A/N: This is based several years after the Season 7 Finale. My thanks as always go to Diane and Justine who always spare their time to help me out and to Carolyn who has helped me with the technical medical stuff.

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or WAT, but I would certainly have looked after them better if I had.

Rated: T - for a couple of instances of bad language.





08:00 hours May 31, 2013

The little boy held tightly onto his hand, the mop of strawberry blond hair flopping from side to side as he skipped along the sidewalk.

"Will Mommy pick me up from school tonight?" the boy enquired.

"Er, I don't know if she'll be finished work in time; it'll probably be me," replied the man.

"That's okay, because we can go to the park again. I like it when you pick me up," chirped the boy.

He couldn't help the smile from spreading across his face. He had grown very fond of this little boy, who had for the most part been a constant presence in his life. For the most part… but not always.

Jack had made this journey many times before with his own daughters, but for some reason the novelty had never quite worn off this time, an irony that certainly wasn't lost on him.

Maybe it was because he felt more of a responsibility towards the boy because he wasn't actually his, or maybe it was just that he was finally getting the chance to prove to himself that he could be relied upon, but his new-found reliability had come at a high price.

Of course, a lot had happened to Jack Malone in the last few years. Some good and some bad, but even the bad things had turned out to be a blessing.

He'd managed to reconcile with both of his daughters and although Hanna had decided to go back to Chicago after her brief stay with him a few years back, they had parted far more amicably than the first time she went to Chicago with her mother and sister. They both understood each other and they both realized that they were far too alike to ever really see eye to eye.

Both had visited him in New York and were happy to spend the odd vacation with him, and he had even managed to make peace with Maria, who had happily moved on with her life and found herself another husband. Ironically, it was Maria who had persuaded him that he could be a positive influence in his daughters' lives as well as having a life for himself, the two things that he had once thought would just never mix.

There were a lot of things that he had regretted in his life. None more so than his inability in the past to hold onto the one person he had truly loved. And yet, he thought the sacrifice that he had made back then was not only beneficial to his daughters but that it was what Sam had wanted, and it was because he loved her so much that he let her believe that he was okay with their separation.

When he thought of the final conversation they had as a couple, it just all seemed so unreal, almost like he had been in a daze and hadn't truly known the implications of his words.

Weeks had turned into months and he'd found it difficult to work alongside her. Of course they were both very professional about it, they remained friends and to the onlooker they were just two colleagues who, after working together for years, shared an obvious bond with each other. Sometimes, though, he would start to feel as if they were both coping better and it was then that he'd catch her staring at him, the way she used to, the way she shouldn't have.

This was the usual pattern of their complicated and messy entanglement.

Sam asked about his daughters periodically, particularly Hanna. Jack very rarely asked Sam how things were going with Brian. He had told her that he was relaxed about her taking Brian back, that it was the right thing for her to do, the right thing for Finn, but deep inside it was the hardest thing for Jack to actually even say the guy's name.

Sam didn't talk about Brian either, but Jack kind of got the impression that things maybe weren't working out so well on the romantic front. Still, at least Finn had a father and that was what had seemed to be Sam's main concern for her son.

The little boy tugged on Jack's hand and dragged him back to the present. They had arrived at the school steps.

"Okay, buddy, have a good day," said Jack as he placed a kiss on the little boy's head before ruffling his hair.

"I will, Jack, see ya later… and remember, bring the soccer ball 'cos we're gonna go to the park, okay?" he shouted back.

Jack waved as he watched the boy run up the steps and disappear into the building, and it wasn't until all the other children had gone in and the door had been securely shut behind them that he turned to walk away.

He glanced at his watch and saw the date, May 31st. Maybe that was why he was being so contemplative today. It was no ordinary date; it was the anniversary of the day that was to change his life in the worst, yet at the same time, the best possible way.


Three years earlier…

The day had begun just like any other.

