"…are bright still…"
by pari106

pari106@hotmail.com
http://www.geocities.com/pari106/damain.html

Rating: PG-13; Disclaimer: Dark Angel is not mine. Talk to Cameron, Eglee, and FOX.

Spoilers: Season 2

Summary: A lot has changed since the X5s lost Zack. And Syl doesn't like it.

A/N: This is based on rumors concerning Season 2, so don't read if you don't want to know.



"Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell." - Shakespeare, "Midsummer Night's Dream"



"…are bright still…" (1/2)
by pari106

Tap.

Tap.

Tap, tap, tap, tap.

Tap.

Tap.

It was torture. In all of his young life, Krit could never remember a more devilish fiend than the
one tormenting him now. And this was saying a lot, considering where he grew up.

Tap…Tap…

Krit grit his teeth. Refused to admit that she had gotten under his skin. But her unique methods at
picking at his sanity were successfully driving him mad.

'Get a grip, soldier!' he heard a little voice inside his head commanding. 'You…can't…let her get
to you…you can't..'

Oh, what the hell.

"Goddamnit!" Krit yelled, not being able to stand the torment any longer. He shifted in his seat
and reached over, under the table, grabbing Syl's knee and stopping her nervous activity before it
drove him to do something unwise.

Syl laughed, and looked at the clock. "I told you, brother. Not even sixty seconds. Pay up."

Krit grumbled, resenting Syl's triumphant grin with all that was dark and mean inside of him, and
reached into his pocket, pulling out the twenty he'd just lost on a bet. With Syl. When the hell
was he gonna learn?

Krit sighed, and Syl laughed again, grabbing the bill before her brother could decide he wasn't a
good sport after all, and take off with her money.

"I knew you wouldn't be able to stand it," she bragged as he sulked.

"It wouldn't bother me if I didn't let it."

"Uh-huh. So you just wanted to give me that twenty dollar bill?"

"Think of it as an early anniversary gift."

Syl snorted.

"I just wish you wouldn't tap in Morse code."

Syl grinned again, tapping her foot against the floor once more, until a deadly glare from Krit
warned her not to push her luck.

"Why? Was I tapping something…distracting?"

Krit blushed. He actually blushed. But he didn't answer her.

Syl laughed again.

"Anyhow, I hope you're about done with that book you're reading, 'cause we gotta blaze," Krit
told her, going over to the tiny little fridge of the hotel room they'd rented for the day.

And for once, Syl's good humor left her. She kept her nose in the book. She'd been dreading this
moment. But she tried to look casual as she shrugged.

"I'm not going," she said.

Krit's hand paused, in mid air, just as he was about to bring his beer to his mouth. Then he sighed,
completing the motion, before sitting back down across from her. He shook his head.

"I knew you were going to do this," he mumbled.

Syl looked up, abandoning the nonchalant act as quickly as she'd tried to assume it. "What's the
big deal, Krit?"

"The big deal?" Krit looked at her like she was nuts. And like he was just a little angry with her.
Syl tried to tell herself she didn't care, but she couldn't quite pull it off. "The big deal is this is
our first chance in years to see all of our brothers and sisters together."

Inwardly, Syl cringed. 'Not all of them.'

She didn't say the thought aloud, but Krit knew what she was thinking, all the same.

"Syl…"

"Look, maybe I just don't wanna see Seattle right now, alright? Maybe I just want to sit here and
read my book."

"You're always reading a book."

Syl shrugged. "So I'm educated. So shoot me."

Krit sighed again, glancing at the book's tattered cover. It was some book of plays Syl had
probably snatched from some school kid a decade ago, and she'd probably read it a dozen times.
Krit raised his hands in frustration.

"That book was published in 1989! It's a fucking antique!"

"Shakespeare is timeless."

Krit groaned. "All I'm saying is, the book made it for thirty-one years without you having read it.
It can wait one more day."

"No."

"You can read it when we get there."

