Title: “Lovely, Dark, and Deep”
Rating: R for language
Word Count: 2,137
Characters: Brody and others
Spoilers: Through 2.08
Summary: “This isn’t the future I imagined for us.”
Carrie Mathison said you are not alone.
Carrie Mathison says a lot of things, most of them lies or just garden variety bullshit. But he wants to let himself believe her. Just this once.
You are not alone.
Where are you?
Dusk turns into night. Roya stands around with that man – what’s his fucking name anyway? – and neither of them look at him, much less say a word. Back at home, Jess is probably washing the dishes after dinner. And he’s standing next to his Yukon in the middle of nowhere, trying to prove himself to a terrorist. Another terrorist. Because he’s still technically one too, right?
He bites his lip to keep from screaming. Hell, maybe that would help. Doesn’t seem to be anyone else for miles around, but maybe his screams will get their attention. Call 911! I think these terrorists are going to kill me! Just don’t tell the CIA because they’ll send me to the electric chair for treason!
Yeah, he knows full well that he’s losing his goddamned mind. The awareness only makes it worse. At least now he and Carrie have something else in common.
All he wants is for this to be over. He wants to go home and sleep for two weeks. He wants to tell Dana that everything’s going to be okay, another lie in which he can drown. He wants to erase the past nine years. He wants some fucking peace.
Headlights flash at the end of the road. Some pathetic part of his gut leaps, begs for attention. They’ve found him. Carrie has tracked him down and is bringing in the big guns. It’ll blow his cover, as if he cares anymore. You are not alone.
But Roya orders him into his car, and the other vehicle drives past. Brody stays inside, counting his breaths, until Roya catches his eye and nods. He gets out, tail wagging. Pathetic. She orders him around, and he takes it. No fucking choice in the matter, not that it would make any difference if he did.
“You never told me what we came here for.”
She looks at the guy then back at him. “The plan is now progressing into the final stage. You are an essential part of that plan, but first we need an assurance of your commitment.”
His heart nearly stops, but he keeps his composure. Barely. Vowing that yes, of course I want to help you attack America, please tell me what you need me to do, I’m your man, Sir would be pointless. He doesn’t have that capacity anymore, and Roya would see right through it. But he does still have a spine. “I signed on to kill Walden and the bastards who ordered that drone strike. I signed on to get justice for Issa, not for another 9/11.”
He pauses, catches himself, but it might be too late. Although he can’t read Roya’s expression in the darkness, he knows it isn’t good. All she says is, “You’ll know shortly.”
There’s a thud, a heartbeat in the distance, growing louder. The guy grabs Brody’s arm and starts walking him toward the clearing. He half-expects Carrie to burst out from the trees, with heavy artillery and those wild eyes. But she’s not here. She lied.
The man yanks him forward, the familiar stab of a gun at the small of his back.
Brody closes his eyes.
Your brain’s so addled that at first you think it’s you who’s been shot. You wait for the searing spread of pain. But nothing. It’s that man falling to the ground, his eyes still open. Roya turns, her steely gaze making you shiver. “I’ll handle the disposal. The CIA has a surveillance van a half-mile down the road. They will take you home. We’ll meet at Langley tomorrow for the debriefing.”
“You’re CIA?” Your voice shoots up an octave.
“I always have been. We will discuss this tomorrow.” A dismissal as she pulls out her phone.
The asphalt feels like sand under your feet, tree branches reaching down with gnarled fingers. You walk, focusing on the flickering yellow flame that approaches you. No, not fire. Hair. Carrie’s hair. Carrie.
She holds you up, strong and steady. “We got him, Brody. We got him.”
Something in your gut says don’t go home, not tonight. Carries offers you her bed. “I’ll take the sofa. We both just need to get some sleep.”
“No, it’s okay. Stay.”
This morning you woke up and fucked her slow and languid while the sun rose over a lake. Tonight you brush your teeth side-by-side in her mirror. When she changes into a nightshirt, there are bruises shaped like your fingers on her hips. Although you’re still winning the scars tally, she’s catching up. No more scars tonight, though. Only darkness here is the late night outside the window.
You strip down to your shorts and climb into her bed. She keeps a tentative separation until you pull her close. Her body fits into yours so well. Her voice is so familiar. “I called Saul while you were in the shower. The intel we got from you and Roya led us straight to Nazir’s HQ in Damascus. He’s dead. It’s all over.”
You stare at the silhouette of her face in the darkness. “Everything I did –”, you whisper. “None of it matters anymore?”
“Yeah, it doesn’t matter.” Her cheeks flex into a smile. “Slate’s wiped clean. It’s all gonna be okay.”
Carrie should be at Langley, debriefing the hell out of everything that went down tonight. But she’s here in her home with you. She knows everything about Nicholas Brody and loves you anyway. She loves you. You hold her hand as you fall asleep.
