A/N: Okay, folks. Back in for part 3! From Hal's point of view! Just want to say that my heart, thoughts, and prayers are with those affected by that tragic shooting in Colorado. I'm glad they caught the suspect. On to something happier, though: the wonderful dancerinthedark101 was nice enough to create some amazing cover art for this story (in case you hadn't noticed) and I want to give a sincere thank you (and a big shout out) to her for taking the time to do that! Isn't it great? You should check out her writing, too, it's just as good and if not better than her Photoshop skills! Also, if you saw my Twitter page, you know that this coming episode looks to be the end of the line for Jamil. There was a scene posted on Huffington Post with Lourdes brooding over his bloody form and it looks like he blew apart from the inside out in the final frame (pretty gross). If that's the case, this story will be AU in terms of how Jamil died and canon in terms of the fact that he's still dead. Anyway, that's all for my chattering. Please review once you're done!
This wasn't what he wished for. Sometimes he wished he could take back what happened at that farmhouse, change his actions so that he might still have Lourdes. But this was never something he had wished for.
He wasn't going to lie and say he never enjoyed the attention Lourdes gave him, even while he was with Karen. He just never expected he might actually…have feelings for her. But those four days taught him how much she really mattered, and also why they couldn't be together. Hal would undoubtedly put her at risk in ways she couldn't or simply wouldn't defend herself against. But he could never stop the little pangs of jealousy he felt when he watched her becoming more comfortable, falling more in love with Jamil, even while he himself pined after Maggie.
Maggie, he decided, was more suited to him. She could defend herself against whatever situations they were thrown into. She knew how to use a gun, she didn't hesitate to shoot skitters, and he'd seen the damage killing a living thing had done to Lourdes. Maggie was a fighter and though they may find themselves in precarious situations, he knew she would fight her way out guns blazing.
But…Maggie had made it apparent time and again that she didn't think they were right for one another. And maybe she was right. Maybe they were too similar to benefit from each other. Maybe he didn't have much to offer to her. Maybe she didn't have much to offer him either. Maybe they were better off as partners-in-arms, not partners in love.
Love. He wasn't the romantic type, preferred to keep his feelings to himself and out of the way. Was there even time for such a thing as love in a world like this? The basic human heart in him told him there would always be time for emotions like love, regardless of whatever the world had gone to. It was a basic, human emotion, perhaps the only one exclusive to the human species. No matter what his brain told him about love being a distraction, a weakness, he knew he wouldn't be able to live a life like that—a life where nothing but survival mattered. If all he did was try to survive, when would he actually live?
The love he had for Maggie was a loving respect, an admiration for the strength that such a seemingly delicate woman could radiate. Her story, her past resonated with him, intrigued him. But the more she pushed him away for whatever reason, the more he considered it, the more he realized that this respect was all his love for her would ever be. And when he thought back to the feelings he had while alone with Lourdes, he realized that that, whatever it was, was a stronger attachment. That was what had driven him to visit the med bus that morning, to see how the girl was holding up.
And when Anne told him that she had been on the verge of suicide the night before he knew that she had been shaken to her core. He had never seen her like that. Lourdes was normally so level-headed, so professionally detached from her surroundings. It was the mark of a truly great doctor to be able to set aside emotional investments during crisis. She was perfect at that. He had watched her stitch up dozens of civilians, people she knew personally. He had been there when people they both knew and loved died right before them. For her to suddenly break down was something entirely new and it occurred to him that whatever inner turmoil she felt had been building, that she had really been trying to remain optimistic and calm on the exterior. And he realized how detached from her he had become, to the point that he hadn't really considered how she felt until now.
And now, he realized how much she needed someone to be there for her. And he wanted to be that someone. Only Lourdes was guarded now, inaccessible, much the same way he had been towards her for so long. He finally comprehended what it must have been like to be shut out like that. He had just a taste of it every time he dealt with Ben and now, it seemed, he was in for more when he tried to deal with Lourdes.
It had been with Maggie's encouragement, also, that he had gone to see Lourdes that morning. He was initially quite surprised to find out that the scout had gone to talk with her.
"I talked to Lourdes yesterday afternoon," Maggie sat down beside him as he polished his gun.
