Edited: 19/9/08

What Matters Most

Author's Note: Once again I'd just like to say thank you to all of you that have read, reviewed, alerted, and fav'd this story. Also once again this hasn't been beta'd. Anyway I hope you enjoy the last instalment of Mike's journey after Last Rites...

Part Three: Game Time

Boston, Massachusetts

He sat on her couch, his son in his arms. Jamie's eyes had now closed, and his chest was rising slowly, little breaths escaping from his lips. Mike sat there, eyes watching his son, heart swelling. This was his son...his son. And he loved him.

He now knew why people became parents. Even the crap ones, must feel this moment when the world stops, and the only thing that matters is the tiny baby in your arms. He now understood that. And he knew; that he definitely – no doubt – that he wanted to see Jamie grow up. He wanted to be there at the Little League games, wanted to be there at Parent-Teacher Interviews, Birthdays, and everything in between.

And as he looked at Caro through the corner of his eye, he knew she'd let him. But how that would work if he was in New York and she was in Boston...true it was only four hours but still.

The other thing was Caro. He knew they needed to work this out. He had to work this out. He didn't want Jamie to grow up in a broken household like he had. And he also wanted Caro. Seeing her again, it seemed to have awakened something in him. That same thing that he'd felt when he first laid eyes on her in Deakins office three years ago.

But it wasn't simple like that. Despite his feelings he knew he had to think about the future. He had to know if she'd leave again. At times she'd seemed so loyal, they'd been one. But now...every time he thought he saw her let it go she seemed to shut him out. Like she didn't trust him...

He couldn't see why she wouldn't though. True he hadn't arrived on site when she was pregnant but he'd explained to her how he hadn't known. So what was it? She'd left him after all. Maybe it was the distance between them. She loved him right...she'd even said it.

Was it because he hadn't said 'I love you' back? He had said 'me too' – that meant the same thing. Fuck, this was confusing. He stared back at Jamie, as if willing for his son to say something. Though as he watched, he supposed Jamie was probably dreaming about puppies...and ummmm...what do one year olds even dream about?

At least he knew that babies should at least sleep in a crib. He looked up at Caro, who was watching him like an eagle, protective as ever. He said, "Where's Jamie's crib?"

She nodded, and rose. In a few light steps, she lifted Jamie from him, and said, "C'mon,"

He got up and followed Caro just off the living room into a small room. The room was fairly plain – like the rest of the house. It had creamed covered walls, with a window with drawn blinds, and a large plastic space rocket placed on the wall. There was a crib in the crib in the right corner, an old wooden trunk next to it, a night stand, and a diaper changing table in the corner.

He watched carefully, as Caro gently placed Jamie in the crib, whispering something comforting in Polish to him. He frowned, wondering what she was saying, but as he heard the word 'Daddy', he guessed what she meant.

She stood there for a while, watching him, and then smiling, she left the room, quietly. Mike followed, shutting the door. Caro slowly moved to the couch were she slumped down, her brown eyes on him.

"He's perfect," said Mike, breaking the silence. He moved over to the couch and sat beside her, "Why'd you call him Jamie?"

A faint smiled played on her lips, "I thought the man who brought us together deserved a mention...but James didn't stick, and neither did Jimmy or Jim..." she shrugged "And then I dunno, I was in the hospital and I looked at him, and Jamie seemed the obvious choice..."

"It's a good name...Jamie Lo –" he froze and glanced at her.

"Don't worry his last name is Logan," grinned Carolyn, "Well Barek-Logan, but still,"

"Thanks,"

"My cousin didn't like it," she commented dryly.

Rosie, thought Mike immediately. Caro had mentioned her cousin in the letters – not in depth, but said she'd stuck with her for about five months. Mike was relieved for that. He knew if he'd had to look after a baby with no help...well he'd be bald.

"You've done amazing," he said.

"Ms. Hands, she looks after Jamie when I'm at work, has been great...like a grandmother really,"

"Do your parents know?"

