|kara lynn palamas knows who she is (myownmind) wrote in the100,|
@ 2016-02-21 16:50:00
Over the last few weeks Kara had been plagued with a feeling of unease. Something was very wrong with Grant but she couldn’t quite pin it down. She’d noticed the subtle shifts, the change in his behaviour, the extra working out at first. She just put it down to him struggling with all the people he knew showing up but then more had changed. He always seemed tired these days, listless even, like he had no energy half the time and it scared her. Then there were the marks she’d noticed, he’d told her that he’d dropped something hot, things like that but she wasn’t convinced. She was scared for him.
She knew what he’d tried to do when he’d been locked up by them, she knew and she was scared he’d try again here. She couldn’t be with him every minute of every day but she’d taken steps to ensure he was rarely alone. She’d made arrangements with people she trusted to spend time with him when she couldn’t. She just had to hope it was enough. She couldn’t lose him.
Of course sometimes things came up and she didn’t have time to get someone to check on Grant. Today she’d had to run and do something quickly, she’d only be gone a few minutes so she thought it would be okay but as she headed back to their room she felt a knot in her stomach, a tight feeling in her chest. It was stupid because she’d only been gone a short amount of time but that feeling wouldn’t leave her.
Quietly she walked into their room and headed straight to their bedroom, the door was closed but that wasn’t unusual. Opening the door her eyes immediately fell on Grant and she froze, “Grant,” she said, voice tight as she moved over to his side, grabbing hold of his hand stilling his actions, eyes searching his face. “What are you doing?”
It was easier to think after the pain, the blood flowing, the burn...the burns were the easiest to think through, flame was still something that had a hold on him. Always had. But it was harder to come by here. He always had knives. And shallow cuts...shallow cuts were sensible and a good way to hide what he was doing. He knew what people would think. Attention seeking, looking for sympathy. Weakness
“Fuck you John” he hissed, the cut sliding along his arm. He’d wear long sleeves. If she wanted sex he’d...he’d figure that out. This one was in a more obvious place but it had been a moment of weakness. A quick need.
And of course...it was the time she came back.
“You’re not supposed to be here.” he said, voice mostly void of emotion. Her hand was in his and he just watched the blood, it wasn’t much, wasn’t dangerous. He could do dangerous. But he didn’t want to die. He just...he wanted to feel. And this, it felt like what he needed. Kara wouldn’t understand. He’d have to make her understand, or pretend this was a one time thing...could he lie to her enough she’d believe him. What was one more lie?
This just proved everything she’d been worried about wasn’t in her head. She should have confronted him about her worries but she’d been afraid it would drive him away. This, this was bad but she recognised it for what it was. A way to cope, a way to try and deal with things he wasn’t able to deal with. She should have insisted he talk to someone but she hadn’t wanted to push him.
Now it all made sense, everything together. The way he’d been acting, the excuses for the marks she’d noticed, the way he’d been in bed. She’d had a small fear that he’d started to grow bored of her but now she knew it wasn’t that at all. It was because he wasn’t looking after himself, now that she thought about it she realised he hadn’t been eating as much. She should have noticed.
“Grant, look at me,” she said, voice soft as she grabbed some tissue off the nightstand to clean up the blood. It was a shallow cut, not dangerous but that didn’t mean it wasn’t bad. The fact he felt the need to do this meant he’d fallen into a bad place and she hadn’t even noticed. “I’m sorry, I should have realised. Grant, I’m here for you. It’ll be okay.
He looked up curiously. That worry in her eyes. “It is okay” he said “This, it's just...it's nothing” His eyes glazed over a little as she grabbed the tissue. “It’s just something I used to do, a long time ago. It's fine. I just tried…”
Tried what, to hurt. This one time, thinking pain would fix it all. He knew it did that was the problem. His blood flowed out and the anger went with it, everything he did, everything he felt, it felt just a little bit better. And this was far from the first time. His eyes tried to meet hers but he knew she wouldn’t understand. Not this. And so… “I need you to trust me. I need you to believe that this, it's not me. You know me…”
He knew on some level she wouldn’t buy that. But maybe he could make her believe him. His hand slid around her waist, forehead leaning against hers. “Baby don’t worry about me.”
