Hey guys! Here's a story I wrote as part of a club on Amino. It's definitely a new type of story for me (non-linear, constant time-jumps, side character, journal-style, etc) but I actually enjoyed it a lot! I don't know that I'd be too interested in doing more of it (I'm pretty attached to my hurt/comfort formula), but it was a definitely interesting experience!

The club event thing was to write about an OC the club made together, but the wonderful leaders of the club made an exception for me, since I didn't feel comfortable that I could write for the OC they made. The modified challenge they gave me instead was to write around 1000 words about a side character. I eventually settled on Colleen cause that awesome mom doesn't get enough love. Also, y'all know me and my love of the Holts and angst... It felt like the obvious choice. That being said, I apologize if she seems OOC. I didn't have time to re-binge all the scenes she's in as I normally would. Hopefully it's not too bad.

Warning: References to Canonical Assumed Deaths, Angst, Unhappy Ending (though if you know canon, you know everything works out)

Notes/Explanation on the story at the bottom!

Edit: This story has been revised. (:

Day 1:

Alright, Sam, you'd better be grateful for this. I don't even know what to write in here.

I am not a journalist, nor do I intend to become one, but against my better judgement, I agreed to do this with you, so here I am. Today has been fairly typical, though it's a lot quieter without the kids' constant banter and your terrible jokes. Katie seems to be doing fine, though if she wasn't, I doubt I'd be able to tell already. I know she's going to miss you and Matt a lot though. Hopefully, once school starts, she'll be able to make some new friends and relax every once in a while. Right now, she spends her entire day studying for the Garrison precursory exam. Kind of reminds me of another kid I know. Looking at Matt and Katie, I honestly don't know what happened. Regardless of how not cut out to be a mother I am, we ended up with a couple of really great kids. I'm sure both of them and their future accomplishments will outshine ours by gigawatts.

Geez, I'm already sounding like an old lady scrapbooking about her grandkids. If you come home and my hair's gone grey, just know it's all you and your little journaling idea's fault.

Day 24:

Wow, time flies by when you're only cooking for two. While Katie may be the pickier eater, I can finally make meals of reasonable quantity without two bottomless stomachs in the equation. I hope you are doing well.

That's a stupid thing to write. You aren't going to read this until you get home and I seriously doubt you'll remember how you were feeling in this exact moment.

Katie just started school and it's already obvious that she's breezing through her classes. Even with the skipped grades, she's too smart for the rest of the kids, just like Matt. She's constantly tinkering in her room with electronics and, if she decides against the Garrison, I see lots of potential for engineering. I say "decides" because there's no question that our daughter is going to get in but I try not to say it around her. Don't want her getting an even bigger head. I am hoping this will open some opportunities for socialising, though. There's a robotics club at school and I just know that she would blow them away if I could convince her to sign up.

I'm still new to this journaling thing, but I feel like I'm getting better. You better not have skipped any days once you get home. I will be checking.

Day 68:

Samuel Harold Holt, I cannot believe what I found in my daughter's room this morning.

A copy of our old computer science textbook.

Now, maybe it could have been a coincidence that she just happened to be reading the same textbook that we used to send each other coded messages from, but based on the scribbled notes and translations in the textbook I found next to it, I'm guessing that's not the case.

Based on the content of the messages I found (and the amount of casual cursing in Pidge's responses), it's Matt who's actually sending the messages, but that doesn't mean you're off the hook. In fact, that means you probably taught Matt how to do that during one of your trial missions. Which means, not only are you encouraging our children to break the law, but you also didn't think to tell me so we didn't have to do this stupid journal thing. I have half a mind to stop these right now, but I made a promise, and I always keep my promises. I'm not going to tell Pidge that I found it or ask her to stop, though. It's obvious she misses her brother and she still doesn't know many kids at school, but this is the only exception and I promise that I will kick your butt for this once you get home.

Day 241:

You were on the news a couple of days ago. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. They didn't even call to tell us personally until several days later, the bastards.

I honestly don't know what to write. I know I missed a few days, but every time I sat down to write, I remembered that you wouldn't ever be coming home to read this and I just... couldn't.

