AN: Surprise Motherfucker, thought I was gone? Also, as you will sadly notice, I seem to have fallen out of contact with my beta, so if anyone wants to step up to the plate, that would be awesome.
I really don't have a plan. I know, so unlike myself. I'll have to get the basic rundown from Brian. Once he returns from his latest crime, that is. For whatever reason, he felt the need to break into the house across the street. Not that I doubt him. I trust that he knows what he is doing, I am just saying that I don't know what he is doing. Not exactly the neighborly thing to do.
Whatever his motive, it is almost mesmerizing to watch him. He is so casual crossing the street, keeping his head down. As he approaches the door he does a small twirl, looking around, before working on the lock. He is quick, proficient. It is so easy to see him doing the same to my apartment. I wonder if anyone noticed. Did they recognize him as a stranger? Did they find him odd? Probably not, considering no one told me. Maybe they just don't care about me, I can't say I am a social and friendly neighbor either.
He disappears into the darkness of the house, closing the door gently behind him. Even across the street, I can see the care he takes. It mirrors my own.
I crack a smile at that thought. He does mirror me. Probably why he had my respect from the very beginning. He was never just another murderer. His kills were fascinating. Careful, methodical, planned out. Just like me. And the way he moves, switching between his persona, acting normal, and picking locks is just like me too. I always thought that the Code molded me, without it I would be a senseless murderer, no different than those who make their way on my table. But Brian, while codeless, is not just a mindless killer. He has purpose and a sense of wits around him. Would I be like him? Aware, careful, and free of the code. Not one of the lowlifes on my table, but just me, minus the code. The concept is almost frightening with its implications.
But then again, I don't really know how my brother works. I've learned of him more than I learned about him. Powerful, intense, and adapting, I hardly know the inner workings of his mind. He seemed so set in his ways, brazenly killing to leave a message. Because a voicemail was just too boring for him. And yet, he changed so quickly. Switching from his unstoppable path ending with Deb's death by my hands to a meek child hiding away in the dark.
No, that isn't right. He was never hiding and it was never cowardice that stopped him. It was him changing his plan, stepping back, giving me room. It was him going from the Ice Truck Killer to my brother. I look at our old house, trying to force the memories. I feel like I walked in on an important conversation and am missing pieces. Of course, Brian gave me enough to see the picture, but the finer details, who we were before, how we were and how he wants us to be are still missing. Laying out such elaborate schemes for just such a simple goal of a family reunion still doesn't seem real to me, no matter how much the evidence points it to be so.
"Coming little brother?", I hate to say that I jumped, but those are good reflexes to have, being on the run now. What I am more concerned about is the rush of warmth through my veins at the term 'little brother'.
"Yeah", I mutter, getting out of the car and following my brother, donning a new shirt, into the house. I briefly wonder if Brian gets caught again, will they track down the family next door and search their place too? If they did, they would only find Brian's prints in all the acceptable places, unlike my apartment.
The house is familiar. The memories are right on the top of my head but just won't come out. Me and Brian and our sweet mother Laura. A brother to play with me and protect me, a mother to love me and care for me. The ghost memories almost knock loose some long lost emotions. Almost, but as always, they are just whispers of the true thing.
I stop, staring at the kitchen. There are memories there, lurking. Of Brian and my mother ,and all three of us too. Cooking maybe? Washing hands? The memories insist on hiding and it only frustrates me more.
"How much do you remember?", I look at Brian, just for a moment, before looking back at the kitchen. He has that intense star again. Demanding information that will be used for future plans. It is oddly comforting, to have someone else to plan and plot with. Someone watching out for me.
"Not much. Just random memories", I end my hunt with a scowl. No matter how long I stare, the kitchen tells me nothing. There is a long moment where we both stay silent and still.
"We would play in here a lot", Brian finally says, breaking the silence. Play. The push starts the memories, finally teasing them out of hiding.
"We'd put blanks over the table and chairs to make a fort", I finish. Well, Brian would make the fort anyway. I just played with him after.
"It is amazing how easy it is to entertain kids", he says, and if I had not looked his way, I would have completely missed the wide grin on his face.
"Yeah", I mutter, looking back at the table. The memory is in focus now, the two of us playing just like any other children. Normal.
