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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:02 am 
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The air between them was so thick, Caleb was damn sure they could cut it with a knife, he hadn't wanted to see her cry, hated the damn tears that were making tracks down her face and as much as he wanted to wipe them away. To hold her until the storm had passed he knew he couldn't, not if he had to make sure this was going to happen and it was one of the hardest things he had ever done.

He hadn't thought when he'd first woken up that this is what it would come down to, but as the day passed with no sign of any damn memories returning, of feeling his frustration well further up, and the inability to put any words to what was in his mind. He found he couldn't drag Claire through that, as much as he wanted to lean on her, to let her take whatever burden was forming on his shoulders, he couldn't do it to her.

So he sat there, twisted so he was facing her, ignoring the twinging of his side as he spoke the damning words, as he watched her fight internally and outwardly with what he had just said. Every spoke sob of 'no' he nodded his head to it, this was going to happen, there was no other way. Even as the guilt started to bubble up inside of him for putting her through this, he didn't feel like the same person she had so clearly fallen in love with, he didn't feel like himself.

“This has to happen,” he whispered his own voice thick with emotion, a harshness building there that he was trying to hide behind, “I'm not the same person, I don't know what to say to make this better. I don't know what you want from me, Claire? Am bruised, beaten and broken, am not the same person.”

It was like the words were recorded, like he hadn't spoken them, they sounded so far away, like he hadn't spoken them in the here and now. It was like swimming through treacle, thick with no way out. What he hadn't expected was for Claire to ask him that question, it was like she pulled him back into the here and now, as though everything was coming back into focus and he looked up at her sharply.

“What?” he asked surprised, did he still love her? “Yes, I didn't stop loving you,” It was true whatever hell he was currently putting her through, he hadn't stopped loving her, he let out a sigh as her hands rested on his face, he felt himself almost leaning into them, wanting to take the comfort that they partially give.

But he couldn't if he gave in, they'd go back to what they had been a few days ago, bickering, frustrated and him with still no memory, no idea how he was meant to lean on Claire, terrified that he had changed so much that once he was healthy again she would be the one to leave him. So he was cutting his loses now, he realised, taking that stab at breaking them up before she realised how much he had changed.

His own hands came up to cover hers, holding them there briefly before pulling them away, his own heart breaking so loudly he was surprised Claire didn't hear it.

“I don't know what you want from me? I don't know if I'm the same person you fell in love with,” he whispered, eyes closing, he didn't want to see the look in her eyes at that moment, “What if am not? Whatever the Genii did I can't remember, Claire, but it was something bad enough that I can't....don't want to remember.” He finally opened his eyes to look at her, “How can you even love me, if I don't know who I am any more?”


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:06 am 
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Claire felt as though her heart had been cut out, smashed to pieces, and trampled on. Caleb's pronouncement that it was over between them had come as a complete shock, and was the last thing she had ever expected to hear from him. It was as though the man sat next to her was a complete stranger, someone who had no regard for how she felt, and didn't care about what they had built together.

And yet, as her eyes searched Caleb's face, she could see he was conflicted, struggling with this as much as she was. He couldn't look her in the eye, couldn't be direct with her. He was trying to force her to leave him, force her to make the decision. That alone spoke volumes.

The tears still streaking down her cheeks, another sob, followed by a hiccup, racked Claire's body. She hadn't wanted to show any weakness in front of him, only the strength that he needed, and she was surprised that she had broken so easily. Shock would do that to even the strongest person, though, and this was right up there with the shock of having found out that Tama had been unfaithful, over and over.

No. This was worse. Far, far worse.

When she had found out that Tama was a cheating bastard, her world hadn't come crashing down around her. Not even when she had found out he had made sure she was infertile. Those had been blips, bumps in the road, nothing more than setbacks to be detoured around. This, though... well, this was shattering. End of the world stuff. Claire hadn't ever considered a life without Caleb in it, without him by her side, and she didn't want to consider it now, even though he was trying to drive her away.

