Burn Notice

These events transpire after the explosion on the Anarasi Maru, described in 'Through a Glass, Darkly'


St. Michael’s Cemetery
Boulder, Colorado - Earth
April 29, 2381

Graveside at the only funeral to which he’d been welcome, Harry watched the symbolic lowering of Seth Anderson’s empty casket into the Earth where he’d been born and had wished, always, to end his days. Jenny, Seth’s daughter, clutched his hand and her tears wet his uniform, an echo of the rain which dripped with appropriate melancholy over the small Boulder cemetery.

On Jenny’s far side, her mother and Seth’s ex, Megan Anderson Powell watched, eyes gleaming suspiciously. True, Starfleet had come between she and Seth but they’d shared a good chunk of a lifetime. They’d shared Jenny. And now she was left with her grief and a fatherless daughter and her ex-husband’s best friend who had been responsible for the empty casket which thudded, with an almost unbearably wet sound, at the bottom of the grave.

Harry had no memory of the service. Whatever words of comfort the chaplain had to offer would have been lost on him, anyway. Jenny, sixteen, had stood as tall and proud as if she were already a member of the ‘Fleet she meant to join. Until the end, until they’d dropped that vacant box into the earth.

So now she wept into Harry’s side and it would have been good to reach out to her, Seth’s daughter, the girl Harry had taught to swear, and the only person willing to stay in the same room as Finn, after…

Bottom of the hill, they were waiting for him. He wasn’t surprised. It had been kind of whomever was running the investigation to wait until after the funeral.

Jenny’s breath gave a little hitch as he gently disengaged her hand from his arm and walked over to the officers from JAG. Officer’s he knew.. officer’s he’d served alongside.

“Commander Finn,” the senior of the two greeted him formally.

“Lieutenant Ashton,” Harry nodded to the other, “K’taak.” The Klingon merely stared. Opinions had formed quickly, after the Maru.

Ashton cleared his throat before diving into the unpleasant task, “Lieutenant Commander, you are to be taken into custody under suspicion of Negligence, Manslaughter, Dereliction of Duty and Fraternization…” that last was a slap. Harry took it. Took the regulation phrases and the equally regulation restraints without flinching and allowed himself to be guided to the waiting transport.

“Harry?” Jenny tried to join him but Meg held her back.

He looked back, addressing a spot just over her left shoulder. “It’s okay…” the rote assurance fell out of his lips, dropping like lead to the sodden earth below because of course it wasn’t okay. Her father… his friend was dead, along with Tim and Esther and oh gods, Sara and all the others and deep inside Harry knew he had killed them.

Nothing would ever be okay again.


November 1, 2381
New Hope, Pennsylvania - Earth
Finn property

Stumbling through the cinder smells of autumn, fallen leaves burning at his eyes, a man, trembling and spare from fever and… something else… struggled further into the darkening forest. Robbed of any hope of a future he careened down the dark and ghost-strewn path to where it began.

Where it all began.

”Where am I?” hoarse but determined, Harry asked the trite but essential question, wondering at the overall cleanliness of his current location. Fresh sheets, no stale liquor odor…

“You’re home, Harry,” Will stepped into his younger brother’s line of sight. “All the way home.”

Ah.

“How?”

“Will found you in San Francisco,” Anna, now, joining the eldest of the Finn sibs, “he brought you back.”

Harry closed his eyes, unable to bear the disappointment in hers. Anna had worshipped her brother, back in the day. “Where’s Mom,” he asked the backs of his eyelids. If he kept asking questions, no one else would have the chance to question him (always keep control of the interrogation, Finn).

“Watching the horde,” Will again. “She…”

“You shouldn’t have brought me here.”

Crashing through the underbrush, shivering with more than cold, Harry feared he might have gotten lost. How many years had passed? And after a time, after the investigation was closed, the path had fallen out of use. Who’d want to follow it, after…

”There wasn’t any choice. Starfleet evicted you from your apartment and the only reason we knew is they sent your stuff here. Mom thought you were dead…” Will let anger cover his fear as he recalled finding the wreck of his brother, lying in a wet gutter on Market Street.

I am, Harry thought.

“I need a drink,” he said.

Anna sat on the edge of the bed, placing a hand over his, ignoring the flinch. “No. You don’t.”

The trail had always been rough but now, decades later, lack of use had allowed the underbrush to creep in, roots to thrust up, hidden beneath the sodden carpet, tripping Finn as he moved through the stillness, eyes dimming, berated by the past.

"Lieutenant Commander, you are to be taken into custody under suspicion of Negligence, Manslaughter…"

He slid down the last few meters to the rill, wetting his feet before he could bring himself to a full stop. Shaking, clenching his teeth against the tremors, he paused, remembering.

”You don’t know what you’re messing with, Finn…”'

Left and then up the now-rocky slope. Tough climb, in the wet. When had it started to rain? Didn’t matter. He was burning up, now. Slower than the others but he’d join them soon enough.

”Do the job, Harry,” Seth Anderson reminded him, back at Xendi, before the war, before the ride got too dark.

“Can’t,” Harry chattered at his old friend (his old, dead friend) “got fired. No job… nothing left.” He grabbed hold of a low branch and hauled himself up over a boulder but his foot lost purchase and he fell, landing hard on his chin.

“Transfer’s official,” Lt. Finn told his family, “I’ll be reporting to the JAG office in San Francisco end of leave.”

Not that he wouldn’t miss the Asimov… good ship… but he’d been finding, lately, that some of the Federation’s enemies were closer to home and they might be more dangerous than the ones out on the line.

Jaw singing in pain, blood in his mouth, the copper tang in his nostrils (just like that day) he rose again. Getting close, now.

"I’m telling you, the problem is internal,” Ensign Finn insisted, ignoring the quelling glance his CO was sending at him. “No one outside the Asimov would have had the means or opportunity to program that kind of cascade failure. LCARS, gel packs, warp injections… this was someone who knows this vessel, who had the time to implement a catastrophic system failure…”

Couldn’t see much, now. Dark and the rain washed the forest until it was no more than a brown-red impressionistic rendition of itself. But in the midst of the old-blood foliage was the blackness Harry sought.

Less a cave than an indentation, the granite-framed darkness pulled at him like his own personal event horizon. He felt himself drawn closer, wondering what he might find, this time.

Dad was going to check the timber stands in the Northwest corridor, he’d said that morning. Something about ‘thinning’ but that wasn’t interesting to Harry so he’d only nodded when the conversation started to go ‘blah blah blah’ and waved vaguely when his father had donned his old-fashioned hat and gone out, on foot, to look at his trees.

When his father missed lunch, though, he got intensely interested and decided maybe he’d just go see what kind of tree could keep Jack Finn from honey-fried chicken.

Harry had a tough time getting to the Northwest section and he got soaked when he slipped down to the creek and that made the climb up the next slope even harder. But something told him that Dad was near. Just ahead, he thought, just past this freaking huge boulder…

Coming up to level ground, he was hit by the smell… something new and metallic and sick-making… the kind of smell that says ‘stay back’ but he couldn’t, not now, not when he knewknewknew that someone had to go see and, nine-years-old or not, he was the only one here so it had to be him.

So he went.

“Dad?”

“Dad?” Harry Finn, grown, now, but made so very young again in failure, called to the darkness. As before, he got no answer because, in the end, the dead don’t really talk back. Shaking harder than a winter leaf, he slid down to the earth, wondering if it had ever come clean of the blood.

Wondering who would find him, come the time.


Harry Finn - A History of Violence

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