MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE
A/N: I know I have other, more important loyalties but I just had to type this up. Other peoples waiting for updates, sorry I keep writing stories for random movies.
Disclaimer: I want to own Wanted, but I don't. Poo.
I'm Glad You're Him
Gasping, aching, sputtering, I drag Cross- I'm sorry, dear old Dad, to the shallow edge of the bank. I'm exhausted and nothing in my month-long stay at the Fraternity seems to have prepared me for the emotional stress I've gotten from all of this betrayal. Once Cross (I can't bring myself to actually call him "Daddy" just yet) is safely heaved from his watery grave, I take that as my cue to face-plant beside him with the grunt of a man that's got more weight on him than the Titanic.
What the- How did this- Where do I- I can't seem to finish asking the obvious questions because that same one that's been burning a hole in my eyes for the past years, all my life if I think about it, is still penetrating my vision, as powerful as the day I was born:
Who am I?
I'm breathing hard as I try to focus on the man revealed as my father instead of the way the clouds are twisting into those three maddening words. It's funny. Now that I'm not busy hating him and having my vision hazed by the Fraternity, I see the resemblance. I've got his nose and, upon using a finger to lift a heavy lid, the same baby blues that probably got me hired for that accounting job in the first place (it sure wasn't my know-how with numbers; I can tell ya that).
It kind of bugs me that he's tall though, which means I had the misfortune of inheriting Mom's vertically-challenged genes.
All this information has done is confirm that I've just shot the one man that could help me and tell me who I am.
I shot my dad.
If he were alive to hear it, I'm sure I would have apologized, but he's not. He's lying lifeless beside me, and I can't do a single thing about it. The recovery man wouldn't be able to stop the tears that are flowing freely from my eyes. The moment I saw him in the grocery store I should've known. What kind of son doesn't even sense the smallest spark of connection with his own father? What kind of monster have I become? If my "abilities" really were as sharp as I'm told, wouldn't that grant me the sense to know Cross was my father?
I feel like I'm searching blindly for an answer as I touch Cross' face with my bloodied, bruised fingers. Sniveling, I slide the tips weakly down until they touch his neck. I close my eyes, hoping for something even I know is impossible.
The faintest of twitches.
I snap out of my pain-filled reverie, honing in on my fingertips. I'm not imagining it! It's there. I can feel its vibration. That slightest pulse has filled me with more relief than the morning after my first meeting with Fox.
I suddenly forget about all the wounds I've sustained from the impromptu train crash and find myself on all fours, ripping open the buttons of Cross' shirt, revealing a very tan and tone chest. Instead of admiring the view of my father's abdomen (which is, really gross, by the way), I studied the hole in his chest… Just below his heart.
I did shoot my father, but I didn't kill him. I smile a watery grin, grateful to whoever has just given me the greatest break in my life, and wipe my dirty sleeve across my tear-stained face. I'm not out of the woods yet. I need to fix this. The wound is deep and the blood is flowing faster than the river we just climbed out of.
I turn to my side and spy the remains of the train twisted in the river's rocky mountainside. All sorts of things are floating up from its crumbled relics. Scrap metal, suitcases, bodies.
I try to block out the words "Innocent" and "Victims" from my head. I need to figure out my next move. I spot two suitcases floating near the bank and quickly rush to retrieve them. As I enter the cold water once more, it sends my cuts a stinging reminder that, yes, they haven't healed yet. I push past the petty pain and grab the handles of the brown leather cases, gripping them firmly with one and paddling back to the shore with the other.
With one final stroke, I'm back at the river's edge with Cross hurriedly zipping the bags open to search their contents. Please have a first-aid kit. Please have a first-aid kit. Nothing. Both bags were your usual clothes and hair dryer deal. People should know to carry these things on train trips. True, it's a bit sad they had to learn that lesson the hard way with the train crash and all, but hopefully others will learn from their mistakes and… Violent, bloody deaths.
I sigh. I guess thinking my luck was about to change was just wishful thinking. What now? I need to find a way to get the bullet out and stop the blood flow. But I'm lost as to how I'm going to do that.
I got an idea.
Doing one more rifle through the bags, I find some tweezers and matches. Perfect. I put the tweezers between my thumb and index and wipe away the blood around the bullet hole with a red t-shirt. I grimace as I stare at the deepness. This is going to hurt.
