This is the same storyI posted a long time ago but I fixed the format. There is no way to do that without making it look like an update. Sorry.

TITLE: 'Til the Sky Turned Blue – Book IV of VI

AUTHOR: Jennifoofighter

RATING: PG

KEYWORDS: MS, JS, M/OC, D/OC, VM, and friendship all around.

SPOILERS/TIMELINE: Post 'End Game'

ARCHIVE: This is a work-in-progress so do not archive until it is complete. I am sure I'll be messing with certain parts as the story progresses.

DISCLAIMER: Hank and Co. own everything Without a Trace. No copyright infringement is intended...yada, yada, yada, I get nothing but the satisfaction of having them do what I want if only for a little while.

NOTE: Thank you Pru for the 'Book' idea. It makes it much easier to organize.

SPECIAL THANKS: Sammy and Broni, Thank you for the reviews, the constructive criticism, and most of all, the encouragement to actually post it. You guys rock.

AUTHORS NOTE: I am asking you to take a journey with me. For some it might be a bumpy ride but I promise that you will be very happy once we arrive at the final destination.

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"Hearts cannot be broken, they're small squishy things. They don't break like glass but they bruise easily. This one you bruised." - Judybats, 'Being Simple'

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The red and gold leaves of autumn dried and wilted before dropping down to their timely death on the cold, hard pavement making a crunchy sound when Martin's running shoes stepped on them. He loved running in this kind of weather; the cold air stinging and burning his lungs with each inhalation and his breath visible with every exhalation. Running allowed him to think clearly, to work things out in his head. Unfortunately, as was the case every time he ran, his thoughts wandered to Sam.

During the day as he followed leads and interrogated witnesses, Martin wanted to believe that what he did was the right thing to do; that ending things with Sam was ultimately the wisest decision since they both saw their futures very differently. That it was best to end it before they both became too invested in the renewed relationship. He told himself that he needed to be practical and find someone who wanted the same things in life that he did. He was thirty-six years old and he'd like to start a family and have his kids out of diapers long before he had to start wearing them himself. If he really wanted to be a father and a husband he needed to be with someone who wanted to be a mother and a wife and Sam made it pretty clear that was not what she wanted.

But late at night or in the early morning before the sun rose, he was haunted by his decision. He felt enormous waves of guilt, doubt and regret that he might have acted prematurely and ended things with a woman who made him feel more than any other person he ever knew. Maybe if he had given her more time she would have changed her mind. After all, the things he wanted ten years ago were not necessarily the same things he wanted today. To make matters worse, whenever he closed his eyes he kept seeing the hurt look in her eyes when he told her it was over – for the second time in less than five months.

The weeks following their break-up, Sam resumed her cold and distant demeanor around him only this time he knew that he truly deserved it. She put everything she had into trying to make it work and he basically threw it back in her face and said, 'It's still not good enough.' She only spoke to him when she absolutely had to and her answers where always curt and short. And while the words may have been 'yes,' 'no,' or 'here's the file' there was no mistaking the underlying tone of 'fuck you.'

Martin finished his run and returned home sweaty and spent. He tossed his keys on the table and headed to the bathroom, kicking off his running shoes and stripping off his hoody and t-shirt along the way. As he passed through the bedroom he saw his message light blinking so he walked over and pressed the 'Play' button, groaning aloud when he realized who it was that left the message.

"Good morning, idiot. It's mom. Reese is in labor and the doctor predicts that she should have the baby sometime today. It looks like the newest member of the family will be here by Thanksgiving after all. I just wanted to let you know what's going on and I'll be sure to keep you updated as things progress. Love you, bye." Katherine paused before quickly adding, "Oh, have you come to your senses and begged Samantha for forgiveness yet?"

Sam wasn't the only woman mad at him for breaking it off. His Mom was more than a little bit upset with him. He had hoped that when he told her the reason she would understand but apparently he underestimated just how fond she had become of Sam.

XXX

"What do you mean you and Samantha broke up?" Katherine demanded.

"Exactly what I said, we broke up. We wanted different things for the future," Martin replied into his cell phone as calmly as possible. "Aren't you the woman who has been pestering me for the last ten years to settle down and start a family? I thought you'd be on my side."

"Martin, you can't just tell a woman that she either has to birth your babies or hit the road. Honestly, how could I have raised such an idiot?" Katherine was fuming.

"She said she could never see herself getting married and having kids. What was I supposed to do? Wait around and see if she changes her mind?"

"If you really love her, then yes, you should," his mother replied definitively.

XXX

Martin hit the delete button, frowning at the machine. While he was excited to hear that his new niece was on her way, he was sick and tired of his mom's constant criticism. He needed to believe that ending things with Sam was for the best because he knew that there was no going back on it now.