A/N: This story is loosely based on the episode "Arson and Old Lace" from the 70s Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys TV show, and it picks up where the episode left off. For those of you who haven't seen the episode and don't mind being spoiled, there's a brief summary of the episode at the end. This story should make sense without reading the summary, but be forewarned -- the story itself contains spoilers as well! A couple of things to note about the story, because I've tweaked with canon (or manon) slightly: it's set in the current day and age, not in the 70s. Nancy and Frank are married, and Frank and Joe have been involved in the investigation of Nancy's kidnapping since the very beginning.

More author's notes and the episode summary at the end. Please review -- I'd love to hear any comments or constructive criticism that you may have!

Disclaimer: I don't own Nancy, Frank, or any of the other characters from the books or the TV show. I sure wish I did, though, so that I could be rich and not have to go back to work after a long weekend! As it is, though, I'm just a poor fanfiction writer…take pity on me and don't sue.

There was so much laundry that it was nearly frightening. Nancy had avoided tackling this particular chore in the four days that she had been home, instead choosing to focus on other tasks such as scrubbing the floors, dusting the furniture, and vacuuming the thick carpet. Anything to take her mind off of things. But the mountain of laundry piled on the washing machine had been so daunting, she had studiously ignored it, her tunnel vision only seeing the other housekeeping tasks that Frank had let slide while he had been otherwise occupied.

She couldn't really blame him for thinking that saving her life was more important than spotlessly clean floors.

But now the floors were mopped, the furniture was gleaming, and the carpet smelled like freshly scented glades. And Nancy had only two choices left: think about what she had gone through for the past six months, or attack the pile of laundry with a mindless intensity that would hopefully leave no room for thought.

There was no contest, really.

So Nancy headed into the laundry room, separated the whites from the colors, and put the first load in the washing machine. Then she separated the remaining clothes into piles roughly the size of what she thought her machine could handle. By her estimate, she had about five more loads to go, which had her seriously reconsidering her decision to tackle the laundry. She briefly wondered if she could talk Frank into new wardrobes for both of them. Or, at the very least, spending obscene amounts of money at the dry-cleaners. But she knew there was no way they could justify the expense. Not when they had a detective agency of their own that they were trying to get off the ground, or when she was on forced leave for a week from said agency, stuck at home with absolutely nothing to do. She had tried to convince Frank and Joe that she was fine and ready to return to work, but neither brother had budged. In fact, Frank had made it clear that if she made an appearance before her week was up, he would bodily remove her from the building and return her home again. So, here she was, under house arrest, facing terrifying mountains of dirty clothes. Nancy wrinkled her nose at the thought, then heaving a big sigh, headed for the kitchen.

Just because she was on house arrest didn't mean she had to starve.

After a simple lunch of a sandwich and a handful of baby carrots, Nancy was in a slightly better mood. She switched her first load from the washing machine to the dryer and got the next load going. Then she headed to the office that she and Frank shared to check her e-mail. Even though she had already been home for four days, she had avoided this particular task as studiously as she had avoided the laundry. But it was finally time for her to have clean clothes, and it was finally time for her to re-enter the world of the living.

Which was a particularly ironic statement, considering she had been held hostage by a man for six months to take the place of a dead woman.

Nancy ruthlessly cut off that thought, not willing to go over that mental cliff. She needed to get her life back in order, to focus on her future, not dwell on the past. She was safe, she was home, she was with Frank again, with her family and friends. That was all that mattered.

Nancy turned the computer on, pushing the power button a little harder than necessary. Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to calm down and focus on the task at hand. She sat in the big black leather chair, tilting back and crossing her legs under her to get more comfortable, her loose yoga pants allowing her the fluidity to move into the position. Then she sat up straight and took another deep breath. Everything was fine. Everything was okay. She was in her own home, in her own clothes, in her own life again. She opened up an Internet Explorer window and went to her e-mail account.

It was time to reconnect with the people in her life.

