Disclaimer: I do not own Black Lagoon. Rei Hiroe created that world, I'm just playing in it and trying not to get shot.

This will be my first fan fiction that is not based on Evangelion, which is something I've been wanting to do for while now.

Now, if you're looking for an action packed, shooter fic...this ain't it. Although I would like to do one in the future, but the right idea hasn't popped into my head yet.

This, like many of my stories, digs into the emotional states of the characters. I guess I'm a little different that way when I watch anime. I enjoy the story that's on the surface, but I also like to pay close attention to why the characters act the way they do. What has shaped their lives to make them who they are now.

If more people did that I think you would see a lot less blatant, mindless, and needless character bashing and hate.

Ahem. Now how the hell did I get on top of that particular soapbox?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy what I have written. I did indeed work very hard on it and I think it turned out well. I hope you leave a review.

As always, flamers will be handled with extreme prejudice, brainless gits that they are.


Don't Let Go

Revy definitely didn't fall into the category of being the type of woman who would cling to anyone for any reason. She didn't seek comfort in physical contact. Hell, if anything she was the very definition of 'anti-clingy', more likely to knock you on your ass or put a bullet in your head for being too close than to try and keep you perpetually within her reach.

However, that didn't change the undisputable fact that at this particular moment in time she was desperately clinging to Rock as tightly as she could. Currently, they were in her rather chaotically messy room, on her equally unkempt bed and completely lost in their own symphony of muted moans, breathless gasps, and squeaking bedsprings.

She clung to him tightly so that he couldn't look into her eyes and see the tears streaming from them.

The tears that came from that tiny little sliver of humanity that she still possessed thanks to him. Sometimes she really hated that small part of herself that he had salvaged and breathed life into. It was a part of her that no one had ever seen and it painfully reminded her of what her life could never, ever be.

She thought that little part of herself had been locked away deep down inside of her soul when she was still little more than a child. Buried deep, as her life took its rapid, hellish downward slide into the cesspool that was her unfortunate reality. Somehow it had managed to survive its undignified burial and was now alive and well.

She clung to him so tightly because that tiny little part of her that wasn't covered in murder and mud and blood and the filth of her day to day life, the shadow of the woman within her that wasn't Two Hands, the woman she might have become if she had ever had even a half a chance in her life, was just as afraid to lose him as she was afraid to have him.

He had become the anchor for the last shreds of her sanity, his presence in her life actually pulling her back from the brink after that confrontation between them at the market when she very nearly killed him. Despite his reluctance and inability to use a gun, they actually worked well together and it wasn't long before they fell into a natural routine. They became partners and it actually seemed odd, and though she was loathe to admit it, even uncomfortable when they didn't work together on a job.

Sure, she would always give him a hard time, but he also didn't back down from her either when the shit got serious and she respected him for that. For someone she had thought of as being so soft, he had guts and stuck to what he believed, there was no denying that. She still couldn't believe that she had turned her guns on Balalaika and Boris while they were in Japan, when that particular ability had earned him the distinction of having the business end of the Russian mob bosses' pistol aimed at his face while she had him slammed over the hood of a car.

She had thought a lot about why she had done that, why she had been willing to go that far for him if that's what it would have taken. Same for why she had felt such a sense of relief when he told her that he had no intention of staying in Japan rather than going back to Roanapur when their work there was done. It wasn't until now that she had discovered any of the possible answers to those questions and it scared the living hell out of her like nothing else ever had or ever could.

There was something about him that got under her skin. He had a knack for finding the cracks in her armour and quietly flowing inside and no matter what she did or how hard she tried, she just couldn't keep him out. The hell of it was, he did it without even trying. He didn't have to say or do anything, just his mere presence seemed to be enough and it frustrated the hell out her. She could snap and snarl at him like a rabid dog, call him names and generally abuse him and it didn't matter. He was still there and still getting inside, and the real fuck of it was that after all this time she didn't think she could take it if he wasn't there to slip inside her defences and frustrate the living hell out of her.

It had been a little over a year since she'd hatched the brilliant idea of taking him hostage and ransoming him back to his employers. What a great fucking idea that had been. In that time she had gone from hating his guts and wanting to kill him, to…whatever the hell it was she felt about him right now. She had lost track of the number of times she had threatened to hurt him or pointed her guns at him. Now it was practically harmless bantering and he didn't even flinch anymore if she pointed a Cutlass in his direction. He just looked almost bored by it, like he was calling 'bullshit' every time she did it.

Of all the fucking nerve.

If she were to tell the truth, and she wouldn't because she had no intention of ever talking about it if she could possibly help it, that day at the market still bothered her a lot. She really had nearly killed him. She had actually pulled the fucking trigger on him and tried to paint the market with his brains.

