(DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything. Dexter belongs to Showtime, CBS, and Jeff Lindsey.)
His eyes blink open as I enter the frigidarium, red toolbox lodged in my left arm. The shudder of the freezer door slamming shut immediately draws his doleful gaze towards me as I stand motionless, my trembling hand still resting on the ice-cold handle of the door. He's watching me in all my stillness, like a cornered animal waiting to be put down. It's all I can do from fleeing the room in my weakest state. I didn't want to wish this on him, not like my other victims. But for innocent Debra, I suppress the urge to resist. It must be done.
Our eyes remain locked for an extensive pause. It's like staring into a twin emerald suns, winsome but dangerous, until I nonchalantly mutter, "Hey..."
He blinks, borderline winces. He can't move his head, nor his arms or legs. He realizes he's soundly strapped to the table of not-so-happy endings. His own table, realistically. My table, ultimately. An electric-powered table with metal grating. Fond memories must be soaring through his mind. I suspect he's inwardly reminiscing the countless women he's strung upside-down from this very machine - the limbs he's gashed and the blood he's heisted. Oh, the sweet and splendid blood.
His eyes wander the ceiling as he takes in his surroundings – his holy sanctuary. He knows very well where he is. Death is no stranger to this workshop, nor his his Dark Passenger. But even in his final moments, he likes the cold of his winter wonderland. It almost brings a sense of poetic relief to him. I can see it in his face, if not vaguely. And it pains me.
As he lay powerless on my table, I roll my head back in distress. His utter silence is tearing me apart. "You weren't supposed to wake up.", I mumble ever so abjectly.
At last, he whispers, "I guess not."
"Sorry.", I croak out in a botched attempt to act casual, not that he's buying it. Averting his eyes again, I gather the strength to move away from the door and carry his toolbox to the handcart beside him. "Police recorded all your knives as evidence.", I explain in a flat but incisive voice. "It took a while to find your dinner flatware."
"Sterling.", He swiftly corrects me, like any older sibling would. Still, he stares blankly at the ceiling overhead, feigning composure as he speaks. "I keep it for special occasions."
"Which you are.", I mutter in response, grabbing an empty bucket from the corner of the fridge and placing it just beneath the head of the table he lay shackled to.
As I rise to my feet, I can see that my words have dented him in his most controlled state. He knows what's coming to him now. My short but sweet reply had confirmed this to him... and he's breaking down inside. He looks at me, as wide-eyed as an innocent child and unmistakably on the verge of tears, but fights against it, for my sake. He doesn't' want his baby brother to see him shed tears. Not like this.
I circle around to his side, a strong current of guilt-stricken thoughts weighing over me. Why did he have to wake up? It was making this so much harder on the both of us. "I can give you more tranquilizer if you want.", I mutter aloud, hoping he'd accept, for my benefit. "It's a service I don't usually offer."
To my unease, he silently chuckles to himself. A small but wistful smile holds his features in place. "What, am I one of your victims now?", He asks me quietly, just barely glancing in my direction. "You gonna collect a little sample of Biney's blood for your slide collection?"
Mockery or not, the very suggestion bristles me. "No, you're not a trophy.", I specify with a hardening glare, wanting so badly for him to understand that he's not like the others – that I don't want to hurt him. "But you need to be put down."
"Why?", He persists, furrowing a brow at me, looking at me as though I'm brainwashed. "Because of your code?"
It pains me that he not only insults me, but he insults himself too, as though I care nothing for him. Why can't he look past the fact this isn't about Harry's code? Why won't he understand the gravity of the situation? He tried to kill Deb, the only constant that makes my everyday facade feel bearable, yet he's still so blind as to why he's only moment's from death. He's still so oblivious as to why I won't join him. It's because I've grown accustomed to what I already have. I've grown fond of Debra. And Rita. And the kids.
As I turn and open the toolbox, I continue to frown at his notion. Feeling the compulsion to voice my frustration, I answer his question in all honesty, "For the safety of my sister."
