LOOK, I JUST WANT US TO BE HAPPY

Sam had been withdrawn all evening. Bailey had witnessed her struggle to appear normal and accessible in front of Chloe. He could tell she was just going through the motions, and he knew she was grappling with the kidnapping, and would do so for many months ahead. He couldn't begin to imagine the horrors she must have experienced during those five days Jack had held her.

Chloe had gone to bed, opting to sleep in Angel's bed. Bailey saw how deep her daughter's rejection cut Sam. He'd reassured her that Chloe would get over it. Sam had muttered a non-committal response and excused herself to the shower, saying that Bailey should help himself to whatever he wanted to eat or drink.

Forty-five minutes later, Sam rejoined him in the living room. He'd been loath to let her out of his sight, but he understood her need to regroup on her own for a while, and he couldn't exactly join her in the shower. She was wearing her over-size grey sweater, faded jeans and the natural curl of her hair showed. She hadn't bothered to blow-dry it straight. She was skittish and wouldn't stay still more than ten seconds before puttering with something.

Bailey looked at her frame. She was thinner than she had been before the kidnapping. Either she must have limited her eating to bare necessities during her capture, Jack hadn't fed her much or she simply hadn't had the appetite. Time to take care of her.

"What would you like to eat?"

Sam didn't even take a beat before responding. "I'm not hungry."

Bailey was nonplussed by her answer. "When was the last time you ate? You have to have something."

Sam started pacing, rearranging the book shelf. "I don't want anything."

"Sam..."

"Really," she retorted, keeping her back resolutely to him.

"Too bad, since I'm making us grilled cheese." Bailey walked towards the kitchen.

"Fine." Her voice had an edge that stopped Bailey. He regarded her, with her stiff movements and her careful inspection of the titles of the books. She was trying to ignore the events of the past days. Her posture screamed "Stay away", but he couldn't comply. This was too important, for both of their futures. She was hanging on by a thread, and she needed to fall apart as soon as possible. But he couldn't pressure her, or she would lose even more of her sense of control than she already had. Any other time, he would have pulled her in for a hug and waited for the fallout. Now, he would have to wait her out.

Sam sensed Bailey hovering. He hadn't gone to make the sandwiches. She needed to keep busy, following an order that had risen up inside her since the silence had come beating down the first time she was left alone for a minute. She was in fight mode, her self-preservation instinct still in overdrive. She knew that she couldn't ignore the welling feelings of anguish and fear, but she also knew that once she gave into them, it would be a long time before she'd emerge from underneath their pull and even then, she would be the farthest thing from being unscathed. In short, she was trying to delay the inevitable. She just wanted a moment of peace. Was it too much to ask?

Bailey was in the room. He'd moved to sit on the arm chair closest to the book shelf. She couldn't bring herself to look at him. A single act of kindness from him would be deathly. Would lay her open for him to... What? Sam chided herself. Why was she treating Bail like the enemy? Why did she think he would wound her? He had never done so before. Why was she pulling away from the man she loved and had thought she would never see again? She was hurting, but he was hurting, too. This hadn't happened to her alone; this had happened to them. They needed each other's comfort if they were to get through this.

Bailey was relieved when Sam stopped reorganising the shelves, turned around and slid down to the floor to face him. She picked at the sleeve of her sweater for a while as a struggle raged inside her. He kept on waiting, sensing that she was ready to let him in. Finally, she looked at him, her beautiful features agonised, depicting a feeling of being utterly lost.

"I still feel like he has me, like I haven't been saved, " she whispered in a soft voice. Bailey was out of his chair before she finished her sentence, kneeling down to grab her left arm. He spoke in an earnest, passionate tone.

"Sam, look at me. You're not in his clutches anymore. You're safe, you're with me, okay?" He saw that she heard his words but couldn't bring herself to believe them yet. He needed to tie her to her present surroundings.

"Do as I say, alright? Touch the carpet. What does it feel like?"

"Uh... Soft and knobbly."

"Place your hands on the floor. Is it cold or warm?"

"Warm."

"What do you hear?"

Sam paused to listen. "Some song on the radio. Angel must have left the kitchen radio on."

"Okay, what do you smell?"

Again, Sam took a beat. "Potpourri on top of the book shelf... The pasta sauce Chloe and Angel ate earlier."

"What do you see?"

Sam focused her eyes on the man in front of her, offering her reply instantly. "I see you." Bailey marvelled at her ability to infuse a simple pronoun with such feeling, a mix of affection and relief.

