Title: Truth and Consequences

Author: Kate Anderson

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Fallout but takes place current season two.

Disclaimer: The characters belong to the brilliant Hank Steinberg and all the others who helped bring them to life.

*

It was the nightmares that alarmed Martin the most. Driving back to New York from a case that led them to smalltown Pennsylvania. Martin at the wheel, giving himself the occasional slap across the face to stay awake. Samantha had fallen asleep, her head resting on the seatbelt. The radio played softly, a voice crooning about love, loss and all the other fine things in life.

He hadn't known that she was prone to them. Not that he would, he didn't often find himself in her company while she was asleep. When she screamed, he nearly drove off the road.

When she cried out Jack's name, he pulled over with the four-way flashers on, praying that another car wouldn't hit them. Samantha's leg jerked. As though, Martin thought, she had been shot.

She woke herself up, her eyes wild with fear. Looking around blankly she said, "We stopped."

"You screamed." Martin countered.

Samantha ducked her head. "Sorry," she whispered.

"You dream about it?" Martin asked.

"Sometimes." she replied, her voice soft. Almost inaudible, Martin turned the already low radio volume down.

He had watched it from a window, eating a burrito (beef, beans and lettuce with salsa and sour cream) while Jack walked into the bookstore as though he were a commander leading his (invisible) army into battle. Confident, knowing that he was doing the right thing. At least in his mind.

"I'm sorry." Martin said, not really sure what he was sorry for. Sorry that I didn't save you. Sorry that you had to get shot. Sorry that Jack never came to see you.

"My therapist says that it's normal." Samantha said. "They should fade over time."

"That's good." Martin murmured, watching the world (cars) zip by in a blur. Red tail lights passing. "You sounded pretty scared."

"Can we drive?" Samantha asked after a beat, her voice louder than need be.

Martin waited for a break and pulled back onto the road. Silence as the radio was still turned down and Martin feared turning it back up. Didn't want Sam to think he did it because he didn't know what to say to her.

A discrete pinch to his thigh assured Martin that he was still awake. Samantha looked straight forward, a soldier at attention. He would bet that she wouldn't make the mistake of falling asleep on him again.

"We should have flown." Samantha declared, her voice startling Martin.

"It would have been a thirty minute flight." Martin replied. "If that."

That was the end of the conversation. Samantha turned the volume of the radio up and Martin thought he heard her humming along with the songs. He dropped her at her apartment and sat in the car, watching her until she disappeared through the doors.

~*~

Samantha took a moment to peer out between her curtains. As she suspected he would be, Martin and the car still sat outside, running. She was half tempted to toss something out the window just to see if she could hit the car with it.

Embarrassed couldn't even begin to describe Samantha's current state of mind. She'd been so careful and then tonight, she'd let it slip. And now Martin knew. Now he'd watch her like a hawk, just when things were starting to get back to normal.

"Go away, Martin..." Samantha whispered and willed Martin's foot to hit the gas pedal. She briefly considered placing a 911 calling and informing the police that she was a federal agent and that there was a man in a black car sitting outside her apartment.

Poor, well meaning Martin would be hauled off, frantically waving his badge about.

Samantha sighed and let the curtains drop. She turned on a few lights, hoping that would finally drive Martin away and went about the business of getting ready for bed.

As Samantha curled up alone in bed, she thought about how she should get a cat.

~*~

To say that Jack was displeased to find Martin sitting behind his desk when he arrived in the morning might be an understatement. Martin didn't seem interested in moving until Jack gruffly said, "Get out."

Martin sprang from the chair as though Jack had installed a hydraulic spring in the chair just for such purposes. Which really wasn't a bad idea, come to think of it.

"I wanted to talk to you about Sam." Martin stated.

Jack didn't want to talk about Sam. Least of all with Martin. "What about Sam?" he asked finally, remembering that he was the supervisor and technically, he should address all concerns an agent under him might have.

Martin leaned in closer as though they were still in the first grade and sharing a big secret that the teacher shouldn't know about. "She has nightmares...about being shot." Martin whispered.

"She was shot. I can't say I'm surprised." Jack replied. He thought he did a superb job of hiding his surprise. "She's been seeing the bureau therapist and performing well on the job. I can't ask her to do anything more."

"You didn't hear her, Jack." Martin said. "She screamed."