As soon as he walked out of the elevator, he went straight into the bullpen and said good morning to the team, but this particular morning there was one very noticeable absentee… Sam.

Viv caught sight of Jack's concerned expression.

"Sam called a few minutes ago. She's going to be a little late, something came up at home," she said. Seeing that the explanation for Sam's absence wasn't doing enough to satisfy Jack's curiosity, Viv just shrugged her shoulders.

She knows more than she's letting on, he thought. Viv was always the one who knew everything about his and Sam's personal lives.

She'd been a great colleague and a good friend over the years, but Jack also knew that Viv didn't entirely approve of the way Jack had treated Sam in the past. So, if Sam had any little secrets that she didn't want Jack to know about, then Viv wouldn't be the one to fill him in.

There was no Elena for him to interrogate either since she had resigned from the FBI once she found out that she was pregnant. Sam had kept in touch with her and they often spent girly nights together, when Elena managed to make sure that Danny had a ball game to go to.

Anyway, it was probably nothing. Why was he even concerned? It was none of his business anymore. So he turned and walked over to his office.

He'd just sat down at his desk when the phone started to ring.

"Jack, I'm going to be a little late in this morning…um, I really need to see you," stuttered Sam.

Jack could tell by Sam's voice that there was something troubling her. In some ways he didn't want to know, he didn't want to go there. He'd always thought that he was the complex, troubled one, but sometimes Sam beat him hands down.

Still, he cared for her too much not to get involved in her problems.

"Are you okay, Sam, is Finn okay?" enquired Jack.

There was a knock at his door and Viv popped her head round.

"Jack, I… I've got-" started Sam, before Jack interrupted her.

"Look, I've got to go. Come and see me as soon as you get into the office, okay?" and with that Jack put down the phone.

It didn't take Viv long to brief him on the situation. They'd managed to pinpoint the location of their latest missing persons and soon he, Danny and Martin were on their way with an armed response team in hot pursuit.

When they reached the warehouse in Red Hook, it became obvious that it had now turned into a hostage situation. An agitated man stood on the roof of the building with a gun to his seven-year-old son's head. The boy looked petrified and Jack couldn't stop the sinking feeling that was starting to envelope him.

"I'll take it, Jack," whispered Danny as he started to head off to the entrance of the warehouse.

"No, wait," Jack said as he grabbed hold of Danny's arm. "You've got a baby on the way, no need to put yourself in the firing line. Anyway, I want you down here; you know the drill, and I don't want any shots being fired. There's a boy up there who doesn't know who the hell to trust at the moment."

Jack removed his jacket and took his gun out of its holster. He put his arms in the air so that the man could see him clearly.

There'd be no chance of establishing communications with the guy from the ground, so the only other option was for Jack to join him on the roof.

Martin followed behind and waited in the stairwell of the building.

As Jack walked out onto the roof of the warehouse, he could see Danny below him.

The man and his son were standing near the edge of the roof. He had hold of his son around the chest with one arm; the gun in his other hand was resting against the boy's right temple.

Oh shit. Jack had always been a good negotiator, if sometimes a little impulsive in his decisions. On this occasion, though, after talking to the man, he sensed that the guy really didn't care if he lived or not, particularly without his son. Jack knew the outcome wasn't going to be good.

He had to do something to try and salvage at least one life out of the situation.

Finally, after Jack had reasoned with the father, he let his son go and the boy ran quickly, as directed by Jack, to the stairs of the building where Martin was waiting.

The man now held the gun to his own head as Jack edged slowly forward.

"Don't come any nearer or I'll blow your fucking brains out," shouted the man with his gun now pointed unsteadily at Jack.

Suddenly, the man dropped his arms and his legs appeared to buckle.

Jack saw his opportunity and sensing that the man was losing control, he thought he might be able to make a lunge at him.

But he saw Jack's approach, raised his hand and without taking proper aim, he fired the gun once at Jack and then once into his own temple.