I dig the tweezers into the gunshot hole and suddenly from Cross' gaping mouth I hear a sharp intake of breath. I'd probably smile… If the wound wasn't oozing so much blood, if I wasn't having such a hard time getting the tweezers around the bullet, and if I wasn't trying to keep my breakfast down.
"C'mon, Cross, wake up, that's it," I say. His eyes are fluttering and I'm starting to see some life in his pale blue eyes.
He's in pain. Heck, I'm in pain and I'm the one digging around for the bullet.
"Straight." He says hoarsely and I'm curious if the pain is making him delirious. What is "straight" supposed to mean? He's swallowing and looking ready to pass out. I double my already strained efforts to search for the round. "Straight down." He elaborates and I nod, understanding.
Minutes later, the crushed bullet is out (surprisingly with little peep on Cross' part) and the bullet hole is gushing like there's no tomorrow. Acting fast, I pull out my gun.
"Don't worry, not trying to finish the job," I assure, taking the clip out and removing one of the bullets. "I saw this on TV so I know what I'm doing." For some reason, Cross doesn't seem too sure. What does he know? He's dying. Okay, so being a specially trained assassin for the past twenty years does give him some street cred… But not much.
All right, if I remember correctly, I'm to empty the gun powder from the bullet on the abrasion, light it on fire, and watch the wound victim howl in pain. Opening the bullet, I sprinkle the powder onto the hole just as Mr. Eko did to Charlie when he got shot in the head. I've never been more thankful for miserable nights watching TV shows like Lost than I am now. Cross is eyeing my handiwork with a glazed over expression. I smile at him weakly as I take up the box of matches in a shaky hand. From what I watched on Lost, this part is supposed to be pretty frickin' excruciating.
"Okay, now this is only going to hurt for a second," I lie. Cross rolls his eyes. Okay, so this procedure is a little more common than I thought. So I don't read a lot of survival manuals in my spare time, sue me.
To say I'm afraid of what will happen is an understatement. I bite my lips together as I light the match, and Cross' whole body appears to tense up at the fiery sight. Quickly, I lower the match to
the gunpowder and, BANG! It's on fire for about two seconds and then dies down quickly, all the while leaving a screaming Cross in its wake. If that doesn't wake him up, I don't know what will.
He's bolted up from the pain, crying out, and I look round, suddenly feeling paranoid, before turning back to him. My newly-discovered father is breathing heavily, looking down at the mesh of hardened gun powder blocking the flow of blood. He picks up the soiled red t-shirt and wipes the excess blood from his chest. Once done, he looks up at me, his expression a mixture of exhaustion, pain, and, oddly enough, gladness.
"Nice job, Wesley," Cross says my name with such familiarity it catches me off guard. He gives off the vibe that he's known me my entire life, and just maybe all those time when I felt like I was being watched, it was really him keeping an eye out for me. I grin at his compliment.
"No problem," I reply. "I'm just glad I did just the opposite of what my training told me to do."
His warming smile falters and he's suddenly looking at me with a disappointed frown, as if my statement brought up a low of bad memories. Wow. I said something wrong. The first conversation with my real father, Ladies and Gents, and I blow it on the first go. He's still looking at me with those hurt eyes, forcing mine to abort to safer territory. My muddy and bloody hands are suddenly incredibly interesting, my eyes seem to say.
"Wesley, did you hear what I said about the Fraternity?" he asks me. I nod. "I meant every word."
"Yeah, well, I doubt you would waste your dying breath on a lie." I reply. "Sorry about the whole shooting thing. I was so blinded by fury over the death of who I thought was my father, I guess I wasn't ready to accept you as my real one."
"And now? I'm curious as to what's changed your mind." He says. Knowing that saying we have the same nose and eyes will only make me sound shallow, I say the evidence I really find to be most prominent.
"I think… I think it's the way you look at me. You look kind of scary, actually, because it looks like your staring straight into my thoughts. But you're not searching for answers or favors or money, I can tell. You're looking at someone that even I don't know… The real me." And, although I know it's going to sound cheesy once I let it escape my lips, I say, "You're son."
Despite the pain I know it's going to cause him, Cross reaches over and embraces me in his arms. I'm stiff in his touch but after several minutes, I lean into the warmth, closing my eyes. Immediately, I hear him grunt as we fall backward onto the mossy floor.
