Fandom: nbc's Revolution
Rating: Teen, pg-13
Characters: Jason, Rachel
Prompt: From nbc_revolution 's Community Prompt Table 21 'What happens in...'
Warnings: Mild S2 spoilers, just in general. Also warning for crack and for the horrifying pairing of Rachel/Jason (I'm so sorry, but Gizzi dared me to write them).
Summary: After getting completely drunk together in New Vegas, Jason and Rachel wake up to new, interesting circumstances.
Jason wakes up with a groan, as his head pounds with vindictive gleefulness, reminding him why getting drunk was never a good idea. He rubs at his stinging eyes a few times, trying to get the crust off so he can open his eyes properly and asses the situation. Judging by the light assaulting his eyes, it must be mid-morning, he determines. Other than his head, he can't feel pain from other regions of his body, so chances are he's not injured and he's in the tent he's rented for the last two nights, which is good.
He feels a solid warmth curled up in a sleeping bag by his side and for a moment his heart lurches hopefully; the name "Charlie" nearly escaping his lips, before he realizes that the hair is too bright a shade and too wavy. Those waves are almost unnaturally perfect and he has an insane desire to reach out and touch them, to see if they're as soft and fluffy as they seem. He hasn't seen hair like that since-
'Oh, shit,' Jason's throat convulses. 'It can't be...' He reaches out a hand and tentatively moves the hair from the person's face and his stomach plummets. 'Charlie's mom? What the hell is she doing-?'
Bits and pieces from yesterday start trickling in, as images and snippets of conversation flash through his mind. He's been in New Vegas for two days, trying desperately to find information about Atlanta survivors. His dad swears up and down that his mom wasn't in Atlanta when it was nuked, that she was far enough away to survive- but so far they haven't managed to find her. It's been months now, the situation is fast approaching hopeless and it's getting hard for the two of them to be around each other. They never could seem to get along for long periods of time, without his mom's mediating presence. They finally split up for a week, much to Jason's relief and they're supposed to meet back up in two days time.
He honestly wasn't expecting to find his mother in New Vegas, or even any information about her whereabouts. But he definitely wasn't expecting to run into Mrs. Matheson on the food line.
"Jason," she said, her eyes distant.
"If you're looking for Charlie, you just missed her," Jason wasn't in the mood for pleasantries. He paid for his food and went to sit down in the least crowded area he could find.
"When was she here?" Rachel followed him and sat across from him.
"Left yesterday. She was here for a while with some guy." Seeing them together, the sting of betrayal, still hurt. "You know, you guys really did a number on her, you could hardly recognize her anymore. Apparently, she tried to kill Monroe-"
"Monroe was here?"
"Yeah, fighting for money- pretty pathetic, right? Word is, she injured him, then ended up leaving with him in the dead of night. No idea where she went."
"Why would she go anywhere with Monroe?" Rachel sounded confused. "He killed-"
"Danny, we know," Jason rolled his eyes. "I guess she got over it. Because if you're a mass murderer, she'll forgive you, trust you completely and stick with you no matter what. All I did was lie to her and save her life constantly, so I get the 'how can I possibly trust you?' speech and left for dead."
"You didn't die."
"No thanks to her," Jason argued. "Thank God for my dad's fast thinking and bullshitting skills. If it were you or Miles, she wouldn't have done it, she would have found a way to get you or stayed behind as well. But I'm not you guys, I'm not family."
"She's not exactly forgiving family right now," Rachel said with a small shrug, picking absently at her food.
"You'd think after finding out you were in charge of ending the world, she could forgive nuking two measly cities," Jason stated sarcastically.
"Have you had any luck, finding your mother?" Rachel asked.
"What do you think?"
"I think I could use a drink," Rachel's mouth quirked slightly.
That's the last clear thing Jason can remember. He wonders if he should even wake her up; maybe if he startles her awake, she'll stab him with something, out of reflex. "Mrs. Matheson?" He asks gently, keeping himself outside of reaching distance.
She burrows into her makeshift pillow for a moment, before blinking her eyes rapidly. "Jason?" She asks, surprised. "How did- what?" She sits up quickly, trying to get her bearings and he makes a conscious effort to keep his eyes planted on hers and not let them wonder south. His mother raised him better than that.
