Roxie stood watching as cadet after cadet went up against Raleigh, her face a mask of cold indifference. She glanced over, seeing all three triplets glaring at Chuck. Jin had likely informed them of what happened when he snuck back early that morning. She glanced over seeing Mako call out the scores from where she stood next to Pentecost. Sighing, Roxie boredly looked down at her tablet, seeing the updates on the mission as they popped up. She then checked her email, noticing that the triplets’ favorite ice cream had been restocked. She smiled to herself, looking forward to telling them.
“Why don’t we see what she can do?” Roxie heard. She looked up, surprised to see Becket pointing at Mako, who was gazing up at Pentecost hopefully. Roxie resisted the urge to snort. There was no way. Though she was certainly glad that he wasn’t pointing at her.
Of course, then Pentecost would nod, giving Mako the go-ahead. Roxie raised her eyebrows in surprise as she slid her tablet into her back pocket and crossed her arms in front of her, eager to watch. She knew that Mako was good.
Despite her lack of desire to get back in a jaeger, she was proud and happy for Mako. It was obvious through the sparring match with Raleigh that she was the best choice for co-pilot. All that remained to be seen is if Pentecost would allow it. By the tone of his dismissal, it sounded as though he wasn’t. Mako quickly grabbed her things and left with the ranger following. Roxie sighed and started to leave for the control room to check in.
“Do you think he’ll do it?” Hu asked, as she walked by. Roxie shrugged.
“If he knows what’s good, he will. But who knows,” she said. She met Jin’s eyes a moment and then looked away. “I’ve got to get to the control room. We’ll be starting the trial run for Gipsy Danger in a couple hours.”
She stepped aside and kept going, but Jin grabbed her arm, squeezing it. She smiled at him and nodded before continuing on, the memories of the night before running through her mind and causing her to blush slightly.
“They got you working in the control room for the trial run?” Herc asked, falling in step with her. She glanced over at him and nodded.
“Got to make sure my rangers are doing well,” she replied.
“Who you think he’ll choose?” Herc asked.
“It’s obvious who he should choose,” she replied. “As for who he will, anybody’s guess.”
“Wouldn’t have minded see you have a go,” Herc said, smiling at her. Roxie shook her head.
“I would have been too riled up to have a decent shot at it,” she replied quickly. Herc chuckled.
“He’s a good bloke,” he said. “Quiet, but decent. Think you’d two would get along.” Roxie nodded.
“So, I hear,” she replied.
“You should talk to him a bit more when you get the chance. Not all of us are arrogant prats,” he said, smiling slightly. Roxie tensed as she caught sight of Chuck heading to the control room in front of them.
“Some days I wonder,” she muttered.
“What was that?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Roxie said, shaking her head and smiling slightly. While she was still upset with the young ranger, she wasn’t about to say anything to his father. Chuck had even attempted to apologize again that morning, but she had tensely told him not to worry about it or bring it up again.
The two walked into the control room, which was a flurry of activity. She walked over to the main screen and crossed her arms in front of her, frowning slightly as she watched the status updates. They were running a variety of tests to make sure all the systems were up and running. They’d finish up about the time they were ready for the pilots to show up.
Roxie picked up a headset and started calling out instructions and asking questions, quickly getting updated on the test status. She looked down to the catwalk below, noticing the triplets and Kaidonovskys were already there with various members of their crews, watching and chatting together. Glancing out of the corner of her eye, she saw Chuck standing at the back of the room, leaning against the wall. She frowned but then turned her attention back to the screens, watching as all the tests all ran with flying colors.
“How are we looking, Williams?” Pentecost asked as he stepped up to her side sometime later.
“Everything looks to be in order,” she replied, leaning over Tendo’s shoulder. “Ready for the pilots.”
“Good,” Pentecost said, smiling slightly. Roxie glanced over at him.
“Are you going to tell us who you chose or is it a surprise?” she asked.
“You’ll see,” he replied. Roxie rolled her eyes and looked back at the screens. Soon enough, Herc, Pentecost and Roxie were standing there waiting as the pilots made their way into the head of the jaeger. They flipped on the conn-pod camera as Raleigh walked in. Roxie found herself grinning as she saw Mako enter just after him. She glanced over at Pentecost who seemed to be fighting a smile.
“Good to see you in a suit, Mako,” Roxie said into the microphone. Mako gave her a thumbs up. Roxie turned to look at Pentecost, waiting for him to give the order. She couldn’t help but grin as they set out through the tests.
Everything seemed to be going well. The neural bridge was strong. Roxie leaned forward on the console.
“Things are looking good, you two,” she said. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Pentecost talking to one of the scientists and then leaving quickly. Roxie continued watching until alarms started going off. Roxie stood up, looking out at the massive jaeger just in front of them.
“Talk to me. Tell me what’s going on,” she urged, noting Raleigh and Mako were out of sync.