"No."

"Nobody'll want to talk to you anyhow. You're always so goddamned high off all the caffeine
you pump into your body every day."

Syl glared at him. Then she took a rebellious sip of her ever-present diet soda.

"Good. They won't miss me," she deadpanned.

Krit took a deep breath. And he just studied his sister a moment. Then his angry gaze softened a
little, and he reached over, gently tugging the book out of Syl's reluctant hands.

"Syl…this isn't about a book."

She didn't say anything.

"Okay, well if you won't go for yourself…or me…go for Max."

Krit saw something flash in Syl's eyes at the mention of their baby sister. 'Okay, maybe that was
the wrong thing to say.'

"Alright, then. For Zane. Go for Zane."

That got a reaction out of her. She tried to hide it, but Krit could see she wanted to squirm.

"He wants us there, Syl. It's the least we can do, after all he's done for us."

For some reason, Syl found that funny. Krit found it kind of creepy when she did that – laughed
for some reason only she knew. He was certain it had to do with her diet. How many Cherry
Cokes and curly fries could one woman eat before she cracked?

Syl tossed her long, blonde hair over her shoulder.

"It's Zane's own fault if he's stressed out. Nobody told him he had to play big brother," she said.

Krit shrugged. "Somebody had to. With both…"

He stopped, but Syl glared anyway. He was going to tell her why they needed someone to play
big brother? She didn't fucking need to be told why. She knew all too fucking well.

"I know that," she snapped. "Just because we needed a CO, that didn't mean it had to be him.
Hell, Krit, he isn't even trained for command. He was in the explosives division."

Krit took another one of those deep breaths he always needed when dealing with his mercurial
sibling. He didn't mean to upset her, but damn it, didn't she think he missed Zack, too? Fuck, he
*loved* his brother. Zack could be one hard-hearted sonofabitch when he had to be, but he was
Zack, and Krit had looked up to him. Didn't Syl think that *he* was upset? Did she think that he
didn't miss Ben or Tinga or Brin, either?

"Look, I don't know, Syl. Maybe he's just trying to do something right by Zack. You know how
those two were."

Syl didn't respond, but yeah, she knew. There were no two people *less* alike than Zane and
Zack. Zack was all about rules and regs and escape and evade. Zane didn't have anything to do
with the rules, if he wasn't breaking them. Or at least, he didn't used to. He and Zack probably
hadn't spent a single, peaceful moment in one another's company since the escape. They were
just so different. Or so they seemed. They'd argued all the time, and Syl hadn't known which
was crazier: Zack for the way he clung to the old Manticore dogma, or Zane for the way he totally
disregarded it. Or both of them, for the way they riled each other up, but loved each other,
anyhow.

The truth was, Zack and Zane had kind of been like two parts of one whole. They were the two
extremes of their group: the leader and the dissenter. Zane was hardly ever where he was
supposed to be. Zack told him not to settle in, and he did. Zack told him, don't make friendly
with anybody who could get you into trouble. Don't draw attention to yourself. Then Zane would
go out drinking with a couple of buddies of his in the Sector Police, or he'd get his picture in the
paper with the Mayor for saving some handful of kittens from a burning building. And Zack used
to bitch about it all the time. But anytime Zane had a new girl – and Zane's incompetence in
choosing an appropriate gift was legendary among the X5s (he'd once given Syl a cuisanart. What
the fuck?) – there would be a gift sitting there on Zane's doorstep, right in time to save the day.
And anytime Zane had to leave that girl, moaning all the way out of town that he hadn't gotten to
say goodbye…Zane didn't know it, but the next day there'd be another gift sitting there, waiting
for his girl. With a simple little note sitting beside it, saying goodbye.

Who knows why the hell Zack did it. But he did. He was like that. He'd bust your ass for
breaking regs, then he'd go right behind your back and break them for you. Syl missed that. They
all did. But Zane missed it the most.

