Title: Roses for Remembrance
Series: La Femme Nikita
Disclaimer: If Michael comes up for grabs, I'll get crushed in the stampede.
Summary: This is my second LFN piece, a post-season five vignette. WAY post-season five. This little scene refused to leave my head till I got it down. I'm in mourning , like all the HR's. Feedback's much appreciated
Roses for Remembrance
Green sod above, lie light, lie light
Goodnight, dear heart, goodnight, goodnight--Robert Richardson
He was tall, like his father.
His height, his grasp of French, his air of confidence--these were Michael's bequests. Everything else came from his mother-- the large, liquid-dark eyes, the sable hair, the dusky coloring hinting of a desert ancestry. He had clear memories of Elena, but looking back on those childhood years was like viewing a jumbled reel of film. He remembered running through spacious, sunlit rooms…planting a tree…chasing a remote control car down into hell. His mother's face was imprinted over it all, sweet doe-eyes amidst the gunfire and men in black.
Surely, she'd been caught up in something she didn't understand.
Weren't they all, even the father he'd buried today?
Adam shivered in the teeth of the wind and bent to lay his flowers on the new stone. Roses for remembrance. Lavender for glory. The language of flowers was beautiful, but the blossoms on his grave couldn't tell the story of a man's life. Should there be peony for dreams, orange blossoms for patriotism? Adam knew his father had made great sacrifices. Were they for love of country, or for the love of a woman? What was the reason for his vow of silence concerning his past? What devastating mystery surrounded Adam's birth? Moving from country to country, had they been running from evil or following the light? Sorting out the man's affairs was like traveling through a fun house in darkness. Doors opened on nowhere, promising stairways led into solid wall. Everywhere there were distortions.
Adam turned his face to the sky full of stars and said a quiet prayer for his father's soul, so he might have the peace denied him in life.
There had always been translucence about Michael Samuelle, a whisper of sadness that made Adam think of ghosts and fallen angels and knights-errant. Yet, they'd lived well, a man and boy traveling the world side by side, bound together by blood and promises and the secrets of the bridge. Adam still didn't understand what he'd seen that day, but that must have been the turning point. Adam was well educated in matters of life and death, due to his mother's passing. He knew that many of history's great moments are unknown to the history books, moments when the fate of mankind rests in the hands of a few, solitary souls who choose in anonymity and die in obscurity. That must have been the turning point, the supreme moment when Michael's role in the great drama ended, when cherished dreams were exchanged for something new.
Adam felt almost guilty, for what greater player had ever trod the boards? His father was strong and vital, yet died too young…as if he were paying some long overdue debt, or fulfilling a promise. Adam hadn't been there; he had reached that point that all young men come to, when they must move into the world alone. But this separation was final. Michael was gone. It was too simple, too soon…cities should have fallen with him. Monuments should have crumbled to dust
Roses for remembrance. Adam plucked a few from the stone and placed them on the older grave beside it. He wondered who she was, this other occupant of his father's chosen resting place. Lichen and time had crept over the concrete, nearly obscuring the single name etched there by a loving hand. Adam closed his eyes, conjuring up the faintest memory of a train station, Michael's gloved hand in his, and a pretty, blonde woman receding into the distance. For the thousandth time, Adam wished that shades could speak from beyond the veil that separated them from the ones who loved them so.
Was she his father's great love? Did he love her, even after? Adam wished he could remember.
What of the sweet, doe-eyed Elena, who had long since gone to rest? Certainly, there had been women over the years, but Michael's eyes always drifted away from them, as if scanning the shadows for some glorious ideal. Adam remembered peeking around the doorframe, long after bedtime, to find his father before the window, staring out into the night. Soft music played, and Michael appeared lost in memory. Adam remembered the song, bluesy and clear...
Talk to me baby
Come on and take my hand
Talk to me baby
So I can understand
Cause I can't go on living
Being your sometimes man
Was Nikita the glorious ideal? Had he brought her here in life, and in death? Adam wondered about this place, this lonely spot so far from the world. In all their travels, his father had never brought him here, to this dusty farmhouse in the hills of Belgium, to the place where Michael had said he wanted to lie. It was all he'd ever asked of his son.
Drifting along the path, Adam saw that it was all healed over. Perhaps only Michael had come here, on a lonely mission to bury his one true love. Such a lonely mission; Adam was sure there were others. The house slept under milkweed, and dust flowed like fairy dust when Adam pushed the door open. The large room echoed with silence and gloom, and in those moments, he believed in ghosts. They were born of longing and guilt and great love. They were all around him in a house he'd never visited before. But his father had. Adam could sense him in the simple lines of the farmhouse, and in the silence. Michael Samuelle was always comfortable with silence. Adam wished he were there to help him understand it all, to put faces on the shadowy figures who darted through his dreams. Who was Paul Wolfe? Who was Mr. Jones? What of Nikita, who was buried here? To be so firmly rooted in Michael's life, she must have been remarkable.
The desk in the corner was corroded with age, and a drawer protruded slightly, beckoning. Adam opened it cautiously, as if the ghosts of the past might rise from the dusty papers within. He was surprised to find his name written there, in his father's flowing script. Feeling as if a spirit hand had reached across the veil to touch his life, Adam began to read a tale of ghosts, fallen angels, and knights-errant.
I never intended to tell you this story, and be forewarned that this account is incomplete. There are some secrets I will take to the grave, because they simply aren't mine to reveal. But it's safe, now, to tell you who I was, and who Nikita was--the Section we knew has long since crumbled to dust. No trace of it remains, except in the soil of the earth, which has rightfully reclaimed the bones of the operatives who ran, walked, climbed, crawled, swum, and paddled across it in service of a greater good. This is a long story, and maybe not one you'll understand. In the end, you'll either hate me or forgive me, because I sinned more than a man should in ten lifetimes. But of all the lessons Nikita taught me, of all the gifts she gave, there is none more important than this: we must know where we come from, or the mystery will haunt us all our days. There's much to be learned from the lives that lay like a prologue to our own. This then, is my story, and Nikita's and Elena's and yours. It's also the story of the young Birkoff, the volatile Operations, and the extraordinary Madeline, who might, in another life, have risen to the top of her field in politics or science…
"There were two beginnings really, Nikita's and mine…"
* * * * * * * * * * *
Adam read long into the night, and beyond the smudged glass the wind blew softly over the countryside. It whistled through the trees and ruffled the roses placed there by a loving hand. It pushed on over fence, pasture and grassland and out into the fields, where two figures moved steadily away from the gleam of candlelight visible through the farmhouse window. The breeze played across young, supple bodies and tangled in two glorious heads of hair, one gold, one an indescribable shade of auburn. They were much as they were in the train station years ago, as if the decades had been turned back, like a clock in autumn, and death had reunited all that life had put asunder. It was all healed over.
They moved toward forgotten roads and peace at last.
Together, even after.