two. They spent all of that time working on how they would be together that dropping to two boggles his mind. Tamara was too good, putting up with them both, and now they have to start almost from scratch again. He glances at Nick, who has a hand laid on Steven’s shoulder. They’ll be fine, the two of them and all of the four kids, he knows it deep down, but for now, he doesn’t know how they’ll work without her.
Everett’s distracted and standing in front of the dresser with a faraway look. This makes Nick distracted as he watches the subtle emotions playing across his face, ignoring for the moment the pull of Mhairi brushing his hair. “What?” he prompts, causing Everett to jerk back to reality.
“Nothing,” he says too quickly, waving the idea aside. “I was just thinking about the kinds of things we still don’t have.” Instead of at the barren top of the dresser, he glances out the window to see a few of the children romping about nearby, laughter and yelps drifting in across the grass, filling in the blank spaces between words.
“Like...” But Everett pauses and sweeps an arm across the dresser top. “My mom used to keep photos of all the family on her dresser. And when Emily and I were together, we had one or two.” He shoves his hands into his pockets. “It’s not that I can’t remember her. It’s just...”
“We used to take that sort of thing for granted,” Nick supplies. “And while we remember her just fine, it’s always nice to be able to have those little reminders and to be able to show them off, isn’t it?” He gives a short laugh. “I used to keep a photograph of Gloria on Icarus. Didn’t make it to the ship, unfortunately. We all learned to live without the little things. We’ve done the same here. And,” he adds sadly, “we also learn to live with gaping holes in our lives.”
Everett takes that in for a moment before smiling and coming to sit next to him on the bed, taking a hand in his.
“Dad,” Mhairi peeps up, finally tired of being left out of conversation, “I’m going to give Pare a braid.”
“Oh yeah?” Everett takes a tuft of Nick’s hair in hand with a smirk. “I think he’ll look good like that.”
“I’ll even help you get it nice and tight.”
“You are going to do no such thing.”
Yeah, he is.
Nick’s sitting on the wall again. And he knows better than to go bother Nick when he needs to be alone with his thoughts, but he can’t help himself. All the kids are off being schooled, and there aren’t any immediate concerns for the leader of the town, and he feels like he’s given his partner enough time by himself when he climbs up with to sit quietly beside.
They don’t say anything while they stare out beyond the protection of the town, and Nick lays his head against Everett’s shoulder. Nothing need be communicated more than that.
“Ron says they’ve got another on the way.”
Nick laughs in response. “Aren’t they getting a bit old for that?”
And Everett responds with a shrug instead. “Hey, so long as the parts still work and they still have their fun... It’s not like you and I are getting any younger.”
“Yes, but neither of us can have children.” Despite the humor, Nick still feels a pang. “Maybe we should think about another.”
“You want more?”
“Perhaps.” He’s not sure how to articulate his own thoughts on the matter, though he tries. “This was easier with Tamara, of course. But each one is unique, and sometimes I think we’re getting better, and sometimes I feel we’re only barely hanging on. I have no idea who the mother would be, but it couldn’t hurt to consider.”
“You just want to keep having kids while we’re both still here.”
“It’s a possibility...”
Everett swoops in for a kiss. “If that’s what you want. But it won’t get any easier.”
“I realize that. We’re likewise growing old, and our children are growing into adults. Sarah will have children of her own soon enough, and I can only hope that Hunter and Mhairi will join her when the time comes. Steven will make a fine husband someday. This place will survive, despite the fractures in the structure. We’ve all worked hard to create a stable population here, someplace where we can live, and everyone descended from us can live.” Everett holds him while Nick holds his thoughts for a few moments before pecking him on the cheek. “I suppose with Lisa and Ronald around, we’ll never run out of new children to watch over.”
“Right. So how about we go get a move on with not making kids tonight...” Everett suggests, tugging him to bed.
He’s not angry or hurt, but the idea of being left alone still weighs on him. Nick’s going to leave with the others to found their new town tomorrow, not because he agrees with the political fracturing, but, in his own words, “to keep those bloody idiots from getting themselves killed.” They’ll have more of a head start than they did when they first arrived unexpectedly on the planet, but they both know that it’ll take at least a year, probably a few, before Nick makes his way back home.
And so they picnic at the lake.
Admittedly, he can’t concentrate on eating what they’ve packed away; it’s all he can do not to hold Nick close and refuse to let go until he changes his mind. They talk, eat, flirt. What a difference so many years makes.
“I wouldn’t change a moment of this,” he admits, pants rolled up and feet dipped in the water. Nick’s head is across his lap, content expression on his lined face.
His hand doesn’t betray the emotions he feels, still as a rock as he gently brushes back Nick’s hair again and again. “Of anything. I wouldn’t change anything we’ve ever been through.” Nick looks up at him, thoughtful, curious. “Else we would never be where we are now.”
He considers that thought, then pulls him down for a kiss. “You’re a stupid old man, Everett.” Only Nick can say something like that with such affection.
“That makes two of us.”