His harsh voice cut her to the quick, and Claire felt herself deflate further, her world collapsing in on itself. Her eyes dropped, her shoulders sagged, and she reached up to brush away the tears. Still, though, this little spark of defiance burned in her, the need to fight for what they had beginning to claw its way back up.

Her heart broke again as Caleb said it had to happen, and he didn't know what she wanted from him. "I want you," sobbed Claire, bringing her eyes back up to Caleb, trying to catch his gaze and failing. "This doesn't have to happen. Kei te aroha au i a koe. That hasn't changed, and will never change. I don't care what you've been through, it will never change how I feel about you."

Some of her fierceness was starting to come back to her voice, some of her stubbornness and pride, and the spark returned to Claire's eyes. The moment she knew that Caleb didn't want her to leave was when his hands came up to hers, and he told he that he hadn't stopped loving her. That was when she knew that she had something to fight for.

"If you still love me, then we're not done," she said, her voice broken and shaky. She let Caleb remove her hands from his face, before placing them on his thighs. "I'm not going anywhere, you hear me, eh? All I want is you. We promised ourselves to one another forever. That was what you said. That was what we said."

Claire gulped for a moment, her eyes wide, red-rimmed and watery as she gave it all she had. One last gambit to try to hold her marriage together. "What if it was me," she asked, her voice barely a whisper, her gaze searingly honest as she laid herself open, bare, in front of Caleb, making one final, risky attempt to keep their little family together.

"What if it was me who had been taken by the Genii? What if I had told you to leave me? What would you do?"


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:37 am 
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If there was one thing Caleb hated most in the world, besides himself right in that moment, was making Claire cry, he had made a promise so long ago that he would do everything he could to make sure she was happy, that they were happy and yet one small little mission and everything had changed. Everything seemed to be crumbling down around him, them, everything they had built up was crashing, burning and he was the one driving them to this.

But he couldn't do anything else, couldn't stop what he had put into motion, this was worse than when his Ex had told him to change, had told him to choose, he had been young then, young and reckless and had refused to do as she had asked. Which he guessed had changed him in a sense, but when he had taken that terrifying leap to Claire, when he realised that what he was feeling ran much deeper than just a damn good friendship, he had promised them, himself nothing but happiness and yet there he was wrecking everything good they had made.

He felt his stomach twist, his heart filling with nothing but lead, as he could barely look at her, look at the face in front of him that he loved so damn much that it was physically causing him pain, the hands on his face were like brands to his soul as Claire begged him that it didn't have to happen, he felt his own reserve falter slightly, maybe a small tiny amount.

Caleb finally looked at her, looked into the red blotchy face of his wife, of the one woman who was not only his best friend, but his partner in everything and he felt his heart give a tug as he looked at her. He wanted to bring her in close, to hold her sooth the tears that were running down her face, to ease all the pain he was putting them through.

But he couldn't, he had to make her understand, had to make her see, he had done the one thing he had promised her he would never do, he'd changed, and he was scared as to who he had changed into. He replayed the last few snipe comments he had give her over the last few days, what he had pushed her away for, because he was bruised, he was broken, he was hurting and had broken that one damn promise.

Dropping his hands he shook his head, “You don't understand, I can't...” his own voice seemed to catch in his throat as emotion swelled up in him, he wanted to apologise, to sweep the whole damn thing under the rug, start again, but he couldn't, not now it was out in the open.

He shook his head, pushed himself carefully to his feet, his side burning as he tried to hold onto his own emotions, his shoulders scrunching up as he took a shaky breath. He never showed emotion, never let anyone really see him cry, yet there he was holding it back, his own tears threatening to spill over. He found himself leaning against one of the sides in their bedroom, his arms crossed on his chest, almost curling in on himself as he looked at Claire sat on their bed, her bed now, he told himself.

Then she asked the question he wasn't expecting, out of everything that he expected to go down in this conversation, that was not something he had expected, what if it was her? What if it had been Claire, he knew for a fact he wouldn't have sat still for a damn minute, wouldn't have let her be out there on her own for so long, would have made sure he was going through the gate ever second to find her and there lay the problem.

