For the Dexter
"Remember the Monsters?"
Do not read
if you do not
want to be spoiled
The Monsters Are Still Here
Buenos Aires is all Hannah imagined. Bustling and beautiful and expensive as hell, so she's glad she has the money she lifted from Miles. No one looks twice at her and Harrison. They can pass for German-Argentinian, at least until they open their mouths, although she's slowly getting better at Spanish.
Harrison is sucking it up like a sponge. When they first got here, she had a long talk with him over what not to say, and he seems to have stuck with the approved story. She told him it would protect his father till Dexter can be with them again.
It was cruel and someday she'll have to apologize for it, but for now, it will keep him safe, and that's what Dexter wanted. That's why he gave her his son.
She was going to move to a farm, but Buenos Aires has captivated her. She's opened a flower shop in one of the trendy districts. She specializes in orchids. She calls the shop Amor Dulce y Triste, because that's what love feels like now: sweet when she's holding Harrison and sad when she thinks of Dex.
She gets hit on all the time. She says no every time. She wants to get settled in her business and be a good mom to Harrison. She wants to do honor to the two people who died as she fled. Dexter who she loved.
And Deb, who she might have learned to love.
She cried over both of them. At night, when Harrison was asleep. He mustn't know yet that his father and his aunt are gone. He deserves to be happy. To live free from the pain Dexter knew. That Hannah knew, too, as a child. All she wants is to love and protect him.
She'll die for him. More likely, she'll kill for him. Neither thought bothers her.
It's probably why Dexter didn't think twice about giving Harrison to her. He knew she'd do whatever had to be done.
Astoria is gray much of the time. The life of a logger is predictable, which soothes Dexter in some ways. He reports for work before it's light, gets in the truck, and drives out to the site, high up in the hills where they're clear-cutting. The trees get loaded up and he stays in the cab usually, pretending to doze. Then he drives the trees to the mill and drops them off. He does this two or three times a day depending on the weather.
The other guys don't like him. That's fine. He never wants to look at a group of coworkers and realize they've become friends. That he...loves them. That he'll miss them. That he feels pain because of them.
He's turned off his feelings. Or maybe he hasn't. Maybe his dark passenger took them with him when he left, when he sat with Deb on her hospital bed and ended her life. Or earlier, when he killed Saxon in the open, on camera, not caring if it ended up being the thing that undid him.
But it wasn't. Batista didn't understand completely what he was seeing, but Quinn did. Dexter thought he might have come to like Quinn—if things had been different, if Deb had survived—when he saw the way Quinn was looking at him after watching the tape of him stabbing Saxon in the neck. He'd looked at him with respect, wolf to wolf. Or maybe coyote to wolf—Quinn did have a tendency to think small. But at any rate, they were two men who both wanted to kill Saxon.
For Deb. Who is gone now. Like Rita. Like Harry. Like Vogel. Like Zach. Like all the people who've died because of Dexter.
No one dies now. His dark passenger has gone silent, drowned perhaps when he set Deb into the water and watched her sink. The blackness swallowing all his foolish hopes and dreams as surely as it swallowed up his sister.
Now? He feels nothing. He wants nothing. He expects nothing.
And nothing is what he gets.
Jamie sits in Atlanta, drinking coffee in the clinic break room. She had to leave Miami after Dex died, after Deb died, after Harrison disappeared.
What was Dexter doing in his boat during a hurricane? And why would he take Harrison with him?
She misses Harrison. She's been the closest thing to a mom the boy has had for several years now. She's lost him. She's lost Joey. She's lost Dex and Deb.
She still has Angel, though. Only the life has gone out of him. First Maria, now this. He's questioning whether he wants to stay on the force again.
She doesn't blame him. She wishes he'd come up to Atlanta. There are hardly any good Cuban restaurants. He could make a killing.
And she misses him. Her big brother. It's in her nature to take care of people and now she has only these temporary charges. She probably should pay more attention to the men who look at her, find a nice one, settle down, have kids of her own.
But that feels wrong. Too soon.
She's lost everything. She's lost nothing at the same time. They weren't her family, her blood.
Blood isn't everything, though.
The clock on the wall clicks down to her next appointment. She finishes her coffee and gets up, leaving thoughts of Miami for her next break.
Quinn stares at his desk, wondering who will get off today after doing something horrible. Someone that Dexter might have tracked down.
It shocked him, for a moment, as he watched the video of Saxon's death, watched it with Dexter and Angel. The calm brutality as Dexter put down Deb's killer. He watched it again later, over and over, fixating on the way Dexter stared down at Saxon's body, then reached over to casually punch the call button.
