So, despite being in a good mood today, I felt compelled to write something a bit angsty. This is stepping away from my usual style a bit as I don't usually write angst, so I hope I've pulled it off – reviews much appreciated!
Disclaimer: Not mine
She spends her life waiting. Waiting for the day his luck will run out, waiting for that call, waiting for the moment she walks into his office and realises he is not coming back. He's a risk taker, always has been – isn't that what she loves about him? Perhaps. But it's also killing her. Every day, he edges closer to his own mortality when he insists on pushing his luck, stepping closer to the edge of the cliff, laying his life on the line in his attempt to claim the evasive truth. And every day, it is getting harder for her to pretend that she's okay with it. Because when the day finally comes when he is snatched from her, she knows she will be broken.
She tries to hide the depth of her fears from him, because that makes it easier to hide it from herself. He knows she worries about him, knows her heart beats faster every time he places himself in the line of fire, knows she feels sympathy mingled with sadness when she surveys his bruises or dabs gently at his cuts and scrapes. He knows she wishes he would change; not his entire personality, but his inability to walk away from a dangerous situation, to put himself first for once, to recognise the need for self-preservation and protection. He knows his recklessness angers her, knows that her stomach twists in knots when she is fearing for his life, knows she releases a shaky breath every time he inches his way out of danger.
He doesn't know how many nights she cries herself to sleep because the thought next time, he might not be so lucky is running through her mind. He doesn't know that she has become accustomed to the tang of blood in her mouth from biting her lip so hard. He doesn't know that every time she thinks she is going to lose him, a part of her dies. He doesn't know that her biggest fear in the world is losing what matters most to her. He also doesn't know that he is what matters most to her.
He doesn't know, because she doesn't tell him, not with words, or actions, or facial expressions. She is better at hiding than he thinks. Allowing him to see would force her to admit the truth herself, and she cannot do that. It strikes her as ironic that someone who detects lies for a living can be living one herself, but she knows the pain that the truth can cause, and she knows she is not strong enough to handle it. So she conceals what she does not want him to see, what she cannot bear to face herself in all its brutal honesty, and locks the truth away where he will never find it.
She cannot ask for more than they already have, because the more you have, the more you stand to lose. She already knows that when she loses him – it has become when, not if, in her mind – it will shatter her life into a thousand tiny fragments that she's not sure she will ever be able to repair. But to allow him even closer into her heart then he already is, and then lose him… that, she knows, will destroy her completely.
So the line stays in place, even on the days when she wants to erase it completely. She oscillates between joy at spending time with him and Emily and feeling like she has a proper family and pulling away, because the more she allows herself to love him, the more she will have to suffer. She embraces him, kisses him warmly on the cheek, allows his hand to gently caress her arm or squeeze her hand because she cannot bear not to have some intimacy with him, but that is as far as it goes. She resists the urge to give herself to him completely, manages to hide the arousal on her face because she knows if he sees it, he will not accept her reasons for refusing to acknowledge it. After a few moments of hovering outside the spare bedroom where he lay after being held hostage, the thin light from underneath the door telling her he was not yet asleep, she retreated to her bedroom and lay in the quiet darkness. She stays on her side of the line, and he stays on his. Most of the time.
Of course, there's the temptation to take the risk. Part of her thinks she should just relish every moment they have together; take a leap of faith and enjoy the benefits of having found someone she loves completely and utterly during every second they have left together. Sometimes she thinks it would be worth the risk, that the bliss could make up for the inevitable heartbreak, that the comfort and solace she can find in his arms could carry her through, even after he is gone.
But fear prevents her from pushing back the boundaries. The images that haunt her dreams and force her to jolt awake at night in a cold sweat, tears streaming down her cheeks, tell her that she cannot pull him any closer to her, or letting him go will become an impossibility.
He is willing to take the risk – she has seen it in his lingering looks, in the burning intensity of his gaze, in the way he is slowly but surely tugging her towards him, his daughter, his home, his heart. He is willing to take the risk – but he is the risk taker, not her. So she will do what she has spent the last decade doing; valuing what they have, enjoying the quiet moments they spend together, trying to push the fear aside for long enough to appreciate him while she still has him. And waiting for the day when it all gets taken away.