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When My Fist Clenches, Crack It Open

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David wakes up feeling loved. Not from inside himself, but from outside. He opens his eyes and sees-- Syd?

"Hey," Syd says, softly, smiling. She's sitting on the coffee table.

"Hey," David says back, and he's-- Transfixed. He looks into her eyes and feels waves of soft happiness coming from her, fondness, relief, love. She reaches out, but stops before she touches him. She holds out her gloved hand, offering it. David doesn't know what to do, and then-- Nods.

She cups her hand against his cheek. He can feel her warmth through the thin glove.

'Syd,' he thinks, sending the thought to her with all its feeling. He rests his hand over hers, holding it. He feels her soft joy. He doesn't know why she's so happy, they've been apart all day, busy with everything, but-- Now they're together.

He sighs and lets go of her hand. She takes her hand away, but brings it back, pets his hair, his shoulder. He keeps still, hardly believing they're doing this. He blinks against sudden tears.

"This okay?" Syd murmurs.

David swallows. "Very," he says, roughly, smiling crookedly. He turns his face against the pillow, tries to work through his sudden rush of feelings. Syd hesitates, then keeps touching him, gentle and steady. Then he turns to face her and-- Catches her hand. Rests it against his cheek.

He breathes and then-- Lets go.

Syd takes back her hand as he sits up. He rubs his face and looks around, orienting himself. Past David is still asleep on the other sofa, Dvd is stretched out in the far loveseat, and everyone else is sitting around the table, chatting quietly. Lenny, Melanie, Amy, Ptonomy, Divad, Oliver, Clark. There's a stack of cardboard boxes in the open area by the beds, and some kind of printouts spread all over Cary's work area.

He looks over at Dvd and realizes-- The love he's feeling is coming from Dvd, too, and feels so much the same as Syd's. Soft happiness, fondness, relief-- And a thrill of nervous excitement?

David wants to ask about that, but-- He needs to focus on Syd first.

"You okay?" he asks, even though he can feel that she is.

"Yeah," Syd says. "Good nap?"

Waking up was better, David thinks. But he can't manage to say that. "I missed you today."

Syd's answer to that is to hold out her hand again. David takes it, holds it between his hands.

"This okay?" David asks.

Syd nods. "No needles. But even if there was--"

He looks at their joined hands, fascinated. He touches the back of her hand, tracing lightly with his fingertips. Then he switches hands and traces her palm. He feels a thrill of nervous excitement coming from Syd, too, now, and it encourages him. He brings her hand to his cheek again, lets it rest there, and then-- Turns against it and places a light kiss on her palm.

Syd tenses, takes a sharp breath in. David lets her go, and she pulls her hand back, but then-- She smiles, and he feels a wave of surprised happiness. She looks at her palm, where he kissed. She glances over her shoulder, then at Dvd -- who has a carefully blank expression despite the jealousy and longing David's feeling from him -- then composes herself.

"We got the results of Melanie's scan," Syd says. "No damage. She should start remembering, soon."

"That's great!" David says, very relieved. "Um. Can I help?"

"I think we've given Melanie enough memory prompts for now," Syd says. "We just have to wait and-- Be ready."

She stands and offers her hand to help him up. David pushes away the blanket and takes her hand, stands. She pulls him towards the table, but-- He resists.

"I, uh, need a minute," he tells her. She nods and he goes over to Dvd. Dvd shifts to make room, and David sits down in the loveseat with him.

They both look at Past David. He's still asleep.

"I'm not jealous," Dvd declares.

David raises his eyebrows. Dvd is incredibly jealous.

Dvd sighs. 'Sometimes I hate telepathy,' he thinks.

And then without warning, Dvd rests his head on David's shoulder and sighs. And David feels-- A quiet version of what he feels so strongly with Syd. That shared longing for closeness, for connection. The ghost of all the feelings he used to have, that Past David still has.

"I was gonna wait but--" Dvd straightens up and meets his eyes. "I wanna-- Can we--" He hesitates, struggling. He looks across the room, at the table. 'I can do this. I'm a person. I can do people things. I'm not chicken.' He takes a steadying breath. "I wanna have coffee. With you."

"Coffee?" David echoes, confused.

"Date coffee," Dvd says. "A coffee date. Look, this was Oliver's idea."

"Oliver?" David says, even more confused.

Dvd puts his face in his hands and groans.