The bullet ripped through Jack's shirt straight into his chest and the forward momentum carried him over the edge of the building.

As Danny watched in disbelief, Jack landed awkwardly on the fire escape below. His leg caught on the stairs, preventing him from falling any further but his body swung violently against the wall of the building, his head catching a glancing blow.

Danny ran to where he could see Jack bleeding and broken above him.


Viv slumped into her chair as the words sunk in.

"Okay… keep me in the loop," her voice trailed off as she looked up and saw Sam entering the bullpen.

"Where is everyone; I need to see Jack," Sam gestured towards his office. "He wanted to see me as soon as I came in."

Viv didn't know what to say. She knew why Sam needed to see Jack, as she'd been privy to Sam's personal problems, and she knew what Sam had been doing that morning.

The office wasn't bustling as it usually was, and everyone seemed to be walking around talking in hushed voices.

"What's the matter, where's…," and it was then that it dawned on Sam that something serious had happened.

"I don't know how to say this," Viv said as she looked at Sam, who could see the desperation in her colleague's face.

"No, not Jack… please, don't," Sam collapsed into the chair as she saw the tears start to roll down Viv's cheeks.

"He's sustained a gunshot wound to the chest and several broken bones, but they have those under control," said Viv, fighting hard to control her emotions.

"So, so that's good, right, so they'll get him to the hospital and, and they'll patch him up and he'll be..." Sam spluttered, before Viv interrupted her.

"But he also has a serious head injury, he may have fractured his skull. I'm sorry, Sam; they're saying that they nearly lost him once in the ambulance, and it doesn't look good. He was unconscious when he arrived at the hospital"

Sam buried her head in her hands as she sobbed uncontrollably.

Viv had watched her two friends--her two colleagues--muddle their way through the last few years, and she knew that neither of them had been happy since they split up months ago. They both thought they were doing what was best for each other. Sometimes she just wanted to bang their heads together when they acted like two little kids.

The saddest part was that she knew Sam had finally realized that she needed Jack to be a part of her life and she had planned to do something about it.

As Sam continued crying softly, Viv reached down and put her arms around her friend's shoulders. They remained there until the silence was broken by the shrill sound of a phone.


Danny had traveled to the hospital with Jack in the ambulance. The paramedics had pushed him out of the way so they could work on keeping Jack alive and stabilize his condition.

As soon as they arrived, Jack had been whisked away to the Emergency Room. The doctors quickly sent him for a CT scan, which revealed that he had an epidural hematoma that required emergency surgery.

Danny had been left, feeling totally useless. He was shell-shocked and virtually speechless when a doctor came out and told him it would be a good idea if they got Jack's next of kin to the hospital.

"Viv, I think you better get over here, and… and you should get hold of Sam. They say he's in a bad way… they want his next of kin," Danny explained.

"Okay, don't worry, we'll be over there as quick as we can." After glancing at Sam, Viv continued, "Listen, can you ask Martin to get a number for Jack's ex-wife, Maria; she deserves to know what's going on."

"Yeah, sure… look, just be quick, okay," whispered Danny.


Viv and Sam arrived at the hospital and soon found Martin and Danny pacing up and down like expectant fathers.

"I'm sorry, guys, but at least one of us needs to be back at the office," Viv said as she looked at them both.

The men looked at each other and nodded, and both of them agreed to return, as neither of them really wanted to be there with Sam if the news was going to be bad.

Sam was in no state to talk to anyone. Viv had never seen her so out of control. She'd been through a lot in her life and had always managed to hold it together, at least on the outside.

"Sam, hey, you okay?" asked Viv, as she returned from interrogating one of the doctors about Jack's condition.

Sam slowly lifted her head from her hands and stared blankly at Viv.

"He's still undergoing brain surgery, to relieve some of the pressure. If they can get the hemorrhaging under control, then they say he has a chance," said Viv hopefully.

"Thanks," replied Sam solemnly.

