All you need is love and understanding.

"You don't understand."

"You always say that."

"Well, you don't."

"So make me."

The challenge hung in the air as each looked at the other. Her eyes strayed first.

"I can't. If I have to make you understand, then there's no point to it, because you still don't really understand."

He sighed. "I really hate to say this, but...I don't understand."


Silence ensued for a moment before she relented.

"Fine. Close your eyes."

She watched intently as his eyes fluttered shut. When she was sure that he was enveloped in darkness, she smiled ruefully.

"Okay, what do you see?"

"This is absolutely ridiculous, baby. I just got home..."

She sighed again, closing her eyes against the pain. "Work with me, please? What do you see?"

"Darkness?" His voice had an exasperated quality to it. She softened her tone.

"Look past the darkness; don't focus on it. Now what do you see?"

There was a long pause before he spoke. His voice was much softer than when he had first spoken. "You."

"You aren't serious." It wasn't a question; it was an accusation. She honestly didn't believe him.

God, the sound of her voice broke his heart.

"Why are you crying?"

"I'm not crying."

"Then why do I see tears?"

And, all of a sudden, she was crying. Silent, steaming tears that seemed to fall endlessly from somewhere deep inside of her. When she finally spoke, her voice was strangely calm.

"I can't do this anymore."

Either he didn't hear her statement, or he just didn't acknowledge it.

"You know, I could keep you from crying if you'd give me the chance."

She didn't have the strength to deny that she was crying. "What makes you think you haven't had the chance all along?"

His brow was creased in concern even before he opened his eyes. When he finally did, the wrinkles in his brow smoothed.

"I didn't understand."

She exhaled slowly. "And what makes you think that you do now, AJ?"

He reached the pad of his thumb to her cheek and brushed away the trails of tears. At long last, his fingers slid into her hair, catching in her curls. He smiled gently and took a step closer.

"You've stopped crying."

She raised her fingertips to her cheek, shocked to find them dry, and blinked in surprise when she found herself returning the soft smile.

Maybe he did understand after all.

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