Still Standing

Disclaimer: I don't own Sands.

Sands hardly ever looked at the photo anymore. The edges were brown and tattered and curled from the time that had gone by since it was taken. But sometimes, like tonight, when he had drunk a sufficient amount of tequila and it had numbed him just enough, he could pull that photo out again and look at it and enjoy the memory without the stabbing pain that it brought to his heart. He didn't want to forget, but he didn't want to remember either.

As he ran his thumb over the picture he smiled to himself bitterly as the grief washed over him. She was smiling, her blond hair glistening in the sunlight, like it always did, as she lifted one hand to wave, while her other hand held another smaller hand. She waved too, her tiny hand outstretched toward him, forever captured in the photo.

He had taken the picture on the day that he left for the Farm, for training. If he had known how much this job would have taken from him, would he have gone that day? Probably not, but now the job was all he had left. And he had buried it all away. He had buried it so deep that no amount of psych evaluations or counseling sessions could ever draw it back out. But sometimes, like tonight, he just had to see her again. He had to remember the love he once had for her before it was taken away from him in one murderous night. He swore he would never love like that again. He would never feel that kind of pain again.

And now all he had left was hate and sometimes he felt nothing at all. Sometimes he didn't think he could ever feel anything again. The company had tried to bring him back from that dark place, but they failed. There was no coming back to the happy life he once had. There would never be happiness for him again. He had buried that with his wife and daughter that day. He existed. He continued. He went on and he did a fine job for the agency that stole his soul away from him and took his life.

So, they sent him far away. After what had happened to his family they couldn't just fire him even though they had serious reservations about his mental health. So, they put him someplace safe, where he could work and where his way of doing things wouldn't stand out from the rest of that corrupt country that they call Mexico.

He sighed and put the picture back in its place next to his heart before the pain could overwhelm him, before he remembered how it all had ended that day when his enemies had caught up with him. A simple mistake had cost him everything that he held dear and now, he was no more. He waited for the end, for someone to put an end to him so he could be with them again, but the end never came. He was always too smart or too fast. There was always something, every time, that kept him alive, and so he kept on going and he kept on daring the world to put him out of his misery. But he remained, bitter and angry and unfortunately, still standing.