Written by Ananke Powell
Based on some situations originated by James Cameron.
The morning of April the eighteenth had been bathed in rain.
Tired, cold, faintly bewildered, Rose Dawson had stared up at the statue. Lady Liberty, some called her. It was hypnotic, almost, and though she had known she should move on...get in out of the rain this instant, Rose, before you ruin that gown and catch your death of cold...she simply hadn't wanted to, hadn't been able to bear the thought of going to the Carpathia's first class havens or the steerage decks. First class would have only brought Mother and Cal, and she had vowed, with her soul, that they would never see her again. Steerage had perhaps been the better option, but her initial sweep had not revealed a Tommy Ryan or Fabrizio di Rossi or Cora Cartmell and she hadn't expected a second to. Yet...it had, ostensibly, miraculously. Fabrizio di Rossi had survived, the first ray of sunlight in a universe of threatening storm.
She had discovered the diamond in the coat pocket, of course, and had marveled at her own luck and Cal's decided misfortune. He would be able to claim the insurance money, more than likely, and had money enough to replace the lost cash, but the loss of it...that alone would be grating. Mr. Hockley abhorred losing, and he had lost, in every way possible...his fiancée, his money, his jewel, his reputation...
Why, then, had her victory been so very hollow?
Three years later, another anniversary had come, the morning of April the eighteenth, and the Atlantic horizon had shone against the sky.
She and Fabrizio had argued then, their first real disagreement in their three years of desperate friendship. It had, she realized, been the first sign that they were no longer so needy that they feared being alone.
Fabrizio had been frustrated, propping an arm against the door of the modest flat they shared. "It's not about your skill or not as a person or a journalist, Rosie, it's just..."
He had paused, shrugging. "I told you to take that suffragette story for the paper last month. You could've stirred 'em up."
"I didn't want a suffragette story. I'm suffered enough without a group rally of women who wave their parasols in outrage for an hour in the morning and return home promptly at noon to fix dinner for their husbands. What I want is a war story."
"Rose, we just don't send female reporters overseas...even if I could, I doubt you'd make it very far. Women aren't wanted on a battlefield, capabilities aside."
Of course, of course, she had thought impatiently, out of one lifestyle of restriction and into the throes of another.
"Rosie." The voice had been cutting, kindly, reflecting both the knowledge he had picked up in three years as a newsman and the exhaustion of the struggle in getting there. "Why not just go back to wherever it is you came from? Haven't you tired of proving the universe right yet?"
She had packed wordlessly.
Five years later, another anniversary, the morning of April the eighteenth, and Lady Liberty had still stood her sentinel.
Rose Dawson had stood her sentinel as well, met the memory unflinchingly. Let it rain, she had thought wistfully, stepping backward slightly. The arms that caught her had been warm, protective, and she had closed her eyes, allowing the grief free reign momentarily.
...you're gonna get out of here, Rose, you're gonna go on, and make lots of babies, and watch them grow...you're gonna die an old, old lady, warm in her bed...not here, not this night...do you understand me, Rose...
"To l'America. To destiny. To Jack." The voice in her ear had been soft, shared regret, shared hope and remembrance.
Smiling slightly, she had gently disengaged from his embrace, taking an arm instead. "You didn't have to come with me."
"Oh, I did." He shook his head, dark hair tangling against his eyes. "I was always drawn here, to America. Now the statue, it seems more special than before...only luck got me here, right?"
"It got us here." Glancing up, she absently brushed the hair back, fingers lingering briefly.
He sighed, sweeping a blanket around her shoulders and gripping a hand. "Rosie."
"No...it's...I'm fine. Let's leave. We've said our good-byes, haven't we?"
He'd only nodded slowly, indulgently, and sighed as they walked away together.
It was the mornings, the April mornings, like those, when Rose wondered if good-byes had been made at all. She didn't consider herself an overly morbid person...in fact, the better part of a decade had been almost wholly dedicated to accepting, if not forgetting, Titanic. The cries for rescue. Jack Dawson.
