Character: Kellerman (Gen, Drama)
Summary: When a man's purpose is gone—has twisted and collapsed down inside of him—what else is left for him to be?
Author's Notes: My second story for pbficsurvivor, and also for philosophy_20 for the prompt of "Loss."
He should have suspected it was coming when he had to take a break and work up the courage to make a kill.
It was a job like any other, except that this was a woman who'd liked him (a manufactured version of him) and even trusted him to the point where he liked who he became when he was with her.
That he was supposed to kill her now, for withholding secrets she honestly didn't know, only made it harder. He was out of excuses other than that asshole Kim on the phone telling him to do it. This wasn't for Caroline or country anymore, this was just because.
He didn't used to be that man.
When she fought back from the brink and got him with that iron, he was actually proud of her. It hurt like a sonofabitch and he'd be in deep for it, but she had guts and perseverance. God knew he'd always admired that in a woman…
He'd corralled Burrows and Scofield a couple of times over, rescued and lost Terrence Steadman (though he didn't pull the trigger). Being a patriot had never felt so much like a rut before then.
When the phone call came that should have been Caroline—was supposed to be Caroline and not an imposter—he knew she'd turned her back on him for good. He was an errand-boy and a hired gun now, no longer an agent, no longer essential. Her future had already moved on without him.
Rage burned through him then, pushing him outside himself. He sleepwalked through finding an untraceable gun, and then he was on a balcony slipping into the Special Forces sniper-skin he'd worn back in the military all those years ago.
Her white-gold hair and the red glint of lipstick nearly blinded him through the scope.
He just couldn't do it.
She was the President, and a woman he'd loved, and she might have turned against him or forgotten him now, but he wouldn't allow himself to become this belltower freak-show of a man. He absolutely wouldn't.
He checked into a hotel, another place to be anonymous. He'd forgotten who he was, what he stood for. He only knew what he was not.
He'd visited Kristine a few days earlier, an apology for what he'd thought he was going to do today. Too late to apologize for the past, for running out on her all those years ago. He didn't deserve forgiveness for that, especially from his sister. Her only crime had been that she'd trusted him
Hollow hours came and went before he found a way to make peace with all that he'd done. He couldn't change the past, but he could leave its destination. And he could choose the time and manner of his death instead of waiting for his inevitable assassination...
Poor Kristine. She'd wonder what drove him to it, but the scandal he'd tried to prepare her for would have been so much worse than this tragic finale. Better that she never had to know.
When she came in through the door after his simple solution failed him, he gave himself over and just drifted in her arms as her presence laid anchor for the purpose he'd lost.
Revenge could take many forms, he realized then. Survival was a form of revenge, and there were more ways to bring down a President than a bullet. Sometimes all you needed was the truth.
He used the truth to save Sara—one life he could restore, after so many he'd ruined. His testimony was for her, but it cast a wider net. He knew the evidence he revealed would take on a life of its own without him there to shepherd it along.
He never expected to escape retribution. They'd wanted him dead before the trial, and they'd want it even more fiercely and fatally now.
The van stopped in transit returning to custody, a malfunction so inevitable and inept that it actually made him laugh. When the door to the back swung open, the bravado rolled right off his tongue: "Took you long enough."
He'd known it was coming, after all.
He welcomed the bullets that pierced him then, so perfect and deadly there could be no thought of failure, no second chance. They brought him sharp, beautiful relief, a bloodbath finish.
In the end, it was no more or less than all that he deserved.
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