Katie isn't taking it well. She shuts herself up in her room all the time and barely even touches her food at dinner. The few times I do see her, she's overwhelmed with grief and anger.

She thinks you're still alive, you know. And I think maybe a part of me does, too. I mean, why would I even be writing in this stupid journal if I didn't?

It may not be healthy, but I can't bring myself to tell Katie otherwise. How could I, when I can't even get myself to believe it?

For now it's not hurting anyone, so I'm going to keep writing in this stupid journal so that you have to come home.

Day 262:

I should have talked to her. Katie's been put on a restraining order by Iverson for breaking into the Garrison. Not only are her dreams of becoming like you crushed, not that I'd be eager to send another kid into space, but she's also just gotten angrier. I've tried to talk to her more. About the fact that we can't count on you and Matt coming back. About how it isn't giving up on you to keep living, but she won't hear any of it.

Probably because she sees completely through my lie.

I'm just quoting what I've heard in TV shows when someone lost someone, but they have it completely wrong. No show ever really captures the utter torture of losing your husband and son at the same time without even bodies to bury.

But I can't worry about how I'm dealing now. I have a struggling daughter and I'm honestly worried that if I don't get through to her, I'm going to lose her too.

Day 285:

She's gone.

I can't find her anywhere. No one has seen her. Apparently, she hasn't even been going to school the last few days. What kind of parent does that make me to not have noticed? The police haven't found anything either. The days keep ticking by, and every day, I'm getting more and more worried about what they might find. What if she got mixed up with some drug dealer? I never would have thought Katie would even consider it, but she's isolated herself from me so much in the last few months that I don't know what to think anymore.

I don't know why I'm still writing in here. You and Matt are gone and my inability to see that has put our daughter in danger. I can't lose the last piece of family I have.

Day 301:

My nightmares became reality this morning.

I saw Katie's face on the news, just like yours and Matt's. I don't even know why the TV was on that channel. I've rarely watched the news since the day I found out about the crash.

She cut her hair. I've always thought our kids looked similar, but seeing Katie with Matt's hair length and in that all-too-familiar cadet uniform was uncanny. At first I thought I was having some type of episode.

I'm still piecing together what happened exactly, but I know she would have wanted me to at least try to figure it out. She certainly tried for you.

I think that's what led to this, actually. Her picture was labeled "Pidge Gunderson," the communications cadet. I should have known that she wasn't going to just give up because of some restraining order. Maybe if I had thought about it harder, I could have found her sooner. I could have prevented this.

She wasn't in space when it happened, but it still feels unreal. Once again, I'm left with no body to bury. The strange comet I was so fascinated with just the other day crashed right into her and two other students. Figures that just as I allow myself to regain some interest in life, it's that same object of interest that takes away the life of our daughter.

This will be my last journal entry. There's no one left to write about and no one left to read it. I've never been a believer in the afterlife, but I hope that there is one, so I can tell you how sorry I am. My own self-absorption cost the life of our daughter and I will never be able to forgive myself for that. I never was cut out for being a mother. I'm sorry I ever let myself believe I was.

Explanation: Alright, so this is a slighty au scenario (though I think canon compliant for the most part) where Colleen and Sam made a deal to keep journals every day while on the mission, so the other knows exactly what happened while they were gone (and so neither parent misses a year of one of their kids' life).

After this story, I honestly do think that Colleen does regain faith that her husband and son are possibly alive. Once she loses trust in the Garrison, she also starts wondering about Pidge. Colleen was simply at an extremely low and despairing place when writing the final entry, which is why it depicts her as having no hope.

In this little journal au thing, I'd headcanon that Colleen never wrote in that journal again because she started a new one after deciding to look more into the Kerberos mission. This journal is kept under her bed and kept for the sole purpose of fulfilling her promise and to let Sam read it once she brings him home. Maybe, one day post-war, Pidge will stumble upon it and talk to her about that time and clear up any residual guilt. All that being said, the ending is open to whatever interpretation you feel is best.

Anyway, rant over. Thanks for reading and giving this story a chance! With it being a style I'm not used to, I would love to hear any comments or feedback you have on this if you have a minute! Also, just cause reviews make me smile. (;

Have a fantastical day all you lovelies!