No, Jack thought, he didn't hear her because he didn't sleep with her anymore. Jack tried to control the look of hurt that flickered across his face as he realized that Martin must. Interesting really, he hadn't realized that their relationship had advanced so far.

"What do you want me to do about it?" Jack asked, feeling more irritated with each passing second.

"Nothing," Martin replied. "I just thought you should know."

~*~

Martin cast a glance in Samantha's direction and found her bent over her work. Diligent as ever. She'd go far, Martin decided. Danny ambled through the bullpen and draped himself over a chair. Samantha looked up at him and gave him a friendly smile.

Martin tried to focus on his computer screen and make sense of the numbers floating past. Samantha's scream still echoed in his mind and he glanced at her again - talking with Danny now. Friendly, Martin thought, he hadn't realized that Danny and Samantha were so friendly.

Vivian strode in, followed by Jack whose faced was graced with a scowl that seemed almost permanent. Martin made a mental note never to end up like Jack.

"Danny, Martin," Jack said. "You two find anything?"

Danny shook his head and Martin shrugged. "Nothing useful," he said. "Just a lot of numbers that aren't making sense."

Jack looked displeased and turned his scowl on Samantha. "Sam?"

"Zip." she replied. Jack's scowl softened rather than deepened upon Samantha's revelation. Interesting, Martin noted.

"We need to check out the house," Jack said, his gaze settling on Martin. Martin began to smile - getting out of this office would be great. "Sam, you're with me. Martin and Danny, keep running those numbers. Viv, talk to the boyfriend."

Martin's smile came to a screeching halt.

~*~

The steps groaned ominously as Sam's foot hit them. She frowned and pushed harder with her foot. "The wood's rotten," she surmised, prompting Jack to kneel down and take a closer look.

"Looks like it's been damaged by insects." Jack said. "Doesn't look like anyone's lived here for a long time."

Samantha ran a finger over the dust covered railing. "I'll check upstairs. You'd better stay down here. These stairs are..."

Jack smirked. "I get it. You're lighter. I'll take a look in the kitchen and bathroom...be careful."

Samantha nodded and gingerly stepped onto the next stair. Her hand gripped the rail as she felt the wood buckle slightly beneath her foot. Jack disappeared around the corner, his black coat trailing behind.

The steps were to be Samantha's ultimate downfall. Quite literally. She screamed loudly as the wood completely gave way and she was plunged into blackness.

Jack was investigating the dust coated microwave when he heard Samantha scream. For a moment, his heart stopped. His hand froze, fingers covered with the greasy dust.

"Sam!" he yelled and began to run.

The steps were splintered, a Samantha sized hole gaped. Jack pulled his flashlight from his jacket pocket and shone the beam into the blackness. "Hang on, Sam!" he yelled, shining his light over her pale face.

She didn't move. Jack fumbled for his phone, the voice in his brain chanting, "Get help, get help, get help."

All he could do now was wait. And replay her scream in his mind.

~*~

It was Martin who took the call from Jack, telling them that Samantha had an accident and that she was at Angel of Mercy hospital. Martin found himself angry as he drove across town - had he been there, it wouldn't have happened.

Jack let her get hurt. Again.

"She fell," Jack said when Martin arrived. Martin noticed that the older man looked visibly shaken. "She's in surgery now."

"Surgery?" Martin repeated. "Surgery for what?"

"Internal bleeding," Jack mumbled. "She fell through the steps."

"The steps?" Martin repeated, louder this time. "You sent her up steps that broke? Are you out of your mind?"

One look from Jack shut Martin up. He retreated, shaking his head in disbelief. "I'll let you know when we get some news." Jack called. Martin pretended not to hear him.

"Stupid," Martin whispered. He found himself planted in front of a vending machine, staring at the small bars of chocolate and the tiny bags of chips. A few coins jingled in his pocket when Martin shook it, and he pulled them out.

Chips or chocolate. Martin stuffed the coins into the slot and pushed the buttons. A bag of chips fell, landing at the bottom. Martin grabbed them and ripped them open.

"I shouldn't have let her go upstairs."

Martin stopped shovelling the chips into his mouth and turned around. Jack was leaning against the wall, arms crossed. "I knew the wood was rotten but she wanted to check upstairs. I didn't even try to stop her."