He didn't panic and run, but disarmed her instead. He had stood tall and shot right back at her, hitting her with words that tore into her worse than any bullet or knife ever had. She wasn't sure if it was because the things he said were true, or if it was because it was him that was saying it. Either way, he had very nearly accomplished something that no one else had since she came to this hell hole. He had very nearly made the great Revy Two Hands cry.

No…that wasn't completely accurate. He almost made her break and come apart right at the fucking seams. It had taken everything that she could muster at that moment to pull herself together and prevent a collapse that would have left her in a pathetic, shuddering heap on the ground. Somehow she managed to grab that turmoil by the throat and force it all back down inside of herself. A breakdown like that, especially out in public would have been the end for her. Every dickhead with a gun would have seen her as weak and would have come gunning for her, looking to make a name for themselves by turning her into a bullet riddled corpse that they could show off like a hunting trophy.

The other nagging part of the whole confrontation was the way he looked at how she had changed his life by bringing him here. It was just too fucking weird for her to wrap her head around. Someone like her, bringing someone like him to a shit hole like Roanapur and all of the crap that came with it, and he saw it as a positive, life changing experience. An awakening of sorts. He had said that she had shaken him awake.

Somewhere along the line from that point she had gone from wanting to kill him, to not wanting to see Roanapur infect him like it did everyone else. She had to grudgingly admit that Rock really was a good man, a genuine nice guy. She had been honestly worried about him when that stupid fucking Yakuza schoolgirl killed herself in front of them. She was afraid of what it might do to him and she watched him closely for weeks afterward to make sure he was alright.

It was during that time when she really began to think and to realize how he was able to get inside her armour and how he brought out that tiny little shred of humanity that she didn't know she still had. She thought about it a lot, too much as far as she was concerned, and at times she wanted to continuously bash her head against the wall until she stopped thinking about it. Sure enough though, she had tried to drown it with enough rum to float a small navy.

But instead, she slowly began to realize that it was okay for him to be that close and getting inside like that. She realized that she had come to trust him like she did no one else and at first that realization scared the hell out of her. Before long though she stopped worrying about it and just went with it. It was a lot easier that way than to continue beating her brains in thinking about it. It made her head hurt a lot less too.

It hadn't even really dawned on her just how much time the two of them spent in each other's company until this very night. Even if they were just hanging around home and the office, they tended to be together. Funny enough, a lot of that time was spent in her room.

On a lot of days, he was her alarm clock. Dutch and Benny had dumped that responsibility on him since he was the new guy and they had hoped to get a few laughs out of the chaos that had been sure to ensue. Much to their disappointment she had only threatened him with bodily harm the first couple of times. After that, it was no big deal to her.

It was normal now for him to politely knock and tell her that he was coming in, taking a quick peek first if he got no answer before quietly entering her room. After navigating the mess that was always strewn about her living space, he would watch her for a few seconds as she slept, no doubt thinking some corny shit about how peaceful or vulnerable she looked in her sleep, (and he did), before reaching over her to open the blinds.

She couldn't even say it was a bad thing for his face to be the first thing she saw when she woke up. She could sure as hell do a lot worse and she knew he would never try to do anything to her. If he had ever tried anything she would have beaten him to death for his trouble, then shot him for good measure.

He had woken her up like usual this morning, then they were off to make a delivery for Hotel Moscow, getting back into port in the early evening. A trip to the Yellow Flag was out because it was pissing rain so hard that you couldn't see more than a foot or two in front of you. Since they couldn't go out they grabbed some beers and went to her room as they often did, bantering back and forth about nothing in particular.

She had found herself in a particularly peaceful mood for some reason. It didn't happen often and she had never told any of her comrades but she actually relished those few occasions when it happened. She knew that she was one fucked up piece of work. Seriously fucked up at that, but even so that didn't mean that she could stand to be the hard core, two fisted bitch everyone else saw all of the time.

Usually for a short period of time before she went to sleep, if she wasn't so drunk that she just passed out, she could sometimes find a few moments of quiet peace. For that all too brief time the rest of the world went away and it was just her. No pain from her past, no lingering effects of the day, no one to bother her. It was quiet and just for those few short minutes, she let her guard down.

It was the way she had felt earlier in the evening. She wasn't sure why, maybe it was because the job had went off without a hitch for a change and there had been nothing to aggravate her. Maybe it was the sound of the rain easing her into a better mood. She had kept turning it over and over in her mind but the one thing that kept persistently popping up as the answer was Rock.

More and more lately she realized that as much as she could get frustrated at him for how he was able to get inside her guard, she also realized that his presence seemed to keep her on a more even keel. She calmed down faster and was a little slower to anger when he was around than when he wasn't and her moods didn't swing as wildly.

She couldn't pin down how they had ended up like this exactly. They had been talking and laughing and it actually felt really good. At any other time she would have manufactured a dozen things to find fault with or needled him mercilessly for his lame humour, but she didn't even feel the urge. It felt too good to laugh and she had even been smiling and she couldn't remember when the last time was that she had even felt anything close to what she was feeling at that moment.

