Darkness(2)By: Laurann Dohner
“What? Finish what you were going to say. I won’t judge.”
He dropped his hand to his side and sighed. “I don’t ever want to feel that much again and females are a weakness. I trusted the wrong one once and people I cared about paid the price. Something inside me died and I’m not grieving its loss. I like being solitary and in control. I am free and that’s my choice.”
She accepted it with a nod. “Don’t you ever feel lonely though? Long to hold someone or be touched?”
“No. That’s just a reminder of the past. The only time I’m completely at ease is when I’m alone.”
She stared at him. “I’m so sorry for whatever was done to you, Darkness. Just know we care about you and if you ever change your mind, all you have to do is reach out. We’ll be there.”
“Thank you. It means a lot.”
She turned away but paused at the door to glance over her shoulder at him. “No one would blame you if you ended your shift early and went home. That was intense for everyone.”
“I’m different,” he reminded her. “Give me fifteen minutes and I’ll be back in uniform.”
“You’re stubborn.” She smiled though. “You hold my respect.”
He watched her leave and then stripped off the rest of his clothes. The last thing he wanted was to go home and listen to the silence. He’d relive every moment inside that interrogation room. Boris was a real son of a bitch who deserved everything he’d done but the fact that he’d enjoyed inflicting pain on that piece of shit didn’t sit well with him.
He scrubbed his skin and washed his hair. It only took him ten minutes to dress and return to Security. He glanced around but no one seemed surprised or uncomfortable upon his arrival. Bluebird was the only one who smiled from her seat in front of a bank of monitors that provided live feeds around Homeland.
“What’s going on?”
“Not much,” Flame answered. “We just allowed two trucks inside to deliver food supplies. Justice finished one meeting with a reporter doing a story on us and he’s got another one coming in about fifteen minutes.”
“Poor bastard,” Darkness muttered.
Flame nodded in sympathy. “I’m glad I’m not the one who has to answer all their questions. The task force left to assemble at their headquarters. Do you want to know what we have so far?” He pointed to two males at the far end of the room with their attention fixed on their computers. “They are tracing all information they can gather about the name Boris gave up.”
He didn’t want to be involved. He’d obtained the Gift’s location. It wasn’t his job to go after her. He liked to remain within NSO lands. “What else is going on?”
“Not much.” Flame held a portable electronic device, scrolling as he read. “Oh. The new instructor is due to arrive soon.”
“What instructor?” He frowned.
“A forensic one.” Excitement laced Flame’s voice. “Tiger hired someone to come in to teach us all about police procedures for gathering evidence. It will be fun.”
Darkness arched an eyebrow. “Fun?”
“Don’t you watch those shows on television? We’ll be solving crimes before you know it. I’m looking forward to learning how to take fingerprints.”
“What crimes? This is Homeland. It’s the outside world we need to worry about and the task force handles them.”
Some of the joy faded from Flame’s features. “Tiger asked what we’d like to learn and we voted on a forensic science instructor.”
Regret stabbed at Darkness. He hadn’t meant to deflate the other male’s good mood. “I don’t watch much television but I’m certain it’s very interesting if it earned the majority vote. I’ll be sure to stop in to check it out. I might learn something new and I’m sure we’ll find the skills useful.”
Flame smiled. “It’s fascinating.”
“I’ll take your word for it. Where is this instructor going to stay? Are the human accommodations already prepared? A background check run?”
“It was last minute but I’m sure we’re on top of it.”
“Okay.” Flame hurried away.
The door opened and Breeze entered. She grinned as she approached him. “Good job, badass. I heard you broke that son of a bitch and made him squeal like the pig he is.” She stopped, lifting one palm above her head.
He eyed it, frowning.
“High five. Put it right here.”