And now it’s time for the epic emotional upheaval of life-changing proportions.
James tells her that he is responsible for helping her and that she must let him get on with it if she ever wants to be really free again. He tells her she doesn’t want to be stuck here forever—and Kate changes everything with the most simple of questions: “What if I do?”
Kate says this and it’s like an emotional bomb has gone off.
The subject that James fears is fast approaching and he doesn’t want to use it to push her away, he wants to reason with her but Kate is having no more of his avoidance of the subject of “them”. Again, she shows how bold she’s become. (I love it so much, you have no idea.) James tries to tell her that she knows why but she is ready to coerce the real reason out of him.
It gets intense, the level of her emotions. Kate can’t believe how he can deny himself something so great and he is brutally honest in his responses. He is telling her honestly that he can never offer her anything normal, or safe, or good; that a life with him would always be dangerous and hard. He feels/ knows she deserves so much more and he just can’t see why she would turn from all of that and choose him instead. He doesn’t think he can give her what she wants
“Kate, the life I live is never going to change. It’s not safe. You deserve better than this.” “Why can’t you let me decide that for myself?” She shook her head at him. “Because your head is full of pretty ideals. You have no place in my world.” It was harsh but it needed to be said. “Are you so scared of losing control that you can’t even let yourself be happy? So determined to walk alone in your misery that you refuse to let me love you? Well guess what? I’m not going to let you push me away. I am going to love you whether you want me to or not.”
James can fight her all he wants but Kate is standing up to him. (It’s beautiful.) He tries to walk away and Kate pursues and tells her not to run from him. He tries to pull away: “Don’t make me hurt you more than I already have.” He doesn’t want to tell her that final secret but it’s no longer his fear, it’s about the kind of pain that knowledge will give her. He wanted to reason with her but she is so adamant in believing in him, it’s hurting him.
“You don’t know what you’re asking of me,” he answered.
“Why is this so hard for you?”
“I have nothing to offer you. I can’t give you what you want: a normal life, a happy ending; you won’t find them here.” He had never known normal or happy. He wouldn’t even know where to begin to look to give her these things. “All I have is danger, fear, and death; I refuse to make those a part of your daily life.”
“I know you think you can protect me best by forcing me away, James. I know what’s at stake and how dangerous it is to even be associated with you…but you can’t ask me to stop loving you.”
“Stop saying that,” he said heavily. He couldn’t bear it.
“No, I won’t stop. I can’t just turn this feeling off, James.”
He closed his eyes shaking his head. Her words were too soft and too sweet and they burned him from within. “Please don’t look for love in me. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Then stop pushing me away,” she begged.
“I am no good for you.”
“Stop saying that! You are so good to me; no one has ever been this good to me before,” she insisted sweetly, reaching for him.
He coughed out a scathing laugh, denying her touch. “You have no idea how your kind words and pretty smiles wound me. Your love is like a dagger in my heart.” He knew his following look was cruel but he could no longer stand this. “Stop poisoning me with you affections. If you love me, you will stop this foolishness. You only wound us both.”
It hurts James to hear her say these fantastic things about him. He knows they aren’t true. He has done true evil and there is no forgiving it. Her sweet words are just painful for him because he feels he does not deserve them and being that he is just about to break her heart with the truth, it makes it that much harder. He doesn’t want her to feel this strongly about him because it makes it harder and that much worse to tell her; it’s going to hurt her even more to believe in him this much.
Oh, but sweet emboldened Kate, she is stubborn and she doesn’t understand—in a very realistic way, mind you—why he denies these things. She is tired of seeing him deny what is so obviously between them. Even if she can’t have him, she wants to talk about it, she wants to address it, she doesn’t want to hear “you know why” anymore.
“Then I am foolish, so be it. You can’t scare me away.”
“You stubborn woman, listen to me. You don’t know what you are asking of me. You haven’t the slightest idea just how dangerous it is for us to be together. No matter how hard you wish it, it will not be beautiful or fun or easy.” His voice had an edge to it, growing sharper and harsher with every word he spoke as his frustration mounted. “I am out there every damn day, killing and being shot at. I could die at any time. My brother is out to kill me, so the chances of that happening have doubled. The hole in my shoulder is proof of that and it wasn’t because he missed. If you are with me, you will be in just as much danger…and I’m not going to let that happen. I will not put you in that position.”