Most people would have punched it in panic, over and over. They would have backed away sooner.
LaGuerta had been convinced that Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher. Doakes had been, too, from what Quinn understands. And Quinn thinks they were right.
But the Bay Harbor Butcher offed assholes, criminals, killers. People the system failed to lock up.
Was that so bad?
Was Dexter so bad? He loved Deb. He loved his son. Quinn saw that. He was great to Jamie. He was even good to Quinn, cleaning up for him that one time, saving his ass. All when Quinn had been hot on his case. But Dexter had done it for Deb's sake.
What wouldn't Dexter do for Deb?
Still, Quinn wishes he'd been the one to kill Saxon. He still does. He wanted to be the one to make things right.
He's been thinking about that: making things right. How he would do it, if he were going to take out bad guys the way he thinks Dexter did.
He's not a blood spatter guy, though. He's not one of the geeks who knows how much you can leave behind without meaning to. He's not even that great a cop. Although sometimes in Miami Metro, that doesn't matter. Deb was a great cop. Look where that got her.
So even though he thinks about trying to be like Dex, he doesn't do it. But he's shot a bit more freely lately. He's been rougher—Angel even had to caution him the other day.
Like it matters? If he gets suspended, or even terminated.
What the hell does any of it matter now that Deb is gone?
Hannah is sitting in the flower ship and Harrison is drawing. It's a picture of the Slice of Life. She can tell Dexter is driving it and Harrison is sitting on the floor, a life jacket on. He's drawn a blonde woman on the back bench seat, but Hannah's not sure if it's her or his mother.
Then he pushes that drawing aside and starts a new one. This time the Slice of Life sits at anchor and he is drawing another boat, a smaller one. Dexter and he are in it, fishing.
"What is that, Harrison?"
"Life raft. We tested it and afterwards, I wanted to fish."
She touches the life raft. "Did you catch anything?"
"No." He keeps drawing.
Dexter. Life raft. Only wreckage of the Slice of Life itself was found after the hurricane. Nothing else. No Dexter. Well, Deb's body eventually washed up in Fort Lauderdale. Hannah figures Dex went to the hospital, turned off her life support, and took her to sea to bury her.
She's pieced this together from what she can find on the net, from what a very discreet private investigator could find out, and from what she knows of Dexter.
He was at the end of his rope. She should have made him come with her. Nothing he could do would have saved Deb. Killing Saxon wouldn't make her safe, not from the clot that ended her.
Dex had turned off, though. Hannah sees that now. He tended to wallow, to blame himself. It was one crucial way they were different. She knows that not everything wrong with her life is her fault. Although plenty is—she doesn't lie to herself.
Dexter never seemed to get there. He would want to punish himself. He'd delivered the killing stroke too many times to think that suicide was a fit punishment. Death brought peace: to him—and to the victim. The horror was over for them. Dying in a hurricane was poetic, but would it really be punishment?
She touches the picture again. She wants to talk to her private detective. Have him start looking. Dex could be anywhere, but if she knows him, and she thinks she does, he'll live on the fringes, now, not in the middle of society. He'll deny himself that comfort. It'll be expensive to look for him, but she can afford it. "Can I have this picture, Harrison? When you finish?"
She kisses his forehead. "I love you."
"I love you too, Hannah."
The Oregon days wear on. One into the next into the next. Gray, cold days with an icy damp that Dexter's Miami-thin blood can't stand. Nice days, when the spring comes, then the warmer summer. Here on the coast, it's never too hot. But tourists come, filling the beaches, making traffic slow.
Fortunately he doesn't drive the main roads for long. He's on the logging roads more often than not. And when he's on the main roads, he's not in an SUV anymore. He's in a huge truck with logs that'll crush most cars if it tips. People show him some respect.
The summer is over now. The seasonal places are closing up. He parks his rig and walks home to the boarding house, to his shithole room that he refuses to decorate because that would mean caring.
He's lived here long enough the landlady asked him if he wanted to borrow some things from her to dress the place up. He said no.
She flirts with him occasionally, but not very hard. Something about him probably screams "Stay away" loud and clear.
It's ironic. Now that he's not a serial killer, people probably think he could be.
He gets closer to the house and sees someone sitting on the stairs. He can't tell who it is; they are wrapped up in a jacket, a baseball cap on their head.
The person stands and the face comes into focus as he gets closer. She takes the cap off. Long blonde hair cascades down.
