Post by marguerite harvard d2a (zori) on Jan 27, 2021 22:38:21 GMT -5
Harlow used to chase his sister around the house playing tag and screaming at the top of his lungs. They were inseparable, even as toddling gave way to teendom and they traded pacifiers for pints at the bar. They’d swear at one another and fight like cats and dogs time and again, but never without making up and always coming back to a fit of laughter at how stupid they’d been. Neither would want to admit just who started the row, but always they’d smooth over any rough edges to start anew.
Life was best when he didn’t take it too seriously. That much he had to keep close to his heart, even at the darkest of times. She’d go on to get married to a man he grudgingly approved of and have too many children (three), giving up a law career to raise children under the guise of what was best.
He looked at her sometimes and wondered what sort of ambition had been buried and watered and grown into that. Someone that had sacrificed to get ahead and become something among the capitol, only to find fulfillment in the arms of children. But then, he’d never understand. If he ever had the urge to start a family, he’d promised to use one of the arsenic capsules the peacekeeping core had given him (just in case a job ever went too terribly).
He liked to say it every time his sister would coo how good an uncle he was with her children.
His mother was a painter, who spent long afternoons traipsing about the garden finding the best light. She’d done a portrait of him at five and then fifteen, certain to hang them next to one another to see if either of them had changed over the course of ten year (her hand had gotten steadier, and his face had lost its baby fat for the smolder of a young man). He liked to watch her paint, the way she focused on each line and puzzled over each mix of paint. Projects could take months, but she returned to them now and again, knowing that they needed finishing.
She reminded him that the world was built on her time, and not the other way around.
His father had gotten him his start in central intelligence, as all good pull yourself up by your bootstraps stories begin. With all the talent and intelligence of a promising young man with the dash of his father’s influence, he joined the intelligence agency as a data miner, keeping tabs on various targets throughout panem.
Much of his time was spent watching numerous cameras, peering into the lives of those who’d never know it was him behind the camera. He supposed he could blame his disbelief in the good or the bad on what he saw, though Harlow knows this to be an easy excuse for lack of empathy he holds for most. Though few could dispute watching men cheat on their wives or political foes taking bribes might be enough to pop any pollyannaish view one might have of the world.
He was a stickler for details, noting ever ugly mole and misdeed he could. Meticulous reports of what could be used against the enemies of the state. Work that would subject them to certain torture, imprisonment, and even death. And he didn’t regard it as much then, just another job that could offer a spot higher up if he worked hard enough. Something that could mean a future, if he impressed the right person. That’s what his father reminded him, anyway.
Years gave way to jobs that wanted him out in the field, and he proved good at that, too. There was something easy about disguising himself and getting what he needed to know from his marks. There was a lot of unverified trust just lurking out there – the foolish desire to want to trust as though they could see who he truly was. The hope that what they were saying was landing in his heart, and not under his boot.
And he would smile, and nod. He’d tell them what they wanted to hear to get closer. To be on their side until he wasn’t, because that was the job. To flush out the pretenders, the people who wanted to bring harm to the capitol, or worse. They’d pay and they’d suffer, though to him, it wasn’t so much that he cared about the orthodoxy.
He had to admit it when it was true: he adored violence.
His favorite moments were getting to reveal that all the trust and hope they’d placed into him had been for naught. That the same person who’d believed they could trust him was having his fingernail pulled or tooth yanked for what they’d told him. Punishment was a matter of course, after all. Fear would follow, spreading like a disease for all that had heard of so-and-so’s demise. For something as small as a foolish ideology – a cross phrase that had aroused the wrong suspicions.
Though he loved most hunting the wanderers at the edge of capitol territory. There were hardly any rules for what they were allowed to do to them, and even then, the higher ups were willing to turn a blind eye now and again for all the good work Harlow did. What was a casual hunt if it meant he was keeping the districts and capitol safe?
No one would dare cross him now, first for his position (lieutenant!) and second for his brute strength alone. Harlow had the advantage of his height to intimidate, but further, spent every free moment perfecting his body, too. Where other capitolites might’ve thought it gauche, he felt the physical and mental needed perfecting much the same. It’d saved him once, too, against a wily wanderer who thought he’d wrestle him through a set of underbrush.
Reassignment has brought more exciting prospects, of course. District level projects, studying those stoking sedition, and sniffing out the homegrown terrorists walking in their midst. The capitol had just lost its greatest leader, and all signals pointed to unrest across the districts. He wouldn’t deal with the low level law and order, no. He was there to make others understand that as much as they could question the capitol, they could not stand against it.