The Distance Between Two
One scene – A thousand words (ish)
The same challenge as last year; to see if I could create a linking moment between each Season Six episode.
One chapter a day until Season Seven arrives.
Wish me luck.
6x01 – 6x02
Valkyrie - Dreamworld
He sits in the same metal chair that he occupied last time, and, while his first experience here was anything but pleasant, it wasn't this. His trepidation over being caught at the golf course, at being in the car next to a dead body as it crashed into the bus stop, over what it would mean for Kate and her job, for them, was acute, but it's nothing when compared to the emotions that are racing through him now.
Panic and confusion crawl across his skin, edging closer to his neck until he can feel talons encircle his throat. They squeeze, a grip that's far too tight and a part of him whispers its hope that this is all a dream. Maybe he's actually at home? A late night of writing having left his mind drained, perhaps his body is curled around the pillow that still smells like Kate.
It's not the first time that his imagination has run away with itself while asleep. He has fallen into a darker realm before, combining close calls from their past and distorting them until a new and dangerous situation forms in his subconscious. But his dreams - his nightmares - always involve the ones he loves. Alexis not coming home, his mother announcing she's ill, Kate being shot in DC, dying alone because he's no longer her partner, no longer standing by her side prepared to do anything to save her life.
It's never him that's in trouble - he's the one left with the aftermath, trying to put one foot in front of the other, and it hits him, hard. This isn't a dream. This isn't a nightmare...
The air has stopped entering his lungs, his body turning into a statue, and for a second, it all becomes too much.
He's going to die.
Pressing down on her hand, he seeks her out, squeezes the solid lines of her fingers; he loves the way she talks with them, waves them when she's excited, wrings them together when upset, such a contrast to the Beckett he started following around all those years ago. His Beckett - not that he would ever utter those words out loud - is the woman who he'd dropped to one knee before, heart thrashing wildly as he'd asked her to spend the rest of her life with him.
The one who had said yes in a truly Kate way.
Her palm warms the material above his knee, and he attempts to siphon from her the calm that she's portraying. The steady way she'd held herself walking into the interrogation room, her hand reaching for his, the "babe" that had slipped past her lips, the smooth planes of her face, cool and collected. He needs that strength now, but he furrows his forehead as he stares at her. It has to be an act, a mask though, right? She's just announced that he has less than a day to live, and surely she has to be falling apart on the inside, because he is.
He can't die.
Not like this. Not from a simple bout of curiosity gone wrong. Not because he attempted to help in the only way he could - solve the case. And yes, curiosity did kill the cat, but this isn't like all the other times they'd faced death together. This isn't a bomb or an unexpected dip in the Hudson, they aren't locked in a freezer or staring down into the eyes of a hungry tiger - them against an outside force, them against the world. This is...
This is nothing like the past because they're nothing like the past.
Washington is a world away from New York. Being an agent is on a vastly different scale to being a homicide cop, and the air that was trapped in his throat exits in a huff, breaking the moment of silence between them. He was foolish to try and capture it, what they had, he'd already admitted as much to her, but surely that doesn't mean he has to pay with his life?
They have plans.
There's a date to set, vows to write - he would rather write another book - and a honeymoon to plan. He has to pick a best man - Espo or Ryan? And how does he break the news to the one not chosen? Plus, he wants to convince Kate to get married in space. She has to find the perfect wedding dress and not panic when she sees the amount of people who will no doubt end up on the guest list. She...
She can't be left a widow before she ever gets a chance to walk down the aisle.
His fingers tangle between hers as the thought rocks him to the very core of his soul, the anxiety over leaving her alone a now palatable fear, and his eyes close.
He can't leave them shut though, and they snap open with such force that he blinks repeatedly. The image of her, tears rolling down her face as she stares into his grave, appeared in the black of his vision and he will do anything to prevent it, will fight with all he has to prevent that.
This is their love story. Everything that they have been through - the miscommunication, the arguments, the tears - has made them stronger, and it doesn't end this way, doesn't end before they get their happily ever after. He's not going to become a token ring around her neck, a piece of metal that adds even more burden to the one that she already carries.
There's so much life still ahead of them and he will be there. He will be by her side when she brings justice to her mother, fights the war until Bracken rots behind bars. He will be her partner in life, even if he's no longer her partner against crime.
They're getting married. He's going to marry Kate, and he takes a deep breath.
The panic and confusion over what happens next hasn't left, it's still crawling across his skin, it's still clinging, nails embedded deep into his flesh, but it's her hand that holds his. It's her hand that will hold him up when the worry threatens to pull him under. It's always been her.
It will always be her.
And he will live.
There's no other alternative.
The first and last chapters are interesting :/ to write as there is no time gap, although at least with this one I know what happens next ;-)
you to Jo for the amazing cover art, and to both Jamie and Jo for their hard work on all twenty three chapters of this story.
Their extraordinary beta work is only eclipsed by their ability to support and shake pompoms in the face of my constant complaining. Love xoxo
Thank you for reading xoxo