'Do you want help?' Divad thinks.

'Yes,' Dvd thinks back.

Divad walks over. He looks at Past David. 'Maybe we should do this with both of him awake?'

'I hate this,' Dvd thinks. Waves of anxiety are pouring off him. 'Wait. Don't wake him up.'

'He's part of this, too,' Divad thinks.

'Of course he is,' Dvd thinks, annoyed. 'Just-- Gimme a minute.' He gathers himself and turns back to David. "David, I want-- I know you asked-- We acknowledged our feelings. But I need-- I want-- To try-- Acting on them?" He winces, and now there's waves of embarrassment mixing with the anxiety.

"Oh," David says, taking that in.

"Yes, 'oh'," Dvd says, tartly. Then he winces again. 'Being a person is awful.'

David looks to Syd. She's less than pleased, but-- She nods, encouraging, then looks at Past David.

And then it clicks. Past David, his feelings for Dvd, Dvd's feelings for-- All of David--

Even with Past David as a separate headmate-- All those feelings and memories--

'Ptonomy thinks it's time,' Divad thinks to him. 'We need to-- Make some new, positive memories. Take back what Farouk stole. What do you think?'

'I don't know,' David thinks back, uncertain. There's so much going on. And he's finally working things out with Syd, he can't just-- Turn around and go on a date with Dvd. Can he?

'It's a therapy date,' Divad says. 'Oliver's going to have coffee with Melanie, and talk, and-- We thought you and Past David could-- Hold hands. Share your feelings.'

David leans back.

'It's for both of you,' Divad continues. 'Farouk tricked you into thinking we're the monster. We have to help that part of you accept the truth, like we're doing with Melanie. If we don't-- Do something about those feelings then-- Farouk could use them.'

'I'm not the monster,' Dvd thinks, quiet but intense. 'Can we just-- Try? Please?'

David looks at Past David. He might not know how he feels about Dvd, but Past David does. Or he did until Farouk confused him. David's been struggling with Past David's feelings all day, and once their system is all back together--

And if, one day, David gets all those feelings and memories back for himself--

'It's a good idea,' David admits. 'Okay. When, um--'

'We need to get Past David settled before we throw anything else at him,' Divad thinks. 'Amy's got a plan. You wanna do the honors?'

David braces himself and walks over, sits on the coffee table beside Past David. He pauses, considering how-- This is himself. Not a separate identity, not yet. When he was in Farouk's dreamworld, this is how he was. This is David, as truly as he's also David.

And this part of David-- Loves Dvd, the way David loves Syd now. This part of David is heartbroken from the lies Farouk fed him, just like-- How Melanie is heartbroken.

Melanie's going to remember. She's going to remember that she loves Oliver, and then? So much time has passed, twenty two years. They're both such different people now, even aside from Farouk's changes.

But he remembers-- Melanie loving Oliver even when he had no idea who she was. She never gave up. And he can't help but think of how Dvd never gave up on him.

But he's afraid. What if getting Dvd back-- Means he loses Syd? Farouk used her, too. Past David doesn't love Syd, not like David loves her. They've worked so hard to get back to each other. He doesn't want that-- Violation to hurt them.

Farouk raped him. In the dream, Farouk pretended to be Syd and raped him.

Past David can't accept that, but David does. Maybe this is the trap Farouk set, or some of it. To finally work through all the pain of what David did to Syd, what they did to each other, and then have to-- Take on that memory. He doesn't want to remember that.

Maybe they should erase it all, that whole year. They need to keep the good things, but-- Maybe the answer is simple. Maybe he just lets Past David in and takes the pain and-- Lets Divad erase whatever needs erasing.

Who's he kidding? Divad would have to erase everything to put him back together, and then what was the point? What's the point of any of this?

"David," Divad says, worried.

David slowly realizes that everyone's watching them. Watching him. But he doesn't know what to say, what to do. Ptonomy helped him feel better before, but--

'This is about Syd,' Divad thinks to him. 'She's right here. Talk to her. That's healthy, right? Let her help.'

'Syd didn't rape me,' David thinks back.

'What, you wanna talk it out with Farouk?' Divad thinks. 'C'mon. It's like-- With Amy. It has to be okay for you to tell Syd things that are upsetting.'