She studied his face as he looked up at her, she hadn’t noticed just how tired he looked before, she hadn’t seen it. “Grant, baby, this isn’t nothing,” she said quietly, “What did you try? Talk to me, please.”
She wanted to understand, she really did but right now she was worried, very worried about him. She should have noticed sooner, should have seen the signs that he was struggling as much as he was but the truth is he was just so good at hiding it. “I do trust you, you know I do. But this… this isn’t the answer. I know it feels like it is right now but it isn’t.”
She took in a shaky breath as his hand went round her waist, leaning into him as their foreheads touched. Slowly she moved and took the knife from his hand, placing it on the floor beside her. “I am worried about you, I should have realised you weren’t doing well. I know how hard it is to have them all here but you don’t need to go through it alone, I’m here for you.”
When she took the knife his hand tensed and jerked away from her almost automatically.
“It's not hard. It's not...it's so fucking stupid. I just did something, I, was trying to…”
What, fix the faucet with a knife, look at his hair in the blade, what the hell excuse could he give for this? He should have gone for a burn, it was easier to explain that away. “It's not like I do it every day or...just please, forget it. I’ll stop if it bothers you.” he lied quickly, not wanting to go into the why of it. It sounded pathetic. It sounded like a sad excuse for everything he’d done but, Bobbi arriving and then Fitz, not to mention the conversation with Carter, had only added to how he’d felt on gaining more memories. It had infected his mind, that desperate need to belong, or to tear down those who had made damn clear he never could again.
And if he hurt...maybe it would mean what he did to Fitz wouldn’t weigh on him so much all the time.
“Can you just forget this, it's so stupid. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to give up on my life here, just...let me have something Kara. Talking only does so much. I don’t even know what the hell I’m doing, I try to explain and either I’m outright wrong or deluded or insane. It’s easier to cope after I do this. I need to hurt for what I did to him don’t I?”
He didn’t want to die. But he wanted to feel the pain he’d caused his friend. He wanted just for a little while to feel calm.
His reaction to her taking the knife hurt, it cause her chest to tighten and made her want to hug him close and never let go.
“It's not stupid, Grant. Your feeling are not stupid.”
She could tell he was trying to figure out what excuse to give her, at least he hadn't outright lied to her. She hoped he wouldn't because their relationship was founded on trust, on the knowledge that they'd never lie to each other. “Grant, don't, you don't need to say that. I know why you're doing this so you don't need to try and pass it off as something it's not,” she told him, hoping he'd know she wasn't judging him. It wasn't pathetic and it wasn't nothing to worry about. She needed to help him with this, help him like he helped her, she just didn't know if she could.
She knew he probably felt like he deserved this, like somehow this would make up for everything he'd done.
“I know you don't want to die, Grant. I know that's not what this is. Are you asking me to let you do this? Please don't ask me that. Talk to me, tell me why you feel this is the only thing you can do? Don't shut me out, let me help you. Oh, Grant, baby, you don't deserve to hurt. Not like this.”
It twisted in her chest like a knife, his words cut her deeply and made her feel like she'd failed him. The fact he felt this was the only way, it made her want to take him and run far away where no one could ever make him feel like this again.
She didn’t understand. Not really. Not enough, she was biased when it came to him. She thought things were better than they were maybe. He looked up to her, eyes still more vacant than not.
“Kara...It’s complicated and it's not hurting anyone. It’s not going to hurt anyone.”
It was hurting him. And he knew it was hurting her, but the idea that he just had to carry on with this, with her, with the few friends he had left, while his...while what had been the closest thing he had to a family didn’t care that he wanted to try. He wanted to be sorry but he knew Fitz would never let him be.
This way he’d hurt for it, suffer for his crimes in a way he hadn’t. The pain, the release. It was a ritual of sorts. It was a punishment for his crimes and an absolution.
