Dexter. AU filler, Season 8. Dexter/Deb. Drama, confrontations and inappropriate sibling relationship. Another version of the aftermath and Deb spinning out of control. Possible multi-chapter. Disclaimer: characters belong to the creators of Dexter. No profit here. Un-betaed.


Four Hundred Ways to Self-Destruct

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01. Collision

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Lights, red and blue, flash through the cacophony of sounds. I arrive too late to prevent the disaster, one - I suspect - of my own making.

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It's not Hannah, this time. It's just. An accident.

By the time I sit at her side in the ambulance Quinn has filled me in with the missing details.

The police are nearly finished with the report. Straight road, clear night, no extreme weather conditions, and an ex-cop no less.

It's as bizarre as it gets. But knowing the true reasons behind my sister's predicament, I am more worried than surprised.

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"What is this even..." Deb sounds faint and tired, barely holding on, wrapped in a shock blanket, looking like she would drown in there. Like she could.

We watch as they haul the scrap metal onto the tow truck.

I don't have an answer for her. At least none she'd like to hear. It wasn't a real question anyway.

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We drive home. The car is full of silence. She's withdrawn somewhere into herself as is her habit of late.

I wonder if it's a nice place. Her own private peace resort, with no rules and scruples. Where everything is right. I wonder if I can join her there.

Or are serial-killing brothers barred from that world as well...

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The lights in her apartment don't work. A power outage. Or blown fuses. I check the junction box to make sure no one has tampered with the wiring.

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She walks slowly to the fridge and I hear a soft 'fuck' emanating from inside the kitchen appliance. The only things still working are the tap and the gas stove, and a pot of tea seems like a reasonable option.

"Deb?" I try, when she saunters off with a lukewarm beer in her left hand, and a cigarette in the other. She flicks the lighter a couple of times, before the fidgeting ceases enough for a single flash of flame.

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"What?" she inhales, shakily. It's been years since I last saw her do that, and I can't help but see it as yet another mark of the damage I've inflicted. "What the hell, Dexter?"

As expected, she does not appreciate being scolded like a small child, the offending item plucked out of her fingers. As I walk back to the bin to dispose of it, I catch Debra's footsteps close on my heels. At least I got her attention.

"Jesus fucking Christ, Dexter, who the fuck do you think you are?" she corners me between the garbage dispenser and the kitchen island.

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"I'm your brother," I supply in the semi-darkness, quite redundantly. "And you've just been through a trauma-"

"Fuck. You." She lets out a breath of warm air. Her trembling has burnt to a silent rage. "You are the only trauma in my life."

The irony is not lost on me. Ever since LaGuerta, she's been rolling down some invisible hill my lies have forced her upon. And now that she's neither a Lieutenant nor a homicide detective, she has as little of herself left as right after Harry died.

And it's all my doing. It's time to embrace the responsibility. Deal with the aftermath.

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"You're clearly not yourself..." I insist, weaker still, watch her chip her nails against the wall, her knuckles pale. I resist the urge to rip them away, stop her from digging deeper.

Our staring contest will lead to nothing. Her fury lasts a few more seconds before her arm drops, freeing my way.

"Just... fucking go."

The amount of expletives in her speech should warn me to heed her advice and back off, but I can't. Not anymore. I've kept my distance for the past few weeks. Said nothing when she quit her post, her career, the dreams she's fought for and managed to achieve. I gave her the distance she wanted. Nothing's changed. And it's time for different tactics.

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"No."

Something alarming must have shown on my face, for she's begun backing up, eager to regain the distance she'd kept so far and dropped in her anger. She takes another step back. And I - one forward, until I have her trapped in that very same junction of her kitchen. It's time to hear this. Have her pour it out on me.

I keep my back straight.

"Not until you talk to me."

Isn't that what she taught me, about Rita? Stop being a douche bag and go fight for her. Isn't all the advice we give to others truly about ourselves?

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"Damnit, Dex..." she growls, trying to twist my hands, pressed against the wall.

I stand my ground.

It's an uncharted territory. And there's no telling how she'll react. If she'll either forgive me or hate me forever.