Hours dragged as the hands on the clock above the entrance crawled around. Suddenly a doctor appeared from the OR and made his way swiftly towards the two women.

"Are either of you Mr. Malone's next of kin?" asked the doctor.

Sam looked at Viv, who quickly put her arm around Sam before answering, "Uh, no, we're Agent Malone's colleagues. Is he going to be all right?"

"Well, he's survived the operation, which in some ways is a miracle in itself, and the next 48 hours will be critical. If we can keep him stable and sedated, then he may have a chance," the doctor said bluntly.

And with that, he strode away down the corridor.

"I think we should go, Sam. They're not going to let us see Jack until tomorrow at the earliest."

"I just need to stay a little longer; would you stay with me?" Sam's eyes were pleading now.

"Okay, I'll get us some coffee; things always seem better after coffee," said Viv, trying to lighten the situation.


Martin had managed to contact Maria and she said she'd be on the next plane to New York. She wasn't married to Jack Malone anymore and they hadn't always seen eye to eye, but he was still the father of her two beautiful girls and she had to do this for them, if nothing else.

Hanna said she wanted to go too and her mother had given in and agreed. There was no point trying to reason with her headstrong daughter. She was far too like her father and Maria knew she would never win.

Kate agreed to remain at home with her stepfather; it seemed the best thing in the circumstances.

As Maria arrived at the hospital with Hanna, she spotted Viv and Sam immediately. Hanna ran over to Sam and gave her a big hug.

Sam saw Maria enter the hospital and when Hanna approached her, she felt a little awkward but gave Hanna a hug back and a kiss on the cheek.

How much Maria knew about her and Jack was unclear, but Sam didn't have any fight left in her, so if Maria wanted to choose this moment for a confrontation, then so be it. Sam didn't really care anymore. The only person she cared about was lying in a bed attached to a life support machine.

Ironically, it hadn't been that long ago that Jack had been here visiting her in the hospital, and all she could think about at that time was how Brian had been. God, she so regretted that now. Here she was living what Jack lived, feeling what he felt and now she knew why he'd been so tired, so aloof.

"Maria, I'm sorry to be meeting you again like this," said Viv, taking hold of Maria's hand.

"How is he?" asked Maria.

Viv explained what the surgeon had told them and that it would be the next 48 hours that would be critical.

"Well, as we can't see Jack at the moment, I better go and get Hanna and I checked into a hotel. We'll try and stay as long as we can. I've secured a week off work so that we can be around if…" Her words trailed off as she glanced at Hanna, "…if there are any decisions to be made," Maria finished.

Cold and heartless as usual, thought Sam.

"Okay, here's my number," said Viv, handing Maria her card. "Give me a call and let me know where I can contact you."

Maria nodded before taking Hanna's hand and leading her from the hospital.

Another hour passed.

Viv and Sam sat in silence for the majority of the time. Finally Sam stood and approached one of the nurses that appeared to be in charge. When she returned, she told Viv that she'd persuaded the nurse to allow them to see Jack, but only from the corridor.

She took them to the room where he lay. Machines were all around him, tubes attached to every available orifice.

Sam had seen him in a bad way before, but at least the last time he had been semi-conscious. This time the only visible sign that he was alive was the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest, controlled by the life support machine.

"Come on, Sam, you've seen him, I think we should go," said Viv, seeing that her friend was close to breaking down.

Sam nodded and held onto Viv's arm as she reluctantly left Jack and the hospital behind.


For the next couple of days, Sam visited the hospital at the times she knew that Maria wouldn't be there.

There had been no obvious change in Jack's condition, but he had survived the magic 48 hours.

Two days--the importance of this wasn't lost on Sam. In their line of work 48 hours was important too. If they didn't find a person within the first two days, then the likelihood of a positive outcome diminished rapidly after that.

The doctors had reduced Jack's sedation over 24 hours ago and they thought that he would have started to regain consciousness by now. Please, Jack, please wake up.

