Spoilers: For S4 up to "The Truth And Nothing But The Truth"
A/N: Thanks to Fanwoman for the betareading.
Sometimes I see him, when I visit Di at work. Marco Pacella, skulking round in the corridors on his way some place, notably avoiding both of us - because of her, of course. Di pretends not to notice this She talks like everything is fine, perfectly professional, and I deliberately avoid asking her directly, because I doubt she'd appreciate me using my ability on her, again. She's still a little freaked out by what I asked Tom that one time...
But, yeah, I see him sometimes - Marco, whom I was only introduced to by way of Tom, the Marco that Maia had once gushed about. I'd thought my sis was so lucky to have him. I'd felt such joy to know, maybe, she'd finally found happiness, because as much as I'd run away from everything, Diana avoided what was good for her
We're all scared, us Skouris'. Our mother was frightened of failure, and because she couldn't do better, she scolded us. I'm just plain scared of missing out on life, most of the time; I've always wanted more, have been reaching higher and failing like mom warned us, dropping back to my old self, surviving on an artists "salary."
Today, I did something rather sneaky, doubling back on our route, instead of leaving like I said I would. I figured, Larry and Mo wouldn't miss me for a few minutes, since they thought I was still with her. NTAC was deemed safe enough to let me roam free for once.
It wasn't that long at all until I found Marco, now walking full steam ahead – but still eyeing up the joint, like Diana could suddenly pop up at any point. And who knows, she might, probably tell me off for not getting back to work or something – until he bumps into me that is. Briefly, he looks panicked, probably thought I was her, dark head full of Skouris tangles headed right at him and all. On the edge of the panic is another emotion, that blooms and falters, replaced by a snatch of disappointment. For a moment, I think he wishes I was Diana, that the rough apology might have been from her, that she would care again.
You see, with Diana, she was perfectly presented every day she lived at home, the shining example of a daughter and a sister, always looking out for me, though I wasn't exactly grateful for the interference. She did far more than anyone else might have expected – chores without complaint, homework to the highest standard – far better than I bothered. Diana even went to church on Sundays with our parents. She said her prayers and behaved like a frickin' pillar of virtue, despite her nature to question any and all - and what did she get for it? Nothing. Mom kept on finding fault, and one day, Diana took off. We didn't talk about it in the house. I found out in a letter a few weeks later that'd she'd secretly got herself a scholarship to a decent college; she hadn't needed their approval or their money. That left me alone and Diana without a home.
It's completely whacked. Probably exactly the kind of behaviour Di expects from me, or mostly what she used to. She seems to think better of me these days, like working for the government gives me som air of respectability – like digging up the truth can only do good for the world. Maybe sometimes it is, but not enough of the time...I just don't have a choice…at least, not often.
"I could make her tell you."
He stares at me. Can't blame him, I'm blabbing about who knows what. The who – well who else would I mean? - is set, but I'm not sure he will know what I mean. I don't think he wants to hope, he's trying so bad not to because disappointment hurts. I know that better than anyone. Yeah, I know, and I'm hoping he might have his happy ending. Mine wasn't too bad, but it's not what I wanted - neither getting here or being this is what I envisioned.
When I took the shot, I wanted to die a little more than I admitted. I told myself I was being adventurous, risking it all because it could only get better – death or some cool ability. Now, of course, the ability having won out, I see maybe that wasn't really what I was aiming for. This is the ending I'd thought I'd get, and whilst I'm grateful, it's bitter-sweet – gained only by the loss of one man, and then another, with my sister's respect fortunately lost and regained in barely the space of a few days. I've almost forgotten by now, how she lost my respect not too long ago – masked as it was by my self-pity.
"All I have to do is ask. You stand nearby, she spills, and both of you deal with the truth; rekindle or move on.
When I first visited her, years later, when I should have by rights been in college but she was still studying for her thesis, I was so shocked to see her less than perfect for once in my life – leftover pizza lying about, books strewn across her lounge mixed with laundry. Diana gave up on her deal of having everything in neat little packages, folded, tidied away, dealt with. The exception was at school and then work – there she excelled like she always had, even if, personally, she'd let herself go in mom's opinion.
I didn't really like to judge, because, well, I'm not the epitome of anything much apart from perhaps artistic talent, but I was a little concerned when she revealed she'd got a fiancé now, a guy she'd known all of 4 months. But it was the first time I'd seen her satisfied with life, and mom rang her up after all those years, a grumbled congratulations and instructions on how to plan a wedding.
