Title: Reformation: Chapter Thirty-Nine
Jonah had never thought that being rescued would feel anticlimactic, but that was before he got a handle on exactly what his only child had been doing for the past few weeks.
They were rescued before the night had finished, and his conversation with Cody had been put off out of necessity—the kids had been tired, they’d needed to sleep, and Cody had been beside himself about Lacey while Ten had grilled Lt. Reyes about their friends. But now they were back in The Box, sitting in the hospital waiting room to get an update on Lacey’s condition as soon as her surgery was done, and it was all Jonah could do to keep his voice from bouncing off the rafters of the damn place once his kid started speaking.
“You what now?”
“Snuck on board the Drifter ship,” Cody repeated, looking a little nervous. “Only we didn’t really sneak, Jack helped us out.”
“Of fucking course he did.” And Jonah was gonna have some words with Jack, that was for damn sure, and the man better be damn happy they were separated by a million miles of space when they did because otherwise Jonah would punch him in the fucking face. “And then you…what, disabled it?”
“Disabled its hygiene systems, really. That’s all,” Ten said, like that made it so much better.
“You disabled a ship with thousands of residents—”
“Only two thousand and fourteen,” Ten offered.
“Like I said, thousands of residents, in hostile space, while a battle was going on, so you could fly down to a storm-covered, besieged planet on a modified—” Jonah had to force himself to say the next part “—hovercycle. A fuckin’ hovercycle.”
“But the design was sound.”
“Obviously, or the two of you wouldn’t be here, and Ten?” Jonah took a deep breath and looked at his son’s significant other. “I need you to either be quiet right now, or go take a walk. What happens next is between me and Cody, and he needs to speak for himself.”
Ten frowned. “You should be nice to him. We came here to rescue you, after all.”
Jonah made himself nod. “I get that. I know both of your hearts were in the right place. But that doesn’t mean that what you did was okay, and again—this part of the discussion doesn’t concern you, so actually?” He stood up and held his hand out to Cody. “We’ll take the walk. You stay and keep an ear out about Lacey.”
“It’s fine,” Cody said softly, and only then did Ten finally relax. On any other day, it would have made Jonah smile to see them looking out for each other like that. Today was not any other day, though.
Jonah spread his fingers, and after a moment, Cody reached out and took his hand. He led the way down to the hospital greenhouse, its plants wan after days without light or water, and manually locked the automatic door behind them.
“I know I shouldn’t have come, but I was worried about you and Garrett wanted to ship me off someplace safe instead of letting me help look for you, and I knew I’d never get a place with the other cadets in the fleet,” Cody started before Jonah could get a word in edgewise. “And Jack was there, and he was willing to help and so was Ten, and so I did it. And we made it safe, and you’re all right and I’m all right, so everything is fine!” He sounded a little desperate. “Isn’t it?”
Jonah sighed. “Let’s unpack that a little. You were upset because Garrett wouldn’t let you come to Pandora. Did he tell you why?”
Codys jaw tightened. “He said it was political.”
“Right. Because like it or not, we married into a family of politicians, people tryin’ to make the ‘verse and the Federation a better place for people on the Fringe. So he told you that, and you got upset. What did you do next?”
“I found Jack and—”
“No, bucko. What did you do next with your father?” Jonah was pushing a little hard, he knew it, but a push was what his kid needed right now. Cody was young and clever and he’d gotten so incredibly, amazingly lucky, but he was also a natural and a political target. He could be the breaking of their family, if Jonah let him get away without thinking about consequences.
“I told him…I wanted to come and find you. Be part of the fleet, and he said no. Even though Darrel and Grennson—”
“Who are MIA for now,” Jonah interrupted. “As is your grandfather, Miles. But yeah, keep going. Even though your friends got to come.”
“And he said…I was too important.” Cody’s voice had gone quiet.
“Uh-huh. And you said?”
“I said that…that you should be his first priority, and that you’d want to know we cared enough to look for him.”
Oh, Cody, really? “And he said?”
“That you’d want me to be safe, and that he was sending a shuttle for me.”
“And?” Because Jonah knew his husband, he knew how his coms usually went.
There were definitely tears in Cody’s eyes now. “And he said that he loved me.”
“And what did you say?”
“Goodbye.” Cody bit his bottom lip. “I didn’t tell him I loved him back. I should—I should have done that.”
“Yeah, bucko.” Jonah felt like his heart was splitting in half just listening to it secondhand. How much had it affected Garrett? And then sending a ship, and learning that his son had run away…
“But I wanted to be with you! I had to make sure you were safe!”
“And you know I always want you around, and I’m so happy to see you it hurts. But what hurts worse is knowin’ that your daddy—the one who helped me raise you, not the one who abandoned us when you were a baby and didn’t give a shit about either of us for years—knowin’ that he looked for you, and he couldn’t find you. And he was lookin’ for me, and he couldn’t find me. And then Miles was sent away, and so were the boys, and there was nothin’ he could do but keep working, all alone, and hope that all of us were still alive.” Jonah shook his head. “You think that felt good to him?”
Cody had a hand pressed to his eyes now. “No.”
“You think that maybe he’s the one who felt abandoned? You had Ten, you’ll probably always have Ten. I had Lacey, even when she wasn’t wakin’ up, and I had other people to handle after a while. Miles had Darrel and Grennson, but Claudia and the girls weren’t with Garrett. Wyl and Robbie weren’t with Garrett. Nobody was with him. Nobody’s with him now.
“And we still can’t raise the interstellar coms,” because it took a while to get the generators back up to full capacity, and coms for people who weren’t in charge were low on the list of priorities, “so he doesn’t know we’re okay. He doesn’t know we’re safe. He’s got a whole lotta nothin’ but hope and fear right now, and I hate that he’s got to deal with it alone.”
Cody’s shoulders were shaking with the force of his quiet sobs, and Jonah unfolded his arms with a sigh. “C’mere, bucko.” He held his son and kissed the top of his head and tried to make sense of everything he was feeling, the good and the bad. There was joy there, pure joy at having his boy with him and safe, at Lacey being fixed up, at the battle being won. But there was worry too, and sorrow, and anger, anger at circumstance and fate and even at his son, for leaving Garrett swinging like that. Jonah knew his husband, he knew him well, and if Garrett was getting through this completely fine then Jonah would eat his damn boots. “I love you. I know you thought you were doin’ the right thing, and who knows? Maybe that’s what it’ll turn out to be. But I wish you’d trusted your dad a little more.”
“He’s going—to be—so angry at me—”
“Nah, probably not.”
Cody shrugged helplessly. “Maybe he should be an-angry with—with me!”
“Maybe, but he won’t be. He’ll be happy you’re okay. And that I’m okay. And that’s all he’ll say about it, which is why I’m the one talkin’ to you right now, son.” Jonah pulled back just far enough to tip Cody’s chin up. “Because you’re part of a family, and it goes beyond you and me. Okay?”
“Good.” Jonah squeezed his kid tight again, then let him draw back. “How about we open the door before Ten decides to hack it, and you can tell me some more about your time on the ship. Did you remember much of it?”
“Not really.” He shrugged. “But Grandma was still a raging bitch.”
“Well, time can’t change everything.”