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Wednesday, July 20, 2016
by Mike

While trapped in the DiMera tunnels, a delirious Rafe dreamed that Hope had died as a result of the injuries she had sustained while trying to rescue him. As Rafe held Hope's lifeless body in his arms and wept, Aiden appeared, with a necktie draped over his shoulders, and offered up a round of applause, conceding that Rafe truly was the better man. "You succeeded where I failed. You killed Hope," Aiden added with a laugh.

Rafe lunged forward, grabbed the necktie, and began tightening it around Aiden's throat, but Aiden just laughed, seemingly unfazed. "Oh, poor Detective Hernandez. Haven't you figured it out by now? You just don't have it in you. You can't kill him -- or me," Andre said as he stepped out of the shadows.

"The only person you're capable of killing is the woman you love," Andre continued as Rafe released Aiden. Rafe lashed out at Aiden and Andre, calling them monsters, but they protested that they were simply men who were willing to do whatever they had to do to get what they wanted -- and Hope, unlike Rafe, had actually been just like them, as she had demonstrated when she had killed Stefano in cold blood.

Aiden insisted that Rafe hadn't deserved Hope, and Andre agreed, musing that Hope might still be alive if Rafe had been willing to do anything -- even commit murder -- in order to protect her. Alternatively, Aiden added, Hope might still be alive if Rafe had been willing to let her live happily ever after with him. "Was it worth getting Hope killed to make sure she would never end up in my arms again? Was that your endgame? Well, that sounds pretty damn selfish to me," Aiden observed, prompting Andre to muse that Rafe might indeed be a fellow monster, after all.

As Rafe tearfully apologized to Hope, insisting that he had never meant for things to end the way they had, Eduardo appeared and put a comforting hand on his shoulder, urging him to stay strong. "I always fail the woman that I'm trying to protect," Rafe regretfully admitted. Maintaining that Rafe couldn't allow himself to be mired in pain because it would paralyze him and make him weak, Eduardo reasoned that Rafe needed to instead honor Hope's memory with the one thing that would give him solace -- vengeance. As Eduardo handed Rafe a loaded gun, Aiden told Andre, "Twenty bucks says he doesn't have it in him," and Andre took the bet.

Despite Eduardo's best efforts to talk Rafe into killing Andre and Aiden, Rafe insisted that he couldn't resort to vigilante justice because he, unlike Eduardo, didn't live in a world where that sort of thing was okay. Eduardo argued that everybody lived in that world. "Do you think Hope shot Stefano because she thought he was responsible for Bo's torture? She pulled the trigger to make the bastard pay for a lifetime of crimes that had gone unpunished!" Eduardo continued.

Aiden got nervous when Eduardo pointed out that Rafe had even helped Hope cover up that particular example of vigilante justice. Andre shushed Aiden, eager to see where the conversation was headed. Rafe wondered if Eduardo could honestly say that he didn't wrestle with guilt as a result of the lives he had taken as an assassin. "It's not the same. There's no justice in what I did. I accept that. Your situation is different," Eduardo argued. Rafe disagreed, insisting that if Hope were still alive, she would freely admit that killing Stefano had been a mistake that had haunted her every day. "She wouldn't have wanted that for me," Rafe added.

Eduardo tried to change Rafe's mind, but Rafe lashed out at him, insisting that it was a bit too late for him to start offering fatherly advice. "You were never there for your own family, and then you went off [and] created widows and orphans by killing other men. I'll never follow in your footsteps. I'm gonna do what's right; I'm gonna mourn [Hope's] death, and I'm gonna honor her life," Rafe added. As Aiden gloated that he had won the bet, Andre tiredly complained, "We're right back where we started."

Hope's body soon disappeared, but her ghostly voice filled the room, asking Rafe, "Why didn't you fight harder for me?" Meanwhile, Shawn and Ciara appeared and began lashing out at Rafe. Shawn noted that Rafe had broken the promise he had made to Bo before Bo's death, and Ciara added that Rafe, like many others before him, had let her down. Rafe protested that he had loved Hope more than Shawn and Ciara would ever know. "Your words are cheap," Shawn spat before shoving Rafe against a wall.

As Rafe sank to the floor in despair, Dario appeared and advised Rafe to push the pain aside and move on with his life. "So I'm supposed to just forget about Hope?" Rafe asked incredulously. Dario reasoned that if Rafe didn't, the pain of losing her would eventually destroy him. "Get on with your life," Dario reiterated, prompting Rafe to angrily counter that it was typical of Dario to suggest such a thing.