Her face darkened, "No...I just can't..." she drew in a deep breath, "My Dad didn't really want me to be a cop – he never said it but I knew. And my Mom, well she wanted a safer job for me...and well they are traditionalists – married out of high school, moved over here, and lived a..." she paused "no sex before marriage," her voice seemed to break, "well you get the point,"

He reached over instantly, his hand taking hers. He knew Carolyn came from a completely different background to him, so Jamie's birth had probably opened a can of worms on her life that she hadn't of wanted. Hell, he couldn't help but wonder how his parents would have reacted to Jamie.

His Mom...well he wouldn't let Jamie within twenty miles of her. He could guess her responses – neither of them pleasant though he supposed the drunken one might be better than the sober one. But his Dad...his Dad would be proud he knew that much. His Dad would be happy for him.

"They'd love him though," said Carolyn, "Mom always said how she wanted me to settle down and start a family like my cousin Hanna...though I've kind of..." her voice trailed off.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, before Carolyn finally spoke, "So how is this going to work?"

"I could move to Boston or –"

"Boston?" said Carolyn in surprise, "But your job –"

"I'm over it," shrugged Mike, "And I really want to be here, with Jamie," he paused and said under his breath, "with you,"

"I can't see you walking away from it," she said simply.

"Because you don't want to? Or because –"

"You're a cop Mike," she cut him off, "You are a cop – you should be a captain...I can't see you walking away from it. I think you just want something more..."

"And what about you...?"

He let the question hang for a moment. But her words had made him think. He was tired off his job, but at the same time it was him. He was a detective, but now that wasn't enough. Jeez, once upon a time he was happy with just his life as it was.

Besides he had to look at it realistically. He was probably already fired...he could imagine the Chief of D's blowing a fuse when he realised that he couldn't punish him, since he was in Boston. And at the moment all that mattered was rebuilding his relationship with Carolyn, and becoming a father.

"I want something more," whispered Carolyn suddenly, brown eyes meeting his hazel ones. He leaned forward slightly; pulling her towards him, but then froze.

No this was how'd they'd gotten into this – living by passion. He needed a clear head; they needed to work this out. He relinquished her hand, and as quickly as he'd felt it, it seemed to vanish.

"So..."

"So..." said Carolyn, nodding her head slightly, "You'd seriously consider moving to Boston? Cause I could get a transfer or something,"

"I've got nothing to lose," shrugged Mike – except her and his son. And he wouldn't lose them. He'd lost them once and not even Satan himself would take them from him. He was going to be here, he was going to fix this.

"Don't say that," said Carolyn shortly, "I thought that moving here..." she sighed "I'd better start to make dinner before Jamie wakes,"

"It's five..." said Mike slowly, glancing at a watch.

"And he'll be up soon," she replied. She got up, and headed over to the kitchen. He followed her, and watched as she rummaged through her fridge. He grinned slightly as he heard her muttering to herself as she did.

"What are you planning?" he said, deciding he might as well help out.

"Pasta – it's in the pantry..." she said shortly, before muttering again. Mike raised an eyebrow, and shrugged. He investigated her kitchen and found a large saucepan. He filled it with water, and started to turn on the stove. Once a merry flame was burning away he placed the saucepan on.

They continued to cook, Mike taking control of the pasta, whilst Carolyn made a tomato sauce. She refused to let him near it, so he amused himself, creeping around her, and tasting it. She slapped him, and it was like in the heat and the smell from their cooking seemed to wipe the board clean between them. They laughed, talked, and joked.

It was good...it was warm, and Mike's heart was swelling as he watched Carolyn nearly fall over in laughter. He actually held her up, her warm body hot against his, her scent mulling his senses. As she slumped against him, he felt her smile into his chest.

Soon, though the pasta was done, as was the sauce. Carolyn, retaking control of the situation, promptly served it up, and they sat down at her small table, the conversation still flowing – just like it had two years ago. Though, as Mike twisted his fork in his spaghetti he couldn't help but realise all the differences between this dinner and their last.

They were different people now, well not really but he was calmer, and she was more...protective. As he watched her talk, he knew her priorities had dramatically changed – which made sense since she now had Jamie, but still. Instead of being obsessed about work, she now liked to distance herself from 'that world'. She didn't want her feelings about work to affect Jamie.

