Title: Warning Signs
Summary: He's seen them before, the curt answers and false smiles – warning signs and now Greg wonders how he can get Ed to open up before it's too late for his TL and best friend. Ed/Greg Post Ep OS to eppy 5.02 No Kind of Life 'contains some spoilers'
Disclaimer: If I owned anything to do with FP Ed would be all mine! Hehe *alas* I own only my DVD's that fuel my imaginative muse Alice.
A/N: *sigh* sorry I am sooooooooo loving the season so far but am still so bummed it's the last *grumble grumble* lol so it was a Samtastic centric eppy but we still wanna carry on with our Post Ep OS's to show the continued turmoil that Ed is dealing with after shooting May in last week's eppy. So I know it's only based on one scene in the show (the last one between them) but hope you all like this.
Note: Words in italics and double quotes taken directly from episode.
"You look distracted," Marina mentions to Greg as she brings him a cup off early morning coffee. "Thinking about Ed?"
"Yeah that call last night, May an innocent girl…I'm just worried he'll take this one too personally and not deal with it. I can't force him to…to just talk about it but if he doesn't deal with this one…one of the toughest for him in…in a long time," Greg sighs as he takes the cup and offers her a tender smile. "Thank you."
"I'm sure you won't let him fall to far," Marina gives his shoulder a small squeeze as she heads back into the kitchen to make something for lunch for the day.
"Let him…" Greg mutters under his breath as he takes another sip of his hot coffee and then looks down at his phone. Knowing the day before didn't exactly start out the way Ed wanted, with Dean taking more of an interest in the SRU than his own son, Clark. That wasn't something that Ed came back to the barn beaming about; a twinge of resentment in his tone when he said that Dean was more interested in following his father's footsteps than Clark.
Greg had tried to shrug it off, making an excuse to soothe Ed's throbbing ego; that it was because the novelty still hadn't worn off for Dean, whereas the luster had faded for Clark, and he still might come around. But inside Greg, knows that's not all that's bugging Ed. He knows Ed would have mentioned with pride his own police legacy, his father, himself and…his son? Dean said he called Clark on his career choice and said he was okay with it. But with Clark not wanting to follow him and having to openly acknowledge that with the burden of May's untimely death at his hands, he knows Ed's carrying a mountain load of guilt and resentment that he could spell his own personal doom. He hasta open up or suffer ill consequences.
Yeah getting Ed to open up is like trying to do dental surgery on a live crocodile, Greg smirks to himself as he finishes the rest of his coffee, heads into the kitchen to see Marina before he heads for the door to get his day officially started.
Not having slept much the night before, Ed wakes early, rubs his face and heads down the hall, into Izzy's room; looking at his sleeping baby girl with a warm smile. May's screams still haunt his mind, his eyes briefly closing as he watches her body fall and then jolts himself back to reality as he sees his own tormented expression after the bullet had left the chamber. Izzy's soft sounds make his fingers tenderly touch his sleeping daughters face before he finally smiles, pulling himself away and heading for the bathroom, hoping a hot shower will jump start his day and clear the tormented morbidity from his mind.
"Hey dad," Clark mumbles about half hour later as he enters the kitchen and heads toward the toaster.
"Hey," Ed replies, not sure whether to bring up the whole career day from yesterday or to leave the discussion for another day. Another day…his brain rightly directs. "How's Dean?"
"Yeah…he's good," Clark shrugs.
"Good," Ed nods as he looks at his son's tense back and frowns; his mind missing the days when Clark looked up to him as a future confidant and parental advisor, not merely knowing him as 'dad' or the person who pays for his future well-being. I want to be like you dad…a cop…like you and grandpa…like you…but those words aren't forthcoming and Ed can only paste on a tense smile and go about his morning routine as if it was all…'fine'; his mind trying desperately not to say, 'but Dean is…thought you would also.'
"See you all tonight," Ed calls out to his busy family as he closes the door and heads toward his car, his mind recalling a pertinent discussion he had with Dr. Toth over a year ago. 'Family…family keeps me grounded….keeps me alive.' But with Sophie now ensconced in her own catering routine and Clark about to head off into his own life, the family that once, as a unit, kept him grounded was threatening to cave and bring him down in the process.
"Eddie…good morning," Greg greets him, noticing his stiff posture and somewhat tense smile. "Ready to keep the peace?"
"Sure thing," Ed nods as he turns and heads for the locker room, Greg quietly following behind. "Greg…I'm fine," Ed assures him, not looking back but knowing Greg was only a few steps back. Hoping the use of Greg's personal name will echo the fact that he's not wanting to discuss anything further. The ploy doesn't work.
"Maybe I'm not," Greg offers, making Ed turn around in surprise, Greg looking at him with a friendly smile. "She connected with all of us."
"I killed her."
"I ordered it," Greg argues back, forcing Ed to twist his head back at Greg once more. "You talk to Sophie about it?"
