Author's Note: This is a fanfic for the show Killjoys – if you're not watching it, go check it out on the SyFy channel because it's a fun show. Written as an RPG (roll playing game) between me and my friend Cat aka BlackFox12. I'm playing D'avin and she's playing Dutch. This story takes place directly after Season 1 Episode 7 'Kiss, Kiss, Bye, Bye', and has specific spoilers for that episode and for everything up to that point.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters and I'm not making any money from this story.
Warning: Consensual spanking between two adults.
POST TRAUMATIC HEALING
D'avin squeezed the rag above the bucket and watched the bright red liquid fall into the soapy water. His brother's blood mixed with the murky fluid in swirls that slowly dissipated into nothing. Before he was done cleaning up the pools and trails of the coagulated mess, the water would be red.
He'd thought that cleaning it would be cathartic. Or at the very least, he thought not having to step around the blood would help him get past the incessant replay of events going on in his head. But instead, cleaning up the blood put that traumatic replay at full volume, drowning out all other thoughts. For the first time, he was glad he couldn't remember viciously killing every last member of his squadron. He almost wished he could forget trying to kill Dutch and Johnny, except he didn't deserve that kind of peace, even if he hadn't been in control of his own mind at the time.
Out of all the horrendous images burned into his brain, Johnny's expression of utter shock after he'd been stabbed was the worst. Despite being raised by their father, Johnny was kindhearted, trusting, and loyal. So when D'avin's brain had been hijacked by that evil bitch of a doctor, instead of keeping his distance while D'avin was locked up, Johnny had sat down close to his older brother and talked about D'avin's childhood heroics, giving the older man the opportunity to attack. D'avin almost wished that Johnny were more like Dutch, because there had been no hesitation in her retaliatory attack when D'avin had turned on her. But if John could turn on a loved one so quickly, he wouldn't be Johnny anymore.
Once all traces of Johnny's blood had been removed from the ship, D'avin hesitantly visited the bedroom where it had all started. His eyes went immediately to the shattered glass and the dented metal panel on the wall. Dutch had been coming back to the bedroom with a bottle of booze and two glasses for some post sex drinks, when he'd kicked her in the back and sent her tumbling into the panel.
D'avin started sweeping up the glass shards and tried not to remember the violent way he'd attacked her again and again. He tried not to remember the sound of his fist smashing into her flesh. The only reprieve from the oppressive guilt he felt was remembering that she'd not only fought back, she'd taken him down. Once the glass was cleaned up, he traced the dent with his fingers and then went to find a replacement part. He wanted all traces of that attack gone before either of his teammates came back to the ship.
# # #
It wasn't the first time Dutch felt like Johnny's mother rather than his older sister, but it was the first time Johnny had been in such a bad way. The first time he'd been hurt so badly, he'd needed blood fast. Dutch didn't like being in anyone's debt, not really, but she'd willingly owe Dr. Pawter if it meant Johnny would be safe.
He was sleeping now. Out of danger, but he needed to heal. She felt torn between staying by Johnny's side and returning to the ship to speak to D'avin. Johnny wanted to see him. She was certain D'avin felt the same; and the only reason he was staying away was because of guilt. A feeling she knew better than most people.
D'avin won, because Johnny wasn't alone. He would never be alone. But she knew D'avin would either be alone on the ship... or would have left. And since she hadn't received an alert about a rogue Killjoy, she was betting on the former.
# # #
After the ship was back to normal, D'avin wasn't sure what to do with himself. He couldn't bear to face Johnny yet, so instead he just sat down next to the entry ramp and waited for Dutch.
He heard the entryway open and forced himself to sit still instead of fleeing when he heard her boots coming near. He saw her in his periphery and closed his eyes for a moment.
