Characters: Carrie Mathison
Description: Because Carries loves it when life is heightened somehow.
Word Count: 1978
Rating: M (for language)
Author's notes: Written for the 2011 Yuletide Fan Fiction Challenge for twincy.
Disclaimer: Homeland is a Showtime production developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, based on the Israeli series Prisoners of War created by Gideon Raff. The characters and all other creative elements derived from the source material belong exclusively to the show's rightful owners. No copyright infringement is intended and no financial gain is sought by this fan fiction.
Spoilers: Season 1
There had been a lot of them at first—a bunch of kids, all staring up at the sky and finding shapes in the clouds floating by. But one by one they had walked off until all that were left were herself and her best friend (and partner in crime) Tommy.
"You see that one?" Carrie said, pointing up. "It looks like a bear."
"No it doesn't," Tommy said. "It looks more like a deer, or something skinny."
"If it doesn't look like a bear," Carrie reasoned, "then how do you know which one I'm talking about?"
"Because you always see things in a crazy way," Tommy answered.
"No I don't," Carrie hollered.
The vibrations were getting stronger. If Carrie turned her head just a little to the left, she could see the smaller pebbles bouncing on the track.
They could hear the kids below yelling to them. It had only been one kid at first, but now it was probably, like, three or four voices, all screaming.
"You ready to go?' Tommy asked. There was a tremble in his voice.
"Nope," Carrie said, cool as a cucumber. "Why? You scared?"
"I'm not scared," Tommy said.
He was scared.
More seconds passed by and she could hear it: the faint sound of a train horn. Tommy heard it too.
"Ready now?" he asked. Carrie snatched up a weed that was growing in between the rails and tied it into a knot.
"Never," she said. The vibrations were even stronger now; she could feel them pulsing against her shoulder blades.
"I'm… I'm going," Tommy said finally. An instant later, he ran off.
And then there was just Carrie left, her back against the cold gravel and her shoulders wedged between the railway tracks.
"Get down, Carrie!" It was a chorus of screams now, pleading for her to come down. They yelled louder and louder. One kid even threatened to tell. But Carrie didn't care. All the wimps down there didn't understand; they couldn't feel what she was feeling.
The horn sounded again. Faster and faster. Louder and louder. She could hear the bells chiming, warning passengers and drivers alike that the big, big train was coming. She tilted her head all the way back, and then she could see (upside down) a little grey square with a metal platform just a few hundred feet away.
"Get down, you idiot!" came one scream. It was Tommy. She could hear one of the girls crying in the background; the little twerp was probably pissing her pants. "I'm not kidding Carrie," he yelled. "One… two…"
On three, she threw her body over the railing and down the grassy hill she tumbled, falling fast and free. She laughed, and laughed and laughed… all the way down.
Maggie walks out with the last dish and places it on the table; it's green bean casserole, a Thanksgiving staple in their family. Meanwhile, her husband carves the last slice of turkey and places it on Frank's plate. With a passing glance, they take their seats. A hush falls over the small assembled group.
There they are, Maggie, her husband, Bill, Carrie and the girls' father, Frank. Baby Ruby sleeps quietly in a bassinette a couple feet from the table.
"So," Maggie begins, "it's time to give thanks." She says it nervously, almost as if it were a question. "Bill?" She turns to her husband. "What are you thankful for?"
He smiles. "I'm… thankful for you, my wife. You give me your love and devotion freely and unconditionally. I love you. I'm thankful for our family gathered around this table." He turns to the infant nearby. "And this year I have something new to be thankful for. I'm thankful for my daughter, our daughter, Ruby. I can't even remember how I lived once without her in my life." He keeps watching her, and a whimsical smile crosses his face. Then he turns adoringly to Maggie. "And you? What are you thankful for?"
"The same things," she starts nervously. 'I'm… thankful for family. I'm lucky to have my family here with me. Especially my wonderful husband." She places a hand on his. "Thanks for being my life companion and soul mate, if you believe in that sort of thing." She lets out a nervous chuckle. "I do. But most of all I'm thankful for our beautiful, baby girl, Ruby, my miracle with ten fingers and ten toes..." She trails off and starts to tear up. She places a hand over her mouth. "I'm sorry," she apologizes.
"Don't be," Carrie says. "She's beautiful. Lord, I'm about to start crying."
"What are you thankful for?" Maggie asks.
Carrie sits up a little, takes a deep breath. "I'm thankful for you guys. Year after year you keep putting up with me." A chuckle goes around the table. "I'm thankful, of course for my first niece—she's amazing. I'm thankful that I passed Global Economics with an A-. That class just about kicked my—," she glances at the baby. "Well, butt." She turns to her Maggie. "And thank you for making all this food, Maggie. You're, like, the Thanksgiving Fairy or something."
"It's not like Mom used to make," Maggie shrugs, bashfully. "But you're welcome, sweetie."
"Dad?" Carrie says, turning to her father.
He clears his throat loudly, and takes a sip of his wine before answering. "I'm thankful for all you people around this table. I've screwed up a lot of things in life, but you… you're what I'm most proud of. Especially that grandbaby over there." He's done and then thought of something else. "I'm also thankful my brain-box still works after all that fucking head-shrinking medication I'm taking."
