Roxie blinked, feeling the tears falling down her cheeks as she continued to stare at the ring, and then looked back at Jin, his face still hopeful. She sniffled slightly as every memory they had together over the past six years came flooding through her mind at once. Jin was always there. Talking her out of her mood swings. Encouraging her. Pushing her forward. It was in large part because of him that she was able to claw her way out of those dark days.
She loved him. She really did. And she realized that maybe, finally, it was time to take that next step. She still had things to deal with, but this… this felt right.
She silently nodded as she started to smile.
“Yes,” she said softly. “Yes.” Jin grinned as he pulled her to his chest and kissed her.
“I can’t believe you just agreed to marry me,” he said breathlessly.
He took the box from her hand and pulled the ring out, sliding it on her finger. It fit perfectly. Roxie then pulled his face down to hers again, deepening the kiss.
“I can’t believe it either,” she said, slightly dazed from the emotional overload she was experiencing in that moment.
“You do want to marry me, don’t you?” he asked, a note of worry in his voice. She nodded fervently.
“Of course… I just… I never thought…”
“Roxie… just… be happy,” he said. She nodded and grinned at him.
“I think this is a good first step in that direction,” she said, the urge to laugh coming over her.
This was… ridiculous. And wonderful. Her head was spinning so fast she was starting to feel a bit lightheaded. That’s what this moment was supposed to feel like, wasn’t it?
She wasn’t sure she would ever get to experience this and here she was. Standing in her room with Jin’s arms around her, staring down at the simple, yet beautiful ring he had just given her.
As always, her thoughts then drifted to Jamie, though rather than pain and darkness, she found herself only wishing that he was here to see this. She could imagine what he would say though.
“Roxie, what is it?” Jin asked. She looked up at him.
“Just… I wish he was here,” she whispered, giving him a watery smile. Jin smiled in relief down at her and kissed her forehead.
“You think he would like me?” he asked, happy that she wasn’t falling into her usual moat of guilt at the thought of her twin.
“He would have loved you. Certainly would have given you hard time – he did see me as his little sister,” she replied, looking back down at the ring. “But eventually you would have gotten along.” She looked back up at him. “We’re really going to do this? You and me?”
Jin nodded as he kissed her softly again.
“Yea, you and me. I’m in for the long haul, Roxanne Williams,” he said, grinning down at her. Roxie rolled her eyes.
“You know how much I hate-“
But he silenced her protest with another kiss and Roxie found herself forgetting what she was about to say.
It didn’t matter.
Sometime later, the two were lying wrapped in each other’s arms in Roxie’s bed, Roxie staring at the ring on her finger yet again.
“It’s perfect,” she said, looking up at him.
“Does this mean we can quit sneaking around?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. Roxie looked back down at her hand, frowning slightly. Jin sighed heavily. “How much longer then? Assuming it wasn’t obvious we’re involved with our public argument...”
“And who’s fault was that?” she asked, glancing up at him, though she didn’t sound angry.
At least not like before. Jin just sighed. Roxie sat up, got out of the bed and walked over to her desk. She pulled out a chain from a drawer. Slipping the ring off she put it on the chain and fastened it around her neck.
“Until after the mission,” she said, walking back over to him. She bent over and kissed him. “Everyone needs to stay focused. No distractions. This is a big distraction.”
“I’ll take what I can get,” he said, smiling. He reached up and touched the ring. “I like you like this.”
“Naked?” Roxie asked, an eyebrow raised and a smirk on her face.
“Wearing my ring,” he replied.
Roxie chuckled and slid into bed next to him. She had just settled in when the alarm started ringing. She looked up, her heart stopping.
“No,” she whispered.
It was too soon. Forget the fact that it was interrupting their bubble of bliss – Roxie had been able to forget about the danger lurking just outside in the depths of the ocean for a bit – this was not the plan. There wasn’t supposed to be another attack before they attempted to bomb the breach. She remained frozen in bed for a moment.