David gives a frustrated sigh. He knows Divad is right. He leaves Past David sleeping and walks over to Syd. Glances at everyone at the table, then-- "Can we-- Talk?" He winces at how that came out. "I mean, I-- There's something wrong and-- I need to talk to you about it."

"Of course," Syd says, concerned but reassuring.

They walk over to the cots and sit down facing each other. David gathers himself.

"I guess you know about the, uh-- The therapy date," he starts.

"I know," Syd says. "I think it's a good idea."

"You do?"

"Is that what you're upset about?" Syd asks. "This is part of healing your system, keeping you safe. Did you think I wouldn't want that?"

"I don't know if I want it," David admits. "I don't know-- If I want any of it."

Syd gives a nod of understanding. "It's a lot. All those memories."

"In the dream, I don't remember, but-- Farouk-- Raped me." His voice catches. "As you. And I don't--" He swallows. He gives a small, bitter, burst of a laugh. "It's not even the first time. I don't know how many times--" He looks away, overcome.

Syd moves to his cot and sits beside him. She offers her hand, and he takes it, holds it tight.

She doesn't know about Ptonomy's plan. They can't tell her without telling Farouk, without giving him the chance to sabotage it. David hates not being able to tell her. But she knows enough. She knows one way or another, Past David will have to come home.

"David, you know that-- Syd Farouk isn't Syd Barrett," Syd says. "You know that, right?"

David lets out a shaky breath. "Right."

"So that mask Farouk wore," Syd says. "It wasn't even the right mask. He wasn't pretending to be me. He was pretending to be-- Someone who looked like me. Someone with a completely different life, with no powers. Not me. Right?"

"Not you," David says, a small relief breaking through the fear. The wrong mask. He used the wrong Syd.

Syd eases, too. "What he did to you-- That's your Farouk trauma. Not your Syd trauma. And I know it's huge and scary, but-- You've been working so hard and-- I'm so proud of how far you've come. And-- I love you and-- We can get through anything together."

David stares at her. The fear edges further back and-- He thinks about how safe she used to make him feel. How she promised to protect him, in Summerland, and she did.

"I love you, too," David says, and his heart swells with love for her, with relief, with tenderness. He wants to kiss her so much, and reflexively thinks he can't, but--

No needles. He's not in his body. He's a projection.

"Syd," he starts, stomach fluttering, and then--

"I'm sorry, no," Melanie says to Amy, firm but upset. "That's impossible."

"I'm afraid it's true," Amy says.

"I was with David every moment of every day," Melanie says. "He did not have sex with my daughter."

"Melanie," Ptonomy starts, but she's not listening. She gets up from the table and heads right for Past David.

Divad gets to her first, barring the way.

"I won't believe it until I hear it from him," Melanie says.

"You'll upset him," Divad says, not budging.

Syd stands and heads back to the sitting area. "Melanie," she says, intervening.

"Syd, tell them how ridiculous this is," Melanie says. "No one had sex in that lab. That would be a massive ethical breach."

"Syd?" Past David sits up, bleary-eyed. "What's going on?"

"Everything's okay," Syd soothes. She gives Melanie a pointed look, and Melanie huffs but backs down. Syd walks around and sits on the coffee table, facing him. "Sorry we woke you. Did you have a good nap?"

Melanie walks past Divad and sits in the loveseat. Past David glances at her, then looks back to Syd.

Syd exchanged a long look with Melanie, then braces herself and turns back to Past David. "David, I have-- A quick question. About what you remember. Is that okay?"

"Uh, sure," Past David says. He brings his legs down so he's sitting, but pulls the blanket close.

"In Amahl's lab," Syd says, carefully. "You and Syd Farouk. You were close, right?"

"Yeah," Past David says, warily, but there's a flush of adoration in all his groggy confusion. "You, um. She said we were friends?"

Syd looks to Melanie, and Melanie nods. Syd turns back to Past David.

"I know it's a strange question," Syd says. "And you don't have to answer it if you don't want to. But-- Were you and Syd Farouk-- Intimate?"

Past David immediately blushes. "I don't-- I mean-- You-- She-- Said it was-- Um-- Touch therapy? Advanced--" He blushes deeper.

Syd looks to Melanie again. Melanie looks skeptical. Syd turns back to Past David.

"And can you-- Describe what happened?" Syd asks. "You don't have to."

Syd's consideration only confuses Past David. "We had sex. I mean, it wasn't sex, it was-- Therapy, but--" He quirks a tiny smile.

