Charlie opened his eyes. A shadow was standing motionless in his doorway.
"Billy?" Charlie's voice was rough with sleep.
"Hey, Baby," the shadow spoke.
Charlie flicked on his bedside lamp. Billy winced away from the light.
Charlie sat up in bed. "Come here."
Billy carefully approached the bed. He was still fully dressed right down to his guns but Charlie focused on the bruises that covered Billy's face. They were still red/purple, maybe only a day old. "What happened?"
Billy sat on the edge of the bed and sagged in on himself. He gave a half shrug. "Some go down harder than others."
Charlie studied Billy's face then he looked beyond it. "What happened?" He asked again.
"I moved too fast. Should have waited. There were too many civilians. The local LEOs were all kids. I should have waited for..." Billy turned his face from Charlie. "I should have waited."
Charlie let Billy sit in silence for a minute before taking his hand. "What happened?" He asked a third time.
"I went for the grab. He pulled a gun. Some piss green sheriff deputy starts shooting, then everyone starts shooting. Went to hell pretty quick. We..." Billy's voice stumbled. "It was hours later. Forensics was trying to trace all the bullets. Traced one through a broken window. Some junkie mom left her kid alone in the motel room. Told the kid not to open the door so when we were going door to door before..." Billy's voice stumbled again. "If I'd just waited 'till he was out in the lot."
Charlie wrapped his arms around Billy. He still smelled of sweat and gun powder. He obviously hadn't taken a shower since everything went down. Probably hadn't even changed his clothes. Charlie pressed his forehead to Billy's shoulder and just stayed there.
"Say something, Baby. Please."
"No." Charlie whispered.
Billy pulled away. "What?"
"I have three options. I can either tell you it was your fault which is what you want to hear but it is a lie and I'm not going to do that. I can tell you it wasn't your fault which is the truth but I'm sure other people have told you that already and you're not ready to hear it or believe it. Or, I can just hold you close and give you silence until you're ready to listen."
Billy sagged in on himself again and Charlie pulled him close careful to avoid the bruises on his face though Charlie was sure there were plenty of bruises under the FBI t-shirt that had gone too long without a wash.
Charlie ran his fingers through Billy's greasy red waves. "Come on. Let's get you into a shower."
"Yes it is. Let's get you into a shower. Let's wash off the last few days, then get you into bed and in the morning we'll see what you're ready to listen to."
Billy was still and quiet for a long time. "I should..."
"No you shouldn't. What are the rules?" Charlie asked.
"What are the rules?" Charlie repeated.
"I get off a hunt, you're in charge for 24 hours."
"And why is that?"
"'Cause I've never figured out how to turn off the job myself."
"That's right." Charlie pressed a kiss to Billy's temple. "Now take off the guns, take off your clothes, put them in the hamper, get into the shower, wash all over, then come back to bed."
"Yes I am and you love me for it."
A tiny smile touched Billy's lips. "Yeah, actually I do."