There was nothing but roaring silence in his ears as the nurse wheeled Kensi away. People going about their daily business passed between them, blocking his view of her retreat, but he heard none of their voices, his mind blank and his heart broken. He longed so deeply for her in that moment, for the Kensi he had come to love. The fighter. The amazing person he called Wonder Woman. The woman who had smiled at him so sweetly when he woke this morning. The one person he truly trusted with his life and with his heart.
He was afraid, and had been since the moment he’d regained consciousness and struggled to get out of that chopper, frantically searching for her in the wreckage. When he finally found her, he thought she was dead, his hope for a future shattered, feeling as if his heart had been ripped from his chest. He had fought to simply breathe, but then she had spoken his name, softly calling out to him with the same fear in her voice that he was experiencing now.
He closed his eyes for a second, trying to get past what had just happened. His emotions were rife with turmoil, wondering why she was pulling away from him. He doubted himself, doubted his own ability to help her, but he never thought she would give up on herself. Never. He had tried so hard to make her believe she could overcome this, but her words betrayed a deep-seated fear that things had been irreparably changed, something he had tried so hard to deny. But, what if they had? What if she didn’t recover? What if her injuries were permanent? What then? What kind of person would she become? What would it mean for them if she couldn’t go back to doing what she loved, to being the person he had loved for so long? Would it matter? Would it tear them apart? Would she push him further away? Would he let her?
He couldn’t let himself think that way. It was defeatist, and he couldn’t go down that road. He wouldn’t. He would love her no matter what the future held. He had to make her believe that.
All the words of counsel he’d received since the crash tumbled through his mind, and he clung to the words of support running in a loop over and over. The kindness from Callen and especially from Sam had touched him deeply. His mother’s optimism was over the top, but he loved her for it. Hetty’s firm belief in his ability to do what was needed had buoyed his spirits, and he shook his head in disbelief as he recalled Granger’s unexpected heartfelt talk, gruffly urging him to never quit on her. He had told Hetty he was a realist. He was, and as a cop he knew things didn’t always turn out roses and rainbows. Growing up, he had never believed he would live happily ever after like in some fairytale, and as an adult he had never fully committed to anyone until he had fallen completely and totally in love with Kensi Blye. That had changed everything. She was his sunshine, the source of light and joy in his life, and he wasn’t about to let her give up on herself. Granger was right. The only way to fail her was to quit. He wasn’t going to do that and he wasn’t going to let her quit either.
“She’s scared,” he whispered, saddened by the realization.
It was something he never thought possible. He had never seen her afraid of anything. But things were different now and she wasn’t sure how to fight something so beyond her control. She had pushed him away, but as much as it had crushed him, he understood. After being tortured by Sidorov he had done the same thing. He had sought isolation, hanging back in the shadows until he could come to terms with his own emotions. He’d been afraid too— afraid he would never be the same person, or have the same strength of character to go out there again, to expose himself to the violence that was inherent in his job. She was the reason he had come back. She had helped him make that difficult crossover and he needed to find a way to do the same for her. Empty words that painted a rosy picture weren’t going to cut it with a woman like Kensi.
He needed to challenge her.
Maybe if he told her she couldn’t do it, that she shouldn’t even try to make it back, that she should just give up and lay there and accept her fate…
“Yeah, right,” he smiled, knowing that would definitely piss her off.
He could almost see that vein in her forehead beginning to pulse and her eyes flashing with anger. She was one of the most competitive people he had ever known. More than anything, she hated to lose, and he had to remind her of that, remind her of who she was deep down. She was a fighter, it was in her blood, and he was going to fight for her for as long as it took. He wasn’t going to quit goading her until she fought back and realized she could do this.
They would survive this. They would overcome the fear together, and when Kensi began to fight there would be no stopping her.