“I just, I need it. Okay? And I promise, I’m still here, I’m still yours. Just don’t push this baby, okay?”
His hand came up to trace over her lips, he was trying to seduce her. It would just help if he wasn’t lightheaded while he was trying. But no, no, he was Grant Ward. He could do this. He could focus, that weakness, it was deserved.
She didn’t understand it was true, she had no idea how bad things were, if she had she would have done something to make sure it didn’t come to this. The look in his eyes, so vacant it was painful to see.
“Grant, it is hurting someone. It’s hurting you and seeing you like this, it’s hurting me. I get that it’s complicated but talk to me, help me understand.”
She didn’t know what was going on in his head, she had no idea what exactly it was that had driven him to go down this road. She knew it must have been the appearance of Bobbi and Fitz that had started this slide but she knew there was more to it that she wasn’t aware of. She wanted to help him, wanted to get him through this but she didn’t have any idea how to do that.
Kara wasn’t equipped to help him, not in the way he needed, not really. She wasn’t a psychologist and she couldn’t force him to speak to someone and sort this out but she also couldn’t sit by and watch him come unravelled.
“Don’t, don’t ask me to let you do this to yourself. I know you’re still here and mine but I can’t just watch you do this.”
When his hand came up she froze for a second, she knew what he was trying to do, he was trying to distract her but she wouldn’t let him. “Grant, no,” she said softly, reaching up to take hold of his hand, “You’re exhausted and we need to talk about this.” She had to be strong for both of them, she had to get them through this.
“You don't want me” he said accusingly, his hand gripping hers harder, not his usual strength of course but the meaning was clear, moving toward her lips, he kissed her, with as much passion as he could muster given just how bone tired he was. His one free hand slipped toward the top of her jeans, just about to slide inside and entirely distract her when he realised he couldn’t. Shouldn’t. He’d sworn never to be that guy. Not with her.
...No, no this was Kara. He couldn’t do that to her, not when she was still so fragile.
“Shit...Kara...I...I’m sorry okay. I just don’t want to get into this. It’s a stupid mess and you’re better than this but trust me when I say it’s not a problem.” Of course given he’d just tried to screw his way out of discussing it, manipulate the one person he was always so scared of people assuming he was manipulating. Maybe he did need to talk about it.
“Have you never done this, at the worst times, when things just got so hard you didn’t know if there was ever a way out? Before HYDRA, had you ever fucked up so much you didn’t know if you could ever claw your way back, or if you deserved to. Had you ever had a friend who was just so completely genuine, who seemed to see you for who you wanted to be not who you were...I had, and I broke him. He’s never gonna be the same and I did that. I ruined him I ruined all of them, our family. And I’m gonna ruin you Kara.”
It was the closest he’d come to telling her the truth. He’d been so close before but then when Fitz had arrived, he’d needed Kara.
“I’m scared if you know the things I’ve done...the things you don’t remember that I’ll have ruined you too. So...let me bleed, okay? Just when I need to, just when it gets too fucked up out there.”
That vacant look was back and in a desperate move he went to move past her, get out. He needed to get out before she answered him. Before that look they all had became hers. Hate, revulsion, fear...maybe even pity. Skye had said that, said Garrett was evil, he was just weak.
Should have run faster
“You know that I do,” she said, barely managing to get the words out before he was kissing her, the grip he had on her hand scared her not because she was afraid of him but he wasn't thinking straight. She felt his hand on her jeans, she knew she needed to stop him, had to before he did something he knew he'd regret, they'd both regret.
The relief she felt when he stopped was immense but short lived because then he spoke and her heart broke all over again.
“Grant, it's okay, you stopped its okay. I know you don't want to talk about this but you need to,” she said softly. She moved closer to him, suspecting it might help, it was all she could think to do. She was way out of her depth here.