At some point she had looked into his eyes and it was as if she was really doing so for the first time since she met him. There was no deceit or rage or bloodlust in them, no lies or desire to do harm. She felt uncharacteristically self conscious for a moment because he was looking right back into hers at the same time. For that brief moment in time she found herself paralyzed with fear because she knew that in her eyes he would see the exact opposite. She had feared that in that frozen moment where she actually felt something other than those traits that he would see so vividly in her eyes, things would suddenly come to a crashing end and he would walk away from her in disgust.

A sense of panic had begun to well up inside of her then. What the fuck was going on? What was she doing? Why the hell was she thinking like this? This wasn't her, she didn't get all mushy like this. It was like she was suddenly a stranger in her own skin. She had started to feel claustrophobic. He was too close! They were too close! She had to get some room, put some space between them before something happened.

Too late.

It was impossible to tell who initiated it or who moved first. It could have been just one of them or both of them at once. It really didn't matter anyway because neither of them even tried to pull away after their lips met with bruising force. Maybe it was just an against the odds moment where everything came together just right, or maybe that small piece of herself that he had salvaged took control and overrode her hidden fears and her outward anger and maliciousness. Whatever the cause, she hadn't been able to resist where it was taking her.

Body soaked in sweat, chest heaving as she tried to regain her breath, ears still ringing and throat scratchy from the long, screaming orgasm she just experienced that was still resonating through every nerve in her body. She was sore, and figured she would be walking a little funny the next day, but she also felt good. It was like every bit of stress she normally felt had been purged from her. She hadn't felt anything close to this good or relaxed in a long, long time. Sadly, she knew it wouldn't last.

Lying to her right, Rock was in much the same condition, trying to catch his breath. She was glad that it was him lying there. If she came to regret this later on she didn't want to be regretting the choice of man as well as the act itself. Though, she knew she wouldn't have done this with anyone else, because there was no one else. There was no one else in her life she would have ever trusted enough, or so naturally, to let them get this close to her.

So how did she really feel about this right now? She thought about that for moment and came to the sudden conclusion that she had absolutely no fucking idea.

It was such a foreign feeling to her that she wasn't sure if she was recognizing it for what it was, or mistaking it for something else. This feeling was completely alien and confusing to her and if it was what she was afraid it might be, then she was scared to death of it.

Damn it! She didn't need this complication in her life. Why did she have to feel like this? She never felt like this. She wasn't fucking well supposed to feel like this. She wanted to blame him for this but she knew that if she did then she was just being stupid and refusing to accept reality. She could have stopped it at any time if that had been what she really wanted.

But it hadn't been what she wanted. She wanted this to happen, wanted it badly if the way she had gotten so completely into it was any indication. She hadn't even thought about it beforehand. Not once. It had happened with such spontaneity that even she, as hard bitten and cynical as she was, couldn't help but think that maybe it had somehow been meant to happen. She didn't normally subscribe to that kind of sappy, melodramatic, movie of the week bullshit, but she was currently at a loss for any other way to explain it.

"Revy?" she heard him ask, his voice tinged with concern. Her breath caught in her throat as he reached over to her and gently thumbed the moisture off of her cheek. Fuck. He had seen the drying trail of tears that still stained her face. Shit.

"I'm fine Rock," she managed to get out without her voice sounding too shaky, but judging by the look on his face, her response had come out much harsher than what she intended.

"Do you want me to leave?" he asked, a familiar hint of worry in his voice.

"You do and I'll kick your ass," she growled. She took a deep breath and released it in a slow sigh. "No Rock," she said much more gently. "I don't want you to leave."

She scooted up the bed and sat with her back to the wall. Grabbing a pack of cigarettes from atop the old ammo crate that served as a bedside table, she shook out two, lit them and handed him one as he too sat up. After setting an ashtray down between them, she drew her knees up to her chest and leaned over with her arms across her knees and her chin resting on her arms. Her hair, which was out of its usual ponytail, was splayed out over her bare back and shoulders. It was clear that she was deep in thought, which wasn't a state most people would ever attribute to her. The only sound in the room was the slight crackle as they drew on their cigarettes and the rhythmic thrumming of the downpour outside.

It was safe to say that Rock was more than a little overwhelmed himself at this point. Not once in the time since he had first encountered Revy did he ever think he would be in her bed. Though, he had always thought she was a beautiful woman, even behind the scowl and the snarl and the fact that the first time they met she had stuck a gun in his face and had taken him hostage.

He had learned a great deal about her since then just by watching her and how she acted and reacted to things around her. It was the only way available to him really since she volunteered little about herself, especially her past. He had been stunned the first time that she had even mentioned her past to him. He had never seen such a look of despair and hurt on someone's face before in his life. The pain it caused her was obvious and it was also the only sign she ever gave, as small and deeply buried as it was, that she wished her life had been different. He wouldn't see something to match it again until the day of their confrontation in the market.