The buzzer on the dryer went off an hour later, startling Nancy. She had been immersed in her e-mails, deleting ones that were spam or too old to be relevant, and replying to ones from well-wishers and friends who had heard about her rescue and wanted to make sure she was okay. Logging out of her e-mail account for now, Nancy headed to the laundry room to gather up the clothes that had finished drying. She loaded them into a laundry basket and carried it up the stairs to the master bedroom.

The closet in their bedroom was absolutely massive, nearly the size of a small bedroom itself. It was one of the things that Nancy had loved about the house when they had first seen it with the realtor. There was plenty of room in there for her and Frank to each have their own side. Even though Nancy was no clotheshorse like her friend Bess Marvin, she had her fair share, and it was nice to have ample room for all of her garments, shoes, and accessories. There was even a built-in chest of drawers at the back of the closet, which Nancy set her laundry basket on. As she did so, she caught a flash of ivory out of the corner of her eye, and Nancy immediately and unexplainably tensed. It was one of her nightgowns hanging at the back of the closet -- an elegant one, long and graceful, with delicate thin straps and the low neckline lined with soft lace, made of a silky, shimmery satin.

And the sight of it made the taut tether Nancy had on her control just snap.

She ripped the gown from its hanger viciously, mindlessly, not noticing or caring that the thin, delicate straps tore away from the material in the process. Another garment caught her eye, this time a silk blouse, in the same creamy hue. It was ripped off its hanger just as brutally. Next came an ivory skirt, a cream camisole, a white silk slip. Nancy continued to pile the clothes in her arms, her breaths coming out in quick, short bursts. Her vision was blurred, but not with tears. It was blurred with the single-minded focus she had for anything and everything that reminded her of the clothes that man, that…monster, had forced her to wear for six long months.

Ivory dresses, trimmed in lace. Silky material, satin, capped sleeves, long flowing gowns. Clothes that had been from another time period, forced on her by a man that was trying to recapture the past by making her appear as his wife had so many years before. And Nancy had lived in that hell, trapped in Rathbone's illusion, wearing the clothes of his dead wife, watching movies of his dead wife, being called by the name of his dead wife. Until she had started to feel her identity slip away, had started to wonder where Nancy Drew ended and Greta Rathbone began. And every time she had looked in the mirror, she had seen her own face, but those horrid, horrid clothes had made that line blur even further.

Nancy stumbled out of the closet and into the bedroom. With a low cry of suppressed rage, she ripped the first nightgown right down the middle, ignoring the burn that the material left against her hands. The other garments fell to the floor, and she sank down in the midst of them. Methodically, she began ripping through each one of them, oblivious to the tears that now streamed freely down her cheeks. Buttons flew in all directions and loose threads fluttered to the carpet. One by one, every garment was destroyed, until there was nothing left for Nancy to tear apart anymore but her own grief. And so she curled into a tight ball in the midst of all of the ruined material and just let the tears come, her sobs echoing through the empty room.

Frank knew something was wrong when he came home to a silent house. For the past four days, every evening when he had come home, he had found Nancy in the kitchen, preparing dinner. He knew staying at home was driving her crazy; she had never been the type to just sit idle and do nothing. And even though he appreciated the fact that there was a hot meal waiting for him when he got home, he knew that she did it as much to stave off boredom as to do something nice for her husband. He checked the first floor of the house, going from room to room. With each empty room that he found, Frank felt his blood run colder and colder with fear. He knew it was irrational, but he couldn't stop it. After having her missing for six months, the thought of losing her again downright terrified him.

Barely resisting the urge to call out for her, Frank ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time. As soon as he entered their bedroom, he saw her. She was curled up on the floor of their bedroom, asleep, dried tears staining her cheeks. There was a sea of white and cream around her, and when he came closer, he saw that it was a myriad of her clothes. Silk, lace, and satin, all torn and ripped, threads hanging loose on the rent material. His gaze fell upon one of her hands, the skin of her palm red and irritated, as if it had been ripping tightly woven cloth apart with vigor. His heart ached at the sight, and he silently began collecting the ruined clothes, careful not to disturb her. He took them to the kitchen, burying them at the bottom of the trash can, where she wouldn't have to see them again. Then he returned to the bedroom and carefully lifted her off the floor, frowning at how light she was in his arms. He laid her gently on the unmade bed, pulling the covers over her and closing the blinds to shut out the last rays of the setting sun, creating an artificial darkness in the room.

