The Day After….

He awoke in the bright light of a noon sun. The room was big, the ceiling high, the sheets crisp and white. The sunlight was blinding and his pale eyes blinked back tears from the strength of the light. A shadow crossed in front of him and it was her – his vision. His eyes adjusted to the darkness she created and his cracked lips tried to smile. She warned him not to talk with a simple, "shhh." She bent to give him water. The bed dipped as she sat beside him and cradled him head raising him to a sitting position against a pillow.

He examined her and she was just as he remembered. Strangely she continued to be all he remembered. He watched the curve of her neck, the wisp of hair that crossed her collarbone, the delicate fingers that gripped the glass he drank from and then her dark expressive eyes. They drank all the light and color from the room in their endless depths. She nervously licked her lips.

"Are you okay?" she quietly asked and the concern in her voice was for him.

He nodded mutely and dragged the stray lock of hair from her collar with his trembling fingers. She tolerated his touch, but from it he knew that he'd never touched her this way before. The feel of her skin was not something he'd have forgotten – not ever. Her breath escaped in a nervous ragged breath.

"You've never not talked for this long," the way the words came out made her cringe. It sounded like something he'd say something nonsensical – never not talked.

His hand strayed to her cheek and flattened against it as his fingers wove into her hair. Her small tanned hand closed over his as her breath hitched when he pulled her closer. "Crews," she demanded, but it was something he couldn't give. He didn't know Crews – all he knew was her.

"What's my name?" she demanded and pulled away.

He stared another long moment at her lips, the ones he wanted to taste. The ones he dreamed about often, but always woke before he could touch his tongue to hers. Somehow he knew she'd tasted of coffee and chocolate and cherries.

"What's my name Crews?" she repeated more gently. His dull stare told her he didn't know. "You don't know do you?"

His gaze flickered and she had her answer. "Why would you try to kiss me?"

This question perplexed him. How could she be all he knew, all he could recall and yet not be his? His gaze held his question.

"Tell me what you remember," she pushed.

"You," his voice rasped against his dry lips.

"What about me?"

"That I love you," he replied softly finding his voice. It was lower and stronger than either of them recalled.

"No," she shook her head and rejected the idea. This wasn't happening. She wasn't ready for this, for him, for them. "No," she repeated as whisper, dropping her head.

"Yes," he was closer now. Both of his hands were in her hair, his fingers whispered along her jaw line, sinking deep into her dark locks. She froze. "Yes," he rumbled as his lips closed over hers and he felt her release her resistance.

His first kiss was light, just a brush of his lips. She was still and silent, lest she break the spell. He returned to her lips to drink more deeply, parting her lips with his tongue. On his third trip to the well, he felt her surrender. She was no longer his captive, a woman he was kissing while she waited; she was part of their coupling, his partner. Her tongue teased his lips and the power he lacked returned as he drew her to him.

He pulled her atop him and their kissing became frenzied. His injuries were forgotten as he ran his hands over her body and his strength returned. She sat up straddling him. His erection was pinned between them and there was no mistaking his desire for her. Her hair was mussed, her face flushed and lips swollen from his bruising kiss. Both of them were breathless and beyond excited.

"Crews," she said again. Slowly it was dawning on him - that was him, his name.

"I don't remember anything but you," he bared his soul. "The whole time all that kept me alive," he tried to explain, "it was you, thinking about you."

"Shut up," she pushed away but he held her tight. "Shut up," she swore through her tears. His touch gentled and he drew her back to him, kissing her salty tears away.

"Shhh," he murmured against her temple. "Don't cry, Dani," her hidden name sprang unbidden to his lips. His lips captured her surprised intake of breath. He drank deeply and his hands pulled her tight against his manhood. She moaned into his mouth and all conscious thought fled. He rolled them until she lay beneath him.

"I love you," he professed, "even when I didn't know who I was, I knew I loved you."

She nodded through her tears and confessed her own sin, "I know."

"Tell me you're mine," he rumbled against her throat, his teeth teasing her flesh. "Tell me there's no one else," he spoke his own demands. "Tell me…."

"I love you," her breathless confession surprised them both. He drew back and smiled down at her.

"God, Charlie," she laughed through her tears. "You…" she started and then stopped.

He waited patiently, as she found her voice.

"I was looking for you," she told him.

"I know," he kissed her neck and laved her ear with his hot breath. Her pelvis ground against him, she wasn't even aware she rocked against him until he sunk his narrow hips between hers and returned the gesture. Her eyes were deep black pools. "I knew you'd come," he spoke the words she knew by heart.

All that time penned in the basement, those long months ago, she knew – he'd come for her. She never gave up hope, never lost her faith – in him. He was what she believed in now and he had been for far longer than she was willing to admit. She looked at him and he was watching her intently.

"Crews," she breathed in a voice and tone he remembered. In his mind they were surrounded by dark rich verdant green and the air smelled of oranges. He knew he was home. She was his home, his safety and he was hers.

As he descended into her she rose to meet him. His lips met hers, their mouths fused and he tore clothes from her. He needed to be there – with her, inside her more desperately than he'd ever needed to be anywhere. She pulled him to her, guiding him, holding him close. He paused a moment holding himself against her opening until she grabbed him by the hips and growled her need and want against his shoulder. As he slid into her and both of them released a deep groan and a shuddering sigh as he filled her and slid into her velvety warmth.

He set a gentle rhythm that built with each kiss and each touch. This was what he'd long sought. Flashes of his life returned as they stoked the fire that burnt away the lesser parts of themselves; each of the memories somehow connected to her – to them. Then nothing else mattered; not light, not darkness, not pain, not loneliness, just them together. They were connected.

They were the unwobbling center of an ever revolving universe. They were one.