The one thing he realised in that moment, that he hadn't noticed before, was that he'd had to rescue himself, had to crawl himself from whatever hole the Genii had dumped him in and fight his way home. He was still fighting this moment, still pushing everyone away because he'd had to do it on his own, he'd had to do it all on his own.

“If it was you, I'd have damn well found you quicker,” he said harshly, before rubbing a hand across his face, he was tired, so tired, “I've done the one thing, one Claire that I promised I wouldn't and I don't break promises, never.”

He had to stop, had to wipe at his face as he realised he was damn well crying now as well, the thought of it having been Claire that was taken, if she was telling him to leave, he wouldn't, he wouldn't leave, nothing would make him leave her side no matter what she threw at him.

“Damn it Claire!” he swore, wanting to hit his hand against the hard unit at his back in frustration, the fist already part way formed, his anger bubbling up and over, his own tears on his face, “Am not going to stop loving you! But I've changed, I did the one thing, the damn one thing I swore I never would, I changed, I started snapping at you, the Genii damaged me and I don't know who I am any more. How can you sit there, tell me you love me, when I don't even know who I am any more?”


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:29 pm 
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Claire watched Caleb fighting with himself, struggling with the decision he appeared to have made without talking it through, without giving their relationship - their marriage - a chance. He was conflicted, having made a decision that he clearly hadn't wanted to make, and now all she could do was watch, helpless, as the storm raged on inside him.

The man who had returned from the Genii wasn't the carefree, happy go lucky bloke who had near-sprinted out through the gate, that much was true. The Caleb who had collapsed, bleeding and dying, on the floor of the gateroom, was hurt, damaged, and struggling, but those were just surface issues, as far as she was concerned. Underneath it all, Claire could still see her husband, hiding away, afraid to come out and show himself, to bare himself to her.

In trying to hide himself from her, Caleb was only hurting himself further, and, in the process, he had somehow decided that throwing away everything they had built together. Claire swallowed deeply as he told her she couldn't understand, and she fiercely shook her head. "You don't get to say what I can understand," she replied, her voice broken and exposed, tears still slaking down her cheeks.

She had heard the emotion trying to break its way free, and Claire reached out, instinctively wanting to comfort Caleb, but he wouldn't let her. He moved away, as though the merest touch of her hand might be enough to weaken his resolve. "Caleb," she said, her voice a quiet plea, her eyes bleak green pools, ready to do whatever it took to hold them together.

No, to hold Caleb together.

Claire hadn't expected her question to have quite the response it elicited though, and she felt as though she had been punched in the chest by Caleb's harsh answer. Of course he would have been out looking for her. He would never have done as he was told when she had demanded to join the search parties, would never have meekly waited at home for news. He would have jumped through the gate at the last moment, permission on not.

It was then that she crumpled, appeared to fold in on herself, drowned in guilt at the thought that Caleb felt she had failed him. Washed away on a fresh wave of tears, Claire finally shattered into a million pieces, covering her face with her hands. When it had mattered, she hadn't been enough, hadn't pushed hard enough to make sure that she brought him home. She couldn't hide from that, and knowing that Caleb felt that she hadn't done enough cut her to the quick.

"I tried to go out with the search parties," she said, her small voice cracked and pained. "They wouldn't let me." Said that she was too important as the city's deputy CMO, they couldn't risk her not coming back too. Claire had fought tooth and nail, but Elizabeth Weir - and Carson - had overridden her at every turn. No matter what argument she had made, no matter how rational she was - glossing over her rising panic with professionalism - neither of them had let her anywhere near any of the searches that were conducted over the first 48 hours when her husband was missing.

Claire looked up at Caleb again, her eyes betraying the devastation she was feeling. "If we'd been back on earth, I'd have been sacked for what I said to Elizabeth when she called off the search," she admitted. "I demanded she let me go and look for you, but she..." Claire hiccupped, another sob racking her body, tearing her gaze from the man she loved, even as she tried to watch his reaction.