“No, I haven't,” she said gently, “Before HYDRA everything in my life was certain and there was no doubt that everything I did was for the greater good of the world I believed in SHIELD or what I thought it was. I'm sorry, Grant. I'm sorry you feel like this is all you can do. I wish I understood what you were going through but I don't and I’m sorry. But you didn't break him, I've seen him and he seems fine, maybe he's different from when you first knew him but he looks happy. And you're not going to ruin me, I love you.”
She wish she knew how to help him. She should be able to help him but she didn't know what to do. She saw the way his gaze was vacant again. When he went to move past her she stopped him, trusting that he wouldn't hurt her.
“Grant, there's nothing that would make me feel like that. Nothing. Believe me when I say I love you completely, I want to be with you for as long as I'm alive, I want to spend my life with you and whatever you think is going to send me running it won't. I love you and I'm not going to stand by and let you punish yourself for things you can't change.”
Stepping in closer to him she hugged him, not knowing what else to do to stop him from running from her. She didn't know how to make it clear to him that she was with him no matter what. She didn't know if it would even help him but she had to try. “I love you with everything I am, you are the only one I want and nothing and no one is going to change that, Grant. Please don't shut me out, let me help you, tell me what I can do to make it better.”
She was very insistent on him staying where he was, not running out on her. He wasn’t planning to leave her any time soon, besides, where could he go and what possibly could he do to make any of this go away. But she was pushing him, asking him what he could do, how she could fix this. She didn’t get it yet. There was no fix. There was no way in which Fitz forgave him and Skye talked to him like a person again and everything was okay. There was only this, the magnificent fuckup of his own devising. He’d made them hate him, what did he expect.
“I don’t need you to help me. I need you to let me keep doing this. There’s no fix. No way to take that feeling away so you need to let that continue or things will get a lot worse.” It was blackmail of a kind but for her own good. He wanted all those things she had said too. She wanted that life and he was happy to give it to her. But not at the expense of his need.
“I’m dragging you down, we both know it. But I’m too weak to let you go, I’ll never willingly abandon you. I need you, so...you get dragged down with me. You deserve better Kara.”
Kara was at a complete loss, she wasn’t at all equipped to handle this but she wasn’t about to go and get someone else to help her. This was their business, not anyone else’s. She knew she was probably pushing him but she needed him to help her understand this. She needed to know what she could do to help him because she was convinced he needed help. There had to be something she could do, some way she could make this better so he didn’t feel that his only option was what she’d found him doing. She loved him too much to stand by and watch him self-destruct.
“Grant, I can’t. I’m sorry but I can’t let you keep doing this, I can’t do it. Taking that feeling away isn’t the answer and I think you know that. If you continue to do this things will still get worse, they’ll escalate until there’s only one outcome and we both know that.” She wasn’t going to let him blackmail her, she wasn’t going to let him do this to them. If she could just make him see sense then it would start to change.
“You’re not dragging me down, you helped me and now it’s my turn to help you. I know you don’t want to talk about this and maybe you shouldn’t talk about it with me but you should talk to someone. Please, Grant, don’t let them ruin what we have, don’t let them drive us apart because I can’t watch you do this, I can’t let you do this. I can’t.” Her voice was slightly higher pitched than normal, an edge of panic and desperation in it. She was terrified that she was going to force him into something stupid but she couldn’t just let him carry on no matter what he said to her.
She was right. And on some level he knew she was. But part of his mind would always focus on what he’d done. The weakness. And he knew, he knew what John had made him. He knew logically that the man had been a monster. But that loyalty had been bred in him for 15 years. It had been instilled more deeply than anything he’d ever felt except for what he’d believed he’d felt for Skye and what he knew he felt for Kara. He didn’t hate John. He hated himself.
“I wanted to stop. When they were in that medpod. I wanted to listen to Fitz. I wanted to walk away. Or...help them or something but I couldn’t. He had, he… I think Simmons knew. I couldn’t betray him. Not even then. Not when he was losing his mind, saying he could see the universe. I couldn’t do it. They dropped and I knew there was no going back. No forgiveness, nothing. I lost the only good thing I had at the time, the only family...they treated me like I mattered Kara and I destroyed that because I’m weak. I’m not what you think I am...I’m still...there’s stuff I haven’t told you. Things I remember now that I’ve kept from you because I didn’t want to see that look in your eye. The same one they all give me. That same look.”
