Disclaimer: Not mine, not making any money off of this.
Spoilers: Full series, beware.
Grey Skies and a Slow Train Coming
The train station appeared to be deserted. No voices filled the small area, no train sat on the tracks awaiting passengers. The vending machines were empty, the clock that should have held a schedule was blank and stopped at twelve. Dead leaves lay across the concrete, unstirring in the eerie stillness. A thick sheet of gray clouds stretched across the sky, disappearing into the horizon behind far off mountains.
Naomi sat, hands folded in her lap, in the white plastic seats beneath the small overhang of the station. She didn't know how long she'd been sitting there - time didn't seem to move. The sun never set, the moon never rose, the clouds never melted away under sun.
And more worrying, no train ever came.
She knew where she was, in a very general sense. She couldn't remember exactly how she got there, but she remembered before. She remembered an empty apartment, a sense of despair, a rope….
There was no writing anywhere in the station, and the mountains in the distance were unfamiliar, but it didn't matter. She supposed that here, very little mattered. It was a bit cold, and she feared rain, but rain never fell.
She had been there alone for longer than she could remember. No one else ever came. And no train. Why didn't a train come? Every now and again she would lift her hand, touching the tips of her fingers to her throat as though feeling for something. But there was nothing there.
She supposed it was because of regrets. Naomi couldn't count the number of regrets she had. They stretched out across her life, one series of foolish mistakes after another. And almost all of them went back to Raye.
She had expected he would be here. She had come to this place because of him, after all. Though now, with time to think and time to understand, she wondered if it was him at all. She had said quite plainly - and foolishly, she knew now - that she had no life without Raye.
Of course she didn't. She'd given her life up for him when she agreed to marry him.
She had wondered sometimes, in the days when there was rain and sun and day and night, how much she mourned the man and how much she mourned what she had given up for him. Wasn't that a death as well? The death of her hopes, her dreams, her desires?
Had she ever really loved Raye at all?
Maybe. A part of her, certainly. Not even duty could force her to throw away the things she'd worked so hard for. It had been a man with a teasing grin and bright eyes who had made her laugh and complimented her. She'd been swept up in him, he had been so full of life. And like a foolish girl she'd thought herself in love.
How could she have ever loved a man who had never appreciated her? But then again, had anyone truly ever appreciated her?
Out of habit, Naomi looked to the sky. She still expected rain. She almost wanted rain. Anything to break up the dull monotony of nothing but thoughts and memories. She'd been appreciated. Not by any of her fellow agents, not by the man she'd promised herself to, but by a man she'd never even met.
Life was cruel, sometimes.
If she could do it over, how differently she would have done it. But it was over and all she had now was a handful of pleasant memories and a lifetime of regrets in an empty train station.
When she wasn't thinking of Raye and her myriad lapses of judgment, she thought of him.
It was probably strange, to think about some legendary mystery man, who's real voice she'd never even heard. But he was one of the things she never regretted. Working with him, hearing his praise - scant as it was - watching (or hearing, rather) his mind work, the pieces fall into place….
She'd had that, at least. The part of her that was still a foolish little girl fancied that in some way, she'd loved him. She'd sought his praise, looked forward to their talks, stared at the telephone waiting….
It didn't matter anymore. She had entertained idle fancies of meeting him, truly meeting him, of talking in idle chatter as lovers did, of closing the files and the reports and sitting together to watch the television.
It was all so foolish. Just a silly little girl's daydreams. But even here and now her mind entertained them. She had no face to dream of, but that didn't matter. She didn't need a face. She knew what a hand on hers felt like, she knew what it was to be pressed against the side of a man. The voice in her daydreams was warped and distorted but it was all that she had.
And this is why you're stuck in an abandoned train station.
Naomi laughed out loud to herself, covering her mouth and then realizing it was without reason. There was no one to hear her laughing. She could laugh until the end of time because no one would ever hear her.
She was trapped in her own private hell.
Throwing back her head, Naomi laughed again. It was madness, all of it. Her life, her death, her regrets, her daydreams! They were all ludicrous.
The laughter died in Naomi's throat. Her hand came up to her mouth again, covering it, and she slowly turned her head. That single small noise was the only sound she'd ever heard in the train station, save for her own voice.
She wasn't alone.
There, down the concrete, stood a young man. He looked like a street urchin, his dark hair wild and his eyes wide and outlined by dark sunken hollows. He slouched, his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his loose blue-jeans. His feat were bare - he was scratching one foot with the other.
He made a rather poor angel.