Just the thought of his mother causes a pang in his heart and an extra vicious pounding in his temples. His mom... He pushes the thoughts away until he's sober enough to drink to forget them and tries to focus on his current problem.
"Umm... Mrs. Matheson? Maybe we should put some clothes on," Jason says to the tent wall, trying to be respectful.
He quickly puts on underwear, pants and a shirt and he hears her rustling and rummaging for a few minutes, before an amused voice tells him: "You can turn around now, I'm decent."
He breathes a sigh of relief and turns towards her. "I'm sorry, I don't how we... I must have gotten so drunk last night- not that that's a good excuse, but Mrs. Matheson, I swear-"
"We were both drunk, we did something stupid, it doesn't matter. And you can call me Rachel," she says with a wry twist of her lips. "It's only proper, seeing as how we're married."
"What?!" Jason asks, incredulous. She holds up her left hand and is that a wedding ring? She quickly removes it and shoves it into her bag, probably planning on selling it later. "How do you know it's mine?" Jason counters.
"You're wearing one too," Rachel explains evenly, way too composed, given the situation. "They're a matching set, tacky, but matching."
"Maybe we just went out and got friendship rings?" He asks desperately, as he removes his ring and shoves it into his pocket. "Where the hell did we even get those rings, anyway?"
"I don't know, but it seems we also found a priest- there's marriage certificate in my bag," Rachel says, as she packs said bag.
"Marriage certificate?" Jason feels like he's going to be sick. "This isn't happening!"
"Don't get all worked up over nothing," Rachel tells him dismissively.
"Nothing? I just married my ex girlfriend's homicidal mom, I have a right to get worked up!"
"It's just a piece of paper, Jason," Rachel explains.
"Is that what you told yourself when you started banging Miles, behind your husband's back?"
Rachel gives him a cold, murderous look and he backs up a step, making sure he has a clear path to the tent's entrance. Instead of stabbing him, she shoulders her bag and leaves the tent. Jason stands there for a few minutes, still trying to digest this weird turn of events. His head is still pounding and the last thing he needs right now is to piss her off further and get shanked. He should just let her go, pack his shit and go find his dad.
But there's something about Rachel's look of despondency that worries him. She's a tough one, but she's brittle and the cracks are beginning to show. Without Charlie or Danny to motivate her, she seems lost and people who give up tend to end up dead, one way or another. But it's not his problem and he doesn't owe her or Charlie anything, not that Charlie is even talking to her at the moment. But if it were his mom? Even if he'd hate her, the way Rachel thinks Charlie hates her, he'd never forgive himself if anything happened to her, because he wasn't there for her.
He debates internally for a moment, before grabbing his gear and rushing after her. He catches up to her and almost touches her arm, before he thinks better of it and calls out: "Mrs. Math- Rachel."
Miraculously, she stops and gives him a pointed look, so he bravely forges ahead. "You shouldn't travel alone, I mean, I know you can handle yourself and you traveled with Pittman, which is worse, because the guy's completely useless. But if we're going the same way, even for a bit, we should stick together; there's safety in numbers and we can watch each other's back. Where are you heading, anyway?"
Rachel is quiet for a moment, seeming to consider his words, before she breathes quietly: "I'm going home."
They walk quietly, rarely breaking the uncomfortable silence that stretches between them, until they're ready to stop for the night. They've got all of tomorrow to spend together as well, before splitting up the next morning and Jason can't help but wish the universe would randomly decide to skip a day. Rachel's self hate and melancholy are oppressive and he's convinced she's one ill-fated remark away from killing him in his sleep, she's so on edge.
"So why aren't you with Miles, now?" Jason asks with a brazen smirk, as he skins a rabbit he caught. His father taught him how to hunt, how to kill, how to survive- all before he turned 10. Sometimes he's grateful for the vital skills, other times he's resentful for his lost childhood. He still remembers the night after the blackout when he watched his father beat their neighbor to death with his bare hands; he thinks something in his father died that night as well.
