Disclaimer: I do not own nor claim to own any of the following characters, places, or events. Just the story.

Author's Note: Set pre-season 2, possibly pre-series, from Irina's POV. No spoilers, please; I'm only in season 2.

by Dax's10thHost

The room is quiet around me, holding no secrets, for I will trust mine to no one—not even the air.

They are inside me, my secrets, heavy yet fragile, threatening to fracture if I but jar them a little. I have carried them for years—decades, even—and all for the cause of my country. Time has smoothed my movements, elevated me to the rank of expert when it comes to dancing around the truth. No one knows if I tell the truth or a lie, and that is how it will always be, for even I do not know sometimes.

When I took them upon me, these secrets were strong, proud, full of shivering thrills and swelled lungs, a cause for excitement and restless limbs. They spoke of independence and service to my country, a country that would scorn or forget me otherwise. They were everything I had dreamed of alone on my frozen pond, and yet they were not. It seems that my life is full of paradoxes.

Now they bear the faces of the dead, those eyes that will haunt me forever no matter the evil encased behind them, and they are not the same. They are dirty, revealed, stained by the blood of a hundred men. Men who did nothing to harm me, and only the slightest to wound my country.

I have murdered with my hands, taken the lives of others and not given them back, telling myself that it was fine, sanctioned, on orders. But I knew, somewhere inside me, that it was not right. I kept going because I could not stop; I cannot stop now. They haunt me, and I haunt them. I cannot change.

They are heavy, my secrets, and no one should envy me. No one.