He shook his head, he wanted to break. To let her help, to cry. To…
“How do I do it? How can I even begin to make this okay?”
Maybe he was right. Maybe she was someone who could help. Maybe he had helped her and maybe it was her turn now. Maybe she could.
“I’m staying away from them. Like they want. Even Bobbi. But I had to tell her, make sure she left you alone. I had to make it clear. But everything I do, everything I say, it's never right. I always used to know exactly what to say to fix any situation and now, I don’t have a clue.”
All he could tell her about what he was doing, it was simple, obvious.
“It makes me feel like a person. Like if I can bleed and hurt and feel guilt, its penance, isn’t it? It’s better than the alternative.”
She was clutching at straws, she was desperately trying to think of the right things to say and do to help him with this. She had no idea how to actually help, for all she knew she was making it worse, adding fuel to the flames that were already consuming him from the inside out. Kara knew all the things he’d done, she’d heard them from him and nothing had made her think him a monster or someone that needed to suffer but apparently he had decided he needed to suffer for all of it, she needed to show him he was wrong.
“I know you did, Grant. You’ve told me and I know you did the only thing you thought you could. I know you couldn’t betray him and I know why, I know all of that and I wish I could make them understand it the way I do. They just don’t see that was the only thing you could do because if you’d left them on the plane they would have died and then there really would be no chance to change things. There’s no going back but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance things might change,” she said, pausing to take a breath and study his face, the look she saw made her heart ache. “Grant, whatever that stuff is it’s not going to make me look at you any differently. I love you. I love you with everything I have and nothing is going to change that.”
She could see the cracks under the surface, he was falling apart right in front of her and she was powerless to stop it.
“You keep giving them space, give them the time they need and they’ll come round like Coulson has.”
She reached up with both her hands, cupping his cheeks and meeting his eyes, affection and worry in her own as she willed him to listen to her.
“I appreciate that you did that, told her to stay away like that. I would do the same, if someone I wanted far away from you showed up. No one has all the answers, Grant, they never should and it’s human to not know how to fix everything.”
Kara smiled sadly when he tried to explain why he was doing this. It wasn’t simple, at all.
“It’s not penance, what you’re doing it’s too much. Alternative? Grant, please don’t go there, that is never the answer. If you mean what I think you do, don’t. Do I not make you feel like a person? What we have together? Grant, don’t do this to us, please don’t.”
“They won’t come round. It’s not like that. Coulson only did because…” Because he felt guilty? Because he’d killed him on some damn alien rock and felt bad about it? That’s why. That’s why Coulson was bothering to try. But the others? Fitz, Simmons, Skye? There was no way. And he knew it would be better to walk away, find new friends, But it was never just that they were friends. They were family, and now that was Bobbi and that was Lincoln and it tore him apart every time he thought of it, of what he’d thrown away. And he hated them because they hadn’t forgiven him which he knew was ridiculous. He knew, and yet it didn’t stop it.
“Coulson had reasons. Things that happened. But the others, they don’t have that, their lives are better without me in them and their time here would be better if I wasn’t. Your life would be so much easier.”
He couldn’t breathe. It was all too much. He had no right to be jealous. He had no right to want that family back. It was desperate, it was deluded and he needed to grow the hell up and accept that part of his life was gone forever.
Her hands were on his face and he knew that she loved him, a perfect untainted love. He didn’t ever want to lose that and yet, it wasn’t real. It wasn’t real because she didn’t know the whole story.