Blinking back more tears, swallowing another sob, she looked back up at Caleb, the tears shining on his cheeks as he finally let his emotions get the better of him. Claire couldn't finish her sentence. She couldn't tell him what Elizabeth had said, not now, anyway. It would break him even more. It had been enough to make Claire tell her to go fuck herself because she didn't give a shit about Caleb, about her people. "I would have given everything to bring you home, you know. But I couldn't, and that bloody killed me!"

She blinked back a fresh bank of tears as Caleb swore, slapping his hand against the bedroom unit, even as he reproached himself for breaking a promise to her. "We've both changed," Claire murmured, her voice almost lost in the tense silence that enveloped the room. "We're always changing. But I think we're both better people than when we got together." Her eyes shone with unshed tears, and, after a moment's hesitation, Claire climbed off the bed and made her way over to where Caleb stood, leaning on the unit next to him. She was close enough to feel the heat coming off his body, but not quite close enough to touch.

"I love you," she said simply, turning her head to look up at Caleb, the tears still running down both their cheeks. "You might not know who you are, but I do. I know you're strong, you're kind, you're funny, you're gentle when you want to be, and you..." She paused for a moment, swallowing back a big ball of emotion. "You did whatever it took to come home to me. You made it home, e ipo, and, no matter what, I'm not going anywhere, you hear me? You wouldn't leave me if this had happened to me, so why should I leave you?"


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:11 pm 
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Out of everything that was swirling around in his head, in his stomach – there was definitely going to be no chance of having breakfast any time soon – the emotion being thick not just in the room, but within himself as well. If there was one thing he had learnt from being with Claire was that he had never felt emotions as strongly as he did with her, whether that was the good kind or like now, the bad kind, everything was doubled, was stronger with Claire.

It was part of the reason why it was damn near killing him to do this, to try to make her understand, even as more tears trailed down her face, even as the hand that was clenched into the tightest fist he could make his fingers digging into the palm of his hand, he was going to have small indents there when he uncurled his hand. But for now, now the pain was a bit of a welcome distraction, it kept him focused, alert, even as the fog of misery pretty much descended upon him.

Caleb also wasn't expecting the harsh outburst from Claire about what she could understand, “And I can't make you understand what I mean!” he snapped back, how was he meant to make her understand? There were no words to describe what he meant, what he was trying to put across to her, what he was feeling.

There was one thing that hadn't really changed in all the time since they'd been together and been very close friends and that was the fact he still kind of struggled with expressing what he meant, sometimes it had become a bit of a guessing game between them, when he found it hard to talk about things. He knew he had gotten better at doing such things, knew he was more open with Claire than he had been when they'd first met or even when they had first got together, yet now, now it was like he was that person again, the one that didn't know how to express anything.

An he hated the Genii for that, hated that he couldn't tell Claire what had happened, hated that he was finding it difficult to express pretty much anything other than this despair and wanting to hide away, wanting to push her away to almost in a sense keep her safe.

There was silence between them for a moment after he'd uttered his comment about being found quicker, he hadn't realised that was what he was bothering him so much, he hadn't known that, that was such a ingrained thing since he had woken up. Hadn't even know that was actually bothering him, he had struggled to get home, dragged himself out of the stone building, across some damn strange grassland planet – that at any other time would have looked rather pleasant – had caused himself even more damage because no one had been there to rescue him and he realised he kind of resented that fact.

He found that he couldn't really look at Claire, couldn't face looking at her even as he felt some of his own walls starting to crumble, starting to get hacked away to the person underneath that just wanted to find a dark corner and lick their wounds, or maybe even let himself break down, cry and he never cried.

“I know,” he said, his voice wobbly as Claire told him she would have been out there if she could, he knew Claire, knew her better than himself at the moment and knew she wouldn't have given up without a fight. He could imagine the conversation that went down between Claire and whoever told her now, it would be the same way it would have gone down with him, not very well.