Then he went out to the living room to be alone with his own dark thoughts.

Six months. That's how long they had been married before Nancy had gone missing, suddenly and inexplicably. Six months. That's how long he had searched for her, the hours and days and weeks blending together until he no longer knew what day it was, had begun to lose sight of who he was. All he could think about was finding Nancy, alive, despite the fact that everyone around him had begun to believe that she was dead. Even her own father. And during those six months, she had been suffering her own kind of hell. Kidnapped by a delusional man who believed her to be his deceased wife, she had been separated from her family, her friends, everyone who loved her. And unlike any other kidnapping, she had had no hope that there would be a ransom, that Rathbone would be willing to make any sort of trade for her. He had wanted to keep her, trapped in some sick, twisted fantasy of his. He had forced her to wear old ivory dresses, trimmed with lace, so that she would appear as his wife had, thirty years before Nancy had even been born. When Frank had finally found her, she had been attired in such a dress, her beautiful reddish blonde hair done up in a style that he could only assume was from the same period of time that the dress was from.

He had thought when he found her, his joy, his relief would be boundless. But there had been no time for that. They were trapped in a burning building, on the highest floor. And so, for both of them, survival instincts had kicked in. All they had focused on was getting out of that building alive. The only sign he had that Nancy was somehow…different, was when they had had to climb up the elevator shaft, and she got worn out about three quarters of the way up. Normally, Nancy would have been in great shape and would have been able to climb up the elevator cables successfully, if not with ease. But six months of captivity had taken a physical toll on her, and her need to have Frank bear her weight briefly during that climb had been a bleak indication of that.

And now, finding her as he had on the floor of their bedroom, was a stark awakening that those six months had taken a mental toll on her as well.

Nancy awoke shortly after nine o'clock, the empty feeling in her stomach telling her that she had slept through dinner. The bedroom was pitch black, the only light coming from the red illuminated numbers on the alarm clock, which confirmed the lateness of the hour. She sat up on the side of the bed, rubbing her hands over her eyes, her palms brushing against her cheeks. The stickiness she found there brought her afternoon rushing back to her in startling clarity.

She felt the physical remnants of her earlier emotional outburst, in the dried tears on her cheeks, and in the dull headache that was nagging behind her eyes. She turned on her bedside lamp and looked at the floor at the foot of the bed. The ruined clothes were no longer there, which confirmed her suspicion that Frank was already home. She didn't think that she had gotten up and gotten into bed herself. Sighing, she turned the light off again and headed towards the kitchen.

Frank was sitting at the breakfast table, poring over case notes, when she walked into the room. He looked up at the sound of her footsteps, and his concerned gaze swept over her too-thin frame, taking in her swollen, dull blue eyes, her pale skin, and her tangled reddish blonde hair that hung limply in a ponytail. But despite all of the worries and concerns running through his mind, all he said was one simple word.


She did as she was told, silently grateful for the fact that he didn't start asking questions immediately. Frank went to the oven and removed a plate, bringing it to the table and setting it in front of her. Arranged on it were grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and a side of green beans. Since none of the items had been in the fridge earlier that day, Nancy could only assume that Frank had cooked dinner. Which made her feel guilty, because she had intended to make a nice meal for him before he got home, until her afternoon had, literally, ended up in ruins. She looked up as Frank set a glass of milk in front of her, and before he could move away, she caught his hand in hers and pressed it against her cheek.

"Thank you," she said softly.

Frank bent and gently kissed the top of her head.

"You're welcome."

