Consequences and Eventualities
moment passes. There is no point in regretting irreversible decisions—one has
to live with them, and we try."
"We're here," Aaron announced into the radio.
"Copy that," Easter's voice replied. It sounded more tired than apprehensive, though—he'd already informed them less than two minutes ago that it appeared that shots had been fired. They were still instructed to proceed with utmost caution, but no one held any high expectations for a peaceful resolution.
Aaron took a moment to glance back at his two colleagues, whose equally-grim expressions mirrored his own.
"I really hate days like this," he quietly conceded.
Dave merely gave his shoulder a pat of weary camaraderie.
Hotch turned back to Whitting, who was driving.
"I know," George waved away the thought before it was even spoken. Do what you must.
A few extra seconds to double-check Kevlar and weapons, then one big breath as they launched out of the vehicle.
By the time they reached the third floor, they could hear Ahoo's voice—fast, worried, trembling.
"Agent Shir-Del," Aaron raised his voice. "Agent Shir-Del, we're coming in. I need you to raise your hands and drop your weapon."
"It's—the room is clear. I can't—I shot Constance, and I'm trying to keep the pressure—I can't raise my hands."
Hotch glanced back at Rossi and gave a small nod before opening the door.
The room looked like the final scene in some macabre Shakespearean tragedy—Wasaki slumped in his seat, a thick, dark pool of blood on the floor between his feet, Connelly sprawled on the floor, pale and bloodied, and Shir-Del leaning over her, her own hands stained red.
"Please," Shir-Del's face was streaked with tears. "Don't let her die."
Spencer Reid holstered his weapon, reverting to rescue-mode. "The ambulance is already on the way. I need you to let me take over—please, just step back."
She waited until his hands pressed over hers before slipping out of the way, rising to her feet and gingerly holding her hands up in the universal sign of surrender.
Hotch holstered his gun as well, removing his Kevlar vest and offering it her. She blushed profusely, suddenly remembering that she was shirtless in a room full of men (her mother would die of shock if she ever found out).
"Thank you," her voice trembled with tears. She looked down, more ashamed of her actions than her near-nudity. She knew that she'd gotten in way over her head, and her attempt to create the best case scenario had actually ended in the worst.
"I just wanted—I thought I could save them, save them both," she admitted tearfully. "This isn't how it was supposed to end."
By now, Rossi had gently kicked Ahoo's discarded weapon out of the way and checked Wasaki's non-existent pulse, giving Hotch a slight shake of his head to indicate that the man was beyond medical intervention.
Hotch moved closer to Ahoo, toeing Constance's gun further out of reach before quietly offering his arm to the younger woman.
His voice was lined with compassion, "Let's get you back downstairs."
She seemed relieved at the prospect of not having to explain her actions. It wasn't over, not by a long shot, but Aaron wouldn't deny her this moment of respite—the look on her face told him that this was the first time she'd ever shot someone, perhaps even the first time she'd seen someone die in front of her, and he knew that she needed time to absorb the shock of it all.
Rossi waited until they left the room to radio in, "Room's secured. Hotch has Shir-Del in custody. Wasaki's dead, Connelly's been hit—"
He glanced over at his team mate, who supplied, "Critical, but she appears to be stable."
Rossi relayed the prognosis. He could hear the faint sounds of the ambulance sirens, and he knew that help was near.
"Just keep her alive," Easter prompted. "There are too many unanswered questions left."
Rossi had a feeling that Easter's desire to keep this woman alive was of a deeper and more personal connection than simply wanting answers to this case, but he uncharacteristically kept his mouth shut.
The minutes felt like hours as they waited for the medics to arrive.
Spencer Reid kept his hands firmly pressed into Constance's shoulder, but the grim look on his face informed Rossi of his lack of faith in the outcome. The woman was unconscious, and there was a fairly large pool of blood collecting on the floor beneath her—even though it was a clean shot, high enough not to hit any vital organs, the risk of shock taking Connelly's life was still very possible. Rossi had seen it before, more times than he cared to admit—a seemingly-survivable wound that triggered a physio-psychological response that couldn't be overcome, especially in situations where the agents' bodies and minds had already been under prolonged and intense stress.
Once Constance Connelly was secured on a stretcher and on her way back to the ambulance, Rossi radioed in again, "Connelly's on her way to the hospital. What do we do about Wasaki?"
