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September 23rd, 2007


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11:25 am - Numb3rs fic: Day Has Gone Down
Author's Note: I started this fic a mere week or so after "The Janus List" aired--back at the beginning of June, to go by the dates on the initial document. It's taken this long to finish, and I'm just glad I'm able to post it before the show's season 4 premiere. Enjoy!

Many thanks to my betas: feliciakw, for her patience and hand`holding as I worked on my first 'shippy fic, and to mistraltoes for her sharp eye and encouragement. This is for you both. *blows kisses*

Fandom: Numb3rs
Title: Day Has Gone Down
Rating: PG
Spoilers: this is set just after "The Janus List"
Genre: Angst, Megan/Larry


Day Has Gone Down

by izhilzha

~~~~~

Damn mascara.

The report on her monitor wavered and blurred. Blinking only made it worse. Megan used the tip of one finger to press the lashes further back from the surface of her stinging eyes.

She had fully intended to replace the used-up bottle the same night she got home, or at least the next morning. Between the flight, the time change, and the letter left under her door, she’d completely forgotten. In the morning, she’d scrabbled in the back of her bathroom cupboard for an old bottle; not waterproof, but it would do.

So of course her first day back at work had them working a bomb threat on a bridge. Action, investigation, and a growing sense of unease barely left Megan time to sleep, to clean off her makeup at night and reapply it in the morning. She had no chance to restock the fridge, much less shop for cosmetics.

And now her mascara was melting into her eyes. Damn it. At least I don’t wear contacts.

She blotted the corners of her lids with the edge of a Kleenex, soaking up irritated tears and wiping away bits of makeup. After a moment, she managed a blink without biting her tongue. Vision restored, she glanced at the office clock across the bullpen. Almost midnight. She probably looked like it, too: eyes red, hair caught back in a messy ponytail.

Time to go home.

There were still files spread out on her desk. Megan tucked each folder neatly into her current cases drawer, only looking at the names on the labels long enough to note the shape of the first two letters. Thinking about how strange the broken curve of a “C” was, compared to the half-moon capital “D” or the folding ladder “A,” kept their meaning at a manageable distance.

An old trick, to help her leave work at work; of course, when she needed it most, it wasn’t very effective.

Megan twisted the key to lock the drawer, then reached for her purse and jacket. It wasn’t until she stood up that she realized how quiet the bullpen had become. She willed her shoulders to relax; it had been a long evening pretending to ignore the stares that everyone gave her and her team. Pity and horror and personal dread. The same attitude people received after their house burned down, or they lost everything in an earthquake. Could that happen to us? Oh my God, what if?

David’s computer sat dark and silent, his desk deserted. Good. Megan passed the break room, and paused when someone moved inside. Don, stirring creamer into a paper cup of coffee.

She leaned against the doorway, as casually as she could. “I hope that’s decaf.”

He glanced up. “Yeah. Want some?”

Megan shook her head. “No thanks. I’ve got hot chocolate waiting for me at home.”

“Good for you.” Don took a cautious sip, and made a face. “I sent David home a while ago. He didn’t want to go, but I know that look. He just needs to--“ Don shrugged and reached for the sugar instead of finishing the sentence.

He's not the only one who needs to get out of here. Megan watched Don shake one packet of sugar into his coffee, then another. “How are you doing?”

Don’s hand stopped stirring for a split second, and he checked his watch to cover the motion. Megan could almost see his defenses going up. Good sign or bad, she wasn't sure, but she was grateful. This Don, she knew how to deal with--he wouldn’t require or expect the kid-glove treatment.

He continued stirring and glanced at her. “Fine. The Director wants to meet with me in the morning.”

He’s being replaced already? Megan swallowed a sudden tightness in her throat (grief, a detached voice in her head informed her; she ignored it) and pushed the thought away. “You’d better be rested up for that, huh?”

He smiled at her, and the warmth of it, so foreign to this day, made the world lurch around her. “I’m headed home, yeah. Well, actually, I’m going to Charlie’s. I want to see how he’s doing.”

Megan took a deep breath, and mustered up a smile of her own. “Good. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She had turned away when Don called after her: “I’m glad you’re back.”

Megan paused. The appropriate response (so am I) stuck in her throat. She couldn't lie to Don, not tonight. So she glanced over her shoulder and put all the gratitude she could muster into a single word. “Thanks.”

He nodded--dismissed--and she escaped from the bullpen, eyes burning once more from her ruined makeup. That had to be fixed before she tried to drive home.

In the women’s restroom, Megan turned the water to warm and scrubbed at her face with the harsh hand soap allotted to public servants. It didn’t matter; all that mattered was getting the residue of the day off her skin, discarding the mask.

She shut off the water and stood there for a few moments, taking deep breaths, still bent over the sink so she wouldn’t drip on her silk blouse. A few handfuls of cold water eased the heat of her cheeks and the leftover burning of her eyes. She patted her face dry and finger-combed damp tendrils of hair behind her ears.

I just need to go home, she told her reflection. I just need to let go and forget for a few hours. Everything will seem more bearable in the morning.

She turned and walked out into the hallway before her reflection could show her how shallow that lie really was.