Nothing. No reaction what so ever. The guy stands there. He doesn't look bemused or confused or...anything, really, but then I don't know him. This could have been completely the wrong thing to do, but half the reason I wanted to do this was my own lasting hope. I'd wondered if, deep down, Diana was wrong, about Ben being her perfect guy and Marco just being the cute sweet one she had to cut loose - I'd wanted proof.
"Don't you want to know?" I asked, annoyed at his lack of response. How could he not want to know if she still loved him?!
There's an immediate "No," teased from his lips because no one can deny my questions. I feel guilty for a second, it being unintentional. I really have to learn how to control it or at least not ask anything without thinking...
Then Josh'd practically jilted her, forcing her to dump him for cheating. I feared she'd never get that balance back, that it was someplace she'd been that she could never be again – where mom thought she was something, for once, and she believed it, too, even before mom had deigned her worthy. Then it'd come crashing down, and mom had cut her down right when she had needed support the most. Perhaps she'd thought she could never attain it – that perfect, neat little package in life, with the family united and her choices approved of .
He shakes his head woefully, and some part of me would describe it as in defeat, but another part knows better – it's acceptance, a healthier approach than I tended to manage whenever my relationships ended.
"I don't need to know the truth; it doesn't help me. Diana made a choice, laid her bed. If she's in denial, then there's nothing I'm gonna be able to do or say – she could probably flip off any response you'd elicit from her, bend it to her rationale, make it all make sense."
There's nothing I can say to that. He's letting go, getting over his anger – I could never do that.
My emotions would come on like a storm, a monsoon whipping through me – loopy April who'd hide herself away, sit and sob in closets or the like. Marco was so unlike me, just...calm despite all the emotional turmoil my sister had put him through; he knew where he was even without the woman he'd been in love with for years. He didn't need Diana to be himself, not like I'd always needed a man – latching on to someone, never letting go, clinging to the past. I'd get dragged out, like a rider holding on to a bucking bull, determined to make it work but doomed to failure and always ending up bruised. All that was probably because I was looking for someone to replace my absent family. I'd needed Diana when I was younger and really I hadn't exactly gotten over her abandonment of me, but here he is succeeding where I eternally fail - he doesn't need my help.
"One day, she'll realise on her own." These are his last words on the matter, I can tell, and it seems like he's explaining this more for my benefit because I haven't asked, I'm not forcing this answer unlike the last. "I might be there, but then again, maybe I won't. And maybe that will be for the best."
Seeing Marco turn and leave, I wish I'd gotten another ability, one that I could use to actually do us both a favor and make it so we'd never been hurt in the first place. Fighting for the future, or whatever this is all about, certainly creates a sucky present. Personally, I'm not sure it ever gets better, no matter how many years go by – the creepy powers that be are probably in denial, too. At least, if I ever meet them, I won't bother asking what it's all about. I definitely agrees with this guy's sentiment; it's what you've chosen to do that makes the difference, no matter what your intentions were or what the truth is.
Everyone spends so much time deciding what's best, but it's not always up to you. It's not always obvious or easy to decipher. Not to mention I should have known I couldn't solve this. "The Truth"- wonderful, empowering thing of justice and moral goodness that it is, or so I imagine Di would think of it as - hasn't made my dream come true. Sometimes, I can save the day before the bad deed is done, but mostly it's confession time, painful admissions wrenched out that put the guilty away and simply make reality a bit more bearable. My own brand of truth provides an illusion that all will be fine, made right, bad guys put away and let's just ignore who's doing the most damage in the long run.
Marco Pacella has put a spring in my step, and a teasing smile on my lips, as I make my way back to my good buddies waiting at reception. Thankfully, the beefy bodyguards are no good at telling when I'm lying to them, but truthfully I think whatever the cost, my meeting with Marco was worth it – he did me a favor.
The truth does not provide the right words, the apology - sadly it isn't a patch to apply, a spell to reverse all the damage done. Knowing the truth doesn't help you find your way to what should be; there's the lesson for the day. April Skouris, permanently, metaphorically lost, like all the rest of the family, regardless of if they know it. But at least one of them, a would-be man of the family, he knows what to do and he makes me feel hopeful again, even though none of our wishes will likely come true.