Shawna (longerthanwedo) wrote,

fic (teen wolf): reactionless drive

Title: Reactionless Drive
Rating: PG-13 (gen)
Warnings: Spoilers for 3B, canon character death
Word Count: 929

For beacon_hills "All Troped Up" challenge. I just took the Reactionless Drive trope as a metaphor and ran with it.

Picture this: the sparkler stream from a rocket’s tail flickers with the brightest supernatural orange flame you’ve ever seen. It lights up the whole goddamn world and it’s the color Scott’s eyes used to be plus crimson at the center; fitting. (Allison’s lips are tacky-red until the last moment, but Scott can’t think about that.)

So the rocket’s tail lights up the whole town, burning brighter than any so-called beacon ever has, but no one looks at the town; no one looks at what’s left behind. Everyone just looks at the sky as the spaceship burns up, up, up. All their faces are turned when the reaction from the launch burns the town away in a second, the same split-second it took for that sword to pierce Allison’s most vital organ.

(That’s how long it took, a second split in two, though she lay there in his arms for hours).


There’s a kind of stasis that happens after her last breath is pushed painfully into the air. Scott, though everything around him is moving and terribly sharp, sits still by her side forever. He sits there and rocks dig into his knees under their combined (dead) weight, and it feels like he stays for longer than he’s even known her, just stays there holding her for two, three years, with a bloody sword on the ground and nowhere to go.


If spaceships moved as fast in real life as they do in the movies, and if they carried as much life, then the force needed to get them up and keep them moving would destroy the area immediately below. Imagine looking down and your arms have crumbled and you’ve got no legs and you’re just lying in a crater where the ground used to be and her body is gone, too, that’s the good part. She burned up and took you with her because you never, never wanted to be left behind.

(Left behind.)


Lydia is now completely alone, which is alright because she’s used to it. But Allison was the catalyst to Lydia’s most human moments, her most grounded moments, and Allison would grab her hand when it got scary and never asked for anything but the same. It’s funny because Allison was more human than Lydia has ever been, but she was this finely-tuned, almost-supernatural force; not quite un-corruptible, but close. She kept Lydia’s sprawling, unchecked energy from consuming her. She could always, always find a target and she could always – if she let herself go – hit it.

It’s funny because every action creates a reaction force, equal and opposite, so Allison sucks in a last breath (not the shakiest of her life, certainly, but the most consequential) and Lydia’s lungs absolutely and completely collapse.


Reactionless drive was invented by the writers of the unreal to spare those left on earth the destruction of a speeding-bullet, life’s-blood, new-chapter-in-history ship. In real life, spaceships have no room for human life (fuel, yes, but the fuel of this town’s fire has never been human life). In real life, spaceships are tethered, have a home, a constant supply of energy. They are not free-floating. They are not limitless.


(This was always going to happen. This was the easiest way out. The way no one thought was possible, and yet. And yet.)


In real life, spaceships move slowly. They are not glamorous. A speeding bullet is faster, in real life. In real life, a sword in the hands of evil is faster. In real life, a spaceship will destroy nothing.

Allison’s death does not destroy. A cruel lack of destruction, actually, is what happens. A fucking triumph is what happens, and that’s the real tragedy of it. Chaos, strife, pain: all defeated. Every action causes and equal and opposite reaction – that’s the dagger-point truth. Allison’s death was terrible and it cancelled out everything. Centuries-old, smoke-walking evil couldn’t survive her death, but everything else did. Chris did. Scott did. Lydia, Isaac, Stiles did. Even Kate did.


The way water in a balloon holds its shape after its shell is gone, the earth holds the imprint of a spaceship’s velocity. The slower the motion, the longer the water seems undisturbed. The slower a departure, the less destruction happens on earth. And yet.


Stiles can’t sleep with clothes on anymore because the neck of his shirt will wrap bandage-tight around him in the night, and when Scott slips into his bed three days after and raises his eyebrow, Stiles just shudders and Scott leaves his boxers on and says she never wore clothes to bed either and that’s the end of that.

Isaac is driven away, finally, by all the tragedy packed airtight into that tiny little town. He leaves, a split-second decision, and he goes with Chris just to make sure that he doesn’t forget what happened to her.

(Like anyone ever could.)

Scott can hardly feel the full moon these days, and Lydia will never be as human as she once was.


Picture this: the brightest flame you’ve ever seen burns out. Reactionless drive doesn’t exist. Your spaceship tries to leave earth with ten-thousand people at ten-times the speed it should be going and everyone thinks that nothing will happen. No one expects the blast because it’s invisible. The yellow-orange rocket’s tail is up, up, up and away and it’s out of sight, out of mind. But suddenly, in one split second, you’ve got no legs and no arms and something amazing is gone and you (and everyone around you) is left behind.
Tags: tv: teen wolf, writing: fanfiction
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