Three Months After The Assassination Attempt
Johnathan moved slowly. While his incisions had most certainly healed, he was still scarred. The recovery period was still going on, and it was a long and grueling fight. He was home now though, and that made everything worth it.
He walked down the hall, ignoring the workers who did their best to pretend they weren’t paying attention to him. He didn’t mind, truly. He could only attempt to understand how to relate to them all.
The walk to get to the shed left him more breathless than he liked to think about, but Johnathan attempted to keep his frustration at bay. He shouldn’t blame anyone, least of all his sister. There was only one group to blame, and they would be taken care of.
The barn door opened with little to no force. He stumbled in and somehow managed to keep his balance. “Morning,” he called.
“Morning,” his sister responded back. Her feet rested against a lawn mower, where she used all of her weight to propel her forward to fix a broken floorboard.
She hid herself away in the barn every Saturday. Unfortunately, she was still labeled a traitor, so she danced around the rules while she tried to see her siblings.
She had never gotten caught. Her friends at the agency made sure of it. In their eyes, she was a hero. Hell, she was a hero in everyone’s eyes besides her own. And the small detail of the country’s. She was still a traitor, technically, but Johnathan really wasn’t paying attention to that tally.
Ara worked away on the barn.
“You know,” Johnathan said calmly, “we have people to do that.” He took a few steps forward slowly, to not disturb his sister. While the last couple of months had taken almost everything out of him, his sister had certainly lost more.
She had snuck into hospital every night after ten. She curled into the chair by his bedside so much that it had acquired her imprint. He had memorized all her hopes and fears. She talked in such exquisite detail when she believed no one was listening. Johnathan had never known how much of a rambler she was.
His sister blamed herself deeply for what happened. Every single meeting with her stabbed him in the chest. When he got out of bed late at night to get a glass of water, he could sometimes hear her cry out. The worst nights though, were when he found her sitting on a chair beside a window, starring outside with a dead reflection in her eyes. The dark circles never left.
“You know,” Johnathan began, handing her a hammer as she tried to pound the floorboard in with her fist. “I’m okay. I’m alive thanks to you.”
“You were hurt thanks to me,” his sister gripped as she slammed the hammer against the wall.
“I would be dead if you hadn’t instructed Chuck to shoot me,” he corrected.
The warm autumn breeze relaxed him. He enjoyed how the sunlight allowed him to see particles float in the air, reminding him of the fairies in his daughter’s story book.
“Emmett has given me this talk a hundred times over,” she said, wiping away her sweat.
Johnathan walked over to one of the many construction tables and grabbed a towel. He tossed it up to Ara – thankfully he still had his aim.
“You need to hear this from me. I don’t blame you. I’ll never blame you. We’re fighting a war, and sometimes the line between the good guys and the bad guys need to blur. It blurred so you could put the lives of the many before the life of one. It’s a question I have always been afraid to answer.
“I didn’t think anyone ever had the guts to act completely selfless, but you did. I want to thank you for that.”
Ara stopped fixing the flooring. She turned towards her brother. “You want to thank me for shooting you?” she asked with raised eyebrows.
“No, I want to thank you for doing what was necessary to provide us with the advantage. Thanks to your dedication and selflessness we’ll win the war. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but we’ll win.”
“It doesn’t feel like it,” she grumbled, reminding him of the little girl he used to know.
“I know,” Johnathan said, “but it will. Recovery from trauma takes time. Trust me.”
“I do, I do trust you.”
And that was all she needed. Ara would eventually learn to come to terms with the events that had transpired. She would one day be able to heal and move on. She would be able to continue her life into bliss. But for the moment, all she needed was love, and she had plenty of it.