"She's not your real sister.", I hear him drawl on as I choose a knife from the flatware, tension building up inside me throughout his lecture. "She's a stranger to you and she'll always be one."
I roll my head back on my shoulders, unwilling to listen to this drivel anymore. Every word that bounced off his tongue was a last-ditch attempt to reason with me. To win me back to his side. To make me choose between him, my brother by blood, and Debra, my sister by choice. Really, I don't want to choose. But I have to. It's the only way. And I know he won't like the answer. Brother or not, I can't set him free because I know he's still a threat to Deb. And he knows it as well as I do. He just can't fathom why I'd even care, why I'd value the life of someone who's a complete stranger to my Dark Passenger.
Desperate to break me of my cruel intentions, he vainly presses, "I tried to help you by killing her-"
"I KNOW THAT!", I silence him at last, pinning him with a hard stare.
A small tear rolls down his cheek. He knows it's over. He knows he can't dissuade me. He knows these are his final moments. And it kills me inside that he knows this. It kills me inside that I raised my voice to him the way I did. I don't want him to feel so miserable. I don't want him to feel like his own brother is betraying him. It wouldn't have to feel like this if he were still sedated. If he hadn't woken up, I could have taken to my work fluently. Fuck, why did he have wake up?
I feel like I'm on the verge of hyperventilating, yet I somehow manage to express my sentiments, "You should know this isn't easy for me." I lean in closer to him, no longer endeavoring to hide from his eyes at every chance handed to me. "You've done more to deserve my knife than anyone."
Even with my face only inches from his, he just stares at me with so little expression. It's almost perplexing. And I don't know what's going through his mind anymore. I can't even tell if he's listening to what I'm saying anymore. Part of me wishes he'd speak, while another part of me wishes he'd go just drift back to sleep and not have to be experience this. It would make this a whole lot easier on me. But I know he won't. He just wants to glaze his eyes over my pain and make sense of it somehow.
Bending down fully, I press my forehead against his and shut my eyes as hard as I can. All eye-contact is lost now as I slowly pivot around to the head of the table, the coarse chill of his temples more prominent than ever as I feel him blink in repetition. Squeezing the helve of the knife in my left hand, I murmur tenderly into the crown of his head, "But you're the only one I've ever wanted to set free."
"You're the one that needs setting free, little brother.", He rues, his voice just above a faint whisper. "Your life is a lie."
I grit my teeth and squeeze my eyes harder. A lump swells down my throat as I fight back sobs. I feel my blood flow faster, sending chills crawling up my spine. I can't take this guilt anymore. He's killing me. He's shattering me. He's trying to drag me into his reality and open my mind to it, like a dying wish. And I have to do something quick before I can give in.
"You can never be what-"
Before he can finish, I bring my quivering hand to raise the slender knife, and I slit his throat with one fell slash. My forehead presses more firmly against him as jolts beneath me. I can feel his breathing desist. I can feel his skin go frigid. I can feel his life slip away. "I'm sorry.", I gasp out, tears strong in my voice. "I can't hear any more… but you were right."
The knife falls from my grasp. With a trembling hand, I take the switch for the table and fall into the corner of the room, pressing the only button on the control. On my mark, the mechanical table rotates like a pinwheel until his lifeless body is strung upside-down, echoing the demise of his victims. His blood drains into bucket beneath his head, and I feel as though I've lost the pieces to my life. As I sit crouched against the cold wall, hissing back tears, I lift my head to unseemly 'suicide' of the notorious Ice Truck Killer. My frenzied breathing eventually softens when I realize it's all over. Brian Moser, my only brother, is gone forever.
To have found out that I had a brother exactly like me was a blessing in disguise. But what was found is lost again as soon as it appeared. He was a killer, like me, but without reason or regret. And so I put an end the life of the someone who could truly understand me... to preserve the life of someone who never would. My tragedy is that I killed the one person I didn't have to hide from. And I'm the only one who mourns him. "Brian... I'm sorry..."