He couldn’t cry, God, the tears pierced his eyes and the lump in his throat was almost painful, but if there was any chance, any shot, that she was aware of her surroundings, aware that a couple hours ago he’d placed a ring on her finger, one meant as a promise of the faith he had in their future together, then he had to be strong, had to hold back those waves of grief, even while the self doubt wracked his mind.
Because he’d do anything, absolutely anything, to switch their places, to be the one who was trapped beneath that helicopter, the only downside that she’d be the one in this chair, she’d be the one pressing back tears and kisses to his hand, wishing for anything else than this because how many times had she told him that nothing could hurt more than losing him, nothing could be worse than allowing their bond to be shattered, but truly, she deserved more than a man who could do little more than cry at her bedside, praying for her eyes to open, hand to clutch his.
Deserved more than a man who woke her regularly from the screams of his nightmares, forced into his slumbers by demons that refused to quiet, refused to let him rest when there was so much he could never truly forgive himself for.
She deserved better because he never earned this happiness, and maybe she was paying for that sin, him taking far far more than he had deserved.
A family, a career that he originally assumed would be his demise, a fate he didn’t mind when there was nothing to lose, and now, the woman he called the love of his life, maybe even soulmate, if he even believed in that word, sharing his life, home, waking beside him each morning with those sleep creased eyes and crazy, tousled hair that he found so beautiful because he was the only one given the gift of seeing it, a version of Kensi Marie Blye that was his.
This was a version of her, so fragile and pale, he’d prayed he’d never have to see, pleaded with his demons that she’d be unscathed by his sins, but the other shoe had dropped indeed.
It dropped, possibly shattering the happiness they’d found together and creating a new image, new guilt to haunt him, both in dreams, and the waking world, because God, this vision was already swimming in his sight every time his eyes shut.
He was dangerously dependent on her, a fact he’d been confronted with more than once, and again now, as he ran a palm through his curls, aching because that dependence forced him to shut off nearly every emotion but terror when she was like this, when he was losing her, and it all started so fast, hitting the first time he lost her, and regained her after pulling her from those lasers, their trust strong after that moment, building ever since, into something more.
And maybe now he’d completely lose her, maybe even if she woke she’d push him away, setting up those walls again, shutting him out this time, unlike in the past when she kept them up, just choosing to let him inside.
But maybe he would get nothing out of this life, just as he’d been told that time he shattered a stack of plates during his fourth birthday party; they never got to the cake.
He prayed they would get to this happy ending.
Thanks Divergent338 for writing this wonderful story to bring to life some of the topics in Bringing Up Brandel Part 4: Shame & Blame. – Karen P.