Syl guessed he felt kind of like he was missing a part of himself. Why else would he have picked
up command of the X5s after Zack was gone? It wasn't his responsibility. Hell, up until that
point, his only
responsibility had been to keep in touch with Zack, to take orders, and to keep out of trouble. And
he hadn't even been able to do that. But suddenly he wanted to walk in Zack's shoes? Krit had
been third in command, the rightful CO when Zack and Max went missing, and even he hadn't
wanted it. He knew the thankless, dangerous work Zack had had to do to keep them safe. He
knew the sacrifices he'd had to make; the pain he must have had to go through, delivering the
news to the others whenever one of them didn't make it. He'd had enough of a taste of CO when
he'd had to deliver the news about Zack and Max. He'd become the rightful CO, but he hadn't
been entirely happy about it.

But there was Zane, suddenly setting up contact numbers and reassigning locations. There wasn't
anything said about it, he just did it. And the others were just so surprised, they let him. And he
did a good enough job, but Syl couldn't even imagine what life had to be like for him now. How
it must be living the life of the brother you loved, and opposed, and lost without ever really getting
to tell him how you felt. How it must be to live with rules and regulations, when you'd never
accepted them before. She wondered what Zane's latest girl had done when she came home and
realized he was gone. When there was no goodbye waiting for her, there on the doorstep.

Syl shook her head. That had been Zane's decision, right? That was Zane's problem.

Syl felt like shit anyhow. But she wasn't going to change her mind.

She shrugged. "So he did his part. He doesn't need me there, patting him on the back to know
he's doing okay."

"This isn't about that. Zane wouldn't call us together if it wasn't important."

"Something's always important enough for a reunion, if you ask Zane. There isn't anything going
on too important for him to just tell us over the phone. He just wants to do the whole oh-God-it's-
been-so-long-since-I've-seen-you routine, with Jondy getting all teary-eyed, and his dog running
around everybody's feet."

Krit folded his arms. "So what's so wrong with that?"

"Nothing," Syl told him. "It's just not for me."

"Seeing your brothers and sisters again after a decade isn't for you?"

Syl, again, did not respond.

"Liar."

But that…that got a response.

"Excuse me?"

Krit's eyes narrowed. "I said you're a goddamned liar, Syl."

"I don't…"

"Yeah you do. You just don't want to go because of them."

Syl suddenly became very still, very quiet.

"Syl…they aren't the enemy."

"How do we know that?" she demanded.

"Because they're out now, that's why," Krit told her. "Because they helped get Max out."

"And who's to say they didn't get her in there in the first place, huh?"

"Those were X7s, Syl. Little kids with big guns. They were the only ones left in the building
when the lab blew." The lab Krit and Syl and Zack and Max had risked their lives to destroy. The
Manticore lab whose destruction had cost them Zack's life. It had very nearly cost them Max, as
well.

"Alec and Zero and Pai are X6," Krit reminded her.

Syl shook herself, snapping out of her thoughts. "I don't care what they are," she said, suddenly
feeling very tired of this argument. She got up from the table, heading across the room to one of
the beds. "Don't you think you should be going?" she asked.

Krit just watched her, dumbstruck.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm about to take a nap," Syl calmly informed him. She pulled back the covers on one bed, as if
to demonstrate her sincerity. Krit needed that demonstration. He couldn't believe what he was
hearing.

"You mean it? You really aren't coming?"

Syl sighed, lying down. She'd known that she should have told him when he came for her in
Ohio. But she was afraid that if she told him her decision then, he wouldn't go himself, and she
knew he really wanted to. He wanted to see Jondy, and he wanted to see Jace and to meet her
daughter.

Syl was overcome with a moment of sadness. She wanted to see them, too. She wanted to see
Zane. Not to just hear his voice over the phone, she wanted to see him. To see if his eyes still
danced when he talked – she bet they didn't. She wanted to see if he still wore his hair too long,
and if he still had that earring Zack had nearly killed him over. She wanted to meet her niece.
She'd never gotten to meet Tinga's son, and realized, now that her sister was gone, it probably
wouldn't be a good idea for any of them if she looked him up now. She wanted her family, she
did.