She gazed at him for a while, then withdrew her eyes reluctantly. She closed her eyes, focusing on just breathing, feeling safe in Bailey's presence. Her thoughts drifted to the man still kneeling beside her.

She knew how she felt about him, but had yet to learn if he reciprocated the sentiment. She had vowed to herself that she would tell him she loved him as soon as she had the chance, and so she had. She didn't regret it, but she admitted that the timing had been rash, and worse, there hadn't been any time for Bailey to respond. Her feelings had overrun common sense in that moment. She wondered what he would say now if she were to repeat her declaration. Maybe he'd think she loved him as a friend. Maybe he was still with Janet. Was he just waiting for some sign from her to leave?

Bailey watched as Sam tried to settle down and acclimate to her present surroundings. Her question knocked him for a loop. "Should you get going? I mean, isn't Janet going to worry soon?"

Bailey had a choice to make. Either stand up, answer in a vague manner and skirt around the issue, or hunker down, give a straight answer and make himself vulnerable in a way he had never been. He put his weight on his right arm as he sat down. He would see this through.

He trained his eyes on the book shelf. "She's long gone."

Sam was puzzled. Had Janet left Bailey when the going got tough? She knew that the demands of Bailey's job had been a major factor in the disintegration of their marriage years earlier. "Why?"

Sam's tone of voice carried a hint of impatience and irritation, and Bailey thought back to the last time she'd asked the same question about his ex-wife. Just moments before the hostage situation in the jewellery store. He remembered putting a ring on Sam's ring finger. How ironic.

"She... didn't take too kindly to the fact that I wouldn't rest or sleep before you were rescued. "

She watched him out of the corner of her eye. "Oh. I'm sorry."

"I guess it was inevitable. I though we'd changed enough to make a go of it, but the same obstacles were still there." Saddled with the new fact that I'm in love with someone else.

She reached over his legs and laced her fingers with his. "Bailey, what I told you by the phone booth..."

He cut her short. "Sam..." He searched for words. How could he postpone this heart-to-heart without shutting her down or offending her? "I'm not going anywhere. I'm by your side for good. We don't have to do this now, just hours after we shot Jack. You need to concentrate on you. We can talk about this in a week's time. Is that okay with you?"

Sam nodded her response. She knew Bailey had a point. She had just escaped Jack's clutches. She needed to find her footing before they discussed their relationship and its future. But, she craved some reassurance from him. "Stay the night?"

"Anything you need. Come on, let's go have something to eat."


An hour later, they had retreated to Sam's bedroom. They had prepared their sandwiches in comfortable silence, but after they'd eaten and were washing up, Sam had started tensing up. She was dreading sleep, afraid of the nightmares that would inevitably haunt her even though the man who'd implanted them was dead.

Bailey knew that their moment on the floor in the living room had been but a brief respite. Sam still hadn't come crashing down. When she excused herself to the en suite bathroom of her bedroom, he nodded, just stopping short of accompanying her there. He listened for any signs of distress, but no noises could be heard. After she had spent ten minutes in the bathroom, Bailey rose from the bed where he'd sat, waiting for Sam to emerge.

He rapped gently on the door. No answer. He called out to her softly. No answer. He needed to know what she was doing. "Sam, I'm coming in." She had neglected to lock the door, or maybe it had been intentional. She'd spent more days than anyone should locked up. He opened the door to find Sam leaning on the sink, staring at her reflection, looking ashen and breathing hard. She didn't even acknowledge his presence. He moved quickly to stand behind her and looked at her in the mirror. "Sam?"

She was shaking, drawing ragged breaths and her eyes were blurred with tears. He stepped closer and twined his right hand around her waist, wanting to anchor her to the present and give her the comfort of another human being's presence. His comfort. "Sam, it's okay. Everything's okay." She barely reacted to his words, using all of her energy to keep her emotions bottled up. "You're safe now." She started shaking worse, her body mirroring her mind's refusal to let go.

He tried to coax her gently to a more upright stance."Sam, you can let go. You can stop holding on. Don't hold on. Let go." An anguished cry escaped her lips and she would have slid to the floor had Bailey not had his arm around her waist. They ended up on the floor anyway, with Bailey leaning against the bath tub, cradling Sam who purged her mind of the terror of her ordeal. When the tears subsided, she started telling him, sharing events here and there, as they came to her. She didn't tell him everything, but enough to feel that her burden had lessened. After the cold tile floor had chilled both of them, they climbed into the bed, exhausted to the bone.