~~~~~

Megan pulled into the parking spot underneath her apartment complex, shut off the engine, and sat there, hands loose on the steering wheel, staring into the dark.

She should open the door, get out of the car. Lock the door. Climb the single flight of stairs. Unlock her apartment, dump her jacket and purse and briefcase, lock the door behind her. Get into her PJs and make hot chocolate.

The tightness in her chest and throat, the dampness in her eyes, didn’t surprise her. But if she let go, she might not be able to snatch control back again.

The apartment would be empty. Oh, Megan’s things were still there--the carefully framed pictures of family and friends, the neat set of bookshelves where westerns and sci-fi butted up against psychology texts and manuals on profiling, the rack of flowered china cups inherited from her grandmother. But Megan herself wasn’t there. She’d locked that door behind her, and it wasn’t quite Megan who came back six weeks later.

No. Don’t go there. She couldn’t even breathe now, her body taut with strain, hands clenched painfully on the steering wheel.

Megan didn’t belong in that apartment anymore, not really. It echoed around her. All the pieces that had made it hers now made it a stranger’s house.

She’d held onto the memories of her team visiting her there, of Larry coming over early in the morning. Because those were something outside of herself. Because they were real.

Except, apparently, not all of them.

Stop it. Her mind hadn’t used this voice in many months. Rough, annoyed, and very masculine. You’re strong. Take this like a man.

Like a man, huh? The words cued a memory of David’s furious rush into the interrogation room. She couldn’t manage that kind of anger. Not yet. She didn’t have the strength.

Megan managed a cautious breath, then another. The tightness began to ebb, leaving all her bones feeling hollow.

She rubbed a hand across her eyes. All right. She didn’t want to go upstairs. Couldn’t go back to the office--she had to have a break before braving those stares again. Maybe an all-night diner, some pie and decaf coffee?

No. A diner wouldn't be any better than her apartment right now. Going in there alone, without. . . .

She reached for her purse. There, tucked behind her pocketbook where it couldn’t be crushed, was the envelope. Megan eased the letter from its casing and held it gently, without opening
it. She didn’t need to read the carefully drawn words again to remember them.

Not even half an hour away, and as impossible to reach as he had been in orbit.

The movement of her thumb against the soft paper slowed. He didn’t know. Sequestered in his own thoughts, in solitude, no one would have told him yet. Someone should.

Are you sure? Maybe you should leave him alone.

It would still be true when he came out, though. Better he know now than emerge into a world so unexpectedly changed. He needs to be told.

Be honest, her conscience commanded her.

Megan closed her eyes. Fine. I need to tell someone.