Dutch approached the entry ramp, studying the expression on his face. She stopped only a few inches from him, knowing what he needed to know. "He'll take a while to fully heal, but he's gonna be okay." She paused, allowing that to sink in, before adding, "He was asking for you." She didn't expect him to go, but she had to say it; had to let him know Johnny wanted him there. That he didn't blame him.
"Yeah?" he asked, still unable to keep his eyes in her direction for more than half a second. It didn't surprise him that Johnny had asked for him. He'd be surprised if his forgiving little brother hadn't. "I should probably let him rest." The weak excuse sounded pathetic to his own ears, so he added, "Maybe tomorrow."
She could have pushed him; pointed out that hiding out here and avoiding Johnny wasn't going to help him feel less guilty. But he wasn't in the state where he'd hear anything logical. She knew that state of mind all too well. So, instead, she changed the subject. "I destroyed all of Dr. Jaegar's research..."
"I don't care about that right now." He cut her off mid sentence. He knew they'd neutralized the current threat; what he didn't know was how they were going to move past this, or even if they could. He forced himself to actually look Dutch in the eyes, but the extensive bruising on her face, the bruising he'd put there, made him wince. He quickly looked back at his own hands and muttered, "How are you even looking at me?"
She hadn't even thought about the bruising; not with her worry for first Johnny and then, knowing he had to be torn up, for D'avin. She knelt down in front of him, trying to see his face... trying to figure out what he needed to hear from her. But that put her in the direct sight of his own bruising and when she spoke, her voice was soft. "Do you remember much of it?"
Feeling lost, he said, "Dutch, I remember everything." If he hadn't had a childhood full of holding back his tears, he would have broken down. Instead, he focused on the woman in front of him. He gently put his hands on the sides of her marred face and said, "Please tell me you know that I would never do anything to hurt you or John. Please tell me you know that that wasn't really me."
"I do." She answered without hesitation. She knew him. Knew what he was capable of. "Of course I do." She turned her head; kissed his hand. She knew what she was capable of just as much as she knew what he wasn't. "But it was me." She made herself move his hands off her face, refusing to allow herself any of the comfort she might have wanted, deep down inside. She stood up. "I can't be okay with that." It was hard, perhaps one of the hardest things she had ever done, but she walked away from him.
D'avin watched her walk away, too stunned by what she'd said to call her back. Was she really blaming herself for taking him out when he'd turned violent? It was self-defense and she'd shown amazing restraint by not killing him once he was unconscious after the unprovoked attack.
Once she was out of sight, he pushed himself up off the floor and took a step in the direction she'd gone. His immediate instinct was to help her understand she'd had no choice, but how could he convince her of that, when he couldn't get past what he'd done when he had no choice? He leaned against the wall and frowned. He needed to get a handle on his own guilt before he'd be of any use to her or Johnny.
The only time he could remember being this desperate to get out of his own head had been at fifteen, when he'd accidentally gotten Johnny hurt. He'd forced his geek of a little brother to go on a survival-training weekend with him. When he brought the kid home with a broken arm from a fall, their father had beaten D'avin while screaming about medical bills. The pain had helped him escape his own thoughts, even though the person dishing it out made him furious enough to kill.
With that thought in mind, he walked off the ship. He was going to go find some pain and thanks to their most recent mission, he knew where he could get it with no questions asked. He just needed to find transport to Club Utopia.
Returning to her own room on the ship hadn't been much of a help, but Dutch was too on edge to consider any of the other ways she could move past the tension. She'd resorted to pacing, but it hadn't taken her long to realize she wasn't going to relax without both members of her family back on the ship. She was considering dragging D'avin in to see Johnny, reluctant or not, when the alert she'd placed went off.
It wasn't a surprise to see D'avin was taking off. What was a surprise was where his trail had wound up. Club Utopia? Her concern deepened as she tried to figure out what he was doing there, even as she requested Lucy forward any urgent messages to her comm and took the ship in the direction of Utopia.