Sam's breakdown had left her worn out, and she fell asleep quickly. It took longer for sleep to claim Bailey, as his mind was still buzzing with worry for Sam. Half the time he was fretting the future and how deep Sam might plummet under the water before she re-surfaced again. Half the time he just relished the feel of her head on his chest, her arm around his waist, his hand resting on her back under her golden tresses. He listened as her breathing evened out and waited for signs of distressed sleep. As none came, he began to relax and drift to sleep.

They managed to sleep a few hours before the first nightmare woke up Sam. In her panic stricken haze, the vivid memories of her captivity, brought forth by the dream, lingered until she kicked her way out of the bed, landing on the floor. She took a second to take in her surroundings and realise she was in her own bedroom, not in the white-washed, light-bathed room where Jack had detained her.

She sat up to peer over the bed. Even in darkness, she could see that Bailey was still, taking heavy breaths. "Bailey?" He didn't respond, focusing on something else. Sam realised she must have hit him or pushed against him, aggravating his wound in the process. "Bail, can I get you anything?"

Bailey shook his head, willing away the wave of nausea. "I'll be fine, just give it a minute."

"Want me to get you a glass of water?"

"If you wouldn't mind." She got up and padded her way to the bathroom, grabbed a glass from the cabinet and filled up the glass. She flicked off the light and returned to Bailey, putting the glass on the night table. She took out one of his pills and left it on the table. Bailey would help himself when he was up to it. She walked to the foot of the bed and gathered up the duvet her frantic thrashing had pushed off the bed. Bailey had sat up and taken the pill and was again settling in. He looked at her expectantly and noticed she looked hesitant. She didn't want to hurt him again in her sleep.

"Come on. I'm nothing if not resilient" Bailey quipped while lifting the covers for Sam to slink under. She relented, knowing she wouldn't sleep even two seconds apart from him.

"Okay, but you better keep that bottle of pills handy."

"Don't you worry, I know a guy if I run out. Or in this case, a gal."


The family morning was awkward. Chloe was still keeping her distance, afraid to trust her mother so soon again despite Sam's overtures. The little girl had leant on Angel during Sam's disappearance and for the time being, she showed no signs of relenting. Neither of them seemed to think it odd to eat breakfast with Bailey. They had grown accustomed to his presence in the safe house, and Chloe was able to reach out to him more than to her mother. For her part, Angel had realised that Bailey would be a permanent fixture in her best friend's home, even if the friend in question remained taciturn on the subject.

Angel and Chloe took Denzel for a walk, leaving the agents to themselves. Sam busied herself in the kitchen, preferring to wash the dishes by hand. She needed something menial to do to keep her mind occupied. Bailey, not being able to help out, resorted to reading the newspaper on the kitchen isle. He would be present in case she had a flashback, but would be inconspicuous enough so as to not irritate her.

She was half way through with the dishes when the door bell rang. Sam indicated that Bailey should go open the door. Agent Foster had arrived to take Sam's preliminary statement of her kidnapping.

"Agent Malone. How are you faring?"

"I've been worse. You here for Sam's statement?"

"Indeed. I hope I didn't come at a bad time. The Deputy Director is breathing down my neck to get it," Foster said in a way of apology. "Where is Agent Waters?"

"In the kitchen. Follow me." They walked past the den and through the living room to find Sam still hard at work at the sink. She glanced behind her to see who'd accompanied Bailey into the kitchen. Her face darkened a bit before she recovered to greet the other profiler. She offered to make coffee before they would get started and suggested the den for the statement. Agent Foster back tracked to make his preparations, and Bailey also left Sam alone, to allow her to compose herself. Sam, on the other hand, spent her few minutes alone wondering if Foster would let Bailey be present while she gave the overview of her kidnapping.

She walked into the den with three mugs full of coffee. She handed one to Foster and another to Bailey, before grabbing one for herself and sitting down on a comfortable wing-back chair, drawing her legs under her. Foster seated himself on the sofa, close to Sam, and looked at Bailey pointedly, hoping he would get the hint to make himself scarce. "Shall we get started?"

"Yes, let's. Bail, you don't have to go. Stay." Sam called back to Bailey who was on his way out of the den.

"Agent Waters, I would prefer to take your statement alone."

"Let me reassure you that Bailey's presence will in no way influence me or lead me to sugar coat my story. I want him here, and if you don't like it, tough." Bailey and Sam shared a small smile before he settled on a chair at an angle from Sam and Foster.

