Spoilers: Up to S2 “Life Interrupted”
Warnings: For one swear word.
Summary: Tom short set "Life Interrupted". He has to get back. It doesn't matter what they think - he can't give up.
A/N: Betaread by Fanwoman.
On the day Diana had come to talk with him in the museum, he’d looked up and seen it in her eyes. To her, it was all so obvious, so easy to know what was smart – what was to be done or not. But she has always missed the point; she doesn't understand why it matters to him, what being stranded here means and why it’s so important he gets back. It's so like Diana to evaluate his reality with pros and cons weighed against each other. Of course his real life would come up wanting, but in this situation, simple good and bad aren’t the real determining factors.
Alana understands, but she no longer seems worried about getting back to how it was. She grieves for the old reality like she does for her family, her previous husband and son, but here, she has her “substitutes.” It’s a rather cruel reality, this new one they share, because he's sure she asks herself why whoever did this didn't just give her back the family she wants. Instead, she has him. It isn't right, but she accepts it all far more easily than he can. She doesn't search for answers; she just mourns what she's lost and tries to accept what she has. He thinks, sometimes, she's mainly bothered by the fact that she has a perfect life here, but it’s one in which she's missed most of what she wanted, like the memories that made it have been stolen away. She's happy enough to be here most days, but she wants it to be complete, to be immersed in it wholly so she can let go and move on.
He can't let go, even as he starts to move on with her, because it's not about how this reality makes him feel, better or not. It's about belonging, and he will always know he doesn't belong here. It's like he's invaded some other Tom Baldwin's life, lucky bastard that this one is, and he doesn't have a right to this. It's also about duty; he's getting away with being happy here, or would be if he let himself. There's this underlying guilt over that happiness because, wherever everyone else is, they need him, and maybe, just maybe, he needs them too, needs to fix things for them to ease his conscience.
This life is idyllic compared to what he used to have. Diana is right. Everyone is better off here, and that's half the reason he needs to get back. Kyle has a better life here, but what lingers on is the memory of his son, his sister and his nephews who have been through so much because of the 4400. The people here don't need him, but those others do and he doesn't want to abandon them. On the beach months ago, they'd told him, through Kyle, that he had to help the returnees. He can't do that here. Maybe the other reality doesn't exist any more, but he won't give up when it might still, when there's a chance they're looking for him, waiting for his return. He simply doesn't know, and he can't risk giving up. He can't have this good life at the cost of their ruined ones.
He can't live here; he simply carries on existing, waiting for the old to return, for him to wake up in the place he knows he should be. He never does. So he comes back, day after day, and hopes the door will appear and, through its darkness, reveal the secrets of what's going on, how he can get back to make things right. Alana wants to be complete. He wants the same...just not here.