They arrived at the hospital after what seemed like an eternity to Sands. Samantha was rushed off immediately to the operating room leaving Sands to wait in the waiting room. The doctor who had brought them there said goodbye and good luck and was on his way leaving Sands alone with his thoughts.

He sat down, his head in his hands and waited feeling overwhelmed by his own emotions. He had never cared about anyone ever, not ever, except family, of course and even that was no longer the case.

Why did he care about her? She had been so good to him, too good. She was too good, he thought. Not right, not balanced, but no, he didn't want her any other way. Why did she have to be so perfect? It made him angry to think about it. It made him terrified that she might not survive. He was beside himself with the mix of emotions he was feeling when the doctor walked up and cleared his throat jarring Sands out of his thoughts.

"You can see her now," he said simply.

"How is she?" he said to the doctor.

"She'll live. She's pretty beat up. We removed the bullet, stopped the bleeding and bound her ribs. She'll be out of commission for a while."

The doctor helped Sands find Samantha's room. Samantha saw him walk in and smiled weakly, happy to see him. He felt his way over to her bed and sat down in a chair that was beside it.

"Hello," Samantha said her voice cracked and strained.

Sands reached a hand up on the bed searching for her hand. She slipped her hand into his. He squeezed it tight and sighed deeply, not saying anything for a moment.

"I was afraid I'd lost you," he said finally.

"Still here," she whispered her lips dry and parched.

Sands stood up. Leaning over her, he searched her face with his hands touching it lightly with his fingers, tracing her eyes, nose and finally mouth before touching his lips to hers softly. More softly then she ever remembered him kissing her.

He lingered there for a long moment savoring her taste before pulling back a bit and whispering quietly, "I don't ever want to feel that way again."

"You mean you aren't as heartless as you claim?" she said, her intended laugh cut off by a sharp pain in her ribs.

"Apparently not," he replied in a deadly serious voice.

She wasn't sure why he looked so pained when he said it. "What's wrong?" she asked concern for him evident in her voice.

"Nothing's wrong….everything's right," he said without explanation.

"What do you mean?"

"You…you're right," he said.

"I don't understand."

"I love you," he said bluntly.

"You….you love me?" she asked incredulously.

"I'm not gonna say it again!" he replied anger rising in his voice.

"No, no…you don't have to…I…," tears started to fill her eyes. "I just never thought I'd hear you say that," she said choking on her words.

He leaned down and kissed her again, harder this time, his hand slipping behind her head drawing her as close to himself as he could.

After a moment he moved a few inches away again. "Don't you ever leave me," he said desperation apparent in his voice.

"I won't," she said. "I promise." Then she pulled him back down to her and kissed him again.