“...Something happens Kara...after we take Bobbi hostage. Something happens and I can’t...I’m sorry. I failed you. I fail you. I don’t help fix you because everything I touch turns to shit. Everything. So, I love you. I do, but you have a better chance if you accept they’re right about me. If you walk away and you have a life here that means something”
He pulled back again, her touch a comfort that only made him feel worse right now. “You make me feel like I matter, you make me feel like there’s a chance. But, there isn’t. There won’t be after I tell you...So just, its better you go now”
“You don’t know that, they might come round when they see that you’re actually making an effort to build a life here,” she told him, voice gentle as if she were talking to a wild animal that might bolt at any moment. Kara wanted to tell him it would all work out but she didn’t know if it would, all she could do was tell him there was always hope and there was. There had to be otherwise what was the point in second chances being given? She knew what the team had been to him, she knew they’d been the first people to ever show him real caring but she hated them because they’d turned their backs on him when he’d needed them most. She hated that they were so blinded by their own hurt that they failed to see his and accept it as what it was.
“Grant, my life might be easier but it wouldn’t be happy, you make me happy and I love you. Without you I wouldn’t want to be here. You make my life better, you have from the moment I met you, don’t ever forget that.”
Her heart was breaking for him, this man who had always been so strong for her was falling apart in front of her and she wasn’t sure how to stop it. She wished she could give him back what he’d lost but all she could do was give him this, a life together.
She would never stop loving him, nothing would ever change that love and she knew that as much as she knew anything. Even on the days when she was uncertain about almost everything else she was always certain of her love for him.
“Grant, please talk to me. Tell me what it is that happens, don’t carry this burden alone. You don’t ever have to do anything alone. And you have helped me, you’ve helped me so much and I wouldn’t be who I am without your help. They’re wrong about you, I know they’re wrong. I’m not going to walk away, I’m never going to walk away.”
When he pulled back she moved towards him, she wasn’t going to let him pull away. “You do matter, Grant and there is a chance. Don’t do this. And I’m never going to leave you, whatever it is you have to tell me just tell me. I’m not going anywhere.”
She was persistent.
He didn’t know how to say it. What to explain. Was it better to do it bit by bit or rip it off like a band aid. She was fragile, or...maybe he still thought she was more fragile than she actually was. She would be able to deal with this. Or maybe she’d walk away. Either way, she needed to know what kind of man she really loved. This burden, he needed to tell her, then at least it would be done.
“You die” he said finally “Because we were tricked, because you looked like May and she knew that. Set us up over the comms. You came round the corner and I...I reacted.” he said finally. He didn’t know what he’d do now, if she left. “...After that I...I lost it. I gave up. I went...I went back, took over. Because I needed to make them feel how I did, needed them to suffer. Only, well, you can guess how well that went for me. I don’t make it through the year.”
There it was. All of it.
It was out in the open now and he knew it would be a mess. She’d leave. She’d walk away, because who wouldn’t. How could he be strong for her, knowing all of that. What could he do? She deserved so much better. She always had.
She knew he needed to tell her but she could sense the hesitation. Whatever it was she knew it would be bad or he at least thought it was if he was so worried about how she'd react to it. There was nothing that would ever make her think him a monster though, she didn't care what it was she just wanted him to tell her so she could help him through it. This was clearly not something he could deal with alone and she would help him in whatever way she could.
His words took her by surprise, she hadn't expected that at all. It took a moment for it to properly sink in, for them to actually make sense. It all made sense now though, what she'd seen Steve say to Grant. “Oh, Grant,” she whispered, taking hold of his hand and squeezing it gently. No wonder he was convinced she'd leave. “It wasn't your fault. You're not to blame for that. You reacted instinctively, I can't blame you for that.”
She needed him to know she wasn't going anywhere, that she didn't blame him for this. It was clear who to blame, May. She'd been so focused on making sure he knew she was still here that she hadn't quite processed the rest of what he'd said. “You went back to Hydra, to make them pay? What happened? How? How does it happen?”
If he told her it was Bobbi she was going to go and gut the bitch. It didn't matter if she'd be thrown in prison for it, that woman had done enough damage to both of them and she'd make her pay if it was her. “Tell me what happened, I need to know, Grant.”
