One Moment in Time

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Title: One Moment in Time
Category: Songfic/Tragedy
Rating: PG
Summary: All he had ever wanted was a single moment in time to prove himself to his father. Now, it seemed, that moment was here at last.
Author's Note: I challenge... no, I DARE you to listen to this song and not think of this man...

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o


Do you remember standing there, on a bright and cold day in the middle of June? Do you remember standing there with a feeling inside you that you hadn't ever felt before, or could ever remember feeling? Do you remember telling him that you were deciding your own destiny?

Can you remember it?

"Come back here, boy!"

Your legs feel like lead, heavy and dull, slowly forcing you to go where you don't want them to - backwards, back the way you came, back towards the entrance to Hell and eternal damnation.

You tell the person in front of you what you have been building up to for several months now. Looking down at your feet, at the dated patterns on the wallpaper running alongside the floor, at the grey carpet that you've always hated - looking anywhere that isn't his face, that aren't those piercing grey eyes that have silently followed you for as long as you can remember, while all you can remember is looking for the approval that would spur you onto something greater than this.

The reply doesn't come at once, which surprises you - once angry, it is as if a torrent has become unleashed, and the rivers and the gullies all lead straight to you... but when it does come you can almost hear yourself flinch away from the blows that you always thought would come with this moment, but instead there is nothing.

Finally, you look up, and in those cold grey eyes there is no hatred, there is no grim determination or fierce disappointment that you have yet again failed him. Instead, all you can see in those eyes is tiredness. He knew this day was coming, and he has been in denial for as long as you have been alive and breathing.

He is not angry, he does not hate you for what you have done... he is not anything, and that is that part that hurts most of all. And as you walked away from that house and those eyes for the last time, you knew that those tired grey eyes were following you for every step you took... and you knew that the further away you went, the less likely you were to ever return.

Each day I live I want to be
A day to give the best of me

Do you remember the hedonistic days? Do you remember looking around you through eyes that had been blurred by the effects of drinking, looking around to see where the nights would take you? Do you remember running away from the many consequences that you inevitably forgot, because you were never truly there to begin with?

Can you remember?

"Hey... where you goin'? C'mon back..."

Another voice in another reality. You played the part so well, taking on the role of a perfect stranger with ease. This person that she thinks you are is nothing like the real you, you are sure of that much, but then the question always arises - who is the real you?

Is there a person hiding underneath this mask that you wear to fool people? Will anything inside you ever come up to break the perfect charade and ruin the perfect performance and the perfect deception - that you are a carefree young person with nothing behind you and everything glistening on a new horizon?

And always you will be looking around the chaos that you chose to immerse yourself in, and always you will ask yourself if anyone will ever pierce this armour, if anyone will ever make the effort to make like Alice and go through the looking glass and see the reality.

The answer is lying in front of you... they never will. And you will have to find your future without the help of anybody else around you.

I'm only one but not alone
My finest day is yet unknown

Do you remember feeling the coldness growing inside you? Do you remember all those women falling in love with you, one by one, and one after the other? Do you remember the guilt you felt because however much you tried you could not find that place inside you that would allow you to love her back?

Can you remember?

"Why can't you say it? Please... I need to hear you say it..."

You have always been aware of how these women could be considered pretty... attractive... even beautiful, but deep inside you, you cannot see that for yourself. You have to wait for other people to tell you how lucky you must be to have this one, how lucky the two of you are... your whole lives ahead of you... aren't your kids gonna be cute...

And then there was one woman. Not the prettiest woman you've ever met... not the most attractive, certainly not the most beautiful woman you've ever laid eyes on, but she does something to you... she makes you feel excited and scared at the same time... she makes you feel like there's something worth moving forwards for...

She makes you feel.

And for that you fell in love with her.

But you couldn't show her.

Because you didn't know how.

I broke my heart for every gain
To taste the sweet I faced the pain

Do you remember standing there silently in the doorway? Do you remember taking in every detail of every ounce of colour and passion and intensity that lay in front of you on your bed? Do you remember crying for nights after she left you, crying salty tears until you thought you could cry no more?

And can you ever forget?

I rise and fall, yet through it all
This much remains

Do you remember being told about a chance of exploring the stars? Do you remember feeling again, feeling a chance to escape everything that you had done or not done down here? Do you remember standing there on that day on a bright cold day in January, waiting to prove to them that you could do this job, that you were the person that they were looking for?