# # #
D'avin sat in a holding cell outside Club Utopia, berating himself for even trying to find a quick fix for his guilt. Apparently, even an invitation to the club didn't mean you were guaranteed entrance. When your face looked like it had been used as a punching bag, you were denied access. He'd tried to buy his way in and when that didn't work, he'd tried to con his way in. That had been a disaster and now he was stuck alone in a cell, with no mistress in sight to give him pain. The best he could hope for was a cellmate to start a fight with before the transport ship was ready to take off three hours from now.
He sighed, closed his eyes and muttered, "I should have just started a bar fight."
Dutch had shown both her own and D'avin's credentials, but it had still taken a lot of fast talking for her to be led to the holding cell, in time to hear his comment. "You're bruised enough without adding more to the collection," she said.
At the sound of her voice, his eyes popped open and his body jerked into an upright position on the bench. "Dutch?" He was so shocked to see her, he blurted out the first thought that came to his mind. "What are you doing here?"
She waited until the holding cell was opened before speaking. "I put an alert on you. I didn't want you to disappear and not know about it." She hesitated, but didn't immediately say what was on her mind. "I'm taking you back on the ship."
"You put an alert on me?" he said, more to himself than to her as he stepped out of the cell, and then answered his own question. "I guess that makes sense." He suddenly realized that if she'd had an alert on him and if she got him out of this cell, she had to know why he'd been trying to get into the club. He hadn't exactly been discrete about trying to hire a mistress for an hour to whip him. His entire face turned red and he avoided making eye contact as he muttered, "Thanks for busting me out."
"We'll talk when we're back on the ship." She gave him an appraising look, adding, "I had to do a lot of fast talking to get you out. I'd prefer we don't have a repeat of you taking off." She didn't speak to the man who had taken her to the cell, instead heading back to the ship.
He nodded in acknowledgement of her instructions and followed her back to the ship silently. There was no point in making a bigger scene than he already had. With every step, he hoped for some kind of alert to go off. A new warrant, news about Johnny, or some other distraction so he could avoid the upcoming discussion.
Dutch didn't say anything until they were safely back on the ship, in private. She then turned to him. "I'm not going to ask you why you were trying to find a mistress to whip you. But if it's what you need, I'll do it. I'll beat you... if you do the same to me." Her words were simple, direct and to the point. She could understand wanting and needing pain. She might not have done the same thing he'd been about to, but she'd found other ways of giving herself that pain. And while she still carried the visible bruising from their fight, the pain was barely there.
But she didn't want him going to a stranger; someone she wasn't sure could be trusted. In these circumstances, she doubted many people would hesitate to take advantage of him.
"What!?" He took a step back and shook his head. "No! No way in hell I'm beating you so that you'll beat me. Don't you get it, Dutch? I'm here because I can't stand that I hit you already; I'm not hitting you again." He crossed his arms and said, "Beating each other again would be redundant and pointless."
She took a step forward, into his personal space, and gently touched some of the bruising on his face. "Your mind was being controlled, but you still lost, while I'm naturally a vicious person." She hadn't done any permanent damage to him. The bruises would heal from both of them, at least the outward ones. But being forced to do bad things was a whole world of difference to being under your own power. He didn't deserve pain, but if he needed it, better at her hand than a stranger's. And getting hurt in return would drive away her fear of what could have happened if she'd let the monster out.
"Naturally a vicious person?" He shook his head again. "That's ridiculous." He could hardly believe they were having this conversation, but since she'd started it, he decided to dive all the way in with some honesty. He didn't think she needed pain just for the sake of pain. She didn't need to be treated like an out of control criminal. She needed to be treated like a loved one who was wallowing in undeserved guilt. "You don't need a beating, you need a spanking and a cuddle."
She dropped her hand, narrowing her eyes in irritation at his sexist answer. "I'll only give you what you're willing to give me," she stated, keeping calm, even though she disagreed with him.
