Gordon blinked as a drop of oil fell on his face. Pulling on the wrench harder, he pulled loose the broken cable underneath the dusty old helicopter.

The repairs were going as well as they'd hoped. He couldn't do much by himself- Alyx was the one who knew how to fix it. Gordon was around basically to wrench things loose that she couldn't herself, and play assistant.

It was a nice change, to go from shooting down zombies and running for your life, to screwing wires into a helicopter door. The gash on his head healed well, and so did his leg, with a few extra shots from the nurse.

Nadia hung around the helicopter bay most of the time, batting at dust motes and mostly staying out from underneath their feet. Barney came around sometimes to help, but a new pile of men and women had joined the Resistance at White Forest, and he brought it upon himself to teach them firearm combat.

Eli, Kleiner, and Magnusson continued in their studies, and sometimes Gordon got the chance to join them. It started feeling a bit more like Black Mesa than he was comfortable with.

Kleiner, however, hadn't seen his pet headcrab since the portal had been neutralized. Oftentimes he could be found seeking her out, shining a flashlight into ducts- even inviting Gordon to climb through them and seek her out, to which he flat-out refused.

It was funny, how things seemed to right themselves even after so many things had fallen apart. Gordon began to feel like he belonged here, in White Forest, fixing helicopters and arguing with Eli and playing poker with Barney.

It was an odd feeling, but not an unwelcome one.

One morning, something seemed amiss to the physicist. Nadia wasn't acting much like herself. She hadn't eaten when Gordon had offered her breakfast, and she'd never flat-out refused food. Worry turned his veins a few degrees colder.

He went to the mess hall to find his friends.

"She's not eating," Gordon said to them, as if it explained it all.


"Nadia. She won't eat."

Barney looked up from the table. "Gordon, it's a cat. Cats are finicky."

"But she loves eggs."

Alyx looked over. "Is she sick?"

"I dunno. Come and see."

Nadia was lying on her side when Gordon got back to his room, breathing heavily.

"That's new," he said, worry glazing his tone.

Alyx knelt down and ran her hand over the cat's head. "Gordon, I don't know what's wrong with her. Did she fall down? Maybe Lamarr-"

"I haven't seen Lamarr since the rocket launched. Anyways, how could that headcrab get in here?"

"I don't know." She was running her hands down the cat's side. "She seems bloated, but I can't find any wounds."

"Maybe she got into something poisonous."

While they were discussing the problem, Nadia lurched to her feet and, with great difficulty, climbed onto Gordon's cot. There, she lay back down again, breath huffing quickly through her lungs.

Alyx sat down on the edge of the bed. "I don't know, Gordon. I don't know."

He sighed, and rubbed his forehead with the back of his hand. "It's alright. I probably shouldn't have..." he trailed off.

"Gotten attached," Alyx finished for him.

"Yeah." He looked away. "If she's dying, I don't want her to die alone. I'll stay with her."

"Alright." Alyx got up, and gave him a quick hug. "I'm just down the hall, if you need me."

The door shut with a disconnected click.

Four hours later, she was startled awake by a sudden knock on the door of her own quarters. She climbed into her clothes and opened it.

There was Gordon, standing there, breathless.

"Kittens," he said.

And that did explain it all.

There were five- two piebald, two black, and one calico like Nadia herself. She'd birthed them right on Gordon's cot while he snoozed next to it against the wall.

She groomed them and let them feed, while Resistance members came to visit something they'd only heard stories of for the last twenty years. However, she would let no-one but Gordon handle the little babies, and anyone else who came too close she would scratch and growl at threateningly.

The repairs on the helicopter were well underway. Soon, it would be ready to take off, and Gordon would have to leave the kittens and their mother behind at the base.

In the end, it was Barney who took the cat and her kittens- afterward receiving several violent threats upon his health if anything were to happen to her or them.

"Take good care of my cat. I'm counting on you," Gordon said, making sure his HEV suit was in good order as he slipped it on.

"Don't worry, buddy. I'm good with pets."

"Trust me, she's an independent creature. She can take care of herself. Just make sure nothing happens to her."

"I know, I know."

Gordon scratched his cat's ears one last time before taking up his crowbar and hurrying to meet Alyx at the helipad.


(A/N: Well, that's it for now. Me and my short chapters. They sure did spend a lot of time in White Forest... yes, the story ended just before the very last scene of Episode Two [those who have finished the game know what I'm talking about]. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to review my fic. This is one of the first I've ever posted on this site, and I hope you liked it. I sure liked writing it. Also, possible sequel? What do you think?)