"We can stay here tonight, if you'd like", Brian says after another long pause. "There will be less traffic at night anyway. Harder to blend in and sneak by", but we both know that it has nothing to do with that. Here, in this house where we began, it is only right to begin again in it. Brian can reminisce and I can hopefully get more memories. And then we can start a new life together.
"That'd be good", I agree, looking around the house. He moves towards the back and I am slow to follow, getting a good look at the house for the first time. The bedroom that he is staying in is the master one. It still has the aura of familiarity, but much less. Not surprising, it was our mother's room. He walks to the corner of the almost empty room. There are a few things. Water bottles, some dehydrated and instant food, and a couple of bags.
"That duffle bag is important. Make sure it doesn't get left behind", he comments as he checks over the supplies, peaking my curiosity. I grab it and glance at him to make sure that I can open it without offending him. He doesn't look at me and I take that as an 'I don't care' on the opening question.
Cash. Hundred dollar bills jump out at me, with smaller ones scattered around. Thousands of dollars in cash. I would hug my brother, if we both didn't hate hugs. Four hundred dollars, minus what I had to spend to get him out, would have gotten us half way across the state at best. This is the kind of money that we can live on for a little while. This will get our new lives going. My brother was a smart investment indeed.
"Keep digging", Brian says, looking at me. He seems to have confirmed that everything was in place and now gives me his full attention. I look back down at the duffle bag, digging through the cash to find a large envelope. I have a feeling I'll like what is inside.
Two bundles of papers, held together with a rubber band. Birth certificates, social security numbers, driver's licenses with my face. Multiples of each, several new identities ready to go. Michel Gillboy, George Frankin, Dexter Moser.
I stop, dawdling on the last one. Me, my first identity. I look through it, looking at the names of my parents and the location and time of my birth. The birth of a Moser, not a Morgan. The life that was hidden away from me.
"We probably shouldn't be using our real identities. I have almost two decades of being institutionalized due to anti-social personality behavior on mine, and your social security number is linked to a police station bombing and aiding in the escape of a serial killer", it is an unpleasant reminder. I doubt that he meant it to be, but it still leaves me frozen to think that I am now on the run. I decide to change the subject to something that nibbles at my mind looking at these people.
"Who were they?", 'were', because they must be dead. My brother must have killed them and made sure the bodies were never found.
"Not people you would approve of me killing", he comes out with it. Frustration wells inside of me, but I know it shouldn't. It was before he agreed to abide by the code. I have to let any past mistakes go. If not for him, then for me, for my ability to work with him. "Speaking of that, we should figure this out", Brian says. He sits down on the small bed in the corner.
"The code?", I look at him, my attention gone from the paperwork.
"A code to keep you from getting too pissed at me. No offense, but I really don't want to follow your code to the tee"
"A lot of it is null now. Most of it was on how to not get caught", it is a harsh fact, but reality. All the little rules on how to fit in, keep a steady job, have a girlfriend, be normal are out the window. Maybe when things settle down we can build on one of these new identities, but right now people are looking for us. My brother's face is plastered on every news station nationwide, and it won't be long before I join him.
"So?...", he wants ground rules. He doesn't care how intact the code is or isn't. He even said he doesn't want to follow it, that he is willing to tolerant some rules. So, I'll give him a basic run down.
"Rule number one, don't get caught", caught being defined as arrested, since we are already found out. Not that he cares about the subtleties, but in my own mind, the rule has to be adjusted and refitted for our new situation.
"As it should be", he sounds almost sarcastic. Of course he agrees fully with rule number one, any self-respecting serial killer would. But it is an important one. The most important one. That should make him happy. It is above the part on who to kill.
"Rule number two, don't kill innocent people", ah, and now we get to the meat of the issue. Of course he already knew about this one. But judging by the look on his face, he has issues with it. Can't say that I am surprised.
"Innocent being people who have never killed anyone?"
"Senselessly and without remorse", I clarify. Best not to be vague. "People who have killed in self-defense or with good cause and people who have killed and are remorseful and never want to do it again. You cannot kill those people", I gauge his reaction carefully. He clearly is not happy about it. His face is hard and almost seems on the edge of a glare. "It's really not that bad", I add because it isn't and I really don't see why it almost hurts him to agree. He sighs, frustrated and looks away.