She turned the key in the ignition.

~~~~~

The monastery was perched up on the eastern side of the arroyo. There was no space to park along the narrow road in front of the building, so Megan drove another hundred yards until the shoulder widened and she could pull over.

When she'd passed the building, it was closed up and quiet. If she'd had any thought of trying to enter, the idea seemed ridiculous now.

Instead, Megan pulled out a notepad and pen.

The words wouldn’t come.

Or rather, they came in such a contradictory flood that she couldn’t figure out which ones to use. How messed-up was she, that she couldn’t even manage a note to a loved one?

Dear Larry, today was a bad day . . .

Dear Larry, something bad has happened, and . . .

Dear Larry, I need to tell you something . . .

Dear Larry, I’m not sure which way is up anymore . . .


No. None of those. With an effort, Megan put aside the overload of information, and the tangles of words, the need to see him, touch him. Neatly, she wrote ten words on a single sheet, folded it once, and wrote his name on the outside.

Before she could over-think this any further, she got out of the car and walked back towards the monastery. The wind coming up the arroyo was brisk and cool. The motion of her body eased some of the tension in her shoulders and back.

For several long minutes Megan stood in the building's darkened portico, unwilling to breach its silence. They should have a doorman, these men who took in contemplative guests. Eventually, she raised one fist and knocked firmly on the solid oak of the door.

Megan knocked twice more before she heard footsteps.

A tiny hatch in the door slid open. The face on the other side was bearded, older, and more awake than she had expected. Megan held up her piece of folded paper. “You have a guest in residence--a Doctor Larry Fleinhardt?”

He nodded, instead of speaking.

She extended the paper towards him, through the hatch. “Can you make sure he gets this message? It’s important.”

The monk’s gaze stayed firmly on hers for several moments. Finally, he nodded again, took the paper in nimble fingers, and slid the hatch closed.

Megan stood on the doorstep for another minute. That was it; the task was done. The man probably wouldn’t wake Larry until morning anyway. She should go home. Try to sleep, try to forget. . . .

Back at her car, Megan paused with her hand on the door. She had been so focused on what she was doing, she hadn't noticed the sky. This near the edge of the city, the stars were actually visible.

She still didn’t feel like going home.

The lights of Los Angeles huddled dimly out below her, a mass of glowing coals. Megan laid her jacket on the ground and sat, back braced against the front wheel of her SUV, and leaned back to gaze at the sky. The wind, which had skipped dust and dead leaves along the sidewalk near the Federal Building all day, had blown away the curtain of smog, revealing at least twice as many stars as she could see from her apartment. Each one glittered like a spark or a shard of glass.

The sounds of traffic were muffled here. The air around her belonged to the trees, rustling in the night breeze. Megan hugged her knees against her chest. The darkness around her filled with a kind of quiet, in which all the running tension of her body shifted towards release. No wonder he'd chosen this place to make his retreat, to contemplate re-entry into the life of Earth.

That rustle wasn't the wind. Steps scuffed gravel on the road's shoulder. What now? Megan rose to one knee, and slid a hand to her belt, ready to unsnap her holster. The steps were coming from her left, from the direction of the monastery.

The shadow of a head and shoulders came into view against the star-flecked sky.

She knew that stance, and the shuffling step as well.

“Megan?”

She'd missed that voice. Her own trembled as she drew in a long breath and answered him. "Hey, Larry."

He settled on the ground next to her. The dim light was enough to see the outline of his face as he gazed at her. “Brother Marcus brought me your message.”

It wasn’t only her voice that was shaking, Megan realized as she eased herself back to a sitting position. This had been a rash decision, too quick, too soon. “I’m sorry."

“I wasn’t sleeping,” Larry assured her, touching the back of her hand. He gestured upwards, to the sky. “I was watching the stars.”

He’d seen her doing the same. Megan nodded, jerkily, and blinked hard. It wasn’t fair, wasn’t fair to Larry that he should have to see her like this, right now, when he had just come back from months in space. She could keep it back, until she got home. . . .

She blinked again, and tears spilled down her cheeks.

“Megan.”

The hand on her wrist tightened. She couldn't answer, couldn't force one word through her tight throat. She turned her face away, pressing her free hand over her mouth to hold in any sound. This would pass, if she just had a minute to get herself together.

"Megan." There was a thread of desperation in Larry's even voice. Megan hated herself for being the cause of it--damn it, she would stop, she would. . . . "What's wrong? What's happened?"

She couldn't say it. She couldn't even say it. His hands touched her shoulders, turned her towards him. "Megan," he whispered. It didn't sound like a question this time, and when his arms wrapped around her, pulling her against him, she let him hold her, and cried hot tears into the shoulder of his jacket. Tears for the reason she'd come, that she would have to try and find words to speak of; for all the things she would never be allowed to tell him; and for optimistic before-Megan, who would have found this much easier to do.

