I sit in the office, only half listening to what's being said. At this point, I don't give a damn about the politics of the whole situation. And I don't give a damn about Major Kang. He's the one to blame for all of this. I'm glad the bastard's dead. I blame him for what you did. For your betrayal.
These suits are calling you a traitor, praising me for dealing with you. I stopped listening though when they started talking about how to handle the public relations aspect of what happened. I'm sure they'll wrap it all up in a nice little package and the truth will be buried. There's no way the United States government is going to admit to having females in combat, nor are they going to want to admit that you were a traitor.
But I don't care about any of that right now. Damnit, Shooter! Why did you have to be so stupid? Why the hell did you ever get involved with Kang in the first place? Why did you make me kill you? Damn you! You knew me well enough to know I couldn't let you get away with what you were doing. I couldn't let you destroy everything. Why couldn't you just put down the knife? Why did you attack me?
I close my eyes against the burning of the tears. You bastard! I want to know why! I trusted you with my life... I loved you with everything I am. And you threw it away for what? Money? Power? Revenge? What, damnit? There was a time when I never doubted you, believed everything you told me. I thought I knew you. Was I wrong, Shooter? Did I ever know you? But now you're gone, and I'm left with nothing but questions. Well, questions and doubts. And a pain that threatens to destroy me.
Damnit, I don't know if this was such a good idea. I haven't stepped foot in this apartment since you died. But, Victoria's right. Someone has to clear out the apartment, and you didn't have any family. Though I thought we were family, but were we? Victoria thinks packing up your belongings may help give me closure. Maybe even give me some of the answers I want so desperately. Or maybe it'll just hurt all the more.
I can do this. It's not like I haven't seen this stuff before. So, pushing all thoughts out of my head, I start packing up what's left of your life. I don't really know what to do with this stuff though. Your music collection, your books, your treasures... where I do I put them? I can't keep them, not after what's happened. Maybe Victoria will know of someplace where they can be donated and be appreciated.
With the living room packed up, I move to the bedroom. My eyes stray to the bed, and I can't stop the flow of memories. And I can see everytime we were together in that bed, laughing and making love. Was it all just a game to you? Did it ever mean as much to you as it did to me?
Shaking myself out of it, I begin boxing up your clothes, marking them to be donated. A framed photo of you and I goes into a box that I'll take with me. The few items I know meant more to you then anything else, those I'm going to hold onto. I'll take care of them for you. Backing up, I catch sight of a box pushed way to the back of the shelf. Grabbing a chair, I reach up for it, then take it to the bed. Pulling off the lid, I'm shocked to see dozens of photos. Pictures of us... pictures that I've never seen. What does this mean, Shooter? Did you love me or were they just words?
I lift up the top picture, smiling as I remember that one being taken. It was just weeks before we left on the assignment that changed our lives. You looked so happy, I never suspected anything. I can't look at these now, it still hurts too much. I'll take these with me and later I'll look at them. But as I'm putting the picture back, I catch sight of a folded piece of paper. Setting the picture down, I pick up the paper, opening it slowly. It's a letter addressed to me? I look at the date... the day before we left for our assignement. With shaking hands, I hold the paper as I start to read.
Robert... I don't know if you'll ever see this note or not. I pray to God you never do. Because if you're reading this, it means you've found out what I did. You found out I betrayed you, betrayed everyone. And if that's the case, then I'm already dead. I'm not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of you finding out the truth. I know you, and I know you won't be able to forgive me for what I've done. And I can't live with you hating me. Prison isn't real high on my list either. So, if it comes to that, I won't give you a choice. If my lies are exposed, I won't be coming back. One way or another, I'll be dead. And dead men can't dance, right? God, I just hope you don't have to be the one to do it. But if that's the way it works out, don't you dare blame yourself! I've made mistakes, and I have to face the consequences. The deal I've made with Kang had nothing to do with you. And it didn't affect my feelings for you. But there's a side to me that even you don't know about. A side that I can't deny anymore. I'm sorry, baby. I wish I could've been the man you thought I was. I know you probably have a million questions, but I have no answers for you. I could give you a list of reasons, but they're really not important. I did what I did, and I know there's no going back. But one thing I want you to know, and never doubt it, I did love you. You were the one bright spot in my life. Your love gave me something I'd never had in my life. I'm just sorry it wasn't enough to make me change. I'm sorry for a lot of things, but not for loving you. Robert, you're a good man. A faithful friend and a passionate lover. Don't let the shit I've done taint you. Shooter
The tears run down my face as I clutch the letter. Damnit, Shooter... why couldn't you talk to me? Why didn't you let me help you? I sit just staring at the letter for several minutes, then fold it and put it back in the box. I can't handle anymore of this today. The rest can wait till tomorrow. I put it with the rest that I'm taking.
I carry the box into the living room and grab my jacket.
Lying in my own bed, I stare at the photo of you and I that I have next to my bed. It's been there for what seems like forever. I don't know if I remember a time when you weren't in my life. A time when I didn't love you. But now that love will always be tainted by lies and doubts. I can believe you loved me, or at least as much as you were capable of. That helps a little to know that you weren't just using me the entire time. Though it doesn't erase the facts. You betrayed me, then you forced me into a fight. A fight you had no intention of winning.
You forced me to kill you, Shooter. And for that, I can't forgive you. Damnit, you knew how much I loved you. And you knew how much it would hurt me to have to kill you. But you went ahead and attacked anyway. In that final act, you showed a selfishness I never thought you were capable of. You were looking out for yourself, Shooter. And you didn't give a damn to how it was going to affect me!
Damn you! I love you, I hate you. God, my feelings are a jumbled mess. It's going to take a long time for me to figure out just what I feel where you're concerned. But that's my problem, isn't it, Shooter? It's what you've left me to deal with. Emotions you made damn sure you wouldn't be around to handle. Thanks, lover.
I reach out for the photo and caress your face, then turn the picture so that it's facing away from me. I know what I have to do, but I'm not ready yet. There's too much to deal with first. But I will do it eventually. Turning, I bury my face in the pillows.
I will say goodbye, Shooter.