Thanks to Justice, unawares, for showing me a little of what it means to be a profiler and a profound thank you to him and all the others who do this for a living so the rest of us don't have to think about it.
"I talk too much to you. If my brain would ever grant me release from reality,
I believe I would be the babbling sort of madman."
Shards of Honor, Lois McMaster Bujold
This was a mistake. I never should have done it. Or at the least, I shouldn't have lied to you or myself about why I did it. I told myself you were the best and we needed the best, but that wasn't why I went and found you again. It was for me. I needed to see you again; I needed to see that he hadn't destroyed your life when he killed Tom. It felt so good to see that he hadn't, felt so good to see you still had fire in you. Even if you did show it by throwing that hay at me. Serve you right, if I were allergic to the stuff. I was glad you did, though. I didn't want to see you broken. I couldn't keep imagining that, not when you were always so strong. I was selfish, there's no two ways about it. I needed you so I brought you back. You're paying for my mistakes now and I can only do so much to keep you safe. After that, all I can do is say I'm sorry.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for so many things. I'm sorry he's fixated on you. I'm sorry I brought you out into the open again. I'm sorry I made it so that you had to leave your home, leave the life you built up so carefully around yourself. I'm sorry that I gave you a gun, and achingly sorry that you asked me to teach you how to shoot it. I know you hate that. What's that line from Shakespeare? "It's like another fall of man... ?" That's what it felt like when you asked me to teach you. Most of all, though, I'm sorry that all I can do to keep you safe is put you in a prison of my own making.
I can see you getting ready to tell me off. I'm not the cause of everything and I can't fix everything; you've said it before. Would it surprise you to know that I don't think that I can fix anything? Seriously. I mean, if I could fix anything, would we be in this mess? If I were what I wished I was, Jack would be in jail and you would be the free one. Hell, if I were what I wished I was, you would be with... but no, that's just wistful thinking. What have I ever brought to your life but more pain and a lot of knowledge you probably never wanted? If I were a fair man, I would leave you alone. If I were I better man, I would at least be honest.
Did I tell you how proud it made me, to hear you say your name that night on the news? Sam Waters. John looked shocked but all I felt was proud. You're so much more than this terrible place you've been put in. Almost makes me think I did the right thing, pulling you out of hiding. And then I think about the walls we put around you, just to keep you safe and I realize that's a pretty big almost.
But this is what you were made to do. I don't mean by me. I'm not that egocentric. You have a gift, you have an amazing talent for this and I think I knew, deep inside me, that you couldn't let it go to waste. We're the same that way, you and I. We can't just put blinders on and ignore the horror of the world, not when we can do something to make it better. If I were a vain man, I'd think I taught you that, but we know that's not true. You were born with it; I've just been lucky enough to help you use it. Hell, I've just been lucky.
More scotch, I think. I know, I know, you don't have to say it, you think I drink too much. I've missed your nagging, you know. Bet you're surprised. I have, though. I know you wouldn't nag if you didn't care. We were always friends. I'm glad that lasted, I'm glad that hasn't changed. I was afraid you would hate me, for bringing you into this world. I might want more, idiot that I am, but I'd rather rip off my own arm than have less than what we have. Did I just say that aloud? Damn. Must have drank a little too much, didn't think that was still possible. Guess you're not interested in a drink? No, didn't think so. Oh, well.
I guess it's getting late. I'm sure tomorrow will be another exciting day. That's one thing about this job, huh? Never dull. There's always some new sicko in the world, just making sure we earn our keep. You ever dream about them? I do. Hence the scotch and the late hours. Keeps the nightmares at bay. Good thing there's no chance you would ever stay the night, what kind of sleep would you get around me? You know, sometimes I think I've been doing this too long. If you weren't so damn good at what you do, I'd tell you to run the hell away, before you turn out like me. But we need you. I need you. And we've already established that I'm a selfish man.
Well, good night, Sam. It's good to have you back. Better than I could possibly say. Cheers, huh? To a job well done. I'll see you tomorrow, bright and early. Too bright and too early for me after all this scotch, but it'll be worth it to see you in the sun. It's where you were meant to be. Yeah, I know, I'm just plain babbling now. I always did talk too much to you. Anyway, pleasant dreams. More pleasant than mine, at any rate.
The picture of Sam on Bailey's nightstand said nothing in return. She never did.