A/N: I wrote this really quickly. But, I wanted to write what happened afterward....

Better Alone

"I always thought I was, you know, better off alone. But I miss having someone to come home to.

I didn't mean to put you on the spot… just thought you should know."

Those words seemed to be especially true when I declared them right there in front of Catherine. I watched her face fall as I made my confession. When she didn't say anything, I took it as a huge mistake. Perhaps that's not what she wanted.

I had to leave, walk away. I couldn't look at her face, the expression it held so I walked away.

I guess it was my way to make up for the fight, or argument we had not too long ago.

I just suggested that Catherine tighten the reign a little more. She told me that the way she raised her daughter was none of my business. Something I know I shouldn't have said, but I had to get it out.

"You'll miss the fight someday." I watched her text her daughter her disapproval of leaving the state to visit a friend.

"Oh, I know I will." She replied waiting for her daughters reply as the younger Willows wouldn't drop the conversation.

My heart sank. I immediately missed being a father. I missed all the things that he did to fill my life.

Now he is gone, and I don't know where he is. It was hard for me to watch Catherine with her daughter having the same fights I had with my son.

"You never talked about your son."

Last I heard he was still in Seattle. He was supposed to be finishing his degree. I never thought twice about letting him leave. My ex-wife thought he was a handful. In some instances he was. He and I fought about lots of things, but I never felt that would leave and not look back.

I guess that was so upsetting to me, to watch those two idiots, right around Jake's age, make and distribute useless things that kill young people. And it wasn't even that they were 'rich kids' either. It was more like what they were doing and getting away with that had me the most troubled.

As I watched them on the monitors I couldn't help but think of Jake. How I really hoped he wasn't one of those kids (to me, he will always be a kid) involved with drugs. I don't think I could handle losing him like that. It's not even that I'm a cop; it's that I'm his father.

There was Catherine, full of energy, life and vitality. All the things that I wasn't.

I was starting to get the feeling that I was skating through life. Not really feeling much of anything. One of the benefits of being a homicide cop, you don't really show your emotion, just the facts. But, unfortunately, my job was defining who I was, cold and uncaring.

I couldn't help but watch the light in her eyes as she described what we could do together….

"We could shoot some craps, play a little Black Jack.

Have a long lunch,

Go shopping.

Or you take me to the new Cirque show, maybe dinner?"

"You aren't a cheap date."

"No, not anymore."

It's funny, but I think I would take Catherine to all of those places. Even shopping. If that's what it took to be with her, to feel her energy, then I would.

Watching her, the beautiful, yet stubborn red haired woman declare that she didn't need anyone else with her as I left to catch up the rest of the team. It made me fall for her even more.

And how she took that stubbornness and used it to take down one of the jerks who seemed to have escaped the undercover cops at the Rave.

Her tenacity and willingness to put her life, as it were, on the line for me, while I stupidly rustled through the drug paraphernalia not thinking about what I was doing. It was her that was on my mind as he slipped into the room and aimed his gun at me while my back was turned.

It was Catherine that stopped him. I walked around the corner and watched her struggle with the guy who could have taken my life along with hers.

I watched her thrash about; her voice strained as she used every inch of her small body to fight him off.

I really couldn't tell you what I was thinking at that moment. It was almost a surreal scene, like it wasn't happening.

But it was. And I did what I was trained to do, I raised my weapon hoping and praying for a clean shot of the young male attacking her.

The struggle got more intense, she wasn't gaining any ground as his weapon aimed at her head. She got her hand free and shoved the gun away from her head... and that's when it happened. Time stopped.

I pulled the trigger.

The look on her face as she shoved the lifeless body off of her will stay with me forever. She didn't move, instead her hands flailed in the air as if she was grasping at the world around her letting her know that she was alive.

Her eyes, her gorgeous blue eyes locked right on me as I stood frozen on my spot. My eyes closed in relief…..


It's 2 in the morning and I'm staring at the ceiling. It's been two days since that scene. I sighed trying not to think about anything relating to what happened in the hotel room.

I felt a tickle on my arm distracting me from my thoughts. I looked to my right at the woman lying next to me, cradled in my arms. Her legs intertwined with mine. Her tiny frame curling up to me, almost pushing me off the bed. A piece of her red hair strayed onto my arm alerting me to her presence.

She came to me earlier with the key I gave her to my condo. I thought for sure she'd return it. Her immediate reaction after the scene was of disgust. She told me to stay away from her, and that I did.

So when she opened the door with the key, I was more than a bit stunned.

"I think I'll hold on to this," she whispered as she entered my place.

"I want to be the person you come home to," Catherine declared coming to me.

We have just finished making love for the third time in two hours. Her energy filled me with everything I needed, everything I thought I could do without. I clung to her, gave her everything that I have, all of me. And she received it, in return giving me the all of herself.

"Anthony Louis Vartann, I like the sound of that." Her voice mumbled in her sleepy state.

"I always thought I was, you know, better off alone. But I miss having someone to come home to."