The first few years on her own had been hard...but she'd pulled through, survived, become an actress and an artist. She hadn't looked back. Then had come the Great War, the nursing, the attempts at unauthorized war correspondence, against poor Fabrizio's best efforts to stop her. It had been Titanic, in a way, on a global scale. The sinking of the Lusitania had played a part, a terrible part, in America's involvement. The Britannic had been sunk. She hadn't looked back, had given her share, become a nurse, an undercover newsie, gone overseas, to Italy. Boys had passed through her arms, wisps of men, with Jack Dawson's laugh and Jack Dawson's concealed cynicism, and more of those same boys had died in her arms, their blood passing through her fingers, on foreign soil.
She hadn't looked back, and when she had finally returned home, wearily, it had been at Fabrizio di Rossi's side. That, however, had been more than two years ago, and...
Falling comfortably into the niche of Fabrizio's arm and pulling the picnic blanket over them both, she sighed. Undoubtedly, the April mornings and the anniversaries were the hardest. They had become adept at this, memorializing the day together, or apart, wherever the wind had them at the moment. This day, it was Chippewa Falls, a grassy glade, just beyond the horizon of the old Dawson place.
Propping up on an arm, she stared at the Italian beside her, watching him silently as he began to stir. So strong, but scarred...that boiler from Titanic hadn't killed him, but it had hurt. Fabrizio di Rossi hadn't been the same since Jack Dawson's death either, but he had been a good friend, a good soldier, very good at moving past wounds and picking sunshine out of storms. Her best times had, really, been with him. She wasn't wholly certain why it hadn't gone past friendship...Jack, perhaps. Fear, perhaps even more. They had both lost too much to risk losing again...yet. Someday, maybe. Maybe him, maybe her. Or not.
In the meantime, she had to find a way to break the latest Rose Dawson news bulletin to him. He'd been wanting a joint newspaper project hereabouts for months...tired of traveling, of wandering. She understood, but wasn't entirely certain she was ready to do the same, settle into small town life and work. She'd always wanted to act, to travel, and, truthfully, with thirty fast approaching, she didn't think she had much time left to pursue that particular dream. Coney Island had been for Jack, as had bareback riding...but the acting was her own dream.
His voice interrupted her reverie as he sat up, shucking the blanket, squinting around. "We made it an all-nighter, didn't we? Rose, y'should've woken me. It isn't safe to sleep in the woods these days."
"After running a German gauntlet, you're telling me we ought to be afraid of road thieves?"
He grinned. "Point taken. You do swing a mean blow."
"All of that seems a lifetime ago." Not just the war, those crazy, terrified nights of nursing and interviewing and running, sometimes staring the enemy in the eyes, never knowing whether the next bullet or blast would choose you or them...no, that had been hell, but it wasn't all she felt disconnected from. There had been the sinking ship of dreams, and running from Lovejoy, and the poor, frightened porter she had nearly knocked over in her desperation to free Jack...
Fabrizio stood, offering a hand, and they walked back towards the car together. "We should start that newspaper out here, Rose. Good land, good people. No big city mess."
Sighing, she stared at the sunrise before them, weighing her words carefully. "Actually, I've been considering an offer in California. Acting. No big movie reels, of course, just small projects and theater. It'll all be headed by a man named Calvert."
Though brief disappointment flared in the warm brown eyes, he masked it quickly, voice amiable, interested. "You've never accepted any long-term commitments yet."
"He's a very persuasive man."
"Or you've just finally begun to get over Jack, really."
"Perhaps both." Reaching over, she touched his shoulder as the car started up. "You could still have your newspaper. Give me some gratuitous spotlight."
"Maybe." He flashed a faint smile. "I'd rather do it with you, but...we've never been very good at staying in one place together, have we?"
"We'll always be tumbleweeds, Fabri."
"On the wind, si." Squeezing her arm briefly, he sighed, eyes reflecting memory and faint, amused appreciation of the Dawson rejoinder.
They drove off wordlessly.