The Light of Hope (Peregrine x Diana)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Peregrine, Jul 13, 2014.

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    At first, Kane had been afraid to get on the boat. He had sat on the uncomfortable wooden bench, visualizing the whitewashed walls, the rumpled sheets, the corridor so narrow that you could barely walk through it normally, the ceiling low enough to touch, all of it as intimately familiar as his own body. He had thought walking back into that small place would be like walking back into a prison. He had thought it would be bad, would trigger... He had stopped thinking then, sitting husk-like on the bench, handcuffed to the railing, green eyes vacant and black hair falling over his face in the sea breeze, until two soldiers had come to escort him on board. Kane should have known better. Military ships had been his home for the past five years, and as uncomfortable as they might be they were familiar. Something stable and constant. It had almost been a relief to collapse onto his bed, close his eyes, and try and forget the world. Forget the memories. Think, if he was lucky, he wouldn't dream. Now it wasn't staying on he feared. It was getting off.

    The USS Breaker had one of the most unlucky voyages in military history, the crew would say once they were safely docked in port, out of the reach of whatever tempestuous spirit they had angered. It was his fault, they would continue, voices dropping to a hushed whisper. That SEAL. Foster. They should have killed him back in Asia, for what he did to that village. But some judge was bribed, and he got off with nothing but a dishonorable discharge. And he brought his bad luck with him. Something would go wrong every time he screamed.

    He had not been allowed on deck, to see the blue on blue of ocean on sky. He had barely been allowed out of the small room in which they had trapped him. Ultimately, Kane had been just as glad they had all left him alone. If they had come to speak with him, to torment him, things would probably have gone much worse.

    The sound of the waves might have been the only thing that kept him sane. They broke against the hull of the ship, constant and ever enduring. They were a noise that a SEAL could never forget, and they became his pulse. The waves ran through his blood and they, at least temporarily, washed away the contamination in his body and mind. But the waves of shore always sounded different than the waves that crashed against the ship. They were enough to wake him from whatever uneasy slumber he had obtained, and he sat shivering, dreading what was coming. It had been ten months since he has last seen Katrina. She was going to have questions, want to know what had happened, and how she could help. And he was going to hurt her. No matter what he did, he was going to hurt her. All he could do was guess what would hurt her the least, and try and follow that path through.

    There was a loose thread on one of his buttons, and he tugged at it absentmindedly. The thread unraveled easily, spooling out longer and longer under his fingers. His hand dropped away a moment later, falling listlessly back onto the thin mattress, but the thread continued to hang suspended in midair. For a moment it swirled as though caught in an air current, before it continued to pull up towards the roof of his bunk. Soon the button was free, and it slipped off the placket falling towards the floor. However, before it reached the ground, it slowed, before floating up to join the thread.

    This was his gift, his new curse. If only all of it was that easy.

    Out of the corner of his eye, Kane saw a drip of blood fall from the ceiling, staining his white sheet a deep red. Every muscle in his body tensed up suddenly, and he turned his head slowly. Another drop, and another. Soon it was cascading from the ceiling, a waterfall flooding the room. Kane's throat seized up, and he began to convulse on the bed as he desperately tried to voice the panic within himself. Finally the scream burst free. It echoed around the space, growing in fever and pitch. Both button and string fell from their suspended location.

    The light on the ceiling shattered, plunging the room into absolute darkness. His scream ended as suddenly as the light, and along with it vanished the blood. The waves raced outside, and Kane sat in darkness until the flashlight of a soldier finally interrupted his death like peace.


    He did not resist, and the sailor did not touch him. No one had touched him since the first day of his journey, when a brash young man who had tried to grab him suddenly slipped on a puddle of water that had not seemed to be there a moment before and shattered his wrist when he tried to catch himself.

    The sun was almost painfully bright, causing Kane to blink hard and lift one hand to shade his eyes. He couldn't see anything beyond the water. It was all washed out with the light. And then he saw her. She was standing there, staring at him, and she was smiling so sweetly.

    A tear ran down his cheek, where it was grabbed by a stray breeze and flung into the ocean, to be lost among all the other saltiness.
    #1 Peregrine, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  2. There couldn't have been a more beautiful day. The sun was bright and warm, turning the sea a brilliant shade of blue. Scents of fish and salt hung in the air, something Katrina found comforting and familiar. She always loved the sea. Enchanted by the seemingly endless waves and depths unknown. No one was surprised when she married a Navy man and moved out to the coast. It might have been hard when he was out on tour of duty, but their life worked for them.

