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One Fine Day In The NSA

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Another day like every other day here. I punch in at eight o'clock sharp (no excuses for tardiness accepted in this joint, oh no), go through the check points with Steinling, listen to his dumb jokes, even manage a couple of polite chuckles. I am the rookie, after all, expected to make nice with my superior. No problems, I can hack that.

After that, I spend the remaining three hours before lunch updating the perimeter control systems, listening to the Offspring on the headphones, drinking too much Coke, wishing they'd let me get stoned on the job. I think better with a little pot in my system, it prevents my brain from getting hyped out of line. Maybe I should consider switching from Coke to Sprite or whatever. Caffeine frazzles my already twitchy nerves. Then again, it might help if I considered listening to something slightly less frantic than the Offspring. Like, I don't know, fucking Leonard Cohen, or whatever.

That thought gives me a serious case of those pesky, uncontrollable chuckles I get from time to time. Steinling keeps throwing me blistering glances, but it's not hard to ignore that grumpy bastard. I can do oblivious like a pro.

Once I've gotten my mirth under control, it's mercifully lunch already, so I get to head downstairs for the cantina, out of range of Steinling's non-existent sense of humor.

It takes five minutes to walk to the cantina from the security office. Today, I only get about halfway.

I don't know where the hell he comes from - for all I know he literally popped out of the woodwork. All I know is that one second, I'm cheerfully skipping down the service stairs (I never take the elevator unless I really have to - claustrophobia has been my scourge since the time I accidentally got locked in the basement for two days when I was eleven), minding my own damn business, and the next, an iron arm suddenly catches me around the neck out of nowhere, and a leg trips me up and before I even have time to scream I'm down on the floor with a gun jammed up my nose.

I'm so fucking surprised that I don't even have time to be really scared at first - my brain, fried on way too much caffeine and sugar, most likely, just doesn't seem to get the message. After some pretty pathetic struggling, I manage to focus my eyes beyond the black, unnaturally huge muzzle of the gun and actually see the guy holding it.

I lost my glasses when I fell, but I can make out a youngish, pretty face that looks too pale under a shock of black hair, eyes like chips of bottle glass. Then my scrabbling hand locates my glasses behind me and replaces them on my nose, and now I see that he's older than he looked at first, well into his thirties, and that he looks awfully familiar.

My brain, having regained its momentum, dredges up a name to go with the face.

Krycek. The most feared man in the agency. The rumours about him are endless: he is a genuine psychopath the agency keep on for emergencies; he is a Russian spy; he is an alien; he was the Man on the Grassy Knoll (he doesn't look old enough, of course, but I'm not entirely ready to give up on that notion, nevertheless); he is immortal.

He also looks great, despite the flicker of madness in his eyes, despite the unnatural pallor of his skin. Shit. His eyes are just so - intense, and I've always had an especially soft spot for eyes of that particular color, and his are just perfect. And to add to it all: lashes to die for; elegant eyebrows; a really pretty nose.

I'm forced to stop admiring that nose when he unceremoniously jerks me to my feet and pushes me into a wall, still with his Sig pointed at my face.

"Who sent you here?" he barks, and I flinch. I can't think of anything appropriate in the way of reply. I don't know what the hell he's talking about. Maybe the psycho rumour is true, after all.

He repeats his question, and I see cold murder in those gorgeous eyes.

"Wh-- what?" I choke out, breathlessly.

"What are you doing here?"

"I work here." This seems to put him off a little, and the inhumanly strong grip he has on my shoulder eases just a fraction. I remember that he, according to another agency legend, only has one arm, and that one seems true as well. The thing gripping me isn't flesh and blood, no way.

"You work here?" he says sceptically, his eyes narrowing. "Who are you?"

I nod clumsily in the general direction of my chest, where my ID clip hangs attached to my shirt.

"Selby," I croak. "Security and tech support."

He stares at the ID as if he's never seen one before. Mumbles something that sounds vaguely like Russian, or a curse, or maybe both.

Releases me and steps back.

"How long have you been in the house?"

"Atterly, you mean? Two weeks." I'm feeling a lot more confident when he isn't close enough to smell (although, I must add, he does smell very nice; like leather and spices and incense - musky and exotic in a very erotic way), and I think my voice is starting to sound less like Chip and fucking Dale and more like it's supposed to.