"I needed to find Charlie," Rachel says in clipped tones, as she starts a fire. "Miles is at my father's house, I'm heading there now."
"You needed a break from him and his ego?" Jason asks snidely. "Too much man-pain for you to handle?"
"Too much guilt and pain," Rachel surprises him with her candor.
There was some emotion there left bare, like an exposed nerve. Jason swallows thickly, before teasing: "And I don't even want to imagine what your dad's like- you're scary enough. If he's anything like you, Miles might not even be alive, by the time you get back."
"But Miles is such a loveable guy," Rachel says jokingly.
"Oh yeah, he's all hugs and giggles," Jason agrees, which earns him a slight grin. "The guy takes brooding and boozing to a whole new level, it's pretty impressive actually."
"He has his moments," Rachel tilts her head, a small reminiscing smile on her face.
"I'll take your word for it," Jason grumbles good naturedly, as he finishes preparing the cuts of meat to be cooked. Jason's hand drifts to his pocket and his fingers brush the cold metal of the ring. He doesn't know why he keeps it or why in his pocket and not with the rest of his stuff, but something about the presence of the ring soothes him.
The conversation simmers down after that, while they focus on cooking and eating and get ready for the night. This time the silence between them feels amicable and Jason only flinches twice when Rachel comes near him with a sharp implement. He considers that progress.
"I'm surprised after everything that's happened that you're still with your dad," Rachel breaks the silence around midday.
"I'm not with him now," Jason points out.
"But you're meeting him tomorrow."
"We're searching for my mom, trust her to always be the one thing that forces us to get along," Jason remarks. "And my dad did some pretty shitty things, but at least he never got millions killed or nuked two cities."
"I'm sorry," Rachel says sincerely.
"Sorry's not going to bring me back my mom."
"I know. It's not like I was planning on sending those missiles, I was just trying to help-"
"Like you were 'only trying to help' when you caused the blackout? Like Miles and Monroe were 'only trying to help' when they created the Militia? Maybe you Mathesons should stop trying to help, while there are still some people left on the planet."
"Maybe you're right," Rachel says wearily and they fall into a suffocating silence once more. Jason's fingers brush against the outside of his pocket, feeling the outline of the ring there. He wonders what it means if they're bickering like an old married couple, when they've only been married for a day and a half.
They build camp once more and eat their meal quietly, not even looking at one another.
"I wasn't trying to help," Rachel says apropos of nothing, startling Jason out of his thoughts.
"At first it was about revenge for Danny- getting the power back so Georgia could beat Monroe. But then it became about fixing what I did. I thought that if I could get the power back on, then somehow it would make up for all those that died during the blackout, for every person I sacrificed, so that my little boy would live."
Her eyes are glistening with unshed tears, as she laughs mirthlessly. "I was so focused on getting the power back, that I lost sight of what was really important and Nora... Charlie begged me to get her help, but I couldn't stop and listen, I had to fix things... In the end I just made everything worse, Nora died and I lost Charlie for good."
"She'll come around, eventually," Jason says, looking away. "You're family- there's nothing she won't forgive you for, unlike the rest of us."
"Maybe if you didn't switch sides at the drop of a hat, Charlie would have more reason to trust you," Rachel remarks.
"I did it for her!" Jason says emphatically. "You think I wanted to be in the Militia? You think I had a choice? My dad taught me to use a knife when I was 7 and I was practically raised in the Militia. My parents had my whole life set out for me and I didn't even have a say in the matter. So I enlisted and I tried to be the best soldier, to make my dad proud, but it seemed like no matter what I did, I was always such a disappointment for him."
"And Charlie changed all that?"
"Yeah, but not because I fell for her, like my dad thinks," Jason says. "It's because she was a good person and didn't deserve to lose her dad and brother or be killed. I wanted to protect her, to save that tiny glimmer of innocence that the world hasn't destroyed yet. Charlie made me realize I could make a difference, she gave me hope that things could be different."
"You can't make someone your entire motivation in life," Rachel says quietly. "Trust me, I'm talking from experience. You'll end up losing sight of yourself, of who you are and what's really important."
"I'm not sure if I even know who I am, to tell you the truth," Jason admits. "My entire life, everything I ever thought or did was dictated to me by my parents, the Militia..."