He had hoped that the incident between them on the submarine would have blown over in short order, but he had underestimated just how much he had angered her. The longer it went on the more it had pissed him off and he didn't want that tension between them anymore. Apparently neither did Dutch since he kept forcing them together and silently expecting them to work it out.

When he had stood up to her that day in the market and spoke the truth as he saw it, he had seen a lot of emotions flash across her face and through her eyes. The most prominent of course had been anger, coupled with the usual immaturity of her responses and attempts to lash back at him. As the confrontation went on, he also saw fear and panic. She hadn't been able to intimidate him and make him back down and the truth of his words were hitting her like a punch in the gut.

He hadn't liked doing that and he had hated seeing how badly the truth was hurting her and didn't like how close he had come to breaking her. It hadn't been his intent to push her to the edge like that, but he couldn't let her continue to treat him the way she had been either. It had been the only way to get through to her and the only way that he could make her understand.

Things got much better between them after that and he found himself gaining even more of an affinity for the fiery gunslinger. Part of it was because of what he told her in the market that day, that it was her that had shaken him awake from his mundane life of bowing and scraping to his bosses and the dull, lifeless future that lay in front of him.

That shaking awake hadn't been gentle. It had been frightening, life threatening, and had him on the edge of completely losing his sanity. Even so, he felt indebted to her nonetheless even if she did bring him into a more dangerous and deadly world than the one he had known. He didn't care. He felt alive and free, not like an indentured servant at the beck and call of his employers.

The other part of his strengthening affinity for her was much harder to explain. It wasn't until more recently that a blatant physical attraction to her had worked its way into his psyche. It almost seemed as if he was supposed to be here with her, and not in some ridiculously sappy 'they were destined to be together' shit either. It wasn't so much that it felt 'right' as much as it felt like it very much 'wasn't wrong.'

Truthfully, he was just plain confused by it all. Yes, she was very attractive and had a killer body, those were undeniable facts. Take away the bad attitude, the hard look that was always on her face, and the tightly coiled tension in her body and she would be even more so. But that wasn't how it was or who she was and there were other attributes that came to the fore and the truth wasn't always pleasant.

Revy was angry, violent, immature, and haunted by a horrible past. She had kidnapped him, shot at him, and had tried to kill him. She drank like a fish, smoked like a chimney, and swore like a sailor. She could make the confusion and horror of a gunfight look like a work of art with the way she moved through the blood and smoke and carnage with such fluidity and ease, grinning like a maniac all the while. She both awed him and scared the living hell out of him.

Yet despite all of it he still liked her. Quite a lot more than he even knew apparently, if their current situation was any indication.

He stole a glance at her out of the corner of his eye. He had never seen tears on her face before, not even when she was in physical pain, and it had him worried. She was so deep in thought right now that she seemed unaware of anything else, including the fact that her nearly spent cigarette was about to burn her fingers.

He butted his out and was about to warn her when she almost mechanically butted hers and set the ashtray back on the crate next to the bed. She opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it again leaving a frustrated scowl in place as she resumed her previous pose.

The silence and lack of response from her was beginning to weigh on him. What was going on in her head right now? That wasn't a question many people actually wanted an answer to normally, but this was a much different situation than usual and he needed to know that she was alright. He knew that she wasn't good with emotions other than anger, and her aborted attempt to say something proved that she was having a great deal of trouble trying to express what she was feeling right now.

At least she hadn't defaulted into an angry outburst. Or shot him.

"Did you plan for any of this Rock, or did we just fall into it?" she asked him quietly, not looking at him.

Even though he had been wanting her to say something it had still surprised him when she finally did so. The lack of anger and recrimination in her voice was also surprising and somewhat of a relief. Though, her quiet tone was tinged with something closer to melancholy.

"I didn't plan anything Revy," he answered. "If I had it would have been like I was using you and I would never do that to you."

She let out a long sigh and closed her eyes. "Yeah, I know you wouldn't." She paused for a moment. "It's pretty fucked up isn't it? I brought you into my shitty little world at gunpoint. I yell at you, hit you, and generally fucking treat you like shit. Hell I even tried to kill you and you still fucking pretty much thanked me for bringing you into all of it. Now we end up in the sack together. Hollywood would love this shit."

"Do you regret this?" he asked, fearing the answer she would give.

She turned to look at him, her head still resting on her arms. "No," she answered quietly. "I don't."

He was a little bit puzzled. There was a slight, sad smile on her face, but maybe even more eye catching to him, was the look in her eyes. It was unlike anything he had ever seen. There was no anger there, but a lonely, weary sadness. Somehow it seemed like the most honest look he had ever seen her wear. It was also far from anything he expected.