James addresses it and he is being emotional about it.
(God I love seeing him like this...i have issues.) He can’t fight it anymore. He’s telling her straight up how dangerous it is and that that is why he won’t let anything happen between them. He’s saying, roughly, that he cares for her too much to let her get killed because of him.
“Stop deciding that for me!”
“Someone has to! You’ll get yourself killed and I will be haunted by that the rest of my life. Is that what you want? I am using every means available to hide you and someone still found out. I was arrogant enough to believe that only I could keep you safe; that because you were with me that nothing bad could happen to you but I was wrong. I am going to keep protecting you until this is over and then you must leave. The Agency isn’t the only enemy I have. This will never end.”
This is a beautiful part. He is admitting his fear to her and his failings, trying to point out that this is only more reason for her to go.
“You’d force me away? Send me off back to my old life?”
“It’s where you belong.”
And we have reached a clinical parallel point.
James is telling her right off that she has to go after this. He is up front with this information. Kate finds out the truth about John and John still hides the fact that he plans to disappear when it’s over, for this same exact reason. Why is John the one to hold back this information? Fear. As always in BoT, his fears ran everything.
We are also having the critical argument point parallel here. With John and Kate it was after she’d had quite enough of the running. But there is a whole lot more yelling going on and John being repetitive. It’s then that she discovers that he means to disappear—and not even tell her. You can imagine how pissed she was when she realizes this, and how hurt.
Kate realizes a lot during their argument and she tells him, point blank, that he is making her feel useless. She sees that he is only running away. She sees that he isn’t treating her right and that he is just taking it all unto himself and leaving her in the dark.
I think this is one of the key reasons James and Kate work better because of what happened in BoT. John always lied. It frustrates Kate and she tells him so. She doesn’t want coddling, she wants the truth.
“All you do is make up excuses! How can you live like this? How can you possibly be okay with taking lives?!” Kate is visibly upset, not only that he won’t tell her anything and that he lied but she also knows that he is using these things as an excuse. She is upset by the fact that he takes lives and yet she isn’t with James. She knows what James does, she knows he kills and is killing more because he has to hide her but she accepts it. Why is she angry at John and not at James?
I’ll tell you why.
Kate had to piece things together during a very short amount of time in BoT. She was not given the information, nor did she have her questions answered; all John did was lie and lie and lie and once the truth came out he drags her away. Basically he’s saying “I lied to you but you have to trust me. Never mind that men just came bursting into our apartment, don’t ask why I’m asking you to shoot, don’t ask why I’m killing these men, just trust me.” When she asks what he is, begs for the truth and he tells her, yes, she’s scared. She believed one thing for two months and in the matter of minutes her world was shattered. Can you imagine that? Can you put yourself in that position? It’s mind boggling.
When Kate asks why he did these things, he continues with his excuse and justification. “I was trying to help people. I kill all these bad people so people like you can be safe.” He is trying to justify himself. After all the lies trying to justify his actions, so of course she’s mad. James told her everything, even that he was not part of the faction and that he has been working to bring them down from the inside. He never justified the act of killing and nor does he want forgiveness but he calls it necessary. She can see that he is cold and hard and she could see he was hiding something but that it was more personal than anything else. She knows he is hard because of the thing he’s hidden and she can see that this job is...well...just a job for him. He does not enjoy it. John has tried to make excuses while claiming to be doing good.
Why is James more deserving? He isn’t. It is simply his honesty and his realistic approach that makes Kate understand. He doesn’t coddle her or tell her what she wants to hear to just keep her happy. James tells her what she needs to know, no holds barred, no matter how terrible. She can’t ignore the facts and he wants her to understand because naivety isn’t going to help anyone. He didn’t underestimate her ability to understand the way John did, he respected her by doing so; with John taking the helm, he really hurt her, so of course she’s going to get irrational and angry at him for treating her like a kid. She is offended by his lying and even worse by the fact that she loved him, and that he loved her and he still lied.
James won’t lie. This argument is heated but he’s not yelling and Kate isn’t yelling back. The argument is handled better between them, whereas John shouts a lot trying to get his “point” across, one that she knows to be bullshit and that he is repeating it ad nauseam. And yet, Kate always wanting to be the bigger person, wants to help him.
