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no picket fences

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"You can fix this," Bonnie tells him, and the anguish on Frank's face would tear her heart to pieces if there were any pieces left large enough to tear.

"Is that what this is all about?" he asks, voice too choked with emotion for her to know which way to push him. "You want me to take the fall?"

She doesn't. But what she wants hasn't mattered in a long time, not even to her.

They're sitting side by side on the edge of the cheap motel bed like lovers, shoulders pressed together against a wind no one else would feel. Both of them are crying in the dim light from the closed curtains, faces red and ugly as the sins they're covering up.

The only thing that Bonnie's sure of is that they both love Annalise more than they love themselves. Neither of them would be in this situation if they didn't. She can't pretend that it's healthy; it's just how it is.

"Annalise needs us." Bonnie's fingers wrap lightly around Frank's fist, clenched tight and helpless on his knee. "You know enough. About all of it. You could confess."

Frank turns to hide his face in her hair, his breath sour against her cheek. Bonnie braces herself for a kiss that doesn't come.

"I don't know if I could," Frank says, his voice quavering. "Not and make them believe me. Not like this."

Bonnie knows that he means: not with all his cracks showing like this. The Frank of a few months ago could've done it -- the charming, well-dressed shell he used to cover all this pain could've lied to everyone. But that Frank would never be caught in a cheap motel like this one, dirty carpet and water stains shouting the truth of basic neglect. That Frank has been ripped open like a scab, and this one is bleeding truth every time he opens his mouth.

Bonnie reaches up with her free hand to cup the back of his head, holding him closer. "You could write a confession."

She feels the moment that he understands. Every movement in his body halts; Bonnie imagines that the blood in his veins might've frozen, too. Even the air in the room, stale and dusty as it is, chills at this betrayal of trust. The last of the evening light drops away from the windows, leaving them in darkness.

When Frank thaws, he leans more heavily against her, hotter than a furnace. It's a physical surrender, more to her right to ask him than to the question itself.

"You said she didn't want that," he whispers. He has to swallow before he can go on, a dry, painful sound Bonnie can feel in her chest. "That me dying would hurt her."

I lied. I was wrong. The words hover on the tip of her tongue, but Bonnie can't make herself say them.

"She needs us," she repeats, finally, once the silence has passed from painful to terrifying.

"You said it would hurt you." Frank's voice is hesitant; a question that Bonnie can't bear to hear.

"My feelings aren't important." Bonnie tries to unlink their hands, but Frank won't let her go.

"You said you love me," Frank says, more insistently, squeezing hard enough that Bonnie's fingers turn white.

At least he doesn't raise his head, at least he doesn't try to look at her face, so Bonnie can pretend he doesn't know.

"We say a lot of things we don't mean, in the heat of the moment." It comes out stilted and awkward, and despite every word of it being true, it sounds like a lie.

Frank chokes back a noise, but Bonnie can't tell if it's a laugh or a sob. "You know I'd die for you. You know that."

"I know."

"So ask me." Frank finally lets go of her hand, but only so he can wrap both arms around her.

Bonnie goes rigid, an old reaction to being held by someone larger, the smell of male sweat and her own tears. The darkness in the room is suddenly smothering.

Frank waits it out, waits to see if she pushes him away or tells him to let her go.

The knowledge that he would, without hesitation, is what lets her finally relax.

"Ask me," he says again. "You know I would. Just. Ask me for you. Not for Annalise. For you."

Do it. Again, the words won't cross her lips. It's sheer selfishness, and she should be ashamed of herself. She is ashamed, she is, but even shame can't make her speak.

She doesn't realize she's crying again until Frank starts rocking her gently.

"No, baby, please," he murmurs, soft and just as broken as she feels. "I'll fix this, don't cry, I'll fix it..."

"Stop. Stop lying to me." Bonnie manages to choke the words out between sobs.

"I'm not lying, I'll do it --"

"Don't." Bonnie turns her face to his. It's too dark to see more than the shape of his eyes, but she doesn't need to see him for this. "Don't pretend we can fix this."

"We can make it work." His words are a plea, more than anything else.

"I couldn't." Even in the dark, Bonnie has to close her eyes in shame. "I couldn't go on without you."

Bonnie knows it isn't love. Not the kind of love they make movies about, at any rate. There are no picket fences in their future, no roses or gold rings. Not even two people drinking coffee and reading the paper side by side as they grow old.

No, Bonnie loves Frank like a part of her body -- uncertain, treasonous, vital. She is selfish, so selfish, but she can't let him go. As bad as it gets, she won't let him go.

"I'm sorry," he says, and Bonnie knows he understands all of it. That they should be able to do this for Annalise. That they should be stronger.

But they're just two broken children clinging together in the dark.