"Sorry," I apologize, trying to get up from where I awkwardly fell atop his arm. He halts me from my movement and I lay my head back down, skeptically, staring at his warming blue eyes.
"Stop apologizing, Wesley," He reprimands gently. He reaches over with his other arm and I flinch noticeably. He pauses before intertwining his fingers through my damp and bloody tresses, causing me to tense. Cross doesn't seem to mind the grime covering my hair as he stares at the curls affectionately. "You look so much like her… I've always thought that."
"Not true, I noticed we have the same nose and eyes." I pointed out, shying away from the idea that I looked feminine. It was hard enough being relatively short; I didn't need to start being compared with women too.
Cross just laughs at the joke and resumes massaging his hand through my hair. I look down, relaxing under the touch, almost enjoying the treatment, almost, but he pulls his hand away shortly after the thought.
"Sorry," he says, looking into my eyes. "I've always wanted to do that."
"'Sfine," I mumble, avoiding eye contact. Why am I feeling so shy suddenly? Why am I reverting back to that pathetic loser who lived such a meaningless life? Most importantly, why am I asking you when you're stuck in that same hole-in-the-wall desk job too? Sorry.
"I never wanted this for you," Cross begins, sliding a finger down my cheek. "You weren't ever supposed to learn about the Fraternity or your abilities, none of it."
I grab his hand as it caresses my cheek again, studying his long, nimble fingers. His fingers are immaculate and the muscles in them are taut with years of intricate handling. I look up at him with uncertainty and he offers a small smile.
"I'm glad you didn't get your way," His smile falters and I continue. "If you did, I'd be normal, pushed around, and stepped on. You would've been ashamed of the worthless sack of crap you fathered. I'm not kidding, you should've seen him."
His eyebrows knit together and he tightly grasps the hand I was holding his with.
"I saw him," he says, looking me in the eye with that same look that sends shivers down my spine. "And I wanted him as much then as I do now."
As I stare at him, searching his eyes for the lie, I wonder how he can look so sincere. I've heard of assassins being good actors but Cross takes the cake. Really, how can anybody love someone so worthless? At least now he has something to be proud of, a son whose followed in his footsteps. I had nothing to offer yet he still wanted me?
"You're lying," I conclude, sitting up and staring distantly ahead. The only proof I have that he's telling the truth are those shining blue eyes, but every visage of my past life is evidence against my father's orbs. "Nobody wanted me. Well, except my best friend when he needed an energy
drink fix or my boss when she needed somebody to snap at. Aside from those two, I was just about the most insignificant iota on the face of this planet."
The afternoon sun peaks through the shade of the trees which shields us from any pesky onlookers. I avert my eyes to the floor after I let them linger on the river turning red with the blood of hundreds aboard that train.
The horrendous sight gets me to thinking, "God, am I even worth wanting now?"
Apparently, I just said that aloud because Cross is sitting up next to me, stifling a groan from the exertion, and firmly telling me, "This is not your fault. Stop thinking that it is."
It's an order and his steady stare isn't giving me much to argue with it. I begin to wonder what it would be like growing up with this man. Would things have been different? Would I be stronger or would he have still left out of shame over the son he bore? Knowing the cards life's dealt me, I'd probably end up in the same rut. 'Cause it's my destiny to fail.
"You're not insignificant, Wesley," Cross implores. "You're my son and no amount of murders, escapes, or lies has ever changed that."
His sharp eyes dig into mine. Seeking that secret disapproval isn't getting me anywhere. I'm not finding it. This guy, my dad, really believes what he's saying. His eyes hold a yearning I've only seen in one other. My reflection's yearning for something different, for change from the harsh, uncaring world, for solace in the embrace of one with true, unconditional love. Cross is all three.
"I'm glad you're him." I say, smiling despite all the turmoil that's still erupting in my gut. He offers a look, confused. "I'm glad you're the real father."
He runs his fingers through my hair and I don't tense up this time. I shut my eyes, caught up in thoughts of being wanted by someone who wasn't wishing for anything in return.
"I'm glad you're him, too," Dad says and I'm not even going to open my eyes to see if it's true.
A/N: I know I said "one-shot" but this can be a multi-chaptered fic based on the amount of reviews I get. –nudge, poke, prod-