    Katrina had never been more afraid in her entire life than the moment her husband was reported missing. No one would tell her what happened. A mission went wrong, it was all they'd give. For months she fretted, fearing the worst. hat he might be dead and she would never see him again. Deep down she refused to believe it, and her faith was rewarded when they found him.

    Something happened there, though... something terrible. The Navy called it classified and Kane was being discharged. After almost a year of him being away, without contact, there was a small part of her that feared he would come back different. They wouldn't be the same together. That he wouldn't care for her the same anymore.

    All of those fears vanished in the instant she saw his face.

    Katrina ran across the boardwalk and launched herself at him. Her arms flinging around his neck as she hugged him tight, feet dangling off the ground. She told herself she wouldn't cry, but the tears were there anyway as she laughed and squeezed. Kissing his cheek twice and nuzzling her nose against it.

    "Kane! Kane, I missed you so much. I was so worried!"
  3. Kane stood stiffly within her embrace, his arms hanging listlessly at his sides. God, she was so beautiful. Her face had been the very first thing he thought of every morning, even after the picture of her he had carried had been destroyed in the ambush that had labeled him MIA, and shipwrecked him in the Russian wilderness for so many months.

    A shiver began to build in his body as his subconscious tried to confront the memories his conscious mind refused to acknowledge. His eyes snapped closed and his fists balled, nails biting into the palm of his hand. No. No. He couldn’t do this now. Not with Katrina standing so close to him. Underneath the dock, hidden from sight, a wave rolled into shore and hung there, clinging to the beach as though to save its life. When the next wave rolled in, it too clung to the beach under the boardwalk. Tiny bubbles began to form in the water.

    When the US army had finally... found him, they had given him a physical and, other than a new collection of scars, had marked him in perfect health. They had left their assessments at that, and had sent him off to court. It did not truly matter. So what if they should have diagnosed him with PTSD. It wasn’t as though, with a dishonorable discharge, they would have paid for any form of treatment. This was another thing he was going to have to deal with all on his own.

    Kane did not push Katrina away, but nor did he respond to her affections. He stood perfectly still, eyes vacant and distant, until she finally let him go. A part of him wished that she hadn’t come to pick him up, that something, anything, had waylaid her in her attempt to come see him. It would have made vanishing from her life so much easier. He had been gone for months, and the thought that he truly was dead must have entered into her mind on multiple occasions. Maybe if she had never seen him again, even if she consciously knew he was alive and back in America, some part of her would have been willing to accept that he was dead.

    Maybe then he would have been able to abandon her without ripping both of them apart.

    But he should have known that there was no force in the world that could keep her away from him. And now he was going to have to tear out her tender, loving heart and stomp it into the ground. It was all his fault.
  4. "Kane." He was stiff and unmoving. His arms should have been around her, she should have gotten a kiss. A dozen kisses. He hadn't even said a word. All of her fears and doubts were surging forward again. That everything was too far gone, that too much had happened and now she wasn't going to have him back.

    No, she wasn't going to let it go like that. Katrina released him, only enough that her feet were firmly planted back on the ground again. Examining his impassive expression just affirmed her conclusions. He looked broken. Lost. She could see that in his eyes, even if no other emotion was crossing his face. Whatever happened to him was terrible and to lose his job on top of it... She needed to be strong for him now.

    "I bet you're exhausted? Lets get you home. I've got something in the slowcooker for dinner and afterwards we can curl up in bed." she didn't wait for a reply. Instead she pulled away, running her hands down his arms to take his hands and tug him forward with her. He didn't have to speak, she would take care of everything.
  5. Kane responded to the gentle promptings of her hand unconsciously, his legs moving forward, passing over plank after plank. He could feel the water of the ocean moving with him, and he could do nothing to stop it. But Katrina held onto his hand with a grip as strong as iron yet as gentle as a feather. Nothing would happen, nothing. Not so long as she was with him. It was the one promise he could still offer her.

    How was it possible that a single hand could pull him in so many directions? He wanted to go with her so bad it was like a physical ache. He wanted to return to the small house that would not have changed one bit in the months he had been gone, sit on the pale couch with the large coffee stain on the back, cuddle with the person he loved and forget everything. Forget the nightmares of his experience that haunted him; that he had ever been away from home, that his mission had ever gone wrong, that the extremist group had found him... that he had killed all those innocent people. People he had come to call his friends.

