Aquarius – Chapter 25

"Think he'll recover?" Dani asked her partner and he joined her in the shower.

"Yeah," Charlie confirmed, "he'll be fine. To be honest, he's a little scared of you," Charlie said soaping her back in circles with a soft cloth.

"He is, huh?"

Charlie nodded.

"And what about you?" she wondered coyly. "You still scared of me?"

"More than ever," he answered in brutal honesty, "but I can't help myself. You're my one, Dani," he kissed her damp forehead.

"Tell me what that means," she asked.

"The one person I can't forget, give up or let go of," he kissed her lightly in a series of open mouthed kissed that built until he had her pinned to the wall of glass in his shower and they were breathless.

"I let Rayborne rile me yesterday," he admitted. "He did it on purpose," he explained. "I got too close to the truth and he knows you are my Achilles heel."

"You went to see Rayborne without me," she shoved him roughly. "Haven't I told you not to do stupid stuff? Haven't I?"

"Yep, " he admitted. "I was…it wasn't the brightest thing I've ever done."

He continued to focus on her, but she took the washcloth from him and began soaping up his chest and then she turned him around to scrub his back. He experienced a momentary flash of discomfort, which he knew was from twelve years in prison. All the muscles in his back, neck and legs tensed suddenly, someone …anyone behind him in the shower was not a good memory.

Just as quickly, she turned him back around, "what's…"

She gulped and paled, suddenly the enormity of his fear was apparent to her.

"Wrong?" he finished. He could tell she already knew.

"I'm sorry," she stammered. "I forgot…."

"That I was in prison?"

She looked down, away, anywhere but at him. "Some times I forget…"

"Me too," he used his knuckle under her chin to raise her eyes to his. "Some times I need help to forget…" he told her and pressed her against the wall. He leaned in and kissed her hard. It shocked her, but didn't take long for her to catch on.

Earlier in the bedroom, he'd been gentle and tender, but here he was fierce and ravenous. He needed to be the aggressor and be in control here. She let him while she never would have let anyone else.

His scars were more than white lines on his pale body. They were more than skin and broken bones. This was why Rayborn was able to attack him. He knew that before Crews had been strong; he'd once been weak – beaten, broken, bloodied but not bowed. This was the same panic she'd felt that day when she was coated in a fine layer of airborne drugs. She knew his fears for they were here own.

When he switched to her neck and his fingers clawed at her arms, she whispered, "Shhh, it's okay against his ear and pressed her cheek against the wet hair at his temple. "You're not there, Charlie and you're never going back there," she told him.

He drew back and looked at her. His eyes were a strange green color and confused. The panic was still there, but it was fading. "Come back to bed," she pulled him along with her. "I have something I need to show you."

They made love again in the late morning as the sky turned bright and filled the room with light. Shadows fled as she allowed him to bury his fears in her. In doing so she became both his absolution and his savior - as he was hers.

As they lay satiated from sex, but hungry for more she asked him an important question, maybe the only important question left. "So…what happens next?"

"I don't know," he replied honestly caressing the smooth skin of her shoulder. "But whatever it is we'll face it together – as partners." That term took on additional meaning, but it still applied. They weren't just co-workers, they were more than lovers, less than married, but completely and totally matched and they'd stay that way for life. Neither was interested in anything more or anyone else.

If it bothered her that Rayborne was using her to neutralize Crews, she didn't share it. Part of her welcomed the opportunity to repay the sacrifice he'd made for her. She'd leave the Department, or he would – maybe they both would. She'd commit completely to this partnership and in that way - keep Crews safe from his baser instincts. He would not drag her into that darkness – that place he longed to go, where he'd commit unspeakable evils in pursuit of vengeance.

"Vengeance is a dark light that blinds all who seek it," the disembodied voice on the tape said. "The untroubled soul knows there is no justice in revenge. The untroubled soul knows that to seek vengeance is to seek destruction."

In saving him from himself, she'd save them both.