Hello to anyone who is still reading! I am so very sorry it has taken me this long to get the epilogue up. My grandpa actually passed away so I haven't felt much like writing. Once again I appreciate everyone's reviews and kind words! Thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, followed, and/or favorited this story! I hope you have enjoyed it! Thank you again!

JustADreamer24- Thank you! I too have always loved the dynamic between Jack and Matty and I wanted to put something in there involving that. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Effie17- Thank you! I appreciate that!

Long Live BRUCAS- I agree haha! Thank you for reading!

WynonaRose- Thank you! I may write other stories as inspiration strikes haha!

THREE MONTHS LATER

Jack rounded the corner and stopped short, his blood turning to ice in his veins. It was Mac's first mission back in the field, a "simple reconnaissance mission," meaning of course it had gone to shit in the first fifteen minutes. Why Jack ever believed missions would be "simple" when they said they were was beyond him. However, that's exactly what had gotten them into this situation; trapped in an underground facility with hostile guards at every possible exit. They'd (very begrudgingly on Jack's part) agreed to split up when Mac said he had a plan to get them out.

That had been one hour ago, and Jack had been adamant they meet up again after twenty minutes. When Mac hadn't shown up he'd borderline panicked, but after a moment he managed to convince himself that the genius had gotten stuck inside his head and forgotten about their rendezvous.

Now as he stood stone still, staring at the scene before him, he knew this was not the case. Mac was on his knees with his hands raised in surrender. One of the guards, clad in Kevlar and a helmet, stood with one hand on Mac's shoulder, his gun trained unflinchingly on Mac's head. Jack swallowed hard and saw the slightest tremble in his hands, which held his own gun trained on the guard. Images swirled through his mind against his will. Another place…another gun on Mac's head…blood and brain dripping from golden locks. Jack clenched his jaw so hard he thought he heard teeth crack and leveled his gun again on the man. The guard had the gall to grin.

"This guy means a lot to you, hm? Drop the gun and he lives," the guard sneered, having noticed Jack's reaction. Jack didn't move. The man had his gun pressed to the back of Mac's head, meaning there was a slight possibility that even if Jack did manage the one in a million shot right between the man's eyes, his hand could spasm and pull the trigger. The man seemed to be getting irritated.

"Look man, this can go two ways, you drop it and we get outta here and you just might get goldilocks here back, or you shoot at me, I kill him and you and leave, your choice pal," the man growled. Jack felt like he'd just taken a tire iron to the jaw. His choice. His choice whether Mac lived or died…he couldn't do it…not again.

Jack was about to react when he caught Mac's eyes. His heart skipped a beat when he saw the determination and utmost trust there. Almost imperceptibly, Mac shook his head once, making it clear that Jack should absolutely not put down his gun. Jack nodded slightly to show his understanding and leveled his gun resolutely. The guard smirked.

"Suit yourself buddy," he growled. Then several things happened at once. A gunshot…Mac falling to the ground…another gunshot…the guard collapsing…Jack's frantic yell.

Jack rushed over to Mac faster than he thought possible, his hand trembling as he went to reach for a pulse. He let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding as Mac groaned and slapped his hand away. The young man sat up and shook his head, wincing as he put a hand to a small, bleeding cut on his ear. Looking at Jack with wide eyes, he slowly turned around to see the guard sprawled on the ground, a hole smack between his eyes.

"Thanks partner," Mac said, the slight breathiness of his voice the only giveaway that he'd been more than shaken by the ordeal. Clearly he'd been having unpleasant memories too. Jack squeezed his shoulder.

"Anytime bro…anytime…" he said fondly, the unspoken words traveling between them with complete understanding.

The men made quick work of the rest of the guards and went back to the Phoenix Foundation, where the rest of their family was waiting to welcome them home.

Aaaaand that's a wrap folks! Thank you so very much to everyone who read, reviewed, followed, and/or favorited this story. It has been so uplifting to read your reviews and see that people enjoyed it. You all mean so much to me!