"She got home late…Clark was there…it…it was a tough call," Ed replies as he takes off his jacket and then sees Greg's reflection in the mirror. "Boss…I'm fine really."
"Yeah I know you keep saying that Eddie…and I think part of the reason you say that is so you'll convince yourself you are fine."
"You saying I'm lying to myself?" Ed asks sharply and then quickly backs down. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry…I'd rather you get it out in a loud angry outburst right now when it's just us, than to hold it all inside and then let it boil until the worst possible moment."
"Boss how many kill shots have I taken?"
"You know better than I do that no two kill shots are the same," Greg reminds him with a small sigh. "Eddie…you can't keep it all inside."
"I took the shot…it was a waste…Greg it was but…but it's done and…and there is no use to dwell on it right? I was cleared and…and that's it. It's over."
"Talking isn't dwelling…its healing."
Ed tosses his sweater into his locker and then turns and looks at Greg with a thick frown. "You know what…when it gets too much…I'll tell you."
"Will you?" Greg gently presses. "You'll tell me?"
"Someone," Ed shrugs. "I don't know…I just…I just want to forget it okay? Let's just forget it."
Greg studies Ed's fists tightening around his black SRU shirt and feels his inner being heavily exhale, his face remaining placid. Pushing Ed further into an emotional corner at this moment wouldn't do either of them any good, so he gives him a nod and purposely backs down, his mind reminding him, however, to keep careful note of the warning signs that Ed was offering – silent cries for help. But when would be the right time to answer them?
"Okay Eddie….we'll forget it…for now," Greg smiles, feeling his tension ease slightly when Ed's face softens as well.
"Okay," Ed half whispers as he turns back to his locker, watching Greg in the side mirror turn and head back to his own locker to get ready for the day. Ed feels the inner tension inside eating away at his very core, slowly but surely the gnawing was growing and he knows that unless he finds an effective solution – the gnawing would eat right through his very soul. I'm fine…Ed's mind repeats over and over as he looks in the small mirror and gives himself a firm tight lipped glance; catching Greg watching and then closing the locker door, turning to his boss, nodding and taking his leave.
"Morning gentlemen," Ed greets Sam and Spike as he passes through the gym, his mind taking in the fact they were a man down and wondering when Greg would show him the applicants to fill the missing void. Raf's absence was also another reminder of the inner turmoil he was trying very hard to quell, a friend and fellow team mate who had respectfully bowed out after May's life was so wrongly taken – at his hands.
An innocent life…wrongly…taken…boss called Scorpio…I followed orders…I'm fine…it was an order…I'm fine…Ed's mind tumbles over and over, as he heads into the team one meeting room and spies the closed case file on May; his fingers hovering around the edge but his arm suddenly not having the strength to lift the glass cover and read the tormented transcripts once again.
"Once you've read the ending, it kinda spoils the rest," Greg's voice is heard; Ed's fingers recoiling, his body remaining in place but his eyes not lifting to acknowledge his boss's presence, merely remaining fixed on May's name and Greg's signature below it.
"Right," Ed whispers as he finally looks up to see Greg watching him with a curious twist of his head. "So…"
"Unless it'll help you find some inner peace to look at it again?"
"No, it should be filed," Ed states firmly as the rest of the team starts to file in. "We're a man down," Ed mentions, ensuring the ensuing conversation would revolve around Raf's obvious absence instead of his impeding discussion with Greg, a private one on one talk that inside he's dreading.
"Okay team…" Greg starts as they all sit down; his eyes watching Ed more than any of them. Warning signs Eddie…I see them, Greg's mind whispers, you gotta open up…
But Greg's thoughts are put on hold as Winnie's overhead page breaks into the conversation and it's time to get the day officially started.
"Team One, hot call…shots fired…"
The call finishes and Greg watches Sam with the boy and knows that him and Jules will be having their own heart to heart about what happened, his mind happy that Sam has Jules to confide in about the rigors of the job; Spike confiding in him as a father figure. He watches Ed walking toward him and feels the inner conflict starting to surge once again. It was a tough call; who now would Ed talk to? Sophie? He knows Ed spares his family most of the rigors of the job. Do I say anything? Why not? No point in walking on eggshells or he'll get even more agitated and withdraw further. If Ed is gonna talk about it, it hasta be on Ed's terms, Greg begrudging acknowledges. So with that he puts on a brave smile and dives right into the pre-call praise.
"Didn't miss a beat," Greg tells Ed in truth as he approaches.
"Whadda ya mean?"
"You had that man in your sights; you were looking at another tough shot…"
"And you were fine…and I've gotta learn to stop second guessing you. I'm sorry."
"It's all good."
"It's…all good…" Ed whispers as Greg takes his leave and goes to see how Sam is, leaving Ed standing in place as his mind tries to slow his racing heart back down to a normal pace. As he listens to Brennan's plea about his son and keeping him safe and then flashes back to May's promise to her about keeping her safe, the warmth in his core forces Ed's stomach to slightly lurch, his throat quickly swallowing down uprising bile.