    The fire was all around him. And the blood. Circling in around him, coating him, dripping off of his fingers and the tip of his nose. The smell of burnt flesh. The screams. The pleading voices. And, by far the worst, an old voice, whispering a heartfelt apology on his dying breath.

    He wanted to scream. Wanted to cry out, but he couldn’t. All he could do was stare at the back of Katrina’s head as they stepped off the boardwalk and began to make their way towards the parking lot. That was all he could do until the water voiced the scream he could not release. It erupted like a geyser, shattering the boardwalk before turning into a massive cloud of steam. A number of people screamed in shock as they were dropped into the ocean with the shattered planks.

    A small whimper slipped from between Kane’s lips.

    “Let’s go. Please.”

    They were the first words he said to her, after so many months of separation. That shouldn’t have been what he said. It was not the first words that came to him when he looked at her.

    I love you.
  6. The collapse of the boardwalk and the screams had her jumping and freezing to the spot. A good look back showed nothing but a lot of bewildered people getting fished out of the ocean water and a few sailors running out to see what happened. No one seemed to be seriously hurt, but there was a great deal of confusion.

    Though her instinct was to go back and and check on people, Kane's soft, simple plea seemed so much more urgent. Without making a comment, she tugged him forward again, out in to the parking lot. The big yellow jeep was tucked in the back, away from other vehicles where Katrina preferred parking. She always complained the thing was a pain in the ass to park, but loved it too much to have it traded in for something else.

    She unlocked the doors, but instead of passing him the keys like she normally would have, she bundled him in to the passengers side, then slipped in behind the wheel herself. Hanging from the mirror was an assortment of beaded and seashell necklaces, some that were probably hanging there for years.

    "The jeep's been acting up on me again. Maybe you can give it a look sometime this week?" Blabbering on about the jeep wasn't what she really wanted to ask and say. But Katrina figured a mundane topic would be a good way to ease in to things. He felt so distant and everything seemed... awkward. But she was sure she could do something about it as soon as they got home.
  7. The blood and the screams faded from inside of his head as soon as the water erupted, but Kane was still in far too much of a haze to pay attention to anything else going on around him. It felt as though something was boiling in his blood, and all he wanted to do was flush it out. But he had tried that already, and for every scrap that was washed out or flushed away, another one was created to replace it.

    It wasn’t until he felt the vibration of the Jeep underneath him that he realized exactly where he was, and what had happened. Disgust burned within his gut; disgust and shame. He wasn’t supposed to have let himself get this far. He was supposed to have walked away right after he got off the dock, and tried to start his life over somewhere that he couldn’t hurt anyone. But he hadn’t left. And he knew exactly why. Deep within him, Kane could not help but believe that, maybe, just maybe, he didn’t need to leave. He was finally free of the military, free to pursue whatever life he wanted, and more than anything he wanted to live his life with Katrina. Maybe he didn’t have to let this absurdity within his own body dictate his life now. Maybe it could all be over.

    “Maybe,” he muttered, unaware that it applied as an answer to the question that Katrina had just asked him. All he had to do was keep his stupid, idiotic, pathetic head in check. He could do that, couldn’t he? He had lived with his own mind so long, and before this moment it had always perfectly obeyed him. He could not stand the humiliation of knowing that he was out of control, even if he was the only one to know it.

    He unconsciously traced the swinging of the necklaces back and forth, back and forth, as they drove down the road home. He rolled down the window, allowing a gust of air to enter the car. It picked up the strands of his black hair, throwing them into his face and over his eyes, but he didn’t care enough to try and brush them away. His eyes fluttered closed, and the roar of air filled his ears. It was still possible to smell the sea on the air. Maybe, if he pretended he was still on the ship, he would be able to get home without incident.

    And get home without incident he did, even though he felt more than a little guilty for ignoring Katrina’s occasional stabs at starting a conversation. He had barely glanced at her the whole way home, unwilling to glance at her and see her glancing over at him, worry filling her eyes. He knew, knew the way that all lovers know, that he was causing her great pain at the moment. He knew that she had missed him at least as dearly as he missed her, if not even more, and now he was denying her a chance at the reunion she really wanted.

    Katrina wouldn’t complain, wouldn’t push him. She never had. But the loss of an opportunity that could never come again hung faintly in the air between them. The car pulled into the driveway, the engine turned off. Kane looked up, his eyes locking onto a familiar patio and bright red door. Home. It looked so familiar, and yet so foreign at the same time.

