Roxie took a deep breath and wiped the tears falling down her cheeks. She stood on a catwalk, looking out over the two remaining jaegers, watching as the crews worked furiously to repair them and get them into working order. She had known all along what the plan was. And knew that there was a chance of losses. But she hadn’t expected to lose two teams in one go. More than that, she hadn’t thought that she would lose Jin. A deep ache filled her, so familiar and yet so different. She closed her eyes as the tears continued to fall, struggling to regain control of herself. She didn’t want anyone to see her like this. Instead, she found herself beginning to sob softly.
“You don’t always have to be so strong,” Pentecost said, stepping up behind her. Roxie turned and stood at attention. “At ease.”
“Silly, really. Not the first time we’ve lost pilots,” she said, leaning against the railing, her voice shaking. “Not the first time I’ve lost a pilot.”
“But Jin wasn’t just another pilot - just like Jamie wasn’t,” he said softly, leaning against the railing next to her. Roxie took a deep, shaky breath.
“Why him?” she asked softly. “First Jamie and then Jin. And there wasn’t a goddamn thing I could do...”
“You have to stop blaming yourself, Roxie,” he said. “Jamie wasn’t your fault. And this most certainly wasn’t your fault either.”
Roxie took a deep, shuddery breath and nodded.
“Is there… no chance that maybe… he could have… any of them?” she asked, glancing over at him.
“We’re looking through the wreckage to recover the… I don’t think there’s any way they could have survived,” he said bluntly, knowing there was no way to sugarcoat the truth. Roxie nodded, appreciating that he at least gave her the truth as it was and not some sort of empty platitude.
Then again, that was never Pentecost’s style. And one of the reasons they had had always worked so well together. He gave it to her as it was and that went much farther than anything else.
“If it’s alright, I think I’ll be in my room until we’re ready to launch again. Call if you need me in the meantime,” she said, wiping her cheeks.
She didn’t wait for him to dismiss her, instead turning and nearly running to her room. She dropped onto her bed and began wailing into her pillow, trying to muffle the sound. She cried until she felt there were no more tears left inside her and then still more tears fell. After what felt like forever, she rolled over onto her side, her eyes falling on the bottle of expensive whiskey on the top shelf of her bookcase. The one Jin asked her to get and then hide from his brothers, as they would break into it immediately. It was supposed to be to celebrate the mission once it was over. It almost seemed stupid now. The whole thing.
Jin wouldn’t be coming back.
Roxie pulled herself off her bed and walked over to the shelf, pulling the bottle off. She opened it and took a long swig.
“This for you,” she said softly, looking up at the ceiling. “Wherever you are, you bloody bastards.”
She took another drink and then walked over, sitting on the edge of her bed.
They were looking through the wreckage. If they found anything, she knew that she would have to see it. It would kill her and break her down into a million of pieces all over again, but she owed it to Jin. And it wasn’t like it was the first time she had done that very thing.
Closing her eyes, Roxie couldn’t help as the memory overwhelmed her.
“Roxie, you don’t have to do this,” Herc said. She brushed his hand off her shoulder, staring at the slab with a sheet-covered body on it.
“I need to do this,” she said softly, stepping forward.
She reached out and pulled the sheet down, revealing Jamie’s face. She froze as she stood and stared at him. His face was littered in cuts, but just underneath them, she could still see the youthful face she had grown up with. She dropped the sheet, not sure if she could handle seeing the full extent of his injuries.
“He always was so handsome,” she murmured, sniffling. She reached out and touched his hair. “He was older… by two minutes. But he, he wouldn’t let me forget it.”
“He got that scar when we were 10. Trying to teach me how to play cricket,” she said, gently touching a faded mark above his eyebrow. She then brushed over a faint mark on his nose. “And then… that one… we got into a fight over ice cream. He took the last chocolate. So I punched him.” She stood silent a few moments. “He shouldn’t be the one lying here.”
“There was nothing you could do. The escape pod was damaged,” Herc said.
“It’s my fault it was damaged in the first place. If I had just… listened to him. Followed orders,” she said, starting to sob. “He was trying to tell me that I… that I was too reckless. And he was right.”
“None of this was your fault,” Herc said, stepping up to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. She spun around, her eyes wild as the tears fell down her cheeks.
“But it was my fault!” she shouted, her voice echoing off the walls of the morgue. “It. Was. My. Fault.” She then pushed passed him and strode out of the room.
Mako had made her way to the control room, hoping to find Roxie there. When she didn’t, it was with a sinking feeling in her stomach that she realized Roxie must be holed up in her room. She only hoped that she didn’t have a large supply of whiskey in there or else they wouldn’t see her for days, if Pentecost allowed. One look at his face when she and Raleigh had returned, told her that he was planning to leave her in peace for now, at least. Eventually she would have to come back. There was still too much to do. They still had the mission.
Even Mako couldn’t fully relish the victory, seeing the look of anguish on her friend’s face, the urgency in her voice when she told her not to die on her. She walked over and casually started watching as the crews worked through the recovery mission. At least they had managed to get electricity back to the shutterdome. She was in a daze, almost not registering when a shout arose.
Mako looked up, seeing a flurry of activity on one of the displays.
“We’ve found a survivor!” came over the com. Mako stepped over to the screens, looking on. “From the Crimson Typhoon!”
“Who is it?” she asked.
“We can’t tell,” one of the techs replied. Mako’s heart began pounding.
“But it’s one of the triplets…” she asked urgently.
“Well yes, somehow one of the escape pods managed to get out. We didn’t catch it until now because of the power outage,” the tech said. “They are bringing him in now.”
Mako nodded. She looked towards the door, wanting to go get Roxie, but at the same time not wanting to get her hopes up. It could be any of them. So instead she made her way towards where they would be bringing him in and waited. When they rushed in with a still form on a gurney, she fell in step with them as they rushed to the medical bay, attempting to figure out which triplet was there.
She hoped with all her heart that it was Jin, for Roxie’s sake.
“Who is it?” she asked, following the medics.
“They’re identical. We won’t know until he wakes up and tells us,” one shouted.
“No. There’s, is he wearing dog tags?” she shouted, frustrated that they wouldn’t think to check.
The medic reached down and pulled the jumpsuit open, revealing the metal dog tags. They flipped them over as Mako’s eyes widened. She stopped running alongside them and immediately turned, flying down the hallway.
She was a woman on a mission, nearly ploughing over Raleigh when she turned a corner.
“What’s going on?” he asked, grabbing her and holding her steady.
“Let me go. I need to get to Roxie,” she said, pushing him away.
“What is it, Mako?!” he shouted. She stopped and turned to him, her eyes wide and a smile on her face.
“It’s Jin… he survived.”