Wʜᴇʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴀᴍᴘ sᴜᴘᴘʟɪᴇs ᴀʀᴇ ᴋᴇᴘᴛ, ᴀ ɢᴀᴜʀᴅ ɪs ᴏꜰᴇɴ sᴇᴇɴ ᴘʀᴏᴛᴇᴄᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇᴍ
The sun was low in the sky by the time Jonathan had returned to camp, and the dark-haired scavenger just wanted one thing: sleep. He had spent the better half of the day far past the walls, making various trips back and forth for both the engineers and botanists, and he now found himself exhausted. Stifling a yawn behind his hand, Jon dragged his feet over to the supply tent to drop off extra parts he had found while out. With a small nod to the guard that was on duty, Jon slipped under the tent’s flap and walked inside. Glancing around the makeshift supply room, Jon found himself making a noise of displeasure at the meager supplies the base camp currently had. The crash had ruined much of the provisions that the ISC supplied them with, and they were having a difficult time finding anything useful on the ground. The 300 years they were gone had irrevocably changed the Earth. Dropping his bag to the ground with a soft clang, Jon started the tedious job of sorting out the parts he found into their correct placements inside the supply tent. Tools went with other tools in color coded bins, while large hunks of scrap metal were stacked in the corner where it would eventually either be used to repair the drop ship or melted down. While Jon was usually quick at his job, he found himself effected by his lack of sleep, his hands moved sluggishly as he striped and sorted parts, often dropping small parts on the floor with a frustrated groan following. In an attempt to keep himself awake, He hummed slightly to himself, something he had picked up from his father while back on the Ship. He was about half way through sorting his bag when Jon decided to just dump the small bag’s contents to the ground in the center of tent in an attempt to speed up his work. Grabbing a large gearbox from the pile, Jonathan walked over to the back of the tent to set the part in the correct area, unbeknown to him that a small photo fell from his bag. The photo had a hard crease down the middle from Jon folding it in half countless times and the paper was beginning to fray at the edges, but the image was still recognizable despite its age. It was a younger him with his parents, all smiling towards the camera. It was one of the last family photo Jon could remember taking while his father was still around, it had to be at least 18 years old at this point, and despite the hate he still held towards his father, it was the one thing Jon made sure to take with him always. The last remaining symbol of the family Jon once had, and the happiness it had brought him.
After dropping off the gearbox, Jonathan walked over to a pile of different color wires that were tangled into a large mass. Careful to not snap or break any of the wires, Jon began to unwind the different cables from the tangled mess, often starting to work one free then having to move to another to loosen the first. It was long and tedious work that Jonathan actually enjoyed since it gave his mind and hands something to do while not requiring a great deal of concentration. He had heard talk about a locked bunker a couple of scouts found yesterday that was proving to be more difficult to open than originally thought. It had all the engineers working around the clock to solve, and it meant Jon was given extra request for parts. A current theory for opening the bunker involved something about magnetic locks that went completely over Jon’s head. All he knew was that the engineers had placed an order for copper wires, which he was currently working on. Deep into his work, Jonathan didn’t even realize that another person was inside the tent with him and was completely startled when he noticed one of the younger scavengers filling an order for the engineers. “Hey” he answered quietly, giving Luke a small nod when he went past. While being quite a bit older then other scavenger, Jon liked the kid’s typically upbeat and happy personality. It was quite the nice change from the typical attitude from other Legacy crew members. Glancing at the kid, Jon couldn’t help but smirk at the red tint to his skin, especially around his forehead and bridge of his nose and cheeks. Clearly someone forgot the medics warning of the sun’s radiation, stronger now they weren’t protected by the Ship. However, Jon also understood Luke’s struggle, similarly cursed with pale skin that seemed to burn within minutes and knowing the annoying pain that often accompanied the color. Standing up from his large scattering of wires that he was in the midst of sorting, Jon walked over to his pile of seemingly junk from his bag. “Luke, right?...” he asked the other scavenger while digging through the pile, eventually Jon found whatever it was he was looking for. Pulling out a pair of small jars, one white and other deep green, Jon took another few steps over to Luke. “Here, the white is burnroot oil the medics gave me for the sun. Put it on before leaving camp and it should help with the burn. The other is aloe, should keep you from peeling” Jonathan spoke quietly, handing over the pair of jars. Being one of the older scavengers, Jon tended to look out for the others, often picking up their overloaded routes or simply checking in on them, knowing that survival was hard pressed here on earth without someone watching your back. And it seemed his tiredness made him more open.He was on his way back to his wires when Luke tapped him on the shoulder, causing him to turn and glance at the photo. His green eyes widen for a moment seeing the photo in Luke’s hand, fear at how close he had come to losing it filling him. He shook his head in answer to Luke’s inquiry before speaking “No, it’s mine from the ISC”.