But she didn't want the feelings that would come with meeting them today. She didn't want the
joy or the relief or even the curiosity and the longing she felt now. Because if she felt that joy,
she'd have to feel the sorrow that tore at her when she'd heard that Brin, and then Tinga, had been
captured. That they were dead. She'd have to feel the regret she'd heard when she'd learned of
what had happened to Ben – of his descent into madness and the terrible choice Max had had to
make in order to end his suffering. She'd have to feel the emptiness, the surreally, that assaulted
her when it had finally hit home that Zack wasn't coming back this time. After ten years of escape
and evade, of facing death and walking away, Zack wasn't walking away this time. She didn't
want to feel the betrayal she'd felt when she'd seen Max after her return, when she'd
brought…them out of Manticore with her. She didn't want to feel the resentment she'd felt when
she'd learned that her baby sister was alive because Zack wasn't. Because he'd killed himself to
save her.

Syl resented Max for that. Her baby sister, whom she loved. She resented her for living. And she
hated – she truly hated – herself for it.

And she didn't want to feel all of that. Up until now, Syl had been able to convince herself that
she felt nothing. If she tried really hard, if she kept her mind blank enough, if she kept her heart
hard enough…she could convince herself that she felt nothing. But seeing her brothers and sisters
now would just bring that illusion crashing down upon her.

"I mean it," she finally said to Krit, lying down with her back to him.

She knew he didn't understand. Maybe he could, if she explained it to him, but she didn't want to.
That would only have the same effect as this reunion would. And she didn't want him to
understand. She didn't want him to understand how truly manipulative the human heart could be,
even their superhuman, psuedohuman hearts. She didn't want him to understand how a hurting
heart could twist a mind, warp a soul so badly that everything else becomes warped, as well. Your
view of the world. Your view of the people in it. That's what had happened to Syl. The pain she
felt over losing the others had just balled up inside of her, until it was this huge, unrelenting mass
of hatred that clouded her vision of everything and everyone around her. She couldn't look at
those X6s without seeing Manticore. She couldn't look at Max without seeing that Zack wasn't
there. She couldn't look without feeling that hatred, and resentment and suspicion that had begun
to fill her soul.

She didn't want Krit to understand all of that. He was better off not understanding it. Better off
thinking that she just didn't give a damn, either way. Because he was a good person. And she
wanted him to believe that she was a good person, if even a hard-hearted one. Because she
couldn't be very good, could she, feeling like she did about Max? A good person wouldn't
begrudge the X6s their very existence, just because one of them looked like her dead brother. She
didn't want Krit to understand. The first step to becoming, was understanding. She didn't want
him to become what she was. She didn't want to corrupt him. So many things had changed, and
Syl didn't want Krit to change, too.

Maybe that was also why she felt so pissed off at Zane for becoming CO. Because to do so he had
to have changed. And too much had changed already. Their family had changed. Max seemed to
have changed, spending so much of her time with those goddamned clones. Like they were her
family now, or something. Her friend, Logan, had changed. He was harder now, warier. The
game had changed – they no longer had Lydecker to contend with, but that bitch Renfro was out
there, and she was following a distinctly different game plan than old Deck had.

And Syl had changed. She felt like she'd changed. She felt older and meaner and just plain
sadder than she ever had before.

She'd had enough of change.

Krit glared at her back.

"Fine," he said, his voice low. "Suit your fucking self, then."

And he left with a slam of the door, tossing her book there on the bed beside her before he left.

"I will," she mumbled to herself, picking the book back up.

But, somehow, comical tales of young love had lost their appeal.





(A/A/N: I have a sequel in mind for this. Is it good enough to continue? Let
me know. Thanks!)