"What about you Rock?" she asked him.

"No regrets here," he answered with what he hoped was a reassuring smile.

She rolled her eyes. "Pretty soon your gonna say something mushy, I just fucking know it." She smiled a little at the deer in the headlights look that hit his face.

It was true. He was thinking about saying something, telling her how he felt about her. He was reticent for the obvious reasons, this was Revy after all and there was no way of telling how she was going to react. But there was also the way she was acting now, and the tears from earlier. It was so unlike her. Sighing in defeat he decided to just bite the bullet and admit to it.

"Am I that easy to read?"

She sat back up and leaned against the wall. "Rock, you're not the kind of guy who goes out looking for some tail just so you can get your rocks off. You want it to mean something. You can't shrug and say 'it's just sex', and go on your merry fucking way. That ain't you. If this hadn't meant something to you, you would have stopped it."

"It did mean something to me Revy," he told her, his tone serious. "It meant a lot because you mean a lot to me. Since we first met I've gone from not knowing if I should hate your guts or not, to knowing that I couldn't even if I wanted to. Despite all the shit that we've gone through and keep going through, I like being around you and I don't want to be anywhere else. I'm where I want to be and with who I want to be with."

He could see her lips start to quiver ever so slightly, and that melancholy look was re-establishing itself. He didn't know what was going to happen next, but he was committed now and he was going to finish what he had to say no matter what.

"Revy, I lo…"

He didn't get to finish as her right hand shot out towards him and he expected that her knuckles were about to reacquaint themselves with his face. What he wasn't expecting was for her to grab him by the back of the head and yank him over to her, her lips crushing into his. The kiss was full of desperation and he could feel her shaking.

She held him there as long as she could before she had to let him go and draw a breath. "Dumbass," she breathed a little raggedly as she lightly pushed him away. "Don't go saying shit like that to me. I don't even know what it means."


"I'm serious Rock." The tone of her voice had hardened just enough to let him know that she was indeed serious, but there was also desperation and a little fearful quaver there as well. "I've got no fucking idea what it means to feel that way and no fucking idea what it's like to feel it from someone else." She went quiet for a moment but when she spoke again her voice was low. "I don't know a damn thing about it."

It was an awkward way of saying it, but he knew what she was getting at. Even without really knowing her past, it was evident that no one had ever given a damn about her, never loved her. She had never known what it was like or what it could be like.

"I'm serious too Revy," he told her. "I mean it."

She countered immediately. "You always fall for women who try to fucking kill you?" She meant to make it sound like a joke, something to pull her back from the brink, but the uncontrollable tremor in her voice killed the smart ass tone she had been trying for.

"No, just you Revy," he managed with a straight face, trying to help her lighten the moment.

Despite herself, a short bark of laughter escaped her lips but that was all. She shifted position again, drawing her knees up to prop her elbows on them. She laced her fingers into her hair, holding her head. The look on her face was all too similar to the one that day in the market when she had very nearly broken down. He was worried that his confession, or attempt at it anyway, had pushed her too far.

"How can you have feelings like that for me Rock? What have I got to offer you in return? Just more blood and maybe an early fucking grave. You deserve better than that. You know what I am, you see it every god damned day. It's all I fucking know how to be. So why me Rock?"

"Why not you Revy?" he countered. "Do you think that you don't deserve to have someone give a shit about you because of the way your life turned out?"

"Fuck that," she groaned. "I gave up that self pity shit that day in the market."

He decided to change tactics a bit. "You said before that I wouldn't have let this happen if it hadn't meant something to me." Her eyes shifted to glance at him. By the look in them, she knew what was coming next. "So what about you Revy? Did it mean anything to you, or was it just sex?"

Her first instinct was to yell at him, to tell him that's all that it was, just a good, screaming romp in the sack and to fuck with all of this other mushy, melodramatic shit. It would sure as hell be the easy way out, she wouldn't have to be struggling to keep herself together and try to come to terms with everything that was flying through her mind right now at a hundred miles an hour.

But she couldn't do that. It would hurt him and she knew that there was no god damned way in hell that she could do that to him. He deserved the truth. He deserved to know how she felt about him, but she didn't know if she could manage to spit that out. Especially when she was so confused about what she was feeling. It was just too foreign to her and she couldn't grasp it. She felt like someone else had hijacked her brain and she wasn't in control anymore.

"It wasn't just sex Rock," she managed in a barely audible rasp. Her body began to shake harder and a choked sob escaped her trembling lips. "Goddamn it!" she swore. "I don't know what the fuck this feeling is! I don't know the words for it!" She was nearly hyperventilating now. "Fuck! I don't…I don't know what…."