She took a sip of her coffee, then laid the mug on the side table. "Where do you want me to start?"


An hour and a half later Foster was satisfied with the details Sam had supplied. Angel and Chloe had returned from walking Denzel, and they all had a subdued lunch. Chloe was in the back yard playing with the canine. Sam asked Angel to look after her while she did something. She looked for Bailey, who was sitting in the living room attempting to read a book..

"Hey. You busy?"

Bailey looked up. "Not particularly. Why?"

"There's something I want to do with you. Come on." He threw the book on the table, not bothering to mark the page. He couldn't even remember what the book was about, so losing his place was no big loss. He followed her as she grabbed a box of matches, lighter fluid and a fire extinguisher from her household room, then led him to the garage. She opened the garage door and set the extinguisher down. She then walked to the corner and yanked a tarp down from a high structure. Bailey realised that the tarp had been covering case file boxes.

"You still had them?" he asked, puzzled.

She grabbed a box and carried it to the drive way. "Afraid so. I waited for the trial to be over to burn them. Then, you were so busy and I was so busy that I decided to burn the files after my trip to the cabin."

"Why didn't you just burn them on your own?"

"The idea didn't even cross my mind. You were there when this started. You had to be here when it ended," she explained truthfully.

She worked up a sweat carrying the boxes out. 19 boxes, all told. Sam took a moment to catch her breath as Bailey spurted lighter fluid on the boxes. She bent down to pick up the box of matches, and as she was taking one match out, she froze, seeing in her mind's eye Jack lighting up his cigarette. Bailey stepped closer when she didn't make a move. "Sam?" He put his hand on her back when she didn't respond. The light contact brought her back.

"He was fiddling with matches when he told me you were dead" she explained with a shaky breath. She tore her eyes away from the box to look Bailey in the eyes. "He said your last word was my name. Is that true?" She could see that he was surprised.

"I think it was. But, he was far away when he shot me, and I'd passed out when he pinned the badge on my chest."

She took a moment to ponder what Bailey had said. "So he guessed it? Leave it to him to taint something meaningful between us," she sighed out loud.

"Hey." Bailey stepped in front Sam and gently lifted her head. "He only taints it if you let him. He's now dead, we're still alive. Let's start living again. You need to start living again. I know it'll take some time, but this is a good first step."

"You're right." She looked at the piles of boxes. "Let's do it."

She left the matchbox in Bailey's hand while she went to get the fire extinguisher. She settled it down beside them, took the box Bailey offered and lit one match. She allowed it to burn a few seconds before flicking it to the pile. It only took a few moments before the flame located the lighter fluid, creating a blaze of light and heat. Sam and Bailey backed off from the heat, ending up twelve feet away. Sam leant her back onto his chest, wrapped his arm around her waist and let her head rest on his shoulder. He pressed a soft kiss on her temple. They watched as eleven years of grief and fear documented on paper burned away in a cathartic fire.


Sam woke up drowsily, and she realised that she must have slept at least four hours straight without a nightmare. She tried to go back to sleep, burrowing into Bailey's chest. A few minutes passed before Bailey asked tentatively "Sam, are you awake?"

"No" she muttered.

His arm that had been tracing faint circles on her back stilled. "It's been a week."

Sam was suddenly wide awake. She rose up to lie on her side and lean her head on her shoulder. "Yeah. Do you want to start?" He nodded, then took a few moments to lean his head on the pillow.

"You said last week that you loved me." She nodded, waiting for him to carry on. "I believe that. But, are you in love with me?" As she started to bristle at his way of making distinctions, he silenced her with a finger on he lips. "Sam, as I said, I do believe you love me. I'm not saying no to a relationship. But as a man who's in love with you, I'm asking you to really search your feelings."

"You're in love with me?" At his nod, she kissed him soundly. Bailey pulled them back from the brink to the present. "Before we get totally distracted," she flashed an alluring grin, "take a moment and give me an answer." She lay on her back and stared at the ceiling, trying to figure out her heart.

"I know that I love you. As for being in love... I'm sorry, I don't know yet. I'm all over the place and will be for quite some time."

"You don't need to apologise."

"If you give me a little time to catch up, I will fall in love with you, too. So... how do you see us going forward?"

"Call me crazy, but I think a little dating is in order."

"Well okay, but just remember that you've already taken me to the cemetery, and I'm counting that one in." She amused herself by watching the cogs turn in his head, waiting out his realisation.