Larry didn't say a word, just held her and stroked her hair and leaned the warmth of his head against hers.

She ran out of tears halfway through a sob and turned it into a shuddering sigh. Larry's grip shifted, as if he wasn't sure what to do next. Megan couldn't give him any help. She let her head stay on his shoulder, not wanting to shatter the illusion of safety.

Eventually, her sniffles must have gotten the better of him. Megan felt him shift, and almost pulled away before a cotton handkerchief slipped into her hand. "It's clean," he assured her.

Megan gave a strangled giggle. She sat up and used the plain cloth, soft from many washings, to wipe the traces of tears from her face, to blow her nose, and to wipe down the sodden shoulder of Larry's jacket.

"Keep it," he advised her.

Megan regarded the damp and sticky handkerchief. "Thanks," she said, half joking and half sincere.

"You're welcome." There was a pause. Megan wished she could think of something to say, but the impulse to cry out, to tell someone, had washed away beneath the tears. It was Larry who spoke, asking again, "Megan, what happened? Are you all right?"

"I . . . No, I--" Megan closed her eyes and took a deep breath. There were still no words for this, no way to express what had been done. No way to explain two years which had never quite existed.

Larry's voice was low. "Is it classified? If you can't tell me, I understand. I only asked because--"

"No." Megan opened her eyes. Looking straight into his face, she said, "Everything I did when I was out of town: that's classified. But today, tonight--no." Larry's hand found hers, and she squeezed his fingers. "It's Colby."

Larry's expression was open, puzzled. All generous concern. "What happened to him? Is he all right?"

She shook her head, and couldn't stop shaking it. "He's a traitor."

The moment the word was out, Megan wanted to take it back, stuff it into darkness. She wanted to get up and run from it, down the road, far away. She wanted to turn and throw up all over the ground, get the poison of that word, that truth, out of her body and out of her mind.

Larry rubbed a slow hand across his forehead. "I don't understand."

Again, Megan found she could barely breathe. "I don't either. I don't either." Her voice broke on the last word. She buried her face against her knees. Colby and traitor were not two concepts that could occupy the same space, not until tonight. Not even tonight. Five generations of duty, honor, following orders, he'd told her, and she knew that was a decent summary of his family's military history. She'd seen some of their records. How did that turn itself upside down?

"Megan." Larry's hand settled on her shoulder. "Megan, I truly don't understand what you're telling me. Can you try again?"

She forced herself to pull in breath, once, twice, and lifted her head. "We found Colby's name on a list of double agents, compiled by a well-known spook. He's been--Colby's been--passing information to the Chinese government. For two years."

"How do you know he hasn't been set up?" Larry asked reasonably.

"That's what I asked." Well, what she'd asked after what the hell, Don? She'd helped backup secure the strike team, then bolted down the stairs to confirm the reporter's safety, to confirm Colby's safety. What she'd seen was Colby in cuffs, with David's gun trained on him. Don had given her the short version, and she'd instantly asked whether it had even crossed his mind that it could be a frame. His answer (we'll see) had felt like a strike to her diaphragm. "Colby and I were guarding someone at a safe house. He took the, the witness out of there without telling me. He left me there alone to face a team of assassins." Worse, when she defended him, Colby had refused to meet her gaze. "And then he confessed. To Don."

"Megan, I'm so sorry. And I am extremely glad you're safe." Larry's hug was tight and warm and exactly what she needed.

Megan returned it fiercely, knotting her fists in the back of his jacket. "Please." The words spilled out, surprising her, muffled against his hair. "Please, be real. Tell me I didn't imagine you the way I imagined Colby had my back all this time. Please."

He lifted her face from his shoulder and cupped it in both hands. The kiss was gentle, but also knowledgeable and earnest. Megan closed her eyes, welcoming the familiar intimacy of touch, finding herself responding as she had months before, the last time they'd been able to do this. After a long minute, she pulled back. It felt good, but wasn't even close to the certainty she craved.

His thumb wiped dampness from the corner of her eye. "I missed you very much," he said quietly.

"Me too. I mean, I missed you too." She kissed him this time, as deeply as she could, finding their rhythm again. When she spoke this time, her lips were still brushing his. "Come back to my place for the night?"

Larry hesitated before drawing back, and his tone was reluctant. "I've made a commitment here, and I'm expected back."

The wind swept between them, pushing away the warmth of their shared bodies. Megan swallowed hard. "Well--that's definitely the Larry I remember."

"More or less." He studied her face, poring over it as if it were one of his articles, or a star seen through a telescope. She wondered what he was looking for, if he could see the changes in her, if he was wondering whether this Megan could still return his love. "More, I believe now. I can feel true ground under my feet again, and I am no longer afraid of that." Larry scooted closer, settling his back against the wheel of her SUV. He put an arm around her shoulder, and she tucked herself against him. "I can certainly stay here a while longer, if you would like."

