"In Bloom"
Rating: PG
Post-ep to "Posse Comitatus."
Additional Spoilers: All Simon episodes.
Disclaimers: None of these people are mine.
Feedback: samwest5@hotmail.com
Summary: The world is full of paradoxes, but why do so many of them have to touch my life?

How very strange all this is.

I'm not just talking about what's on the paper, either. Writing a eulogy is difficult in the best of times; I should have had Sam or Toby write this for me. But somehow I felt I owed it to him to write it myself. I still can't believe they asked me.

I'm still in shock, of course. There hasn't been a stretch of more than twenty minutes that I've been able to keep my head ever since. And I haven't slept in days. Every time I close my eyes I see what it must have been like. I can see the shots, see the blood, and the shock. I can see the fear in his eyes, for all his posturing. And that rips me apart in ways I can't articulate, for all my fancy education.

I bend my head to paper, trying for words. I need something to keep me occupied, as awful as this eulogy will eventually be. Somehow I can't shake the image of roses, and not just as they lay scattered around his head. The red and the white... kind of appropriate. Blood and innocence. Evil and goodness. Love and death. Hell and heaven.

I can't say I loved him. I didn't know him long enough, and half that time I was trying to piss him off. But I could have loved him, and that alone is enough to send me into a fit of tears when I think of how I spoiled that kiss. How could I have known it'd be one of the only two I'd ever get?

I don't know if I can go to the funeral. Sitting in some nameless church in a nameless suburb, watching my... Simon... get lowered into the ground like some nameless fool. I got home and stuck the black Vera Wang deep in my closet. It's a metaphor, I think, starting to sob yet again. It's buried just as deep as the wound in my heart.

When Ron Butterfield told me, it was like the world had stopped. There was a hideous rush in my ears, and his words resonated like – well, like a gunshot. I think that eventually the only place I'll hear those words will be in nightmares, but now it's too raw. "C.J., Simon was shot and killed." They're a constant whisper, hiding in the dark corners of my home at night. And you know what's worse? They have the President's voice.

I wish I knew what was going on there. Ever since the night of the play, he's been ... different. And I wish I knew why. There's been some seriously awful rumors regarding the Qumari defense minister's plane crash. The President hasn't said a single word about it, and I'd like to know what went on.

I'd like to think we're not responsible. But when I look into his eyes I know we are.

Theoretically I should have gone to the office tonight. But being there and seeing everyone: Leo downcast, Josh sad and silent, Sam full of pity... I don't think I could have taken it.

My paper is still almost blank, and I'm getting frustrated. Can't sleep, it would never happen. Can't eat, I just... can't.

I force myself to think about Simon. How he would get annoyed with me and yell at me. How I snapped at him for calling me 'ma'am.' God, it's all cliched. I can't use any of it. Of all people, how can I write him off with nothings?

I write and write, anything to keep the ghosts away, but nothing works. In a fit of aggravation I ball up the latest sheet of paper and fight tears. "God," I say in a tight, wracking voice, "how can he be gone?"

As much as I want it to, nothing answers me.

Those damn flowers are flitting through my head again. I can see the dew on their petals, and the tiny thorns on their stems. Strangely enough, they smell like Armani cologne. I can almost smell the fragrance myself as I rise and falter around the cluttered room.

Flowers can be very emotional, I tell myself, repressing frenzied laughter. When they're cut off in bloom, they take a while to truly be gone. You can smell their scent and feel their presence long after the stalks are in the trash. Also, I tell myself, fighting the tide of hysteria, they can be sweet. They can have a hidden sting. And they're not afraid to cry.

And they can be handsome.

So handsome.

The world is full of paradoxes, but why do so many of them have to touch my life?

I sit down. Starting to cry again, I begin to write of roses.