Clyde Easter looked up at Emily Prentiss, awaiting her answer to David Rossi's question. He had been relaying her commands over the radio, because she didn't want her former team members to know that she was in the room—she knew they'd be worried about her instead of focusing on the case, and they couldn't afford a single distraction.
Emily pressed her lips into a thin line. "We've gotta tell the others, eventually."
"And what, exactly, do we tell them?" Yonah Zamir was leaning heavily against the table—Emily wasn't sure if it was out of relief or fear-induced nausea. Either way, she didn't look well.
Emily glanced over at Clyde again, "Get the details on Wasaki's official cause of death—we'll craft a scenario around it. Tell the guys not to say a word to anyone. Keep Shir-Del out of the way until we can debrief."
He nodded and radioed back to Rossi.
Once they learned that Wasaki had died from a cut to his femoral artery, Clyde and Emily exchanged tired glances (bullet wounds were always so much easier to account for, but of course this case would require extra effort).
"Do we give Shir-Del the credit on this one?" Emily asked, arching her dark brow questioningly.
"And say what? That she engaged in hand-to-hand with Wasaki and had to kill him?" Clyde tried to imagine that scene playing out in his head.
"If you name Ahoo Shir-Del as the one who took out Mariatu Wasaki, you immediately put a price on her head," Zamir pointed out. "Wasaki didn't have friends, but there are plenty of terrorist groups who had already contracted him to work on other events—they will be upset over losing their investment in him."
Emily gave a small hum of agreement, chewing her bottom lip in worried thoughtfulness. Then she gave a small nod, decreeing, "We learned of a potential location for Wasaki. Shir-Del, along with the rest of the BAU and Whitting were sent in to check it out. Rather than be taken captive, Wasaki took his own life."
Zamir frowned, "But—the forensics won't back that up. If he cut his own leg, the angle of the incision would be different."
"Interpol will handle the autopsy," Easter assured her. He shared a knowing glance with Emily. "This isn't our first rodeo, Rav Seren."
She simply nodded in understanding. Emily was immediately reminded of her discussion with Aaron regarding Zamir's depth of Kidon information.
First things first. She rose to her feet, looking down at Clyde again. "Tell the others the plan. Have Rossi and Reid untie Wasaki, and remove all evidence that he was held captive—just tell them to put it in the back of the van, as part of Interpol's custody. And put the blade in his hand."
"Where are you going?" He asked, rising to his feet as well.
"The lab," she gathered her crutches and moved to the door. "I have one last favor to ask."
Even though Rowena knew that Emily Prentiss was in the building, it was still a surprise to see the woman hobbling through the lab.
And even though Rowena didn't ask, Emily could see the questions bubbling behind those sharp hazel eyes—she knew that she should offer an explanation, but the mere thought of unraveling the current saga made her muscles feel like lead.
Jeff was there, too, equally curious but equally silent. The two forensic analysts stood side-by-side at their workstation, their eyes trained on Emily with intense curiosity as they waited for her to speak.
"There's been a situation," she admitted, glancing around again to make sure that no one else was within earshot.
"What do you need us to do?" Rowena asked, her own tone low and serious, matching Emily's.
Emily felt a measure of relief—no questions about how or why or what, simply a desire to help. As if she didn't already appreciate this woman.
"Wasaki's dead." There were visible expressions of relief on Roe and Jeff's faces. Emily continued, "I need you two—just you two—to go the crime scene and begin forensic collection. We haven't informed the other agencies yet, but when we do, their analysts will join you. But for now, I need you to get there first, and…."
She hesitated at this next request. It was something she never would have considered doing during her time with the BAU, but now it seemed part and parcel of her work with Interpol.
"There's something you want us to bury," Jeff Masterson supplied, curtly, concisely, without judgment.
"What, exactly?" Jeff crossed his arms over his barrel chest, and Roe shifted uneasily beside him. Emily knew that their compliance depended on her next answer.
"The official story will be that Wasaki took his own life."
"And the unofficial one?"
Tell as much truth as you can. "He was killed by one of our agents. If we admit that, she might end up with a price on her head. Interpol will handle the autopsy; it's simply a matter of getting Wasaki's body into custody before someone else sees it and realizes that the forensic evidence doesn't match the story."
Another brief, silent exchange between Masterson and Lewis.