“I’m fine. I’m back,” Becket said.
“Mako,” Roxie said, looking at the conn-pod video. She was out of it. Chasing the R.A.B.I.T.
“I can get her back,” Raleigh said. “I’m still connected.”
“Mako, love. I need you to come back,” Roxie said, watching with wide eyes. “What do you see, Raleigh?”
“She’s back in the Onibaba attack,” he said. Roxie took a deep breath. This wasn’t good. Not good at all. And here she had been worried about Raleigh and his dark memories.
“Mako!” she shouted.
She heard Raleigh desperately trying to get Mako back in sync, trying to talk her out of the memory. Suddenly the jaeger’s arm raised, and the cannon was activated. Roxie felt her blood freeze as she stared straight down the barrel.
“Mako! Get back here!” she shouted, still hearing Raleigh yelling at her friend.
They needed to get Mako back before she shot off that cannon and killed them all. Though Roxie knew she should be afraid – terrified, really – she somehow managed to keep calm.
“Someone cut the power!”
Roxie could hear the room start to empty around her. But her eyes were focused on the cannon trained right on the control room.
“Mako,” she said again, her voice calm. Her eyes went wide as she took a deep breath, focusing on the screens. “Raleigh, get her out of it!”
“Roxie, get out of here!” she heard Herc shout. She ignored it, instead looking over as he and Tendo started working at the power.
“Someone pull the plug!” Pentecost roared as he ran into the room.
“Just did,” Tendo replied.
“I got her,” she heard Raleigh over the coms as the cannon went dead.
Roxie threw her headset down and started to walk out of the control room. While the fear had snuck in when the cannon had been aimed at her, she kept her cool. And now she needed to go see after Mako, who was probably going to be kicking herself over that.
“Roxie!” Herc shouted after her.
“I need to go!” she shouted. “Mako needs me.”
“ROXIE WILLIAMS!” Pentecost bellowed. Roxie slid to a stop and turned to face him. “I will handle this.”
“No, buts. I will handle this,” he said striding passed her and out of the room.
“But it’s my job!” she shouted.
“No, it’s mine,” he said, turning to frown at her. “I have this. To your room, officer.”
Roxie nodded tightly, fighting off the urge to argue with him.
“Yes, sir,” she said, watching as he turned and continued walking.
Roxie sighed, following him out while she rubbed her temples. Everything had started out fine enough. But it was just a reminder at how quickly things could go south.
“Roxie!” Jin shouted, running down the hallway towards her.
She looked over at him, grimacing slightly. As soon as he reached her, he grabbed her arms and started looking her over for injuries.
“I’m fine,” she said, trying to push him away, all too aware of the looks they were getting.
“No, you could have died!” he shouted.
“They had it under control. They got it back,” she said, pushing him aside and starting to walk away.
“You should have run,” he shouted after her. Roxie glanced over, seeing Chuck and a concerned Herc watching them.
“They needed me to talk them back,” she said, gritting her teeth. “If anyone can understand Mako, it’s me. And it’s my damn job.” Jin reached out and grabbed her arm, spinning her back around to face him.
“Not when it could get you killed,” he said, his face grim.
“Like that’s not what you do every time you go out in a damn jaeger!” she shouted back. She stopped, now feeling all the eyes on them. “I can’t do this now. Not here.”
She turned and started striding down the corridor, Jin hot on her heels.
“Still think there’s nothing there?” Chuck asked, glancing at his father. Herc glared at Chuck and then turned to watch them continue.
“It’s none of your damn business,” he said before taking off in the opposite direction.
Roxie shoved the door to her room open and Jin slammed it shut behind them.
“We’re going to talk about this,” he said sternly. Roxie turned around to face him.
“Talk about what? Me doing my job?” she shouted.
“She set off the cannon! It was aimed right at you!” he shouted back.
“I knew what I was doing!” Roxie shouted, faint memories of a similar argument shifting through her mind. “It’s my job!”
“No, it’s not!” Jin shouted back. Roxie stared at him a moment, her green eyes bright with anger. “You cannot do something so reckless!”
Roxie took a step back, the memories starting to overcome her at the mere mention of the word ‘reckless’. She felt like she had been slapped in the face.
“I’m being reckless?” she asked, staring at him.
She started breathing heavily as she looked away, blinking her eyes rapidly.
“You take risks that we don’t need to take!”
“I am reckless… oh god…”
Jin sighed and shook his head.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said, taking a step towards her.
“But you did,” she said, turning to face away from him, running her fingers through her hair.
Jin stepped up and started running his hands up and down her arms.
“I didn’t mean it. You just scared me,” he said.
“It’s not so nice watching the person you love go out and risk their life,” she said softly. Jin sighed and shook his head.
“It’s different,” he said.
