Deslea R. Judd
RATING: PG. Pretty harmless.
DISCLAIMER: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
ARCHIVE: Sure, just keep my name and headers.
SPOILERS/TIMEFRAME: To The Truth.
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: Krycek/Marita, post-col, angst, romance, references to MSR, DRR, others.
SUMMARY: On faith, friendship, love, loss, grief, fear, honour, dignity, and truth. A speech delivered to the tattered remnant.
DEDICATION: To Linzee. Happy birthday!
MORE FIC: http://fiction.deslea.com
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff. email@example.com
AWARDS/ELIGIBILITY: Spooky Awards 2003 eligible.
"Ladies and gentlemen. Friends and dignitaries. I thank you for the opportunity to speak today, Independence Day, 2014 - a year I think all of us feared not so long ago that we would never see. My name is Marita Covarrubias, and I believe."
* * *
Her name is Marita Covarrubias, and she has long blonde hair. It is not, as those around her suspect, fake, although she will admit to the occasional ash-blonde rinse for a little extra shine. Her nails aren't fake, either; nor are her teeth, nor her breasts. The only thing fake about Marita Covarrubias is her smile.
As time passes, the hair is cut short. It grows long again, and she winds it up into tight little buns. It changes with the seasons of her life. It is short when she accompanies her partner on various clandestine activities. When he becomes her lover, she begins to let it grow, because he loves to feel it between his fingers, and after he loses one hand, she wants him to have whatever pleasures she can offer the other.
Her smile, for a little while, is real.
* * *
"I believe in hope. I believe that we live in a world of pain and loss, and that by standing to meet it, we can find something precious on the other side. That the terrible things war takes from us along the way only increase the value of what is left."
* * *
Her name is Marita Covarrubias, and she is small.
He believes she is a warrior princess. Brave. Tall. Principled. He believes she is a resistance fighter, an idealist. He looks at her and he sees beauty and worth. He doesn't know how she was before she met him - the way she was ready to run away from what she knew, close her eyes and her heart and cower in silence for whatever time was left. The way she was ready to leave the fight to others, others who were tall and brave when she was small. He doesn't know she was drawn to him because she believed he could help her survive. He doesn't know she is willing to sell him out to be safe, even now.
She loves him. With all her heart, she loves him. But she is small.
* * *
"I believe that love entails sacrifice. I believe that when someone threatens the world in which we live, we have a duty to fight. To conquer evil, or die trying. That the truest heroes among us are the ones who give up the ones they love the most. The ones who walk away, surrender their lives as they know them, and fight for those of us left behind."
* * *
Her name is Marita Covarrubias, and she isn't a hero or a warrior. She's just a war widow in the making. She knows this, even before the end.
He still loves her, even knowing what she is. Even after the pedestal is gone and she stands on her own two feet of clay. They meet one another in honesty, perhaps for the very first time. The lustre is gone from her hair and her nails - they took it from her - but she is beautiful in his eyes, just the same. She doesn't know why, but she wishes she had realised it sooner. Maybe, if she had, it might have made her tall.
He is older now. A lot of the fire in him is gone. But he keeps on fighting. She hugs herself and wraps herself in him and wishes to God he was hers and not the world's.
She says every goodbye like it was the last, until finally there are no more goodbyes left to them.
* * *
"I believe that those of us left behind have our own calling. That when our loved ones are lost, whether in body or in spirit, whether forever or just for a little while, we honour them by remaining steadfast. By retaining our dignity. By retaining our worth."
* * *
Her name is Marita Covarrubias, and she does not crumple.
It hurts. Oh, how it hurts. But she was weak when he was alive, and she dishonoured him with her weakness. She will not dishonour him again.
It occurs to her that the human race was not enough to make her stand up and fight. It took the memory of a man. She is shamed by her own inadequacy, her own smallness. The world finally consumed its hero, and all it got in his stead was her. But it's her or nothing, and so she will give whatever she has anyway.
It takes time, but his love makes her tall, after all.
* * *
"I believe that we are called to continue the fight of those who went before us with our love. Even when it hurts. Even when it brings us face to face with the very ones who took them from us. Even when it means being on their side."
* * *
Her name is Marita Covarrubias, and she is tall.
She thinks it when she sits before the men who would kill her for what she knows. She thinks it when she comes face-to-face with the one who took him away. She thinks it every time she feels small, and she gets through it. She doesn't know if it matters any more - maybe it's just too little, too late - but she does it. She bears witness to what she knows to the only people left who'll listen. Because it's what he would have done before her.
She feels him with her that day, for the first time since he died.
* * *
"I believe that being free means nothing unless we use that freedom to bind ourselves of our own free will to one another. I believe that the freedom our loved ones fought for is brought to birth in our own lives, when we use it to go on and to survive. I believe that our loved ones are honoured, not in our grief, but in the way we face our grief and go on anyway."
* * *
Her name is Marita Covarrubias, and she is entrusted with the salvation of the world.
She watches him in wonder. Watches his eyes grow wide with every new discovery. A lost child, this one. Given away, not once but twice, both times by parents who loved him, but understood that the threat was great and they were small. It horrifies her that they gave him to her. She wonders if they know that she was small as well.
But she does it. She brings him through every threat. Rears him until the end. She grows to love him, loves his spirit and his generosity, and he heals her. Maybe they heal each other.