"And this…agent doesn't want to go down in history as the one who took out Mariatu Wasaki?" Jeff seemed slightly incredulous, or at least confused, by this.
Emily gave a small shake of her head. "She fears there might be reprisals."
Jeff had to concede that it was a distinct and unpleasant possibility. He glanced over at Roe again, who was waiting for his decision, tight-lipped and wide-eyed. He knew that she wanted to help Emily, but she also didn't want to be in opposition to her partner. Rowena Lewis didn't have the world's strongest moral compass, but she breathed loyalty—and right now, she was torn between an old one and a new one.
Even if he'd had any lingering doubts about helping Chief Prentiss (he did, but none so major as to lose sleep over), the look on his partner's face would have been enough to change his mind. Not for the first time, he thought if Rowena Lewis knew just what her eyes could do to a man, she'd rule the world by now.
He looked back at the other brunette with a sigh, "How long of a head-start will you give us before you tell the others?"
David Rossi gave another frustrated sigh as he set his hands on his hips, surveying the room. He'd briefly argued with Easter's plan to deconstruct the scene, but the Englishman had quickly shut him down by informing him that these were Chief Prentiss' orders, and that currently they were all under the command of Interpol and in no position to disobey.
And truly, he understood the necessity behind the lie. Still, it didn't make it any easier.
"Sometimes I forget that Emily was a different person, before she came to the BAU," Spencer spoke quietly, shattering the stillness of the room. Obviously, he sensed Rossi's unhappiness, and shared it, too.
"Yeah," Dave sighed. "Me, too."
"It's not the best course of action," the young doctor added, returning his attention to the grimy bloodstains on his hands, which he was currently trying to remove with a handkerchief. "But given the circumstances, it might still be the most viable option for this particular scenario."
"I think it goes without saying that I'm by no means a by-the-book rule-follower. But this…this feels thuggish," Rossi gave a small shake of his head. "I don't like it. I'll do it, because unfortunately Easter has a damn point, but I won't condone Emily's decision, either."
Spencer ducked his head, fighting down his natural instinct to defend Emily, and simply went back to the business of staging the scene. Rossi was still going along with the plan—at this point, it was the best that could be expected.
And not for the first time, he wished that he could understand people as well and as easily as he could profile them.
Yonah Zamir stayed against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest in a gesture of feigned nonchalance. Her morning sickness had finally worn off, but it was replaced by a tightness in her jaw and the brewings of a headache, neither of which were improved by unfolding events.
She had followed Easter and Prentiss into the other conference room, where they had quickly proceeded to inform their task force colleagues of the (invented) details of Wasaki's discovery and demise. Though several people looked upset, no one looked suspicious. Hurt feelings could be mended—doubtful minds could not.
Eric Silver was the first to speak, setting his hands on his hips, "So, you're telling me that you sent two of my agents in, without my permission or my knowledge?"
"Agents Whitting and Shir-Del happened to be with the team when they were informed of the new development." Emily replied evenly. "They volunteered to go in."
Hell, Shir-Del didn't even take the time to volunteer—she just barged right in, guns blazing on her own. You're lucky I'm not informing you of her death.
"I realize that this looks like we're trying to take all the glory," Emily made sure to make eye contact with each person in the room, shifting her weight from her crutches to her one good leg so that she could stand tall, hands open and moving easily as she explained. "But I can assure you, we do not plan to credit this as an Interpol-based mission. I am also fairly certain that most of us in the room are aware of the fact that we appeared to have a mole in the investigation—whether it was someone in the CID or specifically an agent on the task force, we weren't sure. However, we knew we couldn't take the chance of tipping our hand again."
This earned her several nods of agreement—by now, almost everyone had discussed the fact that Wasaki seemed to be too ahead of the curve.
"And you may have proven that theory," Silver admitted quietly, glancing around the room. "You kept half of us in the dark, and Wasaki didn't pull a miraculous escape."
Emily held up a cautionary finger, "We are leaving that line of questioning in the hands of each individual agency—Interpol will gladly aid any fact-finding investigation as best we can, but we cannot devote our full force to this. Because even though this is a joint task force, we'd be the ones stuck with all the paperwork."
There were a few rueful grins—nobody envied the idea of writing up after-action reports for this absolute cluster-fuck of a case.