"Yeah?" He was surprised to hear her say the medic's name.
The blonde nodded. "Yeah. We…had a chat about what's been going on."
"How's she taking it?"
"Obviously she's hurting…I don't think it's caught up with her yet—everything that happened, I mean."
"She's in denial?"
Maggie looked distant, as if remembering something for herself. "No…it's…more like a delay of grief. It'll catch up to her."
Hal nodded, continuing to wipe down the barrel of his weapon long after it was clean. For a while, silence settled between them, he lost in thoughts of what happened and she…lost in thoughts he couldn't possibly know about.
"You should go see her."
"What?" his head snapped in her direction.
"I said," Maggie reiterated slowly, "you should go see her. I think it'd do her good. And you."
There was a knowing smile on Maggie's face now, mixed with some frustration at his playing dumb. He knew exactly what she was talking about. She knew it. He knew she knew it. "Yes, you. Stop playing games, Hal, you spent four days with the girl on that farm and you weren't the same when you came back. Whether you like it or not, you care about her and that's why you have to be there for her now."
"What about you?"
Sadness flickered across her features for just a moment. "I'm done with my grieving…I don't need someone there for me anymore. She does."
And so he had gone to see Lourdes, convincing himself, lying to himself that it was only to appease Maggie. It was almost like he had been waiting for her permission before he went off, like he wanted to know she'd be fine with it. And she had hinted time and again to something deeper than she would reveal. It was clear that Maggie was sympathetic—or perhaps empathetic—to Lourdes' situation. The amount of compassion she was showing the girl was puzzling to him. But he had wanted to check in with the medic and he decided that Maggie's urging was the final push he needed to act on it.
When he got there, Anne elaborated on the extent of the damage Jamil's death had done.
"I found her last night she was…she was breaking down. She broke some jars, she was screaming…crying," Anne shook her head, a clearly distressed look on her face. "When I was working in the hospital someone with her symptoms would have been put on suicide watch. I've been watching her closely all night, just to be sure. She's asleep now…would you mind keeping an eye on her for fifteen minutes? I just want to run and grab some coffee…"
"Yeah, no problem," Hal nodded, trying to sound as accommodating as possible. He hadn't realized that it had gone this deep, that she was affected so badly that Anne had to essentially ensure she didn't try to kill herself.
He entered the bus cautiously, found the young medic lying on one of the cots, tears streaking her face, her eyes puffy and swollen even behind shut eyelids. Small glass fragments still lay about the floor, the last evidence of what Anne had described. He didn't want to wake her, but her tossing and turning and occasional gasps for breath finally prompted him to awaken her before she accidentally hurt herself.
He tried to cheer her up, he really did. But she had been unreceptive to his attempts. And, he wasn't going to lie, he did sound a bit callous and insensitive to her pain. It wasn't too long ago he'd lost his mother, even less time since he'd lost Karen, found her, and lost her again. He knew just a taste of what Lourdes was feeling now. Her angry response proved to him how badly grieved she truly was and he knew he'd have to shift tactics then and there if he ever wanted to be of any help to her. He would have to open himself up to her and hope she'd do the same.
It was never easy to open up for Hal. He hated feeling vulnerable and he preferred to bury whatever strong emotions he felt beneath a more hardened exterior. And perhaps that's why he'd grown up so much in the past months since the invasion. There was just so much to bury.
A/N: Anxiously awaiting Lourdes' big moment tonight on the show. I think we need a Team Lourdes? WHO'S WITH ME? We've seen Team Karen, Team Maggie, TEAM LOURDES FOREVER! Okay, getting a bit crazy now. I thought I'd end it on a pondering note for Hal, and I do love double meanings at the end of chapters too :) Anyway, I love reviews so please leave me one. Hopefully I'll update this story again today after watching the show. If not, it should come up pretty quickly afterwards. Thanks, all!
This chapter's musical inspirations:
I Won't Give Up—Jason Mraz
I'll Stand By You—The Pretenders
Both of Us—B.O.B featuring Taylor Swift
My Reflection—SanguinDrake (that would be Sarah Sanguin Carter's band!)
-wow, lots of sappy sad stuff. Huh.