Fingers tightened around her hand. At first she thought it was just a twitch, an involuntary movement.

It happened again and Sam looked up to see Jack's eyes flickering open and shut.

She slammed her hand on the buzzer, and within seconds nurses came running from apparently nowhere.

She knew the procedure and moved out of the way.

They worked on Jack and then a doctor arrived. Within minutes they had removed the tube from his mouth.

He was breathing on his own, and Sam felt tears of relief well up in her eyes.

"He's a little agitated and very tired," said the nurse, "but you can sit with him a while longer if you want, maybe you can calm him down a little"

"Thank you," replied Sam.

She returned to Jack's side, only to find that he had drifted off to sleep again.

Knowing that Maria would be here soon, Sam kissed Jack's cheek, and she whispered in his ear, "I love you, Jack Malone; I'll be back later," before leaving him to rest.

As she left, Jack's eyes slowly opened and attempted to focus on the figure leaving his room, before his heavy eyelids closed again.

Sam visited regularly for the next couple of days but Jack's behavior was a little erratic and unpredictable. It didn't surprise Sam, the nurses had warned her, but she was relieved on her last visit to be told that his condition had stabilized and although he didn't remember a great deal about the circumstances surrounding his accident he was at least fully aware of his surroundings.

She was yet to have a proper conversation with him, at least not one that he would remember.


"Mr. Malone, Mr. Malone… JACK – you have a visitor," said the nurse as she gently nudged his shoulder.

Jack opened his eyes and there stood his daughter, beaming at him. Behind her, he could just make out another figure and then as she moved closer, he saw that it was Maria.

"Hey, Dad, how you doing?" asked Hanna.

"You had us all a little bit worried for a while," added Maria.

Jack just nodded, his mouth a little too dry to try and form any words.

His head throbbed as he tried to focus correctly. Slowly he began to remember pieces here and there. He remembered falling, the searing pain of the bullet as it tore into him. And he remembered seeing someone, someone familiar leave his room.

Maria could see that he was trying to puzzle things out.

"Don't worry too much about what's happened. I'm sure Samantha will fill you in when she gets here," said Maria. "She's been quite a regular visitor since you've been in here."

Jack looked even more puzzled now. Sam might have visited him once, but he was sure she'd be too tied up with Finn or Brian to get to the hospital that often. And how long had he been in here anyway? He wished he could remember more about the last few days.

Gesturing towards the cup that stood on the table next to his bed, Maria understood and fetched it over. Jack took a sip from it through the straw.

He cleared his throat a couple of times before speaking.

"Hanna, why don't you go and get your mother a cup of coffee," he said.

Reluctantly she left the room, knowing that her father obviously wanted a private conversation and that she would have been in the way.

"So I take it Hanna filled you in about Sam and me when she got back."

"Well, she said that you'd had a girlfriend while she was staying with you, and when she told me her name, it didn't take me long to put two and two together," Maria replied sarcastically.

"In that case, she'd also told you that Sam and I split up before she left. Sam has a life now with her baby and… and his father."

"Didn't look much like you'd split up to me. Sam didn't see me but I saw her a couple of times while she visited you, and I think her baby's daddy was the last thing on her mind," said Maria.

Jack listened, but didn't reply.

"Hanna told me why you split up with Samantha. But do you really think that being miserable and lonely is the only way you can be a good father?" Maria continued, "Having children and another relationship aren't mutually exclusive you know."

Jack rolled his eyes and then closed them. A lecture from his ex-wife he could do without.

"And you needn't pretend to be asleep. If I can get over the fact that you had an affair with her, then I sure as hell think that you can. What were you going to do, spend the rest of your days as a monk? Come on, Jack, deal with it and move on with your life before it's too late."

Hanna returned with two cups of coffee. She handed one to her mother and looked over at her father, apparently sleeping.

"You had another argument, didn't you?" she asked bluntly.

