A Mystery To Solve
by Hecate

When you come home, your life lacks two secrets and the holes they left behind are filled by your son's trauma and the memory of a man who looked like a boy but was a weapon. Your wife, the other agent in the family, has changed, but it doesn't bother you. She's more open now, her smile has a new edge (or probably an old one that she had merely hidden from you before) and you can talk with her about what has happened.

So you talk about him.

Sark. That's what the agents that freed you called him; and you say his name slowly and carefully just to see how it feels on your tongue. Sark and Sloane and Derevko. The other two names have little importance for you: an obsessed old man and a woman that drowns in her secrets (you didn't have to know her to see that). But Sark is different. You just don't know how.

You asked him, in a moment of insanity and carelessness, and he answered you after an instant. His eyes were a solid sky and his face was a mask that itched to be shattered. Feelings, just below the surface of smooth pale skin - for a moment you thought they would break out of their cage. Because they didn't like to be in there, the same way this boy-man didn't like to be caught between walls (you had watched him pacing). But the mask didn't break and he gave you an answer that only created more questions. Still, you were sure that he would kill you for the few words he told you. You were so sure but he didn't kill you, just looked at you with his sky eyes for a moment in which a bullet should have shattered your skull but didn't. And then he ran and you were saved.

You were saved. And you're home now. A home made of pale wallpaper and a garden, a kitchen flooded with light, a bedroom made of love and your son's room made of laughter. You make time for it now and push some of the numbers away that used to fill your mind. You make time so your son can heal and the distance between you and your wife can dissolve.

You make time, and you can't stop remembering. You're a scientist after all, and even if you stop working you can't stop being curious. You don't think of Rambaldi. You can't bring yourself to care about the mystery of all mysteries. You know that Sloane would be shocked by this. It's one of the new satisfactions of your life.

No, you care about the other mystery, about Sark, and you're grateful that your wife doesn't get tired of the boy as she was tired of your numbers. She calls him your terrorist and you know that she means it in singular and you love her a little bit more for that. Because she doesn't tell you to forget, she gives you space and time as long as you give up some of it for your family. You gladly do.

Sometimes you ask yourself what he's doing now. Killing someone for Sloane or Derevko, running from CIA agents, holding a gun at someone's head. You wonder if he ever hesitated again, like he has done with you. You wonder if he let someone else live.

You should have died back then, you saw it in his face. But you didn't. And you wonder, wonder, wonder.

This fascination with him is probably quite sick, or maybe it's quite normal after your experience. Sometimes you care about the differences between the two. Most often you don't.

You just analyse what you can remember of him. His overbearing presence behind Sloane when the old man voiced his demands. The way he tilted his head while he read, his steady hands - his grip hard although he was only holding a book. The way he looked at you when you asked him what he wanted - as if he couldn't remember it himself for a moment. And when he answered, he looked like he didn't remember enough. His silence when you told him that he would kill you. You thought the silence was an answer in itself then, but now you wonder if it wasn't.

You don't like secrets. Sloane had been right about this when he played the scientist card. You don't like them; and your survival is a secret that's wrapped into another secret. At least the latter has a name and face but that doesn't make it easier to understand.

You're a scientist because you don't like secrets but you're addicted to them. You're addicted to thinking, your mind wraps itself around a math problem and you can't unwrap it until you solved it. And now there's this boy in your mind (only he isn't really a boy, probably has never been) and you can't get him out of there. You won't, not until you solved the puzzle and understand the parts.

So when Sark appears in front of your door, beaten and bloody, you don't throw the door shut. You think that your son isn't there and your wife can reach a gun easily if it should become necessary.

Then you let him in.


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