He sat back down at the table, going back to his case notes, glancing up occasionally at Nancy to make sure she was eating. Though she had absolutely no appetite, she forced herself to take bite after bite, for Frank's satisfaction if not her own. When she was done, he silently got up and cleared her plate and glass away. While he loaded them into the dishwasher and started it running, Nancy moved to the living room, sinking onto the loveseat and tucking her legs under her to warm her chilly feet. She considered turning the television on, but with a quick shudder, decided against it. She had watched entirely too much television during her captivity with Rathbone, often against her will, and she had no desire to continue that habit. Even now, she could see her father's face on the television screen, pleading for her safe return. And she could remember the helplessness that she had felt at seeing the anguish in his eyes, the deep lines that worry for her had carved into his face, and her inability to do anything to reassure him that she was still alive. Frank's voice returned her to the present.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

He had sat down next to her and was now looking at her intently. Nancy didn't know if he was referring to what was currently on her mind, or the scene that he had walked into in their bedroom earlier. But either way, as much as she wanted to talk to him, as much as she just wanted to lean her head on his shoulder and draw on his strength, she found herself shaking her head.

"Not really."

Nancy saw the hurt and disappointment flash briefly across Frank's face before his expression once again became one of concern. Guilt twisted her stomach into even tighter knots, but she just couldn't bring herself to talk to him about what she had gone through. Which made no sense to her, because she had never had a problem talking to Frank before. She shared everything with him -- back when they were just friends and fellow detectives, they talked about their cases, trading theories and ideas. Then they became husband and wife, and they shared something infinitely more. But despite their ever-evolving relationship, there had always been an ease between them that had made Nancy comfortable with talking to Frank about anything and everything.

Until now.

She didn't know why the words wouldn't come. Maybe it was because she didn't want to relive the experience by talking about it. Maybe because she thought that if she didn't acknowledge what she had gone through, then it would be easier to put it behind her. Maybe because she thought that it would upset Frank to learn of all of the sordid details of her experience. Maybe it was all of those things, or none of them at all. But whatever it was, Nancy knew one thing -- she was tired, and she wanted to go to bed and find oblivion in sleep.

She rose to her feet and tried to give Frank a reassuring smile, though she knew that it probably fell short.

"I'm just tired, Frank. I'm going to go to bed."

Frank looked like he wanted to say more, but in the end, he just nodded in resignation.

"I'll be up shortly," he told her.

At first, Frank thought it was the sound of the tree's branches slapping against their bedroom window that woke him. The wind was howling outside, its eerie fervor whistling through the trees and shaking the eaves of the house. He turned to his side, trying to get comfortable again so that he could fall back asleep. But then his ears became attuned to another sound, much softer than the ferocious wind outside, but also much nearer in its proximity. And he realized that this was the sound that had woken him up. Nancy was quietly sobbing, her back turned to him, her face pressed into her pillow to muffle the sound. Frank's mind, clouded with sleep just a moment ago, instantly became alert, and he placed a gentle hand on Nancy's shaking shoulder. He frowned as he felt the sheen of sweat on her skin, and noticed the large damp spot on the back of her light blue tank top that made it appear nearly black in the moonlight.

"Nancy?" he queried softly.

The shaking stopped, and her shoulder became taut underneath his hand. He could feel her draw in a deep breath before whispering, "Go back to sleep, Frank. I'm sorry I woke you."

Frank shook his head in refusal, even though she couldn't see him, and rose up on one elbow. Using the hand on her shoulder, he applied gentle pressure until she finally gave in and turned around to face him. The pale moonlight streaming through the window caught on the drying tears on her cheeks, and Frank could see that her eyes were red and swollen. She wouldn't meet his eyes, instead fixing her gaze somewhere below his chin.

"I'm fine, Frank. Really. Go back to sleep."

Frank didn't respond. He simply placed a finger under her chin and tilted it up until her eyes were forced to meet his. As soon as their gazes locked, tears flooded back into Nancy's eyes. Frank wrapped his arms around her tightly, turning them both so that he was lying on his back and she was resting against his chest. He held her as she sobbed, rubbing soothing circles on her back, not saying anything, just letting her get it all out. When he felt her begin to quiet and her breathing begin to even, he let his hand drift up from her back to weave through the soft strands of her hair, their silky lengths damp as her skin had been.