Six months later

Sam looked around, trying to spot familiar faces in the small, chatty crowds. The hall was festive, decked with Christmas decorations and a big Christmas tree in the center of the space. Around it were tables where people were eating and drinking. No VCTF members or their significant others there. She had feared she'd arrive late, but her former colleagues must have been detained, too. She had been finalising the arrangements for her future job.

She decided to bite the bullet and get a drink, without company though she was. She would scan the place for acquaintances, then probably withdraw to a corner to wait for Bailey. She didn't want to supply answers to obtrusive questions about her private life or why she'd decided to quit. She walked over to the bar, attracting a fair amount of lingering gazes in her sleek red, knee-length dress.

She ordered a Martini and started fishing for the drink coupon from her purse. She was startled when someone bumped into her from the left-hand side, causing her a side-step in order to gain her balance. She turned over to look who had assailed her. It was a man who looked vaguely familiar, with his long frame, blue defiant eyes and light brown hair. He had a smug air about him. She couldn't remember his name, or even place him. He, on the other hand, recognised her.

"Well, if it isn't the famous Sam Waters!"

"I'm sorry, I don't believe I've had the pleasure..."

"Oh, I guess not. The high priestess of the VCTF would have no need to know the worker bees!"

Sam was stunned and offended. "Excuse me?"

"No no, my bad. You don't work there anymore, do you? Quit as soon as the limelight stopped shining, didn't you?"

He was baiting her, alright, and she wouldn't tolerate much more. "Does the worker bee happen to have a name?" A familiar voice boomed behind her: "Nice to see you again, Agent Waters!"

Sam turned to face Agent Foster, thankful for a reprieve from the odious stranger. "Agent Foster, always a pleasure." Foster reached the pair and greeted the man. "Agent Echolls. Fancy seeing you here." Echolls? She still couldn't remember him. She'd have to ask Bailey.

"Just riding out my days to retirement" Echolls spat out.

"Ah. Well, I heard that Agent Navarro was looking for you. Something about a bet?" Foster shot a pointed look at the man. He acquiesced and skulked away. Sam shot Foster a grateful smile.

"So, Agent Foster... What brings you by?"

"I came by to review a few cases. Forensic evidence had accumulated since the last time." Foster and a couple other profilers had stepped in to take Sam's place. The FBI brass refused to let just one profiler shoulder the VCTF's workload, having learnt something from the way some cases had stalled during and after Sam's disappearance. Now, the cases were divided according to each profiler's expertise. The agents were also free to travel and work on other investigations.

"And yourself?"

"Bailey invited me." Foster didn't seem surprised. He was curious enough of her life to ask "Have you settled on a job yet?"

"I made the arrangements this afternoon, in fact. I'll be working as a counsellor for agents. The job starts in a few months."

"In the task force building?" Sam nodded. "So you won't be too far from the old stomping grounds."

"Nope." Sam's attention was distracted as she noticed members of the VCTF filing in through the doors. Bailey walked in last, always ready to play the role of the captain who refused to abandon ship. He had cut back his working hours a little, something even Agent Foster had noticed. Foster suspected the reason for the change was the woman standing beside him, who was brimming with desire to go greet her date. She shot him an apologetic look and excused herself.

She made her way quickly through the milling crowds. She greeted Grace as she passed her; John and George were already engaged with some junior agents, from the look of things. Bailey broke free from the mindless chit chat of the human resources lady just as Sam arrived to his side. She reached up to kiss him softly. "Hey."

"You made it!"

She swatted his chest."What do you mean, I made it? I was here long enough to get heckled before you arrived."

"What do you mean?"

She draped her arm around his waist and started heading toward George and John. "Oh, some agent called Echolls made some snide remarks. Foster drove him away."

"Echolls?"

"Do you know him?" Bailey thought for a while, then shook his head.

"Let me get back to you on that one. Are you alright? I hope it won't distract you all night." He'd make sure to give Echolls a courtesy call later.

"Right now, you're driving me to distraction." She traced her finger gently behind his ear, down to the lapels of his dress shirt. She gave him a spirited kiss, then broke away with a wicked grin and joined the company of her friends.


Four months later

Bailey had been fidgeting all evening. He had just returned from an out-of-town man hunt, and Sam knew that winding down from a stressful case would take its time. However, he was usually able to let go of the case after a few hours in her and Chloe's company. He was now past hour four.

Chloe had turned in for the night, and Sam began to wonder if she would need either her skills as a psychologist or a profiler to ferret out the reason of Bailey's discomfort. They were sitting on the sofa, snuggled up, listening to the Magic Flute when Bailey came out with it.

