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Waiting for the Light (PG-13)


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#1 JillliJ

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 03:31 AM

Okay, so I'm pretty certain I'm not really doing this right, but I'm going to try.

Anyway, I'm new here and trying to get my feet wet.  I've been browsing for a little while but just figured out how to actually get on board and I've finally gotten bold enough to actually post.  Just thought I'd throw this out and see if there is any interest....

Jill



Waiting for the Light


Author:  Jill
Archive:  Just ask me, please.
Disclaimer:  I don’t own any of them.  This is just for fun.
Rating:  PG-13
Season: Early Season 3
Spoilers: Anything up to “Shards of Rimni” is fair game.


Author’s note:  I have never written a story for Andromeda before, but I saw it for the first time a couple months ago and the show just reached out and grabbed me.  The plot bunnies have been driving me nuts ever since.  I will admit without shame that Harper is my favorite character.  I am intrigued by the mystery of Harper’s background; what he says, what he implies, and what he hides.  That said, however, I love exploring the friendships between members of the crew.    I recently watched the 3rd season episode “The Shards of Rimni” and really loved the fact that Dylan and Harper finally got to do a little bonding.  In my opinion, theirs is the most neglected friendship on the show.  So basically, this is just my long-winded way of explaining that this whole story is a lousy excuse for some Harper-background and friendship development.
This story was also triggered in part by one written by Sparkycola titled “Lose the Earring, Kid.”  Check it out, it’s awesome.


Sometimes the know where you’re going you have to face where you’ve been.  Sometimes to know the true meaning of friendship, you have to take a journey in the dark…


Prologue


I have lived an undirected life,
A cloudy way I know,
The only way I knew.
Still the things I’ve done,
In fact each and every one,
Are the way that I was taught to run.

Far beyond horizons I have seen,
Beyond the things I’ve been,
Beyond the dreams I’ve dreamed,
Are the things I’ve done,
In fact each and every one,
Are the way that I was taught to run.

I am waitin’ for the light to shine, I’m waitin’ for the light to shine.
I have lived in the darkness for so long, I am waitin’ for the light to shine.


Old Earth song, Old Earth calendar 1986
(From the musical Big River by Roger Miller)
_______________________


The room was quiet and dark, its dim lights casting the plain grey walls into shadows, giving it a solemn feeling.  A quick glance around and any observer would have assumed the place was empty, but sometimes the eyes can be tricked.  Sitting silently on his couch, lost in thought, the room’s occupant was indeed present, at least in body.

Sighing quietly, Captain Dylan Hunt unconsciously took a sip from his cup of coffee, his mind still miles away.  The last mission, though stressful and a bit annoying, had been a success and at the moment, the universe seemed willing to give them a break.  No one was shooting at, shouting at, or slugging at them for the time being, which was just fine with him.  As much as he craved action, a little down time now and then never did any harm.

Shifting slightly, his thoughts returned to the last mission, as if drawn by invisible strings.  It hadn’t been all that unusual, just the standard rescue mission with impossible odds and last minute timing.  Andromeda being needed elsewhere, Beka, Harper, and he had gone down in the Maru to rescue a small band of colonists before the mountain they had unwisely chosen as their home blew its top.  Amid falling ash, soot, and baseball-sized chunks of rock, the three had managed to get everyone on board before an encore performance of Pompeii was staged.  Besides enduring complaints about the damage those “blasted” rocks had done to the Maru, Dylan had thought they were home free.  

Too bad it’s never easy.  

Deciding they hadn’t had enough excitement, one of the refugees had proceeded to go into labor, with the Andromeda still at least three hours away.  Beka had quickly, almost frantically, declared herself completely useless in the area of delivering babies and strapped herself into the pilot’s chair with a look promising severe bodily harm to any who tried to remove her.  

Somehow, Dylan was not surprised by this.

But he was by what occurred next.

