FANDOM: Life on Mars
RATING: White Cortina
WORD COUNT: 321 words
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Written for the 1973flashfic Minor Characters challenge. The title is from Frankie Miller's I Can't Change It, used in the DVD release instead of Wild Horses. With thanks to the lovely darthfi for the beta.
DISCLAIMER: Life on Mars is copyright Kudos and the BBC. All Rights Reserved. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.
I Can't Change, But I'm Trying
She knew what she was, of course. And somewhere right at the back of her mind she hated it. But she knew, had seen firsthand, what he could do, what he had done, to those who challenged his authority. It wasn't as if she had volunteered for this gig, after all. And surely that made it all a little better. This was a fight for survival, and Joni had become very good at fighting.
So she took the orders, did her job, smiled sweetly for the camera and never, ever thought about it.
And then she was questioned and all her assumptions, her life was laid bare for everyone to see. Which was fine, in a way. A justification for the terrible place she found herself in; a way to shrug her shoulders and assert that telling lie, "that's just the way it is".
Because it wasn't the way it was. And as much as she could justify the reasons, as much as she could pretend that she did what she did because it was the done thing, that it was that which was expected of her, she could no longer outrun the long-held guilt of a thousand betrayals, the embarrassment of being caught out in a game almost as old as humanity itself.
That last, it tore at her in ways that she could not comprehend. Her mother, still alive, was a being to be protected, but at what price? Was their continued safety worth the reputation of one copper? But that wasn't fair. That was reductionism. It wasn't the reputation of one copper. It was the life of one copper. And the next mark. And the next. For ever and ever until her death. Put that way, the answer was clearer, if more difficult to accept.
But accept it, she had to. And so, with conscious forethought, Joni stepped out of line, spun a lie and faced the consequences.