“I am not useless! Open up to me, let me help; I can't let you do this alone! This is my fault!” Kate, despite being angry at him WANTS to help him. She doesn’t understand and she still wants to help because she truly thinks it’s her fault and John doesn’t even try to correct her because he’s still lying. He can’t tell her that he was there and saw those dead girls. He didn’t even didn’t tell her it was his own brother, didn’t tell her he was afraid and Kate is thinking that he is in trouble because of her.
He tells her it’s not her fault but doesn’t say why, only that he’ll take care of it.
“Dammit, John! It’s murder!” I find Kate saying this in BoT as amusing because James told Kate the same thing in MiB: “No matter what pretty words you dress it in, Kate—say I’m doing the world justice and a favor by cleaning this word of the scum and the corrupt but in the end I am still a man who kills people for a living. I am even proud of what I accomplish. I am a twisted man and a murderer.”
How similar Kate and James are.
James is also hurt by Kate’s kind words and everything nice she says about him, just as Kate was hurt. She was hurt by all these things John was trying to do “for her”, she feels that he is basically going to make her watch him die because he won’t stop running and because he tells her nothing and won’t let her help him. She’s terrified for him in the same way that James is terrified for her in MiB. Each of them is so selfless. They won’t let the person they love die because of them—so throwing them together is just...so beautiful. They’d do anything for each other.
We then have Kate again telling him that she is sick of running and now she sees that he has no plan. John’s plan the entire story: run. James’ plan: increase efforts to destabilize the Agency—all for the sake of this one woman. James does not freeze up when his whole world is turned on its head, he reroutes his entire game plan. The man knows how to get things done.
Was it just my lack of skill when I originally wrote it? Possibly, but I think it’s fitting for John. He has so many problems and insecurities, it’s not surprising that he’s run away—more so because he had her and he was just terrified of losing her and telling her the truth. He didn’t know what to do.
I still had some writing foibles, of course:
“What?” He looked over at her sharply, “Of course I care, Kate. Why the hell else do you think I'm doing this?! It's for you!”
“Your lack of emotion, John!” She snapped, tears forming once again. “You just don't care about killing people! Doesn't that bother you at all? I see you kill them in front of me and...I'm scared of you! You're so cold and hard about it...you don't even flinch when you pull the trigger.”
(Lack of emotion? Oh, honey, he’s not James.)
This is so opposite. What was I thinking? Though I suppose, given how she hasn’t been exposed to this very long and the fact that she was lied to and now is seeing him kill up close—it’s understanding how she would be set off and think this.
“Kate, they will kill you...they won't hesitate, not ever...they don't care one bit how kind you are, how nice...how wonderful...they don't care at all how innocent you are; they will murder you. So I can't hesitate to stop them.”
(Wow, John, the first reasonable thing you’ve said. Now if only you’d told her this in the beginning.)
Another interesting parallel for this argument is the fact that after both brothers deny her and say they are no good for her, she asks them if she has a choice in the matter.
With James: “Why can’t you let me decide that for myself?” She shook her head at him. “Because your head is full of pretty ideals. You have no place in my world.” And: “Stop deciding that for me!”
The thing is, at this point, the stories are parallel in full. They are trying to convince her she is no good and she must go away but only James gives valid reasons while John doesn’t even tell her and keeps repeating everything. When James told her, he told her everything, she pressed and he revealed his past and the truth. But—
—with John: “And you couldn't let me decide for myself? If we get out of this alive...you're still going to leave?” She asked, the crushing pain in her heart becoming unbearable.
He didn't want to answer, knowing how he was breaking her heart. How much more could he possibly hurt her? He shook his head. “I'm no good, Kate...not for you.”
“So I get no say in this?” She cried. “So why...why did you give me hope? Why did you kiss me and make me believe that we had something?!” She could hardly stop the tears now.
(OH JESUS, I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW. I should have seen it, I should have seen it right here. Kate knew. She fucking knew!)
Kate knew here, she did, that it was doomed. I think Kate always knew but Kate, being the overly compassionate and loving woman she is, she tried. She wanted to believe in him and love him and trust him but he strung her along. She was aware and she tried; she dared to hope that maybe there was something. Her love for him was—and it kills me to say this—pity.
(FUCK MY FEELINGS!!!!!)
