The deep hollow of space stared back at her from the large window, swathed in white-chipped metal and chrome overlay. Penny bit her lip, wondering at the stars as they floated like tiny shards of glimmering glass, trying to push away the cavern in her chest, an open pit of useless despair that she could never quite push away. The dark feeling of never being enough pushed up from somewhere hollow inside, clawing at her insides, mind filled with Judy and Will and her perfect, impossible parents. It was odd, being in an exceptional family, filled with impossible achievements and an endless sheet of accomplishments when she was the odd one, the _normal_ amongst amazing and shining, and brilliance.
“Penny?” Twisting around, heart surging in her throat she bit down on her lower lip so hard Penny tasted the tangy bite of copper pool in her mouth. Blood.
Dammit she thought, spiteful of her own lacking self control, and utter obliviousness. She wasn’t safely swathed on earth. Her carelessness was going to get her killed, and maybe Vijay, or Will or Judy along with her if she wasn’t careful.
“Judy,” Penny Breathed, forcing a half hearted smile on her unwilling lips.
“Penny…” She drawled, voice threaded with sarcasm, her dark eyes laced with a worried sort of humor that set Penny’s teeth on edge.
A long moment of silence stretched between them, the kind of silence only space could achieve in its empty bleakness and suffocation from living, breathing, human life.
“Are you going to board?” Penny asked finally, picturing her Mother and Fathers faces when they saw then shattered ship that had appeared when they’d arrived, when all they had been expecting was the swath of a planet they were to call their new home, free of the toxic, dying earth that had been sucked dry from use and disaster. Alpha-Centauri, a fresh start, a new beginning. If they didn’t muck that up just like humans mad dashes to knit things back together and their desperation for a brighter future had done to earth.
“Yes, if for nothing else then to see what happened to him.”
“Ah huh,” Penny hummed, eyeing Judy, lips pressed in a contemplative line.
“Well then, we’ve got work to do and people to feed.” Judy said brightly, more to herself than Penny or any other being who happened to be in vicinity.
“And I suppose that you want me to sort it all out with Will so you can look into _that_.” Pointing a finger at the shattered ship, eyebrow crawling high on her forehead, Penny shoved away the stab of petty annoyance at Judy’s small nod.
“Fine, go look into the miraculous destruction floating outside our window.” Twisting she stalked to the hull of the ship, ignoring the chattering laughter as it echoed and weaved through the hallways.
A minuscule hand reached out, grasping at her pant leg with more force than Penny was expecting. She went crashing into the wall with a muttered curse and wince.
Twisting around, Penny rolled her ankle with another wince, finding a small, waif-like toddler staring up at her with wide, glass-like blue eyes and a pert little button nose.
“Aren’t you supposed to be with the other little ones?” Penny asked, single eyebrow raised, ruminating internally at how much she sounded like her mother.
Tilting her head the girl tapped a single finger to her cheek in a strange pattern that may have been a tempo if it had been an instrument.
“Aren’t you supposed to be watching us?” She asked, eyes wide, but painted with a childish insistence. Penny huffed a small, weary laugh. Biting the urge to cry. He parents were gone. Don was gone. Everything outside this small basin of humanity had vanished… maybe forever.
“I’ll tell you what kid,” she crouched down, ignoring the stab of pain leaking from her ankle. “When you can steer a ship and read Shakespeare, then I’ll let you _try_ and tell me where I should be…Mini-Oreo.
“Thats not my name.” She huffed, crossing her arms.
“Oh,” Penny murmured, ruffling her hair, “then what is?”
“Well Elizabeth you have a lovely name. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she teased, standing as a dizzying wave of pain crashed through her, tapering off into a dull throb that wouldn’t leave. Sucking in a sharp breath she closed her eyes for a long moment, praying that the pain would ebb away.
“Whats your name?” Elizabeth demanded.
Penny laughed heartily for a long moment, wondering at the stubborn tilt of the girls chin that seemed familiar and strange at the same time.
“Penny…” She hesitated, biting on the inside of her cheek. “Penny _Robinson_”
“You’re a Robinson?” Elizabeth breathed, awe glimmering like a painful stab in her eyes as Penny looked upon her.
“Don’t give me that look.” She breathed, trying to be humorous when all she really wanted to do was crawl away and pretend that her family wasn’t impossible and brilliant…at least not when she was so…Not. “I’m just like everyone else.” She muttered forcing a jagged smile on her unwilling lips.
“Oh,” Elizabeth whispered, disappointment fluttering across her small, elfin-like face.
A gurgle erupted in the strange silence that stretched out between Penny and Elizabeth, and another warm laugh bubbled in Pennys chest, like a warm ray of sunshine on a frigid winters day.
“Hungry are you?” She said between laughs. “Why don’t we go find out what’s for dinner _Mini-Oreo_?”
“I told you, thats not my name.” Elizabeth huffed, tugging at long lock of her hair. Biting her lip Elizabeth looked down the hall where the feint trickle of laugher and life echoed.
“Do you think they’ll have Oreos? I like them.” Voice high and light, like the clear note of a piano Elizabeth pressed her lips together tightly.
“You and me both.” Penny laughed, grasping Elizabeths hand and leading her closer to the noise, ignoring the way her ankle throbbed and twisted with pain.
As they turned around a corner Will rushed at her face pale and twisted with panic that sent a stab of worried fear through Penny chest. Coming to an abrupt halt her gulped air in his lungs, completely ignoring Elizabeth as she gripped Pennys hand tighter, body laced with a tense sort of fear.
“What is it?”
“The ship…Something strange is going on.”
“What kind of strange?” She murmured, brow climbing high, even as fear dug its claws deeper into her chest.
“We didn’t travel through space alone,” he whispered, looking like he was about to fall. “We traveled through time as well.”
A cacophony of fear, disbelief and a deep sense of panic erupted inside her.
Of course a Robinson would do the impossible once again. She thought, as another wave of pain erupted from her ankle and the world blurred from color to the welcoming arms of oblivion.
The last thing she head was the feint sound of Wills panicked shout: “Penny,” before the world went completely black.