"So, only kill people like us?", he jabs at the hypocrisy of it, something that I never fully denied.
"Yes", if he wanted to knock me off kilter he failed.
"What about self-defense? Like with Doakes", he asks, moving on. He doesn't seem to have full heartily accepted the idea of killing only murderers, but he isn't fighting me about it, so I'll move on with him. To the very good question he brought up. If we have to kill to avoid arrest, can we? We did it with Doakes, but I still had to make my brother do it. It seemed less dirty, even though I knew it wasn't. I don't know what to say to it. It is still killing an innocent person and thus against the code. Brian seems to sense this. He knows that it is a weak point and I silently thank him for not using it to try to wear down on the code. I opt to answer it with the same answer I use to have before.
"We don't get in that situation", because that is how I did it for so long. I would creep along and never give any clues.
"Dexter", he knows that is shit. We both know. But I don't know what else to say. "Look, I'll try not to get into that position, but we are kind of wanted here. And I am not going to fucking die for some dead man's morals", anger is laced heavily into his voice. He is offended at the thought of dying for over something like that. I don't like the thought either. "I'm not going to let you die either", he adds, giving me a stern look that lays down his own law. He's willing to play along with my code, but if he feels the need to break it, he will. For now, I'll just follow the precedent we already set since it fits well.
"If you have to, you can kill to save us", 'us', I say. Not 'you'. It is a cop out, but I don't want to kill an innocent person. I'd rather it be done by some else's hands, even if it means nothing. It's like a person who pays to have someone else kill their meat. They die all the same, but I get to sleep free and happy at night. But he has already shown himself more than willing to defend the both of us.
Brian seems to like that answer. He might want to ask more on it, but he decides against it. Best not to test it, I am sure is his reasoning.
"What is your stance on doing some less-than friendly things to innocent people, without killing them?", 'less-than friendly' being code for what? Rape? Theft? Assault? And the way he draws out 'innocent' makes a small scowl come onto my face. Surely, he sees the difference between people like us and people like Deb. The sheep and the wolves, the pure and tainted. Innocent and guilty.
"Only if we have to", I side step my prior frustration. He is willing to put a lot on the side to make this work, and I am willing to meet him halfway. Though I realize that I am leaving a lot of the questions open ended. The answer depends on how much we need to do it. What will happen if we don't kill that man or rob that woman. But the fact that Brian is looking for a well-defined set of rules and not so much a loop hole to cheat, it seems like he'll use discretion. Hopefully.
"So, kill killers and don't get caught killing killers. Anything else?"
"Third and final rule. Be certain. We need proof that someone is guilty before we kill them", although, as I say it, I realize how difficult that might be. Without access to the criminal database or even a steady internet access at all, this could be hard. I was use to my police resources when I hunted, but now, it might not be so easy. Brian seems to accept my answer though, trusting that I will have to know-how to accomplish this. He probably assumes that if I don't, he will have an excuse to go back on the code. Another frown makes its way onto my face as I see that as yet another another possible issue in our future.
"So, if I follow your simply three step program to becoming a real life Batman, I am not going to wake up one day in one of your kill rooms?", he jokes and I can't help but smile too, despite the slander to the code. At this point, Brian would have to act pretty wild in order for me to be moved to kill him. But he doesn't seem to realize the cards he is holding. That, or he doesn't view this as a competition between the two of us.
"And hopefully my body won't ever be found frozen and bloodless"
"I think we have a deal then", he gives me a cheeky smirk. I suppose this is a big step in our relationship. We agreed not to kill each other.
"Although, if you want to wear a cape and pretend to be Batman, you cannot be seen with me", I add, playing on our joke. He cracks a smile and something beautiful is born.
"On a semi-related note, your car is still outside", he changes the subject. My car. I thought for a brief second that I might have blocked his car and he wanted me to move it. How else would he get to work? The whole 'running from the law' thing is new to me.
"I'm guessing we need to get rid of it"
"And get a new one", so, swapping cars. Cars get stolen all the time, and rarely recovered. But how to make sure we do nothing stupid that breaks rule number one.
"Obviously we want to watch out for security cameras", I say to start the conversation.