He rolled his eyes. "That wouldn't help either of us. We need different things." In his experience, a few open handed slaps to the rear end caused a vastly different emotional response than a beating with an object. "I need a one-time beating to get the image of my brother's face when I stabbed him out of my mind. You need love and forgiveness for your entire upbringing. You need reassurance that you're not a vicious person and that's not going to be accomplished with a one-time beating. What I really think you need is just the cuddle, but I doubt you'd let that happen without the spanking first."
He put his hand on the side of her face, and said softly, "If you'd be willing to beat me today, I'd be more than willing to spank you anytime you want. With the understanding that I'll be allowed to hold you and tell you that you're forgiven after each one."
Dutch allowed herself to press into his touch, thinking it over. She didn't agree with his assessment at all, but he was offering her gentleness and understanding. Did she think she deserved it? No. But some small part of her craved it. And if this was the only way he would let her in and allow her to help him… she didn't know what other choice she could make. "Johnny can't know," she said quietly. "He won't understand."
He scrutinized her for a few moments. He hadn't expected her to agree. In fact, he'd expected her to flat out tell him no and maybe kick him off the ship. But his surprise didn't stop him from answering. "I agree. Johnny can't find out."
She nodded and then addressed the ship. "Lucy, please erase this conversation from the logs and cease recording until I tell you otherwise."
"Are we doing this now?" D'avin asked, not sure if he wanted the answer to be yes or not. Yes, he wanted the pain; but with a mistress, he could just forget about her the next day. He wasn't going to be able to do that with Dutch.
"It's the best time, since Johnny isn't back on the ship yet," Dutch replied. "And I don't want to have to come after you again."
"Yeah, okay." He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and said, "Where do you want me?"
"We'll go to my room. In case we get any unexpected visitors." Dutch began walking in that direction.
He followed her to the same room they'd had sex in the day before. The same room they'd beaten each other up in minutes later. He supposed it was fitting that they did this in her room as well, but he was glad that he'd cleaned up all traces of their altercation.
She set the lock on the door and then turned to look at D'avin, considering. She didn't want to do any damage to him, but his words still rang in her mind. "Take off your shirt," she directed, as she headed towards the closet.
He quickly pulled the shirt up over his head and tossed it into a corner of the room.
It didn't take Dutch long to find what she was looking for; a wide belt, almost a strap, she'd utilized on a warrant and then never found a use for since. "Brace your hands against the wall," she ordered.
After taking a good look at the piece of leather in her hands, he nodded curtly, turned around and put his hands on the wall.
She took a deep breath in and moved to his side, raising the belt and bringing it down across his back. The strike was hard, but she was careful not to use it full force, and held the buckle safely out of the way.
A soft grunt came out of him after the first strike. He forced himself to breathe steadily and closed his eyes so he could focus on the memories of what he'd done when he had no control over his body.
Her hand was steady as she lifted the belt and brought it down a second and third time, not crossing over the strikes, but able to see the vivid red marks the belt left each time it landed. Only the knowledge that he needed this kept her movement.
Each bright flash of pain brought D'avin a welcome relief from the constant litany of self-hatred that had been circling in his brain. Standing still while the belt left stinging strips of skin on his back meant that he was the one in control, which proved that he wasn't the monster that had tried to kill his teammates.
Dutch didn't speak as she continued to use the belt. She avoided hitting his spine, or anywhere else that would cause him permanent or even lasting harm, entirely focused on what he needed from her.
He had no idea how many times the belt had landed before his shoulders started to tense with the effort to stay still, but his entire back hurt and some areas burned from repeated lashes. He hung his head, balled his hands into fists against the wall and fought against the urge to beg for forgiveness.
Dutch cleared her throat, continuing to bring the belt down across his back, though it had been a struggle to do this in the first place... and it was hard to force herself to continue. "Johnny doesn't blame you. You know that."