"I heard from Casper a few nights ago."

Bailey's tone of voice triggered the alarm bells in Sam's head. "Casper? What did he want?"

"He gave me a heads-up on something. Concerning you." She shot him a quizzical look.

"He came to see me after Jack had kidnapped you. I asked him to keep his ear to the ground concerning you" he explained. She nodded, encouraging him to go on.

"Remember Dominick Lattimore?"

Sam raised her head to look him in the eyes. "The crime book author?"

Bailey nodded. "Yes. Casper said he's writing a book on Jack."

Sam stiffened immediately. "What? Are you sure?"

Bailey stroked Sam's back. "Sadly, I am."

"Damn."

He released a sigh. "It gets worse."

"How much worse?"

"That ass of an agent, Echolls, is helping him."

Sam had to think hard to even remember the agent. "Echolls? The profiler who took a stab at Jack before you brought me in? Who was at the Christmas party?"

"Apparently, he didn't take it too well when I replaced him with you in the investigation. He's had it in for us ever since. Now, this is his payback."

After the Christmas party, they had figured out together their connection to the abrasive agent. Sam and Echolls' paths had only crossed a few times. He'd trained before her time, and had been stationed on the West Coast for the majority of his career. Now he was collaborating with Lattimore to glorify Jack.

"Apparently, their book would use the real story as a starting point and make it a fictional piece. At least, on paper."

"Do you know if I'm in it? How about Chloe?"

"The heroine will be called Sue Walters. I have no idea about Chlo."

"Great." Sam turned taciturn, mulling over the shocking news.

"I can try to block it, or at least make sure they don't have access to the FBI files."

"They can still use the newspaper clippings, local police departments' files and the court scripts from Lucas' trial. Besides, Echolls has probably made copies of all the Jack files that floated his way."

"Want me to ask Casper to do some magic on him?" She looked at him with an amused smile. Levity was just what she needed.

"Casper? What's preventing you from being my personal hitman?"

"We're a tag team of sorts."

Sam was about to continue their flirting and to burrow into his arms when it hit her. She took him in, looking at his relaxed state, so full of love and lingering concern for her. He was so familiar to her, his every look, mood and gesture. He had seen her over to the other side, he was still alive and well. All his intense attention was focused on her, and wasn't that just a thing to behold?

She realised with a jolt that she had fallen in love with him. Had finally found what she was looking for. The man she would spend the rest of her life with. Her search for a home had ended.

She climbed onto his lap, sitting on his knees and encircling his neck with her hands. Bailey was intrigued yet puzzled by her actions. His hands settled on her hips. She flashed an enticing smile. "Hi."

"Uh... Hi?"

"Guess what I just realised?" At Bailey's head shake, she continued: "I'm in love with you." Bailey drew a sharp breath.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." She started caressing the back of his neck.

"Are you really sure? This isn't too soon?"

She chuckled. "Forget your profiling tendencies for a while and just trust me on this one."

"'Cos I can still wait." She realised he was still willing to put her first and sacrifice his happiness for hers. Well, time for that had passed. She needed to nudge him a little. So, she dropped her hands and started to shift her weight off him altogether.

"Look, I just want us to be happy, but if you..." She didn't get further in words or movements for Bailey pulled her flush to him and claimed her lips. She never got around to finishing that sentence.

Some things were just fate.

The end.

Aw, this brings us to the end of a story which I started imagining, believe it or not, eleven years ago! I'm sad to see it end, but elated that I managed to tell Sam and Bailey's story the way I envisioned it. I'd be thrilled to hear what you thought of it. Was bringing in a profiler with kidnapping expertise a sensible move? Did you like how Sam figured out Jack's lie? Were you satisfied with Jack's haphazard plan to kill Bailey? Did you catch the nods to some lines from various episodes?

I will drop in on Sam and Bail from this fic in my upcoming, short Christmas fic. I may end up writing a fic focusing on our couple's road to recovery that took largely place in the gap of six months leading up to VCTF Christmas party. If I do, I think it'll be angsty with a side dish of romance. Or, I keep feeling the pull of writing that first season episode we never got to see that the DVD set describes: "A rift opens up between Sam and Bailey when Jack kills an FBI agent who had information about Tom's murder – information she had no idea about." I see it as a test of the bond our couple share. They were never on the outs with one another during the course of the series, so I'm intrigued by how it might play out.

Anyways, thank you for reading!