||[Sep. 12th, 2006|09:13 pm]
Minutes out of Hours
Title: Over Now|
Pairing: Jack / Nina
Disclaimer: Not mine
he nods impatiently, already weary of this age old process of identifying hostiles. his mind is somewhat immune to the not quite dry specks of blood decorating some faces, and the exit holes protruding from some foreheads – sights that would have sent other people running to be sick. it’s a part of the job, he’s told himself, but on some level he knows it’s not true. it’s part of him.
at last they finish, and he shakes hands politely, desperate to get away. The agents leave the morgue and he prepares to follow them when a tag on a closed body-bag catches his eye. he stops, and for a moment his mind blanks. he knows it’s real, he pulled the trigger, but somehow he has to make sure.
with an awkward request to the technician, he’s alone and hesitates before unzipping the bag. sucking in a breath, he’s greeted with a face that’s haunted his mind for so long – a face that he can’t even imagine without being bombarded by countless questions, emotions, and memories. yet it’s not her – she was always alive. if there was one thing he knew she was, it was alive.
he touches her face with a trembling finger, tracing from her hairline to jawbone, smoothing over her already graying skin. it shakes him to see how peaceful she looks, how undisturbed – even in sleep she had always looked guarded to a point of puzzlement. When they had dated he wondered if dreams haunted her as frequently as they did him, but as time went on and secrets were revealed, he realized that she was just always on alert. he had, to a point, admired her for it – in a twisted way, he had admired her for a lot, not that he had ever admitted it to himself. now, though, it seems okay – now that she’s gone.
his thumb brushes over her eyelid and he gives a mental thanks that they aren’t open. it would have been harder than anything, to see her eyes – they had always held such a depth of enticement, mystery, and seeing them blank was a terrifying thought. even when she was working against him, when they were entangled in a deadly snare, dancing around each other in circles he had known that the calculation he saw in her eyes could eventually lead to a misstep on her part. that was one of the countless ways they differed – he acted in the moment, whereas she was always planning several steps ahead. maybe that’s why she lost, in the end – she was always too busy planning her strategy to actually focus on the game.
it dimly surprises him that he’s crying. he shouldn’t be, by every logic in the world, but they had never been logical. there was nothing logical about how she had betrayed him. there was nothing logical about why he didn’t kill her. nothing logical about why she killed teri. nothing logical about why she continued to show up in his life, nothing logical about why he thought of her, nothing even remotely sensible about why she had kissed him and he had kissed her back. in the end, the only logical thing was ending the chaos, but now there was nothing logical about him mourning her.
would she mourn him if they had been in different places? would she stand over his body, doubtlessly riddled with bullets, and shed a tear for him? he didn’t think that he could picture it, but he had never been able to figure her out. nothing could surprise him anymore, not about her.
smoothing her hair away from her face, pretending that she’s not cold, pretending that her skin is as warm and soft as it once was. pretending that she’s not dead. pretending that she didn’t kill teri. pretending that she hadn’t betrayed him. pretending that it’s just the two of them, he grasps her hand and clutches her fingers, knowing that she won’t squeeze back. and he dies, just a little bit more.
composing himself, he releases her hand and runs his fingers through her hair one final time. without thinking, he places a kiss on her forehead, knowing that at last she won’t be able to use it against him. it’s wrong in every way, but at this moment he knows it’s right.
one final look at her face before pulling the zipper back up, taking care not to catch a stray strand of hair in it. he wipes his face with the back of his hand before allowing the mask to slide effortlessly back into place, an art perfected by practice. with a deep breath he leaves the room, forcing himself not to look back.
bang. bang. bang. now it’s over.