He nodded in agreement and said, in a strained voice, "I know, but… I still feel like I've failed. Like I've betrayed you both. Like I don't deserve forgiveness." His voice cracked on the last sentence and he fought to get his emotions back under control. He leaned closer to the wall, flinching away from the pain. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
She followed his movement, free hand moving to grip onto his shoulder, avoiding where she'd brought the belt down, and continued with the beating, slowing down the strikes enough to encourage him to listen to what she was saying. "If the situation was reversed, would you let Johnny blame himself for something so out of his control?"
The steady touch of her hand on his shoulder made it easier to remain still and take what she was dishing out, but at the same time, it made it harder to keep all his emotions in check. All the frustration, anger and sorrow he'd felt about what had happened to him bubbled to the surface. Silent tears ran down his face as he shook his head and answered her. "No."
"You shouldn't hold yourself to a different standard." She let the belt land, a fraction harder than it had been. "The man who fought with me... who stabbed Johnny. It wasn't you." Another harder stroke landed. "If it was, you wouldn't be so affected now."
A tiny whimper escaped his throat before he could stop it. He nodded and said, "You're right." His voice cracked again as he realized he believed what he was saying. "I know you're right." He lifted his head and looked to the side so he could see her face. "It wasn't me."
Nodding, she squeezed his shoulder. "It wasn't. You're a good person. A good brother."
He smiled even though tears were still slipping down his cheeks. "Thank you for seeing that in me," he said sincerely. "Especially when I can't see it in myself." Feeling more and more like the man he was before he'd gone rogue, he said tentatively, "Unless you disagree, I think I've had enough."
"I agree." She let the belt drop, gently cupping his cheek in one hand. "But if there is a next time, you don't need to go to Club Utopia to get what you need."
He stood up straight, turned to face her and put his hand over hers. He kissed the palm of her hand the same way she'd kissed his before he'd taken off for the club. "I'll keep that in mind," he said, before letting go of her and taking a step back. He wiped the tears off his face, rolled his shoulders and winced. "I'm gonna need a couple of minutes before we move on. How about a drink?"
She nodded. "We've got a couple more bottles in inventory. Do you want to have the drinks in here?"
He shook his head. "After what happened the last time you tried to bring us drinks in here, I think we'd be better off drinking somewhere else. Why don't you go pour us a couple and I'll be there in a minute?"
She studied his face for a moment or two. "I'll see you in a minute." She stepped away, replacing the belt before quietly leaving the room.
Grateful to have a few moments alone after the emotional upheaval, D'avin picked up his shirt and put it back on slowly. Every movement caused waves of pain to ripple across his skin, but the pain felt right. His mind hadn't willingly done those horrific things, but his body had and now that his body had suffered for it, his mind could let it go.
He went into the restroom and splashed some water on his face to get rid of any traces of his tears. Curiosity got the better of him and he turned around, lifted his shirt and examined his back in the mirror. His skin was a solid red with a few darker patches of bruising. That was going to hurt for a solid week, but he couldn't regret asking for it. He let his shirt drop and went to find Dutch with a relaxed smile.
Dutch had poured them both a shot of whisky and was sitting down, sipping hers while idly checking through the open warrants. She wouldn't take on any while Johnny was still recovering, but it helped to have an idea of where they were going next.
D'avin came in, sat down next to her and downed the shot she'd poured for him. He glanced at her screen full of warrants and asked, "Any good ones?"
"There are a couple I'll check again once Johnny's home," she answered, showing him the ones she'd flagged.
He nodded and said, "Did Pawter give you an estimate for recovery time? Are we looking at a couple of weeks? A month?"
"It's going to be more like a couple of weeks," she answered. "He's out of danger and received a blood transfusion. The wound's stitched. It just needs to heal enough that putting strain on it won't make it reopen."
"That's good." He poured himself another shot and added, "We'll have to find some kind of new tech for him to play with if we're going to keep him sedentary for more than a week. He's not great with boredom."