That moment of lightness gave Emily the push she needed to continue, "Of course, we have the location details for your forensic teams—I'm sure everyone will want a chance to view the scene and collect their own data. Interpol will conduct the autopsy, and full reports will be forwarded to your respective agencies upon completion. Again, I do apologize for the lack of communication, and I hope each of you can understand that it was a necessity rather than a slight."
There was light shuffling as team leaders began to stand, getting ready to send out their own investigators. Emily gave them the necessary information, concluding the meeting.
"Well done," Zamir said quietly, stepping forward slightly.
Chief Prentiss looked over her shoulder at the other woman, her face an unreadable mask, "You and I aren't finished, not by a long shot."
The Israeli ducked her head—she had expected as much. Still, she gave a curt nod, "Of course."
Emily felt a small measure of relief in that response. At least Zamir seemed cooperative.
Easter was at her other side, his hand lightly on her back to get her attention, "Your forensics team has arrived at the location—I should go as well, to handle any problems that might arise."
"What about Connelly?" Emily shifted closer to him, turning her body so that no one could read her lips or hear her words.
"Agent Hotchner rode in the ambulance with her—last I heard, she was going in for surgery. Right now, we need to decide what to do with Shir-Del."
Emily fought the urge to curse that woman again. "Have the others bring her to the hospital—I don't want her around the rest of the task force until we've had a good, long talk."
"Eric Silver's gonna want to know why his two agents aren't at the crime scene nor at the CID." Easter pointed out.
"Silver's the least of our problems," Emily reminded him.
Easter gave a slight shrug and turned to go. Emily stopped him, jerking her chin in Zamir's direction, "Take her with you."
Zamir didn't object, merely turned and exited the room ahead of Easter.
Emily's boss gave another wry smile, "I'm not saying you shouldn't mistrust her, Delilah—but you're playing your cards too soon. If she really isn't on our side, you shouldn't let on that you suspect. You're giving her a chance to build up her defense, rather than blindsiding her."
He had a point. Emily gave a frustrated sigh. "I'm just tired of all the politics, Clyde."
"My darling," he grinned like the cat that ate the canary. "That's all this job is."
Nairobi West Hospital.
Aaron Hotchner glanced at the waiting room clock again. They'd barely begun operating on Constance Connelly, and personal experience told him that it would be many more hours before she was out of surgery, much less conscious and able to answer questions.
Time wasn't an affordable luxury, at the moment.
"Hotch." A voice quiet, lined with care, gently rippled across his thoughts. A voice he'd recognize anywhere.
He turned to see Emily Prentiss, leaning on her crutches, large doe eyes filled with a mixture of apprehension and relief.
"What are you doing here?" Even as he asked the question, he was on his feet, moving to her, wrapping her in his arms.
"I…I went to the CID, after you headed out to the location," she admitted. Aaron gave her a look of reprimand, but she stopped him, "And don't you dare act like you wouldn't have done exactly the same thing."
He couldn't stop the grin tugging at the corner of his mouth—she had a point (a frustrating one, but still a point).
"It will be awhile before Connelly's out of surgery," he informed her.
"I know," she gently smoothed the wrinkled lines on his button-down. "I've told the others to come here with Agent Shir-Del. It's the least conspicuous place to debrief her—besides, I don't want the rest of the task force getting to her first. And, of course, we all need to be on the same page with the cover story."
"I can't imagine how difficult this is for you," he admitted softly, and she could hear the regret in his voice.
She looked down at the floor, "Actually, you'd be surprised how easily this comes to me. It's…never really been an issue for me, the cover stories and back stories and lies. I know, that makes me sound like—"
"Like someone who was built for this life and this job," he finished, his voice edged with conviction. She looked up again, surprised by his answer, and he gently continued, "I don't think you've ever professed to being an ordinary woman, Emily Prentiss—and you're not, in the best of ways. Someone has to do this, and you have the brains and the stomach for it—and yes, even the moral center for it, even if you don't see it."
She was smiling softly, her eyes shimmering with a mixture of amusement and adoration.
"I wish I could see myself the way you do," she confessed.
"I'll do my best to convince you," his tone dipped lower as he pulled her closer, his forehead resting against hers.
Her grin became wicked, "Aaron Hotchner's personal best. Now that's a sight I'd definitely love to see."
"Tonight," he promised.