It's all good…no one died today…he tries to convince himself over and over; small dark circles starting to form as he hears May's voice saying he failed to keep her alive, he broke his promise, Curtis is alive…she's dead.
"Oh god…" Ed groans as he heads for a darkened side of the track building, bends over and throws up watery bile, standing back up, closing his eyes briefly and not realizing that a silent witness was watching and documenting.
It was a good call…the bad guys got it…Curtis is alive…his father is alive and they'll be together again…together again…he tries to reason in his mind as he straightens up and prays the dizziness will abate until he's home and can just lie down and regenerate. He rests his hand against the cool wooden planks and tries to steady himself before re-emerging into public once again. It's all good…you told Greg that now you gotta believe that…his mind firmly commands.
Ed slowly heads back to the dissipating crowd, looking at Greg, who had witnessed his moment of weakness but said nothing further, simply nodding to him as he heads for the SUV, opting to take the lone SUV left and let Spike ride back with Greg; Sam and Jules, just automatically riding back together.
The thick silence in the cab starts to press in upon him, prompting Ed to reach for the radio and turn up the volume on whatever mindless song was playing, hoping the words will drown out the voices in his head. Just focus on Curtis's face…his brain states firmly – hoping it'll erase the image of May's haunted expression as her dead body hits the gravel rooftop. Ed shakes his head to clear the images, the light suddenly turns red, causing his foot to slam on the breaks and bring the black SUV to a screeching halt. "Damn…" Ed gently curses as he rests his head on the elevated head rest a few seconds, his core inflamed once more and his brain telling him to go straight home, he'd worry about his SRU gear in the morning.
His fingers tighten around the steering wheel as his brain recalls Greg's friendly entreat about needing to talk about it – get it out before it lingers inside and then waits to explode at the improper moment.
"I'm fine," Ed tries to convince himself again as he nears home, telling himself to paste on his trademark Ed Lane smile, showing the outside world that the outer Ed Lane was strong and impervious, an opposite picture from the emotionally unstable inner Ed Lane. The solid walls that he had built around him when he took his very first kill shot now around seven years later are threatening to crumble; and like humpty dumpty's wall – never to be rebuilt.
"I'm…home," Ed calls out as he takes a deep breath, closes the door and quickly offers the same prayerful mantra as the night before – please God just let me make it through the night without breaking down. Just one more night.
"Tough day?" Marina asks in a soft tone as Greg enters the apartment and walks up to her with a heavy sigh.
"Good call…no one died," Greg answers matter of factly.
"Greg, I know that face. It's the same face I use at a meeting when I am giving good results but it's just before I have to let someone go for poor performance. One of the team? Ed?"
"He says he's fine…when he's in the moment…there's no one better. Marina, he's the best for a reason. Tonight there was a call…a father and his son, Ed…he was on top of his game."
"So what's the issue then?"
"Afterward he went into the alley and threw up. I didn't call him on it but…but he's gotta talk about it. I know May's death still weighs upon him and I hate the fact that I can see the warning signs…they're there…it'll just take one more heated call and he'll snap and…and I can't let that happen."
"But he's also my friend and a grown man and I can't just order him…well I could but…"
"But that wouldn't foster friendship or trust," Marina finishes, Greg looking at her with a soft smile and nod. "He has to come to you on his own."
"And I doubt he ever will. I can't let him fall Marina I can't lose him…I can't. We lost Raf and…"
"Raf's not Ed," she correctly surmises.
"Ed's still human," he sighs as her hand slips into his and her head rests on his shoulder. "I can't lose him Marina. I can't."
"You won't," she whispers as her hand squeezes his. "You won't."
"Okay," is all Greg can manage, his mind and heart both aching for the welfare of his best friend.
"Come on…tell me about the rest of the call over dinner," Marina entreats as they finally move from their spot.
Greg gives her a nod, an outward display of his affirmation of her sentiment that he'd keep Ed from personal harm, but inside – that's a whole other feeling. He knows cops in the past who have held it all inside like Ed does, always thought they were the tough ones, could handle anything, were impervious to the emotional foils of regular men…overlooked the fact that they too were human until one day – one fateful day when the light at the end of the tunnel darkened and tragedy was all that followed. Can't let that happen to you Ed…not to you, Greg's mind swirls over and over, his mind hearing Ed's strong reply "it's all good," but failing to hear the anguished cries of his friend alone in the dimly lit garage on the other side of the city, silent tears escaping tormented sapphire pools as he wrestles with his inner demons, telling his family later simply that he was fine; warning signs for impending personal doom. Can't let that happen to you Eddie…I can't.
As Marina tells him about her day, Greg picks up his phone and quickly texts Ed, a simple message he hope his friend will act upon before it's too late.
'I'm here if you need me.'
A/N: Okay I must apologize if this seems weak…I want to keep these going but RL was beating us up this week so I'm hoping you all liked this a little and it carried on from the last one. So please do review before you go and thanks so much for your time to read!