SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND SAIL OUT TO ME
It's such a powerless feeling, watching her cry and knowing he can't do anything more to help. It's reminiscent of their early days when her panic attacks had reared their ugly head for the first time and he'd kept his distance, kept his silence, left her alone to deal with her demons when he was feeling overwhelmed and confused. His distance hadn't helped then and it wasn't going to help now, for she needed touch and words and comfort
and he has nothing but the words, nothing but his thumb exploring the ridge of hers.
He doesn't share with her his feelings of helplessness, for she's in enough pain and it's never been in his interest to hurt her, not even in those days so long ago. "It's all right," he says instead, "you're all right, we'll get through this. We can get through anything, remember, cara?"
His smile is equal parts pained and fond at her words. "I'm happy, too," and it's uncomfortable to laugh so he manages little more than a chuckle but the sentiment is there and he tells her, "I love you too, Nell, so much. I'm glad you're here." Until they'd met, he'd suffered through everything alone but she'd been a blessing, a light shone through the darkness, and he reminds himself how lucky he is to have her.
So his brow furrows when she apologises, and he frowns. "For what?"
It's another callback to earlier times, the guilt and the feelings of responsibility, but he's more understanding now. No longer does he get frustrated and confused, no longer does he react with exasperation—he shakes his head, assures her, "You've got nothing to be sorry for. I'm glad you weren't home." He pauses to let that sink in, says, "They could have hurt you, too, and then what?" There could have been two funerals, not one, and now there's none at all. "But you're okay, and I'll get there. I'm in good hands."
Then something sinks in, and he swallows. "Hold on—get to me?"
He remembers the phone call, then, the last thing before he'd blacked out, the ringtone used only for his wife. There's a dawning horror as he realises it would have been Nell to find him, for he hadn't called the hospital, hadn't gotten the chance. And she'd saved his life for the second time, the parallels were endless, but this time it had been her husband and not a stranger that they'd taken away in the ambulance, her husband they'd told her wouldn't make it.
And the anger is weighed down by the despair and he whispers, "Oh, god," because she doesn't deserve to have gone through that, no one does, and he assures her once more, "but I'm okay now," and he hopes it's what she needs to hear, because what else can he say? "Nell, if you hadn't got there..." He trails off, for it's a path too dark to journey down. Nell already has, she's had to face the reality of his death, and he doesn't want to bring her back there, so he's quick to amend, "but you did, babe, you did, and it's all right, I'm all right, okay?"