"What's going on, Krycek?" a new voice booms from somewhere below us. Krycek doesn't even flinch, but I jerk hard enough to bang my head on the wall. Jesus, as if my nerves aren't jittery enough already. I can see a coronary on the schedule sometime not too far from now.

"I'm not sure," Krycek says, cool as a cucumber on the surface, but I can see something strangely nervous flitting across his face. It is gone so fast I can almost convince myself it was never there. "Do you know who this is?"

The man coming up the stairs towards us is Martin Howitz, also known as 'Pitbull' for his lousy temper. He's Steinling's direct superior, so I've met him a couple of times during my short stay here. He gives me a quick, disinterested once-over and shrugs.

"It's Selby, one of the new techies." Aww, he remembers me. Should I feel all special?

"You've seen him before?"

"Yeah, I approved him myself. He came in with a whole busload of new rookies from D.C."

Krycek is starting to look a little pissed off. I guess he really must be crazy, since he seems completely unintimidated by Pitbull's glaring.

"You've known about this kid for weeks and it didn't occur to you to inform me about it?" Now I'm starting to see why he's unafraid. He can match Howitz in the intimidation arms race without breaking a sweat. I, on the other hand, am starting to feel unpleasantly clammy. I still have no idea what they are talking about.

"Why would you want to know about him? He's just a computer monkey."

Good to know I'm fucking appreciated.

Krycek rolls his eyes in frustration. "Have you looked at him at all? Look at his face, Howitz!"

Howitz does, with a patently blank expression.

"I'm looking, and all I see is a ginger half-pint geek with a criminal taste in shirts." Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have worn that Aloha shirt. It is a tad on the garish side.

"Look closer," Krycek hisses, grabbing my face with that unnatural left hand, turning it up. I wince in pain, and he ignores me.

"I don't know what I'm supposed to see, Krycek. Maybe you're finally cracking."

Krycek doesn't move a muscle at the insult, but I can see his eyes go glacial. Then he yanks me around and starts herding me towards the elevators.

"I guess I'll have to show you, Howitz," he says with a weary resignation that sounds completely fake. He is pissed off, that's what he is, but he isn't about to let Howitz in on that.

I'm usually not very good at shutting up, but something in those ice-green eyes makes it impossible for me to even press a squeak over my numb lips. Which, in the light of everything, is nothing if not a good thing.

I have a bad moment when he pushes me none-too-gently into one of the elevators, but it's funny how relative fears can become. I mean, for example, in light of my fear of this raving lunatic behind me, and my entirely natural apprehension of enclosed spaces, I'd take a goddamn sarcophagus any day, thank you very much. I mean, there's only so much claustrophobia can do to you. On the other hand, I have the distinct feeling this man can be very inventive.

Still, the ride down isn't exactly joy for me. There's a tremble in my bones that I can't suppress, and cold sweat is trickling down my back in nasty little rivulets.

It takes forever. We seem to be on our way all the way down to hell. I had no idea there were this many levels to the compound. I'm only working the above-ground facilities; I don't have clearance for anything below. Thank God for small favors, I'd thought back when I was assigned.

Still, here I am nevertheless. Fuck, my life has taken a turn for the distinctly surreal.

And it gets even worse. I'm so wrapped up in my mounting panic by the time we approach the 30th level, I don't even notice Krycek eyeing me until he speaks.

"Are you claustrophobic, Selby?" he asks, and damn, if he doesn't sound almost ... sympathetic. I risk a glance at him, and almost let my expression slip into surprise (which would be a very bad idea) when I see the tension etched in his face, the strain in his eyes.

"Uh. Yeah," I mumble uneasily. "Childhood trauma."

He nods gravely, allowing me, for a few seconds, to see his own trauma shine in those insane, insanely green eyes.

"Fear can be controlled," he says sharply. Howitz is watching us, rolling his eyes in idle contempt. Maybe he knows about Krycek's problems, maybe he's just annoyed at the whole situation. Krycek doesn't give him the time of day.

The elevator stops with a melodious 'ping'. Level 45. We're three levels from absolute bottom, according to the display. I can feel the weight of those 44 floors of steel and concrete above me, pressing down. Shit shit shit.

Krycek's hand, the right one now - where did he put his gun? - closes on my arm, and we're marching down a corridor much like every other corridor in this building.

Krycek's voice in my ear, his breath fanning my neck. Goosebumps.