He took a shaky breath as Claire began speaking, his own eyes sort of misting over as she spoke, every word she said taking that little bit more of a wall down, that little sentence, getting to his heart, and he still wanted to push her away. Demand that he had changed too much for her, had broken that promise, but he couldn't, the words were stuck in his throat, he swallowed thickly as she came to stand next to him.

Caleb could feel the heat of her body next to him, both standing basically naked in their bedroom, emotions rubbed raw, walls breaking and he covered his face with his hand as tears finally broke free completely, his shoulders shaking ever so slightly as he tried to swallow the emotion back down, as he tried to stamp on that well that had seemingly sprang a leak.

“I can't....fought so hard to get home....” he said between gulps of air, emotion making his voice thick, he finally looked up at Claire, every wall he had put up, everything he had done to push her away wasn't there any more. It was just the broken shell of what had been done to him, the bruises, the injuries, the frustration at not remembering, everything was there for Claire to see, along with every tear that tracked down his face. “Now I don't know.....don't even know who....I am,”


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:21 pm 
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Caleb's body was tight with tension, and Claire didn't know what to do any more. Her attempts to reach out and comfort him had been thrown back in her face, stinging like acid as each of Caleb's words landed and hit their mark. She had never dreamed that he would want to end things between them, let alone at a time as fraught as this.

She knew that his missing memories were taking their toll on Caleb, and Claire would give anything to be able to help him, to be able to restore what he couldn't remember. Maybe it would turn him around, change his mind, make him realise that what they had was worth fighting for, worth working at. If it didn't, though, she didn't know what she would do. She had literally moved to another galaxy to be with the man she loved, and to lose him now, so far from home, would be unbearable.

Claire flinched as Caleb barked back at her about being unable to understand what he meant, and she ducked her head, almost afraid to look at him. Whatever had happened to him had hurt him far more than he would ever dare to admit to her, and she couldn't begin to imagine how it would feel to simply not be able to remember what had happened.

"Just talk to me, Caleb," replied Claire, her voice racked with guilt and pain. "Explain to me. Just deciding that you no longer want to be with me isn't fair on either of us, is it?" Maybe she was taking their "marriage vows" more seriously than he was. Maybe they meant more to her than to him, but that thought was short lived. She knew that he loved her, knew that he hadn't appeared to want to make the decision to split, but he had made it anyway.

And that wasn't fair on either of them.

Claire blinked back tears as Caleb appeared to have stunned himself with his revelation, and, while she knew that, right now, he needed to be her priority, his words had destroyed her, leaving her nerves frayed and emotions raw and bleeding. She took a few deep, shaky breaths, trying to steady herself, but to no avail. Still, she needed to pull herself together. She would have to deal with how she was feeling later.

As she stood next to Caleb, almost touching him, her eyes on his face, she could see him start to waver, his defences start to crumble, and she felt a stab of pain as his hand covered his face. She desperately wanted to reach out to him, to hold him, but she had to let him bring his walls down first. He had to be ready to let her in, otherwise all of this would be for nothing.

Claire felt a sob jerk through his body as Caleb spoke, his eyes finally meeting hers, and she didn't even have to think. She stepped in front of him, her arms sliding around his shoulders, and held on. "Hush, e ipo, it's okay," she soothed, her own voice choked, ignoring the tears striping her cheeks. "You're home, you're safe, and you don't have to know who you are right now. I know who you are, and we'll get through this, but you have to let me in."

Claire held on, Caleb's body warm against hers, her head settled in the crook of his neck as she just let him do what he needed to. No matter what, she was his wife, and she would be here for him until the end. She had promised him forever, and that was what he was going to get.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:47 am 
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He felt anger run through him as Claire wanted him to talk to her, isn't that how this whole damn situation had started off? By him opening his damn mouth, he had, had to not say anything whilst with the Genii as they pummelled into him, as they damaged his body in ways he couldn't remember and yet now people wanted him to talk. Caleb wasn't sure how to do that, how to let that flood out that so desperately wanted a release, but as Claire words sank in, that it wasn't fair to either of them, he let the anger wash through him, if he clung onto that maybe he could speak.

