(Author's Note: So… I definitely needed something for my feels after The Devil Will Drag You Under. This takes place after the last scene with Stanton, directly after the explosion. It's about how Stanton feels about life, about the mistakes he's made, and about Dani. Word of warning, I don't ship them. It's pure fatherly love going on here, folks. The song lyrics used is, well, the name of this little fic, A White Blank Page. It's a song by Mumford & Sons and it reminds me of them, and I mean that in a non-romantic way, too. This little fic tore me up to write. I balled my eyes out when Dani died. I loved her to bits and I was so hoping Stanton would say no at the last minute, and not set off the charge.)
Stanton was done. Emotionally. Physically. Any way you can possibly imagine, he was done. He excused himself to his men and then he strode off, towards the cabin of the ship. He closed the door behind him and sighed, his back coming to rest on the door. "God damnit," he said softly, tears once again filling his eyes. She was really gone. The one person he considered family, the one person he trusted wit heverything he had was now gone, never to come back. She was dead. The truth was cold and it left an all too familiar ache in his chest.
He ran a shaky hand over his face and let out a sob. It was all too much to handle, he couldn't take it. He slid down the door until his backside hit the floor and his elbows came to rest on his knees. He covered his face with his hands as he cried. Every sob brought him closer to the point of breaking down, closer to the raw hurt that would never fade. Not in his almost two hundred years had he ever let someone in like he had with her. His wife had died long before he'd even joined the Union Army. She was his world, his everything but this, this was different. His children had passed on, his grandchildren had passed on. Danielle was the one thing that kept him grounded. Hell, she had even gotten the chance to meet some of his grandchildren. In all honesty, he trusted her more than he did himself. She was his light in a dark place.
The life he'd led had been a lonely one, one full of sorrow and pain. Long ago he'd settled on keeping to himself, not making friends or messing around with women. What's the use of setting yourself up for the inevitable? When you know damn well how it ends every time? But then, there was her. She had almost fallen into his lap, a sign that perhaps they both needed someone. He had taken her under his wing and nurtured her back to her health, taught her his ways, molded her into the beautiful and strong woman that he knew she was. Loving her just came easy.
His forehead fell onto his knee and he breathed her name. Just her name. That's all it took, though. His heart felt like it shattered and fell to the floor in a million pieces. He slammed his fist down, almost taking comfort in the way he felt his bone snap. The sound seemed to echo around the cabin and he breathed a deep sigh and then he did it again. It wasn't enough, it would never be enough. He hated himself to pulling the trigger, hated tha to do it. Why couldn't she just have left the god damn truck? Why was she so much like him? So strong and unyielding? So stubborn?
He stomped his boot against the floor, not very hard but just for a show of anger. He made to get up, leaning up his knuckles. He'd totally forgotten about his hand, though. "Oh, shit," he said and yelped at the pain, another ragged sob leaving his lips. He fell back and just sat there for a moment, waiting for the waves of nausea to pass. He could feel the bone mending itself but in some ways, that hurt worse than breaking it in the first place. He got up again, brushing off his trousers as he went.
"Damnit," he mumbled and looked down at his hand. It was healed but he almost wished it wasn't. The pain let him know he was alive, let him know he'd done wrong.
There was a knock at his door and it startled him. "I'm getting worried," came the voice of one of his men whose name was John, John Moore. He was obviously talking to someone else at the time. "Stanton, you in there? Are you okay?" John's voice was laced with panic and worry. Stanton ran his fingers through his hair and pushed it back, trying to compose himself. "I'm fine, yeah," he said back. His tone was nearly pitiful. There was no fight left in him. His voice was deep, husky. An idiot could tell he was anything but fine. Still though, the man respected Stanton enough to let it go. "Okay," he said back. "I just wanted to make sure. We'll be back at the safe house. You okay to meet us there?" Stanton pulled open the door and faced the redhead who he considered a good, brave man. "I'm fine, John. I'll meet you back at the house. Just… Just give me a while. I need to relax, it's been a long day." The two shared a knowing look and John nodded, turning away to go and join the others. "Be careful, Stanton. I'll see you later."
Stanton sighed and ran a hand through his hair, again. He looked up at the dark sky, as if he were searching for sign. Nothing seemed to happen, though. Nothing other than the breeze picking up, anyway. He felt tears well up in his eyes once more and he fought to keep himself together. Not here, not now. He had other things to be worried about, other things to have his mind on. He couldn't let his emotions get the best of him…
He fixed his coat again, his fingers trembling a little as he pulled it closer to him. It was going to be a cold night and he could feel the nip from the air. He could see his breath before him and it only reminded him of Danielle. She used to love cool autumn nights, when she could joke around with him and try to blow 'smoke rings' with her breath. He smiled at the memory but his face soon fell. She was gone. How could he think of the good times, in the midst of the bad ones?
He looked out at the water, his eyes meeting a deep blue surface. Silver moonlight shimmered across the water as waves rolled up onto the shore. He took a moment to just listen to the waves, finding some peace in it. He swallowed hard when he felt his phone begin to vibrate. For the longest of moments, he just opted to ignore it. Finally though, he took it out of his coat and picked it up. What if it was something important? "Hello?" It was one of his men, telling him things had been moved and they were on their way to the safe house. "Thanks for letting me know. I'll catch up with you soon." The moment he hung up the phone he clenched his jaw so hard that it actually hurt. It was all he could to keep the tears at bay. What was the use pretending to be okay when it just cut you up all the more? It was pointless. Completely pointless.
He looked back out at the water and he sighed. Truth be told, he was proud of Danielle. He was proud that she stood up for something that she honestly believed was right. She was amazing and yes, so much more than he could have ever imagined. But, it was his fault that she was no longer with him. Now, he would have the rest of his life, an immortal life, thinking over the mistakes he had made. For in the long run, he knew it wouldn't be worth losing her. It might be years, but he knew he would honestly and truly regret pushing that button. Sure, the war had begun but there were other ways, other things that could have been done. His decision was rash, even if it did the trick. The man she loved, Cameron would now be out to get him, as would Lee. In some ways, he wanted that. He deserved to die in the worst of ways. He was no saint; he had done some horrible things in his life time.
He hated that this tore Danielle and Cameron apart. She spoke the world of him and when he'd met him, he saw the fire in his eyes. He knew the man was a spark plug when it came to keeping Danielle safe. He loved her more than anything and a love like that was hard to come by these days. It reminded Stanton of his wife, Jane and how would have done anything for her. Hell, he would have kill himself for her. The love Danielle and Cameron shared was special and he hated that Cameron was alone. Stanton had been torn from Jane as well. She had died giving birth to their fourth child, Emmett. He'd joined the army shortly after he'd lost his old son, if only to escape the hurt. He couldn't bear being life without Jane or Case. There was just one problem with his plan, though. When he'd been killed, he'd woken back up to learn he couldn't die and that he was hypercognitive.
But, Danielle was gone and now, he had to live with his own actions. She really was the only family he had left and he would kill to get her back, but that just wasn't possible. "I'm truly alone," he mumbled to himself. The wind blew back his hair and he closed his eyes a little. The bitter taste in his mouth would be one he just couldn't get rid of, it was loneliness and man, did he hate it. He turned away, deciding to leave as soon as possible. He needed a drink, needed to numb the pain. He just wanted to let it all go.
So tell me now, where was my fault
In loving you with my whole heart?
Oh tell me now, where was my fault
In loving you with my whole heart?