Her own death didn't matter, that it had caused Grant’s did. She couldn't blame him for going back to hydra, for seeking revenge because she'd have done the exact same thing if their roles had been reversed. All that mattered was that here they had a chance.
“Some things changed. Von Strucker was gone, List was gone. I stepped in, changed things a bit but I took over.” he said wondering just what the hell he’d done to have someone who didn’t hate him for… “I killed you. I promised you I’d help you, save you. Build your life back up and I killed you. How can you be so okay with it?”
He shook his head, there was too much to get through.
“Doesn’t matter who. Point is, I lost it, after you, after everything, I lost it. I think I lost my mind...did something so awful I wasn’t even me anymore and someone killed me. Call it a damn mercy kill by that point. I don’t hate him for it. Maybe I should but...I don’t”
This was more than he could deal with.
“Can that be it, for now? Can we stop talking about this?” he asked. Telling her all of it. It got to him. She’d reacted better than he could have hoped but he was still surprised by it.
“You used what was left to help you, I understand that, I can't say I wouldn't have done something similar,” she told him, hoping he'd realise that she did understand. She just needed him to know she didn't hate him for something which wasn't really his fault. “You did help me, Grant. You saved me and helped me build a life I never thought I'd have again. It wasn't your fault, you killed me but May set us up, she knew how you'd react to her face and I let her trick me, you're not to blame. I'm not okay with it but I love you and I want you to know that hasn't changed.”
It was vital that she make him understand that she didn't harbour any ill feelings towards him at all.
“It matters to me,” she told him, voice tight with anger towards whoever it was that had ended his life. “I don't like knowing my death caused you to lose everything else but I wouldn't have been able to go on without you so I’m not surprised really.”
His words were telling, he'd told her without actually saying a name, at least she had a good idea who it was.
“Okay, Grant. We don't need to talk about it anymore now but at some point I want you to tell me everything,” she said, squeezing his hand gently, her other hand moving up to his face to cup his cheek. “But I need you to promise me no more secrets and we have to try and work through all this without you hurting yourself anymore because it hurts me that you think that's the only thing you can do.”
It was every excuse he had ever made for himself. He’d had no choice but to go back, he needed them. He blamed May, and that he still stood by. She’d walked Kara to her death as soon as pulled the trigger herself. He hadn’t blamed himself back then, not completely but he’d fallen into restless sleep every night dreaming of her, the happy times turning to nightmares and waking him up in a cold sweat. He sometimes did it again here….sometimes it got to him. How lucky he was to have her here.
She knew him better than anyone. She understood him without overlooking his crimes. She believed in him. And this was the only life they could have.
“I wanted to help you. But I don’t think I was in any position to, I thought maybe for a while I could take you away, just walk away from it all. But once that changed…”
Her hand was at his cheek again and her other one linked in his own.
“Those are the only secrets I had left, from you at least. There’s nothing you don’t know now. Is that better...will that help?”
He wasn’t used to this, showing her weakness. Showing anyone weakness. And this...He knew full well what John would say. Worse, what he’d inevitably do to Kara. “I’ll try okay?” he told her when she finally brought up what he’d been doing. “I’ll try to stop again”
In her mind they weren’t excuses, they were explanations for what had happened. It was clear he’d only had one option, to go back to them. She also knew the blame lay squarely at the feet of Melinda May. Kara had allowed herself to be tricked into wearing her face, that would only ever end one way and they both knew it. She found herself wondering if the few times she’d been woken up in the middle of the night by him if he’d been having nightmares about it, she wasn’t going to ask him though.
Kara understood Grant better than anyone, she knew him better than he knew himself sometimes. She accepted what he’d done, just like he did and she would never stop believing in him.
“You did help me, Grant. You helped me more than you realise. And we tried to walk away, we would have made it work if it hadn’t been for Coulson dragging us back in.”
She wanted to ease his pain, the pain written all over his face that was hurting her as much as it must have been hurting him.