"Nightmare?" he asked quietly.

Nancy nodded against his chest, his bare skin warm and smooth beneath her cheek. After her emotional outburst earlier in the day, and now this, she was completely and utterly spent. She hated crying, hated the way it made her feel, how it made her head achy and her eyes heavy. Hated how it made her feel like she didn't have control over her own emotions. But the nightmare had been too real, too vivid. She had woken up crying, and hadn't been able to stop since.

Frank's hand stilled in her hair, and she could feel his chest rise and fall under her cheek as he took a deep breath.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

He had asked her the same question earlier that night, and she had refused him. She nearly did so again, but she remembered the hurt and disappointment that had been in his eyes. And she knew she needed to get it out, because not talking about it certainly wasn't working. The darkness of the room and their positions afforded her a certain anonymity, and drawing courage from that, she began to speak, her words slightly muffled into his chest.

"In Rathbone's penthouse, I had my own room, but no lock on the door. At first, I could never sleep at night. I spent all my time trying to figure a way out, crawling around in the dark while Rathbone slept. But there was no way out. And I knew I had to sleep at some point. It seemed that the safest time to do so would be when Rathbone was also asleep, so I finally gave in and went to sleep one night. Nothing happened. Nor the next night, or the next."

Nancy took a deep breath, and Frank's hand stroked down the length of her back in a soothing gesture. She tightened her grip around his waist.

"Then one night, something woke me up. I don't really know what, I just know it was the middle of the night. When I opened my eyes, Rathbone was there, in my room. Sitting on a chair beside my bed, staring right at me."

Frank's hand stilled on her back, and she heard him draw in a ragged breath. His voice was very, very quiet when he spoke.

"Nancy, did he…did he touch you?"

It was a fear that had gripped Frank ever since Nancy had been kidnapped. But he had forced himself to push it to the back of his mind, to focus only on finding her. As long as she was alive, nothing else mattered to him. When she had been found at the hands of Rathbone, fear for her had come rushing back in full force. He didn't know what she had suffered at the hands of that man. She had given her statement to the police while he had been giving his in a separate room, insisting that she was fine on her own. And since she had been home, he hadn't been able to bring himself to ask her about the gruesome details of Rathbone's actions while she had been his captive. But now, the fear and the uncertainty that he felt were too strong. He needed to know, for her sake and his.

He released the breath that he hadn't even been aware of holding when Nancy shook her head against his chest.

"No, he never did. I don't know if it was because of his age, or because deep down, he knew I wasn't really Greta, but he never…he never tried to…" She stumbled over the words, and Frank's hand resumed its soothing motion once more. He brushed his cheek against her soft hair, giving and taking comfort at the same time. "It's okay, Nancy," he murmured softly. "It's okay."

He continued to rub his hand along her slender back lightly as he felt his chest dampen with more of her tears. His heart ached, and he wanted to tell her to stop, that it was okay, that they didn't need to talk about it anymore. But they did need to talk about it, and he knew it as well as she did. Nancy's tears finally quieted again, and she drew in a deep, deep breath.

"He just sat there, Frank. Just stared at me. I got up, yelled at him to leave. He didn't move. So I left, went to the living room. I couldn't stand to be in the same room as him. And he just stayed in there, all night."

She took another deep breath, which ended in a shudder. "Two nights later, it happened again. Then again. And again. Finally, I gave up. There was no point in me leaving my own bedroom every time. So I just turned my back on him and tried to sleep. But I never really could."

"Nancy," Frank murmured into her hair, in sympathy and in comfort.

"That's what I dreamt about tonight. I dreamt that I opened my eyes and I was back in that room again, with Rathbone staring at me. And I tried to move, tried to turn away, tried to yell at him, but nothing happened. I couldn't do anything. I was trapped in my own body, paralyzed."

Now, finally, Nancy lifted her head to meet Frank's eyes.