“Damn it Claire!” he cursed, hand hitting the unit behind him this time, making it rattle slightly, “I spent what felt like damn weeks under their care trying hard not to say anything! Now everyone wants me to speak,” the anger was rapidly running out as though all his energy was slowly leaving him, “I don't remember what I told them, what if I told them about you? About Atlantis? Damn it what if I told them everything!”

He didn't know if that was possible, he didn't feel like he had told them much, but with blank memories, massive gaps in his memories as he woke from one beating to the next. As pain became the norm for however long he was with them and he could barely tell one day from the next. He hated the thought that he might have told them everything, that he might have shared whatever he had with Claire to them and he didn't want to be putting her in their crossairs. No it was better if she wasn't with him, if it got back to the Genii that he didn't have anyone to be bribed with....well that was better than having either of them go through this.

His emotions seemed to tip once more, the anger vanishing this time to be replaced with grief, grief over having put himself through this heart ache, grief over not remembering, grief over just damn well healing so slowly. It was just pure grief that welled up inside of him, as that last wall of his, the one he had been so desperate to cling on to, the one that he wanted to hide behind so badly so he couldn't hurt no more was breached by Claire.

As she saw behind his last facade, as he felt himself crumpling into some kind of wreck, the sobs racking his body and he didn't expect the arms of his wife to come around his shoulders, didn't expect her to stand right in front of him curling protective arms around him as he let the storm of emotions ride through his system

He did however instinctively curl his body around hers, ignoring the painful pull of his side, he didn't make a noise as he let the tears fall down his face, let his shoulders hitch up and down, as he took some shaky breaths trying to calm himself down. Even while the whole time he clung onto Claire, clung on so tightly he was afraid he was going to break into small pieces if she let go, she knew him, that's what she'd said.

She. Knew. Him.

It was damn scary to thing she knew him, that she could look at him and know who he was when he didn't even know who he was, when he looked in the mirror all he saw was the bruises, was the smirking faces of the Genii as they added another bruise to his already battered body. That's all he saw at the moment, someone broken, not the bloke he use to be, not the easy going husband of a damn fiery Kiwi woman that was for sure, it was like that was someone else.

The hitching of his shoulders slowly subsided, the tears still making tracks down his face but he wasn't crying as violently now, the emotional storm slowly subsiding, but he didn't let go of Claire, didn't pull away. He rested his head on her shoulder, exhaustion starting to make its self known, even as more tears fell from his eyes, everything he had put her through, everything he had done, he wasn't going to be able to apologise for that. He had royally messed up this time, even worse than after their first 'date' and he hadn't seen her for days afterwards.

“I'll let you in,” he whispered into her neck, the walls were sufficiently down now, he couldn't hide any more, there was not enough energy to hide, “I just wanted to protect you, I don't want to leave you, love you,”


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:29 pm 
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Caleb's anger was now an all-consuming storm, and Claire was terrified for him. While she was certain she could get through whatever he threw at her, she was more worried about the damage that he was doing to himself. She knew that his anger would be raging far hotter on the inside, harming himself, than he was raging at her, and that cut her to the quick. She couldn't bear to see her husband in such torment.

Until he realised he couldn't go it alone, couldn't get through things on his own, there was nothing she could do. She had never dreamed that Caleb was capable of such anger, such self-loathing, and, for a tiny, bitter, fleeting moment, Claire wondered whether he had changed, whether he truly was the same man who had left on a run of the mill mission. She dismissed that thought with the contempt it deserved.

Caleb Williams was still her husband, and she had to make him see that.

Claire swallowed deeply as Caleb slapped his hand against the unit, railing against what had happened to him. Fresh tears slipped down her cheeks as Caleb blamed himself for a hypothetical, and she shook her head. "I know you, e te tau," she murmured. "You didn't tell them a bloody thing. If you had, they'd have killed you, and they'd already be here. And if they know about me? I don't care. The Genii would have to storm the whole bloody city to get to me anyway." She rarely went offworld, so was in a whole lot less danger than she otherwise might have been.