"I kind of want to go back...to New York...it's lonely here," said Carolyn suddenly, "And well...my parents..."

Her parents again...there was something she wasn't saying.

"What do your parents think you're doing here?" asked Mike with a raised eyebrow.

"They think I'm undercover,"

He stared at her.

"What..."

He shook his head, and said in shock, "Lying to your parents – isn't that more up Rosie's alley?"

"I learned from the best," smiled Carolyn, eyes twinkling.

He raised an eyebrow, and grinned, "Really? My sweet, innocent Carolyn?"

"Wouldn't know what you were talking about..." she said calmly, raising her eyebrows. It was almost like a challenge, the way she sat there, as if she was daring for him to respond in some outrageous way, like she was the matador with the red cape. She looked so perfect...

And at that moment a small cry erupted from Jamie's room. In an instant she was up, and into the room. He heard soft cooing, and when he heard a small cry of 'Da', he went into Jamie's room. As soon as he entered, he stepped back, cringing. That smell...Christ what was this kid eating?

"Don't be a wuss," said Carolyn, as she began to change Jamie. She looked at him, "C'mon you're missing your education,"

"What has he been eating?" asked Mike warily, walking over to them. Carolyn ignored him, and continued to change Jamie, taking Mike through the process step by step. Once she was done, she passed Jamie to him.

"Da!" said Jamie, snuggling into him.

"Hey kiddo," said Mike gently. Looking over at Carolyn he asked, "Started to walk? You didn't mention in your letters,"

She smiled, and nodded, "He's getting there, he's determined, bit slow but still,"

"Like his mom," said Mike, leaving the room, and then to Jamie, "Wanna show Da how to walk?"‑­

"Ya! Jammy walk!"

He watched and coached Jamie, as the little boy slowly found his feet. Carolyn joined him, and slowly Jamie was progressing well. There was a big grin on his face, and he laughed as Mike crawled after him. Carolyn chuckled and shook her head, in disbelief.

Eventually they retired to the coach, and Carolyn went and organised Jamie's dinner. Mike stayed over for most of the night, only leaving until after Jamie was fast asleep. Carolyn then called a cab for him, apologising for not being able to drive him back, but since she had to stay with Jamie, she couldn't leave.

"It's no problem – I understand," said Mike, shortly, "I'll see you tomorrow...?"

"Yeah sure..." she frowned, thinking deeply, "I'll call my..." she smiled "Yeah course – breakfast? I'll pick you up?"

"Sounds great,"

He then caught the cab back to his hotel, mind on Jamie all safe in his crib. He went up to his room, and slumped onto his double, staring blankly at the ceiling. He stayed like that for about an hour, his mind semi-blank, though when he closed his eyes a vision on Carolyn aeroplaneing some mush into Jamie's mouth envisioned before him.

He rose, and showered, pausing at the mini-bar but thinking against it. He grabbed his mobile, and ran through his speed dial. He reached Megan's number, intent on calling and telling her that he was still alive, and that he was sorry for not catching up with her, but as he stared at the number, he scrolled up and dialled a number he hadn't called since Lennie Briscoe had died.

He sat down on his bed, and waited for a response.

"Cragen speaking," came his old captain's voice.

Mike froze for a moment – unsure on what to say.

"Hello?"

"Uhhh, hi Don," said Mike quickly, "It's ummm...Mike..."

"Mike?" repeated Don.

"Yeah...hi, sorry for not calling..."

"It's okay," said Don, "But hell it's been a while..." a pause "You okay Mikey? I heard about the DA..."

"Vacation time," said Mike shortly.

"Where...?" asked Don slowly.

"Boston,"

"Boston?"

"Boston,"

"Mikey I can't read your mind," said Don, "So – wait a second," he heard Don rattle something off to what sounded like Benson, and then a soft response, followed by yelling. He grinned as he heard Don tell them to shut up, and he grinned. Good old Don, he thought. He waited a few minutes for Don to finish. Though as he waited, a strange coldness seem to creep into his gut.