"You'll forget all about how deep down we are in a few minutes. That's a promise." He doesn't sound ominous or threatening at all, but the words are genuinely creepy nevertheless. I'm starting to freak out. Ten minutes more of this and I'll be reduced to a snivelling wreck of neuroses.

Howitz seems to have some objections to the way Krycek is handling this.

"He doesn't have clearance for this level, Krycek," he tries. In vain, of course.

"It doesn't matter. You'll see what I mean." The grip on my arm tightens. "I don't think he'll be returning to his post today, either. You should call in a replacement. Indeterminately."

That does it. Panic strikes me with a vengeance. Adrenaline, a massive, undeniable fight-or-flight response (flight winning hands down, no contest whatsoever), hits my nerves like an injection of liquid Schwartz, and I dig my heels in, somehow surprising Krycek, wrestling myself free of his grip. I run like the devil's nipping at my heels. And, in a very real way, he is.

Krycek is blindingly fast for such a large man. Especially for such a large man missing a big, significant chunk of his anatomy. I can only marvel at the determination it would take to work up that kind of balance.

He decks me with a flying tackle, and I hit the floor like a sack of pebbles. My face impacts with cold concrete, and I have time to hear the crack of my nose breaking before the lights go out.

Unfortunately, the blackout doesn't last long. I come back to a world of pain, most of it concentrated in my nose. Somehow I've managed to curl into a fetal position without actually being aware of doing so. Krycek is an oppressing weight bearing down on me, crushing me into the floor.

"Stupid, stupid," he mutters harshly under his breath as he gets off me and pulls me to my feet. I'm frantic, panicky with pain and claustrophobia, the rush of adrenaline and endorphins making me light-headed. I want to clutch my bleeding nose, but he's got my arms pinned behind my back. Blood is running freely down my face, down my throat, making me gag on its sickly, sweet-metallic taste.

Howitz appears out of nowhere and slaps me across the face, sending the world into a new downward spiral.

"Stupid little fuck!" he yells, and I'm fading.

"Back off!" Krycek snaps in annoyance, and that is the last thing I hear before everything fades into grey and pink.

This time I'm probably out a little longer, because when I become aware again, I realise that Krycek has simply scooped me into his arms and is carrying me along the corridor at a brisk pace. For some reason - and I'm both immensely grateful and immensely embarrassed about this - he hasn't thrown me over his shoulder in a fireman's carry, but instead opted for holding me in a more gentle grip, rather like a groom carrying his bride. So there I am, helplessly dangling, his artificial arm in the bend of my knees, his real arm across my back.

My face is pressed into his leather-clad shoulder, and through the reek of fresh blood I can smell him, leather-spicy and dangerous. Remaining trickles of grey-pink mist clouds my vision beyond the slick black of his jacket.

He stops, and I can feel him watching me, although I can't make myself turn my head to check.

"Are you there, kid?" His voice is oddly gentle, a little husky.

"Uh-huh," I manage, trying desperately to clear my head. I can't see Howitz anywhere, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's not there.

"Can you stand?"

"I think so."

"Just don't run again. There's nowhere to go." Now I'm sure I can hear a sadness, a desolation in his voice. Maybe he's feeling sympathetic today. Maybe he likes me. Doesn't mean he's going to let me get away. Doesn't mean he won't kill me if he needs to.

I can stand. Relatively steadily, even. He keeps a steady grip on my arm as we proceed down the hall. We've gotten maybe twenty yards when he speaks again.

"Who do you work for?"

"What?" I ask dumbly. I know what he's saying, but I don't know what he means by it. I mean, who I work for should be fairly obvious, shouldn't it? "Is this a trick question?"

"Who do you work for, Selby?" Apparently not. Even through my utter confusion I have time to appreciate the nice ring my name has coming out of his mouth. He's got a great voice. But I still don't know what the hell he's talking about.

"Uh ... the NSA?" I venture. "At least that's what it says on my paycheck." This is the God-honest truth, and I can see his eyes clear up. I suppose he believes me. Maybe he simply believes that I believe what I say.

"What do you know about this kid, Krycek?" Shit, Pitbull is still with us, big as life and twice as ugly. His tone betrays annoyance, short temper, all tinted with an inflection approximating grudging respect, or possibly even trepidation. Krycek flicks him a cold glance. No love lost between those two.

I've got my fear under control now, and I'm actually getting a little curious. My nose hurts like a son of a bitch, but I think I might live after all, despite the thick, rusty taste of blood still clinging to the back of my throat.

