Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
By Maureen

Disclaimer: words/lyrics by Vedder/Gossard (aka Pearl Jam) and the fic is by me. I said I'd write about Faustus for Arcadia and look! I did!

To Arcadia "ask and ye shall receive".


The man stood awkwardly near the gym wall, attempting to blend into his surroundings like a chameleon. He had always been a 'geek' in high school, a 'geek' throughout college, although at least there he was wanted if only for tutoring. He went on even to a geekish job, a computer programmer. Not that he wasn't happy, it was simply that he was used to being a geek.

He vainly peered through the thick lenses of his glasses for his friends. No one had appeared yet. He sighed and checked his watch once more. It was 9:30, the high school class reunion already well in full swing. They weren't going to show. None of the bleacher junkies. It figured.

As if Moses himself had once again raised his arms to part the Red Sea, the crowd divided. Intrigued, he headed towards the chasm, wondering what it could be. Catie and Jamie. In the glory days of high school, they had been THE rebel couple. Sure, Val and Tyler were the perfect couple, cheerleader to football player, but Jamie and Catie beat them without really trying to.

I seem to recognize your face
haunting, familiar, yet I can't seem to place it
cannot find the candle of thought to light your name
lifetimes are catching up with me
all these changes taking place, I wish I'd seen the place
but no one's ever taken me

Their eyes scanned the crowd searching for their former friends, hoping to catch up with the past ten years. For a brief instant his eyes met Jamie's and he allowed the corners of his mouth to turn upwards in a grin. Finally, the bleacher junkies were here.

He retreated back to his corner, safe in the shadows and knowing he would not be alone in a moment. True to form, Catie and Jamie shed their classmates, the former jocks and preps and headed towards him. The only bleacher junkies remaining, Jamie, Catie and himself. Brianne he knew had died during college.

hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away...
hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away...

Jamie spoke first. "Faustus?" he said, pulling his slightly taller friend into a back slapping embrace.

"Hey," he replied, pushing the thick black frames, his trademark, back onto the bridge of his nose. "Hi Catie."

"Hey Faustus." She replied.

Slowly, the trio began to catch up on old times. Catie said that she was an up and coming criminal defense lawyer, specializing in federal cases. The workaholic in the extreme, she had to be dragged to the reunion by Jamie.

Jamie for his part, lived with Catie, but they weren't together. Jamie worked in broadcast as a camera operator for NBC. It was obvious that the years had been good to them, and while they both claimed that their relationship was over and that they were 'just friends' now, Faustus couldn't help but think that a lie. His paranoia was waking up once again.

I swear I recognize your breath
memories like fingerprints are slowly raising
me, you wouldn't recall, for I'm not my former
it's hard when, you're stuck upon the shelf
I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate
perhaps that's what no one wants to see

Faustus, ever the quiet and conservative one, added little. Only that he was a computer programmer and lived outside of Washington DC in Virginia. He asked questions but volunteered only vague generalities.

As the night ended, the friends exchanged email addressed and promised to keep in touch more. But in the dim moonlight of the school parking lot, he knew they would not. He couldn't. The CIA monitored their top computer geniuses carefully and was probably investigating James Waite and Caitlin Roth this very instant. With a sigh, he wondered how the shy, quiet techno-weenie in high school ended up a CIA agent. Perhaps he'd never know.

I just want to scream...hello...
my god its been so long, never dreamed you'd return
but now here you are, and here I am
hearts and thoughts they fade...away...
hearts and thoughts they fade...away...
hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away...
hearts and thoughts they fade...