"Sorry about that," sighed Don, "We have this case and Fin's at Elliot's throat...so you were saying?"

"Doesn't matter," said Mike, "Sorry I –"

"Mike don't shut me out," said Don sternly, "Obviously something is bothering you. Tell me,"

He took in a deep breath, "Well...remember when I first joined Major Case and I got partnered with Carolyn Barek?"

"The ex-Fed that just vanished?"

More like current Fed, he thought bitterly. He continued, "Yeah, well before she left...we well...ummmm" he swallowed "And well..."

"You're a father..." came Don's shocked voice, "Christ Mikey..."

"He great – Jamie Barek-Logan," said Mike, "he's perfect...it's just..."

"How'd you...find out?" he asked calmly.

"She wrote letters, and I finally read them...so I just..."

"Went to Boston?"

"Yeah," said Mike, "It's just, she'll let me see him and all, but I want her, but she just left...and I..."

"You're confused?" supplied Don.

"Yeah,"

"I don't know what to say," said Don, "But I suppose congrats..." there was a long pause "You've really got me Mikey...how do you feel, I suppose?"

"Confused?"

"You're confused about what you feel but your feelings aren't confused themselves,"

"You've been hanging out with that shrink Fed way too much," muttered Mike.

"Maybe," chuckled Don, "But still, answer the question,"

He swallowed and traced lines on the doona and said slowly, "I love her, I seriously do – she's my other half. But the way she left...I don't want to start anything...but I want to be with Jamie as well, and let's face it – Jamie and her are pretty much a package deal...so I dunno,"

"You reckon she'd leave again?"

"I don't think so...but..."

"There's a 'but',"

"Exactly,"

"Does she love you then?"

"Yes," he swallowed, "She told me today,"

"And you said...?"

"Me too?" he replied meekly,

He could imagine the eye roll, and he felt like smashing his head against something when Don responded, "Bad move Mikey,"

"Well what was I supposed to say?" he asked.

"She's probably just as confused as you are," said Don, "One of you has just gotta open up,"

"Perfect." grunted Mike as he rolled his eyes.

"I don't know what else to say Mike, honest,"

"I know...fuck this is messed up,"

He stayed on the phone for about another fifteen minutes before Don had to go and organise his detectives. He sighed, and ended up calling Megan. She had calmed down considerably since last night – though was pissed at him for leaving so abruptly. She had a small verbal diarrhoea session about Colin, but his ears really picked up when she commented that some IAB dick had come by.

"So what did you do?"

"Told him to go screw himself," she said.

He frowned, "Really?"

"Yeah...prick,"

"What did he want?" asked Mike, eye's narrowing.

"Oh yeah – sorry. Well the Chief of D's is screaming for your badge according to Goren – Eames called," she said, "But the Mayor and Commish are in half mind about it since all these cops have started this little underground support group for you...Ross has apparently been on the phone all day with upstairs...that's it really, so the IAB is either working for the Chief or the Commish,"

"And you told him to go screw himself,"

"I plead being distressed," said Megan, "Oh and by the way – where are you?"

"Boston,"

"Why?"

He was about to respond but the words got caught in his throat. He knew he'd eventually have to tell her – and he knew she'd probably be annoyed that he hadn't told her up front, but hell he'd only found out yesterday – he didn't want the whole world to know yet. Don was the exception.

So he shrugged and replied, "No reason, just started driving and I ended up here,"

"I thought you'd drive to Cali or Vegas,"

"You would," chuckled Mike, "Listen I gotta go – fairly tired, but keep your nose clean okay kid?"

"Sure Dad," said Megan dryly, "Thanks for calling though,"

"See ya Megan," said Mike. He hung up, and sighed. Placing his phone down, he surrendered into the feathery softness of his bed, and slept. No dreams burdened him, he just slept.

The next four days passed smoothly. Carolyn managed to get a few more days off, and they spent those precocious hours together, as a family. Mike couldn't help but notice how other people seemed to look at him differently. They looked at him in warmth, as he guided Jamie's stroller through Boston...it was different.