Krycek shrugs and starts walking again, and I follow meekly. I'm reluctant to risk more pain by being recalcitrant. Call me servile, but I just don't like having my nose broken.

The corridor ends in a door, plain, white. It's got an electronic lock like every other door in this building. Just as we arrive, the door opens and a guard in a grey uniform waves us through. His name tag tells me he's Johnson, Stephen.

"When?" Krycek asks him cryptically. Johnson glances at his watch.

"Twelve minutes ago. What kept you? He said he could smel- oh." His eyes have found me, and widen in surprise. The fingers of Krycek's hand, the metal one, bite a warning into my bicep. I clamp down on the panic, not even wanting to know how he could tell I was starting to feel flighty again.

"Yeah, we had a little trouble with our 'guest'," he says calmly. The guard keeps staring at me.

"This is weird. What is he? One of those ... hybrids?"

"We don't know yet. How's our boy?"

"The same. Pretty Zen, as usual. Hasn't said a word in three days, not until just now. Cold fish."

The room beyond the door is a small control room with a window covering the entire far wall. The window overlooks a space that looks a lot like Dr. Lecter's cell in Silence Of The Lambs. Instead of Hannibal the Cannibal, however, the cell is occupied by someone small, almost child-sized. His back is turned, and I can only see his hair - of a very familiar ginger tone - standing in wild spikes and snarls on his head. He wears grey, non-descript sweats and a dun tank top. Prison uniform.

"Hi, Alex." His voice is calm, uninflected, and eerily familiar. In fact, everything about him is familiar enough to be fairly freaksome. I'm sure I look like a perfect dunce, but I can't seem to wipe the astonishment off my face. Especially not when the boy in the cell turns around and I can see his face.

It's not just his face, though, it's mine as well. The same red hair, the same large, grey eyes, the same broad mouth. He doesn't wear glasses, and he seems a little younger than me, but other than that, it's close enough for government work.

Apparently, my dead ringer's mind isn't quite as boggled as mine. His face remains perfectly neutral, not the slightest twitch betraying any recognition. His placid seawater eyes are emotionless.

"Hi, Oz," Krycek says, and now more of that uncharacteristic gentleness is showing in his words. Fondness. Wow, when did I fall through the rabbit hole?

"Jesus fucking Christ," I whisper, my treacherous tongue no longer frozen in abject fear. The boy in the glass cage - Oz, or whateverthefuck - takes a few graceful steps closer, and looks at me like I'm some sort of art exhibit.

He smiles a quick, little smile, the expression dancing over his impassive face with mercurial leaps and bounds. Then it's gone, and he's unreadable again.

"Looks like the lab rats have outdone themselves, Alex," he says softly.

In my state of wholly understandable shock, I had completely forgotten about Pitbull, but now he steps forward, shoving me aside (nice of you to remind us of your presence, asshole) and glaring belligerently at Krycek, the color of his face now nearing plum.

"Would you explain yourself, Krycek?!" he bellows in pretty unseemly rage. Krycek snaps around and glares right back. His face is still deathly pale, and he doesn't look upset at all. One reserves the right to remain un-fucking-surprised. Man, the guy is good.

"Maybe you should explain, Howitz," he says with deceptive calm. "Explain how this could have happened without anyone noticing."

"This isn't my project, Krycek. Whatever you have down here - nothing to do with me."

"You hired this kid?"

"Hell, no! He came through the agency, like all of them. Bunch of kids that needed to be relocated ASAP. You know how it is in DC, you can't walk ten feet without getting caught in some shitfight or other. That's how we get all our young talent - leftovers from the scandals."

This exchange is probably pretty pertinent in respect to my immediate future, but I can't seem to get very exited over it. I am way too busy staring at the strange creature they call Oz. He is staring right back, and now I can see the blasé disinterest cracking a little, exposing a fraction of the misery it is designed to hide. Oh, he is a prisoner, all right.

"How long have you been here?" I whisper, not realizing that Krycek's let me go until my feet carry me a few unintentional but inevitable steps closer to the glass. Oz's eyes bore into me so hard it's giving my headache a boost for new glory.

"I don't know," he says, his voice still perfectly controlled. "You're Jake, aren't you?"