Desperately racking he brain for emergency medical procedures that had been stashed away since his academy days (and for Dylan, that was a long time ago), he tried to contain his panic.  Save worlds from unhinged mad-men with demonic plans, win battles outnumbered twenty to one, out-talk corrupt politicians, these things he could do.  Deliver babies: that was a little out of his league.  Where was Trance when you needed her?  This was one situation he had no idea how to take charge of.  

And then suddenly, he had realized he didn’t have to.

While he had been arguing with Beka and himself, Harper had quietly stepped in and taken charge.  And it was the “quietly” part that had surprised him almost as much as the taking charge.  With a calmness and a gentleness he would never have associated with the hyperactive engineer, Harper took the situation right in stride.  Shoving his astonishment aside to be dealt with later, Dylan accepted Harper’s orders without complaint.  By the time they docked with Andromeda three hours and forty-five minutes later, Dylan was exhausted and the Maru’s passenger list had gone up by one.

It was only after all their guests had been provided for, and mother and child were safely in Trance’s gifted hands, that Dylan slowed down long enough to resume his astonishment, which quickly turned to frustration.  Harper was his mechanic, his engineer, his friend.  Harper talked too fast, rarely thought first, and could whip a miracle out of thin air faster than you could say “now.”  Harper liked women, but they seldom liked him.  He drank too much caffeine, never got enough sleep, and was fiercely loyal to his friends.  Harper was like an annoying kid brother, you dream of peace and quiet, but it only takes you about five point two minutes to realize you miss him when he’s gone.  After three years working with the young man, Dylan thought he knew him, thought he had him pegged.  So how the heck had he blindsided him like he did today?  He was frustrated, not at Harper, but at himself and wondering if he really knew his crew as well as he thought he did.

Almost without realizing it, Dylan had found himself entering the Maru, where he knew Harper would still be checking the ship for any damage they might have received on the trip.  Walking into the engine room, he greeted Harper’s cheery “hey Boss” with a like reply and willingly engaged in small talk for awhile as Harper gathered up his tools.
They left the ship and hanger together, and at the door Dylan couldn’t resist any longer.  After telling Harper he’d handled the emergency very well, he’d asked him where he ever learned how to play midwife.

An innocent question, or at least it had seemed like it at the time.  One simple little question, and yet it was the reason he was still sitting here, in the dark, hours after the mission was over.  No wait, that wasn’t quite true.  It wasn’t the question that caused this bout of reflection, but rather the answer.

Dylan had asked the question with a grin, expecting a cocky reply about how “the Harper was good.”  He had been slightly surprised to suddenly find himself the subject of a very searching look from his young friend.  After a moment, Harper had turned away and started toward his machine shop.  The answer was murmured so quietly, Dylan wasn’t even sure it was meant to be said out loud, but the words hung in the air around Dylan just the same, sucking his breath away.

“You can learn a lot as a slave.”

Edited by JillliJ, 18 January 2005 - 01:52 AM.

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#2 deMona

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 05:23 AM

oohh, but you must give more!  don't leave it there!  dylan could track harper down and get him to talk more.  as much as i hate what dylan's become these days, i really think that there is a lot of potential in exploring their friendship.  this story reminds me somewhat of a fic called Interrogation Tactics i once read and liked very much.

and i realize i haven't said hello yet.  so.. hi!  welcome!  have a  :tribble: or two, or three.  :tribble:  :tribble:  :tribble: or... you get the point.

Edited by deMona, 02 December 2004 - 05:24 AM.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say 'Ni!' at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.

#3 hannahthewriter

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 05:46 AM

*Large audience gives a collective "ooooh"*

Harper... slave... HA! Serves Dylan right for underestimating the great and powerful Harper, God of all things angsty!

But ye cannae stop there! What happened to Harper as a slave? Show Dylan what a FOOL he has been! :devil:
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#4 ChicaFrom3

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 09:00 AM

Very good! Tell me there's more, please... not many people can make me remember when I still liked Dylan. :D

:love: it.
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#5 adoriblebeast

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 09:13 AM

Thank you for writing this. I hope there is more.  I agree that Dylan and Harper's relationship needs to be developed more. I loved how you have Dylan realizing he doesn't really know Harper the way he should.
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#6 Psyche

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 09:20 AM

Wow... I love how you've written Dylan... that is the Dylan I loved way back when. Now make him remember Sara and I will forever be in your debt!