Martin wiped his hand on his pants. "Did the doctors talk to you?"

"Not yet," Jack replied, shaking his head. "She...Samantha, she screamed when she fell."

"And?"

"I just thought you should know that." Jack said with a brisk nod of his head.

~*~

There were flowers staring at her when Samantha opened her eyes. Lots and lots of flowers. What happened? Had she been shot again?

"Hey sweetheart," said an unfamiliar voice. "How you feelin'?"

Samantha tried to turn her head to find the source of the voice but a gentle but firm hand stopped her. "Try not to move around too much." A face floated in front of her line of vision - an older woman, with dark hair.

Samantha licked her lips and blinked a few times. "I fell through the stairs," she mumbled.

The nurse nodded. "The doctors fixed you right up. You should be up and finding those missing people again in no time."

The flowers were still staring at her. Samantha closed her eyes. "Where's Jack?" she asked quietly, knowing the answer even as she asked the question. At home, with his wife and daughters. Where he should be.

"Your boss, honey? The big guy with dark hair? He should be here soon, hasn't left your side for more than a few minutes since you were brought in."

"How..." Sam coughed slightly, her voice catching in her throat. "How long have I been here?"

"Just over a week," the nurse replied. "You were in a coma."

Samantha blinked rapidly, trying to understand what the nurse had said. "A week?"

The woman nodded. "Your friends have been very worried about you."

She, Samantha decided, must have needed the rest.

~*~

When Jack arrived and received the news that Samantha was awake, he decided against calling the others. At least for a few minutes. He peered around the corner, watching Samantha as she lay immobile on her back.

Her eyes were open - that was the only difference.

"Are you going to come in or are you going to stand out there all day?" He noticed that she tried to smile as she said the words. He returned the smile and stepped into the room.

"You had us all a bit worried," Jack said, taking a seat in the chair that he had become very accustomed to.

"And all these flowers were going to make me better?"

Jack grimaced. "It is a bit much but you have a lot of friends, Sam. We can send them other rooms or to a nursing home, if you'd like."

"Sure," Samantha replied.

Jack shifted uncomfortably. This was easier when she was unconscious. This was why he never came to see her after she was shot. "Sam, I'm sorry."

"Wasn't your fault that the house should have been condemned about ten years ago. Did you find her?"

Jack's nod was almost imperceptible. "A few days ago. She...her body was in the shed." A look of sorrow crossed his face, Sam saw it each time they found them when it was too late.

"I should call Martin," Jack said. "He's been beside himself for the past week. Someone should let him know that his girlfriend is awake."

"His what?" Samantha's eyes widened.

"I know what's going between you and Martin," Jack said with a sigh. "Just keep it professional at work."

Jack decided that he should be relieved when Samantha let out a strangled laugh. "There's nothing going on between Martin and I, Jack. We've had drinks a few times, nothing more."

"He said that you had nightmares," Jack said, trying to figure out when he had become prone to making random leaps of logic. "I just assumed that you were..."

"Sleeping together?" Sam shook her head. "I fell asleep in the car, on the way back from that case in Pennsylvania."

Jack knew that he shouldn't care. Jack knew that internally, his organs shouldn't be dancing with joy. "Oh," he said. "I should call him anyway."

~*~

Martin rushed into the hospital and rather than wait for the elevator, he ran up the steps, taking them two at a time. He burst into Samantha's room and found her asleep. Jack stood in the corner with a finger to his lips.

"She's asleep," Jack whispered.

"Is she okay?"

Jack nodded. "She'll be fine, she just needs time to heal."

Martin let out a whoosh of air and felt his body sag. "She's strong."

"She is." Jack agreed. "And I know that you think this is my fault."

"I never said that."

"You didn't need to." Jack replied. Martin eyed the older man warily. "You've been on my case about every decision I've made in the past week. What happened to Sam is nobody's fault."

Martin glanced at Samantha's sleeping face. She looked so peaceful. "I suppose that's what you told yourself after she was shot, too."

Jack's face hardened. "It was a volatile situation and I don't appreciate having my decisions questioned."

Martin nodded, making the wise decision to the press the issue any further. "She'll have nightmares about this." he said.

Jack took a step further back into the corner.

~*~

When Samantha had nightmares, Jack thought, he wanted to be there when she woke up.

FIN