Rating: Teen
Flavor: Drama, Angst
Language: some
Violence: none
Nudity: implied (m)
Sex: none
Other: none

Author's Note:

This is a 'missing scene' from 3.12 "Uprising." After Malcolm confronts Daniel Brickwell, he goes to see Thea. When he arrives in her apartment, he's looking a lot neater and cleaner than he was when he left the streets. Plus, I think this is a crucial turning point for Malcolm. Everything hinges on this transition.

For the long version of the story of how this came to be, see my (not so) Live Journal pages.

The cleanest I've been
An end to the tears
And the in-between years
And the troubles I've seen

Now that I'm clean
You know what I mean
I've broken my fall
Put an end to it all
I've changed my routine
Now I'm clean

- Depeche Mode "Clean"



Malcolm stripped out of the heavy leather and cloth of his assassin gear. He needed to see Thea, but not like this, not reeking of sweat and street grime. He stepped under the hot spray of the shower.

The water pelted his skin like tiny hot needles. He ducked his head, letting it enfold him, letting it wash away his sins. He shivered and leaned his hands on the wall. So cold. He'd felt so cold for so long, he didn't even realize it.

It's over.

He trembled again as another wave of emotion overwhelmed him. He'd been so angry, burning with incandescent fury at the man responsible for killing his Rebecca. For snuffing out the life of a beautiful, caring, loving woman with no remorse, no rhyme or reason. Just brutally relishing the act. A sob wracked his body.

Daniel Brickwell didn't deserve to live. But Malcolm knew that killing such a soulless creature would achieve nothing. He would get no absolution, no peace from the act. It wouldn't even save the lives of others, for Brickwell had been free to rob and kill for over twenty years. Malcolm squeezed his eyes shut. He'd let Oliver talk him out of it.

Was it right? Was it wrong? Did it make any difference at all? After killing 503 people, one of them your own son, you tend not to worry about the scales.

Twenty years of his life spent in pursuit of Justice, and for what? For what? Those years working with Robert, the Undertaking, the lives he'd taken, the blood he'd spilled, the love he'd lost. It was all for nothing.

He'd given the bastard over to Oliver and fled. Within him, something had shifted, broken, crumbled away. The heat of his rage had finally melted through the thick layers of ice that had encased his heart. The armored wall behind which his emotions had lain hidden, for decades.

They flooded him now, a tidal wave of jumbled thoughts and feelings. Regrets. Robert. Tommy. Moira. Oliver. Thea. And through the river of pain, there were brief flashes of light. Glimpses of hope.

It was over. The past was gone, and now he stood on the threshold of his future. One he could face without the shackles of his past. Free.

But no.

He was a marked man. Marked for death by the League of Assassins. In his frenzy to escape his fate, he had set things in motion that could not be stopped or turned from their course. Put his daughter in the crosshairs, led Oliver to his death.

Light died within him. The water grew tepid as another wave of cold closed over him. Thea will never forgive me. He had used her as a means to his own ends. Manipulated her to gain her trust, to subtly mold her into what he wanted - a tool for his own purposes.

Start giving her reasons to.

Malcolm raised his head, flicked water from his face. He looked up, above the streams of water running down his neck and chest, to the swirling clouds of steam obscuring the ceiling. It would be a long, arduous struggle out of this dark pit of selfishness and hate. He wasn't certain he would survive it.

But Malcolm Merlyn was never one to just lie down and die. He shut off the water and took a deep breath.

It was time to begin his climb.