The Way We Were


carmichael_icon.gif goodman_icon.gif

Scene Title The Way We Were
Synopsis Roger Goodman puts his past into perspective, in order to move forward with his future.
Date April 22, 2009

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC

The grass has turned green, the skies are lit by the flashes of distant lightning, and a warm rain falls down over pale white headstones, all standing in tightly packed rows, like tiny marble soldiers standing at attention.

One black monument to sacrifice to God and Country stands opposed to the headstones, a man in a coal-black suit, one arm raised to support an equally dark umbrella, sheets of water rolling down from the edges. Roger Goodman stares down at one of those white headstones, a leather folder tucked under one arm as his dark eyes survey the inscription written on the stone.

Jonathan William Carmichael
1967 – 2009

The worth and measure of one man’s life, condensed down to a name and a date etched into stone. Roger’s lips downturn into a frown, a crack from his normally impassive mask of emotionless disappointment that seems to hang on him. It wasn’t so long ago, that this scene played out much as it does now, with two men standing over the grave of another.

It’s times like these, that bring the past back, and color the present.

Arlington National Cemetery

April 22, 1991

“Why didn’t you tell them what really happened?” It’s been so long since either of them spoke, and when Roger finally does, he looks up from the chalk white headstone to the man standing at his side. “You could have sold me up the river, saved yourself the same punishment; moved up.”

Johnathan lowers his head, letting the light rain that falls atop it roll down his bare scalp to dribble off of the end of his nose. “Because we’re partners,” he doesn’t look up. “Because we fought together, we killed together, and I protect my own. Because what kind of man would I be,” now his eyes turn to Roger’s, “if I sold the one person like me up the river?”

One dark brow rises on Goodman’s forehead, but his expression doesn’t change. “You’re not the only one with a secret, Roger. You’re not—“ he scoffs between words, running both of his hands over the top of his head, pushing water from his skin. “You’re not the only one who has something to hide.

Tensing his neck muscles, Roger watches Johnathan’s expression, and without either of them truly saying it, he knows what’s being spoken of. “I should be frank with you, John.” Roger’s voice is always an impassive one, always a veneer of calm over the man worrying behind glassy eyes. “After the incident, I was approached by someone who was posing as a federal agent, his name was Thompson.”

John’s eyes focus on Roger’s, head tilted to the side. “He says he works for a company, one that works with people like us, special people. He wanted me to step out from the army, work with them.” Roger’s eyes narrow slightly, “They asked me if I knew anyone who might be amenable to their ideals.”

“I’m not.” John’s focus shifts back to the headstone, “I have reasons for still wanting to be there, be in the service. I’m not—“ he shakes his head slowly, “I’m not giving up that dream, not for anyone or anything.”

“I see.” The disappointment in Roger’s voice is almost palpable, and as he begins to turn, as if that was the end of their conversation entirely, John corrects him.

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t work with you.” Focused on the grave marker, Johnathan watches Roger out of the corner of his eyes. “I just said I have a dream, and it’s one I won’t ever compromise.” It’s enough to stop Roger’s departure, make the umbrella-holding man turns; lifting dark eyes once more to the soldier he calls a friend.

“This company,” he finally looks up to meet Roger’s gaze, “might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Nothing in life—nothing in this world—is ever entirely what it seems. You might need a man on the inside one day, and god knows—“ Carmichael gives a crooked smile, “maybe I’ll be wrong and I’ll need a man on the outside.”

Always prepared. Goodman can’t help but smile at the proposal, making his way back to Johnathan with a slow and steady pace, “Then we work together, in a mutually beneficial partnership?” It’s less a question and more of an agreement, but the tone of Roger’s words leaves just a little room for John to squirm out.

“Till the end.” John notes with a grin, “We lift each other up, we make sure nothing like this,” one hand waves at the grave marker, “has to happen again.” As if matching John’s motion to the tombstone, Roger lifts a dark hand up, but it keeps rising, held out in offer of a handshake to seal the deal.

Carmichael considers it for only a moment, before wrapping his hand around Roger’s, “To the end.” Roger’s brow tenses as he heard Carmichael’s words, but his hand more firmly squeezes the soldier’s, as he nods slowly.

Arlington National Cemetery

Present Day

“To the end.” Roger whispers to the tombstone, the rain still rolling off of his umbrella as he turns to look out over the field of other headstones. He has one last mission to fulfill, to honor the memory of the man who honored his, and then – finally – he’ll be allowed to rest too.

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