And unlike the others, I'm not going to ask for a sequel... it's perfect just the way it is. Harper's backstory is probably better reserved for a separate story.

ETA: Six months later, I wonder at what a fool I was. *holds out zappy stick*

Edited by Psyche, 13 July 2005 - 02:48 AM.


#7 JillliJ

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 09:36 AM

Oh wow.   You guys are WAY too nice to me!  I can't believe you actually liked it!  (I was almost afraid I'd get hissed at for writting Dylan...hehehe, just kidding.)  Thanks SOOO much for the comments.  And yes, there is actually more.  Unfortunatly, I volunteered to chaperone my little sister's orchestra trip and I'm late running out the door.  I won't get to post any more until Satureday, but I wanted to say thanks for responding before I left!  

Thanks again!!

Jill

P.S.  Did I mention you guys are awesome?
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#8 LittleRedhead

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 10:16 AM

Good job Jill. More soon please.
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#9 AKAJipster

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 10:18 AM

Nice stuff, you capture the nice Dylan very well - I liked how you are telling this from Dylan's POV, really helps capture that moment of Harper's actions surprising Dylan very well :D

Looking forward to more, and nice to see another Jill about the place ;)
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#10 bree1387

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 03:36 PM

Very cool story Jill.  It's always exciting when a new author shows up! :D   Now all we need is for Harper to make Dylan realize just how much doesn't know about him... with mucho angst of course! :devil:

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#11 Echo

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 06:39 AM

Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Angsty Dylan discovering Harper's backstory story! I like! :):):)

#12 arethusa

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 09:02 AM

Wait, there's going to be more, right?  Right? :wideeyed:  It's definitely nice to see some Dylan/Harper interaction, because you're right, it definitely is neglected on the show.  Way to pick up the slack!
Damn the man.

"Enlighten you?  Uh, the Divine is good, don't do Flash, and if you're nice to people they probably still won't be nice to you.  Now run along, kids.  Daddy's working."
"And now, it's time for the Harpercentric part of the action!"
~Harper

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Until someone says no, I also declare myself Keeper of Harper's New Mohawk.  Sexy!

#13 JillliJ

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 02:59 AM

WHEW!  I managed to survive my weekend as a "responsible adult chaperone" and I'm back home where my lovely computer and internet are. :)  (Actually, it wasn't that bad, except I'd forgotten how "fun" long rides on yellow school busses are.)  Anyway, it made my day to get home and find the wonderful replies you had all made for my story, so I felt compelled to post the next part before I head off to bed.  I hope it makes sense.  

Jill



Chapter 1

“You can learn a lot as a slave.”

The words echoed round and round in Dylan’s brain as he sat staring at nothing.  Images of Harper flashed past as well: Harper in his bright clothes, laughing and grinning, extolling his own newest and greatest creation, Harper full of endless energy and countless jokes.  Then there’s the new image which had been so rudely shoved into his brain along with the others, the image of Harper the slave.  It’s not one he cared to acknowledge, and yet it wouldn’t leave him alone.  He found it hard to imagine the lively boy as a pitiful slave; the thought was disturbing.  It’s an image he wasn’t ready for and it shocked him, although it shouldn’t have.  He’d been prepared for it in the past, he just chose to forget.  Suddenly, he was pulled back to a different memory, more than a year old.

______________


“Hey, Beka, wait up,” Dylan called to the blonde captain as he walked toward her in the hall. She turned and stopped, waiting for him to catch up.

Dylan looked her over carefully.  It had only been a day since their fateful reunion with one Bobby Jensen, but she was looking decidedly better.

“Yeah, Dylan?  What did you need?” Beka asked.

“Oh, nothing.  Just checking to see if you’re alright.”

A sly smile spread across Beka’s face.  “Checking to see if I’m okay?  Hum… should I be worried?  You want me to do something for you, don’t you!” she finished triumphantly, with an accusing finger pointed at his chest.