"I think you've done your time, Dexter. Your son needs you. I need you."
"You found me."
"I always will." She walks toward him. "I know why you came here. But it's time to let everything go and come home with me."
"I don't exist."
She pulls a blue passport out of her pocket. "I'm good with that kind of problem."
He takes the few steps to close the gap between them, looks at the passport. "Dexter Morgan." He smiles and it may be the first smile he's made since he's been here. "Using a dead man's ID?"
She smiles, too. "It seemed appropriate. And you're a dead ringer. Go figure."
He tries to hand the passport back. "Everyone I love dies because of me, Hannah."
"No, Dex, people die because it's their time to die. Or they die because they don't like what they've done—like Harry, turning you into a killer and not being able to live with that. Or they die because you made a stupid decision. Like Deb."
He closes his eyes. But he likes this. That she's not sugarcoating things. That she'll let him bleed a little as she peels the ice off him.
"It's not who you are that gets people killed. It's what you do. It's how you do it." She takes his hand. "Have you killed since you've been here?"
He shakes his head.
"Good. I think you'll like Argentina. And Harrison is ready for you to come home. We're happy, but he'd be happier with his father there, too." She touches his cheek. "And so would I."
"I don't know if I can love you anymore."
She wipes his face— is he crying? "You left me to keep me safe. I'd say you've proven you do. Now, is there anything in your rooms you need? I think the lumberjack clothes are not going to fly in B.A."
He smiles. "There's nothing I need here."
"Is there something you need in Argentina? Two somethings, maybe?" She looks as if she is trying not to cry, and he feels something, something good and strong. The feeling of his heart beating again, maybe?
"Let's go home, Dex."
He turns his back on the rooming house. He turns his back on logs, on men who swear the same as anywhere else, on gray misty days and nights with absolutely nothing to do but wait for sleep to come.
And as he does it, he feels her hand tighten on his, and he hears a light laugh that is not Hannah's. He looks around, but there is no one else there.
"You were meant to be happy, so you need to go fucking be happy." Deb's words. Deb's voice. He hasn't let himself think of her, of her smile, of the way she gave him his freedom.
I love you, Deb.
He can't see. He stops walking.
"Deb." He dashes the tears from his eyes.
"I know, honey. I know." She kisses him and whispers, "I liked her at the end. I'm sorry I tried to kill her."
"I think she knew that." He takes her hand, lets her lead him to her rental car. "Who are you now?"
She smiled. "Hannah Morgan. Name only." She leans in and kisses him tenderly. "For now."
"I want to see Harrison."
"Good. That's good." She strokes his cheek. "That's very, very good."
Quinn sits in a bar, nursing a beer. His cell phone rings and he sees it's Jamie, answers it and says, "Hey."
"Hey. How are you?"
"I'm here. How's Atlanta?"
"It's different. Okay, I guess." She sighs. "How is Angel doing? He sounds sadder each time I talk to him."
"Yeah. He's lost so much. We all have."
"I know." There is a weird silence. Then she says, "I've met someone, Joey. I guess...I guess I want to hear from you that we're done. So I can move on and not worry that I should be there for you."
"We're done, Jamie. If you've found someone good, grab on with both hands." He smiles and tries to sound like a big-brother cop as he asks, "Do you want me to check him out for you?"
"No. Jonah's total white bread Americana. He's from Nebraska of all places. He's alone, no family left. I think he likes the idea of my big family, but I told him he might want to rethink that once Angel faces him down. He said he's used to that: his dad was a piece of work. I...I really like him."
"Good, that's good, Jamie. If you ever need anything, you know where to find me."
"I do. Take care of yourself, Joey."
Quinn hangs up the phone and goes back to his beer. As he drinks it, a short, slim blonde woman slips onto a stool a few down from him. He nods and lifts his beer to her.
She smiles, then turns away and orders a coke.
"It's on me," Quinn tells the bartender. "Add it to my tab."
She smiled. "Sure you can afford it?"
He laughs and nods. Then he realizes she looks familiar. "Have we met?"
"I don't think so. I came down to see someone, but I found out he died in the hurricane."
"Lot of that going around." He takes a long pull of his beer. "I lost someone I loved."
"Me, too." She lifts her glass, and even though she doesn't look like she's going to cry, she somehow resonates a sorrow that is soothing to Quinn. "To departed loves."
"To departed loves." He clinks his glass against hers. "We're toasting. I should know your name, shouldn't I? I'm Joey."
"Hi, Joey. I'm Lumen."