He and Carolyn made no head way though in admitting their real feelings. His words seemed to get stuck in his throat, whilst she was clammed up. It was awkward between them when Jamie ran out of juice, and fell asleep. At least they both agreed on going to the courts and getting all the right legal documents sorted.

It was a start – a small one, but it filled Mike with hope. Besides, it had taken them both a while to get used to each other when they'd first been partnered so it really like that again. Except; they weren't looking for a good work relationship this time; but something more, something which would keep them together.

On the fifth day Carolyn had to go back to work, so Mike found himself staying over at her apartment with Jamie. He didn't like being at her apartment in all honesty. It lacked her essence...it was too impersonal, like it wasn't permanent. Hell, there were still boxes in the hallway.

Whatever intentions she'd had in Boston, nothing had been set for forever. Just walking around the place told Mike that she'd planned to come back home to New York some day.

Around lunch he and Jamie ventured out to a small local diner. Carolyn had told him she'd meet them for lunch. As he sat down, watching as the waitress entertained Jamie (the other customers didn't seem too pleased about that), he briefly thought about Caro's partner.

What kind of person was she? In all honesty he'd thought Carolyn would have gone back to solo work, and yet she was partnered with someone else. Not that he really cared, as long as this 'Kate' was a good partner who had Caro's back, he didn't care.

He waited for about twenty minutes, and when she didn't turn up, he frowned. Something wasn't right. Firstly the Carolyn he knew was hardly ever late, and secondly if she'd been held up at work she would have called. Thirdly she was only supposed to be interviewing someone...

He pulled out his phone, and dialled her number, stomach tense.

"Hello..." came her voice, which seemed to shake with that single word. Alarm bells instantly were going off in his head.

"Caro – what's wrong?" he said shortly.

"Nothing Mike...I was just looking at diamonds..."

"What?" he said in confusion.

"Diamonds, but there's been a hold up in traffic,"

He frowned as she emphasised hold up.

"Caro..."

"Kate's driving terribly in fact – wish I wasn't in shot gun,"she said desperately, "So I'll be at lunch soon – bye! Tell Jamie I love him with all my heart," she coughed "I love you Mike – bye,"

She hung up. Mike frowned, thinking hard. Diamonds, hold up, shot gun...what the hell? Caro didn't talk like that...but wait – diamonds, hold up, shot gun. Their first case had been about diamonds! That kid who robbed those stores and held hostages – fuck!

He rose instantly, and dropped a twenty on the table, grabbing Jamie and leaving in silence, much to the shock of the waitress. He half sprinted back to her building, Jamie starting to cry in his arms. He reached Ms. Hand's door, and rapped on it, praying to God she was home.

She was, and he quickly told her that he thought Carolyn was in trouble, and if she could please watch Jamie whilst he figured it out. She said yes, noticing his distress. Once he was sure Jamie was safe, he took off.

He called the Fed's first as soon as he got into his car, heart thumping. As soon as he got through he rattled off Caro's superior, and Caro's badge number and he partner, telling the young man about his short phone call to her before.

He nearly crushed his phone when the man questioned him, and he quickly told him that he was NYPD – and had been for a long time, and that he knew something was defiantly wrong. He couldn't believe the idiot – stupid feds – didn't they realise a problem when they saw one? He then got patched through to her superior, Agent Yates.

He explained quickly what he thought was happening and sighed in relief as he heard Yates rattle off a bunch of orders to some other Feds. He waited for a few minutes, and then he got the confirmation he'd been dreading, and he froze in slight fear.

"Thanks Logan," said Yates.

"Where is she?" he asked shortly.

The senior agent paused for a moment, "Corner of Swanston and Burke. Don't do anything brash,"

Mike grinned grimly, gunning the engine, "It's my Caro in there – I'll do whatever I fucking want,"

He hung up, and grabbed the Street Directory for Boston. Skimming through it he quickly worked out the directions, and was soon speeding through Boston, knuckles white on the steering wheel. He got a street away, and saw the swarm of black SUV's and cop car's parking outside.