And when you wake up, you spread a towel on her living room floor and pray. She comes downstairs as you finish. There’s an odd look on her face, but if she’s judging you, she doesn’t let on. She just holds out a hand to help you up and says, “Sabah el kheer. I’ll make you some tea.”
Each day of the next few weeks, a layer is sloughed off your skin, leaving you lighter. Raw. Good.
Abu Nazir is dead.
They ask you to help analyze the mountains of evidence retrieved from his compound, but you don’t know enough to really help. You never did. Estes still acts like you’re the fucking hero of the whole thing. Not that anyone outside the CIA will never know that, but it doesn’t matter.
Beats the hell out of being executed for treason.
Two weeks later, Betsy drafts the press release. It’s the chickenshit way out, but it’s easier than looking your constituents in the eye. Representative Brody will not seek reelection. He is profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve his country in this new capacity; however, he has decided that this position is not the best use of his talents. This early announcement will give the citizens of Virginia’s 12th District time to select a candidate who is fully committed to representing their interests.
Still another eight months left in your term, and they can’t go by fast enough. But you keep going and giving it everything you’ve got. It’s the least you can do.
You never spend another night at your house.
Ending it with Jessica is easy. Almost too easy. Even without the lies and betrayal and mounds of bullshit, it was never really going to work out between you two, at least not since you got back.
You used to love her. God, you loved her so much back in high school, at your wedding, when the kids were born. Thinking of her kept you going for all those years in the hole. But all those years also turned her into a different person, just as you were destroyed and remade into something else. She’ll never get back the past eighteen months of trying to put up with you, but you can make it better. So you let her be the one to save face and file for divorce. Over a round of beers, you tell Mike to screw the whole “post-divorce cooling period” and make his move whenever he wants. He’s a good man. Better for her than you are. Better for them all.
Chris will be okay. He never really knew you anyway. And Dana – well, you broke something in her. Something awful that you wear as another scar on your skin. But she slowly comes around. One night she calls. “I have to write a personal essay for my college applications. Want to meet at Java Jim’s and help me with it?”
She shows up with her back straighter than it used to be. All grown up now, but you still see that little girl in the gopher costume for the school play. You just listen as she talks, and it’s good.
There’s a TV in the coffee shop. You glance over her shoulder at the CNB recap of President Walden’s inauguration yesterday, with Roya Hammad reporting from the steps of the Capitol. You almost killed yourself – and 27 others – to prevent that. To make him pay. Justice sounds like a hollow word now, though. It consumed your life for so long. Burnt almost everything inside you to ashes. But now – now it doesn’t matter. You’re a goddamned hero, even if nobody knows. And the spark that made you put on the vest is now just a scratch at the back of your throat, like a persistent cough. Maybe this hollowness is a bad thing. Whatever. Maybe this is who you were supposed to be all along.
And then Carrie.
You technically have your own apartment, though mostly for Chris and Dana’s sake. But you live with her. Each time at her house gets longer and longer until you’ve all but moved in. That’s good too. Being with her gets easier. You start to love her as much as she loves you.
You get a job doing construction. Everyone acts like it’s a huge comedown for a guy who was almost the Vice Fucking President of the United States, but you’re an ex-Marine without a college degree. This is exactly where you should be. Sometimes people recognize you – if nothing else, the hair stands out – but the double-takes stop after a while. All you’ve done, all the crimes and betrayals, and now you’re just a guy. It’s the best you could’ve ever hoped for.
Carrie goes back to work at the CIA, chasing the next terrorist. She seems calmer now, though. At peace. After all, she got her big damned win, and she got the boy in the process. You listen to her talk about it over dinner, but you don’t have much to add. Taking care of you both becomes your job. You make sure she takes her medication. The sex is still great – it’s one place where you two haven’t calmed down – and you thank Allah that she explicitly does not want children.
But you have kids, though, and two years later they’re finally comfortable enough to come to the townhouse for Christmas Eve. You and Carrie have spent all day mocking her half-assed decorations, and the pitcher of spiked eggnog is almost empty when you hear the knock on the door. “Coming!” you shout, still laughing at some stupid joke of hers, but the knocking gets louder and louder and –
Brody opens his eyes.
The pulsing thud of the helicopter blades jolts him back to himself, back to this reality. Hell. He coughs, tries to maintain his balance with that guy pulling him forward and a gun at his back. This is nothing. He endured far worse in Syria. But this is –
The copter’s spotlight sweeps over the grass, searching for the three of them. Wind whips the ring of trees in the distance. The world is closing in. Something’s about to happen, and he knows in his gut that he won’t make it out alive.
I’m sorry, Jess, for not being the man you married. I’m sorry, Chris and Dana, that I let you down when you needed me most. I’m sorry, Carrie, for hurting you, for not living up to what you wanted from me. I’m sorry that I let them break me.
He wants it all to be over. He wants to go home, live the life in his mind. But that life was never going to happen. He’s in too deep. He has to see it through. And he has miles to go before he sleeps.