Fi cuts off the lights and strips out of her clothing quickly. Not
like it takes too long to slip out of a sundress and a pair of strappy
sandals. She lies on their bed, stretching her arms out to him.
joins her, naked, smooth skin against hers. She spoons up against his
back, knowing warm, comfortable flesh does a better job of keeping the
demons away than just about anything else.
Dim moonlight, brighter
street lights tinged pink from the neon of the club below, and the
constant low-grade hum of the music below fills their loft.
not entirely sure where to start. A long time ago, maybe two years now,
Maddie had told her about the abuse, sure that Michael would never
actually say anything to her about it and certain it was something Fi
needed to know. And even before that, she'd picked up more than enough
clues to know Frank Westen wasn't any sort of prince.
thought he might say something about it when they were trying to break
Takeda, but he just shrugged it off, left it hidden under the rock.
Where to start...
killed the men who killed Claire. I got the man who planted the bomb. I
got the man who made the bomb. I got the man who ordered it. I got the
man who shot her while trying to stop the bombing, and the man who
ordered him to take the shot. Anyone even remotely responsible for her
death is dead.
"It didn't help. Doing it helped. Hunting them down helped. Taking
the shots, that was great. But after, the pain and fear was still there.
Revenge is like Sam's junk food, good while you're eating it, but it
doesn't satisfy long-term.
"It never goes away, Michael, not like
that. The dragons are eternal because they're in your head, not out
there waiting to be slain.
"I know I'm not the poster child for
well-adjusted mental health. But I think I'm a few miles ahead of you on
that path." He smirks a little when she says that, aware that she's
right. She, at the very least, has hobbies, and friends, and the
attachments that tend to go with normal life. "So I understand this is
the slightly-less-black-kettle calling out the pot... but... anyway.
When things die down a bit, would you go to counseling? Not right this
second, I know you don't have time in your schedule for it, but when
this puzzle is done, before you go find the next one, on your own, or
with me, or Maddie, or Sam, or anyone, go to counseling."
stops, and he can feel this is something that he has to respond to. He
can't bluff his way out of it. He turns in her arms so he's facing her
and kisses her.
"I think it'd be easier to set myself on fire. Scratch that, I know
it would be easier to set myself on fire. I trust you, with everything
in my life, with everything I love, and it's taken years to get that out
to you. I've told no one else about it. Even my mom and Nate, who know
about what happened, don't know how deeply it's still with me."
Fi nods. Expecting something like that. "I was in New York. New life,
new city. No one to kill. No jobs to do. Completely lost. There's an
IRA pub on... It doesn't matter. I found myself going there, picking
fights, trying to get them to pay attention and give me something to
battle because I was aimless. I was home, after a fight, nursing a black
eye, broken tooth, and a gunshot wound." She feels him stiffen beside
her, wondering which scar went with that fight. "Little one, just
creased my wrist." His hands trace, without light, to the scar, because
he knows them all now, even if he doesn't know how she got them all. She
nods, he's got the right one. Eighth of an inch to the right and it
would have destroyed her fine motor control in her right hand. She
doesn't need to tell him that, either; he knows.
"For a few days
there was still a lot of swelling, and my right hand didn't work very
well. That was my rock bottom moment. I was risking all of this for
nothing. Not like that fight was going to save the day or make anything
better. It was just a stupid bar fight. I went to confession two days
later and found a priest who was a good listener with a checkered
history of his own.
"And he helped me see how to fight the dragons. How to really fight them, because bullets and rage didn't get the job done."
"I didn't know that."
one else does. Face the dragons with me, Michael. We're never going to
be Nate and Ruth. We're never going to have the house in the 'burbs with
the 2.5 kids, normal hours, or regular jobs. That's not us. But we
don't have to constantly be on the run, either. We could be Robin Hood,
righting wrongs, saving lives, and doing it because we like it and we're
really good at it, not because we need it to push fear away. And if
we're off being Robin Hood, we never have to worry about idiot
bureaucrats making calls we hate and getting people we love killed. No
more slowly selling our souls trying to make things right.
"You'll always be there with the grand gesture. Good. This is the one
I want. I can save myself from the bad guys. But I can't make you into
the man I need. Only you can do that."
He thinks about it for what
she considers a surprisingly short time. But he killed Strickland in
less than fifteen seconds. Committing to the grand gesture isn't a
problem for him. "Would your priest talk to me? I can't imagine there's a
long list of counselors in Miami who have the background to really deal
She smiles and kisses him. "Yes. I think he would."
"I probably won't be very good at this, either."
"It's not marksmanship, Michael. You don't have to be an expert at it."