Three days later...
I was just getting in the shower when the phone rang. Well, I guess I won't be getting any company. I sighed, and got cleaned up. I wandered to the kitchen to see what Ella brought for breakfast. I kissed Ranger good morning before I asked. "Do you have to go?" We'd had plans to go away for the weekend, and I hoped work wouldn't intrude.
He shook his head. "I have news."
I turned from breakfast to look at him. "Good news or bad news?"
He almost smiled. "Good news for Sam."
"The DA's office decide they didn't need her?"
"No. Brennan's dead. They found his body this morning."
"I don't suppose he was kind enough to put us all out of our misery."
The barest of head shakes. "He was sodomized and beaten before having his testicles removed and fed to him."
I made a face. "Well, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy."
The almost smile was back. "The GPS in your car shows you at the state prison three days ago."
Damn, I'd forgotten the GPS. I nodded. "Saw Anton Ward."
"I figured if I was ever going to really put the slayer mess behind me, I needed some closure."
He held my gaze for long minutes. Questions were asked and answered in that look, though I knew we'd never speak of it. "And did you find what you were looking for?" He asked softly.
Still meeting his eyes, I answered. "Yes. I did."
He walked toward me, and we served ourselves breakfast. "The GPS had a malfunction, wiped out the memory. You'll have to drive one of the other vehicles until Al fixes it."
I put my arms around his waist. "Thanks."
The small smile was back. "We need to talk about something else."
I went back to my breakfast. "What's that?"
"You coming to work for Rangeman full-time."
I grinned up at him. "Didn't we already have this discussion?"
"It's time to talk about it again."
"Why is that?"
"Stephanie." I stopped and stared, both at his tone and at the use of my full name.
He walked over and put a hand under my chin, forcing me to look up at him. "You belong here."
I searched his eyes, and liked what I saw there. I nodded slowly. "Maybe I do."
It works if you want it to. Thanks Pat.
For all the 'Sams' that fought and died during the writing of this story. May justice be swift and sure.
Thanks to all who read, commented, and encouraged me to write. You kept me going.