Writing it anyway, because my heart needs closure. Baby bit that wouldn’t leave me alone all night, unedited.
He knows. He’s been here before, seen the look in her eyes, seen her walls slam sky-high. Fear of not being enough, fear of not being good enough, fear of something she doesn’t want to name. She wants to be alone, doesn’t want to be alone, doesn’t know where to turn, so she doesn’t turn anywhere. After everything they’ve been through, everything they suffered - together, apart, together again - it hurts. Hurts that she doesn’t open up to him, that she can’t escape the demons of her heart.
He knows. He’s been there before, too. It hurts, but he understands, he’s done the same to her. Held onto his pain, hid it from her, from everyone, afraid of his weakness, ashamed of his fear. He doesn’t want her to be alone, in all the ways he knows she is, but he can’t push, can’t fight through the barriers she’s built. It’s not what she needs, anyway, and he knows that, too.
He knows. Hands, it’s always hands. His, when he got it back, his old anger, his old demons, coursing through his body from fingers he’d almost forgotten. His, when he broke through the Crocodile’s hold on his heart, reaching out to grab her arm, holding tight and never letting go.
He wants her to do the same with him, wants her to know she can always hold onto him, no matter how stormy the seas.
He knows. He sees the trembling in her fingers, how she tries to hold herself steady, always steady, dependable, true. She’s been his compass, his direction when tempests hit, helping him find his way through the swells and crash of waves. He can be her anchor now, steadying her, holding her in place, giving her a ground to stand on, stand strong.
He knows. She’s hiding something from him, something haunting in her eyes. He wants to ask, needs to ask, can’t ask, not after everything, not with their lives so tenuously rebuilt, not with so much else to do. There’s always work, always others, everyone but herself. He longs to stop the world, freeze time, take away the distractions and help her focus, find her centre, breathe.
So he stays. He waits beside her, steady and firm, gives her what she needs and tries not to take. He gathers the moments, counts them, treasures them, lets her know how much he loves them - her, her, always her. He does what he can, reminds her he’s there, offers her all of himself if she asks.