"I would." Megan slid one arm behind the small of his back, and rested her head on his shoulder. For a moment, she'd managed to put aside the shock of the night. She tried to keep it that way by listening to Larry's breathing, matching her inhales and exhales to his. By wondering why his jacket smelled like rosemary. Like her focus on initial letters, the trick didn't work for long.

But the memories that insisted on crowding her mind were older than tonight. The first time she'd met Colby, shaking his hand in the bullpen (a gesture of welcome that must have told the spy he'd made it in). Making a snap judgment about his military bearing ("duty, honor, following orders") and taking care to set that judgment aside. Colby's aggressive stance over that child molester, backing up her curse with his presence and his gun (so at odds with his footsteps running for the stairway in the dark). That ridiculously open grin, sharing secret delight and frustration with her over Charlie's equations. (Charlie. Shit. Had Colby passed on information he learned from him, too?)

Panic in his eyes when they found Don unconscious in that suspect's house.

Stoic blankness as he quietly reeled off the facts of his confession.

"Colby," Larry said, as if testing the sound of the name, to see how it had changed. "He was, he is, perhaps one of the last people I would have suspected of being other than he shows himself to be."

Megan pressed a hand to her temple; her head was beginning to ache. She knew what he meant, though, and the contradiction felt irreconcilable. Colby's sincerity had been the perfect cover. "I keep thinking that I should have seen this coming. There should have been signs that I would recognize--"

Larry's hand on her shoulder tightened. "Megan, you cannot blame yourself--"

She kept going. This wasn't something she could have said to Don, not in the white-hot midst of crisis. "There weren't. There were no signs. I could tell this latest case was bothering him a lot, there was a disconnect there, but before? Nothing, Larry. Even his loyalty to his friend, that read as a personal issue, nothing more. He confessed to betrayal, to espionage, he knows things he shouldn't be able to know. So there must have been signs. Except that there weren't." She broke off, feeling the argument in her mind wheel back around to the same place in the circle. There was no end to it. She shouldn't dwell on it.

She couldn't stop.

"Do you remember Ron Allen?" Larry asked, rather abruptly. Megan opened her eyes; he was watching her. "The research student of mine who turned out to be an imposter?"

She nodded. She'd never told Larry, but his impassioned defense of his assistant was one of the moments that cemented her view of him as a worthy man. A lovable man.

"He was very good. Even after the fact, I could find no reason I would ever have guessed that he was lying to me." Larry rubbed the bridge of his nose with his free hand. "The parallel is far from perfect. He was only my assistant and advisee. You and Don and Agent Sinclair have trusted Colby with your lives for two years. With our lives." That last thought seemed to sober him, and he paused, frowning at the earth beside them. "But I can say that I have known the feeling of the world shifting under me. It is difficult to hold onto trust after someone tears a hole in what we thought we knew about them."

Megan cuddled more closely against his side, wanting to translate warmth into meaning, into an antidote for her own words. "Disconnect. Distrust of self, not just of others."

"Disillusionment? Or is that too weak a word for the aftermath of betrayal?" After a moment, Larry sighed. " 'Nature's first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; but only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief . . .' "

Megan craned her neck to look him in the eye, and quoted the next two lines. " 'So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.' What a pessimistic interpretation, Larry."

He shrugged. "I don't find it inappropriate. We learn to trust early, most of us, and only slowly discover the complicated truth of human interactions to be fraught with danger."

She almost smiled at his phrasing, but this was something worse than the normal complications of humanity. Beyond what she had learned as a profiler, or her disillusionment with the job. The FBI wasn't supposed to be filled with the stories that plagued the intelligence communities. Her life wasn't supposed to be filled with knife-shards of uncertainty. "What do you do when dawn hasn't just gone down to day?" She wasn't sure if she expected him to answer, or if she just needed to ask the question. "Beauty is still visible during the day. You can trust your eyes, even if the early blush has faded. What do you do when day has gone down into darkness?"

The silence this time went on for so long that Megan expected no answer. The wind brushed past, tickling her face with strands of hair. Her back was beginning to ache. Larry's must be more painful, supporting her as he was.

"Look up," Larry said.

Megan blinked. "What?"

"That's what you do in the dark." He lifted his free hand, as though introducing her to the heavens. "Look up. In the darkness, you can finally see the stars clearly."

What would have sounded like a platitude from anyone else had a ring of truth coming out of his mouth, and Megan looked up. The stars glimmered, still faintly obscured by light pollution, by smog in the air. By the tears in her eyes. She blinked them away, and lowered her gaze to his.

"No, look up." Larry looked distressed, worried that she'd missed his point.

She reached up to brush her fingers against his face. "I'm looking up," she told him. "This is about as high as I can look right now. I'm looking up."

