Simon Lehane is Dead
Simon Lehane was dead.
That's what 494 told himself when the nightmares started. That's what Alec thought every time he looked in the mirror once he was on the outside again. Simon died in solitary. After Rachel (who?), Manticore burned him away like they had mercilessly burned her until there was nothing left but X5-494.
The human died. The soldier lived.
PsyOps was an old friend to 494. It was his third stint in only eighteen years of life. He knew what techniques they used. Knew with his perfect memory what their goals were. What questions and technology they would use on a disobedient soldier.
What 494 hadn't been ready for was reindoctrination.
But Simon Lehane was dead.
It was merciful that he never had to experience that pain.
Even the obedient soldier left in Simon's wake, who had no will other than to serve Manticore, couldn't take the extended time in PsyOps after the process of burning 'missiondutyhonor' into his mind.
There was no humanity left. But it continued.
The daily light show in his brain, tests, electrodes, blood samples, rachel, how to make a car bomb and not ignite it, why didn't you pull the trigger, you were ordered to take them out, haunting notes of piano, rachelrachelrachel, cover, do you want to go for a swim, and iloveyouyourhandsareshakingareyouokay...
494 once murmured, "I'm fine... Just happy," and the doctors frowned.
It took a long time for 494 to find out that they were taking precise measurements of his sanity.
By that time even the memory of the shy, hesitant, love lost Simon Lehane had been reduced to cinder. 494 now knew from the whisperings of a very perky woman (cover name Mia) in PsyOps was that his identical twin, an escapee from 2009, was a murderer.
His extended stay was compliments of X5-493.
Everything. The fragments of lasers in his eyes, being beaten, solitary (rachel), basement, anomalies, the heat of explosions, and the pounding hole in his brain (rachel), it was all...
It was all 493.
Apparently insanity could be genetic.
Before Alec knew himself to be Alec, he emerged from the ashes of Simon and blanketed himself over the skeletonic frame of 494.
Alec was the one who began to joke with the Techs he saw day after day, because silent and obedient hadn't gotten him any closer to leaving.
He made connections with guards and doctors who enjoyed his new jovial personality. Connections were frowned upon only if they were frivolous. These connections were mutually beneficial. (Cigars for cash, a feather pillow, cash for recommendation to be put back on rotation.)
The part of him that was 494 was confused by the effect he had on people when the silent soldier got himself nothing but more doctors and needles.
494 made a tactical retreat and Alec, with his mischievous grin and not-exactly-scrupulous dealings made their remaining months much more pleasant. Alec became more than a mask because there was nothing underneath Alec.
Simon Lehane was dead. (ilikeyouilikeyoualot)
494 was in darkness. (youronlythoughtistofollowourorders)
Alec kept his smirk on over cold eyes. Alec was the one who was released.
Alec, who was still known only as 494, was back in training when he was given his first mission since Simon Lehane had died.
(Simon Lehane? Was that the name of a target?) PsyOps loomed when he thought of that name. (nononorachelrachel)
Alec/494 walked into a solitary cell far cleaner than his in the basement had been and sneered when he was mistaken for 493 by the recaptured 452.
Maybe he had killed Simon Lehane.
494 didn't think of Simon again until he was Alec. Until 452/Max had given a name to who he now was.
Alec was the name of the one who had survived Manticore. Alec had emerged sometime in between solitary, reindoctrination, and his third time in PsyOps.
Alec wasn't a soldier. He wasn't a shy piano teacher with more than a crush. Alec didn't love anything but himself.
But none of his strength kept the spirit of Simon from forcing him to tears. (someoneslateformypianolesson)
From smashing the mirror on his bathroom wall. (ivekindofbeenthrowingmyselfatyou)
When Simon began to haunt him again, Alec wasn't strong enough to keep Simon's ghosts at bay.
(I didn't understand how much I loved you, Rachel.)
Simon, 494, and Alec were united in their grief.
(I'm always alright. Always alright.alwaysalright…)
But only Alec was left standing at her grave.