Strong Enough – Sheryl Crow ~ Life, Crews/Reese

~ When I've shown you that I just don't care/ When I'm throwing punches in the air/ When I'm broken down and I can't stand/ Would you be MAN ENOUGH to be my man?

Dani Reese was self-aware enough to know she had a lot of issues that made dating her a pretty hard job at the best of times. There were the control issues, the daddy issues, the trust issues, the cop issues, the substance abuse issues…and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Tidwell had come the closest to getting her, but even that relationship had faded away after her rescue from Roman's captivity. Sure, he was still her captain, but their personal relationship ended (on a fairly pleasant note, which was new, but much nicer than seething hatred).

No one really knew how to deal with her after the whole 'kidnapped and held hostage by a sociopathic killer' thing.

Well, no one except Crews.

During the day, he treated her like he always had, rambling on about exotic fruit and inane philosophical ideas. He cooked them dinner or ordered take out and a spare bed had materialized in one of his previously empty guest rooms, waiting for her when she had been released from the hospital.

At night, when she woke, shaking and gasping, from a nightmare that had been all too real, he made no comment when she padded into his room and crawled into the other side of his obscenely large bed, stretching out an arm just far enough to feel the heat of his arm against her fingers. For weeks, he never said a word and, if she hadn't known him so well, she might have deluded herself into thinking he was asleep.

One night, a particularly bad night, as she settled in, he startled her.

"I still have dreams about Pelican Bay. I wake up and it's like I'm still there. Can't breathe, can't move, the darkness is suffocating. Having the windows open helps a bit."

The cool breeze rolling in off of the hills was soothing and she nodded. "Not every night though."

"No," he agreed, shifting slightly so she could rest her hand around the curve of his bicep. "Not every night. You'll get there, Dani."

His free hand landed atop hers, giving a quick, strong squeeze before retreating and she knew the conversation was over for now.

In Charlie, she found someone strong enough to handle her issues. Someone who trusted her to be strong enough to deal with his issues.

Lying in her partner's bed, their demons swirling around them in the darkness, Dani smiled.