"It's a deal," she gave him a quick kiss before pulling back onto her crutches again. He understood the withdrawal—the others would be here any second now.
He helped her into a chair and they sat side-by-side, taking a few beats of comfortable silence.
Emily suddenly gave a warm hum of amusement. "How many times have we been here? In hospital waiting rooms, I mean. Me waiting on you, you waiting on me, both of us waiting on another one of the team. Always waiting."
"Not always," he corrected gently, reaching out to hold her hand.
"No, not always," she conceded with a smile.
"But definitely more than the average person, I would think," he added thoughtfully.
"We're not average," she agreed.
"And why would we ever want to be?" He asked with a smile of his own.
She understood all the things that the smile said (why would we ever want anything other than what we have right here, right now, why would I want anything more than the simple warmth of your hand in mine, the surety of knowing you are safe and loved and that you feel the same for me?). But she also knew the truth—they both wanted more, more than they could ever have or ask for.
We're not average. And we don't get the things that average people take for granted.
Ahoo took a deep, steadying breath as she exited the hospital, casting another quick glance at her watch—she'd looked at it three times already, and not a single instance had she actually noted the time, because her brain was still so scattered.
Much to everyone's surprise, Chief Prentiss had been waiting for them at the hospital, and Ahoo had taken it as a bad omen (not that she'd expected the next few days and hours to be enjoyable or pleasant, anyways). Though in hindsight, her debriefing hadn't been the grueling interrogation that she'd expected or perhaps even deserved. Chief Prentiss' questions had been direct, and she'd made it clear to Ahoo from the beginning that there would be no formal reprimand, since that would require Interpol to acknowledge the undercover operation, which was not going to happen by any means. Afterwards, everyone had agreed upon the official party line, and now it was time to go their separate ways—Rossi and Reid were going to the CID, George and Ahoo were returning to the hotel to get a change of clothes, and Aaron and Emily were staying at the hospital to await Clyde Easter's arrival.
Ahoo looked over at George again—he'd been silent throughout most of the evening, and she hated not knowing how he felt about the current situation (though she had a pretty good guess).
George easily got a taxi, still opening the door to let her in first. She knew they made an interesting sight—she was wearing his button-down, looking and feeling like a kid playing dress-up in her father's clothes, and he looked equally out of place, in his white under-tee and slacks.
Once the taxi was en route, she broke the heavy silence, "I don't think I can do this."
He didn't ask what this was, and she was glad—because she wasn't even sure. This was so much—living with the death of Wasaki and possibly killing Constance Connelly, living in a world that allowed such things to happen, living and telling a lie for the rest of her life, living with a career that would force her to make such decisions many more times in the future, living with burdens and secrets and guilt that she could never explain or absolve.
George didn't respond to her question, his eyes still turned to the window with unbelievable nonchalance. His voice was calm as he quietly warned, "You're very lucky, you know. Prentiss has her hands tied on this one, because of the undercover op—but don't push your luck. You aren't ten-foot-tall and bullet-proof."
"I know," she looked out the opposite window. Quietly, she admitted, "This is the part I'm not sure I can handle—the sitting back and not doing the right thing. I mean, Easter's plan wasn't the wrong thing, but it wasn't the right thing either, and I can't—I don't know if I can be a part of that, on a daily basis, for decades to come. Maybe it's a sign. Maybe I was never supposed to do this job."
He reached over and took her wrist, holding it up so that she could see her hand, "Your hands stopped shaking approximately three minutes after Agent Hotchner brought you back downstairs—they were still covered in two other people's blood, and yet they were calm as stone. By the time you spoke to Chief Prentiss, you were clear, concise, in-control of your emotions and your thoughts. You were built for this, Lion-Heart."
She gently disengaged from his grasp, looking down at the floor, "You always forget the first part of that. Ahoo means deer, and in the end, that's what I'll always be, first and foremost. A frightened, running deer."
His face lined with compassion at the decree. "And you'll always fight that part of yourself. It's who you are. It isn't bad or good, it just is."
"So…you're not upset? About today?"
He smiled wryly, "I didn't say that. Just because I acknowledge who you are doesn't mean that you won't annoy me sometimes."
He looked away, becoming serious again, "It's your choice, Ahoo. No one will force you to stay—and I of all people understand that this life isn't going to be a walk in the park. It takes a special breed of person to do what we do, day in and day out, with little complaint and less reward, at great risk—not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually. You happen to be one of those people, but you don't have to stay."