"What?" Of all the things I expected, this was so far off the mark we're measuring the distance in light years. "How'd- Who-" I can't finish that, simply because I have no idea what to say. I mean, for fuck's sake! No one, absolutely fucking no one knows my first name here. My tag says simply Selby, J. I've been nothing but Selby for years. Jake is someone who went to school and got laid and had a life and real, mundane problems. Selby, who took his place shortly after those well-dressed gentlemen came to talk to me about my SAT scores - just a couple of days after my eighteenth birthday - may think about those things occasionally, but in truth, his existence begins and ends with the job, and that's the damned truth of it all.

Anyway. Oz. Knows. My. First. Name. Time to really freak out, I think.

"They think you're a clone, you know," he says, still completely unruffled. I'm coming apart at the seams, I'm fucking bleeding, my nose is broken. I am not having a good day. Still, I can't help being fairly curious here.

"A clone?"

"Yeah. But you're just my twin, of course. Simple as that."

"A clone?" I say again. I heard that other thing - about twins, yadda yadda - but it's just not interesting enough to dislodge the clone idea at the moment.

"You haven't had any problems with the moon, have you?" he asks, as if this is, like, something he really needs to know.


He raises a sarcastic eyebrow (that is one mother of a sarcastic eyebrow - the dude's better at that silent irony thing than I ever was), as if that already answered his question. To make sure I really know just how clueless I am, he says, "Never mind," in the exact tone of voice of someone who just wasted a really good joke on some goat who wouldn't know a punchline if it, well, punched him in the face.

Now he's turning to Krycek, who's stopped trying to convince Pitbull of whatever it was that Pitbull needed to be convinced of.

"Did you watch that remake of The Man In The Iron Mask?" he asks blithely.

"I can't stand Leonardo DiCaprio," Krycek says, and they share a grin, as if they were just two guys hanging out in front of the TV, beers in hand. There's something going on here, though, some kinda communication; a plan being hatched. I don't like it.

"It's a nice story, though," says Oz. Krycek nods sagely. Uh-uh. I'm so convinced, at this time, that I've ended up somewhere beyond the fucking Outer Limits, I don't even get surprised anymore. Whateverthefuck. I'll just stand right here and observe. Count me out, guys.

"I might catch it on TV," says Krycek. "John Malkovich is a temptation."

"Gabriel Byrne," says Oz.

"Krycek, cut the shit already!" snaps Howitz, and with a suddenness that is somehow too lightning-fast to be frightening, Krycek lashes out and catches Howitz on the side of his face with a snakebite punch.

"Hey!" Johnson, Stephen yells, but his reaction is so off, he never has a chance. I'm not sure how it happens, but there's a lunge, a short grapple, and then Krycek has Johnson's gun. I don't see a fraction of an ounce of hesitation in Krycek's eyes when he pulls the trigger.

Howitz is down, but he's still conscious - despite the smashed-in face - and he's going for his own gun. The barrel of the gun in Krycek's hand (why didn't he use his own Sig? something analytical deep deep inside the morass of my brain asks itself) passes my line of sight on its way down, but I still can't make my body understand that it's in danger. The gun roars, and Howitz lies still. There's a perfectly round third eye in the middle of his forehead. Nice shooting, Krycek, dude.

I turn slowly - my neck is a cluster of creaking tendons - back to look at Oz. He's standing frozen in place, right where he was last time I looked. His face is, if possible, even more impassive, but somehow, he manages to look both menacing and exhilarated through that blank mask. Then he suddenly blinks and his eyes shift and they look straight at me and oh jesus god they're yellow what the fuck is going--

Krycek grabs me with a steely fist. My arm burns under his fingers. I can't take my eyes off Oz's wild, round eyes, not even when Krycek slaps me again and my nose squirts forth a new burst of phlegmy blood.

I vaguely sense movement, but it's only when the line of sight is cut and I'm out from under that feral, insane, unnatural gaze that I realize that I'm being dragged unceremoniously backwards out the door. I hear Krycek hitting some sort of lock, punching in numbers, and there's a whoosh of an airlock as a very heavy door opens.

He pulls me to my feet again and pushes me ahead through the door.

No. No. No! My body awakens with a jolt of adrenaline. Funny, how I thought I'd be all out of the stuff after all that's happened, but nope, still going way sproing. My legs push frantically, my arms flail, and I notice a little distractedly that I've started screaming, a non-verbal, panicky negation.

