DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Willing to stage a coup.

FEEDBACK: Welcomed and appreciated

A/N: One down…uh… I've actually lost track of how many stories I'm working on. But I am working on them, I promise!


Approximately eight years ago before…

Haley's arrival at her door wasn't a total surprise. He'd gotten into the habit of checking up on her in person every so often since she'd come home to Boston. The phone rang almost every evening, his warm, slightly sardonic voice quiet in her ear, his mundane observations and sly jokes making her smile even when it was often the last thing she felt she could manage. A warm Wednesday evening visit was a bit surprising though, but he was always welcome in her life. After all, it had been his intervention that had provided the key to proving her innocence. And his support had done a lot to help her maintain her fragile emotions.

She shook her head slowly and grinned at him. "Who called you?"

He laughed and slid past her, brushing the top of her head with his lips. "Is it that obvious?"

"Well, you were just here three days ago and you usually seem to think I can make it five days without seeing your face."

"My handsome face," he reminded her.

She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, that one. So, who called?"

"Lily," he copped to the question. "She was worried."

"And a little bit pissed off?"

He shrugged. "And a little bit pissed off. His leaving like that…."

Jordan turned away. "It's his life. He didn't owe… anyone here anything."

Haley studied the set of her shoulders. Woody Hoyt had backed Jordan a hundred percent in her declaration of her innocence and he'd celebrated with her morgue family when she came home. Haley still remembered Lily's rapturous comments about how finally Jordan and Woody could get on track, be happy and on and on. Haley hadn't listened too much. He'd seen the way the Boston detective looked at Jordan and it had wrenched his heart because in helping her, Haley had found himself caring for her more than he maybe should have. Then, after backing her so long and so fervently, Hoyt had simply backed away. He'd made excuses about giving her time to grieve, about needing space himself, about them deserving a fresh start. Four months later – today – he'd appeared at the Morgue and spoken to Garret Macy.

"I – uh – I kind of hoped you could – maybe, you know…."

"Tell her?"

"Tell everyone," Woody had insisted, his nerves jangling.

Garret had glared at him. "Why are you doing this, Woody?"

It had taken the man a moment to reply. He'd stuck his hands in his pockets. "There's nothing for me here anymore."

"Nothing? What the hell are you talking about?"

"Just what I said."

"What about-?"

"Dr. Macy. There's nothing here for me anymore. L.A. wants me. I'm ready for a change."

"So move to a new apartment building!"

"I can't. I can't – I can't stay in Boston. I can't be…." He bit his lip. "I hurt her too much. We – We – There's nothing left for – for us."

Another glare from Garret. "She loves you."

"Which is why I'm letting her go, Dr. Macy. I told you – I hurt her. Too much."

"What if she doesn't want you to let her go?"

He'd shrugged and walked out. Lily had found Garret furiously pacing in his office ten minutes later and she'd dragged the conversation out of him. Then she'd called Haley.

Haley'd booked a plane ticket. And now he was studying the back of a woman he'd grown to care for more and more as time had passed, a woman he'd felt a connection with the first time they'd met, a woman he'd watched struggle for her own stability despite Fate's every attempt to take it away. He didn't quite know if he loved her, but he wanted the chance to find out.

He saw, rather than heard, the first freshet of tears she couldn't hold in. Her back rounded slightly and her shoulders trembled. He had her in his arms before she could pretend it was her contacts. He pressed her closely, rubbing small circles into her back, comforting her as best he could. He didn't ask for words, and she didn't give him any. He simply let her rest against him until she calmed.

She lifted her tear streaked face to gaze up at him. His mouth quirked up into a brief, gentle smile as he stroked a thumb along her cheekbone, his fingers spreading to cup her face. She inclined her head into his touch and closed her eyes, a sigh escaping her lips. When she opened her eyes, she found him staring at her, a fire smoldering in the depths of his dark irises. She leaned up, her neck arching, as she touched her mouth to his. He pulled back for a moment, gave her a questioning look that vanished with the small nod of her head.