Another ludicrous thought. Naomi stifled a nervous laugh, swallowing it down. Was this real? Had she gone mad? Could she go mad in this place? She swallowed hard, watching the young man as he stared at her with his wide, pale eyes.
"I don't know what you were thinking."
The words had an odd note to them, almost a sense of disbelief. Naomi stared, her hand falling away from her lips. She'd never seen this person before, and yet there was something so strangely familiar about him. She felt as though she knew him.
"I don't think I know what I was thinking, either." Naomi folded her hands in her lap. He wasn't looking at her any longer. He was looking around the train station, his expression almost childlike. He was still scratching his foot.
"This is all there is," Naomi said, looking around herself.
He was still standing. Slouching, rather, his slim shoulders hunched forward. Now he was looking at her, his strange eyes fixing her and holding her as though she were hypnotized. They were old eyes, not the eyes of a young man at all. His thumb was at his lips as he studied her.
"There's no one else." Naomi looked down at her hands, finally, tearing her eyes away. It was as though he were looking through her.
Naomi flushed, a surge of anger rushing up through her. She supposed he expected loved ones or family. She had, too. But there was no one but them, and she'd been alone for so long.
"I don't know. I always thought you were supposed to know everything, after. But you just know the same things you did before. Only I think, after a while, they start to make a little more sense."
"You've been here a long time." He was still looking at her. Naomi nodded. Too long. God, too long. She tucked a bit of hair behind her ears. She had wanted company for so long….
She met his eyes, tilting her head and meeting his fierce gaze. There was something there, something in his eyes….
"Where's your fiance?"
Naomi froze. She felt it again, that creeping sensation she'd felt before… a slowly dawning realization, spreading through her. She couldn't quite put her finger on it but she felt as though she should know.
"My… how did you…? Do you know me?"
He nodded and moved, slouching as he walked, to take the seat beside her. He crouched in it, sitting on his heels with his arms on his knees.
"We worked together, once."
It wasn't an instant realization. Even here, understanding was only as swift as the human mind. Naomi stared, silent and confused, before that sense of knowing gripped her fully and she felt as though something had snapped, inside her mind.
She was very quiet, looking down at her hands once more. She could feel him beside her, feel his presence. Her throat closed on her and she felt her shoulders shake. It was as though she were going to cry. She fought back tears, though the hot sting of them in her eyes was oddly welcome.
It was a reminder she was still human.
There was little warmth in the words, but Naomi wiped furiously at her eyes. She was acting like a foolish little girl again. But here, what did it matter? Was there any further price to pay for foolishness?
"I am, too."
He sounded regretful. What did he have to apologize for? Naomi lifted her head and turned to him, a small smile on her lips. And she looked at him, truly looked at him. He wasn't like anyone she'd ever seen before, but wasn't that right? He was looking back at her, curious.
"When I was laughing…" Naomi admitted, dipping her head. "I was thinking about you."
"Eh?" He seemed taken aback.
"I was thinking of you and thinking how ridiculous it was that I was thinking of you, of all people. Maybe that's why I'm here. Maybe that's why you're here. I don't know."
"No. I don't either."
Her hands were shaking in her lap. She twisted them together tightly, her knuckles going white. He was still watching her and suddenly, Naomi felt a tentative hand over her clasped fists.
He had very soft hands. And they were warm. The tears began to fall then, nothing Naomi could do would stop them. Her hands unclasped for only an instant, long enough to take his between them. He made a startled noise, and his eyes were very wide as he watched her. He wanted to ask her something, she could tell.
"There will be plenty of time for questions," she said. She had her own. But now wasn't the time. Not now, when his hand was in hers and she was crying and he was flushing and Naomi felt suddenly as though everything was all right.
He looked away from her suddenly, and tipped his head back. She couldn't look away from him. She honestly didn't understand - there were things that man would never know, she realized that now - but she didn't care then and there. Her eyes traced the lines of his face, the fall of his messy black hair, the curve of his lashes.
"Up." With his free hand, he pointed to the sky. Naomi was tired of gray skies. She wanted to keep looking, to memorize his face. But he was staring up, his lips parted. Naomi followed his gaze and sucked in a breath.
The sky was beginning to clear.
She wet her lips and squeezed his hand. She leaned over, slowly resting her head against his shoulder as she had done so often in her daydreams. Sunlight filtered down into the deserted train station as she felt his shirt against her cheek. He was warm, pressed against her.
Somewhere in the distance, from where the mountains rose to the clearing sky, a train rumbled as it came down the tracks.