"I have some tech I kept back," she replied. "It should provide enough of a distraction."
"Smart," he said with a smile. "Just don't let John know you held it back. He'll pout." D'avin gulped down his shot and set his glass down. "I think it's time to focus on you. I'm ready. Are you?"
"Yes." Her voice was calm, if a little quiet. She didn't truly think he was right about what she needed, but that was the agreement she'd made. She finished her own shot and set down the empty glass, waiting for him to indicate where it was going to happen.
He stood and said, "Back to the bedroom." He went that direction, assuming she would follow, and then sat on the corner of her bed. He put his hands on his thighs and said, "Take off your guns, your boots and your pants."
She hesitated, but only for a moment. He'd trusted her... now she had to do the same to him. It wasn't even like he hadn't seen her naked or half-naked before... but this was a different situation and she felt more vulnerable. She obeyed without speaking, removing her weapons belt and placing it carefully, then taking off her boots and pants before pausing, waiting for further direction.
He leaned back slightly and said, "Come lay across my lap with your upper half resting on the bed."
Dutch stepped to his side and leaned forward across his lap, shuffling forward until her upper body was resting on the bed and her feet were flat on the floor. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
He put his hand on her rear end and rubbed back and forth a few times over her panties. "Before we start, I want you to answer a couple of questions. Did you ever get spanked when you were growing up?"
"No." That didn't mean she didn't know what to expect, but she'd never experienced it. She shifted slightly, trying to be as comfortable as she could in this position.
"Good. One more question and then we'll start. Why do you think you deserve this?"
Her first instinct was to point out she didn't think she deserved this; that he was the one who'd insisted this was what she needed. But it would be pointless to argue that. Besides, there was a small part of her... buried down deep... that was relieved he was treating her far differently to what she was used to. Still, "I'm not like you. Nothing made me a violent killer. This is all me."
"Hmm… nothing? Are you sure about that?" he asked skeptically, before lifting his hand and giving her a harsh swat.
She jumped, startled by the strength of the swat, but held back a gasp. "I'm a killer. It's my nature."
He shook his head. "I think that's a load of shit." Using slightly less force, he started spanking in earnest, moving side to side and making sure to cover all the skin from the top of her ass to her upper thighs. His hands were large enough to do a full circuit with only six smacks.
She winced, trying to hold still, but couldn't help shifting slightly in response to the swats. She wanted to believe what he was saying, but she couldn't. She'd been chosen for a reason. She'd killed from an early age. If it wasn't in her nature, she would have been able to resist for longer, even if she would have eventually become a killer.
After two circuits of smacks, he paused and rubbed out some of the sting. "You're not a killer by nature, Dutch. There's a huge difference between self-defense and killing for your own enjoyment. I've killed plenty of people. I've never enjoyed it. Have you?"
"That's not..." She took a deep breath, feeling her emotions beginning to come to the surface. She gripped the bedsheets in both hands, trying to focus herself. "It wasn't always self-defense."
"Yeah, I get that, because I'm a soldier. I've gotten the order to kill and I've followed that order. That's not self-defense. Does that mean killing is in my nature?" He started spanking again.
Dutch squirmed as the spanking started again, blinking to try and hold back the tears threatening to surface. "I..." She didn't really have an answer to that. The swats were making it hard to gather her thoughts and voice an argument.
After two more circuits, he paused again. He could feel the heat coming off her skin through her panties and he could see the faint pink that was covering her bare upper thighs. While his spanking hand rubbed her bottom, he used his free hand to rub her back.
He said softly, "We could argue about what it means to be a killer indefinitely, but at the end of the day, I know you're a good person, because Johnny has faith in you. My little brother is a lot of things. He's ridiculously turned on by new tech; he's annoying as hell with his constant chatter; and he's prone to doing whatever he wants, no matter what orders he's given. But John is the best judge of character I've ever met. He knows that your true nature is pure and kind and because of that, he's accepted you as a part of his family. You keep that in mind for these last few rounds."