And then, as suddenly as the anger had flared, it dissipated, and Caleb's face crumpled into a mask of desolation. It was all she could do not to reach out, not to offer comfort, but Caleb wasn't ready yet. He was close, and it broke Claire's heart to watch him putting himself through hell, but she couldn't drag him out until he wanted her to.

Finally, that moment came.

Claire held onto Caleb, her arms warm and firm around him as he cried it out. Her own tears were flowing freely in a release of the guilt and self-recrimination she had felt when Caleb had effectively told her that she hadn't done enough, hadn't been enough. She pushed the thoughts aside, though, her focus needing to be on Caleb, on beginning to piece him back together and make him remember who he was.

The racking sobs subsiding, Claire buried her face in the crook of Caleb's neck as he rested on her shoulder, neither of them speaking for a few long, interminable seconds. She could feel the wetness on her skin as Caleb continued to cry quietly, feeling wrung out and empty, yet closer to her husband than she had felt since his return. It was as though an invisible barrier that had been erected between them had been torn down, and was now lying in pieces on the ground, each of them raw and exposed in front of the other.

"Thank you," breathed Claire, as Caleb finally agreed to let her in, not to push her away any longer. "Thank you." Finally, she let herself relax, her arms pulling Caleb closer, not to hold him up, but to bring them together as one again. "Thank you for trying to protect me, but now, you need to let me protect you for once, eh. Kei te aroha au i a koe, e te tau. And if you're not leaving, neither am I, so I guess you're stuck with me." This was said with a quiet smile, her voice so soft it barely left the little bubble they were now in, wrapped around one another.

Claire lifted her head and dropped a gentle kiss on Caleb's shoulder. She didn't see the bruises, the injuries, the broken man who had returned to her. She saw Caleb, her husband, the man she would love until the day she died. She glanced up, noting the dappling of light starting to play across the wall. Dawn wasn't far off now, and it felt as though she hadn't slept at all. "Come back to bed for a while, e ipo. Let's get a little more rest."


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:29 pm 
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Caleb had no words, everything Claire had just said was one hundred percent right, if he had said anything they would have already been in the city, Claire wouldn't be standing in front of him right now and he most certainly would not be standing there in front of her. It was something that he hadn't thought of since waking up, he'd been pretty damn consumed by his frustration, his lack of being able to remember or do anything that he had let it take over him. He had let himself fester in that pit of desperation for the last few days or so that he hadn't been able to dig his way out, and yet now, now it was like there was help.

That tentative extending of hand from Claire, who stood in front of him so steadfastly even as he threw barbs at her, even when not two minutes ago he had decided they should end things – his breathing hitched as he let that thought sink in – what would he have done if she hadn't fought for him? What would he have done, if she'd have let him walk out the damn room? He didn't think he'd be able to survive that, not by himself, not now.

So there he stood almost trying to curl himself around Claire, seeking the comfort that he hadn't realised he'd needed from the one person who he had spent pushing away, he let the tears fall, let the walls crumple down around him. Let her comfort him, let her be his rock, let her be the one place he could show every hurt, every emotion he had tucked away come to the surface.

The cries slowly eased, even as he seemed to be unable to stop crying, it wasn't as harsh now, there wasn't great big gasping breaths he wanted to take, the emotional storm was subsiding, leaving in it's wake exhaustion, hurt and a small amount of guilt for what he had just put them through. He might not remember what had happened with the Genii – probably never would if he was honest with himself – but he did remember the promise he had made to Claire, that this wasn't just some one night stand. That he wasn't going to cause her more pain than she'd already been through and yet he had somehow broken that promise.

He felt himself pulled closer to Claire and found himself wrapping his own arms around her back, holding her just as tightly, he felt his side pull as he made the gesture but he didn't care. He wanted to be wrapped around his wife once more, wanted to take the comfort she was offering and he felt himself nod his head as she told him she had to protect him, even if was from himself half the time.

