I re-watched the whole first season last month and felt the need to write that scene, trying to stay as true as possible to the story and how that would probably go (I had to put away the kastle-shiper in me for a while lmao). I write this, then I let it sleep in my folders for a while, but nothing more came up... so I decided to leave that here nonetheless.
A knock on her door made Karen flinch. She slowly put away the files she was exami-ning, unfolded her long legs and got up from her couch. She paced to the entrance of her flat, put her hand on the handle, hesitated a few secs. Should she get her handgun ? It was late in the eve-ning, she didn't know exactly how late, but... She felt like she was walking in a haze, having diffi-culty coming back in touch with reality. Maybe sleep and no more coffee would be a good idea – but that was for another time.
She opened the door without any further thinking and her eyes fell on the man standing there, waiting. Her breath caught up in her throat.
His name escaped her lips before she fully had the time to fully process his presence at her doorstep.
He was alive, he was there.
She hadn't realized how much she had feared he was actually dead this time until she knew he wasn't. It felt like a weight coming off her chest.
"Hey Karen," he muffled, looking at the floor between their feet. "Mind if I come in ?"
Karen had to take a few secs before she regained the ability to talk.
"Yes, I mean no, I.. Come in."
She stepped out of the way, tucking her hair behind her ear absent-mindedly, and watched him as he walked in. His face was covered in dark bruises and his hands were battered as well, with a lot of little cuts, as if he had put them through broken glass. She could bet the rest of his body, under his clothes, wasn't any better, because he was slightly limping and holding himself a bit stiffer than he usually did.
"You're okay ?"
She couldn't help but asked, as she closed the door behind him – she didn't want her neighbors to notice her late-night visitor. Frank glimpsed at her and smiled in a way that was as far away as joyful as possible, a way that made her heart sink.
"Had been better, ya know."
"Yes, you... I..." She exhaled softly. "I'm happy to see you've still made it through."
He went to scratch the back of his head but stopped mid-motion, barely holding back a wince of pain. Karen looked away.
"Beer ?" She asked.
She had to keep her hands busy so he didn't notice that they were shaking.
"I could use one."
She let out a dry little laugh.
"Yeah, no shit... You can sit there, by the way," she added, gesturing toward her couch.
From the corner of her eye, as she bent in front of her fridge, she saw him sitting down carefully. That made her a bit uncomfortable since she didn't really saw him displaying any sign of pain before. She was fully aware he was allowing himself to be more vulnerable around her, but still, that meant his injuries had to be pretty bad. Karen shook her head, took a deep breath and walked back to him.
She handed Frank a bottle and settled down on the other side of her couch.
"I'm glad you stop by," she continued. "I was worried about you... again."
Their gaze met and this time any of them went to break the contact.
"Yeah, I figured out you'll be. But I didn't want to reach to you until things were settled, ya see, so no one could come after ya... Sorry 'bout that."
"What are you apologizing for ?"
Frank tilted his head a bit, still looking at her, and proceeded to completely ignore her question.
"I get that," she said, "you wanted to keep me safe. Isn't that what you always do ?"
A small smile played at the corners of his lips.
"Speaking of that…" She nervously ran a hand through her blonde locks. "I think I didn't get the time to thank you properly back in that building."
At least, not out loud, she thought. The memory of that moment in the ele-vator, where their foreheads touched, was still very vivid in her mind. She had felt like they didn't need words to understand each other back then. But now... now was the time to talk.
"So, if you're here, Frank... That means that the "things" you were talking about, whate-ver they are, it's over ?"
"Ya could say that, I guess."
He stoped gazing at her for a sec, taking a sip from his beer. She moved a bit closer to him, searching for his eyes again.
"What happened, Frank ?"
He sighed, his shoulders dropping slightly, as if he had been hoping she wouldn't ask. He should have known better by now, though.
"Didn't ya read the newspapers or, ya know, even write them ?"
Karen gestured with her hand and stood up again, feeling restless :
"There is nothing in the newspapers about all that ! Someone is trying to cover this up, someone high-ranked. The version we got is that there was a shooting at the carousel in Central Park involving two civilian hostages and a Homeland Security Agent who came to save them and got hurt in the process. They said you died there, there is an official record stating this, but it's unclear what you were even doing there."
She stopped to catch her breath.
"I guess they expect nobody to ask further questions since they all think you're... you're a psycho," she finished, shaking her head, before dropping on the couch again.
"Ever thought that could be the truth, ma'am ?"
She stopped dead on her tracks, a look of disbelief across her pretty features, and she let out a laugh that had more to do with an exasperated exhale.
"Cut the bullshit, Frank. What about you told me the story, the whole story, instead ?"
"I will, Karen, I will. Just... not right now, okay ?"
Hearing her name in his voice made her shiver. She bit her lower lip, looked away, came back to him. His head was down, his back slightly hunched. He looked exhausted – it reminded her of the elevator, but then there was still urgency, there was adrenaline, and...
She opened her mouth, stumbled on what she wanted to say, closed it again. So instead she reached tentatively for his arm, her fingers brushing lightly against the thin fabric.
That was when he did what she would never thought he would do, not with anyone else in the room at least ; he began to cry. Karen stayed there, motionless, eyes widening, then she took his hand in her own, cautiously, fearing he would withdraw from her. He didn't, though, and just squeezed her fingers back. In a flash, she remembered what she had said, days ago, along the river. :"When I look at you, all I can see is this endless, echoing loneliness."
Right at this moment, this wasn't true.