He lifted her into his arms and carried her to bed. He'd spent enough nights with her to navigate blindly, his tongue exploring her mouth in a leisurely fashion. Of course, he'd always spent them on the couch, slipping into her bed only when a nightmare brought her awake screaming or, more often, whimpering, and only staying long enough to see her safely back to sleep. There would be none of that tonight. Tonight there would be the touches and the kisses he'd dreamed of, the soft, fluttering cries of ecstasy and the gentle slur of mumbled conversations before sleep pulled them under. He would begin to learn the texture and taste of her skin, begin to know how her long, dark hair felt against his own flesh and begin to commit to memory all the scents that were uniquely hers. He thought of the lock he'd put on his heart all those years ago and he felt the tumblers begin to fall into place. In the back part of his mind, he'd been convinced he would never feel strongly about anyone ever again, that if he tried, the neglect and damp would prove to have rotted away his heart. He half-wondered if she could hear the creaking of that door opening just a little bit, but he also half-knew that she was still wandering along similar corridors in her own soul.

He put her down gently and slid next to her, his fingers working slowly at the buttons on her blouse, while hers tugged at his tie. They didn't speak, but let their touches and kisses communicate their mutual need. She gasped as his hands trailed down her flesh, stopping to cup her breasts, to stroke the stiff peaks there. He continued his exploration, eliciting a low moan from her as his fingers worked their way down her abdomen. Blindly, she reached up, unbuttoning his shirt, pushing it off him, letting her hands map the contours of his body.

With an aching slowness, they finished undressing each other. Her body took his breath away. The long legs, the taut muscles, the pale skin flushed with desire all overwhelmed his self control. "Jordan," he gasped.

She reached between them, wrapping her hand around him, guiding him to her. "Now, Drew. Please."

"Are you sure?" He murmured.

In reply she arched up and kissed him deeply, their bodies touching at more points. Struggling for rationale thought, he grunted, "Protection?"

She scrabbled for the drawer in her nightstand, yanked it open and after a moment's blind searching, handed him a foil package.

When at last he sunk into her, he groaned in pleasure at the feel of her. She cried out softly as he started moving in her, clinging to him, reveling in his heat and solidity, feeling alive for the first time in months. He moved slowly at first, but the way she wrapped her legs around him encouraged him to speed up his pace. His mouth never seemed to lose contact with her body – her mouth, the sweet spot behind her ear, her collarbone, even as his fingers stroked her. He watched her with something suspiciously like love in his deep eyes as her head arched back into the pillow, her climax rippling through her muscles. The sight of her, the soft ohgodohgodohgod whimpers from her mouth, the spasms of her body around his brought him with her shortly after.

He collapsed on top of her, his elbows keeping some of his weight off her, but she didn't seem to mind anyway. For long moments the only sound was the harsh panting as they struggled to get their breath back. After a few minutes, Haley kissed her forehead, leaving her so he could do some clean up. He came back to find her on her side, staring into space, the shine of moisture on her cheeks. He slid under the sheets with her and gathered her to him.

"I'm sorry," she whispered.

"For what?"

"Crying – like this – after… after."

He stroked her hair. "Don't be. I understand."

"How can you?" Her voice bespoke the fragility of her heart as its tones begged him to give her something to hold onto.

"My wife and my… my family, remember?"

And she did. "Oh. Sorry."

"Stop apologizing, Jordan."

"I just feel – I don't know…."

"Like you've betrayed something?"

Miserably, she nodded.

"Look at me." She complied, raising her tear stained countenance to his. "You didn't. You told me he loved you." Haley didn't need to say Pollack's name. In some ways, his presence was almost more palpable than Hoyt's at times.

Another nod.

"And if he really did, he would've wanted you to go on with your life, be happy. It's not an easy thing to do – I know. Hell, you know it, too. You'll do it though, Jordan." He kissed her gently. "This was too soon. I'm sorry. I should have-"

"No! I needed to feel – anything again." She wiped away a tear. "I just – I don't know…."

"You know what was the worst part for me? The last time my wife and I… I had no idea it was the last time. I felt like I should have known, like I should have remembered all the details, like it should have meant something more than it did, like maybe if I'd done those things, she wouldn't have – have - yeah."

She nodded in understanding, caressing his cheek softly. So many ghosts between them. So much pain to be reconciled into scars and memories. She started to reply but found herself ambushed by sobs that came from deep within that would not be denied. Haley held her tightly, rocked her, petted her gently, letting her finally grieve for the man whose love had been hers and whom she had realized she loved too late. And for the man whose love perhaps never really had been hers.

END Part One