"DAD!" Maggie screams, scandalized.
"What?" Frank answers. "I didn't criticize what you were thankful for."
"But what I was thankful for didn't have a curse word in it."
"We're all adults," he shrugs.
"But what about the baby?"
"She doesn't know what the hell I'm saying."
She turns her head away, agitated. Bill pats her back. Carrie cuts her dad a disapproving look, but he stares back, unmoved. Somewhat rattled, they all begin eating… silently.
Carrie tries to break the ice.
"I… met someone today," she says while slicing her meat.
"Is it another one of your crazy boyfriends?" Frank asks.
"He's not crazy, Dad," Carrie answers.
"All the rest of them are," he answers, before stuffing his mouth with turkey.
"Well, they say girls date their fathers," she quips.
"Touché," he mumbles.
"What's his name?" Bill inquires.
"Saul," she answers in between bites. "Saul Berenson."
"Jewish?" Maggie asks. Carrie shrugs.
"I followed him into a CIA recruitment meeting."
"He… wants to join the CIA?" Maggie asks.
"Nope. He's already in the CIA. He was the recruiter."
"Hold the f—" Frank catches himself. "Hold the fudge up: you got recruited by the CIA?"
"Yep!" Carrie says, her face beaming; she pops a cranberry in her mouth with a flourish. "I passed the recruitment test with flying colors. Mr. Berenson said he saw something tenacious in me… an electricity in my eyes."
Her dad, however, is not pleased.
"The CIA puts the 'dick' in dictator, Carrie. It's the United States' bully machine."
His dissention only energizes her more.
"The CIA helps keep this country safe from the bad people out there, Dad, and not just this country... the whole world."
"FUCK the CIA" he yells. Carrie laughs.
"Then fuck me," she replies brightly.
Maggie just shakes her head.
She watches Brody as he makes the short walk back to his house. He climbs the stairs to the porch then takes his wife in his arms. Carrie can hear him mumble "CIA" to his wife, the way someone might mumble, "She has leprosy." Like it's a bad thing.
Accept that, two weeks ago, she was a good thing. She was all he wanted in the world. She was Escape and she was Love and she was Home.
But now she's a bother, a pesky federal agent who disturbs him at 6:00 in the morning.
Is she wrong for not being able to let him go? For thinking about him late at night? For wondering what it would be like to have his body pressed against hers once again?
For thinking about this instead of listening to Saul?
"Carrie," he says, "focus up."
"Yeah," she sighs. "I'm with you. But I really got fucked in this ass with this one Saul. I gave them clear instructions not to go in, to stay back, to force Walker out of cover. Somehow, they heard 'shoot up innocent Muslims in a mosque.'"
"Okay, we got that part, Carrie, but we have to move on to the next part: finding this scum."
But Carrie is still mad. "I don't know how, Saul, but I know Brody plays into this… somehow. It's more than a hunch, it's more than a feeling, it's… it's intuition, my gut reaching out to me, it's… well, I can see it, when…"
She can see it when thinks back to those moments. Those intimate moments when it was just her and him, and he was raw, and bare and open. Those moments tucked away in the recesses of her mind—in her being—when she was next to him, breathing his air, lying in his sweat, feeling the heat from his body when it was next to hers. When he was vulnerable and confessing. There was something there that said… there's more.
"What?" Saul says, a bit impatient after she trails off.
"I just know," she says. I just… know."
The last two weeks have been hard, since the treatments. She's glad to be alive, really, and she's glad that… that the… noise is gone. She's glad she can still breathe and eat and live. But she misses… she misses herself. Her fire. Her drive. Her purpose.
She's not used to being idle. Or impotent. Or dependent. When she picks up the chips of her life and adds them all together, she might as well be asleep…
Well, she does have them. There's Maggie. Maggie: her angel, her light, her savior. She never stops believing or helping or reaching out to her. She has her dad, Frank. They make a nice little fucked up support group of two. It's what keeps them bonded, although she sometimes wishes they just shared something more normal, like a football team or favorite hobby.
"Aunt Carrie! Aunt Carrie!"
And then she has this.
"Aunt Carrie! Aunt Carrie!" Ruby calls. "Look at Josie!"
The younger girl runs up behind Ruby with her mouth wide open. There appears to be something crushed and black in her mouth, like an Oreo cookie.
"What is that?" Carrie asks, grinning.
"It's a bug!" Ruby screams.
Carrie is horrified… and amused. "That's gross," she says, although she can't help think it's a bit funny too. She can only hope the bug isn't poisonous. "What does it taste like, Josie?"
Josie shrugs her shoulders.
"I told her not to," Ruby explains, "but she did it anyway. And my friend Aiden told me that if you eat bugs you die."
Josie's face drops at that news, and she looks a little sad. She walks up to her aunt and leans on her lap.
"Is that true, Aunt Carrie?" she asks. "Am I gonna die?"
"Nah," Carrie says and taps her nieces nose. "I don't think so."
If it were true, Carrie never would have made it past age six. But she does have a question.
"Why did you do it?" she asks. "Why did you eat that bug?"
Josie thinks a second before she answers. "I just wanted to see if something exciting would happen."
And Carrie nods. Because more than anyone else, she understands what it's like to love it when life is heightened somehow.
Endnote: Thanks for reading!