"Well, you know your father and I are only happy when we're shouting at each other," Maria returned sarcastically. "Come on, we'll come back when sleeping beauty is awake."


After filling Viv, Danny and Martin in on Jack's condition, Viv agreed that Sam could return to the hospital.

Carrying a huge bouquet of flowers and an armful of papers, she virtually walked straight into Maria and Hanna as they made their way towards the car park.

"Oh, oh, I'm sorry," said Sam in a rather embarrassed tone.

"It's Samantha, isn't it?" asked Maria, knowing full well who she'd just collided with.

"Yes… I'm just going to see Jack, taking him some gifts from everyone at the office; I think he's awake isn't he?" Sam tried to sound as if she knew very little about Jack's current condition.

"Well, that depends who's talking to him, but I'm pretty sure he'll be wide awake when he sees you step through the door. Oh and by the way, the nurses need to speak to you about his recuperation."

Maria turned and walked off towards the car.

"Hey, just ignore her, she's actually cool about you. She just wants Dad to get on with his life now. She has and she doesn't see why he's turning himself into such a martyr," Hanna explained. "Come on, remember what I said to you about being the Jack Whisperer… well it's true, you need to talk some sense into him."

As Hanna walked away, she turned and shouted back to Sam, "I hope you've come to your senses too."

Sam shook her head; Hanna hadn't changed. And she wondered what had been said while Maria and Hanna were visiting.

After speaking to Jack's doctor, Sam reached Jack's room and she saw that the nurses were with him, freshening him up a little. She gave the flowers to them on their way out.

"Hey, it's good to see you awake," Sam smiled as she entered the room.

"It's good to be awake; they tell me I've been here a few days," Jack nodded towards the nurses.

His face was badly bruised and his head was all bandaged. The leads were still attached to his chest and he had a large dressing covering the gunshot wound.

"You know that we nearly lost you, don't you?" asked Sam.

Jack didn't reply straightaway, he seemed to be lost in his own little world.

"Maria said you'd been here a lot, but I told her she must have been mistaken because you had Finn… and Brian to keep you busy," said Jack bluntly.

"I have been here, Jack, I've been worried sick," replied Sam.

"And Brian was okay with that?" he said, unable to disguise his surprise.

"There is no Brian anymore, Jack," replied Sam. "That's what I was doing when I was late into work, the day you were injured. Brian wanted to come over and say goodbye to Finn. He got himself a job overseas; we won't be seeing much of him anymore."

"Oh, I'm sorry, Sam… and you didn't want to go with him?" enquired Jack.

"Brian moved out of the apartment a few months ago; things weren't working out between us. To be honest, we were never really a couple."

"I told you back then, Jack, that Brian meant one thing to me and you another. Brian could never ever have replaced what I felt for you. It was the stupidest thing in the world when we broke up and I wish I could turn back the clock," Sam said, as the tears started to sting her eyes.

Jack reached out and grasped her hand.

"Hey, don't get so upset, you'll make me have a relapse here. I'm planning on getting out of this place sooner rather than later," Jack quipped.

Wiping away her tears, Sam remembered her conversation with the doctor.

"Oh, hey listen, I spoke with your doctor. Maria said he wanted to talk to me." Jack looked a little concerned that Sam was using Maria's name so often. What had they been doing, comparing notes about him?

"He says that you'll be in here another few weeks at least. They still have a number of tests to run on you before they're convinced you're ready to go home," Sam explained. "Well, when I say home… there are a couple of options, one of which is not home as such."

Jack's face dropped now, "I'm not going into any convalescent home, no way."

"Well, actually that is one of the options, but the other is that you come and live with Finn and me for a while, just until you can cope on your own," said Sam.

"Well, I know that you've become quite skilful in your nursing duties lately but you don't want to be lumbered with me, Sam, you just got rid of one invalid," Jack laughed.

