Disclaimer- Anthony LaPaglia is locked up in my basement... not. Without a Trace is not mine either
Spoilers- Major for When Darkness Falls
A/N- My first attempt at WaT fanfic.
He shouldn't be here. Of all the places he could chose to come right now, this was the absolute worst. He should be at home, trying to sleep. At work, catching up on all that he had missed in the last two days. On the phone talking to his daughters. Hell, even sitting on a bar stool getting drunk would be a better option then standing in front of Sam Spade's door with his finger inches from the door bell. He pulled his hand back, clenching it into a fist.
It had been the same for the last ten minutes. Two steps forward, two back. What he knew was right warred with what he wanted. He could have stood there for another ten minutes, still unable to make up his mind. At that moment though the door swung open, and Sam stood framed by the doorway. She held her keys in one hand and a jacket in the other.
"Hey Sam." He tried to sound casual, but there was no way to hide the raw scratchiness of his throat. Too many hours not letting himself cry took its toll on his voice.
"What's happened?" It was something huge, she knew, if it was enough to bring him here. For more then two years he had stayed away from her apartment.
"It's nothing. I... I shouldn't have come." He turned to leave, but the gentle pressure of a hand on his arm stopped him.
"Come on in, Jack." She tugged on his sleeve, pulling him though the threshold and into the living room.
"I don't want to bother you. You were on your way out." He gestured to the keys in her hand, but she simply shrugged.
"I was just running down to the corner for some milk. It can wait." Sam walked into the kitchen and got out a bag of ground beans to start a pot of coffee. She needed the easy task and the minute alone to allow herself to adjust to the idea of Jack Malone being back in her personal space. When the pot was finished brewing she filled two mugs, adding a spoonful of sugar to each. Carrying them into the living room she found Jack still standing in the middle of the space, looking like he was about to flee.
"Here. Take this and sit." He did as she said without comment, and that worried her. The Jack she knew would either joke or argue, not quietly obey.
"What happened today, Jack?" When he didn't say anything, just pressed his lips together and stared at his mug she pressed again. "Does this have to do with why you've missed work for two days?"
Jack nodded, and set his coffee down on the table. Covering his face with both of his hands he muttered something that she couldn't make out. Moving closer to him she pulled his hands away. Caressing his cheek with her hand, she waited for him to repeat whatever he had said.
"My father died."
"Oh God, Jack." She didn't know what else to say, so she simply wrapped her arms around him, allowing him to bury his face in her shoulder. He tensed every muscle, fighting to keep his composure. Taking a deep breath he was overwhelmed by the smell of her. It was the first time in a long while he had allowed himself to be close enough to her to be wrapped in that scent, once so familiar. He was reminded of stolen rainy afternoons in bed, and the contrast between then and now finally broke him.
For long minutes the only sounds in the room were muffled sobs and whispered mutterings. Sam leaned in until her own face was buried in his hair, her hands running up and down his back in a soothing gesture. Slowly the tears stopped, and Jack pulled away from her. Reluctantly Sam released him.
"I'm sorry, Sam. I shouldn't have..." Sam pressed a finger to his lips, quieting whatever he was about to say.
"No matter what else has happened between us, we are still friends, Jack. I'm glad you came." She trailed her finger up from his lip and ran it across his cheek, wiping away the dampness. She smiled at the unsure expression on his face, the rumpled clothes and tousled hair. No one seeing him now would believe that he was in charge of an elite FBI unit. It was this Jack Malone, she sometimes thought, that she had fallen in love with. Not the take charge man, but the little boy inside. The boy who was now an orphan.
"He was ready for this." When Jack started talking again it was more to himself then her. "He wanted to die, to be at rest. I wasn't ready to let him go, though. I was just now getting to know him. I wanted that chance, and now it's gone."
Sam didn't know what to say, so she covered his hand with her own and just listened.
"I've messed it all up, Sam."
"You haven't. You were with him, there for him, up until the end. That's what matters." She looked at him, and could tell that he was unconvinced. "Your a good guy, Jack."
"That you can say that, after all I've put you through in the past years..." he shook his head.
He reached for the abandoned coffee cup, not noticing that it had long since gone cold.
"Let me heat that up." Sam reached for the mug, but Jack shook his head.
"Doesn't matter. I just need the caffeine so I can stay awake long enough to get home."
"You're too exhausted to be driving, and that's not going to change with a cup of coffee. Why don't you stay here?"
He tried to protest, but she insisted.
"You getting in a car accident on the way home isn't going to make anything better. I'll go get blankets."
She returned with a pillow and an armful of blankets. Without a word she set them on the table and bent down to untie his shoes.
"Lay down, Jack. I know it's a cliché, but a good nights sleep really will make things look better." She handed him the pillow and covered him with the blankets. His eyes were already closed, and she was sure it would only take him moments to fall asleep.
"You're welcome." Pulling the blanket up, she tucked it more securely around his shoulders. Unable to resist the urge she ran her fingers though his hair before dropping a kiss on his forehead. Thinking that he was already asleep, it surprised her when he muttered her name.
"I've missed you."
She didn't answer, but couldn't deny to herself that she felt the same way. Just having him in her apartment made it feel more like home. Unfortunately, it would only make it that much harder when he left.
"Goodnight," she whispered as she turned off the light.