Jon was glad when the younger boy took the pair of jars and he echoed the boy's smile with a curt nod of his own. Although, at the mention of his kindness, Jon wrinkled his nose slightly, that certainly wasn't the impression he wanted to give people. " Yeah, no problem." he brushed off. Being nice had too many expectations, aloofness better suited Jon's nature. Even still, something had compelled him to help the other scavenger out, something he was not quite sure of just yet. As Luke questioned him, a wide range of emotion cycled inside of Jon, but he eventually ended on confusion. This kid must be mistaken, it was the only way this situation could be true. It was an old picture and maybe the faded nature obscured some of the features. "This is / my / father..." Jonathan insisted a moment later. It took a great deal of self control to not snatch the photo from Luke's hands, and once the photo was offered back to him, Jon's shoulders fell harshly, not realizing how much tension he held in his body for his only worldly possession. Once the photo was back in his hands, Jon's thumb brushed gently over the women's face, green eyes darting from his father's features to Luke's."See?" he continued, flipping the photo over to unveil the neat writing on the back as he read it aloud. "Lily and Julius Roman with son, Jonathan age 8". A dark and sinking feeling taking hold of his chest.
In all of the infinite futures Jonathan could find himself in, the cruel mistresses of fate chose the one that hurt him most in this moment. The feeling in his chest quickly spread across his paling skin, a cold sweat creeping up his back. " How...How old are you?" he questioned, stammering in his shock, as a vague memory flashes behind his eyes. He was only 11 when he made the foolish choice to follow his father that fateful morning, he was only trying to give his father a forgotten lunch when he saw the undeniable proof of his father's transgressions. The swollen stomach of another woman that Jon did not know or understand. His parents had been high school sweet-hearts, and spent over a decade in love, but in that moment, if Jon wanted to be truthful, even as a child he noticed the love was rapidly cooling between the pair of them. As much as he wished it wasn't so.Suddenly the room came back into focus as Luke spoke again, causing Jonathan to take a step back, his tall frame jolting into the bench where he was working earlier and causing a box of parts to crash to the ground. His body wanting to physically remove himself from the realization that his mind came to in that instance. Jonathan was never good with emotion, often having to bottle it away during those long years on the ship, always more suited to working on machines then with people. And right now he was feeling every single emotion under the sun, waiting for one to rear its ugly head. And this time, like many times before, was won by anger. "Yeah, Julius Roman always does leave his mark" Jonathan huffed in reply, remembering a night when his...their father lost his temper and shattered a lamp that cut his mother's cheek. It may have been only a single moment of anger, but Jon never forgave him for it.Jon forced himself to take a breath, he had hoped that the earth mission would be a way to rebuild and separate himself from his past, but now he knew he was foolish and arrogant to believe life could be shaped in such a way. He turn his eyes away from Luke, his gaze being caught by the shiny surface of the metal desk, his attention on the pair of green marks reflecting on the surface that he came to hate in every mirror, ones now shared with Luke. A forgotten half brother that Jon had purge from his memory over fifteen years ago, a ghost now realised.Jon was silent while his mind ran wild, he found himself at a lost for words and eventually decided on plain and blunt. "I'm assuming Julius never told you about his first wife?"
