A pre-canon Sam McCall (Morgan) and Rex Balsom one shot. Tell me what you think of it please.

A Friend in Need

Rex hadn't heard from her in two months and suddenly there she was – standing on the doorstep of his cheap motel - mascara caked to her cheeks; hair seriously mussed; sporting a busted lip. "Sam," he said. "What the hell? Get in here, woman!"

Sam paused on the threshold for a moment. He grabbed for her hand and she winced in pain. She tugged free and that's when he noticed how limp her arms were; how her hands sort of dangled at her sides.

"What the fuck did he do to you?" Rex asked, letting go of her. She sighed and walked into his room. He couldn't believe the way she looked. Bill Monroe had done a number on Sam and Rex was angry! He never really got mad but tonight … He was furious. No, he was ready to draw blood. Sam was older than him by several years but she managed to bring out a protective side of him – a side that previously, he never would have guessed actually existed.

"Sit down," Rex said when she said nothing. He realized that he had done all the talking thus far and usually she was Miss Chatty Cathy, full of plans and anecdotes.

Sam didn't fight him. She just slumped into one of the room's lumpy chairs and stared at him. "Talk to me, Sam, okay? Tell me how to help you. Just tell me that I can help you."

Sam cleared her throat and even that sounded painful. Rex looked around for something to dab her still bleeding lip with and finally decided on a hand towel hanging in the small kitchenette. He thought about pressing it into her hand but they didn't seem to be working. They still hung at her sides.

"He beat me up," Sam said as if it should be obvious. She didn't react as Rex pressed the cloth to her lip and chin. It probably hurt her, but he figured other parts of her hurt much worse. "He found out."

"That you were running a con?"

"Yeah, the whole bit," Sam said, moving her lips awkwardly around the cloth. She looked into his eyes – chocolate brown meeting light green and hazel ones. "Don't say 'I told you so', okay?"

Rex bit down on his tongue. He had warned her that marrying all those men only to turn around and rob them blind would get her into trouble one day. Rex liked money – hell, he worshipped it – but he couldn't have done what she did over and over again. Selling her body and soul to the highest bidder. He had no morals really, but he had foreseen only bad things coming from this. Sam was fearless to the point of being completely reckless.

And the worst part was that something about Bill Monroe had rubbed Rex wrong from the beginning. Something had told him that the wealthy lecher was bad news and God damn, Rex was right about it. But this time, he didn't want to be right.

Rex reached out and gently stroked her sticky, mascara-smeared face. "This is no good, Sam. No good at all."

"I know."

He looked at her again, looked at her hands just sagging from her wrists at an awkward angle. "What happened to your hands?"

Sam shrugged. "He busted my wrists. I think at least one is broken."

"Sonuvabitch!" Rex said. "Can I kill him? Tell me I can kill him, Sam."

Sam shook her head. "No."

"Why not? He – he broke you."

"We both already know I was broken before I sought him out. We both know how screwed up I've always been."

"Sam –"

"No, it's true." She sighed.

"Well, I still want to hurt him really bad."

"You can't."

"Why do you keep saying that?"

"Because he's already dead."

Rex felt his eyes bug out. "Come again? Are you kidding –"

"Can't con a con, right?" Sam said morosely.

Rex looked into her eyes again and saw the truth in the stormy depths of her eyes. "Shit. You killed him."

"Yes," Sam said. "It came down to me and him and for whatever reason, I chose me this time. I chose to live and pump a bullet into that bastard's brain."

"I hope he's rotting in hell."

"I'm no angel."

"Neither of us are."

"Anyway, I don't know why I came here… I just needed someone to talk to, I guess."

"I am glad that someone is me," Rex said sincerely. "But Sam, you have to know something."


"You have to know you can't go back to that life. You can't go back to running cons on rich, powerful men. You might not survive it next time."

"I don't know how to be anything else but what I am now - a kept woman and a fraud."

"Well you're going to have to try. You need to disappear because ten bucks says the cops are already out looking for you."

"They're looking for Angela Monroe and she doesn't exist."

"Someone will figure it out, eventually. You need to go. You need to get far away. And you can't come back to Atlantic City ever again."

"I can try again; just maybe somewhere else."

"You're sitting here with broken wrists saying you can try again but you can't. You need to leave this life and now. I'll help you get out. I will."

"I know why you want me out of the game – so I can't infringe on your territory anymore."

"Are you making jokes at a time like this?"

"You usually do."

"I can't joke tonight. It's not funny – seeing you this way. It's horrible actually."

"I know," Sam said quietly. "But yeah, I'm out, okay?"

"Mean it?"

"Yeah. From now on, I'm out. I can't do it again. I don't want to."

"You could go back to school – get your GED…"

Sam smiled a little though it looked painful. "Yeah maybe."

"Sky's wide open."

"You don't actually believe that fortune cookie shit do you?"

"I have to," Rex said. "I have to believe when you walk out of here, you're going to do it up right."

"And you? You're staying in the life?"

"I don't know."

"We could run away together," Sam said with a smirk. "Or you can stay here and let Stacy what's-her-face continue shaking her big ta-tas in your face every chance she gets."

"I'm finishing a job."

Sam shook her head. "That's rich. You want me out but you stay playing."

"I want better for you, that's all."

"Maybe I don't deserve it, after all I've done."

"Stop the pity party, Sam. Just come with me."

"Wait - where are we going?"

"To find someone to patch you up and then we're going to plot your escape."

Sam smiled. "You sound like James Bond."

"James Bond's got nothing on me."

"Cocky bastard." Sam sighed. "I'm tired though. Can I just sleep for a bit?"

"Sam, your wrists…"

"Hey, they're still attached."

Rex rolled his eyes. "Fine you can sleep, but only for a few hours." He looked at her trying to launch herself out of the chair and he hurried to her. He lightly scooped her up and carried her to the bed, laying her on it. She groaned a bit. "Sorry."

"No worries," Sam said. She burrowed her head in the pillows and looked up at him. "Thanks, Rex."

He just nodded. Soon enough she had drifted off to sleep. He sat down beside her, watching her sleep for sometime before he became tired himself. He would allow himself ten minutes of sleep max.

He snuggled next to her, careful not to hurt or startle her. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he was out.

He dreamt. And in his dreams, he saw them having futures and families – having all the things they'd never really had before. And even in his sleep, a part of him hurt knowing that they would never have any of those things together.