Title: "A Hero's Death"
Author: Mala
E-mail: malisita@yahoo.com
Spoilers: Season Five of "LFN."
Rating/Classification: PG-13, angst. Ops, character death.
Summary: A filler scene that gives us the last few moments of Paul's life...what he thinks about as he dies a "hero's" death.

They say that the last few moments before your death are filled with a bright white light...with flashes of your life passing before your eyes.

He sees no such thing.

But he wants to.

That is the certainty that drains slowly from his body...like the trickle of blood that wells from the corner of his mouth.

Where is the light?

Where are the jungles of 'Nam? Where is the sharp rat-a-tat of hostile fire from the VC as he dives into damp underbrush? Where is Stephen taking his first steps? Where is the day he met Madeline, when she pinned him to the wall with her cold brown eyes? Where is the day he was made Operations of Section One?

He should be wondering these things as his limbs grow numb. As the searing ache in his shoulder and chest intensifies. But all he wonders is this: where is the boy?

Where is Adam?

He knows he is dying...and that, therefore, he has failed. The Collective has Michael's precious child. Michael's child may die, just like his own did.

The sins of the fathers...as always...visited upon their sons.

He wants to move...to shift...to laugh.

But all these things are beyond his control.

So he simply bleeds.

Where is Adam?

Such a little boy...frozen still in the crossfire...his dark eyes curiously devoid of fear. In that instant before he'd felt the first bullet, the sensation had been haunting. They were Michael's eyes. Staring at him with all the blankness he'd learned to translate...all the mistrust he'd earned.

He thinks that, perhaps, that is why he failed.

It only takes a few seconds for a profile to go wrong. Precious seconds.

He thinks he could've saved the boy if he'd had those seconds of trust.

If he'd earned them.

"I'm a friend of your father," he'd told Adam.

Had he meant it? He couldn't have...he had never really been a friend to Michael. In those crucial moments, as shots were fired, it been simple coercion...the instincts of a soldier...lie if you have to, grab the innocent, and get out.

He had always been a good soldier.

A better soldier than a man.

But, this time, it hadn't been enough.

Nikita had told him, once, that he lacked the quality that made a true leader: compassion. She was right. He knows she was right and that is why he hated her so much...why he respected her, too. Why he respected them both. Why he came after Adam.

And where IS Adam?

He is dying...and that is what he thinks of. Not bright light. Not the life he lived. But compassion. And a little child.

One stain partially wiped from his tattered soul.

He knows a million more remain.

And an eternity of atonement awaits him.

This is not a hero's death, he thinks.

This is death.

This is...


--the end--

March 4, 2001.

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