"That's what you do. When things aren't going well, you just turn your back, right? You go off to Argentina or to L.A. Maybe I should envy you, actually, 'cause if you don't care about anything, then you can't be hurt by it," Rafe mused. Dario protested that Rafe was twisting his words, but Rafe wasn't convinced.

Rafe wondered if Dario had ever truly been in love. When Dario admitted that he hadn't, Rafe snapped, "Then don't tell me to bottle my emotions!" Dario pointed out that Rafe had always been the strong one in the Hernandez family, but Rafe muttered that he didn't want that responsibility anymore. "Then what the hell do you want?" Dario asked.

"I want her to come back to me. I want her to be okay. I want Aiden to have never come back into her life. I want things to be beautiful, and whole, and wonderful again, the way they were supposed to be! Is that so wrong?" Rafe wondered, but when he looked to Dario for an answer, he found that he was alone in the room. Sobbing, Rafe clutched a necklace that had fallen off Hope's neck earlier, recognizing it as the one he had given her when they had first started dating. As Rafe sadly recalled happier times with Hope, Adriana appeared and admitted that she had been wrong to hate Hope, who had obviously been a source of great joy for Rafe.

"I will let you in on a little secret: I was jealous. I had just come back into my family's life, and I wanted to think that you all still needed me. I didn't want to compete with her [for] your attention," Adriana continued. Rafe insisted that Adriana should have given Hope a chance because Hope had been an amazing woman. "And now she's gone," Rafe quietly added, but Adriana protested that he was living in fear, not reality. "Don't believe everything you see," Adriana advised. Gabi appeared and agreed with Adriana, assuring Rafe that Hope's fate was still in his hands.

Gabi urged Rafe to never give up. "And stop listening to those madmen who tell you this is your fault," Adriana added. "We know more about this than you do, Adriana," Andre insisted as he and Aiden reappeared. Adriana complained that Andre and Aiden were messing with Rafe's head, but Aiden protested that he and Andre were actually clearing things up for Rafe. Andre added that he and Aiden knew Rafe better than Rafe's own family members, who only saw Rafe as the man they wanted him to be. "But we know better, don't we? Tell him, Doug," Andre continued as Doug appeared and started lashing out at Rafe.

"You let my princess slip away from her family -- away from me! Hope is gone because you let her go. You held back. You took things too slowly. You allowed Aiden to gain a foothold, and then it all went to hell -- to absolute hell!" Doug tearfully spat. Rafe regretfully conceded that Doug was right. "I should have fought harder; I should have been stronger. Give me the gun!" Rafe commanded Eduardo, who protested that Rafe had previously insisted that the gun wasn't the right way to handle the situation. "I don't care anymore. They need to pay for what they did to Hope. Give. Me. The gun," Rafe repeated.

"So be it. Revenge is sweet," Eduardo agreed as he handed over the weapon. Rafe aimed it at Aiden, who just laughed, certain that Rafe wouldn't be able to pull the trigger. Rafe fired three shots at Aiden's chest, eliciting a round of applause from Andre, who asked Rafe how it felt to be a monster. Without responding, Rafe fired a fourth shot at Andre's chest.

As the life drained out of Andre, Doug took the gun from Rafe and told him Hope was waiting for him. "Where?" Rafe skeptically wondered. "I'm here," Hope replied, appearing behind Rafe as the others disappeared from the room. Hope wondered if Rafe loved her, and he confirmed that he did. Satisfied, Hope kissed Rafe then collapsed in his arms.

Rafe awoke with a start and found Hope lying on the cot, right where she was supposed to be. After a moment of hesitation, Rafe checked Hope's pulse and breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that she was still alive. Hope opened her eyes and muttered a few words to Rafe, who told her he was going to try again to open the locked door that was blocking one of the exits. Hope weakly protested that it was her turn to be the savior. "You're not playing fair," Hope added. Rafe chuckled and assured Hope that she could punish him later.

As Hope lost consciousness again, Rafe busted the lock with a rock, swung the door open, and began yelling for help.

. . .

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On the next Days of our Lives...

• Dario takes Nicole to a shooting range.
• Deimos makes note of Nicole's friendship with Dario.
• Claire lands a job as Chloe's assistant.
• Shawn and Belle butt heads.
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