“What?  No!” Dylan threw his hands up in mock defense.  “Can’t a captain be concerned for his crew without having an ulterior motive?  What makes you think I’d want something from you?”

“You obviously haven’t been around Harper long enough.  A ‘Hey Boss, how’s it goin’?’ is usually followed by a ‘Boss, can I please…’ request.  You learn to stay on your toes with the kid around.”

“The boy is enthusiastic, I’ll give you that,” Dylan agreed with a chuckle.  “How’s he doing, by the way?  I mean yesterday was rather rough on him as well.”  Dylan watched Beka cautiously, not sure how she’d react to mention of yesterday’s events.

“He’s fine,” Beka shrugged.  “Actually, he’s probably celebrating.  He and Bobby never…  Well, you heard him.”

“Heard and saw, actually,” Dylan smiled.

“Oh yeah, that’s right.  He did show you that recording he made, didn’t he.”

“Yes, and it was very enlightening,” Dylan laughed, then added with genuine interest, “Is that honestly what Harper looked like when you met him?”  He’d found it hard to believe that the scrawny, ragged, bruised kid he’d seen in that recording could really be his engineer.

“Worse, actually,” Beka admitted.  “He was so thin I swear it was hard to see him when he turned sideways.  And I know for a fact he’d never been introduced to the concept of frequent showers.  It took me an hour just to convince him it was safe to get in. All the grime that washed off him clogged up my drain for at least two days and his clothes literally fell apart when I tried to wash them.  He had to make do with a tank-top and a pair of my pajama bottoms until we could stop at a drift.  He thought he was gonna die of embarrassment.”  She laughed at the memory, then grew serious again, a touch of sadness creeping into her voice.  “I’d never seen so many bruises on one kid.  It looked like twenty people had used him as a human punching bag.  I tried to ask him about them, but you know Harper.  He just shrugged it off and asked me what we had to eat.”

Dylan frowned slightly at this revelation, but chose not to comment.  Instead, he retreated to a safer topic.  “Well, judging from what I saw, I’d say the pj’s were probably an improvement,” he whispered conspiratorially.  Then remembering something, he asked curiously, “Was that an earring I saw in him in that recording?  I never really thought of Harper as the earring type.”

Beka stopped short as though Dylan’s question had triggered an unpleasant memory.  For a few moments she stared straight ahead with an unreadable expression etched on her face.  Finally, she turned to Dylan and spoke in a strained voice, “Dylan, don’t ever bring up that earring with Harper, okay?”

“Why not?”

“Just don’t.  Trust me on this,” Beka said more forcefully.  Her tone of voice told Dylan to drop it, but he couldn’t help but be intrigued.  There was a story here, he could smell it, and he was never one to take the easy way out.

“Come on, Beka.  What could be so bad about one little earring?” he persisted.  “Did he get drunk and wake up with it attached or something?”

Beka glanced at the stubborn captain and spoke more harshly than she intended.  “No, the Neitzschean slavers stuck it on him when they dragged him away from his parents’ grave and chained him up to be sold.”

Dylan’s smile froze on his face and his voice momentarily deserted him as he struggled to process her words.  Finally, he stuttered out an astonished response.  “Harper is a slave?”

Seeing his shock, Beka softened her tone.  “
Was a slave,” she emphasized.  “And that earring represents everything he despised and tried to forget about his past.  So do us all a favor and don’t ever bring it up.  It’s not something Harper likes to talk about.  In fact, he’d probably kill me if he knew we were even having this conversation, so I’m just gonna go now and let’s forget it ever happened,” Beka stated firmly and stalked away, leaving Dylan no doubt that the conversation was over.