Can you remember?

"Come back here... show me where you went wrong."

You can feel your feet snapping together smartly as you begin to show this new person not only the mistake that you made, but also how to make it right again... and even where they could have improved on the original design.

There's a strange sensation in your heart as a smile grew on his face, and he realised that you weren't some dumb yuppie kid who bought their way into this place. And there's an even stranger sensation where your stomach ought to be as he shows you something else and asks - he actually asks for your opinion on its design as well.

Within a few weeks you're in a different place, with all this around you, and you finally recognise what those feelings were... pride. You were proud of yourself then, weren't you? So proud that you could do something right, with nothing bad happening afterwards.

But instead of the wildly unadulterated happiness that they clearly expect you to feel and show, all you can see wherever you turn are a pair of grey eyes that will never crinkle at the corners because their owner is smiling... those eyes still haunt you when you sleep and when you're awake, and you know you still have a long way to go before those eyes will ever be anything close to proud of you, because you chose your own destiny.

But you keep trying.

You have to.

I want one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me

Do you remember listening to the people all around you as you rose up the ranks? Do you remember feeling the anticipation that fell down whenever you entered a crowded room? Do you remember warning them away from you with a stare, because they didn't deserve to get hurt, like so many others had?

Can you remember?

"Keep away from him, Lis... he's like a human iceberg or something..."

You rarely spoke unless it was about work... you rarely read anything unless it was relevant. You didn't date any women, although a few clearly were brave enough to come up to you and ask you. You only kept a few friends anywhere near you, but they knew so little about you it made no difference. Oh, you played the part with them, alright. That mask of normality came in useful again, didn't it? Gave those people a little bit of mystery that kept them wondering about you, gave them the impression that you were just another red-blooded male... that some women got you all hot under the collar, that they made you nearly wild with lust.

You were a damn good actor, weren't you?

But still you could only see grey eyes on every person, tired, disappointed, weary grey eyes that never changed no matter who you looked at.

And those grey eyes... they still did things to you... still made you determined to make them change.

Did they?

Of course not.

But still, you kept trying.

You had to.

Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel, I will feel eternity

Do you remember seeing the blond man watching your progress with cool blue eyes? Do you remember standing there on a cool autumn day in October while he watched you work, trying to learn more about you? Do you remember the rush of feeling - of anticipation - somewhere inside you when you realised what he was there to do?

Can you remember?

"C'mere a sec... jus' wanna ask you a coupla questions..."

There was something about him that drew you to him... something about him that seemed to overflow with life, with enthusiasm and confidence. There was also that bloody accent... you were going to dismiss him as another dumb wannabe until he started using the technical terms, and you realised just how useful having this man around could be.

He seemed to think the same about you, because before you knew it, he was adding your name to a list of prospective candidates for a new mission, one so hush-hush and yet the topic of most conversations that you ever heard around here. He even made it so clear to you that despite the fact that they were plumping for more... sociable people, you were clearly the best person they could find.

That made you feel happy, even a little proud... until he turned around again and cold grey eyes were staring back at you, emotionless and tired, and you realise yet again that there will never be any escape from the facts... that no matter what you do or achieve, there will always be something you can never, ever attain...

His pride.

And as the ship leaves Earth behind, moving faster and faster until it was just a speck on the board in front of you... oh, you told him where you were, but not what you were doing so far away from home. You could have been the captain himself, and those grey eyes would still stare back at you with something that is so close to anger and hatred, but it isn't.. because you know that that would be too good for you... it would be too much to hope for any kind of an emotional response.

And so your life out here began... you tried to keep to the same patterns as before... allow a few people close enough to glimpse something that may or may not be real... but it wouldn't work, and you knew it.

So you devised a new game, a new mask that people would see and interact with.

And for a while, it worked.

But only for a while.

I've lived to be the very best
I want it all, no time for rest

Do you remember lying there, feeling the life escaping through the hole in your leg? Do you remember lying there with a pole through your leg, simply waiting for the end to come? Do you remember looking up at this man who wouldn't let you die and wondering how strong his pills were?

Can you remember?

"Look at the stars... this won't be the last time you see them..."

It was supposed to be so simple. For you... you only had to do one thing right... cut the connection and let the life literally seep away from you. You'd weighed up the options, come to the only reasonable decision... the decision that would lead to the minimum number of deaths.

