Fandom: I Spy
Summary: Scotty reflects on Kelly's personality while watching him sleep.
Characters: Kelly, Scotty
Warnings: scene for "A Room With A Rack", references to torture
"I have always been amazed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more importance to waking events than to those occurring in dreams. Man is above all the plaything of his memory." - Andre Breton
At first he couldn't touch him.
There was too much damage, from the mangled and swollen muscles and tendons to the tattered skin hanging in bloody ribbons off his back. There wasn't a place on the man that hadn't been bruised and battered, a graphic reminder of the hideous pain men could inflict on another man.
He was lucky, the doctors said. A weaker man, like the scientist lying stiff and cold in the morgue, would have died hours before, or at least broken, begging for mercy from the constant and grueling torture.
Kelly hadn't made a sound from the first crank of the rack to the last lash of the whip across his back as his head fell forward. Only later, after they'd been rescued, and the ambulance was well on it's way to the hospital did he utter a sound - a whimper between clenched teeth, quickly stifled.
A strong man, the doctors said.
But Kelly wasn't strong. Not really. Determined, yes, and the most stubborn and devoted man he knew, a loyal friend and agent. But not strong.
There'd always been a frailty in him, the devil-may-care attitude hiding an almost self-destructive personality, as if he thinks nothing for his life. For all the girls he romances, and the bleary smiles over half-filled glasses of alcohol, Scotty suspects that Kelly Robinson - the real Kelly he seldom sees - has never truly been happy.
If anything, the quickly hidden tears and the flashes of grim resignation as he stares down death are the truest nature of the man.
Once he's healed, he's afraid to touch him.
The instant Kelly's eyes opened Scotty knew that while they hadn't broken Kelly, they'd wounded him, damaged him in a way that goes deeper than the scars that he'll wear for the rest of his life.
The first night when he awoke to Kelly whimpering in his sleep he crossed the room and touched his shoulder, still wrapped in bandages.
There was a shuddering heave beneath the covers as Kelly jerked backwards, drawing into himself, breath coming in ragged gasps, eyes tightly closed, face dripping sweat.
"Shhh, Kel. It's me."
He takes Kelly's hand in his own, gently, carefully, watching for any sign of pain. His fingers dig painfully at Scotty's, attempting to pry him free.
Scotty releases his hand quietly, and stands there in hollow silence until the nightmare passes and Kelly uncurls himself, gasping easing into faint but even breathing.
He tries a few more times to touch him, or even call to him to wake him, then stops. The faintest sound or movement seems to send him into a blind panic, leaving him trapped in a half-awake, half-asleep state of remembered agony.
After a while Scotty stays in his own bed and lies awake, listening, throat thick with suppressed pain, as Kelly sobs and cries out...but never begs.
Now and then he pleads for Scotty, still shackled and bleeding in the room of his dreams. But never for himself. Never for a release from his own pain, and never for help.
And that, perhaps, hurts Scotty worse than watching him suffer and being powerless to even touch him.