Date: 9/29 is my best friend Steph's birthday, and I am very happy to say that unlike what happened to my friendships with Sarah and Dawn, Steph and I have not lost contact. In fact, I was just a bridesmaid at her wedding in May. We've been friends since we were 6-years-old - almost 22 years!


Cause I have had something to prove
As long as I know there's something
That needs improvement
And you know that every time I move
I make a woman's movement
And first you decide
What you've gotta do
Then you go out and do it
And maybe the most we can do
Is just to see each other through it

~ Ani DiFranco :: Hour Follows Hour ~

Hour follows hour…

1/5 9:29 am

Sue woke first, still safely ensconced in Jack's arms. She didn't have any more true nightmares after he joined her, but still had fleeting images of her kidnapping that would enter and leave like wisps of fog.

She stared at Jack as he slept, amazed at the shift in their relationship. They were in love, they had told each other they were in love, and they were living together. Living together – Sue could barely believe it.

Jack awoke and smiled at her, cuddling in closer, kissing her on the cheek. Sue decided it was time to talk. She gently pulled back so she could see Jack's face clearly. He looked at her, expectant.

She began to tell him everything, from the moment she sensed something was wrong at the airport to the relief she felt when Jack kissed her after rescuing her from Craven. She didn't know how long she went on, half speaking and half signing, an occasional tear falling as she told her story. Jack listened quietly, his hand resting lightly on her hip, not wanting to break contact.

When she finished, he smiled at her. "Feel better?"

Sue smiled back. "Much." She reached out and tousled his hair. "Thank you, Jack."

"For what?"

"For everything."

And they kissed and Jack knew that they were going to be just fine.

That night, as they slept side by side, Sue's nightmares were gone.

~*~*~*~

Jack stayed with Sue for the rest of the week. Jack was scheduled to go back to work on the 10th, with an open invitation for Sue to come back whenever she was ready. She decided she wanted to return with Jack so they could face whatever they had to face together. Jack had heard nothing from Ted about his transfer and anticipated his boss would be meeting with him as soon as they got in.

When they entered the bullpen, two large banners hung from the ceiling and they were greeted with applause and hugs. Jack and Sue looked at each other, confused. One banner read, "Welcome Back Sue!" while the other read, "Congratulations, Jack!" They were both wondering what, exactly, called for congratulations.

At the center of it all was Ted, who quieted everyone down so he could make his speech. "First, welcome back, Thomas. It hasn't been the same around here without you, or without you, Levi." The dog barked in agreement. "And just to let you know, we're never going to let you leave again."

"Here, here!" said Bobby.

"Second, Jack, you're looking very confused and I know exactly why. I know that you put in for a transfer," at this, Sue looked at him in surprise, "but I am not about to break up my best team. I know that the FBI has rules about relationships between members of the same team. Well, with a little creative legwork, and some begging, I managed to work out a plan. Instead of being transferred, you're being promoted."

"Wait a minute!" Myles interjected. "That's what you have to do around here to get promoted? Date someone on the team? Tara, are you free this weekend?"

"Get real, Myles." Everyone but Myles laughed.

"May I continue, please?" Ted said, giving Myles a look. "Technically, you are now the FBI liaison to the NSA."

"National Security Agency?" Jack verified.

"Yes. As a team, you handle a lot of terrorism cases and the NSA has requested that we begin to include them on some of what we do. In the spirit of partnership, we didn't want one of their crazy agents invading our teams, so we volunteered Jack to invade theirs. Due to the move, which is a promotion, including higher pay, by the way, you now fall under a different hierarchy, which means that you and Sue are free to be together."

Sue thought she was going to cry. Jack felt like hugging Ted, but stopped short and offered him a hearty handshake. Sue went right up to him and kissed him on the cheek.

"Thank you, sir. We will never forget this."

"I'm counting on you to deliver, Jack. This position is a big deal, and even though 90% of the time it's going to be business as usual, the other 10% you need to make sure the NSA stays out of our way unless we absolutely need them."

"Will do, sir."

Jack and Sue hugged and kissed, still in disbelief over their luck.

"If you could just keep that to a minimum, that would be great," Ted added. The gang laughed.

After everyone had settled, Sue pulled Jack off into a corner so they could talk privately.

"You were going to transfer for me?"

Jack blushed. "Yeah, I was."

She kissed him. "I guess you beat me to it."

"What?"

Sue pulled out a letter and handed it to him. Jack looked it over: it was Sue's own transfer request.

"I guess this is for real then, huh?" Jack asked, grinning widely, fingering the jewelry box he'd kept in his pocket since the day after he got Sue back.

"Yeah, I guess it is," Sue beamed.

"Good." He glanced around the room to make sure no one was looking and, glad Sue decided to wear her hair up today, kissed her on her neck. She just about melted.

"Jack!" she chastised.

With a mischievous look on his face, he stared right into her deep brown eyes.

"I can't wait to find more of those."

Nonplussed, Sue responded with a smirk, "Me neither."

~*~*~*~

Too much is how I love you
But too well is how I know you
And I've got nothing to prove this time
Just something to show you
I guess I just wanted you to see
That it was all worth it to me

~ Ani DiFranco :: Hour Follows Hour ~