~~~~~

finis


Comments and feedback, positive or negative, are welcome!
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

(22 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:thedivinegoat
Date:September 23rd, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I can't tell you how awesome this fic is. Your Megan and Larry are note perfect, and this is now my personal canon for what Megan did in the aftermath.

Thank you. There's not enough Numb3rs fic of this caliber out there.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:September 24th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC)
(Link)
Your Megan and Larry are note perfect, and this is now my personal canon for what Megan did in the aftermath.

Oh, wow. I think you did just tell me how awesome this fic is. :-) That's the first time anyone's told me that one of my stories is their personal canon, so I'm overflowing with happiness right now.

And I hope to continue contributing to quality Numb3rs fic.

Thank you so much for your comments; I really appreciate them.
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:September 24th, 2007 12:24 am (UTC)
(Link)
Oooh, eep. Dang, does this mean I have to post mine? ;-) But I haven't re-watched Janus List, and I'm a little scared silly that I've taken too many authorial licenses with procedure.

Besides, mine pretty much pales in comparison with this. :-) You already know how excellent I think this is.

In other news, my weekend home was AWESOME. I miss the PAC so freakin' much. Will tell more later.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:September 24th, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)
(Link)
Hey, post yours whenever you feel like it. :-) I just knew that this one was ready to go up (finally!) and so I went ahead and posted it.

If it helps, I think you've taken many *less* liberties with procedure than fic author usually do. And as for "paling in comparison," pffft. It's a different story, is all. Yours is about Megan, but also about Don. That story should be told, too. So there.

And yeah, in the face of all this positive feedback, I'm actually starting to think that this story is better than I dreamed it would be when I first started it. Heh.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 24th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Ahhh, I've been waiting for this fic since I heard about it, in the early part of Janus-angst. When I saw it was posted, I was very happy....and a little apprehensive. So few things live up to the anticipation, and I'd anticipated this one all summer. So silly of me to worry. It is, as you have now heard repeatedly, an awesome fic.....and the first one I've read that gets Larry's "voice" the way I hear it. Really glad you posted this....thanks so much.