"Maybe it's time for you to find out who Jason really is," Rachel says. "Maybe if you figure yourself out, Charlie would have an easier time of trusting you."
"Right now, I'm not even sure if Charlie is Charlie anymore," Jason says with a sigh. His hand unconsciously goes to his pocket and he touches the outline of the ring.
"You keep doing that," Rachel observes with a raised eyebrow. "-Touching the ring, like it means something."
"It means something to me."
"Why? There are no files, no records of us getting married." Rachel removes the marriage certificate from her bag. "If we burn this right now- who would know it ever happened?"
"We would know," Jason says. "And God, if he even exists. Look, I know we were drunk and that it shouldn't mean anything, but I've never been married before and no offence, but when I picture my wife-to-be, you're not the woman I imagine."
"You're not exactly my type, either," Rachel gives him an imperceptible smile.
"Yeah, I'm not a mass murderer whose last name starts with an 'M'," Jason snorts. "I don't know what went on in your marriage or what your deal is with Miles. But my parents? They've been happily married this whole time. I don't know if my dad ever loved me, but my mom? I know he loves her and would do anything for her and vice versa. And I want that, what they have, I wanted to have their kind of marriage, the kind that's for the rest of your life, no matter what. It's childish and stupid, I know-"
"It's not stupid," Rachel says quietly. "Maybe a tad naive and unlikely, but definitely not stupid."
"Right," Jason shakes his head. "You can go ahead and burn that piece of paper and tomorrow we'll go our separate ways and pretend none of this ever happened." Rachel hesitates for a moment, studying his face intently, before she throws the marriage certificate into the fire. They watch the flames consume the paper, until there's nothing but floating specks of dust, before they both wordlessly turn in for the night.
Jason wakes up a few hours later, in the dead of the night, to Rachel's silent presence hovering over him. "Jesus!" Jason startles, sitting up quickly. "You want to give a guy a heart attack or something?"
"'Or something'," Rachel says mysteriously, crouching closer.
"Are you going to kill me?" Jason asks, suddenly terrified.
"Not right now," she smiles, as she closes the gap between them and kisses him. He's so shocked that he gasps, allowing her to deepen the kiss, plundering his mouth hungrily.
Jason breaks the kiss and leans back, trying to catch his breath and make sense of this. "We shouldn't do this."
"We're both consenting adults," Rachel says calmly, as she sits down. "Are you saying you're not interested?"
"I'm not saying that; you're hot and you scare me, which makes you even hotter," Jason babbles. "But we both know that this is a bad idea."
"All of my 'good ideas' didn't exactly pan out, " Rachel smiles self deprecatingly "Maybe it's time I tried some bad ideas."
"That doesn't even make any sense."
"Look, this doesn't have to be complicated-"
"You're my ex-girlfriend's mom and my dad is responsible for the death of your husband and son. How is this not complicated?" Jason asks, almost hysterically.
"Because there are no feelings involved," Rachel says simply. "We don't love each other, we don't hate each other- I don't even think we like each other."
"So clearly we should have sex?" Jason asks, confused. "I really don't get your reasoning."
"It's a simple physical release," Rachel says, her hand reaching out slowly and trailing Jason's chest. "No emotional mess, no commitment, no strings attached."
"Charlie'll never forgive me for this," Jason groans, closing his eyes.
"That's assuming she'll ever talk to either of us again," Rachel smiles sadly. "And since we're married, you're officially a Matheson now. I thought you said there's nothing she won't forgive family for."
"This is so not how I planned on marrying into this family," Jason mumbles, as his fingers touch Rachel's hair reverently. 'God her hair really is soft'.
"Life is full of disappointments," Rachel laments lightly, leaning in once more and gently shoving him to the ground. She kisses him passionately, urgently and there's a spark in her eyes he doesn't think he's ever seen there before. He kisses her back and helps her remove her clothes, kissing every newly revealed scrap of skin. He stops thinking about Charlie, stops worrying about his mom and for a little while at least, they both allow themselves to get lost in the present and in each other.
All things considered, Jason figures his first marriage could have gone a lot worse.