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October 11, 2020 6:37 pm  #1

A Friendly Face

Ever since hearing about Jensen Ackles having to take a walk to calm down after the scene where he tells Sam about hell,  I have had various permutations of this running through my head.  This one sparked after watching Jude Law sob in The Third Day.  I couldn't get it out of my head until I wrote it down.  I hope you enjoy

She stood in the shadows of the set, trying to stay out of the way but still be visible to him.  Normally, medical staff wouldn’t be on set for these kinds of scenes, but they had developed something of a friendship during the shoot and he had asked that she be there. It always helped to see a friendly face, he had told her with a sad smile.  Over the last several weeks they had gotten to know each other reasonably well.  They had shared drinks, laughs and deep conversations after filming on a regular basis.  The ease with which she told him things she had shared with noone else left her slightly breathless and unsteady.  There was just something about his easy smile and deep blue eyes that was so disarming.  Despite her openness, he had remained somewhat reserved. She imagined this had been a long ago learned skill until he was sure he could trust someone, unfortunately probably the hard way. 
This was why she felt even more uncomfortable today, like a voyeur into his deepest pain.  It felt slimy to watch such a private man cry.  It also broke her heart to stay in the shadows and not pull him into her arms to offer comfort, but she had done enough work in the film industry by this point to know that he needed to stay in that headspace between takes.  The small smiles she gave him when he would catch her eye would have to suffice. The set was eerily silent through most of the shoot; it was the cast and crew’s way to show him respect, but it allowed her to hear every hitched breath and sob.  Thankfully, it only took three takes, two if he would have listened to the director, but he insisted on a third ever the perfectionist.  He of course was right as the last take was devastatingly beautiful to the point that she watched a few of the crew swipe quickly at their eyes when it was over.  She let out a sigh of relief when the director ended shooting for the day.  She had also learned that most good directors gave their actors the rest of the day to decompress after those types of scenes.  Quickly, he walked off the set, his lips held in a tight line, still with tears glistening on his cheeks.  She opened her mouth to say something (if she was honest she wasn’t sure what), but he simply brushed past her, catching her hand in his in a wordless request to follow him.  She obliged.
He led her by the hand to his trailer (and if by trailer, you meant nicer than her entire apartment during residency) and closed the door behind them.   “I can’t stop,” he whispered as he turned away from her and paced, hands behind his neck in frustration. 
She had opened her mouth to clarify, but he continued, “I can normally turn it off pretty quickly after those scenes, but this time, I can’t stop.”  It dawned on her then that he meant his emotions.  Now it all became clear looking at him, he was struggling to tamp down the depth of feelings he had tapped into. She blurted out the first thing that came to her mind, surprising herself.
“Maybe you aren’t supposed to.”  He stopped and trained his watery blue eyes on her.   She swallowed and continued.
“Maybe you just need to feel this.”  He held his breath for a moment clearly considering her statement. He slumped onto the couch and she moved to face him. 
“I tried a new memory to tap into today,” he began. “I haven’t used it before,” he chuckled mirthlessly.  “I actually have tried to think of it as little as possible since it happened.”  Gently, she sat down on the coffee table so that their knees were just barely touching, her way of offering support and closeness without pushing. He would share what he chose to, but she would be there.
“It was the day I moved out of my house.  I went back inside to get the last box and I found my son sitting on the front steps crying. Even at 8 he was a stoic kid, doesn’t get that from me,” he quipped with a watery smile.  His gaze went far away again. “I sat down next to him and asked him what was wrong…” She watched his mouth downturn and his chest heave as he tried to find the strength to continue.  Gingerly, she placed her hand on his knee in wordless comfort. Closing his eyes, he sighed and continued.
“He asked me why he wasn’t enough.” His voice cracked and the tears overtook him briefly as his breath caught in his throat and the two teardrops that had been clinging to his lower lashes abruptly lost their grip and cascaded down his cheeks. 
“Of course, I assured him it had nothing to do with him and that of course he was enough, but that question has haunted me.  There was truth to it. The selfish decisions that I made that ended my marriage weren’t made with his best interests in mind. When I chose to fuck around, I betrayed my son.”  The guilt overtook him, and resigned he placed his head in his hands and sobbed.  The same heartbreaking sounds she had heard all afternoon but had been powerless to soothe poured from him.  She watched mesmerized as his shoulder shook haltingly as the waves of sadness washed over him.  He let one of his hands fall helplessly to his lap as he covered his eyes with the other. She watched hot angry tears stream down the bridge of his nose and collect at the bow of his lips.  They coursed down the curve of his lips as they pulled taught in resignation.  Carefully, she slid onto her knees from the coffee table, gently raising herself up so that she pulled him into her chest.  She straightened and snaked her arms around him so one pressed firmly to his back for strength, the other gently caressing his hair for comfort. At first, he seemed startled, surprised at her closeness, like he had expected her to reject him.  Then, in a movement she could only describe as relief, he pulled her to him and let go. Unconsciously, she rocked him gently back and forth as she felt the hot tears dampen her shirt.  She felt the muscles in his back ripple with each sob that racked him, and each halting breath shook her as well. She tightened her grip and held tight.  After a time, he quieted a bit.  Sitting back slightly, he rested his forehead on her chest and encircling her hand in both of his he brought it to his lips and held it there. She felt his lips tremble against her fingers and tears coursed between their entwined fingers with slowly decreasing frequency.  When she hadn’t felt one fall in a while, she gradually sat back on her heels and looked up at him.  His red rimmed eyes met hers, still shining with past emotion.  He looked exhausted, but somehow at peace. 
“Feel better?” she asked.  He smiled ever so slightly and nodded. Closing his eyes, he breathed,
“Thank you.”  She thought those were two of the most sincere words she had ever heard spoken.  Helping her from the floor, he guided her next to him on the couch.  Wordlessly, he rested his head on her chest again for closeness.  She gathered him into her arms and leaned back against the couch for support.  Within moments he was asleep, succumbing to her soothing ministrations and sheer emotional exhaustion. She watched him sleep, every muscle relaxed and peaceful, thankful that she had been able to be his friendly face.

" do not cry. They will do anything BUT cry. They stop themselves crying. And eventually they do cry if it is bad enough. So that's how you know with a man how bad it is for him. Because he would've stopped himself...Men always cry like that. They don't cry and in the end they do and if they do then it's overwhelming." ~Michael Caine

October 11, 2020 8:06 pm  #2

Re: A Friendly Face

felt every sentence of this. Duty Calls was more medically realistic than most medical TV shows, and this made me feel like I was hugging him myself. You're amazing. 


October 11, 2020 9:00 pm  #3

Re: A Friendly Face

Wow! That was deep. It was like I was there watching. It was the most real fic I have ever read. It was mesmerizing. 


October 12, 2020 3:10 am  #4

Re: A Friendly Face

Very impressive - I love the way you worked real situations into this!

"We have our stalking memories, and they will demand their rightful tears."

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