Jin immediately shot up, deftly grabbing his clothes and pulling them on, his ranger instincts kicking in much faster than Roxie’s.
“Hurry. They’ll need you in the control room,” he said, looking back at her.
Roxie shook her head, starting to get back into the game. She then reached out, grabbing his arm.
“Come back to me,” she said. Jin smiled at her, pressing a firm kiss against her lips.
“I always do,” he said before pulling his jumpsuit on and running out.
Roxie looked around the room, frantically grabbing her underwear and a pair of jeans. She yanked them on, before managing to shimmy into a sports bra then grabbed a large jumper, pulling it on as she walked over to her shoes. She stepped into them and then grabbed her tablet before running out of her room and down the hallway.
She burst into the control room and looked around a moment before running up to Pentecost’s side.
“What’s the update?” she asked, looking at the screen.
He glanced down at her and if he wanted to say something about her state of dress, he didn’t. She obviously wasn’t in her uniform like everyone else.
“We’ve got two Category IV kaiju – Otachi and Leatheback,” he said, looking back at the screen. “Sending out Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon. Eureka Striker is to stay back, protect the coastline and only engage if needed.” Roxie nodded as she reached for a headset.
“Pilots in conn-pods?” she asked, pushing aside her panic and settling into work mode.
“Roger, that,” she heard from Cherno Alpha.
“We’re all here. Good to have your voice in my head, Rox,” she heard Hu chime in.
“Shut it, Hu and focus,” she shot back, frowning slightly. “We’ve got two big ones and need you lot to take care of business and get back here in one piece.”
“Don’t worry. We won’t let anything happen to your fiancé,” Cheung added.
Roxie’s eyebrows flew up as she heard Jin cursing at his brother in Mandarin. She felt her cheeks heat up as she caught Pentecost looking down at her with a smirk.
“Focus, all of you,” she said through gritted teeth. “Now is not the time.”
“Congrats to the lucky couple!” Sasha called out, causing Roxie to roll her eyes.
“Don’t think I won’t climb in there to smack you,” she said firmly. “Focus.”
“Good! I could use a break!” Hu shouted. “And about time you got back in a jaeger.”
“Wasn’t talking to you!” she shouted.
This was getting out of hand. They needed to be focused on the giant alien monsters that were about to attack.
“Anyone care to fill us in?” Herc asked.
“Oh, Jin finally proposed to Roxie after carrying around a ring for-”
“Alright, enough,” Pentecost said firmly. “We need to head out.”
Roxie crossed her arms in front of her, watching as the three jaegers initiated the neural bridges and the helicopters began lifting them up.
“Just like every other time,” Pentecost said softly.
Roxie nodded. He wasn’t usually so soft during a mission, but she knew it was for her benefit.
“I know,” she said, glancing over at him. “But I do want my fiancé to come back.” He smiled slightly.
“We’ll bring them all back,” he said assuredly.
Roxie watched as Cherno Alpha and Crimson Typhoon made their way towards the kaiju. She was tense, chewing on her thumbnail as commands were shouted out as well as realtime locations on the two kaiju. These were the biggest Category IV any of them had ever seen, and she couldn’t help as an uneasiness settled into her bones. She then noticed the triplets were unusually quiet.
“Talk to me Crimson Typhoon,” she said. “You three are quiet.”
“Just assessing the situation, Williams,” Cheung replied.
“Jin?” she said.
“Your fiancé is fine,” Hu said.
“Shut it, Hu. You know I need feedback from all three of you,” she snapped.
“I’m good, Rox,” Jin finally said.
“Cherno Alpha,” Roxie said.
“We’re good,” Sasha said. “Ready to kick some kaiju ass.”
Roxie glanced over at Pentecost and nodded. They started through their orders as she remained quiet, beginning to pace as she watched. She tried telling herself that it was just another mission. Everything would be fine. But she couldn’t help the fear sinking into her bones as they began engaging. Every hit they took, she winced.
Suddenly, the kaiju slammed into the Crimson Typhoon. Roxie stopped pacing, gripping onto the console.
