Disclaimer: I do not own Moonlight.

So many thanks go to Ceci for her hard work as beta on this story. Ceci, you've helped more than I can say.

A special thanks goes to my friend Jami who has been my sounding board through this story and an inspiration, and so much more.

Many, many thanks goes to all of you readers, reviewers, and those that have put me on alerts, or 'favorited' me. Thank you all for sticking with me, and the story, all this time, even when I didn't post for months at a time. It's been a great ride, and I don't plan for it to end here. I hope to see as many of you as possible for the stories to come, some of which I am already working on. See you soon!


Three days later Mick knocked on the door of Josef's home office before walking in. With many feedings and a lot of rest, Josef had almost fully recovered, and felt only a residual weakness that would soon fade.

Mick showed no physical evidence of his small injuries from that fiery night, having recovered quickly.

Beth, of course, had been treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, mild burns, and various other grievances, including cracked ribs from the fallen rubble. She had been taking it easy at home the entire three days with Mick as a frequent visitor. She'd been told to watch for signs of pneumonia, but so far seemed to be mending well.

"Josef? What's the emergency?" Mick asked upon walking in and seating himself. Josef had sounded urgent over the phone when he'd called Mick to come see him.

"No emergency," Josef said. "Just thought I'd show you something. It was left on my desk this evening while I was out."

Mick watched curiously as Josef reached into a top drawer and pulled out a familiar cream-colored envelope the size of an index card. Mick knew immediately who it was from, but....wasn't that impossible?

"I thought he was dead," Mick said as he reached for the paper Josef held out.

"Apparently not," Josef said.

Mick examined the envelope then reached in and removed the thick card.

It was a simple message in elegant flow.

The Council thanks you for your

assistance in the discovery and

execution of the traitors. For the

time being, you and yours are free

of our scrutiny.

Until such time as we meet again.

It was signed with Malcolm Bershire's unique signature.

"But how?" Mick asked. "Beth said he ran back in. No one could survive that, Josef." Mick wasn't sure how he felt about the idea that Malcolm had made it out alive. He'd turned out to have Mick's best interest in mind, had even saved Mick and Josef's lives, and Beth's. But there was still something about Malcolm that Mick distrusted with a vengeance.

Josef had explained to Mick that the 'lesson' Malcolm had bestowed upon Mick had been seen as a necessity and had nothing to do with what had been going on with the traitors wanting to eliminate Mick. But that didn't make Mick like Malcolm any better. Except that he'd saved Beth. That was worth more than he could repay.

Josef just shrugged. "He's very old. Powerful. He survived somehow."

"And the others?" Mick asked.

"I have no reason to believe they are dead," Josef replied and leaned back in his chair.

"It's unbelievable," Mick muttered.

"Yet there is the proof."

"Yeah," Mick agreed. He slid the card stock back into its envelope and handed it back to Josef, who put it back in the drawer. "It's been a crazy few months, hasn't it?"

"That it has, my friend. But it's settling down." Josef gave a sharp glance to Mick. "Isn't it?"

Mick smiled. "Yeah, Josef. It is. The two of us? We're gonna be okay."

"Yeah," Josef smiled back and relaxed. "I guess we are."

Mick left moments later. When Mick was gone, Josef reopened the same top drawer as before and pulled out another envelope, very similar to Malcolm's.

Josef pulled the thick card from the envelope and smiled as he read the short message once more.

As I said, things are not always

as they seem.

Always trust your instincts.

Until we may meet again,

Rake

It seemed that perhaps Josef did, indeed, have a new friend.