"No. No, this is not happening. Please," Marie tells the hunched over form of Jason Bourne. He's crouched by the window when she walks into the bedroom, half in and half out of the dying sunlight, shadows pooling under his brows as he gasps through a daytime nightmare.
She kneels in front of him, wipes the sweat off his forehead with rough, impatient fingers because, dammit, he'd abruptly succumbed to a fit today right when he was supposed to be dealing with some asshole teenagers. And she'd had to bundle him, flailing and half-hysterical, into their rooms at the back of the shop, when he outweighed her by at least thirty kilos thank you very much and she didn't know if he'd even let her manhandle him like that without mistaking her for whatever enemy was inhabiting his head at the moment and kill her in half a move...
An iron hand grips her wrist, and she finds herself looking into his face. It is a face that reminds her of that instant in the taxi, right after they'd discovered he was an assassin and right after he'd realized the taxi driver was going to betray them. It is iron, to match his hand. And immediately she feels lost because this is too new - frustration wars with the helplessness. She's used to dealing with the new because that is who she is, Marie the gypsy, but nothing she's ever felt or experienced has been like this.
She doesn't know him, not really. But they are together, a couple borne out of running and shooting and flaming explosions. He found her in Greece when she had thought he was lost to her forever, months later.
Who is he? She knows he knows more about himself than he did when she'd last seen him, but he hasn't told her any of it - first there was the joy of reunion and then the joy of his smile and the simple joy that he was alive. The next few days had been exquisite, stroked by the Greek sun and sea air and the deep blue of the water that she saw reflected in his eyes.
She's never had to deal with trauma before. Flashbacks as ugly as the face of the man after he'd jumped out of the window in Paris, that still wakes her up quietly at night, sweat-soaked.
"The ocean. Drowned."
"I don't...I don't know."
She breathes the way her grandmother taught her as a child, for when she felt a tantrum coming on. She tentatively puts her hand to his forehead again while she thinks, and he allows her to stroke his hair until the mood softens.
"I...I think I was very angry," Jason tells her softly, like a broken child. "Off the coast of Madagascar. I wasn't supposed to be angry, but I was anyway."
"You remember. Remembering, is that good?"
He closes her eyes and slides his head away from her hand, muscles shifting in his arms and neck as he collapses to a sitting position, leaning against the window.
"The nightmares stop sometimes when I do."
"Okay." She breathes. She's so confused, aches with it. He is the man who smiled in the diner, who loved her with wonder in the cheap hotel room, who came back to her with a smile of the sun as he stood in her shop's door two weeks ago, and he is also the man who kills with brutal ease, who drives like the desperate, reckless men in the movies about spies and secret agents, who might be a secret agent himself, who still hasn't told her what he did in the months they were separated. He hasn't even told her how he found her.
Marie breathes. "Okay. We can...I want to help you," she says, willing him to breathe with her.
He opens his eyes, looks at her, and it's the right thing to say.