She never got to finish. Before she knew what was happening, Rock had turned towards her and had gotten up onto his knees, sweeping her up into his arms as he moved. Wide eyed, her head was now looking over his left shoulder and her arms hung limply over his as they encircled her, holding her close to his chest. She wanted to fight, she wanted to scream and struggle and hit him and tear herself out of his arms and get away as fast as she could, but she couldn't move. She suddenly realized with shocking clarity why that was. His hold wasn't that tight, she could have broken away easily. No, the reason she couldn't move and run away was a very simple one. It was because she didn't want to.

He wasn't trying to restrain her or keep her from running. He was trying to comfort her, trying to show her that someone actually did give a damn about her. It was as foreign to her as the feelings that were raging through her heart. She had never been held like this, never been held by someone who said they loved her and who truly wanted to be with her despite her being the blackened and bloody thing that she was.

Her breathing was ragged and the tears streamed from her eyes, rolling down her face and dripping off her chin and onto his shoulder and back. The feelings that she couldn't put words to or even begin to explain continued to swirl and twist inside of her. She felt like she was cracking and breaking apart, that she was about to shatter and fly in a hundred directions at once. The pressure was awful and she was trying as hard as she could to contain it.

"It's alright Revy," he spoke, his calm voice soothing and gentle in her ear. "You don't have to say anything. And I'm sorry for causing you all this trouble, but I really do love you and I couldn't keep it to myself anymore. You can even beat me up later if you want to. But right now, if you want to cry, that's okay too. Nobody but us will ever know about it."

Despite herself, she did just that. With her arms wrapped tightly around him, her face buried in his shoulder and raggedly screaming, Revy the Two Hands, one of the most feared people in this city of shit and sin, cried her heart out. A damn burst of emotions from this night and a lifetime of pain spilled out of her soul in a raging torrent. His arms tightened around her and he whispered in her ear, encouraging her to let it all go, telling her that she was not weak for it and that this would only make her stronger in the end.

She only spoke once the whole while, the words little more than tear soaked sobs and almost indecipherable even to her. She may not have even known what she was saying, but it didn't matter, he heard them none the less.

"Don't let go," she pleaded desperately. "Please don't let go Rock."

"I won't let go Revy," he assured her. "I won't ever let go."

It was better than a full half hour later before the tears had finally stopped completely. He was sitting up against the wall at the head of the bed, Revy in front of him and still held in his arms. Her head was laying against his left shoulder and her eyes were half open. She wasn't asleep, but she wasn't really awake either. She was in a fog somewhere in between.

He had never seen a human being cry so hard or for so long. Every tear that she had never allowed herself to shed over the course of her pain and misery filled life must have come out of her as he held her. He knew very little of her past and what she must have gone through, but for her to cry like that, then that well of despair within her must have been very deep indeed.

'Don't let go! Please don't let go Rock!'

Those so utterly desperate and pain filled words had burned themselves into his mind and were so uncharacteristic of the Revy everyone knew. The despair in her voice, the fear that he would let go of her was like a living thing, a dark creature trying to latch onto her and pull her further down into her darkness.

'I won't let go Revy. I won't ever let go.'

And he wouldn't. Not for anything or anybody. He would stand by her even if she ultimately rejected his feelings for her. He would be there for her like no one else ever had been, simply because he loved her.

He was worried though. She had cried so hard and so long, and then when she finally calmed down she had gone into this 'not quite there' state. Her half open eyes had a blank look in them and her face was slack and expressionless. It was like every ounce of energy had been drained out of her soul. If it wasn't for the fact that he could feel that she was breathing by the light exhalations that gently brushed across his skin, he would think that she was dead.

His worry overtook the desire to just let her rest for a while. He brought his hand up and cupped her cheek, thumbing away some remaining moisture and tilting her head up so his eyes met hers.

"Revy," he called softly, getting no response. "C'mon, you're scaring the shit out of me here."

It took a moment, just long enough to make him worry that something had really seriously gone wrong with her, but she finally began to come around. Her eyes closed and she took a couple of deeper, shuddering breaths, before opening her eyes again. The blank look was finally gone but it was replaced by a look of weariness. She was utterly worn out.

She reached up and grasped his hand, pulling it away from her face, but she didn't let it go. "Hn, not so fucking tough now am I?" Her voice was ragged and raspy.

"You're as tough as ever Revy," he assured her.

"Yeah, I really look the fucking part," she smirked. There was no heat behind her comment. "Naked and crying. Now that's tough."

He gave her hand a squeeze by way of answering her. They remained quiet for a couple of minutes before she spoke again. She was looking down and away from him, her usual pose when saying something that was uncomfortably emotional for her.

"There are a lot of things I want to say to you Rock," she said. "But I can't put what I feel into words. I don't know how. Even if I could I don't know if I can even get the words out of my damn mouth."

"You don't have to say anything right now Revy. This all just kind of came out of nowhere and I know it's a lot for you to deal with." He did the sappy thing and placed a light kiss on her forehead. Surprisingly she didn't call him out on it or cuff him one. "Take your time and figure out how you feel. I'll still be here when you do. I'm not going anywhere."

