Inner Demons

A spoiler for the series pilot.

Grady Jamieson jerked to awareness, though a lifetime of wariness and fear kept his body still. Quickly acclimating to his surroundings, he slowly sat up from his place on Adam Beaudreaux's couch. Shaking his head at the ironic twists bringing him to the other man's door after 20 years, he slowly rose to his feet.

Just tonight, the two men had been reunited after a twenty-year separation. Grady's head was still reeling, and he needed time to settle his thoughts. Glancing curiously around the living room, he tried to reconcile the stylish dwelling with the images he carried of the younger, rougher soldier-Beaudreaux. The room seemed to be comprised of sleek, modern pieces mixed with well-worn, comfortable furniture. Added to that was a mix of warm-toned throws, an eclectic book collection, and a smattering of well-attended plants. All-in-all, the room gave an impression of warmth, strength and welcome.

While Grady was impressed with the life Beaudreaux seemed to have made for himself, he could not squelch a familiar tingle of anger, mixed in no small part with jealousy.

"Looks like good-ole B has done well for himself," he thought darkly. "So glad to see he hasn't suffered the last few years."

Ashamed of this petty reaction, Grady tried to relax. He was glad, really, to see that his old friend had survived the war and gone on to a good life. However, during this first night of reunion between the two, he could not help but feel the sharp jab of anger at Beaudreaux's apparent betrayal.

The last memory Grady had of the older man was his sincere promise that he would come back for the boy as soon as he could. He had held on to that promise, even as his life quickly escalated from unrelenting nightmare to never-ending hell. He now berated himself for that childish faith – life had shown to the child that faith was meaningless and had reinforced to the man that he could only rely on himself. Beaudreaux's betrayal had haunted Grady for years, fueling a rage and bitterness that often felt as if would consume the younger man's soul.

Sighing, Grady pulled himself to the present and tried to shake off the negative feelings. So often in his life, the darkness in which he had been forced to live threatened to devour him. He wanted to be happy about the momentous event taking place – he was with B again, something he thought would never happen. While his reasons for seeking out the police sergeant involved so much more than a simple reunion, he wanted to feel excited – to feel good – about seeing the other man. Instead though, he found himself forcing a smile during their talk. Coupled with the good feelings of seeing his friend again were the resentment and rage that would not be denied.

Grady could not relax into the warmth of friendship Beaudreaux so keenly offered. He wanted to chalk up his inability to trust the reunion to residual anger over being abandoned. Even through the dark feelings held him in their grasp, Grady was surprised to find that he also felt a deep sense of shame. Examining this feel more closely, he slipped through the door onto the balcony. Resting his hands on the railing, he leaned over and took deep long breaths of the crisp night air. Though he had never been especially claustrophobic, times of confinement during his youth had given him a special appreciation for clean, fresh air.

Peering up into the night sky, he probed his feelings about this unbelievable reconciliation. He was ashamed, and also deeply afraid. Though he had tried to convince himself that the only reason he sought out Beaudreaux was to get information on Hardin, the assassin they both hunted, he still felt that little-boy need to gain the other man's approval. He was ashamed at this weakness, at this craving for affection, that he thought had been beaten out of him long ago. Being with Beaudreaux, one of the few people to ever show a young Grady any amount of love, again had awakened feelings Grady thought were long-gone. He almost felt as if he was reverting back to that eight year old boy, relieved to give over control, if just for a moment, just so he could rest. Long had Grady only relied on himself, and he had been somewhat intoxicated by again experiencing the strong and capable air Beaudreaux carried with him.

Perhaps that explained why he had been relaxed enough to share so many details of his life. He was stunned at himself, unable to comprehend how he had volunteered such painful – and shameful – information to the older man. Had he really told Beaudreaux about being in prison, even alluding to the abuse he had endured there? Never, never, since he had been released had he spoken of that time to anyone. Being honest with himself, Grady acknowledged that the revelations involved more than just an unexpected reaction to a sympathetic ear. A small part of Grady had wanted – needed – to hurt Beaudreaux, to make him understand, if only in a miniscule way, how Grady had suffered due to the other man's betrayal. Grady had jabbed the other man with relentless candor about his prison time, needing to see his former friend's horrified reaction. That's why he could not stop the bitter response of "ten years, four months and sixteen days" when asked how long he had been in that particular hell.

