I find myself uncomfortably angry. Out of control and lost. I've been this way for a while, but now it's intensified. It's hundreds of times worse now that he's hurt. Now that he's lying in a hospital bed fighting to live.
And she's there.
She's there holding his hand and touching his hair and whispering her words of comfort. It's shameless I know, but I can't help listening. Hovering in the doorway and watching her through narrowed eyes. She tells him how she's been so upset and worried by what happened. That she promises to help him through this. That she'll be there for him. Be there.
And I almost laugh…bitterly. Nice of her to start now. To promise some sort of commitment and love on some level and her attention.
I love her, I do. But a part of me hates her.
I've been jealous and distant for months now and it's tearing me apart. Because he could've been mine. He should've been mine, but I was waiting. I knew just how jittery and nervous and self-conscious he could be. So I was biding my time. Flirting, giving him slow smiles and subtle touches. And I knew he had some sort of crush on her. Despite what had been developing between us, it was inevitable. She was smart and beautiful and sweet and everything a man should want. But she has a hidden side that doesn't often come through. I know she's had a troubled past and I sympathize, because God knows I have one too. She has an insecure side, a lonely side and mostly that leaves her sad and quiet.
I've seen that sad side. When Jack ended things, I saw how upset she was, though she tried so hard to hide it, to pretend that things were okay. But they weren't, and rather than work through it she buried it inside and let it simmer. I could've been a better friend, but Sam doesn't let people in easily, and somehow I doubt I would've been her first choice for someone to talk to. We've never been particularly close, but I honestly do care for her. And I still do now. Despite the fact that she's made me angrier than I can recall being in a long time. Angry and bitter, disappointed and hurt.
I can't say for sure what her intentions were at the beginning, because I didn't figure it out until a few weeks later. She may have genuinely wanted to start a relationship with Martin, I don't know. But when I figured it out, I didn't care. It hurt so much to see him staring after her, a smile on his face and to know that this time, this time, that crush was reciprocated.
After all the time I'd waited…watching him, wanting him…he'd found someone else. And it hurt. Hurt terribly. I wanted to make him smile, to hold him close and be there for him. I wanted to love him. And instead, she was.
I wonder if he'll ever know just how badly he hurt me by being with her.
I'm surprised that neither of them called me on my reaction. The happiness I claimed to feel for them, the way I watched them as closely as possible. Maybe they saw it; maybe they thought it was odd…maybe they just tried to ignore me. I don't know. But I couldn't leave it alone. Couldn't let him go that easily. Not that I'd ever really had him.
And when things started to go badly, I was so torn. I didn't want him to hurt, but it was hard to hide how I felt. I was happy when they started having problems. When Martin started to realize that she wasn't going to open up completely. She wasn't going to give him a true commitment or all of her heart. And it wasn't that she was using him…not completely anyway. It was just that…he was her second choice. No matter what he did or how long he waited, he would always be her second choice. And as he slowly started to realize that, as she started to realize that…things began to fall apart.
There were fights and looks more full of sadness and defeat than secret flirtation. And I was glad. Because he started coming to me again. The friendship that had been put on hold because of Sam started growing again. Back to where we were before he'd gone home with her. Getting closer, flirting, feeling all that unresolved tension and electricity crackling between us…and for the first time in a while, I was feeling hopeful.
Then they broke up. He broke up with her. And those shy smiles, those looks he'd always given me, the flirting…it all started again, more than before. And this time I wasn't going to sit quietly by and let him slip away. I was going to make the move I'd been afraid to before.
Then Rafi had gone missing. And my life was turned upside down. The past I'd fought so long against was thrown brutally into my face. I came so close to drinking. I was forced to remember things I'd wanted buried forever. And everything had come so close to falling apart.
But Martin had been there. A quiet, strong presence at my side throughout that entire case and afterwards. Letting me know with looks and soft words that he was there if he needed me. And I'd come so close to letting him in. Was just about ready to fall into that comfort and finally make us more.
Now though…now everything was in shambles.
He'd been shot. He'd been shot and he'd almost died beneath my hands. Almost died and I never would've said anything to him. Never would've told him just how much he meant to me. What I wanted with him. What I wanted to be for him. How I wanted to make him feel. So much would've been unsaid and undone, and I honestly don't think I would've been able to bear it. And still…still things are unsure and wavering.
The doctors say he's stable, that he made it through the surgery, fought for his life and has a great chance at a full recovery. But there could be complications. Something could go wrong. They could've made a mistake.
And I still will not have told him anything.
Samantha leaned down and kissed Martin's hand, took a deep breath and stood up. When she turned around she jumped slightly, surprised to see me.
"Danny…" she said softly, voice wavering, her eyes glancing from Martin to me and back again.
Manners made me want to smile, to sympathize, to offer some sort of comfort but…I was so tired of pretending.
"Are you leaving?" I asked quickly, my voice hard. I didn't stop staring at her, wouldn't.
She seemed uncertain, confused maybe. And really, I wasn't being entirely fair because I don't think she knew. How could she? But it didn't matter; I just wanted her gone. I needed this time with Martin, needed to be there for him.
I wouldn't walk away.