She let out a sigh. "You know don't ya Rock, that I can't be the girl who's gonna walk down the street holding your hand, or hanging off your arm with her head on your shoulder. I'm all gunpowder and blood, I'm not some soft little cutie you picked up for the friggin' prom."

"No, you're not," he agreed with a grin. "You're hard and you're beautiful and that's who I fell for."

"Beautiful huh?" she smirked. "I think you need glasses Rock."

"There's nothing wrong with these eyes Revy, I'm seeing twenty-twenty."

"You're so fucking cheesy," she admonished with a bit of a smile. She decided that it was okay if he was. It wouldn't be him if he wasn't.

They sat there in silence again for a while, just listening to the sound of the rain. He knew that she was working up to something, she had that look on her face that she gets when she's in serious thought. Her brow would scrunch a little and she always looked downward as if concentrating on some spot on the floor that only she could see. In a way it was kind of cute actually, though he wasn't about to risk his luck and tell her.

"Rock?" she spoke finally, still not looking him in the eye. "Would it bother you if I wanted to keep all of this to ourselves? To keep it all here in this room?"

He thought about it for a moment. He wasn't quite sure where she was going with this, and she must have sensed that because she spoke again rather quickly.

"I don't really know what this is yet Rock, but I want to keep it clean. I don't want the shit out in this fucked up city getting into it."

Most people still would have been a little cloudy about what she meant, but he understood Revy. She didn't want Roanapur to taint what happened here tonight the way it tainted and stained everything else. She may not be certain of what she was feeling or how to say it, but it was clear that she wanted to keep this close to her, like having a secret that no one else had, or having a special possession that meant everything to you and no one else knew you had it.

It was clear to him now that even if she wasn't sure what this was, or how she felt or even how to express that, it really did mean something to her and she wanted to be selfish with it. That was fine by him.

"If you want it to stay in this room that's fine with me Revy. Kind of like a sanctuary no one else can go into."

He was being cheesy again but she was relieved that he didn't say no. "Outside, we act like we always do, but in here we can be like this if we want to. In here is just for us." He gave her a bit of a knowing grin. 'Aw Christ, now he's got me talking fucking cheesy shit!' she thought. 'Did I really just fucking say that?'

"So does that mean then that you aren't going to tell Eda that we had sex?" He couldn't resist that tease. Underneath his embarrassment, he had always laughed to himself whenever Eda would ask her if they had done it yet and Revy would get all flustered by it.

"Fuck no!" she exclaimed. "I'm gonna rub it in her face so bad that blonde bitch'll run off crying and wanna become a real fucking nun!"

They had a good laugh over that and it was good to see her mood lighten up again. Once the laughter died down he grabbed the ashtray and the pack of smokes from the bedside table and lit a couple for them. He began to chuckle again at one point.

"What's so funny?" she asked.

"Well," he began, nervously scratching the back of his head. "Whenever I though about telling you how I felt I was afraid you might shoot me."

"Fuck off," she snarled half heartedly and with a tired grin as she gave him a light shove. "I've wasted enough fucking bullets on that. I was never able to hit you anyway. It's like you're fucking blessed or some shit."

He resisted the urge to say something else that would have topped the rest of his cheesy lines altogether as they shared a chuckle. As for Revy, she was admitting to herself what a good damn thing it was that she hadn't been able to hit him, and how glad she actually was for it.

A little more than a year ago, she had been way too close to going over the edge. She was too wild and nearly out of control. She was barely human anymore and her actions after she and Rock had their little chat in the submarine proved that, with Dutch nearly having to put her down like a rabid dog.

That day in the market when it all came to a head, that had been when Rock had shaken her awake. That was when she took her first step back from the edge and over the months that followed she and Rock had become almost inseparable without even really realizing it. At least she hadn't. All she knew was that she wasn't entirely comfortable on a job anymore if they weren't teamed up. Hell, a trip to the Yellow Flag didn't even seem right if they weren't there together.

She didn't want to consider where she would be now or what would have become of her if she had succeeded in killing him that day.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she tried, and failed, to stifle a massive yawn. She suddenly realized just how wiped out she felt from her earlier emotional outburst.

"Damn," she groused as she stubbed out her cigarette. "I can barely keep my eyes open now."

Rock killed his smoke as well. "Why don't you go have a shower," he suggested. "While you're in there I'll change your sheets before I go."

"Deal," she said as she slowly untangled herself from him and shuffled over to her dresser, digging some clean underwear out of a drawer and grabbing a towel from the small cabinet next to the dresser. He climbed off the bed as well and retrieved his boxers and slacks from the floor and put them back on.

"Rock," she began, getting his attention as he was starting to strip the sheets from her bed. He turned to see her standing in the bathroom doorway. Again, she was looking down and away so she didn't meet his eyes.