Suddenly he looked back at her, his blue eyes filled with startling intensity, "Remember this: at the end of the day, it's just you and that little voice in your head. No one else. Just you. And because you're a member of this tribe, that little voice is never going to let you walk away, not completely. It's going to tell you that you should have stayed and done more. It can be a part of yourself that you choose to fight too, but know that it will still be there."
She simply nodded, feeling her throat tighten with unshed tears. She knew that he was right—she could turn in her badge and gun tomorrow, could walk away and take an ordinary job and build an ordinary life, and in the end, she'd hate herself for it, because she knew, she'd always known, that this was her path.
"Will this ever go away?" She asked, voice lined with hesitation. "This feeling of wanting to run away but knowing you can't?"
He offered the softest, saddest of smiles, "Afraid not. You just learn to use it as fuel to get you to the next case, the next life that needs saving, the next monster that needs to be caught. And if you ever do stop feeling that way, then that's when you have to quit. Because that's when you stop caring."
"Then you'll do this forever, won't you?"
He smiled again. "I hope so."
Emily stretched her long legs, gingerly propping her feet on a chair across the small aisle in the waiting room. They'd conducted the debriefing in the room that would become Constance Connelly's when (if) she got out of surgery, but afterwards, she and Aaron had migrated back to the waiting room (neither had very pleasant memories of hospital rooms), to await Clyde's arrival. Everyone else was gone and they were alone again, and she found herself relishing the mere sensation of sitting next to him, holding his hand, knowing that no one else was watching and it didn't matter even if they were. There was so much left to deal with (the fallout of Zamir's actions, Connelly's condition, Rossi's dislike of her current decision to contain the evidence and stage the scene), but for now, all that mattered was the simple comfort given to her by the man beside her.
"What's the plan?" Aaron asked quietly.
"Go to the crime scene, see what's up," she gave a heavy sigh. "We need to keep an eye on Eric Silver—if anyone suspects the truth, it will be him. The others are just glad it's all over."
He made a small noise of agreement. Then he quietly added, "You should really go back to the hotel and rest."
"I should," her tone was laced with amusement. "But do you really think I'm going to?"
He chuckled, shaking his head.
She was grinning, too, as she nudged his shoulder playfully with her own (and don't even pretend like you're gonna stop me, mister).
He merely shrugged and arched his brow (your choice, Chief).
She suddenly wanted to kiss him again, very much. So she did. It was the most wonderful feeling, being able to act upon impulses that she'd felt for such a long time towards this man—impulses created by his warmth, his caring, his morality, his laughter, his sadness, impulses that she'd kept at bay, thinking that she'd never be able to express these thoughts and feelings tumbling around her head and heart.
"What?" By now, he'd noticed the quiet adoration in her dark eyes.
"Nothing," she smiled. "And everything. If that makes any sense."
"It does," he smiled too, gently and knowingly.
She bit her lip, looked away, keeping her tone low, "After the crime scene, we should go back to the hotel."
"Together?" He already knew the answer, but he still liked hearing it.
The corner of her mouth quirked into a grin, which she quickly stamped down. She crossed her arms over her chest as she spoke, "Left pocket, Hotchner."
His expression scrunched in confusion as he figured out the meaning of her words, his hand going to his left pants pocket—surprisingly reappearing with a hotel room key.
"How did you…?" He stared down at the room key (his key card was in his wallet in his back pocket, so it had to be hers).
Now she was grinning like a Cheshire cat. "I used to be a super-secret agent, remember?"
He shared her grin. "A woman of many talents."
She finally turned to look at him again, the mischievous twinkle in his dark eyes making her heart hammer as she miserably lost her battle in the attempt to remain cool and snarky. But she found that she didn't care—she didn't have to play games with this man (after all, he knew who she really was, at her best and her worst, highest and lowest, and most spaces in-between). He knew her, and even though he didn't know all of her, he knew more than most. It was a comforting and frightening concept.
It was his turn to sit back, look away, and feign nonchalance as he casually asked, "So. How long to we have to actually stay at this crime scene before we can leave?"
don't need another human being to make your life complete, but let's be honest.
Having your wounds kissed by someone who doesn't see them as disasters in your
soul but cracks to put their love into is the most calming thing in this