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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Episode 1-9 "Crossroads"

Right Now
By dabkey


Emily is primary colors. Yellow hair, blue eyes, and red, red lips.

Heather remembers the first time she saw Emily at teachers' orientation, a near blinding flash of white teeth and blond hair in a room full of subdued grays, blacks and browns. She remembers how Emily smiled often, but it never seemed to reach her eyes, and how she moved with a dancer's grace, but tentatively, cautiously, as though she wasn't quite sure of her body yet, or how it should interact with the world around her.

Heather remembers thinking 'dumb blonde' that first time, because Heather was a gawky, geeky nerd in high school who was not treated kindly, and scars like that never heal fully, not really, no matter how many years go by, or how many guys tell her she's hot, and try to get into her pants. She will always be a nerd, and the Emilys of the world will always be bright and shiny and beautiful, so that first time she thinks 'dumb blond' and compares her to paint splashed on a plain canvas, bright and bold, to draw attention away from the white emptiness underneath.

Now she is Emily's friend and knows her, knows those wide, seemingly innocent blue eyes and hesitant manner hide a truck load of pain and confusion, and a weary cynicism much too developed for someone so young. She knows about Emily's father the thief, knows about her dead brother, knows about Mitchell Cafferty, knows about Roger the fiancé, and knows about Jake – crazy, sweet, fucked-up Jake - who suddenly appeared the night of the bombs, a god damned prodigal son Macgyver, saving children with juice-box straws and tossing himself into harm's way like he didn't know, or didn't give a damn, that people loved him.

Heather knows Jake is probably the only person Emily will ever truly love, and the only person who might be able to chase away some of her demons, if they can ever manage to swim through the muck that is their families, their mistakes, their past, and realise that they are both worth loving. She knows that sometime in the future – whatever the hell that is anymore – Emily belongs with Jake and Jake belongs with Emily. But in the Right Now, in this moment where she and Emily are sitting at the bar in Bailey's, swimming in too many shots of what could be the last bottle of single malt scotch left in Kansas, mourning the loss of a marriage that would never have worked out anyway because he wasn't Jake – in this moment, Heather looks into alcohol dazed blue eyes and sees…something. Something that despite being drunk, despite knowing Jake is The One, and despite this being Kansas in the middle of fucking Armageddon, has her following Emily's wobbly path to the restroom and grabbing handfuls of that bright, yellow hair and tasting those red, red lips for herself.

And when those red lips kiss back without hesitation and thin, surprisingly strong arms pull her in and blue eyes close in something akin to relief, Heather knows she's not the future, but she can be the Right Now, and in Kansas in the middle of fucking Armageddon, that's enough.

The End

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