“My only regret about dying,” Ros breathes, finger on the trigger, her eyes steely, “is not being around to know what it’s like.”
(remember, remember, remember, remembering: all your sundays come back to haunt me.)
In Russia, Ros does not think of Adam or the others often at all.
Her past is a blur behind her. Every day in exile, halfway between living and death, is the same. The city is unchanging. Each morning is bitterly cold. The faces all blur together. Every evening comes on slow and steady, complete in its darkness. She wakes, she takes messages wrapped carefully in code and tradecraft from London, she does what she needs to do. Penance. She is Rangefinder on some days; on the others – well, her passport reads ‘Lindsay West’, but what the hell did that mean to her?
Dead and buried, then alive in Adam’s arms, then a ghost again. Life is a throw of the dice, which face she wears each day left entirely up to chance. In a way it is almost like London – the here and the now to focus on and nothing more: everything else extraneous. Changing faces and names on a daily basis. Who is Ros Myers? The question means nothing to her.
Then Rosalind Myers returns from the dead; reborn in the same second Adam Carter dies, in a car bomb and a blaze of glory.
Again, she thinks, and what a waste.
At Adam’s funeral she cannot help but watch poor Wes, little lost thing that he is, completely afraid and alone, seated in between his grandparents at the front of the chapel.
Harry had told her that he was being sent to live with them.
That he looks so much like his father is disarming to her – it makes it impossible to ignore the fact that he is Adam’s. The same eyes, the same blonde hair like warm sunlight. Some people leave nothing behind when they die – Adam had left behind far too much.
“We will get revenge,” Harry says, later, standing by his graveside, “no matter the cost.”
This is the sort of sentiment Ros is used to hearing from lesser men than Harry Pearce – the difference here is, she believes in every word Harry says.
Harry gives her Section D, and with it, she is alive again.
Jo looks pretty in a fragile, doll-like manner, standing on the edge of Thames House’s rooftop with a cigarette dangling between her slim, delicate fingers. The colour of her shirt highlights the deep shadows underneath her eyes, the bruises on her collarbone still there, dark against her milky-pale skin. The sky is clear, relentless heat beating down on them and reflecting off the concrete.
“Who killed him?” she asks with a shaky voice, and Ros closes her eyes for a second.
“You did,” she responds, a note of finality in her voice. Jo drops the cigarette on the ground, sparks flying up into the air, her eyes widening with horror. Somehow Ros thinks Jo had known this all along – but then, memory was difficult like that – prone to playing tricks, after something like this. She sees the pain in Jo’s eyes – something she understands far, far too well.
“The work you and I do is always going to be tough. Much tougher than Harry or Lucas can ever know. Which is why you and I have to be much tougher than them to do it. He raped you, Jo. You killed him.”
Ros thinks back to being twenty-four, her third assignment with MI6. How it had all gotten too much too fast – she’d gotten out thanks to backup, but only just in time. It had taken weeks for the bruises on her hips and shoulders to fade, and far longer for the memory to become less painful.
Jo is silent, avoiding eye contact. Ros knows Jo doesn’t want her to see the tears running down her face.
She turns around and leaves Jo to her thoughts.
To Harry, Ros is an enigma: like barbed-wire and glass, bright, sharp-edged and remote.
When he arrives for the morning, in the darkness of 7AM in wintertime, he passes her standing by the riverside, against the rails, studiously watching the lights of the city slowly flickering on in the distance. Impossibly slim and tall, clutching a cup of coffee in her hands and dressed in leather and denim, as she has been, lately, she looks like a shadow. He realizes, suddenly, that he will never quite understand her.
She seems surprised to find him next to her.
“Morning,” he says.
She smiles slightly, still gazing across the river. “Not another one of those.”
“Good to see you here early.”
“Doesn’t feel it.”
He smiles. “So it goes.”
She dreams - never in colour, and only in flashes of memory that she can never quite pin down, afterwards.
Adam’s unmarked beauty. Zafar’s quick laughter. Ruth, melancholy and resolute as ever, in her white coat, leaving England. Harry’s fierce temper and white-hot anger – so much in common with her father, but with an unwavering loyalty, too.
Ghosts, bodies, heartbeats.
Sometimes when she wakes up it is a struggle to remember who she is.
This was hers to deal with, now.
Jack Colville. How he had changed. Her footsteps echo strangely through the empty building’s basement.
“If anybody deserves the truth, it’s you. I realise that.” He sighs, immersed in his own misery and regret. “I don’t know myself half the time. It’s all such a mess.”
Pathetic, Ros thinks. Moral indecision and self-pity were luxuries she couldn’t afford in this job. Not if she wanted to survive.
“You are an outstanding officer – you are my outstanding officer! Look at me, Ros – don’t be afraid. Do not be afraid!”
Harry’s voice had broken on those final words. So had something inside her. Forgiveness had meant everything to her in those final seconds of life.
“That’s what this job is about,” she remembers saying, cold-eyed, to Jack. “Don’t make decisions you can’t live with.”
Her words come back to her, unbidden, in those final moments. The Home Secretary hadn’t deserved this. None of them had. But then, fair and unfair had nothing to do with this job – right and wrong were irrelevant at this point. All there was, now, was a clock and a countdown. Death, then rebirth; alive, then dead. What did it matter?
Rosalind Myers was not afraid.
(burn me, burn me, burn me, burn me: i know what's gonna happen next.)