She loved him, she did and she tried so hard. She allowed herself to be hurt because she loved him and it just tore her to pieces. It’s one of those damaging relationships but I can see it now. This didn’t make her weak. Kate isn’t weak. She’s so compassionate. She never thinks of herself. She was trying to take care of him and praying that he’d eventually tell her what he was hiding and that he really would remain with her. She clung to hope. But John is so...damaged. He doesn’t realize how terribly he’s hurt her and it takes this to make him see.
And it only gets worse: “I had to let let you know how I felt...” He felt his breath sharpen, somehow it had become harder to breathe. He was watching her heart break right in front of him; his own catching painfully into his chest.
“You shouldn't have! You should never have kissed me, not if you were going to take my heart and dash it across the floor! You built me up and planned to walk away!” Kate couldn't stop crying, her breath coming out in sharp bursts, unable to control herself. “I can’t do this anymore…” She stammered, taking hold of her bag, no real plan in mind, all she wanted was to get away from him.
(WHAT I AM FEELING IS PAIN. THERE ARE ACTUAL TEARS. THIS IS NOT COOL. I did this. I did this to them. I hurt them with this. I can’t believe I did this to them.)
John does nothing but stammer and try to right it and keeps repeating the same damn thing. That he can fix it and that he won’t let anything happen to her. It’s a repeat. He always says the same thing and never actually does anything but run.
(Oh, John...what happened...?)
“Kate, I’ll stop this…I will! I won’t let anything…”
“No! I can’t do this anymore!” She shouted as she spun around to face him again, hating what she had to say, hating to hear his words. They tormented her and tore at her every time he spoke. She didn’t want this to continue, they were only hurting each other and she wasn’t going to be responsible for his death and even if he had found a way to get them out of this, he’d still leave her. She cried as she stared painfully into his eyes.
John was breathing heavily, confused and angry, the look in her eyes killing him, “W…what are you saying?”
“I’m saying that you broke my heart, John… I want so goddamn much to hate you…and it kills me that I can’t!” She shouted painfully at him, hurrying into the bathroom and slamming the door shut behind her.
(How the fuck did I not see this?! What did I do?????)
Kate wanted out here, and not just story wise, canon wise. She is in that much pain. This didn’t seem as powerful before but now you can see it. That very moment her heart shattered and that it was over. All the trust was gone.
How come this doesn’t happen for her and James? He reveals all and—all she can do is cry for him. He’s told her everything; his deepest darkest secret that reveals his pain and his fears and anguish and darkness. There are no excuses, no more of the same; he tells her the truth. James opens himself up, bleeds the truth, all of this to prove to her the dangers of being with him.
Why does James want her to be afraid of him? He’s hoping this pushes her away. He’ll make no excuses. He’s terrified for her and of losing her and he hopes this lets her see just how bad it is—how bad he is. And Kate just cries for him.
Why? She doesn’t get angry at him or become afraid. She is deeply sad FOR him. She’s seen his heart. He is open to her now, completely open, and she accepts him and notes on what he cannot see. What he was afraid to see in himself. Kate can’t get angry at James for the same thing. James has been nothing but honest. She knows everything about him now. There are no more secrets between them and she can see how he feels and understand his fear. He has not tried to excuse anything and he’s not running and he was never trying to hurt her. She understands it all.
That didn’t exist in BoT. John did nothing but hide and run and make excuses and lie and string her heart along while planning to just drop her without telling her. These are monumental differences. This is the heart of it; the tragedy of BoT.
It is only now that John has seen what he’s done. He knows now exactly what he did wrong and how terribly he hurt her but it’s too late to fix it and he knows that. Kate later decides to leave. She wants to put an end to the running. She wants to fix what john can’t bring himself to—and that means finding James.
(Or this was the actual break up and Kate went to go to James where she really belonged. I’m suffering from a broken heart over here, and I’m not kidding.)
In MiB, James is the one that runs. He is overwhelmed. Kate still loved him after what he revealed and, not only that, she understood what he couldn’t...what he was too scared to admit. Kate knows his heart completely and he wants to hide. He lost the battle with himself and he doesn’t know what to do. This means he’ll give in. This means she’ll be put in danger for the rest of her life. James is now very in danger of losing her in a bigger sense and of having his heart be broken. It’s terrifying for him so he leaves.
It’s heart wrenching because they are on the border of something great or heartbreaking.
We have finally seen the heart of the problem of BoT. It was doomed from the start and here is where it fell apart.