On the balcony, Grady let out a small, disheartened laugh. If only Beaudreaux knew of all the other various hells and damnations Grady had experienced in those twenty missing years. If Grady really wanted to hurt Beaudreaux, he could let loose a story that would break the other man's heart. But, even through the angry need to hurt the man who had sworn to be his protector and then so agonizingly let him down, Grady knew that he would not share much more of his story. His mind and heart were racing with so many emotions, and Grady was struggling to understand them all. Still, he was surprised to realize that, in tandem with the need to make Beaudreaux pay for abandoning him was a feeling, fragile and small, that Grady had not experienced since before he even met Beaudreaux. He felt a tiny measure of hope for the future, a hope that some sort of friendship might be salvaged from the timeworn rubble of their former bond. To nurture that hope, though, Grady knew that he would have to be more careful of revealing details of the road he had traveled to Beaudreaux's door. He could not allow the other man to know what he had been forced to do just to survive.

Grady's scars ran deeper than Beaudreaux could ever know – he could not allow the other man to see the shame and despair always lurking deep in Grady's soul. Beaudreaux was a man of uncompromising honor, and Grady feared that he would not be able to comprehend the life the younger man had endured. Grady knew that he would have to avoid the temptation to lash out in anger, for he could not afford to let any details of his life, especially the years in prison already revealed, to slip. Beaudreaux was a man who exuded strength, masculinity and courage. While Grady knew that Beaudreaux would not judge him for things he had done, he still could not bear having the secrets of those long, dark years exposed to the light of day.

If there was any hope of building a new relationship with Beaudreaux and the curious mix of friends he had chosen as family, Grady would have to tamp down the pain and fear that were his constant companions. He would need to show them the charm and humor innate to his character, even though these traits had had few opportunities to be expressed. Grady was able to turn on these traits when needed, and had collected his own quirky group of acquaintances. But, these friends only knew what he chose to reveal, and they were always kept at arms length. It would be difficult to keep Beaudreaux in the same place, for the older man had a certain knack for dogged determination.

Grady worried that Beaudreaux might demand the truth of his past and refuse to take partial truths and obfuscations. If he did indeed push Grady about his past, the younger man was afraid he might just reveal something meant to be kept secret. For some reason, Beaudreaux loosened Grady's barriers - just tonight he had willingly discussed a time that was off limits to every other person in his life. Grady would have to shore up those defenses and make sure Beaudreaux only saw what Grady wanted him to see.

Sighing, Grady pushed himself off the railing and slowly made his way back inside. He needed rest so that he could face whatever the following days might bring. Preparing for a possible showdown with Hardin while simultaneously guarding his heart against Beaudreaux's enthusiastic and joyful greeting was proving to be difficult. Sinking onto the couch, Grady half-heartedly tugged the blanket into place and tried to relax enough to sleep.

Lying on an unfamiliar couch in an unfamiliar city, while a shockingly familiar stranger slumbered just upstairs, Grady offered one final, humorless laugh. How did life get to this point, he had to wonder? Here he was, sharing a reunion that once would have meant the world to him. Now, he was not sure what he wanted – he seemed to feel equal parts joy and rage at being with Beaudreaux again.

He decided, before giving in to an uneasy sleep, that he was willing to give voice to that small part of himself that acknowledged that he still needed Beaudreaux. He would try to establish a new relationship – in doing so, perhaps Grady would be able to gain a small measure of peace with the other man. He yearned for the safety he had known back in that jungle, even as he acknowledged the absurdity of that feeling: the only time Grady had felt safe in the last twenty years was when he was surrounded by people trying to kill him. But, it was Beaudreaux's unwavering strength that had offered security to a shattered little boy. The part of Grady that refused to yield to the darkness around him had hope that, perhaps, Beaudreaux's strength just might give that same measure of safety to a man who had never known peace.

For the most part, Grady did not really believe that to be possible, but for one final time, he delved down past the fear and pain lodged in his heart, and found the courage to try. Only time, and whatever ability he might have to rise above the past, would tell.

The End