____________


Dylan sighed as his thoughts returned from the past.  He had never really forgotten about that exchange with Beka… who could?  He had, however, shoved it to the dark recesses of his brain and not thought about it for a long time.  This was partly because he felt a bit guilty for having corned Beka into revealing something Harper was obviously extremely sensitive about.  Dylan felt, foolish or not, that he owed it to the young man to forget he ever heard what he did.  But it was also partly because he didn’t want to think about it.  Oh, he was well aware that the universe could be a cold, uncaring place.  He’d seen things, heard things, even done things that made his insides crawl with disgust, but he always liked to hold out hope that those things were the exception, not the rule.  He needed to have faith in the universe, in its innate goodness, or his mission had no meaning.  And realizing how much suffering said universe had caused one of his friends violently rocked that core faith.  It also made him incredibly sad to think what that ever present grin was used to hide.  So he took the unsettling revelations and thrust them as far away as he could keep them; until today when that very young man had unintentionally let them lose.  

Shaking his head, Dylan looked down at his cup, noticing that his coffee had long since gone stone cold.  He reached forward and set his mug down on the low table, stretching stiff limbs.  If he didn’t pull himself out of this pensive mood soon, Rommie or one of the others was bound to pop in and ask what was bothering him.  Brooding in the dark wasn’t going to change anything.  Nothing he did could erase the pain of Harper’s past.  The only thing he could do was try his hardest to keep that pain from rearing its ugly head in his friend’s future as well.  That was something he intended to work very hard at, and right now the best way to do that was pull himself together and get back to his job.

“Lights,” he called to Rommie, standing and hoping she wouldn’t notice the cracking of certain joints that didn’t appreciate the change of position.  With a new determination, he ducked into the bathroom.  He quickly splashed a little water on his face to thoroughly ground him back to the present and, after a glance in the mirror, walked back into his main room ready to head for command.

“Dylan.”  

Rommie’s holographic form shimmered into existence in front of him, blocking his path to the door.  “I’m receiving a message from Tarazad addressed to you.  I thought you might like to view it before you left your quarters.”

Dylan smiled.  It appeared that the powers-that-be had decided their break was long enough; time to get back on the old risk-life-and-limb wagon.

“Thanks, Rommie,” he said as he sat down at his desk.  “Let’s see what hoops they need us to jump through now.  Play the message.”


*******



Okay, that's all for now folks.  There will be more coming, I promise.  (Actually, this has somehow turned into an epic...the bunnies ambushed me, I couldn't stop them.)  I might not get to update every day or so, however...  I'm a student, it's finals time, and I'm working four jobs.  Life might get a little crazy here...
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#14 Echo

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 06:16 AM

Oh boy! This is very, very, very, very, very, very good. :) I started to write something a bit like this a year or so ago, but I quit cause it wasn't working. Yours on the other hand? I love it!

Now, what does Terazed want, and how is that gonna screw up Harper's life hmm?? ;)

#15 Psyche

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 12:15 PM

Four jobs?! Wow....

Anyway, I'm loving it... you've built on it very nicely, I can't wait to see what happens!

#16 ChicaFrom3

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 08:26 PM

Eeek!

This is great!

And you know the fact that Harper's Earring (capitalization intentional) is a major part of this chapter means that I HAVE to read it, right? Anything with Harper's Earring, even if the writer makes The Earring a bad thing, has to be read by me.

More, please? *puppy dog face*
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#17 Anastashia

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 10:04 PM

I like your start Jill. I do have one minor nit, your use of the term "hall", that would be corridors on the Andromeda. Ships don't have halls.

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#18 Harper's Cat

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 10:32 PM

Jill this is just awesome! I had the first part in my book but I hadn't had time to come back and review and when I did I found you'd added more. Thank you!  You write Dylan the way I wish he still was. And thanks for writing about The Earring! It's a topic that hasn't been covered a whole lot, there are some fine stories about it but not nearly enough of them.
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#19 deMona

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 12:00 AM

ooo, thank you for updating!  i can't wait to read more!  seriously, i can't wait, so u had better get to updating, 4 jobs (!!!)  or not.   ;)
Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say 'Ni!' at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.

#20 LittleRedhead

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 12:14 AM

Yay an update. Good job. It looks like Dylan is reluctantly beginnig to realize just how hard a life Harper had.
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