"Um, I was…I was going to go get some coffee, and maybe stay around for a while…" she said tentatively, looking at me uncertainly now. "I don't want to…leave him alone."
The anger I felt at those words must have shown in my eyes. Must have shown brightly, because she flinched and looked away. She didn't want him to be alone and yet he'd been that way for a while now. Because of her. Because of how she'd started to treat him. And the fact that she was here now, professing her…well, not her love, but her promise to be there for him, to take care of him. It made me furious. It sounded so insincere, so…convenient that she found it in her to care for him now. After he'd almost died.
"I'll stay with him," I answered, leaving no doubt that I didn't want her there.
She nodded, biting down on her lower lip and looking uncertain. "Okay…um, I'll just…"
"You can go home Sam," I interrupted, glaring at her. "I'll stay with him," I repeated, hoping she saw past the immediacy of my words. I didn't just mean that I'd stay for a few hours, for the evening. I'd stay for days. I planned on staying for a lot longer.
She nodded again, her eyes meeting mine, holding them this time, and I watched as knowledge flitted across her gaze. "Good night Danny," she whispered, almost sounding apologetic. I opened the door to his room and held it for her. She slipped past me quickly, pausing only once she was in the hall. Our eyes met and I saw apology and uncertainty in hers. Had to wonder what she was seeing in mine. Anger, regret, sorrow…and maybe a little bit of sympathy.
Maybe someday we'd manage to work through things. Maybe we could be better friends or at least get past the awkwardness that had been building since she'd started a relationship with Martin. But for now, I just wanted her gone. She looked down and then away, nodded once at me and turned to walk down the hall.
I sighed, able to breathe easier now that she had left. I let the anger go and instead turned to face Martin. A whole new kind of unease washed over me as I looked at him. Trembling, I sat down next to him in the same chair where Sam had been sitting earlier. My place. Not hers.
It was so hard to see him like this. Pale, still, bandaged and hooked up to monitors and machines. It hurt. Badly. I felt tears fill my eyes, something that had been happening a lot since he'd been shot. But this time I let them fall. I took his hand in my own and threaded our fingers together. Leaning forward, my elbows on my knees, I pressed my forehead to our joined hands and cried.
I cried because I'd almost lost him. I cried because he'd never really been mine, and I still didn't know when or if he ever would be. I wanted to give him so much, but he terrified me still. I'd never been so afraid of someone, and I knew he had no idea. He didn't know how much power he held over me. The power to break my heart, to shatter me. Or to make me so happy.
"Martin…please…" I whispered, lips against his hand now, my tears falling freely. I wasn't even sure what I was asking him, knew he couldn't hear me anyway. It was just…overwhelming. Everything. And I needed him to be okay.
"I'm going to be here for you Fitz," I whispered after a few minutes, after I had my tears under control. "I'm not going to let you go through this on your own. I promise. And there's so much I want to tell you Martin. So much I need for you to know. How I…how I feel about you. How I've felt for so long. So…much Fitzie…" I whispered, squeezing his hand gently. Tentatively, fingers shaking, I reached out my other hand and touched his face. I wished he were awake. Awake and okay. I wanted to see his eyes. Wanted to see him smile…those dimples appearing on his cheeks as he blushed and looked away from me. Always unsure but so easy. That was our relationship in the simplest terms. Unsure but so easy.
I wanted to move past that though. I wanted to make him feel loved and wanted. To give him more confidence, to let him know that he didn't always have to fight so hard, that he could lean on me for support…for love. I wanted him to let go for me, with me. But right now, what I wanted more than anything was for him to be all right.
I sat there all night, watching him sleep, grateful for each rise and fall of his chest. I held his hand and just watched him. I continued to sit there with him well into the morning, ignoring how tired and hungry I was. Ignoring the sympathetic looks I got from the nurse each time she came in to check his vitals. Each time, she'd gently ask me to let go of his hand while she took his pulse and checked his temperature. But I had to stay. Couldn't leave him alone.
Well into that afternoon, I was still there. My head was aching from lack of sleep and lack of food, but it didn't matter. When he finally stirred – almost twenty-four hours since I'd gotten there – I held my breath, gently squeezing his hand and just waiting. He opened his eyes slowly, seeming unaware of where he was or why. And I knew he wasn't in any pain because the IV that he was hooked up to had a healthy dose of morphine in it.
When he turned his head slightly and met my eyes I sucked in a breath and shivered. "Hey Fitz," I said softly, trying to smile, once again feeling tears in my eyes.
He didn't say anything, but he didn't look away. His eyes flashed painfully, remembering, but they quickly settled into something more akin to relief, gratefulness. And we didn't need any words. Weakly, he squeezed my hand and his lips turned up ever so slightly, a gentle smile. I smiled back, relieved…thankful, and still his eyes held mine. We sat that way for several minutes, saying so much without words. Eventually, sleep claimed him again and his fingers pressed into mine once more before his eyes fluttered shut. I shut my eyes and kissed his hand again, shaking all over with relief, murmuring prayers of thankfulness and joy. I wouldn't waste this chance, wouldn't make the mistake of waiting or letting him get away. I was going to be there for him. Now. Always.