"Yeah, I know having Brian live with me while I looked after him didn't work out too well, but there's a big difference, Jack… I love you, I didn't love Brian."

Jack looked down at Sam's hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze, before drawing it up to his lips and placing a soft kiss on the palm of her hand.

"You know, Maria was here earlier and she said that I need to move on, I need to find a way of making myself happy as well as my daughters," he said.

"She's right, you know, and I also had Hanna telling me the same thing," Sam laughed.

She looked at Jack now, "You can do both of those things, Jack; let me make you happy."

As Jack nodded, Sam stood and leant over to kiss his cheek. Raising his hand, Jack stroked her face and kissed her tenderly on the lips.


16:00 hours May 31, 2013

"Come on, buddy, I've got a surprise for you," Jack said to Finn.

"Aw… can't we play soccer for a little bit longer," sulked the boy.

"No, I want to go and see your mom."

"You mean we're going to the FBI house," said Finn excitedly.

"Yep, that's exactly where we are going," Jack replied.

Finn had been there before, of course, but he always found it a very exciting place to be--lots of people rushing around looking very important and, of course, sometimes he even caught sight of their guns, which he thought made it very dangerous in deed.

The security guard dialed the number and spoke to Sam, "You have a couple of visitors down here, want to come and collect them?"

Jack hadn't seen this man before so, of course, he didn't know Jack and was only doing his job. Usually he would be ushered through and straight up to the 23rd floor without an escort.

Sam appeared from the elevator and waved at Finn as she approached them.

"It's okay, you can let these two through in the future," she explained to the guard.

"Oh, okay, Agent Malone, it's just I didn't want to make any mistakes, it being my first week and all," said the embarrassed guard.

It had taken Sam a while to get used to being called Agent Malone, especially since Jack was no longer working there.

He'd tried to return to work a few months after the shooting, but because he had to take medication for the epilepsy that he'd been left with from the head injury, it meant that he was confined to a desk job, and that really didn't suit him. So he'd taken early retirement from the FBI. They'd agreed that he would look after Finn. He had managed to secure a consultancy role on a part-time basis for a large security firm in New York.

Jack walked into the bullpen and was greeted warmly by his ex colleagues.

Finn ran over to Danny, who immediately started to show the little boy his computer. Danny had made a great father, and Jack had been so proud when he and Elena had asked him and Sam to be their little girl's godparents.

He looked over at his old office and saw Viv talking on the phone. She looked up and spotted him and immediately gestured for him to enter her office.

"Hey, long time no see," said Viv as she gave Jack a big hug.

"Yeah, I've been a bit busy lately; you know-- housework, cooking, general chores," Jack joked.

"So, you taking Sam out for a nice meal tonight?" asked Viv.

"No, I prepared something at home. My cooking is actually kind of good now; I've had three years to perfect it," replied Jack.

Sam now entered Viv's office.

"Hey, why don't you head off, Sam. It sounds like Jack has a nice surprise for you at home," said Viv.

"Okay, I'll just get my stuff," Sam said as she hurried back to her desk.

"Bye, Jack, take care and don't stay away so long next time," Viv said.

"I won't, you look after yourself Viv," Jack replied.

He met Sam just outside the office. He held her hand as they walked towards the elevator. Finn waved bye to Danny and came running after them.

The elevator doors shut and Jack punched the button for the ground floor.

"So… you have a surprise for me?" asked Sam, curious now.

"Yes, but in the mean time you can have this," he said taking a small box out of his pocket.

Sam opened it up to find a beautiful necklace inside with a solitaire diamond dangling from the chain.

"Jack, it's beautiful."

"So are you, Sam… happy first wedding anniversary."

Jack put his arms around her and brushing the stray hairs from her face, he kissed her deeply.

"Yuck, do you have to do that here?" giggled Finn, staring up from in between them.

They laughed at the little boy and then Jack picked him up and placed him on his shoulders before they all left the Federal Building.