“Sounds amazing,” he whispered voice hoarse from all the crying he'd just done, as he lifted his own head to look at her, a glimmer of the old Caleb lurking in his eyes, amongst the tiredness and pain, “Am sorry, so sorry,” he said, swallowing back the tears once more.

It wasn't until Claire suggested they get some more rest before morning completely dawned on them, that he realised just how sort of shaky he felt, from the shower, to the sudden energy he'd had before it all came crashing down, he wasn't sure how much longer he was going to be standing. But he really didn't want to let go of Claire just yet, nor did he actually want to go back to sleep and succumb to the nightmare again.

He felt himself swallowing thickly again, he had to voice that concern to her, had to tell Claire that worry that was niggling at the back of his mind, yet it was like his tongue had gotten stuck again. It felt heavy in his mouth and the words wouldn't come out, he closed his eyes, not looking at Claire, if he didn't look at her it would be easier, and it seemed to work as the words became unstuck in his throat.

“I don't want to sleep, Claire,” his voice thick, “Don't want to have that nightmare again,” even as he found himself locking his knees to keep himself upright, “If I wake up and...” he opened his eyes now, looking at Claire, his eyes trailing to the small mark he'd left on her neck from the last time he had woken so abruptly. There was an apology for what he had done to her hanging in the air, even as he reached up and traced the outline of the mark, fingers brushing against the dog tags, his tags she was wearing as he felt a shiver go through him.

How had he come so close to loosing everything?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:11 pm 
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She watched Caleb's face as he processed what she had said. Claire was utterly certain that her husband wouldn't have told the Genii anything. If he'd spilled his guts, he wouldn't be here now. They'd have killed him and come to take the city with whatever knowledge they had gleaned from him. The only reason to have kept him alive was because they hadn't gotten what they had wanted from him, and, for that, Claire was truly grateful. No matter what it would have cost him, Caleb was no traitor.

Maybe he was starting to accept that, beginning to realise that what had happened wasn't his fault, and he had nothing to feel guilty for. Whatever was going on inside his head, though, she could see him crumbling before her, and Claire did the only thing that she knew how to do: she held on.

Being staunch was the Māori way, and, right now, the one person she needed to be staunch for was her husband, the man she had pledged her life to. He needed her inner strength, her solidity, and that was what he was going to get. As she felt Caleb curl into her, that was the moment Claire knew that he had let down the last of his defences, was finally going to let her in, let her be there for him, however he needed her.

She had never once doubted the wisdom of fighting for their marriage. From the moment they had first kissed, she had known Caleb was "The One". Well, her "One", anyway. She couldn't see her life without him in it. Whenever she envisaged the future, he was there, present in every little moment, his future firmly intertwined with hers. No matter what, that was what she wanted, needed. And she wasn't letting it go without a fight.

Claire sighed softly as Caleb finally returned the embrace as something other than a need to be held up, pulled back together. Finally, the arms around her were those of her husband, not of the hurt, damaged man who had replaced him for a few days. He had finally turned a corner, seemed to be accepting what had happened to him, and be willing to move on, rather than just dwelling on it.

She smiled into his neck as he told her that not leaving sounded amazing, and she knew her husband had come back to her. His apology was pained and racked with guilt, and Claire raised her head, standing on tiptoe to place a tender kiss on his lips. "It's okay, e ipo, it's okay. We can get through anything, including this. I'm always here for you, and always on your side. Never forget that, eh."

She cocked her head as Caleb withdrew a little, his eyes closed, seemingly weighing up whether or not to say something. Eventually, he decided to share what was bothering him, and Claire's heart lurched in her chest as he opened up about his fear. She shivered lightly as his fingers trailed across where he had bitten her a little over-enthusiastically earlier, and she reached up, tangling her fingers with his, bringing them to her lips for a soft kiss.

"Then we don't have to sleep," she said simply. "Let's just go back to bed, get some rest. Let's just spend some time together. You okay with that?"


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