She accepts her smallness, in time. Comes to understand that her smallness had beauty to the one she lost and the one she gained. She never meant to save the world. She just wanted to be safe and loved, and she doesn't deserve it, but she gets it anyway, because they love her and because they gave.
* * *
"I believe that although one threat has fallen in recent times, there will be others. That we must stay strong and ready. That this is the real monument - the one we build in our hearts. This is a beautiful wall, but it is nothing more than a wall unless we let its spirit, and the spirit of those whose names are upon it, live on in our hearts."
* * *
Her name is Marita Covarrubias, and she is here in his name.
It is a sad procession. She sheds tears. They all do. She believes the words she has written, and she believes she lives up to her words in her life. She has been strong. She strives to be happy, and most days she succeeds. She believes he wanted that for her. But still, she misses him. She loves him. She always will.
"Monica Reyes Doggett."
John and Barbara Doggett rise from their seats. Monica came first - Marita made sure of that. It was her final act that brought it all to an end. That was a year ago, now, and Barbara has spent much of the time since then at his side. Marita wonders whether they will find one another again. It is an idle thought - she isn't close to the Doggetts - but just the same, she wonders. She hopes so.
"Fox Mulder. Dana Scully."
Beside her, William gets to his feet. She squeezes his hand for a moment before letting him go. Maggie should be with him, of course, but the shock of Dana's death had been the final blow to an overburdened heart. So many dead, Marita thinks. These plaques are just the beginning.
She watches as William goes to the wall. He touches his parents' names, stoops, and gently puts the roses in his hands on the ground. He was able to see them at the end - she made sure of that - but still, they're more phantoms to him than parents. Perhaps that's just as well.
Jeffrey Spender rises, and he walks to the plaque, on the other side of Mulder's. Jeffrey had been a staunch defender of Diana's during the inquiry, and in the end, the documents proved him right. She'd been with the Resistance all along. Marita wonders what will become of Jeffrey, but he seems happy enough, in his own quiet way. At the banquet the night before, he spoke idly of starting a rehabilitation centre for the thousands disfigured in the first attacks. She likes that. Alex liked Jeffrey, and so does she.
The name doesn't make her flinch any more. He sacrificed himself in the end, just like Alex, and for the same cause. It still hurts to think of it, but the anger is just a nagging ache these days. Not the crawling feeling in the pit of her stomach that it once was. She understands that Alex would still be here on this wall, one way or another, no matter who had won that night. He was never meant to be hers, Alex. He was meant to live and die for the world. There are days when she hates the world a little for that, but not today.
She watches as the two women rise, the first wife and the second, hand in hand. Kimberly's free hand holds that of her little girl. She doesn't know the child's name, only that she was born after Skinner's death seven years ago, and that thought fills her with pity. Sharon and the child place roses at the foot of the plaque, but Kimberly has an orchid. Marita has a vague idea she may have carried orchids at her wedding.
The Praises come forward, weeping. Gibson is recent - even more recent than Monica. He survived the war, but not the inquiry. His testimony convicted thirty-seven people before they finally got him, and after some haggling, she was able to get him recognised here as well. She doubts it matters that much to his parents now, but it may later. And she understands from Jeffrey that there is a young man, one not recognised by Gibson's family as special to him. A soldier. Perhaps it will matter to him, as well.
She told herself she wouldn't cry, but now she knows that was a lie. The tears spring to her eyes and spill over her cheeks in an instant. She rises to her feet and walks to the wall. She knows the location by heart.
She puts the rose down at the foot of the wall, with the others. By the time this is finished, there will be over five hundred roses here. And that's only for the fallen who got the Millennium Star. She'd fought for Purple Hearts for them, but the pragmatics of ascertaining who fought in a war that went unrecognised and undocumented for so many years became too troublesome. The others - the soldiers, the bystanders - they are honoured at monuments all over the world.
The magnitude of it threatens to overwhelm her.
"I am Marita Covarrubias," she murmurs to herself as she crouches there amid the roses. "And I have not come this far to falter now."
False bravado, perhaps, but it's enough. Enough to quell her tears and make her rise. She touches his plaque. From the corner of her eye she sees others. Kersh. Matheson. The names run together. She leans in to his plaque and kisses it with great tenderness.
His voice rises in her mind. "You're going to get a mouth full of Arlington pollution just to say goodbye to me."
"At least that's all we have to worry about these days," she murmurs, still leaning there against his name.
He laughs. It's a warm laugh. "We did good, Mare."
She closes her eyes as the tears begin to fall.
She feels William's hand close around hers. She meets his gaze.
"I'm okay, Will."
He nods, and touches his parents' plaques again as he leads her away.
* * *
"Time does not heal all wounds, but it gives us the strength to learn to live with them. I believe that day by day, our burdens become lighter, not because our loved ones leave us, but because we understand that they are still with us. I believe that this wall speaks to our faith that our loved ones did not die in vain."
She looks at her audience. The President is there - an honourable one, this time, not like the Syndicate straw man who came before her - and so are the television crews and the journalists. In the front, there's Will. Jeffrey Spender. The Doggetts. Their eyes are still red from the naming ceremony. She supposes that hers are, too.
She musters a smile for them, tattered remnant of an army brave and flawed. She looks over her shoulder. Finds Alex's name on the wall. She turns back to her listeners, and her voice rings out, "My name is Marita Covarrubias, and I believe."