"Thanks," she said quietly. "Thanks for not letting go." She stepped into the bathroom and softly shut the door.

"I won't ever let go Revy," he said, not knowing if she would hear him. "I promise. And I'm not going anywhere. When you figure this out and find the words, I'll still be here."

She just stood there with her back against the door until she heard him finish with the bed and leave. She had indeed heard what he said, and every word was doing laps around her brain the whole time she stood there.

Finally, she turned the shower on and stood under the hot, steaming spray. Hands against the wall for support, she leaned forward, letting the hot water cascade over her head and neck and down her back. For a brief moment she let herself think back to what it had felt like to have sex with him. A tingle went through her as she remembered how it felt for him to touch and taste her. How it felt to have him inside of her. Even as distracted by her thoughts as she had been, it had felt great to just let go like that.

Too soon though, the more pressing questions returned to her mind. What did she feel for him? Did she love him? She ground her teeth in frustration. It pissed her off. Why was it so hard to get a handle on what she was feeling? Was it supposed to be this fucking hard?

Guns and blood and killing, that she understood. She had a fucking PhD in that shit and really, that was the god-damned problem.

That was all that she knew.

She didn't know what it felt like to be in love. She didn't know what it felt like to be loved by someone. She hadn't known even the smallest taste of it until tonight. She hadn't cried in front of anyone, not for any reason, since she had been a snot nosed little brat back on Mott Street.

But when she not only cried tonight, but nearly shattered and broke into pieces, he didn't turn her away or tell her she was weak. He held her and told her it was okay and encouraged her to let it all go. And she did. Instead of pushing him away from her, yelling at him, and most likely hitting him, she had clung to him for dear life and let loose the flood of pain she had been holding back for her entire life.

The bottom line was that Rock accepted her and loved her for who she was, bad points and all. Which was good she supposed because she didn't have many good points and she held no illusions about that. He loved her, and his heart was there for the taking if she wanted it. But the other question that plagued her was, if she was indeed in love with him, could she return the feelings? Was she even capable of doing so?

Could she risk it? Could she give her heart to him? Did she even still have one? Was there even enough of her heart left to give to him, or was it blackened and dead and nothing more than a withered husk?

No, there was something left there. He had saved it, his presence in her life had drawn her back from the total blackness of the abyss that she had been gleefully rushing headlong towards. He had saved her then and he had saved her again tonight when she nearly broke. Hell, he had been saving her all along.

Christ, an overpriced shrink would likely tell her that taking him hostage in the first place had been a cry for help, that she had been waiting for a white knight to ride up and save her from the dragon that was trying to devour her, or some such shit.

She allowed herself an amused smile. Fuck that fairy tale bullshit. Her knight hadn't shown up wearing a suit of shining armour, but a white shirt and a tie.

She took a deep breath and tried to clear her mind, letting the sound of the water and the soothing heat relax her. She soon found herself thinking about how she felt when she was around Rock. His annoying habit of getting kidnapped by the enemy aside, she actually liked being around him. She realized that she didn't feel lonely when she was around him. It didn't matter if it was a job on the boat, making the rounds of their clients in Roanapur, or going out drinking, it was always better if they were doing it together. It was like something had been missing before but she hadn't even realized it until he came along.

And she even had to admit that she really did worry about him when the shit got ugly. Okay, and she got defensive when some woman would try to come onto him. Especially Eda. She had kept telling herself that it was because she didn't want to see some bitch take advantage of him, but, like a bolt out of the blue, she saw it now for what it was. It was just an excuse to keep herself from admitting that she liked him and that seeing him with someone else would be like getting shot in the guts and being left to slowly die in the gutter.

Her mind went back to the reason she had been crying and clinging to him so hard when they were having sex. She was just as afraid to have him as she was to lose him, to lose someone she hadn't even realized that she already had within arms reach if that was what she really wanted. Even with what came after, she still felt that fear of having him and the fear of losing him.

"Maybe I really am in love with him," she whispered to herself. She sighed loudly. She still didn't know and she was getting a headache from all this heavy thinking. His words from just a few minutes ago played back in her mind.

'I won't ever let go Revy. I promise. And I'm not going anywhere. When you figure this out and find the words, I'll still be here.'

"Even if I can't figure this out and even if I can't say the words, just don't let go of me Rock," she whispered, her voice carrying a slight, ragged edge. "Because damn it, I don't think I could make it now if you did."

She would trust Rock at his word.

He said he would never let go.

Somehow, she just knew that he never would.

AN: Well, what did you think?

I probably got more enjoyment out of the writing process on this story than on any of the others I've done so far. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.

So, please leave a review if you are so inclined (and hopefully you will be because I really would like to see your feedback for this story), and while you're hanging around why not check out some of my other stories. You know how to find them.