Just the one.


But sooner or later, you knew that it would come down to something so simple as this. Until you began to carry out the plan, knowing that you would at last be free of those watchful grey eyes... until you looked up again, at the man now trying so hard to save your life. And you caught the faintest of reflections staring back down at you. A second pair of eyes watching you for any signs of life.

They were your eyes...

And they were grey.

You almost laughed out loud, remember? All this time you've been running away from the grey eyes that have haunted you every night and day since that bright cold day once upon an English summertime... when all the time you've been running away from yourself.

There wasn't anything to be afraid of anymore, was there?

This man... the captain... you could see the surprise in his eyes when suddenly you began to seize the chance for life again... you promised yourself that you would tell him why you did that, but you never did... never had the time...

But it didn't matter anymore...

Because you knew that while one pair of grey eyes had been left far, far behind you, another pair would always be watching you... but these eyes were simply watching you. They had no time for judgement, no time to tell you how disappointed they were with you... they would never catch you be the throat and tell you just how little you would ever amount to, because now you knew better...

And now life could go on, with you in control.

I've laid the plans, now lay the chance
Here in my hands

Do you remember?

You could literally feel the ice cracking around you, melting away into nothing, leaving only someone with hopes... with dreams... with... with the knowledge that you were now so much closer to freedom than you had ever thought possible.

You made friends, didn't you? You'd already begun, even before seeing your own reflection, but now... this time it was for real. People began to get to know a side of you that even you didn't know you had... and you liked it, didn't you? Because you'd begun to make up for the fool you'd been in the past... leaving the hedonistic lifestyle behind, the chance of a broken heart next to nothing out here, because you still kept up a demeanour that demanded caution and patience.

Because somewhere deep inside, you were still scared of something. You didn't know what it was... it wasn't like that day in June so many years ago, it wasn't like standing in that doorway all over again, and it wasn't like feeling the man watching you, sizing up you and your skills on that cool autumn day.

You didn't know what it was, but you were still running from something.

You needed to prove something... to yourself.

You can see it all so clearly now, can't you?

I want one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me

Do you remember losing it all? Do you remember, that cold, cold day in April, when the world seemed to end, and everything that you knew ended along with it? Do you remember feeling the coldness seize up inside you again, as you watched things go on around you, and you had no control over them?

Can you remember?

Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel, I will feel eternity...

Do you remember telling yourself this morning that today would be the day? Do you remember not knowing why or how you knew, but that things would happen today? Do you remember the grimness that settled in around you as you made your preparations?

Can you remember?

You're a winner for a lifetime
If you seize that one moment in time...

Why are you doing this?

Make it shine...

The battlefield lies in front of you. To your left are the people you once cared so much about that you would give yourself up for them. To your right are the enemy... a swarm of darkness and hatred that remind you so much of those tired grey eyes that you thought you'd left so far behind you...

Today is the day.

You're waiting for your moment, aren't you? There's nothing left to live for anymore, is there? Those grey eyes are never going to stop being disappointed in you, and the ice that you thought was long gone had frozen back up around you before you even knew what was going on.

Give me one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be

Do you remember what brought you to this moment in time? Do you remember why you chose this path over one that would have ultimately safer and less hazardous? Do you remember what happened the last time you attempted something like this?

And can you ever forget something like that?

When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me

Do you remember how to work these controls... the weapons that you helped to design? Do you remember the exactness of the calculations that had gone into their construction... all the hours that you spent staying up at night trying to improve on them again and again? Do you remember the precise shockwave that will result from doing this... the yield and range of the torpedo?

Can you remember?

Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny

When a single second of delay will mean the difference between your life and the end of it? Can you see it from here?

Then in that one moment of time

Do you remember what will happen if you don't do this now? Do you remember all of the soul searching you did last night, trying to decide whether or not you deserved to live long enough to maybe see those tired grey eyes one last time? Do you remember everything that brought you here to this one moment in time?

I will be...

Can you remember pushing the button and feeling everything around you burst into an eternity of flames?

I will be...

Can you remember...

I will be free...

o o o o o

FAO: Captain Archer,
Acting on behalf of the late Stuart Reed, I confirm receipt of the letter pertaining to the death of his son, Malcolm Steven. The letter will be forwarded to Mr Reed's widow and daughter within the next few days.

Yours faithfully,
Arthur Benson, Benson & Cauldwell Solicitors

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