She stood near the kitchen counter, a mug of coffee clutched tightly to keep her hands from shaking. He stood by the head of the dining table, holding the back of the chair for support. His hip and leg were killing him—but his doctor had cleared him to stand for a while at a time, and he wouldn’t dare sit until she had her say. He knew she needed this.
“You could have died,” She whispered finally.
“I know,” he answered.
“I thought you were dead.”
“They declared the building unsafe.” She put down her mug, her voice rising in volume. She was really hitting her stride now, “Your captain told you not to go back in.”
“I know,” He said for the third time with nothing else to offer.
“Then why?” She crossed the kitchen, standing at the chair opposite his, “Why would you go back in there?”
“I had too.” He had been prepared for this question. He knew his answer already. “Why would you go back in there?”
“I had too.” He had been prepared for this question. He knew his answer. “Those kids’ lives were easily worth mine. I knew it was dangerous and I knew I might get hurt, and I knew that if might have been all for naught, but I had to try to save those kids lives. I would never have been able to live with myself if I hadn’t tried.”
She let a slow breath between pursed lips before sighing, “I know.”
He limped his way around the table and held her tight to his chest. “I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry for scaring you.”
“I know,” she muttered against his chest. She relaxed against him, wrapping her arms around his waist.
“And I will always, always try my hardest to come home to you intact.”
She tipped her head back and gave him the first soft smile since he’d woken up in the hospital. “I know.” He pressed his luck and leaned in to kiss her. To his great relief, she kissed him back. “I just never want a call from Janet again, understood?”
“I think I can manage that,” He grinned.
“If you have to go saving children, at least stay conscious long enough to tell me that you are an idiot yourself.”
He held his breath, waiting carefully for her next sentence. The pronoun would tell him whether or not they were actually completely good again, or if he had more work to do.
“C’mon. We should go to bed,” he smiled wide, and she couldn’t help but smile wide back. She even wrapped his arm over her shoulders and helped him limp up the stairs.