He parked, and jumped out of the car, racing towards the cops. He reached the outer perimeter, and some rookie cop tried to stop him. He ripped out his badge from his back pocket, relieved that he'd brought it, and flashed it once, before crossing the safety perimeter.

He heard Yate's voice to his left, directing agents left and right through a walkie-talkie. He went up to him and said shortly, "Yate?"

Yate glanced at him in surprise, "Logan?"

"Who else," said Mike, "What's happening?"

Yate's swallowed, "Kate and Carolyn headed in to question Thomas Harris and he pulled a gun, we've secured the area, but Harris has them as well as some other workers as hostages. They're all on the second floor, but we don't have a clear shot yet,"

"Got a negotiator?"

"One's on –"

Suddenly a shot from inside the warehouse sounded.

It was a warning shot from Harris.

"Fuck," swore Yate.

A second later another shot sounded, and then Mike heard the faint yell of a woman.

He looked at Yate, horrified, and then his gut clenched as he heard something through the radio transmitter, "Agent Barek is down, I repeat –"

Common sense, logic...it all left his mind in a flash. He started running towards the building, determined to find Caro...his Caro couldn't be hurt, she wouldn't be hurt. Jamie was going to grow up with a mother. Mike had to fix this. He had too.

He saw a blur of men race to grab him, but for some reason they never touched him. He just passed them all, face set. And it was on that moment, as he raced to what might be his death; that everything clicked together.

Despite the fact they hadn't fully forgiven each other, that didn't matter. All that mattered was saving Carolyn. He was going to grow old with her, he was going to have the white picket fence dream, but more importantly he was going to have both Jamie and Caro.

They were a package deal after all.

He burst into the building, and raced up the stairs, his leg muscle's screaming. He reached the top, and instantly came into a large room. The moment he entered a dozen people who sat on the floor looked at him. Harris pointed his gun at Mike, but he ignored the smaller man, eyes searching for Caro.

His eyes' watered slightly as he saw her leaning against the wall, gripping her leg; face paling, separate from the others. There was a smear of blood on the ground from where Carolyn must have dragged herself.

"Caro..." he said softly.

She looked at him, eyes wide as if pleading him to save her, "...Mike,"

"You're Mike?" said Harris, "sit down now!"

Mike ignored him, eyes still on Caro.

"Move!" ordered Harris, "Or I'll blow your Caro's head off,"

He snapped his gaze to Harris, glaring.

"That's right – now drop any weapons and move over to the rest," smirked Harris jerking his gun in the direction of the other hostages.

"I don't think so," said Mike coldly.

"What? Didn't you hear me? I'll fucking kill the bitch!"

"You do that and I promise you that you'll wish Satan will take you 'cause when I'm through with you..."

Harris snorted, "What are you going to do? You're unarmed,"

"Think I need a gun to take you down?" said Mike, "I'm sick of you tough guys – don't ya get it kid, FBI are out. Boston PD are out there, SWAT is out there, and hell if you shoot me you'll have the whole NYPD after you and then some," he grinned savagely, a fist balled at his side "Don't ya get it? They're gonna shoot ya in the head cold turkey unless you quit while your ahead,"

"You're joking – not while I have hostages," said Harris.

"You know how good shots those SWAT guys are? They could shoot a fly in a pitch black room – you're screwed,"

"Then why haven't they done it yet?"

Mike narrowed his eyes, and cocked an eyebrow. He knew from all his years as a cop how to intimidate a perp. And Harris was none other than a scared little kid deep down. He'd watched Goren enough in interrogations to know that sometimes crazy and angry was the best way to convince a perp to do what you want.

"Because they're giving you a chance to live – something you don't deserve," said Mike, walking forward.

Harris backed off, "Don't move,"

Mike ignored him, "You move back and yet you have the gun?"

"He's a wuss, a little boy wanting attention," said Carolyn suddenly, "Isn't that right Tommy?"

"Shut up!"

"I think your right Caro," grinned Mike.

