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Title: What Makes Us Stronger
Fandom: Dark Blue
Pairing: Dean/Carter
Rating: NC-17
Author's Notes: I haven't written this fandom in years and needed a 'refresher course' to make sure I'd get their voices right. I decided to start at the beginning and watched the pilot. That ending scene with Carter and Dean where Carter tells Dean he was worried, just begged for this to be written.
Summary: The case with Franzine pushes Dean closer to the edge than ever before.

Dean's POV:

The case with Franzine just about broke me and Carter didn't really help matters any, sending Ty to try and pull me out and then ambushing me in the carwash to talk me down. I've learned over the years that the only way I can do this job, and do it well enough to not earn myself a bullet in the head, is to toe the line really hard. I have to make the bad guys think I'm one of them and the only way to really do that, for me at any rate, is to get as close to flipping as possible without actually going over.

But Carter doesn't seem to get that; doesn't seem to trust that I know what I'm doing. It's either that or Ty's been telling tales out of school and has Carter convinced that I'm close to going round the bend. Not that I'm not most days, just not this time. I left Agent Brenner where I knew he'd be found. I wasn't worried about the cameras because I thought Carter knew me well enough to know I'd never actively take part in the murder of a fellow law enforcement officer but his mini speech after the bust showed me otherwise.

His terse, "There's going under and then there's stepping over. I get scared when I don't know the difference" nearly broke me right there, the worry heavy on each word in a way I've never heard from him. I know deep down somewhere that he cares, I just didn't know he cared this much. To deflect the emotions, I snarked back some stupid ass comment about how he's got me to tell him the difference but it didn't work. He still looked a bit wild around the eyes and said, "Don't scare me again."

I nodded and he let me walk away but I'm afraid I'm going to have to break that promise because I can feel something bad coming and it scares the shit out of me like nothing has in years. I refuse to think about the last time I felt this way just like I refuse to go back there, even if it won't be exactly the same. It'll be close enough and that just won't do. Although, if I've learned nothing else, I know that there's not a goddamn thing I can do to prevent it from happening. It happened years ago despite my wishing fervently for it to not and this time won't be all that different, even if I'm not that little boy anymore and am no longer afraid of the monsters under my bed.

Of course this time will be wildly different for mainly that reason. I now know that there are scarier monsters that live in the light and that the monsters that live in the dark are just as afraid of them as I ever was.

But Carter, the bastard, doesn't care if I'm being stalked by my own personal monsters, just so long as I capture the ones he identifies as such. Oh, and not toe the line so hard he can't tell if I've stepped over it or not.

I'm not like Carter who is the same when under as he is in his everyday life. For me to look myself in the mirror each morning, to be a productive member of society and, most importantly, in order to retain my sanity, I have to be someone completely different when I'm under and if that means I have to scare him into thinking I'm about to flip, then that's just the price I'll have to pay.

Rituals are how I keep my life in order. The ritual of putting on a persona for me is much like putting on clothes. In fact, as I get dressed for each op I slowly turn myself into whichever cover I'll be using. Now if only shedding it was as easy. And I guess that's what Carter's really worried about; that one day I won't be able to 'shed' whichever cover I've been using.

The line can get a little blurry at times but damnit who wouldn't have trouble seeing it after spending months deep in some bad guy's pocket.


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