This Is My Future (Jiskastya X LaShana)
Alexander Personne's hands were clasped loosely in his lap as the airplane began its final descent and the comm system crackled into life, thanking its patrons, first in English and then in Russian, for choosing Aeroflot for their flying needs. He let out a small sigh, and watched the plane steadily drift closer to the runway.
He was home, but of all the dangers he had faced in his last six years away, none seemed quite so great as seeing his family again, to have to look them in the eyes and lie, say that he was alright, say that he was glad to be home, subtly shift their probing inquiries over what had happened to him to a more harmless subject. His fists clenched, and the corded muscles in his shoulders and arms stood out in relief under his plain white t-shirt.
He had cut his sandy blonde hair before boarding the plane, chopped it back to a loose, slightly shaggy wave, and had shaved, so that when he disembarked after the thirty hour flight he might almost look like he had when he left them, still young and fresh at 18. Only his deep green eyes would show the changes that had passed, for they held a depth and a sorrow that would stun even the lightest of souls.
But, as the wheels bounced off of the hard runway Lex closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths. When his eyes opened again they sparkled, showing nothing more than an all consuming pleasure to be home. It was a mask that he would have to learn to wear comfortably, and have to learn how to put on a lot quicker, as well. He let out a soft laugh. He had made it through his crucible, but that didn't mean his life would be easy now.
At least first class had ensured that he would be one of the first ones out of the plane. He pulled the small pack that he had carried-on out from under the seat in front of him, and stepped out in the aisle, steps brisk and eager. He was the third one out of the gate, and then he paused.
He was about to see his family for the first time in six years. With one last deep breath the mask fixed firmly on his face, and a smile crept across his lips. It was time to go home.
When Marylin first got the phone call, she had thought it was some sort of cruel prank. Richard was at work, Jenna at school, so there was no one there to catch her when she fainted. She woke up seconds later to a worried voice over the phone, asking if she was still there. She had replied shakily that she was.
Her son. Her son was alive. For many minutes after she had hung up with the news that Alexander had stumbled his way into a small city in southeast Russia all she could do was stare blankly at the phone. He was alive.
The whole family was gathered in less than an hour, Jenna pulled out of school for the rest of the week, and Richard postponing everything at work, no matter the urgency, something that he had not done since their son had disappeared, been reported MIA, along with the rest of his squad. But none of that mattered anymore. Their son was coming home.
It was an incredibly stressful week as they waited for Alexander to get transportation to Novosibirsk, and then get him put on the first plane to Red Tree that the family could get their hands on. But, eight days, many phone calls, and some sums of money later, Lex was on his way, and everyone was sitting silently in the car, trying to figure out exactly how this was going to work.
He had been dead. There had been little doubt in their minds of that anymore. The army had told them that they hadn't found a body of anyone in the squad, so their best guess was that he had gotten taken as a prisoner of war. But as the years went by and the war came to an end, and Alexander still didn't return home, they had given up. They had held a private and painful funeral, the only way they could find to let go.
Marylin also didn't allow herself to think of something that her psychiatrist had said, when she had gone in for a very short visit to report her son's reappearance. She didn't let herself think about his haunting words. The Alexander they found in the wilderness of Russia will not be the same Alexander that left to fight for his country all those years ago. He was her son. None of that mattered.
The airport hummed with a certain sort of impatient business, but Marylin seemed beyond it all. She moved like a sleepwalker through the crowds, passing through security without a sideways glance. They let her go, but confronted her husband slightly. They let him pass moments later, however, and the tree walked on towards Lex's gate, Marylin leading and seeming to barely recognize where she was going, Richard following along behind, with Jenna close by his side. One of her hands rested lightly on her father's arms, and her eyes darted about, but mostly she focused on the back of her mother's head.
They arrived at the gate half an hour before disembark, and they waited with the same sort of pent up energy that comes only under extreme stress. Marylin tried to sit, but less than five minutes later she was up again, pacing back and forth. Richard almost tried to get her to sit down again, but he left her be, realizing that his wife was coping with the wait in the only way she would be able.
He was the third person out of the gate, and there was no mistaking him. He was darker, thinner, his face drawn, but Marylin knew that she would have recognized him no matter how many years had passed. She glided towards him, tears spilling from her eyes in waves, and then she was running. She threw her arms around him, bawling, hugging his lean, corded form tight into her small body. He tensed for a moment, then relaxed, allowing his arms to come up and wrap around her shoulders. It took Marylin several minutes to finally be able to release her son, to be certain that he wasn't going to disappear as soon as she let him go. She pulled back a little, sniffling, eyes red and tears still cursing down her cheeks.
"I'm so glad that you are home." she whispered.
"Me too, mom. Me too."