I have one tiny quibble....the idea that Colby abandoned Megan, which has been floating around all summer. The dialog in the episode goes: Colby: "Lay down cover. I'll go move Naomi." Megan: "Got it."

Since Naomi was in the safest place in the house already, doesn't moving her mean taking her out of the house to a safer location? That's how I figured it at the time....and Megan agrees to the plan.

Ah, well, that's just me......genetically incapable of letting Colby go undefended.
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:September 24th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Having just re-watched TJL, I agree with the whole "abandoning Megan" thing . . . he said he was going to move Naomi, and Megan agreed. But I think the fact that Don brings it up during questioning--that Colby left Megan to fend for herself--and the fact that Colby did leave Megan without backup--is where a lot of it is coming from.

Just my $0.02.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:September 24th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hello, my anonymous admirer! :-)

So few things live up to the anticipation, and I'd anticipated this one all summer. So silly of me to worry.

I admit I was a bit worried, myself, that it wouldn't live up to the expectations of my readers. I'm quite relieved that you enjoyed it so much, and felt that it was worth the wait and the anticipation. Thank you!

and the first one I've read that gets Larry's "voice" the way I hear it.

Oh! Double thank-you for that comment--Larry is difficult to write, and I'm so happy that you think I got his voice right. Yay!

Re: the idea that Colby abandoned Megan: I'm with you, really, because whether or not Colby was running away and leaving Megan there alone, he knows she can take care of herself, and she did indeed kick butt all on her own. And Megan did agree to Colby moving Naomi--it made sense to her while she still viewed Colby as a trustworthy partner.

But at this point in my fic, Megan's pretty confused. She's trying to reconcile everything she remembers with the news that Colby's been lying to them for 2 years. One of the ways she's doing that is re-writing some of her memories with information from sources she thinks she can still trust, like Don. The idea that Colby left Megan to fend for herself does come up in the interrogation, and I thought it likely that Megan would pick that up. Even as something she can be angry about, to help her not care so damn much that this has happened. Does that make sense?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 25th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, that makes perfect sense -- when Megan is mistrusting her own perceptions, she could hardly help but be influenced by something as forceful as Don's accusation that Colby had abandoned her.....and, even better, it gives her an excuse for anger and the attendant emotional distance for protection. Seeeee, that's why you're the wonderful writer and I'm the appreciative reader. :-)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:September 25th, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Seeeee, that's why you're the wonderful writer and I'm the appreciative reader. :-)

*blushes*

*hides face*

It's also why this fic took me 4 months to finish...all this internal stuff that Megan only half understands, and that I only really understood after I'd finished writing it. :-)
[User Picture]
From:mistraltoes
Date:September 25th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
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Excellent. All the fixes are good, and the new title works perfectly. ::shakes pompoms in your direction:: Rah! Rah! Gooooooooo, you!
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From:izhilzha
Date:September 25th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
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Yay! I'm glad the new bits work for you. :-) And the title--oh, I agonize over these dumb things. But it seemed to fit (and I only found it when I realized that this fic is only Megan/Larry because it's all about Megan, and that was where the title had to focus), so I'm pleased that you agree.
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From:used_songs
Date:September 29th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
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Wow! This is a great Megan/Larry fic (which I love), but it's also a great Megan-centric fic which I find rare. You really get inside her head with all of the turmoil she's dealing with. I love how you mix ordinary irritations (the old makeup) with these life changing revelations she has to deal with. I've read several fics about how Larry has changed, but this really explores the idea of Megan's changes.

I really enjoyed this a lot.This isn't the first time I've come to read one of your fics and been completely blown away!
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From:izhilzha
Date:September 29th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
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Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the Megan/Larry aspect, but yeah--this is really a Megan fic. My first time writing from her perspective; for some reason, I really focused on her after "The Janus List." I'm just happy it turned out so well.

This isn't the first time I've come to read one of your fics and been completely blown away!