"We might also want to be careful where we leave your car", he adds. "Wouldn't be hard to figure out our new car if it was stolen ten feet from our old one", and he's right, that is one of those small things that a good detective can use to close a case. Finding the car they are looking for and then looking for stolen cars near it. And then you have your new wanted car.
"I'll drop you off somewhere to get a car and then you can pick me up where I leave mine", another plan comes together. Hopefully it won't crash and burn like our last one did.
"Yeah…", Brian mutters, thinking.
"What?", I ask, not all that inspired by his overwhelming confidence. He hums a toneless sound for a moment. He has something to say, something that I won't like.
"I tend to just kill the guy to get the car", he confesses. Well, he just informs me, but it feels like it should be a confession. "And I take it that is not an option", he almost looking pleadingly at me, as though to say 'just this one last time'. But he wouldn't even be killing for pleasure, he'd be doing it for convenience. And he can find another way.
"You can find someone who left their keys somewhere", probably not, but I don't want it to be my problem. He's smart, he'll figure it out. He sighs, frustrated. But again, not my problem.
"We should do this before you officially become wanted and they start looking for your car", he says as he stands. He's right, we are still in the twilight of my old life. The DNA tests might be nearing competition, but they still have to regroup and talk about what it means. Deb will probably try to defend me, and people will hopefully be slow to admit that they worked with a monster. Best to do all these things before my man hunt begins.
I drop Brian off in a sketchier part of town. Where there are old warehouses, lots of car jacking's, few people milling about, and little security cameras. We agree to meet at an old run down church. Which gives me a good amount of time to sit here and twiddle my thumbs, pondering the shit storm that is my life. I don't like the spare time. I don't like change and I don't like having to sit still with nothing to think about but how much change I am faced with. I might even feel the smallest tugs of guilt for running off with the guy who emotionally destroyed my sister. I guess I really can't do much more to hurt her than just add the icing to the cake at this point. I take that as a good thing.
I even start to think about doing something for her. Reaching out, giving her my last goodbyes. Something other than just this. Across Miami, my sister must have been thinking the same thing, because my cell phone starts to ring. I really should have gotten rid of it, the police can use it to track me. I certainly shouldn't answer, but how can I leave her without even saying goodbye? Just a parting message, a final goodbye. And then my cell phone will go the way of my car.
"Hey Deb", I force myself to sound cheery. This is a present for her, and it will be the best I can do.
"Hey Dex, what are you up to?", she sounds happy, but it is clearly faked. I was suppose to go to my apartment. I was suppose to be there already. I wasn't suppose to have blood slides, butchering tools, or my brother's clothes. Even though my façade is falling, I decide not to answer with an honest 'looking for a car unlinked to me so that I can flee the state and possibly country'.
"Just a little project. Sorry, I sort of got distracted. You know how it goes"
"Yeah, well, you probably should have fucking came", her voice cracks. Is it fear or hurt? I don't know, but I know my course of action. Step one, don't confess to anything they don't know about.
"Why is that?"
"We found some weird ass stuff. Some circumstantial shit, but still people are freaking out over it", circumstantial evidence, the best kind of evidence. Well, for my side anyway.
"Uh, not sure what you are talking about", the slides? My tools? Doubt they would classify anything from my brother circumstantial, but I might be able to play the clothes thing off. After all, he has stolen clothes from innocent people. The finger prints and hair might be a different story, but they cannot confirm that they are my brother's for a few hours yet.
"Some weird fucking… tool set I guess", my tools. I can work with that. "Found them in a trunk in your closet. Like some fucking butchering set or some shit."
"Right, that. A gift from dad, back from we use to hunt together. I never use it anymore, but I don't have the heart to throw it away", now would be a bad time for her to point out how unsentimental I am.
"It also has some freaky ass hardware. Drills and shit", her voice cracks again. She knows that something is wrong. I know that it is hopeless. But lying is the only thing I know to do in this situation.
"Yeah, it sort of became the collection of unused gifts"
"Not all that dusty for an untouched set"
"Sometimes I like to reminisce. The hunting trips, with dad", it is a weak cover and she knows it. Maybe that is why she doesn't push any father. They certainly found Brian's clothes, and maybe the blood slides. She picked the least incriminating thing, and stopped when it my lies fell flat. She knows, she just wants to be convinced that she is wrong.