"He never touched me, but I've never felt more violated," she whispered brokenly.

Frank's arms tightened around her, squeezing her to him in a bone-crushing hug. He closed his eyes, not wanting her to see the searing fury in them. He wanted to kill Rathbone, crush the very life out of him. He wanted to rip the man's eyes out, for ever looking at Nancy that way, for ever making her feel this way.

But he could do none of those things, so he just held her close to him until her sobs stopped and his own rage ebbed.

"It's over, Nancy," he finally whispered. "I promise you, Rathbone will never get near you again."

Nancy took a deep, steadying breath before bracing her forearms on Frank's chest and bringing herself eye-level to him. She brushed damp strands of hair away from her eyes so that she could see him clearly.

"I know that, Frank. Logically, intellectually, I know that it's over, that I'm safe. I'm trying to get back to my life, to make everything normal again. And then something happens, like remembering the clothes that Rathbone used to make me wear, or having that nightmare, and I know that everything's not normal, everything's not okay."

"Maybe we don't need to be normal right now," Frank said quietly. "Maybe instead of ignoring what happened, we need to deal with it."

"I don't know how, Frank," Nancy whispered, with a slight hint of despair in her voice.

Frank's gaze on hers was steady, a calm warmth in his brown eyes that seemed depthless in the muted moonlight. He raised himself to a sitting position, tugging gently on Nancy's arms so that she came up with him. He leaned back against the headboard and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her against his side. She burrowed against him, tucking her head securely under his chin. Her hand rested on the flat plane of his stomach, and she watched it rise and fall with his breathing, focusing on the repetitive movement as Frank remained silent, clearly considering his next words.

"I think, Nancy," -- and she could hear the hesitation in his voice -- "I think we should consider talking to a professional."

"A therapist?" Nancy straightened abruptly in shock, her head bumping against Frank's chin.


He rubbed his chin as he looked at her. "I take it you don't like the idea?" he asked her wryly.

"No, it's not that," Nancy replied hastily. "It's just…I mean…we've never really considered something like this before."

"Actually, that's not true," Frank told her. "When Iola was killed, Joe saw a therapist for a while after her death."

Nancy pulled away from Frank slightly to look up at him in surprise.

"He did?"

Frank nodded. "He didn't want to, but Mom and Dad insisted on it. And even though he never really talked to me about it, I think it helped him a lot. He still grieves for Iola, but he's learned how to handle that grief, and the guilt."

"I don't know, Frank," Nancy said, still doubtful. "I've just never thought about seeing a therapist. Even with everything that we go through in our daily lives, with our line of work, I've just always felt that I could handle it on my own."

Frank grasped her arms lightly, his expression solemn. "I know you can handle things on your own, Nan. You have a strong mind, and a strong heart -- stronger than most people I know. But with everything you've seen, everything you've been through, and now, with what happened with Rathbone…it's too much. I'm not saying you can't handle it on your own -- I know you can. I just think that a little help wouldn't hurt."

Frank rushed on before she could interrupt. "And I want to be the one to help you, Nancy, I really do. You know there's not anything I wouldn't do for you." He drew a deep breath, his grip on her tightening slightly. "But I'm too close to the situation. I want you to talk to me about what happened, but when you do, it makes me feel helpless, because I can't do anything to change things, and it makes me feel guilty, because I couldn't be there for you or spare you any of it. And it makes me angry, because I want to kill Rathbone for hurting you and taking you away from me." His voice shook, feelings churning inside him that he had tried to bury away until now. Gently, he lowered his brow to hers.

"I'm sorry, Nancy," he whispered brokenly. "I'm sorry I couldn't stop any of this from happening."

"Frank," she murmured softly, her heart aching from the guilt that she heard in his voice. She framed his face in her hands, pulling away slightly so that she could look directly into his eyes.