Caro nodded, "Tommy's just over compensating – you did realise we weren't going after your bad dealings but ya cousin? And yet you go pull a gun...very stupid,"

"It's pathetic," snarled Mike, "Pathetic,"

"I said SHUT UP!" yelled Harris, still moving back, as Mike approached slowly.

"Can't take the truth you piece of –"

In a split second Harris fired, not once but three times. Mike had no time to move, no time dodge, or duck. He crumpled to the ground as the bullets buried into his body. He yelled in pain and a moment later glass crashed, and Harris fell to the ground.

He didn't know what happened next, as his vision started to slip, his senses going haywire. But when he opened his eyes he saw Caro above him, and many voices yelling around him.

"Mike, c'mon...don't die on me!" she cried out, "Come back you idiot!"

"Caro..." he gasped.

"Thank god!" she said, hands spread over his wounds, eyes drinking him in, "Can't lose you..."

"You won't," said Mike, "I'm not running," he coughed, "I love you,"

Though, as he said the word; his eyes began to close again, his breath staggering.

"Open your eyes!" she yelled from what seemed a long way away, "Open them! Mike, don't give up!"

And yet darkness and an explosion of colours, and a soft light seemed to overload Mike's senses. Though he felt his body in pain, he still felt oddly at peace. He felt a dozen hands lift him, but he didn't care as he saw a figure approach...

It was Lennie, a warm smile on his face.

"I'm dead..." he mumbled.

Lennie didn't respond, just stood there, hand outstretched, beckoning him to take it.

"I'm freakin' dead," he muttered. He reached out to Lennie, unsure. His finger just brushed against his old partner's when he froze. In the distance he could swear he heard someone calling his name, someone that he loved. They called again. But this time more clear.

It was Caro, calling for him.

"No, I'm not dead," he retracted his hand, "Sorry Lennie...but I'm not dead, not yet,"

And then his eyes fluttered open, and he was bombarded with strangers who were working on his body. He couldn't see Caro, where was she? She hadn't run...no...not this time...not again...

"Vitals slipping," called a stranger's voice.

"C'mon Mike," said another voice.

"Caro..." he sighed.

"She's waiting Mike," said the voice again, "C'mon, fight it, she's waiting for you, she and Jamie, c'mon Mike,"

She was waiting...Jamie was waiting...they were both waiting...he had to see them, and this his vision swam, and he saw blackness – pure, straight, blackness, and then nothing more.

When he next opened his eyes, he saw the faint outline of a curtain, heard the beeping of a machine, felt the cold air on his chest, tasted bile in his mouth, but smelt – Caro.

He turned his head slightly, and saw next to his bed, sitting in a wheelchair, asleep, arm outstretched, her hand in his, was Carolyn.

"Caro..." he croaked, but instantly regretted it. She needed her sleep.

She slowly began to wake, and she looked at him, eyes wide, "Mike?"

"Yep,"

She breathed in deeply, "Thank god," she swallowed, "How do you feel?"

"Cold and a bit sore," he said truthfully.

"I'll call the nurse," she said, reaching for the call button.

He shook his head, "No first..." he drew in a breath, "Do over,"

She raised her eyebrows in confusion, "What?"

"Do over, let's start fresh," he said slowly, "I don't wanna lose you, ever, I want to be with you, and I think we need a do over, start from where we left off,"

"Mike the meds..." she said slowly, and though she spoke with hesitation he saw the answer in her eyes. He saw it so clearly it seemed to burn into his very soul. But it wasn't enough to know she wanted it, he had to hear her say it.

"Caro, do over? Yes or no?"

There was no hesitation this time, just a short and passionate, "Yes."

They sat there for a moment before Caro called for a nurse. A warm blanket was placed over Mike, and stealing one last glance at Jamie and Caro, he closed his eyes, and settled into an easy sleep, his mind and body in peace, his hand still holding onto Caro's.

And this time as he held on he knew she wouldn't leave.

But if anything that made him hold on tighter.

Fin

Author's Note: And so it ends, I hope you enjoyed that, please feel free to tell me your thoughts on it. Thank you so much for reading!

Please note that some poetic licence has been taken regarding hospitals, FBI procedure and so forth.