She knows. My house of cards is now drifting down. Destroyed, but the pieces have yet to hit the ground. This will probably be the last time I will talk to her. I grip the phone tighter at the realization. I may not have much emotion, but this thought still makes my heart sink and I feel something that just might be wisps of guilt. She knows, and if not, she will by tonight. This will be the last time we talk. And she deserves more than some lies to make her feel slightly better before the world come crashing down. She deserves some parting words.
"I'm sorry. And I'm rarely sorry, but I am sorry Deb"
"No, no, no, no. Don't you fucking say that", I actually crack a small grin when I realize how those words parallel what Brian sad when I refused to kill Deb. It's not funny, just fitting.
"I know I already said this, but it is true. You have to keep going-"
"Stop it", her voice cuts through mine. "Fucking stop", she's crying. I carry on.
"This is really hard and I know it. I know that this could destroy a person-"
"Fuck Dexter…", she sobs. Deb, sobbing. It is so out of place that it could have been funny. But as I said, this isn't funny.
"But you have two choices here. You can give up or you can keep going", I don't know what else to say or if I even hit the mark. She is crying, but that is not surprising.
"What the fuck? Why would you fucking help that fuck!", anger, not really surprising either. In fact, I expected it first, but I don't really know much about complex emotions. Still, I don't know what to say.
"Dex, did you make the bomb?", her voice is soft now, a whimper. The bomb that allowed Brian to escape. Not hard to peg it to me, I made no attempt to cover my tracks.
"Deb", I say, stern. It is the voice I use to try to bring her back to reality. This time I use it to push her away from reality. I don't want to have to explain everything to her, I want to say goodbye.
"I don't know what the fuck is going on or how he is fucking…controlling you, but just come back. We'll protect you. We'll get you the best damn lawyer in Miami, and you can come back and everything will be fucking fine", she thinks Brian is manipulating me. A logical guess that fulfills her emotion need to preserve my innocence.
And I might be able to pull it off too. Brian can go free and I could return to my normal life. It'd be hard to explain, there is a decent chance I will be found guilty of something. But how much can they put on me? With a good lawyer and a semi-believable sob story, I might be able to get off free. Maybe I was too rash. I wanted to Brian free and I was panicked. Unless, of course, they found the blood slides and will be running DNA tests on them, in which cased I am completely fucked. Another major unknown.
Or I could be free, with my brother. I look in the direction Brian is. He is out of sight, across the city, but I can still sense him, hiding in the corners. Ready, waiting, and so completely unwilling to back down. What would he make of that idea? Him going free and I returning to normal. Probably wouldn't like it.
"Dexter, please. You are all I have damn it, and you could get him for us. You could fucking lead us right to him. I don't know what he has on you, but is it fucking worth it?", that is right. If I go back, I would have to give information about my brother. I could give useless information, lies, but if I don't lead them to Brian, I could very well be tipping the scales out of my balance, if they were even with me to begin with.
"After all he fucking did, you are just going to go with him?", anger again. But judging by the pattern, bargaining and denial will be back too.
"Deb, just trust me. You won't ever see me again, but I never wanted to hurt you"
"Dexter, what the fuck is going?"
"I'm sorry Deb", I'm about to hang up. This conversation has run its course. It may not have been a grand closure to the performance of a lifetime I put on, but everything that needed to be said was said. So my thumb is skimming the end button right when Deb stats to talk again. Calmer this time.
"Can we do this in person?", she asks. She isn't crying anymore, but voice is still coated with pain. Any feeling person would have pity and agree. But I am not feeling and I know what a horrible that is.
"Deb, no. I can't"
"Please Dex! I can't just let it end like fucking this! With a fucking phone call", she's crying again and yelling.
"I don't like the way this is ending either. But it just has to be this way"
"Come on. He sleeps doesn't he? I mean, whatever the hell he is controlling you with, it doesn't seem like he has a fucking gun to your head or anything. Just sneak out, just for one night. I won't make you do anything, I just want to talk", her last line weakens my resolve. Deb has always been honest. She doesn't like to trick people, even the lowly criminals she hunts. Honest, that is one thing I trust Deb to be.