    This was his last chance, his last chance to walk away before he was committed. But he couldn’t. He was not willing to leave his heart behind him, even after everything that he had gone through.
  8. Having her husband sit silent and unresponsive beside her was gut-wretching. Without knowing the details of what happened to him, her imagination could run wild. Scenes upon scenes of terrible, horrifying things. What sort of events could emotionally cripple a man? Not that she believed for a moment that he was too far gone. Kane wasn't gone, at least not so far gone that she couldn't reach him and bring him back. Katrina had to believe that.

    "Here we are, home safe." Her hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, as she turned her head to glance at him. For some reason home safe seemed like the understatement of the century. It was so hard to read his expression. To tell if her were relieved, afraid, or just... still living in another place.

    There was a strong urge to grab him and shake him, demand that he tell her everything and slap himself out of it. Katrina took a deep breath and pushed it back down. Her door open and she climbed out of the jeep to circle around to his side and pop open his door.

    "C'mon sunshine, one step at a time." She grabbed his hand to tug him out and to follow her. She'd worry about his bag later.
  9. One step at a time was exactly how Kane approached the rest of the evening. He settled himself into the couch where Katrina placed him, one arm draping over the armrest. It had been his favorite spot before he left, as he had a good view of both the TV and the kitchen, which was connected to the living room by a small wooden arch and a few half-walls that also often doubled as tables. However, now it almost felt as though he did not quite belong in the spot, as though it had changed, and was no longer willing to accept his body. It wasn't until a moment later that Kane was forced t acknowledge that it was not the couch that had changed, but himself. He could no longer view it the same way he had before.

    A small snort of humor escaped his lips, probably the most emotion he had shown since stepping off the boat. Of all the things about which he could be thinking, of all of the the things that had changed on him since his shipwreck, the one on which he focused was the furniture. Perhaps there was hope for him yet. All the same, he quickly lapsed back into silence, but it seemed that the moment of humor had lightened his expression more than a little bit. He watched Katrina with far more attentiveness than he had shown yet.

    They moved tentatively, almost as though they were back on their first date. An awkwardness that was entirely foreign to their relationship had followed them into the house, but Kane did not dwell on it. Katrina was doing what she had always done for him; trying to understand what exactly it was he wanted and needed. Trying to understand every aspect of him, whether it was flattering or not. But Kane kept the one true secret, the only secret that mattered, buried deep within himself, undetectable even to her empathetic gaze.

    Finally, as the familiar smells and sights of their small house began to work on him, and a modicum of comfort returned, Kane knew that it was time to talk. He did not want to say anything, did not want to have to explain what had happened to him in Russia, even if he was only going to share the official story. The memories were painful and terrifying, and the idea of sharing them terrified him more than he was willing to admit. He was so afraid that he would once more get lost in his memories, in the moments that had passed. Even at the thought of thinking about it, a vice closed around his chest, cutting off his breathing.

    But he had to offer her something. Something to give a reason for his behavior. He owed her that, for the love and understanding she had given him, and would continue to give him.

    "You can ask now," he said quietly, eyes on his hands. "If you want." Slowly he looked up, his green eyes meeting her brown ones, and they begged her, silently, to be gentle.
  10. "Oh, I can ask now? It's good to get permission!" she said teasingly. Despite his apprehension and their weird tension they seemed to have between them, that one statement was so ridiculous she actually laughed out loud. His expression was heart-melting, and here she was laughing.

    Katrina moved to sit down on the coffee table, directly in front of him. Dinner was fine in the crock pot and she was just relieved that he did want to talk. She rest her hands on his knees, casting a gentle teasing grin.

    "Maybe I don't have to ask. Maybe I don't need to know anything, and I'm just glad you're home. Oh, I definitely want to know, but need? Naw... Tell me when you're ready to tell me." Katrina removed her hands, bending forward to reach down and pick up one of his feet. She worked on untying the laces.
  11. Kane unconsciously flinched as Katrina’s hands touched his knee, but through force of will he kept it in place. He returned her grin to the best of his ability, before his eyes fluttered closed. Her hand were warm. They always had been warm. Sometimes he used to pretend that she would leave them near the stove, heating them up like his mother had used to heat up his bedsheets some nights before bed, just for him. But most of the time he was certain it was simply an external representation of her warm heart.

    If he had forgotten about her warm heart, her words at that moment reminded him. She loved him unconditionally, and he was so, so, so lucky. What had he ever done to deserve someone like her?