“Boys, talk to me!” she shouted.
“We got this!” Cheung shouted, but even Roxie could hear the fear entering his voice.
The three shouted at each other as Roxie squeezed the console harder.
“ROXIE! I LOVE-”
Suddenly the broadcast was cut short as Roxie gasped loudly, hearing a sickening crunch of metal. It was though her heart and time had completely stopped. She clutched the ring around her neck as she started shaking, oblivious to whatever was going around her. The only sound that broke through to her were the three flatlines from the Crimson Typhoon. Then Pentecost was shouting something. Something about losing Cherno Alpha. Suddenly the control room was plunged into darkness.
But she was still frozen, Jin’s interrupted ‘I love you’ playing through her mind on a loop.
She turned her head abruptly, seeing Pentecost looking at her. She wiped her cheeks and glanced around the room, feeling as though she were stuck in some nightmare. Her brain was feeling hazy.
TRUST ME! I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING! GO RIGHT!
NO! GO LEFT!
FOLLOW MY GODDAMN ORDERS, WILLIAMS!
She shook her head, trying to silence the shouts in her mind and focus on the room around her, but it was proving too hard. She could hear alarms going off, but she knew they weren’t coming from the control room.
“Gipsy Danger is analogue,” Raleigh shouted, breaking through the haze.
“Get geared up,” Pentecost said. He then turned to her. “This isn’t over yet. Pull yourself together.”
She nodded and turned back to the darkened screens, staring numbly as everyone ran around, searching for and tossing around wireless radios. Someone placed one in her hands. She just stared at it.
“Williams! Get in gear!”
That was all she needed to regain her focus. She changed it to the right channel and looked up at Pentecost, noticing that Raleigh and Mako had already left the room. Herc and Chuck were still out there as well, stranded on a dead jaeger. She couldn’t let anyone else die.
Roxie stood as the rain poured down on her, not hearing Pentecost give out orders or hearing anything coming over the radio in her hand now that the mission was completed. Once they had finished off the kaiju, the relief was short-lived as numbness began to set back in. She knew Mako and Raleigh were okay, but there was still a void inside her where her heart used to be as she looked out over the ocean where the recovery crews were already at work looking for the wreckage. It was likely all under the sea at this point. Maybe they’d be able to bring back the bodies. If they could find them.
She turned and started walking back inside with everyone else to wait for Mako to return, already soaked to the bone and shivering slightly. But she couldn’t help but feel like she was breaking into a million pieces.
Once inside, Roxie stood still, watching as the entire room cheered as Raleigh and Mako made their way back in. While part of her was relieved to see Mako alive, the larger part of her began to ache as she could barely control her tears.
She then took a deep breath and waited on the edge until most of the folks had cleared out and the clock was restarted, a sort of quiet falling over everyone as Pentecost reminded them that while they lost two crews, there was work that needed to be done. She then made her way over to Mako. For a moment, she just stared at her before launching into a bone-crushing hug. Tears filled her eyes as she glanced over Mako’s shoulder and met Raleigh’s eyes.
“Don’t you ever die on me, Mako. You’re all I have left,” she whispered before stepping back and meeting her eyes. Mako nodded silently. Roxie then looked over at Raleigh. “Please… take care of her.”
He nodded. She then took a deep breath and quickly moved away.
“She’s not as strong as she looks,” Mako said, looking at him. Raleigh looked at her, confused.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“It’s why she won’t step into a jaeger again. She has a hard enough time with her own memories… she doesn’t want to burden anyone with that. And she doesn’t think she can handle others,” Mako said. Raleigh looked down at the floor.
“I can understand that,” he said. “And… I already know her story.” Mako nodded.
“Jin… he was the reason she pulled herself together,” she said. Raleigh nodded, remembering the news of the engagement just as the teams were setting out. “She was a wreck when she lost her brother… I don’t know how she’s going to handle this.”
She looked off in the direction of where Roxie had disappeared.
“I hope she pulls through…”