Somehow - and I really don't have the time to pick that one through - I tear loose of Krycek. Like a miracle, I'm free, and my legs do their appointed duty and I can run again, I am running - out that thick, heavy door, down that featureless corridor-

Something slams into me from behind. Something that growls and snarls and howls like a wild beast. I hit the floor - again - with a bone-rattling thud, and whatever it is that attacked me lands on my back. I feel a stinging, clawing pain in my neck, and it's hard to believe, but he just fucking bit me.

It's not Krycek - this is something smaller and lighter and-

It flips me face up with uncanny ease. Really strong, this one. I screw my eyes tightly shut, anticipating those sharp teeth in my defenseless throat.

Instead, I just feel hot breath fan my face for a second or two.

"Open your eyes," Oz says.

I obey. What else can I do?

His eyes are still tawnier than they should be, but they're not that sharp yellow color anymore. His face is somber, reflective - almost sad.

"I'm sorry," he says. "I know it's not right. You for me." I hear footsteps approaching. I'd recognize those footsteps anywhere now. Krycek crouches down by us and looks me in the eyes. There's something sad in his pretty green eyes as well - something sad, sure, but it's mostly hidden under stone cold determination. There's no help there. None at all.

"Can you do it? Can you handle it?" he asks, and for a second, I think he's talking to me. Then Oz shrugs, and says,

"Sure. I am a monster, after all," and he gets up and off me and backs away a few feet. Krycek hands me something, and I accept it without thinking, without letting myself think.

It's Johnson, Stephen's gun. The handle is smooth and warm. It's heavy, and I don't bother making the effort to hold it up. My hand and the gun alike sink to the floor. Clack.

"I suggest you use it on yourself, Selby," Krycek is saying.

"...huh?" This doesn't compute. It just doesn't.

"It'll be easier that way. They don't like the test subjects attempting to escape. You know that."


"Do you want me to do it for you?" he asks. He's standing up now, and behind him, Oz is staring at me, and now I might be deluding myself, but I kinda think there are tears in his eyes. At least the eyes are completely grey now.

"Just leave him," Oz says softly. Krycek turns around, and they stand completely still, just looking at each other. Then Oz shivers visibly, as if someone really heavy trampled on his grave, and he steps daintily into Krycek's arms, and let me tell you, that is no brotherly embrace they share. What the fuck?

And it hits me - what they're planning, what they're about to do. What they're about to fucking pull off scot-free with the reluctant help of yours truly.

And you know what? I wish them the best of luck. I'm dead. I was dead the second Krycek laid eyes on me. Hell, I might have been dead for a long time - maybe I died back when the shit hit the fan in that Reynolds deal. Maybe I'm paying my dues now.

Fatalistic thoughts for a guy who never swung that way, I guess, but it's real fucking easy to get a little funny that way when you're lying flat on your back with a dead guy's gun in your limp hand. With two certifiable psychos -maybe even genetically engineered monsters, for all I know - sharing smoochies right next to you. Good-bye, cruel world.

Oz suddenly extracts himself from the embrace and kneels by my side. I'm afraid he might want to do something lofty and melodramatic - like kiss my forehead or something - but he just takes off my glasses and the name tag on my chest, real gently. Puts the glasses on his own nose; clips the tag to his own shirt. There: he's me. Who am I?

I feel the need for some witty repartee, but all I come up with is, "Have a nice life."

He smiles a small, lopsided smile - a horribly cynical smile to adorn my face, I think - and says, "I don't think it'll be nice."

And they walk out, never looking back. Krycek hits the big, red alarm button on the way down the hall.

Here I am then. The alarm is blaring like the world is ending. Maybe it is. If I could just find the strength to lift my hand. I will, before the security people get down here. I might ... I might take a few of the assholes with me when I go. Everyone else is insane here - why not me?

I sit up and crawl over to the wall. I don't feel like walking - crawling feels right. The gun is heavy and warm and feels safe to hold. I pretend I'm Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (yeah, both of 'em; what's it to you?). The world is about to taste the thunder.

The thought of Krycek the nut and Oz the even worse nut out there, at large, armed and dangerous, is strangely alluring. They're like Mickey and Mallory - to keep up the theme. Maybe I'm romanticizing, I don't care.

Oh, for god's sake. I'm not Butch, I'm not Sundance. I'm Jake Selby, and I wasn't made for a showy exit.

I put the gun down. There are guards moving closer now; I can hear them shouting over the godawful noise.

Maybe they'll believe I had nothing to do with this. I'm not a monster, after all.