“No, it’s not. You’re a jaeger pilot! Every time you go out there, you could die!” she said, her voice catching. “And then the one time I end up in a bit of danger and you lose your shit. I used to do this once upon a time, you know.” Jin sighed and leaned his forehead against the back of her head, gripping her arms still.
“I don’t want to lose you,” he said softly. “And today, for the first time, I realized I could.” Roxie turned around to face him.
“That’s what I go through… every time,” she said softly, searching his eyes. He nodded silently, reaching up to cup her cheek, his thumb caressing it.
“We’re a mess,” he said, smiling slightly. Roxie smiled and nodded.
“That we are,” she said. “I just… this mission… it’s not the same as the others.”
“I know, but you have to trust me when I say that I’m coming back to you,” Jin said. She nodded.
“I’ll do my best,” she said. Jin suddenly grinned.
“Actually, there is something I want to talk to you about… before the mission,” he said, stepping back.
Roxie stared at him, confused. He took a deep breath and dropped down to one knee, reaching into the pocket of his jumpsuit and pulling something out.
“Roxie… you know I love you. More than anything. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Travel. See all the places we’ve talked about. I want to marry you… so would you do me the honor of agreeing to be my wife?” he said, opening the box and holding it up to her, a hopeful look on his face.
Roxie stared down at Jin, her hand flying to her mouth.
“Where did you get this?” she asked softly. He smiled.
“You’re not the only one around here who can get things,” he said. “What do you say?”
Roxie cautiously reached out, taking the small box from his hand and looking at the ring.
“Are you serious?” she whispered, tears filling her eyes.
Her thoughts were warring with each other. Part of her wanted to say yes immediately, but the other part couldn’t answer.
“Are you going to keep answering my questions with more questions?” he asked, rolling his eyes. She stared at him a moment, unable to speak. “Roxie… don’t do this.”
“Do what?” she asked.
“I know you… you’re fighting it. For once, just stop,” he said, his face turning serious.
“I can’t help it,” she gasped. Jin stood, his eyes still locked with Roxie’s.
“Roxie, you deserve this. To be happy. With me,” he said softly. “If you’re going to say no, don’t say it because of that.”
Roxie nodded and looked back down at the ring in her hands.
“Roxie… come on. You have work,” Jin said, gently shaking her sleeping form on the bed. She groaned and rolled over, pulling the covers over her head.
“Leave me alone,” she moaned.
“Do you want Pentecost to come wake you?” he asked. Roxie sighed and pulled the comforter off, sitting up. She looked horrible. Dark circles under her eyes, her skin far too pale. Her pajamas were hanging loose on her form. She had been up drinking most of the night. He could smell the whiskey still on her breath. “You need a shower.”
“I know,” she grumbled, trying to stand up, but falling back on the bed. Jin sighed and reached down, helping her stand.
“You’ve got to stop doing this,” he said softly.
“Let’s see what you do when one of your brothers die,” she mumbled as he led her across the room to the bathroom. He winced slightly.
“Roxie,” he said softly.
“Oh, shut it,” she snapped as he leaned her against the wall in the shower stall and flipped on the cold water, not caring that he was about to soak her pajamas or himself. Roxie shrieked as the cold water hit her. “Christ, can’t you put on something warmer!”
“No. You need to sober up,” he said sternly, crossing his arms in front of her. She glared at him, her green eyes seeming brighter rimmed in red. Her red curls were now plastered against her head as she glared at him and started shivering. “Don’t look at me like that, Roxie. We both know this is getting out of hand. If you want to stay here, you need to stop this.”
“What do you expect me to do? Forget about him? Forget that I killed my brother?” she asked, her teeth chattering.
“No. I need you to understand that you did not kill him. He died in combat, Roxie. That wasn’t your fault,” he said.
“It is my fault,” she said, looking away. He stepped over, getting drenched as he grabbed her shoulders and turned her to face him.
“It was not your fault,” he said, locking eyes with her. “You would not be here right now if this was your fault.”
“No, I’m here because it was my fault,” she said. Jin suddenly pulled her into his arms, hugging her fiercely. Roxie’s eyes went wide at the sudden contact. Jin had never touched her like that. No one had. Not since before the accident.
“It wasn’t your fault,” he whispered.
“You’re getting wet,” Roxie replied.
“I don’t care. You’re not at fault. And you’ve got to pull it together. It’s been months and I know you’re good at what you do. And that you can be better,” he said. Roxie nodded silently.
“Why do you care?” she asked softly.
“Because I care about you,” he said. “I don’t want to lose you. Not like this.” Roxie blinked.
“Lose me?” she murmured.
“Yes, lose you. I can’t lose you. I need you to come back,” he said.
“Come back?” she murmured. He stepped back and took her face in his hands.
“I need you to not give up,” he said. “Do not give up on me.” She blinked back the tears and stared at him a moment before nodding silently.