"And you won't bring anyone else? No tricks, just you and me, to talk", I really shouldn't. It is a horrible idea. But I trust Deb. I know she has a motive to lie, but she has had other motives to lie and cheat in the past. She doesn't though, and so I can trust her. Her mood, how broken she is, she just wants her big brother. Just like I wanted mine. And I was willing to throw everything else aside to get him.
"Of course not. Thank you Dexter. Thank you, thank you", she chants, whimpering. I'm not sure if it will make things harder or easier in the long run for her, but I want to see her one last time. It is the least I can do. "I'll get a hotel room, they won't have either of our names"
"No, that is too public", I probably shouldn't have sounded so harsh. "Met me at the Grove Harbor Marina, one a.m.", and with that, I hang up and stare at my phone, wondering just how stupid of an idea this is.
Brian finds me like this. Leaning against my car, back to the sunset, just staring at my phone.
"Jesus Dex, you still have that?", he takes my phone from me and looks worried. My brother is so rarely ruffled, and considering how he is now an integral part of my survival, I don't like when he is. "Did you call anybody?", he asks as he takes the battery out.
"No", I lie. Deb was right, I will have to sneak by him. I watch idly as he chucks the battery into some trees, and the phone itself onto the road. He must see through my lie, because there is a tension between us as we get into the new car. He has that calculating looking and I know he is plotting ahead. I opt to bring up a new topic.
"How'd you get this car?", he could have killed the owners and lie to me, and I would never be any wiser. This fact doesn't really bother me, not with Deb and our meeting still on my brain.
"I didn't kill anybody", he sounds defensive, not at all like the sheepish but playful tone he usually uses when he confesses to murders. His face his still cold, still calculating. I don't feel guilty, but I am worried. He knows that something is up, and that I am lying.
It's reasonable, I realize. He knows that I talked to someone, and he knows that I told them something. I could be plotting to turn him in to save myself and my old life. He has no way of knowing, and so the trust that was forming between us is smothered. Practically speaking, I know how dangerous that is.
"It was Deb", I give my brother some truth. Just enough to repair the trust between us.
"Dexter", he groans, sighs, and just extrudes frustration. He probably still wants her dead. He probably hates her for taking his place as my sibling. He probably hates how much I still feel attached to her. I should probably choose my words carefully.
"I didn't tell her anything. She called, and I took the chance to say goodbye", it is the truth, and almost the whole truth. But he still seems uneasy. Unconvinced. He knows that I will lie and never stop lying.
"You know she can never accept your true self", his voice is low, soft, passionate. Like when he revealed himself, when I was drugged and taped to a chair, though that makes it seem like a much worse night than it really was.
"I know", and I do know. She believes that this is some sort of hostage situation. Whatever works to keep her sane.
"Brian, I have an idea", it comes to me in a flash. A true, final departing gift for Deb, one that should make everyone happy. Or at least make Deb less broken. "Can we fake my death?", Brian looks at me, with an odd mixture of surprise and boredom. It is a good idea though. I get to be free, and I won't be looked for nearly as much as I would otherwise. I get to be with my brother, and Deb gets to keep her innocent view of me. I realize that, considering I agreed to meet with her tonight, she might blame herself. But that cannot be helped, she would probably blame herself anyway. Provided that they did not figure out that Brian is my brother during all of the maddened DNA testing that they surely have done, she will still view her as the center of Brian's attention, not me.
"I wouldn't be opposed", he agrees. And why wouldn't he? It works out well for him too. This getaway will go a lot smoother if my face isn't being plastered everywhere and hunted like an animal. And besides, that is all he wanted from the start, for me to burn my old life. What better way to do that than fake my own death? "But my line of expertise is killing people, not pretending to kill people", in other words, this is my problem. A jab from how I left him with the matter of a new car?
I consider if I should use tonight as part of my plan. I could drop a few lines, pave a path. My brother can make one last appearance later, hinting at my death. Perhaps I could set up a second meeting, but have Brian come to it. It would allow for the police to get the idea without being too obvious. Deb might face some fallout for meeting with me and not telling anyone. I continue to piece together a plan and we return to the house for the night. It is going to be turbulent few days, but hopefully we'll make it through the storm.