II. Everyone Needs Help

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Chapter Two

The next morning at exactly nine thirty, Alex burst into the room again. He declared that he wanted to have a day alone with Lena. She seemed excited to do this, and I completely encourage it. But if they spend the day together, that means Khari and I are going to spend the day together.

I like Khari a lot. He's an excellent warrior and an honorable man. But despite the fact we are constantly around each other, we have never spent one on one time together. I couldn't help but feel a little awkward.

Khari on the other hand, didn't seem to be bothered by this at all. Once Lena and Alex left, Khari met me down in the lobby, looking as relaxed as ever.

He smiles at me as I approach him, saying with enthusiasm; "I thought we could go to Monemvasia. It's this beautiful old city that dates all the way back to the Middle Ages. There won't be as many people or cameras pointing at your face, so I thought you might like it. Then we could get something to eat while we're there."

I'm constantly shocked by how friendly he is. I nod my head. "That sounds nice."

We drove to the city, where I am again left in awe of seeing such a beautiful creation. The entire city overlooks they ocean, where the sun glistens down and makes the sea look like diamonds. The city itself is built at the bottom of a mountain, with houses and buildings at various elevations. The houses are all made of brick and cobblestone, with red and orange paneled roofs. The buildings match the color of the mountain, making the whole view look like a painting I'd find in a museum. The streets are made of stone also. I hear our feet clicking as we walk through the city.

"Have you ever been to Greece?" Khari asks me, looking around in complete wonder as we pass by the brick houses.

I shake my head. "Travel was too expensive back in my day, so I never came here with my family. I didn't come here when I was in HYDRA either...they hated anything that was full of life and beauty." I say bitterly, adjusting my hat.

Khari is silent for a moment, before saying with some hesitation; "Maybe you should go and talk to someone. Soroya has seen a therapist for the past few years."

I turn my head to him. "She has?"

Khari nods. "She didn't tell you? Once a week she has been talking to a therapist, the same one for four and a half years. She's really helped her with her PTSD. Maybe it could help you, too."

"She...she got a therapist after Alex and I died?"

Khari nods solemnly. "The first six months were hard. She often looked like if you were to tap her, she would crumble into pieces. Therapy helped. She didn't move on, not like she wanted to, but she became content with time. It was like the light was returned to her when you both came back."

I feel my heart strain in my chest at the thought of her like that, of the light in her I love so much put out. I find myself saying; "I hate that I wasn't here for her. I know it wasn't my fault, but I hate that she suffered for so long. I'm astonished she did so much given how low she felt."

Khari smiles. "That's Soroya. You know better than anyone that she'll always put other people before herself. That's what makes her a hero."

I nod, smiling as well. "I know...did you work with the Avengers, too?"

He nods. "I went back and forth between Wakanda and the Avengers compound. Not every Avenger helped during the five years. Steve, Natasha, Rhodey, Okoye, and Soroya were the only ones to help. Well on earth anyways. I grew rather close to Steve...he is an incredible man."

I feel my heart sink. Steve's absence is like a large weight on my chest, another hole that punctures my heart. "He is. It doesn't shock me you both got along, or that Lena became so close with him. The three of you are like three peas in a pod."

Khari chuckles to himself. "That's what Nat used to say. Steve and Soroya talked about you a lot. Steve would talk of your childhood together before the war and Soroya would talk about your adventures together. It feels like I already know you."

"But you don't. They only talked about the good things I've done, the bright parts of my life. There is a lot of dark shadows that you don't know about."

"I may not. But Steve, Soroya, and Alex do. They trust you with their lives. But more importantly they love you. Deeply. I don't need to know everything in order to know who you really are. Besides, I have an instinct about people. I can tell you aren't the bad person you think you are."

I shake my head, starring at him in amazement. "You're like a clone of her."

Khari takes this as a compliment. "Well she and I are both right. I've seen the way you have acted since you've returned. You feel unworthy of the happiness you feel. I've seen Alex deal with the same issue. All you need is time."

"That's what everyone tells me," I say, surprised at how easy it is to talk to him. "But I endured a lifetime of pain from HYDRA. I don't think it ever cease to haunt me."

"Perhaps not, but in time you'll be able to be at peace; to be happy without any doubt or despair. You don't deserve to suffer like this. I can see how much it affects Soroya; it's like a piece of her heart is chipped away whenever you're in pain."

"It's why I kept my distance from her when we were in Wakanda. She doesn't deserve to burdened by my past. But I know I hurt her more by pushing her away...and the closest I ever get to peace is with her."

"See?" Khari says, smiling widely. "That's a start. I would suggest seeing a therapist. I think it will help immensely. But you should also lean on Soroya more. Talk to her, tell her how you are feeling and what's going through your mind. It will help you heal. And it will put her heart at ease to help you. Trust me."

I shake my head. "I already feel like I have talked to a therapist."

He also takes this as a compliment. "You can talk to me anytime you want to. It helped Alex. He's told me the things HYDRA made him do and what they did to him. Leaning on others and getting help is the only way to heal. No one can do it alone. Not even a super soldier."

I spot a restaurant down the street. As we approach it, I clasp Khari on the shoulder. "I never thanked you, Khari. Not properly. You looked out for Lena all these years and for that I'm eternally in your debt. If you ever need or want anything, I will gladly assist you."

Khari nods his head to me firmly, patting my back. "There is something I would like from you though."

"And what is that?"

"Your friendship."

"I'm not very good at friendships."

"I know three people who would disagree with you on that."

I smile at him before nodding my head. "Alright, friends it is then." I tell him, seeing the smile grow on his face. It's almost infectious; his smile, his attitude, his wisdom. He radiates positivity like the sun. It still astonishes me how he and Alex make it work. Opposites do attract I guess.

It is truly shocking how similar he and Lena are. Maybe that was why he is so easy to talk to, it's almost like I'm talking to her. I had no idea the last few years she been seeing someone to talk to. It makes sense though; Lena has never been one to deny help when she needs it. Perhaps it's high time I do the same.

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