Epilogue

Going to the psychologist had gone better than Joan had thought. Susan was definitely not Dr. Dan, nor did she seem like any of the other shrinks she'd had to see after her bout with Lyme Disease. She was nice, really listened, and actually had helpful things to say. Talking about everything that had happened was difficult, but Joan felt better when she left than when she arrived. She'd actually wanted to talk to her again, much to Helen's relief, and began having weekly appointments. Soon, things began to slowly improve for everyone except Will, who was still consumed with guilt every time Joan had a nightmare or jumped at an unexpected loud noise.

Late one night, Joan couldn't sleep again. Susan had said the nightmares would continue for awhile, but Joan just wanted them to disappear. As she walked downstairs to get a drink, she noticed the tv on in the living room. "Dad?"

"Joan. What are you doing up?"

"Can't get back to sleep."

"Did you have another nightmare?"

"Yeah."

Will looked at his daughter sadly. "I'm sorry, kiddo, I'm so sorry you have had to go through all this. If I'd –"

"It's not your fault, Daddy. You couldn't have known this would happen. And you won't always be able to protect me from everything, no matter how much you want to. Stuff happens for a reason. If he hadn't taken me, he would have killed you. But everything will be ok somehow, and we're both here. That's the most important thing."

Will looked at Joan, amazed. When had his little girl gotten smarter than him? "I love you, honey."

"I love you too. What you watching?"

"The Godfather. Wanna watch with me?"

"Sure." Joan plopped down on the couch next to him as he put his arm around her shoulders.

Helen woke up a while later and noticed Will still hadn't come to bed. She sighed. He was probably still downstairs. She didn't think he'd really slept since before Joan was taken. She stopped by Joan's room to check on her, and was surprised to find it empty. She really hoped her daughter would be able to sleep again soon, too. Last year had been awful in so many ways, and it seemed to be continuing even though the calendar had changed. When would it finally seem like a new year? Heading downstairs, she heard the tv on and walked toward the living room. She stopped in the doorway and smiled at what she saw. Will's head had dropped back on the back of the couch, and soft snores were coming from Joan, who was curled into his side. Both were sound asleep. Helen smiled again as she covered them both with a blanket and thought that maybe her question had just been answered. It might be February, but finally it seemed like the year's end.

A/N: All done! Hope you all enjoyed it!