“We don’t have any secrets from each other. And yes, it’s better to know everything because now you’re not dealing with it alone.”
This was new, seeing this vulnerability from him but in a way it made her feel even closer to him than she ever had before. It shook her but they needed this, he needed this and she would never deny him something that might help him. “You don’t have to try alone, Grant,” she told him, leaning in to place the softest kiss against his lips. “I’m here for you, I’m never going anywhere, okay?”
Her kiss was like a balm. But he was fighting that voice in his mind. The one that told him he was weak. The one that Kara, his friendships here, the one they couldn’t get rid of.
He’d hidden from it for so long, covered it up to help her. But now...
“No secrets. No lies. Just us.” he said, almost like a mantra. She wasn’t leaving him. She wouldn’t leave him as long as she could help it. Maybe they could have had a life if they’d stayed gone after they walked away. But life didn’t work like that. Not for someone like him. It was one of those mistakes Coulson had admitted to making out of anger and so he wouldn’t hold on to the bitterness surrounding it.
“I’m so sorry Kara. I wanted to be stronger for you...But maybe now, maybe we can help each other out of all this?”
She stayed tucked in close to him, wanting to soothe his mind, chase away the demons that still haunted him. If she could.
It was her turn to help him and she would because she loved him.
“Just us and what we have together,” she said, dropping his hand to wrap her arm around him and hold him close. This was their chance, this was where they’d build that life they were robbed of back home. She was going to be there for him like he’d been there for her. Things would be different now but that could be a good thing. As much as it hurt to see him like this maybe it was needed.
“You don’t have anything to be sorry for, Grant. You don’t always need to be strong for me, you’re only human. We’ll help each other, be there for each other more. I love you and I’ll do anything to help you through this.”
He nodded. He trusted her, and he knew that she’d help him. Being strong for her, he’d done it for so long and he didn’t know if he could have held on to the lie much longer. He didn’t know Jess Drew but she’d been right about one thing. He’d had to tell Kara the truth.
“...Do we have to tell anyone. I...I can be this around you but I can’t...I won’t have people thinking its some play for attention. Can it just be us?”
It was asking a lot from her. Asking her to be the only one he confided in. It probably wasn’t healthy but no one assumed they were anyway so why did he care. No one could see this slip, this weakness. He couldn’t allow that.
“I love you Kara...and I’ll fix this. I’ll be who you deserve again, okay?”
A lot of things made sense now, a lot of the things that she’d seen said in places that had been dismissed and a lot of what he’d been doing. It was hard to see him like this but she would help him get better. It was her turn to be the strong one, she could do this for him, she had to do this for him.
“As long as you keep being honest with me and don’t try and hide anything then it can just be us, though maybe it would help if you talked to Betsy about it but only if you want to, I’m not going to force you to.”
If he really didn’t want to tell anyone else she would deal with it. It wasn’t ideal but she knew it wasn’t easy for him to even let her see him like this. She wouldn’t ask him to do that with anyone else unless he wanted to.
“I love you too, Grant. We’ll fix this, together. I’ll make sure you’re taking care of yourself and you have to tell me when you feel like you have to hurt. We’ll figure this out.”
He could be honest. With her anyway. And with everyone else, he really was trying He’d finally told her the truth and that mattered.
“...Kara...I don’t know. About talking to people. I think...I think you should talk to some people from home. Now you know. Put your side across, but no, I don’t want anyone to know about this.”
He needed her, she needed to be there for him now.
“We can do this. You and me. Okay? Please Kara.”
All she really wanted was for him to be honest with her, to tell her when things were bothering him. If he didn’t want to talk to others that was his choice, she just needed him to trust her completely.
“Okay, Grant, I’ll talk to people but not to her, I won’t talk to her but the others. I’ll talk to them and tell them I know, that I know and I don’t blame you. I’ll tell them as much as I can about what I remember and what I know. But not about this.”
She would be there for him, do this for him, for her.
“You and me, Grant, you and me together. Whatever you need, Grant.”