Disclaimer: I do not own nor claim to own any of the following characters, places, or events. Just the story.
Author's Note: Takes place at the end of episode 2.06, "Siege."
-Poetry of the Broken-
For four years, you've prided yourself on your ability to fake it, to make those around you—to make him—feel secure in this crumbling world. For four years, you've resigned yourself to moonlit tears and sobs into your pillow and the hope that someday things might be different. For four years, it's been brave fronts and playful punches and tip-toe dances around that subject. And for four years, it's mostly worked.
Tonight you must remember.
You must remember the library where you met, and how your heart fluttered and hands dropped when he caught you staring past the copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and Perelandra. "I'm Joe," he'd said, poking an arm between the shelves. "And I like Shakespeare."
"Erica. And… I don't."
Funny, how he'd opened up the world to you that day. And not just to Shakespeare.
Then there's the callus of his hand in yours and the smell of gasoline and lamplight as he worked on his bike, words soft and smiles easy on the summer air. Thinking of the motorcycle reminds you of your first date, the one that can still flip-trip your heart when you remember it. There was his laughter and your arms snugged around him and the wind snapping through your hair. Black velvet and cornsilk, he'd called it, stopping on a hill to stargaze.
He'd always been something of a poet, when no one else was listening.
Thinking of poetry reminds you of your first kiss, the one smack dab in the library where you met, this time with War and Peace and Anna Karenina acting as your audience because you'd wanted him alone and no one bothered with Tolstoy on the weekends. That kiss was a sharp, excited kind of poetry. A poetry that said It's for real and didn't back down.
Poetry was your wedding day and the calm like rain on your soul as you said your vows. It is the moment you learn you are pregnant, and the fear grappling for your breath when the doctor tells you there's something wrong. Poetry is holding your son for the first time as your husband drops tears on your tired tangled hair.
Poetry is memory. Poetry is you.
You sit there with a sob in your throat and don't want to remember, but you must, because God, oh, God, don't do this to me, but yes please do, because I don't want to forget him. Please, just don't let me forget.
Not this time.
And so you sit there and remember, because really, what else can you do? You're broken, jagged. Today marked your failure as an agent, a wife, a mother. Everything you are, your essence, ripped from you. Through lies, two bullets, and that stupid camera in Tyler's jacket. Anna and her treachery shattered your soul today, and you can't keep going. Not after this.
You hug yourself, the memory of his lifeless body still heavy in your arms. He's dead, but somehow still bleeds all over you, staining your hands and jeans and soul. Or maybe that's your blood, your dead body. Do you even know anymore? The muddy pavement, debris and the sirens – they're all still there, under you and on you and around you,
and you can't escape.
The moonlight weeps onto your shoulders, breaking its fingers to reach you and spattering silver blood across your hair. You're still, deathly still. Memories are all you have now. Memories.
You remember the night you pulled Joe down here and told him you were pregnant. He hadn't believed you at first, and then he'd picked you up and spun you into moonlit laughter. A precious memory. You cling to it, but hate the way it hurts.
How is it possible to go from wife to widow in only eighteen years?
You're too young for this.
And so is Tyler.
This is why you've hidden your tears, summoned a smile, laughed and acted normal in the face of the lies. He's too young for this much tragedy. You just wanted to protect him… give him another month, another week, another year. Another hour of innocence. If there is such a thing as innocence in this world anymore.
And instead, he's on that ship with Anna, thinking you're to blame for his father's death. Because you didn't do your job.
Your fingers curl around the jacket, the only piece of him that remains, and wait for the anger to come. It always does - buries your grief beneath a tangle of dirty clothes and case files and leaves you fine for another day, week, month, year.
But tonight? Tonight there is only the broken-fingered moonlight and the jacket heavy on your skin.