Beautiful Fragility: Open Wounds

Post "Fault Lines". A series of oneshots dealing with the team's individual reactions to Toth's brutal interrogation.

TWO (2). LIMITS.

The sound of the slamming locker door was magnified by at least ten times, thanks to the fact that he was the only one in the locker room. Kevin "Wordy" Wordsworth was a docile person by nature, and hardly ever treated people or things with the kind of flippant disregard he'd just used on his locker. He could count the number of times he'd raised his voice at his daughters on one hand (he hated yelling at them, and besides, he knew confrontational scenes gave Shelley flashbacks. Though her first marriage had been dead and buried for a long time, Wordy's wife often awoke in the middle of the night screaming, hands over her face or nails gripping the bed sheets). He supposed it was odd, when he thought about it. Nobody pictured a specialized SWAT team member as gentle. He was a force to be reckoned with on the job, however, and he'd heard that many of the subjects they'd been forced to use physical action with had been knocked out by the smell of his breath (his favourite food in the world was Shelley's homemade cabbage rolls. He figured that the baddies of the world deserved a little nasal torture, it might make them think twice about taking a hostage or blowing up a building for the sake of revenge).

Wordy wondered how people viewed SWAT team officers: strong. Capable. Invincible.

Shaking his head at the last term, Wordy wrenched open his locker again. Now he was word-associating, and the psychological evaluation, given by one merciless Dr. Toth, was over. God, that guy was a prick. Wordy was never the type to wish ill on anyone, but he sincerely hoped that Toth would get hit by a car- err, think about the consequences of his intimidating approach- within the next 24 hours.

Wordy meant to grab his street clothes and change, but of course, his eyes landed on the very same photograph that had caused him to shut the locker in the first place. The picture taped to his locker's back wall was of himself playing with his oldest daughter in a pile of leaves last autumn. Kaitlyn Wordsworth, his precocious seven-year-old, had been the one to help him rake the leaves all over their lawn into a neat pile. Then she'd jumped in them with the biggest smile lighting up her little face. Wordy, after lamenting the loss of a clean lawn (well, it had been for about ten seconds) jumped into the leaves with her. Not long after, Shelley had come out, camera in hand, snapping a picture to preserve the memory. In the photo, Kaitlyn was on her father's back, smiling mischievously at the camera while Wordy was lying down, smiling, spit leaves out of his mouth. Of his daughters, Kaitlyn was the one he'd peg as a future member of the SRU. Zoe, his four-year-old, was more introverted, clinging to her mother's leg. And Aly… well, Aly, their youngest, at two, had an undecided future.

Undecided. Wordy sighed, grabbing his t-shirt and jeans, pushing his locker closed once more. Everything was undecided these days, it seemed. Even the most concrete thing in his life- his place in the SRU- was now uncertain. All due to his shaky hands.

Wordy wasn't quite ready to face the diagnosis that had been lingering in the back of his mind for the better part of a year: Parkinson's Disease. That's what his doctor told him. He'd been very calm about the whole thing, almost detached, while Wordy's world was falling down around him. After that fatal appointment, he'd driven around in his car, thinking of Shel and the girls, of the mortgage he could barely afford, of his job….

His job. People said you shouldn't take work home with you, but being a member of the SRU was all about being human and using that humanity to connect to other people. He put his life in his team's hands on a daily basis and vice versa. As far as Wordy was concerned, Team One was part of his extended family and there was nothing he wouldn't do for any of them. He had no doubt that they wouldn't hesitate to do the same for him- but when the news of his disease finally came to light, nobody would be able to do anything to secure his job.

God. How was he supposed to tell Shel and the girls? He knew Zoe thought he was Superman. She'd told him that herself as he tucked her into bed one Saturday night after he came back from work. As a general rule, Shelley didn't like the girls watching the news in case word about the SRU came on and they became anxious. It had happened before. Kaitlyn and Zoe had ended up in tears seeing the news bulletin about Petar Tomajic. Somehow, though, right before his diagnosis was announced, Zoe had seen footage of the SRU's latest (thankfully triumphant) mission on the news, and as he pulled the covers up to his sleepy princess's chin, she said,

"Daddy?"

"Yeah, Zo?"

"You know what I fink?" Zoe was having trouble pronouncing 'th', everything came out with a 'fff' sound instead.

"What?"

"I fink you have a secret, and I know what it is."

"Yeah? What's that?" Looking back on it now, Wordy was thankful this conversation had happened before his doctor's visit. He probably would have burst into tears right there, looking at Zoe's small, serious, perfectly angelic face. She looked so much like Shelley, it was remarkable.

"You're Superman. You save people. You can do anyfing." Zoe reached out and poked his cheek. He smiled, kissing her forehead before backing out of the room, leaving the door open a crack, just the way she liked it.

Wordy swallowed a sob. What Zoe didn't know, what Spike didn't know (his team mate had been short with him on the training course, accusing Wordy of not helping him when he needed it), what citizens didn't know when they expected to be saved by the SRU, was a hard thing to face. He may have been Superman, but even the Man of Steel had his limits.


So there's the second oneshot! I'm not going to lie, I rewatched the episode specifically for Wordy's part. I don't know if he has Parkinson's disease, but based on my knowledge of the illness, I would say that's a fair bet. Symptoms of Parkinson's include tremors of the hands, fingers, or forearms, slowness in voluntary muscle movement, slow response to questions, smaller, cramped handwriting, and a soft, whispery voice. There are others, but those are some of the ones I thought Wordy displayed. Like I said, I am not entirely certain if he has the disease, so don't take my word for it.

Secondly, some people wanted to know if there was more "Jam" goodness on the way. I'm not sure, but I hope so! These oneshots kind of have a mind of their own. But I will be writing more Sam/Jules oneshots in the future, so look out for that.

ALSO, Where the heck did Leah go? Didn't Parker mention in the season premiere that a team required a certain number of members? Where has she been? Does anyone know?

CLICK the review button, because it makes me happy. Share your comments, thoughts, and honesty! What do YOU think is wrong with Wordy?