"Frank, none of this was your fault," she told him firmly. "It was nobody's fault but Rathbone's. But the fact is, I'm safe now. I'm home now, with you. And yes, maybe things aren't back to normal, and maybe I should stop trying to pretend that they are. But you can't blame yourself for any of this." Frank started to speak, but Nancy shook her head at him, and he quieted again. "No, Frank, listen. The last six months were terrible for me. Absolutely horrible. But that doesn't mean that I don't know that you suffered too. Joe told me what it was like for you, always searching, lead after lead turning up nothing. How you stopped eating, stopped sleeping, until he forced you to take care of yourself so that you could continue your search for me."

Frank's hands rose to cover Nancy's. "Nothing mattered to me but finding you," he told her quietly.

"Oh, Frank," Nancy murmured, stroking her thumb across his stubbled cheek. "It's over. I promise it's over." As she wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug, she realized that she wasn't the only one who needed to be comforted. So she just snuggled close, and they both leaned on each other, simply appreciating the other's presence.

"I'll go see a therapist, Frank," Nancy finally said, breaking the silence. "I want to put this behind us, so that we can move forward with our lives again. And I think you're right -- a little help couldn't hurt."

He pressed a soft kiss into her hair. "I'm glad, Nancy. And I'll be right here with you, every step of the way. Rathbone may have taken six months of our lives together away from us, but he's not going to take more."

Nancy nodded against his shoulder, closing her eyes and reveling in his warmth and the feel of his strong arms wrapped around her. She still wasn't used to the fact that he was really here with her, not just a figment of her desperate imagination. As the minutes flowed by, she was surprised to find sleep tugging at her. After the events of the day, and the turmoil of the night, she didn't think that she would be able to sleep at all.

"Frank," she murmured drowsily.

"Hmm?" he responded, his voice slow as if he were fighting off sleep himself.

"I think it's time to go back to sleep."

He chuckled softly, the sound a low grumble underneath her cheek. "I think you're right, Nan." He unwrapped his arms from around her so that they could both lie down again. Nancy turned to her side, facing the opposite wall, and Frank lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling.

After a moment of silence, Nancy's soft voice interrupted the quiet of their bedroom once again.


"Yeah, Nan?"

"I didn't say that I wanted you to stop holding me."

There was a hint of her old feistiness in her voice that made Frank grin. Turning to his side, he wrapped an arm snugly around her waist and pulled her against him, so that her back was flush against his chest. Frank tucked his face into the curve of her neck, inhaling the scent that was uniquely her, and that he had missed so much over the past six months.

"I love you, Nancy," he murmured.

Nancy placed her hand over the one that he had wrapped around her waist, and she intertwined her fingers with his.

"I love you too, Frank. Thanks for rescuing me."

Frank laughed softly, his breath tickling the base of her neck. Shivers danced down Nancy's spine.

"Any time, Drew," he whispered into her ear. "Any time."

A/N (continued): Here's a summary of the actual episode from the TV show:

On one of her cases, while investigating, Nancy is kidnapped and goes missing for six months. Her father has tried searching for her everywhere, pleading for her safe return on television, but no leads have ever turned up. The police have essentially given up on the case at this point. Then the Hardy men find out that she's been missing (how they've missed this fact for six months, I'm not quite sure), and Frank and Joe offer to help. Meanwhile, Nancy has been held captive by a man named Rathbone, who looks to be in his 70s, and believes that Nancy resembles his late wife Greta, who was a beautiful movie star. So he makes Nancy dress up in old outfits and old hairstyles to look like Greta, and makes her watch Greta's old films with him all day. There's no way for Nancy to escape, because they're in a penthouse suite, and Rathbone has sealed all of the exits. Eventually, Frank finds her, but the building is on fire, so they have to escape through the elevator shaft to the roof. Rathbone is captured, Nancy has a happy reunion with everyone, the end.

My thoughts on this? There was a lot more they could have done with this. Nancy was held captive for six months by a madman -- surely that took some sort of mental toll on her. And I doubt Rathbone's intentions were as innocent as just wanting someone to watch his wife's old movies with him. So, that's where this story came from. Hope it did the episode and the characters justice!