She runs out of patience, gives me a sharp shove. A heavier one, then another and another. I won't move, my body as firm as a cage trapping her. I close my eyes, let her lash out. It's only fitting. Let her hurt me rather than herself. And perhaps, through this punishment, I will get absolution.

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Her struggling becomes more desperate.

I am barely fast enough to catch her kneecap before it hits my weak point, and just like that she's trapped in awkward balance, her eyes wide and full of emotions I don't have a name for. We stay a few seconds in this equilibrium, letting me believe I won, when she reaches closer, wraps her arms tight around my torso and... bites.

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Yelping, I push away from her that very instant and lose my balance in the process, and hit the counter. Her leg freed, she loses her footing as well, and ends up the same - back against the opposing wall. And so we sit, the both of us, sprawled, gasping, gawking at each other on the kitchen floor.

There's something stinging my neck, and when I reach out and touch it, it's wet and there's a dark streak on my hand. I have long taken comfort in blood, but now, the liquid feels morbid and warm against my hand, and out of place, somehow.

"You wouldn't let go," Deb offers, haltingly, eyes turned away. Still in this half-crouched position, she reaches over me for her abandoned bottle of beer on the countertop and takes a long swig. Then, without prompting, she hands it to me. It's warm and unpleasant, but I hardly care.

Somewhere above us, the teapot starts whistling.

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"Don't you have work tomorrow or something?" she asks when it's past midnight and I still haven't left her place. Legs stretched out, I look out across her patio, where the waves crash, unseen, in the distance.

"It's Friday."

Jamie is watching Harrison. She's probably heard of the accident and settled for the night.

Deb just nods. She'd probably lost the track of days. Quitting your job can do that to you.

Worse yet, it's bound to raise questions. Particularly on such a short notice. She did not even show up at her station. I went and collected her stuff, destroyed anything that could pass for evidence, packed the rest in a single brown cardboard box. In all likelihood, it's still waiting, somewhere... abandoned in some shady corner of her apartment.

She says nothing after that, but our brief scuffle seems to have made her accept my presence at her apartment. It's been decades since I last wrestled with my sister. Not that I ever really could.

Harry instructed me keep calm, never show myself on the offensive, unless in it for the kill. So, even when we were fighting, it was always her fighting with me.

I didn't mind, you see. For once, the storm was outside me, not within.

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"I can't believe I did that. That I let you..." she spills out in the dark, when I can't see her. "LaGuerta is dead, Dexter. She's dead because of me, and nothing happened. And nothing ever will. Like there's no consequence. Like her life doesn't matter."

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"It's not your fault, Deb." I repeat like a mantra, hoping she'd let go eventually. Let the light in. And the universe do its job.

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"Yes, it is. I did that just as I'm sitting on this couch right now. She's dead and we're alive and she'll have no fucking justice for it."

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"Not many things do," I add, speaking from experience.

For wasn't I an instrument of justice? The Code, Harry, Speltzer and her realisation... wasn't it all there for a reason? That despite everything that's happened, I've maintained that integrity.

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Unlike her.

I can never completely express my full gratitude for something that heinous.

But - what she did, she did for me. At the cost of her own soul, she's kept me clean, on the right track.

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My dearest sister Debra. Damaged beyond repair.

Harry's true daughter. And I, his legacy. Both gazing into the darkness beyond.

And the truth is, I've never loved her more.

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Except.

She's derailed herself. And I can't get her back.

"Why are you still here?" she whispers into the nothingness that lurks around us, within her and me. There's mugs, the empty boxes and beer bottles cluttering the coffee table, and I'm hungry for everything and nothing at all. "Why aren't you out there... killing things?" It sounds like an interrogation, like she chiding me. Giving me what I've been wanting to all along, in my deepest darkest recesses.

A permission.

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Instead I am fixed. I remain here.

My hand worms its way on the cushions to find hers. I clasp it, like it could run from me.

"I'm in the only place I should to be.".

She may be lost, far off the chosen track. Where she never needed to be.

It's only fair I ride it out with her.

. . .


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