Title: Matching
Author: marcicat

Fandom: Independence Day, Independence Day Resurgence
Rating: G

Characters: Jake Morrison, Charlie Miller, Rain Lao, Alicia Cade, Dylan Dubrow-Hiller
Wordcount: 1000

Summary: The matching t-shirts missing scene from 'Downtime Curve.'



*****
JAKE
*****

They split up after breakfast without any real plan. He caught Charlie on his way -- somewhere -- and said, "I'll be in the craft room."

"There's a craft room?"

He frowned. "Yeah." Of course there was a craft room.

Charlie opened his mouth like he was going to ask something else, but then he shook his head. "You know what, I don't want to know. Have fun."

It wasn't long before Rain showed up. "I know what you're doing," she said.

"Good. No surprises that way." He flipped the paper he'd been doodling on towards her. "Do you think the 2028 should go above, or below?"

Her eyebrows went up. "Below. I meant the shielding."

"Ah." He should have guessed Charlie would tell her about that. "That's really more of an -- unintentional side benefit." It wasn't like he did it on purpose, but he figured hanging out in the craft room would give anyone who could feel it an easy way to seek it out or avoid it, depending. Plus, he was meeting Alicia. She knew where the t-shirts were.

But it was Jamie who showed up next -- she stuck her head through the door and said, "Can I drop the twins off with you?"

"Sure. Everything okay?"

"Yeah, we're just tracking a couple of kids who've gone into the tunnels. With all the guests around, I'd feel better if they were with someone."

He was pretty sure Rain's eyebrows were going up again. What, he could be responsible.

"Send 'em in. I'll be here for a while."

Luckily, Alicia was right behind them, with an armload of t-shirts. "Oh good, you found helpers," she said.

(And they maybe got a little excited with the paints, but the overall result was nice. Colorful.)

"Can we keep them?" The twins kept switching seats. They were definitely doing it on purpose to see if he would be able to tell them apart. He couldn't.

He nodded. That was a way easier question than which twin was which. "Yes you can. Definitely. That'll be a collector's item someday; you better keep it."

"Can we wear them now?"

One of them had paint in their hair. How had they even managed that? He held up a hand. "Cleanup first, okay?"

No one argued, which probably said less about his leadership skills and more about the sheer quantity of paint they'd managed to get in places other than the actual shirts. Enthusiasm had definitely outstripped accuracy in a few places.

It was already warm enough outside that they could just open up the outside door and let the kids wash off their hands with the hose. (Which maybe led to a small water fight. Tiny, really. He made a note to himself to never be on the opposite side as Rain, ever.)

They did at least all have dry shirts to change into afterwards.

"Dylan's coming," Rain said, as she did some folding thing with her sleeves that made the shirt look about a hundred times more fancy.

"Really?"

Sure enough, he heard footsteps running in the hall, and then Dylan skidded to a stop with one hand on the door frame. He did a double-take at the shirts, but didn't say anything.

"Emergency?" Jake prompted. Something must have led to the running, right?

But Dylan shook his head. "No emergency. Just running late. Everyone's invited to the planetarium for a show."

The twins cheered. (He couldn't believe he knew about the craft room and not the planetarium.) "Do I need to tell Jamie?" he asked.

"She knows -- she's the one who sent me over."

That was enough for him. And the twins seemed to know where they were going, which was a bonus. One of them was even holding Rain's hand, although he thought it was a toss-up as to who was leading who.

He dropped back to walk next to Dylan. "Here, put yours on. There's one for all of us."

"You know Rain can't be the vice president, right?" Dylan said, but he put the shirt on anyway. He ran his fingers over the L in "Whitmore Lao 2028." (Year on the bottom, as requested.) "That's not likely to change in the next twelve years."

He frowned. Sometimes he wasn't sure how Dylan could be so perceptive about some things and completely oblivious to others. "Of course not. Plus it would be incredibly rude to Charlie, who we promised the position to ages ago. Were you not there for that? Charlie took Rain's last name when they got married."

Dylan almost tripped over nothing, and he looked a little stressed, but he gamely said, "Right. Of course." Then he sighed. "Is there a group text I'm not part of? Do you talk about these things when I'm not around? Why don't I ever know what's happening with you?"

"Well, the married thing I was deliberately not telling you, because it was funny. Was there more than that?"

"Yes. No -- I don't know."

"Dylan." He stopped, and put his hand on Dylan's arm. He wasn't sure whether he should be aiming for serious or joking, and it probably wound up somewhere in the middle. "Being part of something doesn't just happen. You choose it, and you work for it. Sometimes you have to talk about it."

Then he made a face, just to see if Dylan would give him the disapproving eyebrows. "Weren't you the one giving me this talk ten years ago?"

Dylan frowned. "Maybe. Since when are you Mr. Talks Things Through?"

"You can't think of anything that's happened recently that might cause a change in perspective? Patty can't be the only one who's trying to make this work."

"This, as in us?" Dylan said.

"This us, this -- all of this." He waved his hand around. "This." He patted the names on Dylan's shirt. "Take your pick."

Dylan took a deep breath. "How about all of them."

"Yeah?"

Dylan bumped their shoulders together. "Yeah."

"Patty will be glad to hear it." He looked sideways at him. "So am I."

"We should catch up to the others."

The hallway in front of them was empty. "Do you even know where we're going?"

"...Maybe?"

He laughed. That sounded just about right. "Well, go on, then. Let's do this."


**end**

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