I'm so flattered! :-) Thank you so much--that means a lot. I hope I continue to write fic that you enjoy!
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From:irena_adler
Date:October 3rd, 2007 04:19 am (UTC)
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Lovely. Larry's so good for her ... You captured their relationship very well. I adore the last line.
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From:izhilzha
Date:October 3rd, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
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Thank you so much! As I noted above, this is my very first 'shippy fic...and I enjoyed writing their relationship so much, I think I'm going to have to write some more about them. :-)

And I agree--Larry's extremely good for Megan.
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From:dawnebeth
Date:October 10th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
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Very, very nice--what a perfect filler between the two episodes, and a quiet, gentle moment for Megan to let out her grief. I'm so glad she got to talk to Larry! I missed seeing him in Janus List.

I love that poem by Robert Frost and have used it more than once in stories--and recently titled a Starsky and Hutch fic I wrote "Searching the Darkness for Stars" so this story really rang true for me on more than one level.

Dawn
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From:izhilzha
Date:October 10th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
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Thank you so much! I'm just glad this wasn't "jossed" by the season opener. I definitely think Megan needed to talk to someone after "The Janus List," and Larry is so the obvious person.

I wasn't sure when you'd read this story, but I did wonder who would recognize the poem--it made the biggest impression on me when I read "The Outsiders."
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From:astrogirl2
Date:January 5th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
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I did wonder who would recognize the poem

I did. I was quoting the last two lines along with Megan. :) But I'm kind of a Frost fan.
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From:kalquessa
Date:January 2nd, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
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So, dude. How are you so awesome? Because wow.

"Please be real."

That is so raw and hurt and perfect for a Megan who has come back from classified nastiness only to be betrayed (seemingly betrayed, because la-la-la!) by one of her team. Poor, poor Megan.

And Larry! *hugs him* He really is that person that can deliver stale platitudes without them being stale platitudes. So true, and you captured his voice just wonderfully in this. I am duly impressed.

This is so, so good, Izh. So many little things about it make it good. This, especially caught at me:

Megan could almost see his defenses going up. Good sign or bad, she wasn't sure, but she was grateful. This Don, she knew how to deal with

This little incidental note worked so well, not just as Don's action but as Megan's observation of the action and reaction to it. If that makes any sense.

Loved Megan's quick re-run of key Colby moments in the past two years. And of course I adore the end. This is so exactly--essentially--Megan and Larry.

And yes, if you're wondering, your N3 fic is pretty much the only thing keeping me from falling asleep on my desk, today.
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 3rd, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
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I'm glad my fic is keeping you awake. Fun to read *and* practical!

And I'm very pleased that you enjoyed this story so much. I was quite nervous about posting it, thought it wasn't good, and then people started telling me it was awesome. *g*

Yeah, Megan is in a bad place at this point. I wrote this mostly because I was in that same bad place after watching "Janus," and Megan's plight gripped me much harder than any of the other characters'; just one thing piling on top of another with no break or chance to recover or anything.... *hugs Megan*

It was nerve-wracking writing Larry, but I'm glad his voice here (and their interaction) worked so well for you. Being that Larry/Megan are my only OTP in all my fandoms, it's a good thing I can write the pairing.

This little incidental note worked so well, not just as Don's action but as Megan's observation of the action and reaction to it. If that makes any sense.

*is gleeful* Yay, that's exactly what I was going for and you got it! Megan can't quite switch off her training, regardless of how emotional she is, nor can she quite switch off her sense of responsibility to Don.

Thank you bunches for leaving me such a lovely review! You made me day with this one and the other one.
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From:astrogirl2
Date:January 5th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and thank you for this one, too. Not only do the characters feel right, but the emotions are so very real, in a way that's... surprisingly rare, I think. This actually brought moisture to my eyes in a couple of places, including the end.
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 5th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
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Not only do the characters feel right, but the emotions are so very real, in a way that's... surprisingly rare, I think.

Thank you! That means a lot, coming from a writer like you. Maybe the reality of the emotional stuff is one reason why this fic took me so long to write; I wrote it in bits and pieces, and even those usually left me rather exhausted. I'm so very glad this story struck you so. *happy sigh*

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