    For a moment after Katrina had finished speaking, as he felt one shoe slip off his foot and then the other, he simply sat there, eyes closed, relishing in the feeling of her being near him. But finally his eyes opened, and as she set down his other foot he leaned forwards, cupping her face in one hand. “What happens if I.... I’m never ready?”
  12. "Then I'll never know." Her smile was soft and she spoke with perfect confidence in her statement. Katrina closed the distance between them and planted a gentle kiss at the corner of his mouth. Then she tilted back with a very serious expression.

    "Unless you mean to tell me that you absolutely can't stand the sight of me anymore and you want a divorce. That you had an affair with a foxy blonde and plan to move to Mexico. If that is the case, I'm still going to love you, but I am also going to throw all your stuff out on the front lawn and set it on fire."

    She laughed, reaching up to brush her thumb at his chin in an affection way. "As long as you still love, I don't care how much time you need. I'm not going anywhere."
  13. "Yes," he agreed, face straight. "But it was a foxy redhead. And we are moving to Tibet next week." He smiled a moment later, giving up the game, before kissing his wife slowly and sweetly. For one moment he forgot about everything, and he was perfectly sane once more. He was safe, he was free, and Russia might as well have never happened. And then their lips separated, and he was staring into her brown eyes, and they were so warm and familiar until suddenly they weren't. He was staring at the face of a young woman with a child clasped in her arms and she was staring at him with wide fearful brown eyes until suddenly she wasn't and all that was left was blood and blood and blood and blood.

    His breathing was picking up and he could feel the sweat beading on his forehead. He nearly pushed her away, those brown eyes and that dead body, staring at him with accusation as she tried to cling to the limp form of her son even in death but he couldn't push her, because sitting before him was the one person he could never, ever bring himself to hurt. But the surf surging in his blood didn't seem to agree. It didn't know anything, all it knew was that it was, and it had to do something. He had to do something.

    Kane pulled away from her, drawing his knees suddenly up to his chest and he closed his eyes and bit his tongue until the taste of blood suddenly filled his mouth. And that was one step too much. The lightbulb in the kitchen exploded suddenly, sending tiny fragments of glass showering into the kitchen in a deadly cascade. They peppered the floor and the counter tops in deadly shards that could cut as easily as any knife.

    He only ever needed one thing to push him over the edge now. God, how could he be so out of control? What if Katrina had been standing underneath? What would he have done if he had hurt her? The thought was unbearable, and it was so vivid that he opened his eyes, almost expecting to see her covered in blood as well. Kane reached out suddenly, grabbing onto her with hands that closed maybe a it too tight. But she was warm and alive and breathing.

    "Katrina?" He asked, almost as though he was trying to reassure himself that she was there.
  14. "Hey..." she said softly at first, but Kane seemed to be lost. His eyes glassed over and unfocused, trapped in a memory. Katrina's hands itched to reach out and stroke through his hair, but he had already withdrawn and curled in to himself. She bit in to her lip, fighting the urge to try and shake him out of it.

    When the lights in the kitchen shattered, she jumped. Before she could stand she felt his hands grabbing on to her, so tight and so desperate. Her own hands rose to brush against his cheeks, the shattered glass momentarily forgotten.

    "I'm still here." Katrina moved from the coffee table to sit with him on the couch. She slipped her arms around his neck and drew him close to hold him tight. "I'm still here and everything is okay. ...I need to do something about that glass, though. There must've been a bad power surge."
  15. Kane remained curled in on himself, but he relaxed somewhat at Katrina’s warm presence at his side. But his mind was still on the bulb, on the sharp glass, and on how little control he had over himself. When Katrina stood to go clean up the glass he let her go numbly.

    Hadn’t he known this was going to happen, though? Wasn’t that why he had intended to simply vanish once he was back in the United States? He could no longer trust himself to be around her, because he was uncontrollable. He was messed up, broken, and all too likely irreparable. What right did he have to subject Katrina to that?

    “I’m sorry,” he whispered, so quietly that it seemed the words never actually escaped his lips. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to break the bulb.”

    But what was he going to do, stand up and just walk out of the house? He couldn’t do that, either, not now. She’d go looking for him, believing he was lost and confused, and she would worry about him so much. She’d never believe that he had walked away from her of his own free will.

    And there was still that burning sensation in his chest at the thought of leaving her, like some hand had closed around his heart and was trying to pull it out of his chest. He didn’t want to leave her. Why couldn’t he make this work?

    He had to make this work.
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