Melanie does not look happy.

"And when did you do this-- Therapy?" Syd asks.

"Oh, right before-- I woke up here," Past David says. He glances at Melanie, then back to Syd. "Why? Um, do we-- We don't-- Need to do it again?"

Past David definitely wants to do it again.

David feels vaguely ill. And so does Melanie.

"Are you sure?" Melanie asks, pressing. "David, are you really sure? Maybe it was a dream."

"Everything's a dream," Past David says, with a kind of horrified lightness. "But yeah, I mean-- You were there."

A pulse of horror slips out of Melanie. "I was there?"

"Yeah, for the therapy," Past David says. "I mean, it was weird, but-- Amahl was there, and-- It was a treatment. It would've been-- If you weren't there--" He swallows, nervous, uncertain.

"Okay," Syd soothes. "That's it. We're done. I'm sorry we woke you up."

She gives Melanie a meaningful look, and Melanie gets up and walks away.

"It's okay," Past David says. But he pulls the blanket closer, and then pulls his knees up, wraps his arms around them. 'So many masks,' he thinks, afraid. He's full of so much fear, fear David has to fight against all over again.

He's so tired of fear.

He stands up and walks over to Melanie. "Give us a moment?" he tells the others, and then gestures for Melanie to follow him out to the hall. She does, and once they're out and the door is closed, she gives him an expectant look.

David's not sure what to say, what will help. Maybe nothing will help. Maybe all this is just going to always be hard forever. He feels like he wished on a monkey's paw, wanting his memories back. Farouk is the living embodiment of a monkey's paw.

"David?" Melanie prompts, when he says nothing.

"Amahl Farouk raped me," David says, as quietly and calmly as he can. "I don't-- Want to be angry with you. None of this is your fault. But please. This is already-- Incredibly difficult. Don't make it harder."

"My husband would never--" Melanie starts, loudly.

David hushes her, then gestures for her to continue.

"My husband would never rape anyone, much less a patient," Melanie says quietly. "And it's Syd he's accusing, not Amahl. And all of this is ridiculous because absolutely none of that happened."

"Because you don't remember it?" David asks. "Like you don't remember most of your life, most of your daughter's life?"

Melanie crosses her arms and scowls at him. "Just because I have-- Partial amnesia, that doesn't mean I have any reason to believe this ridiculous story you're all telling."

"You're going to feel really shitty about this when you start remembering," David sighs.

"The only thing I'm going to remember is the memories that-- You or the monster or someone stole from me," Melanie insists. "I'm going to get everything back, including my powers, and get David and Syd back to Amahl and away from you."

"He is me," David says, tiredly. "Are you going to save me, too?"

"Oh, I'll save you," Melanie says, like it's a threat. It probably is. "I'll--" And then she falters, frowns.

"Melanie?" David prompts, concerned.

Melanie steps back until she's leaning against the wall. She stares at him for a long moment, and then-- Holds out her hand. "Come on, son. Take my hand."

Her words are naggingly familiar. David reaches out and takes her hand. She stares at him, wide-eyed.

And then David remembers. Escaping from Division 3, guns blazing around them, and then the beach and-- Melanie was there, waiting for him. Reaching out. And he took her hand.

"Melanie?" David says. "Do you remember-- The beach? A boat?"

"Water," Melanie says, and closes her eyes. "Guns in the distance, screams, I was-- I was so worried and-- Excited about-- You?" She opens her eyes and stares at him.

She lets go of his hand and covers her mouth.

David smiles, grins. "You remember?" He's overwhelmed with relief. 'Oliver, she remembers!'

'Keep calm,' Oliver thinks back. 'Give her space.'

David takes a step back. It's hard to keep still, he can't believe-- He was so afraid the memories wouldn't come back, he was so afraid.

"C'mon, let's-- Let's go back," David says, and ushers her back into the lab.

He feels-- Suddenly light and-- Like he can do this, they can do this. He leaves Melanie with Oliver and Syd and goes back to the sitting area, to Past David and Divad and Dvd.

"Dvd," David says, dizzy with determination. "Will you-- Have coffee with me? And-- Myself?"

Dvd goes from soberly worried to a wide grin in half a second. "Yes," he says, and David feels a rush of love and happiness and relief, from the outside, from Dvd, and-- From inside himself.