His hand slapped down onto her bottom again and again, driving his point home.
A quiet sob escaped through her lips. It wasn't due to the pain of the spanking, even though she was getting sore. His words were getting through as much as the pain of the spanking. Like she had earlier, he was using Johnny to get his point across. But still... "Johnny doesn't know." Her voice was strained.
He finished up the round he was giving her and paused. "What doesn't Johnny know?"
She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to stop the tears escaping. "Everything... about my past." Only what she'd admitted to him. Less than what even D'avin knew.
He kept one hand on her ass and used the other to brush some of her hair away from her face. "Look at me."
She let her eyes open, blinking a few times, and looked at him, making eye contact. The spanking had had more of an effect than she'd like to admit. She knew he'd be able to see how close to tears she was.
"John could never think of you as a killer, no matter what happened in your past. If you were the vicious killer that you're trying to make yourself out to be, you'd have killed me when I attacked. But instead, you knocked me out and found a way to fix me. That's the work of a hero, not a killer."
"I knew it wasn't you." She kept eye contact with him. "You're a good man. There were men I killed. I didn't ask questions. They could have been good men." She finally looked away. "I couldn't have lived with myself if I'd killed you. Not knowing it wasn't you." "And I'm grateful." He patted her butt gently a couple of times before using both hands to slide her panties down to mid thigh. "I'm giving you twelve more, for all the times you didn't ask questions. They're gonna be harder than the rest, but then we'll be done for today."
She nodded in understanding and took a deep breath, bracing herself for the last part.
He took his time delivering the rest of the spanking, waiting several seconds in between each harsh smack, so that she would have time to process and accept what was happening.
Dutch did her best to stay still, but she couldn't prevent her body from squirming and wriggling minutely. Tears filled her eyes once more and this time, she couldn't stop them from falling... though her crying was almost silent.
After dishing out the last smack, D'avin carefully slid her panties back into place and then turned her over so that she was sitting in his lap instead of lying over it and pulled her into a hug.
She took a deep breath, trying to stop crying, and tentatively wrapped her arms around him in return. She didn't want to admit it, not sure what it said about her, but she thought he had a point. "Thank you," she whispered.
Her light touch on his sore back made him smile as he said, "You're welcome. I hope this helped you as much as you helped me." He rubbed her back and added, "It may not mean much, but in my eyes, you're forgiven for all those past sins; and anytime you're feeling guilty, I'm happy to do this again."
She nodded. "It does. Mean a lot." She took a deep breath, wiping at her damp eyes; though the tears had died away quickly.
He squeezed her a little tighter and said, "It means a lot to me that you're willing and able to be vulnerable with me so soon after the attack. Hopefully, this will help both of us move past it and get back to some kind of normal."
Dutch nodded. "I'll feel better once we have Johnny back on board. And speaking of him... I need to set Lucy back on course for Westerly."
He let her go so she could stand up. "Right. Back to Westerly, and back to Johnny." He nodded to himself while Dutch put her pants back on. "Now that I'm thinking more clearly… it was kind of a dick move on my part not to be there when Johnny woke up, wasn't it?"
She replaced her clothing, taking a second or two to respond. "He understood why you felt like you couldn't be there, but it's going to help him feel better if he sees you before he comes back home."
"Maybe we could go see him together tomorrow morning. Show him that there are no hard feelings between us. He'll probably rest more easily if he knows we're still a team."
She nodded. "That's a good idea. I'll put together some of that tech for him."
"Good." He waited until she was done getting her boots and gun belt back on and then stood to follow her out. "I'll try to come up with something to bring him, too."
"I'm sure he'd appreciate that." Dutch headed out of the room, directing Lucy to turn her systems back on.
While Dutch focused on getting them back to Johnny, D'avin went to do some research on the shops in Westerly so he could find the perfect gift for his recovering little brother.