It felt impersonal, as though he was just talking to an image of her. Like it wasn't real. He could work with that.

He didn't know if he was really awake. Like the past two years had just been a dream, and this had him almost convinced. After all, she was supposed to be where he was now. On the inside of a prison, wearing those horrible clothes and talking to him on the outside. Maybe he had just destroyed his body. Maybe he was in a coma. It just didn't feel real.

"We're a mess, as usual." Sophie was sighing when he tuned her back in.

"You guys are always a mess." Nate replied calmly. "Without me, at least."

"A little narcisstic there, aren't you?" Sophie arched an eyebrow.

"Are you gong to argue the point with me, Soph?"

"Not this time, at least. Wouldn't want to stress you out. You criminals have violent tempers, I hear." She teased. He actually chuckled at that. If anyone else had made such a comment, he would have been irritated, at the very least, or, which was far more likely, furious.

"How are they?" He asked quietly.

"Well.... they're considering breaking you out, to be perfectly honest."

"You know these conversations are monitored, right?" Nate asked shrewdly.

"I'm not afraid of your prison guards, Nate." Sophie assured him. "How's that bullet wound?"

He winced. "So you saw that, huh?"

"Well, you had your hand pressed to your side under your jacket. It's not like you were out of breath. Nate, I always know what you get shot."

He sighed ruefully. "It hurts like hell, now that you mention it, but it's getting better. I was in a hospital for this one."

"Oh Nate..." She, of course, knew how he hated hospitals.

He shrugged. "Sterling wanted to make sure I was okay before he convicted me. Sweet of him."

"I always said Sterling had no life." Sophie growled bitterly.

"You're right about that one." Nate agreed. "So what's our timetable?"

"Paris." He understood. It had been almost three in the morning when he caught up with Sophie in that second jaunt through the French capital.

"Got it."

Sophie fell silent for several long moments, then spoke. "Why did you ask me to come back?"

"I needed you." It wasn't a lie.

"So you could give yourself up?"

"So I could be sure of my choice. God help me, but I considered selling them out."

"You're the good guy."

"Not anymore."

"Yes you are. You're the good guy in a bad world." She promised him. "You keep forgetting that, but it's the truth."

Suddenly, he just felt weary. He sagged, resting his chin in his hand. "Why are you here, Sophie?"

She could very easily have gotten offended, but Sophie knew him better than to take his words the way they sounded. "I.... I spent a long time..... missing you all.... and now that I'm back, I don't want to miss you anymore."

"So you came to visit me in jail?" He winced at the words. Oh, how Nathan Ford had fallen.

"You would have visited me."

"I never managed to get you into jail." He sighed. "You ever feel like this isn't the way it was supposed to happen? That this whole thing is some cosmic mistake?"

"Is that how it feels to you?" This time, she was offended.

"Don't take it like that, Sophie. That's not how I meant it."

"How did you mean it then?"

"Like.... like we're in each other's places. I feel like it's just a bad dream. Maybe I drank myself into a coma after Sam died, and Maggie has been waiting for me to wake up for the last two years."

"Maggie wouldn't be the one waiting, Nate." Sophie assured him quietly.

"No, I don't suppose she would be. Who then? You?"

"Do you have to ask?"

"No. I just want to hear you say it." Nate admitted.

"I'd the be one waiting." Sophie said, no hesitation in her voice.

"I know." He nodded. "I hate this place."

"I know. We're working on it."

"You know, telling someone that you're going to break him out over a monitored conversation isn't the best idea."

"Blackpoole, Nate." Sophie raised an eyebrow. "The Davids."

"Point taken." He smiled slightly. "I'm glad you came today."


"Do you have to ask?" She smirked.

"No. I just want to hear you say it."

Okay. He could do that. "I love you."

She smiled, tears in her eyes. "All the reason to get you out that much sooner."