Jon watched quietly as the younger boy stumbled away from him, and nearly collapsed from the weight of the situation the pair found themselves in. He wasn't sure of anything in that moment, what to do, what to say, what not to say, there was no training on the ship for things quite like this. He could tell you a hundred ways to wire a circuit, but nothing about the delicate pathways of emotion.Wanting to lessen the pressure in his chest, and give the other boy a moment alone with his thoughts, Jon took a few steps away. He moved over to the desk and righted the overturned box, quickly tossing a few of the fallen objects back into their place. Taking the moment alone to pull a few extra breaths into his worried lungs, the heaviness of the tent's air suffocating him. Staying where he was, still knelt on the ground near the box, Jon did something he hadn't in a long while, he prayed. Not to any certain god or deity, Jon didn't have any faith in that, but to his mother. The one bright light in his ever dimmed world, he swore he could still feel her presence on nights where he felt alone. A guiding touch here, or a wave of silent calm there. He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, the scent of lilies filled his nose and Jon knew he wasn't alone. Righting himself once more, Jonathan lifted the box and replaced it on the table. He had no doubts in his mind that this boy was his brother, however, Jon didn't know what that meant. For him, for his future, for Luke, or If he had shattered this boy's perception without any reason or purpose. Jonathan wrapped his hand around the back of a chair and pulled it away from the sorting desk, moving it over to the pile of boxes that Luke had claimed for the moment. Setting it down a few inches in front of other scavenger, Jon settled himself down into the creaky chair, knees almost touching Luke's. Jon was quiet as he watched his...brother, a strange feeling overtaking him as he noticed the palms of Luke's hands digging into his face, like he was trying to physically keep tears at bay. " Hey...." Jon started unsure, not wanting to upset Luke further. He shifted in his chair, gently bumping his knee against Luke's in some sort of merger attempt at comfort. "Love's a complicated thing..." he continued sheepishly, not really wanting to have this conversation. Almost wishing he had kept his mouth shut about Julius and ran when he still had the chance. Jon took another glance at the photo that he was worrying with between his fingers, no longer recognizing the boyish youth and large grin on his face. When suddenly, on some strange whim, let the photo fall from his fingers and flutter to the ground. There was no point in dwelling on a long gone and tainted past, when a new beginning was staring him in the face.
Jonathan had never regretted taking the drop-ship assignment, the idea of a fresh start on the newly reclaimed earth seemed like a godsend after every terrible memory that haunted the hallways on the ISC ship. But in that moment, Jon realised all he ever does when things get difficult, is to run away. He ran from his father, ran from the idea of a half-sibling, ran from his mother's death, ran all the way to earth. But now, things were catching up to him and he was tired of running. He took in the sight of the boy in front of him, the subtleties to his features highlighting their shared father now that Jon allowed himself to see all of them. It was strange to now have a name and face for the sibling he ran from. He shifted again in his chair, planting his feet firmly on the ground, he was done running. Luke was the last bit of family Jon had left, and Jon didn't know how much he missed that. Having a family.Jonathan swore lightly under his breath when Luke fell into tears, that was exactly what he didn't want to happen. It was almost like a light had gone out in the other boy, and Jon had no idea how to turn it back on again. He was worried that he had broken the happy go-lucky kid he had seen around the drop-ship or out scavenging. Jon had a knack for ruining the things he touched, he didn't want this new relationship to be another. Jon rubbed the back of his own neck as he watched the tears roll down Luke's face, his eyes darting around the room in a panic, trying to remember how his mother would have comforted him. "We both are, to be honest" Jon spoke quietly in reply. He was still grasping for anything to help, maybe a cloth to wipe his eyes? But then, Luke made the choice for him, and Jon was grateful once the shock of the action wore off. Jon was a stoic man, often good at pushing away any emotion that crept up on him, except the utter anguish he felt when Luke barreled into his chest. It took him seconds to respond, but he eventually did, raising his arms to firmly enclose the younger boy. "I'm sorry too..." Jon whispered, not exactly knowing what he was apologizing for, perhaps it was for running away sixteen years ago. Maybe, somehow, with a little elbow grease or hard-work, the pair of them could work this out.
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